When the terror bird had finished its meal, it ran off into the distance in search of water, as its thirst was starting to get to it. It paid no heed to Littlefoot and company as it zipped by them on its long, nimble legs.
There, right where the terror bird left him, lay Spike. All of his flesh, blood and innards were gone, having been consumed by the giant. He was now just a skeleton; just a set of bones held together by a system of joints, and nothing more.
Neither Littlefoot, Cera, Ducky nor Petrie could bear to look at the skeleton as it lay exposed to the open sky. Even Snips and Tana, who knew that Spike's spirit had moved on and that his physical remains were meaningless, had a hard time bearing the sight of one of their new "family members," who they were just getting to know, having just fallen victim to the rule of "eat or be eaten." Nonetheless, the Didelphodon thought that they all had to do something to commemorate him.
"C'mon, kids," Tana urged. "I think we ought to go pay our respects."
But Littlefoot and his friends all hesitated, as tears continued to leak out of their delicate eyes.
"It's okay," assures Snips. "We'll be here for you if you need to lean on us."
Something about their voices rang inside Littlefoot and his friends, as if they had suddenly bestowed upon them the ability to get through this difficult task. So, as the tears continued to fall and shake them up on the inside, they all went out of hiding and slowly, but surely, walked up to the remains of Spike; just gazing at the bones made their stomachs sink painfully inside of them.
"Perhaps someone would like to say a few words?" Tana proposed. "It's okay, let it all out! Snips and I won't think any less of you, we promise."
"W-well," Ducky sniffed, trying to find the right words. "I found him when we were first on our way to the Great Valley; he had just hatched, and he had been left all alone, he had. So I took him in and took him with us to the Great Valley, where I introduced him to my family and we adopted him as one of our family.
"He was real fun to have around, he was. He may not have been able to go swimming with us or anything, but he was the most playful of all my friends and my siblings. I always loved how he would give you a little lick when he liked you. I did, I did. Now, all of this running from Sharpteeth must have caught up with them, and now... I feel like we have all lost a part of us. Yep, yep... yep."
Never before had Ducky felt so empty upon uttering her catchphrase; it seemed to rob her of the will to carry on any further with the epitaph, as she once again broke down sobbing, burying her face into Petrie's chest; something that normally would've made him feel extremely awkward and embarrassed. But, given the present circumstances, the only thing he could do was cry with her.
Now it was Littlefoot's turn to try and speak. But he was at a loss for words; though he was the only one of the dinos in this group who had experienced the death of a loved one before the meteor impact, nothing of the same level of trauma had occurred until now. Nonetheless, he knew that Snips and Tana were right about them having to pay their respects, and, though he struggled, did find some words;
"Spike truly was the most big-hearted of us all," he crooned grimly. "His heart might not have been as big as his stomach, but it was just as strong. He never did talk... well, he did, once or twice... but all he really needed was his big, hearty grin. That was always more than enough to brighten our moods."
With a sigh, Littlefoot finished, "Well, it looks like the dangers of our adventuring have caught up to us... but my grandparents taught me that those we love most always within our hearts. I know that that's where Spike lives now, along with my parents, grandparents and all our other families." Though these words seemed to provide Littlefoot with a faint sense of semblance, he still couldn't help but shed more tears over these words.
"Well, Cera?" Snips urged. But Cera said nothing. She simply stood, her back turned to them, motionless as a statue, not appearing to show any signs of grief or any other real emotion. "Don't you wanna say something?" Snips implored. But she continued to cold-shoulder them. For Littlefoot, Ducky and Petrie, this was the farthest thing from a surprise; they had always known and were quite accoustomed to Cera's penchant for acting much tougher than she really was. Snips, on the other hand, was very apalled, and he didn't hesitate to express that.
"For goodness sake, Cera!" he barked. "One of your best friends has just DIED! The least you could do is let your grief out... that is, if there is any!" And as Cera continued to ignore him, he blurted out, "Man, I had no idea you were such a dark, empty, cold-hearted bi-"
"SNIPS!" Tana snapped. "How DARE you talk to her that way! Especially after what just happened!"
"No, Tana. He's right."
These words came from Cera; and they struck Littlefoot, Ducky and Petrie aback. Her tone was uncharacteristically painful, and sure enough, as she turned to face them, her face showed the most sad, hurt, ashamed, guilty expression they had ever seen, and her eyes were blood red from the tears that were flowing down her face.
"Snips is right," she moaned. "And you guys were right all along. I'm not tough at all, okay? I just didn't want you to think any less of me; my own kind certainly would've! Three-horns are supposed to be toughest and meanest of all plant-eating dinosaurs, but I'm..." And she practically wailed these next few words; "I'M A HATCHLING TRAPPED IN THIS BODY!"
And then she lost it completely. She collapsed on her stomach, buried her face in the ground, and cried harder than she ever did before, bawling at a volume that would've made anyone else cover their ears up tight. But while Littlefoot, Ducky and Petrie felt too helpless to do so - or anything else, for that matter - Snips and Tana trotted right up to her and snuggled up to her on both sides, kissing her tenderly on both cheeks.
"It's all right, Cera," Tana purred. "We don't think any less of you for this."
"Truth is," added Snips. "Bottling up your feelings like that was not healthy at all. But this is. It's okay, let it all out; we'll be here."
And so she did. Every hurt emotion, every feeling of weakness and sadness that had been bottled up in Cera's insides for so very long finally had the tears and the sobs to utilize as an escape route out of her system; had they stayed within for much longer, they might've exploded, throwing her into a nervous breakdown. With how hard she was crying right now, she might've been mistaken as truly having one right now. Still, for the eternity that it felt like throughout which she let it all out, Snips and Tana held tightly onto her the whole time, cradling her as if she were the very baby that they themselves were unable to have...
When Cera seemed to regain her composure, Littlefoot walked up to her, with Ducky and Petrie riding on his back. "You know, Cera," he said. "I always knew you had just as much a soft spot as the rest of us. And I certainly don't think any less of you now - actually, I admire you more than ever, now. You've finally came out of the shell that your kind always bottles themselves up in, and now, well, you're free!"
As Cera gazed up into Littlefoot's grinning eyes, she felt an odd, but welcome, sense of relief. Littlefoot was right; by finally admitting to and expressing her true feelings and her true being, she had indeed broken through those very shackles that she and her kind had imprisoned herself in, and now felt truly liberated. With a smile spreading across her own face, she stood up and nuzzled his face with her own, saying, "Thanks Littlefoot; I needed that!"
For a good, long minute, Littlefoot, Cera, Ducky and Petrie remained entwined in a group embrace. This, however, was of the happy, comforting, relieving variety. Even in the face of Spike's death, they had still managed to find solace in each other; it was, in fact, almost as if he truly was still there in a way, as Littlefoot had hinted at.
"Well... now what?" Littlefoot wondered as they all pulled apart.
"Well, we sure as hell can't stay here!" Snips exclaimed. "We won't find any food or water here... and who knows what other creatures'll be hunting us!"
What with Spike's demise, the kids were all hit like a ton of bricks by these words. "You don't have to tell me twice!" proclaimed Littlefoot. "Let's go!"
And so they did. With everyone having been reminded once more of the need to find sustenance, as well as of the ever-present dangers around them, they set out once again, leaving the bones of Spike lying out in the open, to be fossilized over the years to come. As they all set back out on their journey, Ducky took one last look at the remains, saying, "Spike, if you truly are still here... please look after us!"