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OwlsCantRead

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The Threehorn Way
« on: January 30, 2019, 09:26:19 AM »
December 2018 Fanfic prompt entry. Just in time, too!

FFN Link: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13193267/1/The-Threehorn-Way

Description: What makes Cera tick? Are threehorns always right and the best at everything?



The Threehorn Way

Words in italics indicate flashbacks.

The Gang of Five forum's Fanfic Prompt Challenge for the year of 2019 is up! Since I'd thoroughly enjoyed the creative writing prompts for the July and August entries in the previous year, I'm hoping to be a bit more active for the contest this year.

Granted, not all the prompts are my cup of tea, but I'll do my best for those I'm confident about! The theme for the month of December 2018 is: "Religious or not, we all have beliefs or certainties that sustain us, even in our most desperate moments. Write a story showcasing a character relying on his/her beliefs, morals, or philosophy to overcome an obstacle or hardship."



Chapter 1: Daddy's Threehorn Way

"You must remember to always be strong and unrelenting, Cera. Threehorns like us must never give up. We shall not falter… even in the face of defeat, we must never surrender without giving it our all!"

"…and the reason for that is because we threehorns are the best at everything! We're better than longnecks, swimmers, spiketails, even those stupid flyers! There's a reason we don't need to be together with anyone, and that's because we're better than them all!"


That was what I had been taught by my mommy and daddy from hatch day.

And yeah, sure, I guess I don't actually remember my hatch day, but having your mommy and daddy constantly emphasize those words every night for the past five Cold Times of your life meant that it eventually got ingrained into me.

Mama always tells me the first statement, while daddy always says the second. According to my daddy, this is what he calls the Threehorn Way. Yes… that's the way that we threehorns breathe and live!

Did I mention that I was a threehorn?

…no?

Hmph! Come on, isn't it obvious?

Is the answer still no?

Well, let me say it here, then! In fact, let me mention it so many times that our ancestors hanging out in the stars above will never forget it for the rest of their eternal afterlife in the Great Beyond!

I'm Cera, and I am the very best threehorn that there is!

That's right! I may be young, but I just know that I'm destined to be the greatest threehorn in the whole wide Mysterious Beyond! Heh! I betcha that I'm better than all of my sisters… yes, even Jabber! Even if she'd hatched the first out of all of us, I swear that I'll surpass her one day, and the fact that I'm the runt of the litter won't change that!

I'll prove it, too! Soon I'll be a big threehorn, just like my mommy and daddy! And once that happens… the world will tremble before the great Cera's might! Muhahahaha!

If I close my eyes right now, I could see the road to my glorious future paved for me right under my feet! I'll be a herd leader, yes… the strongest threehorn of them all! I'll be so strong by that point that I'll be able to crush smoking mountains with my bare three horns! Hee hee hee!

Of course, I would actually have to make it to adulthood first… which, unfortunately, is quite a problem at the moment.

For you see, I most unfortunately happen to be in quite a bit of a pickle right now. And why, you may ask?

Hmph! Ya think I'd tell you, just like that? I'm not someone who lets sensitive information slip from my tongue haphazardly! You have some nerve to assume that!

…wait, really?

Hee, you're certainly persistent! I like that! You have the threehorn attitude, don'tcha? Well, it is quite a confusing tale, so perhaps I should start at the very beginning…



To think that it had all started with a laugh.

Looking back, it had been such a minor occurrence compared to all the nonsense that I've had to go through thereafter. Funny how one only realized that in retrospect.

But before suffering through all of that, that moment was one of the most memorable moments for me… in a bad kind of way.

I had just gotten sprayed by the vilest thing ever from a buzzer, and in the most humiliating manner too. While shaking the disgusting purple liquid off my face, I felt my heart stop when my ears were able to discern the sound of a childish laugh.

Flicking the last of the annoying liquid off my eyes, I shift my hind legs about to spin around and get a close look at the source of the voice, only to find myself surprised to see that it had come from a young longneck boy giggling at me. He was trying to keep himself hidden in the tall ferns… though he wasn't doing a very good job at it, considering that his very own laugh gave him away.

Are these dinosaurs called longnecks, anyway? Daddy mentioned them in passing once or twice… but I don't really recall. I mean, we threehorns keep to ourselves most of the time, so I don't see other species often. Not that it matters… we are the best, after all!

Needless to say, I wasn't pleased to learn that there was a witness to that embarrassing incident. It was something that I had intended to take with me to my end, even if said end was a sharptooth's jaw, and now someone else knows about it?

How dare he?! That disrespectful, spying little flathead jerk! I'll show him! This was now a matter of pride — I'll make sure that he'll never, ever have the guts to narrate this mortifying incident to another dinosaur, even if I have to force him to agree to my terms and conditions by beating him to a pulp!

"What are you laughing at?!" I snarled furiously at him, relishing the gasp of surprise on him when he realized that he'd been caught out like a fresh treestar against this barren wasteland.

I wasn't going to give the longneck any time to contemplate his life choices, however. This was one mistake that was going to end in painful bruises for him. Pawing at the ground with my front legs, I leaned forward and prepared to unleash some pain.

A growl left my mouth when I saw him jump out of the vegetation and attempt to mimic my movements — crouching down and pawing at the ground as well.

Why, that little…! Did he actually think that he was a threehorn? The gall of him! Oh, that's the last straw! How dare that punk even try to mimic my movements? I'm gonna pummel him!

Closing my eyes tightly shut, I let my instincts guide me as I lunged towards him, thrusting my single horn forward as I charged in the direction of the ignorant boy with all my might. Opening my mouth, I let out a furious bellow, feeling the wind blowing hard against my face at the speed that I was racing towards my target.

But my Daddy beat me to it.

With a large looming shadow, he backed me up and hissed a low growl at the longneck. Sure enough, he got the hint and began backing away.

Daddy then took that as his cue for his job being done. With a firm voice that brokered no disagreement, he turned towards me. "Come, Cera. Threehorns never play with long… necks."

He was trying to keep a level head, but I could see that Daddy was fuming within. Why else would he drawl out the word "longnecks" and mispronounce the species name when I knew perfectly well that he could say it correctly had he wanted to.

Of course, Daddy's behavior made it glaringly obvious to me that he didn't want to dignify a lower species like them.

With my Daddy by my back, I feel a burst of confidence flow through me, making me stick my tongue out at the flathead before stomping out from under my Daddy's feet to personally confront him. "Threehorns never play with longnecks!" I articulated to the longneck, repeating my Daddy's statement while glaring daggers at the ignorant, pesky boy as I nonchalantly shot down whatever idea he might have had brewing in his flat little head.

The confused lad didn't even get the chance to reply. As I aggressively strut towards him as an intimidation tactic, his—very big—parent gently lifted the flathead up by the tail and headed off.

Hah! Serves that stalker right! Yeah, you better run!

A moment later, I felt my own situation mirroring the longneck's. I panicked for a brief moment until I realized that it was my own Daddy that was lifting me off the ground to get us away from that filthy flathead.

As my Daddy and the big longneck began heading in opposite directions, I let a smirk adorn my face when I realize that I'd won.

I beat that longneck fair and square! He was terrified of me… he feared me! Muhahahaha!

Very unlike my usual self, I let out a tiny squeal of joy. Beating that flathead stalker was the first step on my path of following my Daddy's teachings to become the best threehorn to ever roam this land. It appeared to me that obeying what he said would allow me to succeed in the goal that I'd promised myself to achieve — being the very best threehorn ever.

In other words, this Threehorn Way that my father spoke off as gospel? It totally ruled!



The elation eventually wore off, though. It slowly left me as the Bright Circle set and the Night Circle came up.

I stretch my feet on the dirt ground, groggily gazing at my family as my mama cooed my sisters.

"Why aren't you with them, Cera?" My Daddy called out in curiosity, tilting his head inquisitively as he asked me what I personally felt was an admittedly stupid question.

I distinctly remember answering him in jest, holding my head proudly up to the night sky. "Well, I'm better than them, Daddy! I'm a big girl now, I can sleep all by myself!"

Daddy appeared to be momentarily shocked, but a wide grin and a hearty laugh soon replaced the flicker of mild concern that flashed on his face. Before I could whine and complain to Daddy about being too overprotective of me, he surprised me by nuzzling my face with his horn.

"Now that's my Cera! That's my big threehorn daughter!" he heartily said to me, causing me to giggle in return and reciprocate the gesture.

"Topps?" I perk my head as I heard my Mama calling for my Daddy. "A little help with the other kids here? They're being extra clingy today!"

"I'm coming, dear!" Daddy muttered with a sigh, before facing me with jubilant eyes. "Remember the Threehorn Way, Cera. We threehorns are the best at everything, and you've just proved that to me by showing bravery."

But as he stood up and walked over, Daddy suddenly murmured in a soft voice. "Stepping outside her comfort zone… they grow up so fast…"

"Now, now." I heard my Mama chuckle. "She might be independent, but she's still our little Cera…"

As Daddy went on over, everyone else huddled together as a group. Eventually, they all collectively let the sweet embrace of sleep claim them.

But I, on the other hand, was still wide awake, unable to fall asleep.

Eventually I couldn't take it anymore. With a grunt I lazily got to my feet and trudged off to get some fresh air. And rather fortunately for me, the rest of my family was still sound asleep.

Big threehorn, remember? That's what Daddy said I was. Surely I was big enough to have a little night walk on my own without waking them up?

I trudged along the path, a hopping green thing suddenly catching my eye. I made sure to quicken my pace as I saw the hopper bouncing away from me.

How dare it try to get away from me? I resent that! I mean, I'm the greatest!

However, those thoughts were eventually dashed in the most unexpected of ways.

I quirked my head when the hopper returned back to me, a surprised gasp leaving me when I saw why.

The longneck from earlier was ecstatically chasing it.

Graghhh! Did that fool know nothing about personal space? I had literally just told him that threehorns never play with longnecks!

"You again?" I spit as I charged right up to his ignorant little face. "Go away!" My eyes briefly hover to the green hopper that had also caught his brown eyes. Without wasting any time, I instantly took it upon myself to beat him again. "That's my hopper!" I declared, turning back to chase after it for myself.

Truth be told, I hadn't even wanted to catch it until I followed the longneck's eyes and saw him eyeing it as well, but I wasn't going to tell him that. Life was a competition, and I intended to win at everything, right down to something as small and minuscule as possession over a hopper.

It might seem insignificant, but my Daddy told me not to give anyone any leeway!

"I saw him first…" I heard him grumble in disdain. I almost rolled my eyes at his incessant arguing. Can't he see that he couldn't beat me?! Without looking back, I conjure up the first excuse that I could think of to dispute his claim.

"Well, he's in my pond!" I shoot back at him as I jumped down to the marshy swampland, landing in the dirty water and ending up right next to the hopper. If the longneck wanted to argue that it was his hopper so much, then I'll prove him wrong by catching it first!

Just as I was about to pounce on the ugly looking thing, I feel a force plough into my behind, leading to my face being pushed into the mud. As I shake my head to flick the grimy liquid off my face, I came face-to-face with a sheepish looking longneck. Apparently he'd liked my slide maneuver enough to try it for himself.

Geez, what a lame copycat.

I shot him a warning glare for the moment, refocusing my attention on the hopper as it disappeared into the murky depths.

But not for long. I immediately leapt onto the hopper, only to accidentally burst a bubble. I scowl while cluelessly looking on, realizing seconds later that it was but a reflection which I had hit when the longneck—once again—copied what I did.

"Hey!" I chirped as I played around in the swampy marsh, trying to catch the blasted hopper, "This is kinda fun!"

In the back of my mind, I did mull about how I was now technically playing with the longneck, which meant that the boy would have the last laugh. I pushed the thought away, arguing against my inner thoughts by telling it that we were "hanging out", not playing.

Yeah, we're not playing! The two of us are totally hanging out!

And that was when things went horribly wrong. The ground shaking beneath my feet was my first warning, the looming shadow was my second, but before I could muse about it, the terrifying sight that befell my widening eyes was the clincher.

"Sharptooth!" I shriek, all my prior bravado dead in the muddy water as I leapt away and ran for it, the longneck following closely behind me as the vile creature went in pursuit after us, sending waves of mud splashing as its large feet crashed into murky water.

Somewhere within my mind, my brain had to gall to go, 'Shouldn't a threehorn be brave and stand her ground? Isn't that the Threehorn Way?'

As my flustered self raced out of the watery prison and into a dead forest to take cover from the terrifying beast, I distinctly recalled that this was the first time my instincts had told my mind to shut up about following Daddy's Threehorn Way.



"Mama! Daddy!"

"Cera!"

Oh, this cannot be happening. Come on!

I stared at the great divide in the earth that had split the land, mercilessly cutting through the solid earth. Honestly, I don't mind cracks in rocks, considering that as a threehorn, I loved cracking rocks apart and smashing them with my horn.

However, I had a very big problem with this crack. Namely, I had a problem with the fact that it separated me from my family.

Becoming a flyer to get to the other side was looking very tempting as of now.

"Cera!" My father yelled at me, his eyes turning cold. "Is there really… no way across?"

"No, Daddy! I can't possibly jump across that chasm!"

Hearing my answer, my Daddy squeezed his eyes shut. When he opened them, he looked like he had aged multiple Cold Times. "Then I'm sorry, Cera. You'll have to find some other way to get across."

Wa-Wait a moment… they were leaving me behind!?

"Wait! Daddy! Mama!" I yelped, panic seizing ahold of me. They can't leave me! They can't!

"You're a big threehorn now, remember?" my Daddy yelled across the cliff, echoing the same words that I'd told to him earlier. "A big girl, right?" he prodded, winking at Mama with a grin before turning back in my direction. Well, you're going to have to be my big girl and find your way back to Daddy! I can't help you… so it's all on you to help yourself!"

"B-But… Daddy…"

At this point, I choked up, but maintained my cool. I wasn't about to cry. It went against everything Daddy stood for… I refused.

I didn't want to admit to my Daddy that I wasn't ready.

And yet although I had not said those fears which clouded my heart aloud, my Daddy surprised me by saying words of reassurance to me, almost making me wonder if he could read my mind. "Never say you can't, Cera. The Threehorn Way, remember?"

I flashed a cocky smile despite my broken heart, unable to see if my Daddy could discern my facial features from this distance. I really hoped he couldn't.

"Yeah… the Threehorn Way…" I recited somberly, mouthing the words to myself as a harrowing affirmation that this was really happening. Daddy didn't even have to hear those words to know what I was saying, he could probably read my lips and figure it out.

The remainder of my family then leaned out as far as they could and threw me some final words of support.

"Good luck, sis!"

"Yeah, see you soon!"

"Mommy wishes you all the best, my dear Cera! I'll pray to the stars above for your success!"

"Cera. You're my big girl now, and I know you'll prove it by standing against the world on your own two feet! I assure you, we'll see each other again soon…"

And then, just like that… they were gone. My Daddy, my Mama, my siblings… all of them just left, leaving me to stare vacantly at a blank cliff face.

I wasn't sure how long I stood there, staring at where they had once been. When I squeezed my eyes shut, I was actually able to imagine their figures still being there. Eventually, I sniff, letting the first tears trail down my face as my fiery façade broke down.

Despite everything that I'd told myself… I hated being alone. As much as I'd wanted to be better than them to the point where I'd pick play fights with my sisters, as much as I told Daddy and Mama that I was a big girl, I never wanted them to leave me to fend for myself.

Perhaps I wasn't as independent as I thought…

"You must remember to always be strong and unrelenting, Cera. Threehorns like us must never give up. We shall not falter… even in the face of defeat, we must never surrender without giving it our all!"

…no.

I grunted, straightening myself up as my Mama's words echoed throughout my mind. A smug smirk managed to find its way to my mouth.

I could do this. I was a threehorn. And not just any threehorn, but the very best that there was.

Perhaps this was life's way of throwing me a challenge. And if it was, then who was I to decline the opportunity to throw down the gauntlet?

"Cera!"

I hastily flinched upon hearing the cry, flicking away any last traces of tears from my reddened eyes. Turning towards the source of the voice, I saw him again.

The longneck.

I didn't want to admit it, but he had been the braver of the two of us when we were being chased down by Sharptooth. Of course, I chose to keep my innermost thoughts to myself, as that was something that I would never ever admit.

After all, threehorns were supposed to be the best. It was the Threehorn Way, hm?

"Cera, hello!" he greeted, the same stupid optimistic smile plastered on his face as though he and I hadn't been running for our lives earlier. It made me sick just looking at his cheerful demeanor.

As a result, I didn't even bother with pleasantries. "What do you want?" I demanded with a forceful tone.

"Heh heh! Nothing!" he tried to deflect the question, not-so-subtly asking another one to change the topic. "Where are you going?"

Turning away from him, I quickly made up an excuse. My father's final words to me rang in my ears, giving me just the words I needed to turn him down. "I'm going to find my own kind. They're on the other side." Wasn't technically a lie, too.

"I've looked all over here. You can't climb up the other side."

Man, he was stupid. Didn't he realize that I'd managed to figure that much out as well? I mean, I'm no flyer! Of course I couldn't get there or I wouldn't even be listening to his nonsense right now!

"Maybe you can't…" I proceed to tell him off, taking a step into the rocky slope that led to down the canyon below. It was a risky gambit, but at this point, it beat staying with this guy and having to listen to the idealistic nonsense that he spewed from his mouth.

Seriously, his corny speech made me want to physically throw up.

"Wait! I'm going to the Great Valley! We could—"

"Ahhhh!" I shrieked, losing my footing. Before I could slip further, I stomp upon the sloped ground, managing to gain enough traction to stop my fall. Shaking my head in disbelief of the events that'd just transpired, I glared daggers at him in response.

Da-damn that flathead! It was his fault that I slipped on the rocky terrain beneath my feet! He distracted me, that pest!

"…help each other?" he resumed his offer when he was certain that I had recovered from my mistake.

But by that point, I'd firmly made up my mind, deciding that I've had more than enough of him for the rest of my lifetime. I made a vow to myself that I was going to find my family without his help, and I made sure that he knew it.

"Hmph!" I scoffed indignantly, "A threehorn does not need help from a longneck!" To make sure he got the message, I kicked my hind legs at him to throw dirt into his face, only realizing my mistake far too late when I lost my footing and slid all the way to the bottom of the canyon with a shrill cry.

"Well… at least we wouldn't be alone!" he tried to encourage as I got to my feet, looking down at my form from the cliff above.

…he really was persistent, wasn't he? Seriously, if he wasn't such a longneck, he might have actually made a good threehorn.

I cringe at the thought, shaking my head to expel the mental image from my head. That longneck as a threehorn… no.

Just. No.

It was a terrifying idea. Worse than that Sharptooth who'd chased me.

Okay, maybe not. But the image I'd conjured up was still up there on my personal list of the very few things that scared me.

I looked up, if only to reassure myself that, "Hey, genius. He's a longneck, Cera! The day that flathead becomes a threehorn is the day you wake up as a dumb, weak flyer." As I looked up at him, I slowly came to the realization that he was still peering down at me, tilting his head curiously as though he was awaiting something.

Wait… was he actually waiting for my reply?

I growled under my raspy breath. Oh, I'd give him my reply, alright.

"When I find my sisters, I won't be alone! So… go away." I strutted off into a cavern formed by the Earthshake, leaving the longneck above me gaping as I gave him the cold shoulder.

Out of sight, out of mind. Hmph, good riddance!

That longneck could go find someone else to be friends with, because I most certainly didn't need his help to find my family. He can take his dumb "Great Valley" and preach it to a gullible group of morons, but I was not about to be suckered in by his sweet, deceptive words!

With a nervous chuckle, I reaffirm to myself that I had made the right choice, fighting down a tinge of fear within me. Threehorns like me don't get scared, and they certainly didn't need help from anyone… least of all some crummy longneck!

After all, as Daddy would say if he was walking right beside me… it was the Threehorn Way.



Author's Note:

I'm sorry that I'd lagged so behind on this piece! I'd to undergo wisdom tooth surgery twice in January, which really messed with my plans and schedule for the month. The unusual style I used for this work was also a reason as to its tardiness — I kept on feeling as though it wasn't as good as my usual output, and thus it remained in edit purgatory for a very long time until the deadline loomed upon the horizon.

You might have noticed that I've broken from the norm and used first-person POV for this story. Part of the reason is because there's a really prolific fanfic author in my other main writing fandom who writes primarily in 1st person, so I felt inspired to experiment with this style after reading his work… but I'll admit that the main reason I wrote this way is because I really wanted to delve into Cera's thoughts. Tee hee!

And yeah, to be honest, because I split it up into multiple parts, I don't think that I really hit the prompt on the nail with this singular chapter, despite focusing on Cera rebelling against her situation with her ideals. You might have to judge the story as a completed piece before the way I opted to approach the prompt really makes sense.

Still, if the prose seems a little off, don't hesitate to let me know! In the end, I'll admit that I'm still a relative newbie with this writing style, so any constructive critique is certainly welcome. ;)



Whew! There should only be two chapters left, but I might focus on my ongoing LBT story first before returning to this. Hope Cera sounds Cera-y enough. ;)
A quaint creature who soars when the Night Circle is highest in the dark sky, messing up his circadian rhythm in the process. Truly, a tragic flyer.

When it comes to LBT, I love to write stories! :)
Current Fics: Waves Crashing Upon the Sky, The Threehorn Way, Five Stages of Grief, Scrambled Eggs, and Our Safe Haven.



DiddyKF1

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Re: The Threehorn Way
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2019, 01:27:54 PM »
It's so amazing when somebody delves into the thoughts and upbringings of a character I used to loath. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely despised Cera in the first movie, but this really gives great insight to her family's strict Threehorn beliefs. I was rather enthralled by how this captures Cera's thoughts of the early stages of her life, and her initial opinion of Littlefoot, and how she tries so hard to see the world the way she wants to, in the way of a Threehorn who craves to be the strongest of all when she reaches adulthood. You've really outdone yourself with this piece of writing, and I think it'll be quite interesting to see the first movie through Cera's POV. :smile
Suddenly, I've written so many fanfics that I can't possibly list them all! :P


Sovereign

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Re: The Threehorn Way
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2019, 03:38:06 PM »
It’s amazing to see you taking part in the prompts again! Your premise in this fic was an interesting one and in many ways, I liked how you executed this look into Cera’s mind early in the first film. The way you handled her line of thinking and way of “speaking” were used nicely but even then, there were issues with the narrative as well as with the characterizations.

Perhaps the thing I like most here is the way you’ve made Cera converse with the reader believably that in many ways really mirrored her personality during those days. The beginning was a nice touch which introduced the reader into the tone of the fic. Likewise, I really enjoyed the concentration into her thoughts during these familiar scenes as they really deepened her character and motives during those parts.

However, the transition between different scenes was rather weird. The plot wasn’t difficult to follow but the way it flowed was just… odd. Likewise, the way you portrayed Cera and her family felt a little too black and white and especially some of Topps’ lines felt awkward. I thought I’d also mention that the word “gospel” doesn’t fit LBT universe, imo. Those aren’t bad faults but they were a bit off in this chapter, I’m afraid.

Even then, it will be quite interesting to see how this unique story will develop. I really liked many aspects of this retelling and I’m still confident this will be a great story in the end. I certainly look forward to seeing how you’ll handle the later scenes of the film! :)

rhombus

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Re: The Threehorn Way
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2019, 12:11:44 AM »
First of all, I must compliment you on not only using the first-person perspective in a story, but also using it especially effectively in showing the emotions and inner turmoil of a character that often keeps her emotions inside.  In this story we not only get to see Cera's pride and arrogance as she reacts to her first meeting with Littlefoot, but we also get to see her inner desire to impress her parents and to live up to the expectations that they have of her and her siblings. This collision of internal doubts and desire to keep up appearances reaches an emotionally intense climax when she is finally separated from her parents.  In that moment we get to see both herself and her parents fighting their own conditioning as they wish her well in finding her own way back.  Only for Cera to realize once they disappear that she is not yet ready to be the big threehorn that she wishes to be. Though she might give Littlefoot the cold shoulder once more she does not realize that she has encountered a flathead who has the stubbornness of a threehorn.

This was truly an impressive piece of characterization and perspective taking.  This chapter allows us to explore the deeply ingrained beliefs of a species that is sometimes seen as being without such deeper philosophical perspectives.  But, as this entry shows us, Cera is no less driven by a deeply-held belief than any other person.  I look forward to seeing how things develop in the future chapters.  :)


Go ahead and check out my fanfictions, The Seven Hunters, Songs of the Hunters, and Mender's Tale
Mender's Tale.

Ducky123

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Re: The Threehorn Way
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2019, 02:34:23 AM »
Oh man 1st person perspective this is gonna be wholesome  :)littlefoot

Yeah, that's a concept I haven't seen in use for a LBT fic, thrilled to see how you are doing it :^^spike

So I love Cera's bold and cheeky attitude here already, oh this is awesome :D some word choices seem a bit too advanced for young Cera but it is not a big deal.

I never knew that you were this talented a writer. The way you describe Cera's feelings as she faces Littlefoot for the first time is simply amazing wow. This is lit! :DD

OH it ends so soon? Thought you'd go all the way with this in one go but I understand your reasoning.

The prose is amazing and you beyond nailed giving us a believable insight into Cera's thoughts. As someone whose strength lies in dialogue, I envy that writing style completely :lol

Hope you finish this eventually, this is a story I certainly won't forget  :nyah
Note to self: finally create that signature lazy bum! :P

OwlsCantRead

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Re: The Threehorn Way
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2019, 10:18:58 AM »
Hey! More Cera goodness. :cerahappy

FFN Link: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13193267/2/The-Threehorn-Way



Chapter 2: What Threehorn Way?

How did this happen?

How in the name of the Bright Circle had such a horrid fate befallen a threehorn like me? I was so tempted to smash my head into a nearby rock just to prove to myself that this stupid, absurd, braindead scenario wasn't my reality.

Too bad it actually was. Just my rotten luck, too.

So well, here I am once more, stuck in this never-ending desert of sand and dead vegetation with that imbecile of a longneck yet again. Seriously, I should start keeping count of the number of times he was getting on my nerves — I bet that sooner or later, I wouldn't be able to keep count on all four of my limbs.

Honestly, I never expected to see his sorry face again, yet alone so soon after I'd last shut him down… but I suppose that fate really wanted to mess with me today. As if separating me from my daddy and being chased by Sharptooth wasn't enough torment already! Nevertheless, I wasn't going to be intimidated by him.

Or his new friends.

His many new friends.

Trying to control my rapid breathing and still my fluttering heart, I found myself raising my brow as my eyes darted around to see a swimmer and a flyer by the longneck's side by the corner of my peripheral vision.

Okay… yeah, it was only two, but that was still two more than what I'd expected that longneck to get on his side. I mean, how anyone with a sound mind could stand being with that stupid longneck was beyond me. There was a brief moment where I contemplated on just how he managed to sucker that swimmer and flyer into going along with whatever his crazy plan was, because I will freely admit that whatever my initial thought about his crazy scheme to get to some Great Valley was, it had already left my mind from the very moment I ditched him.

I mean, seriously… how!? A swimmer and a flyer? What a group of total misfits! He couldn't possibly be that charismatic, could he? Did he coerce them into joining or something? I highly doubt that, but I'll at least give him some respect if he at least learnt from the Threehorn Way and used them for himself.

"Cera! It's you!"

Just greattttt. He just had to open his big mouth. Can't he see from my face that I was clearly not in the mood to deal with any of his nonsense? No? Hmph! Because of his obliviousness, it looks like I'm now forced to find a way to settle this new problem. Great.

"What happened? Why are you so frightened?" he continued, evidently not noticing my rising anger at the blatant accusation.

That insufferable, obnoxious little pest! He dares accuse me—a threehorn—of being frightened?

Of being afraid?

I found myself heaving slightly, taking in deep breaths as I locked eyes with the longneck. I wasn't going to take that insult lying down — quite literally too, as I was indeed lying down on my back, having rolled over when I crashed into him in the first place.

"Frightened? Me? Hahahaha!" I immediately got on my four feet and laughed it off, echoing the thoughts currently swirling about in my head. As the final throes of my laughter died down, I ducked underneath the longneck as I strutted off, making sure to jab upwards with my horn as I was under him to poke his soft underbelly for good measure.

Needless to say, I was quickly rewarded for it when I heard him choke out a surprised wince of pain as I tunneled under his pudgy belly. Man, payback felt so satisfying.

It was warranted, too!

C'mon, he had to be willfully playing ignorant! How else can he remain so calm and flash me that fake collected smile of his, oh-so-persistently ignoring my attempts to try and instigate him?

That dreadful smile. It almost made me want to take a stab at him again with my horn… except not making it appear like it was an accident this time.

Resisting the urge to slam into him, I tread carefully on the tangled heap of roots that ensnared the ground. As I reached an incline on the undergrowth below, I found that I couldn't resist a final jab at him.

Not physically, but verbally.

"Why are you so frightened?" I questioned as I turned my head back to him, twisting the question which he'd originally posed to me right back onto the nosy longneck.

He immediately retorted with a squeak. "We're not frightened!"

This time round, I turned my whole body back at the trio. Hmph! Seriously, who was he trying to fool!? Even a threehorn hatchling could see right through this guy! I mean, his reply was way too quick for his response to be believable.

And sure enough, right as that thought crossed my mind, he meekly whispered to his two co-conspirators in doubt. "Are we…?"

"Nope, nope!" the swimmer raised a hand as she tried to answer on the longneck's behalf, painfully oblivious to their true plight… or otherwise blissfully ignorant to it. Taking a close look at her, it was probably the latter, actually.

I rolled my eyes as I slid back down to level ground with those three fools. Well… if one was as gullible as that flathead…

"Well, you should be!" My eyes twinkle with mirth, amusement adorning my facial features. I slowly strut forward, a proud smirk embellishing my face as I gloated at them. "I could be with the other threehorns, but I chose to come back to warn… you."

Not like I'll tell them what really happened. As long as I could spin the truth around and no one was aware of the deception, why not go full throttle? As my front legs went over an annoying root in the ground, I decided that now was the perfect time to reel them all in like hapless buzzers and capture them — hook, line, and sinker.

"I met…" I make sure to pause for dramatic effect, before concluding with a crescendo as I leapt into the air so that my hind legs could clear the thick root beneath my feet. "…the Sharptooth!"

The flyer's eyes widened to the size of sweet bubbles as he began to hyperventilate. "S-S-Sharptooth!?" he gasped, inhaling multiple breaths in the time it took for me to blink as he sprung up at the longneck and clutched onto his really long neck with his talons.

Gee, I can't believe it. Daddy used to tell me that flyers were the biggest douches ever because they love to flaunt their ability to fly and taunt us threehorns from above like utter cowards, but this guy was well…

…to say that he was a scaredy egg would be an understatement. A gross understatement. Seriously, he was shivering so much that he made it seem like it was currently the Cold Time! That guy looked so meek that even a threehorn hatchling could probably be able to clobber him, with both their eyes closed as a deliberate handicap!

Shaking my head in exasperation, I look up at the longneck to reap in the sweet bubbles of my labor.

But what greeted my eyes and ears was not what I had anticipated. At all.

"Come on, Cera! Sharptooth is dead!" he snapped, annoyance flickering on his face as he stressed the point. "He fell down into the big underground."

Well, well, well. What was this? That longneck actually grew a spine…

Fighting to keep the shock out of my face, I tilt my head to look at him. I have to say, he'd finally piqued my interest by not buying into my exaggerated story like the others. I mean, I'm honestly in awe. Frankly, this is the first time that he was so staunch in denying any of my claims. Before, he would just shrug his advances off whenever I shot him down, but this time he was actively debating them.

Can't have that happening now, can I?

Without missing a beat, I proceeded to fib. "And that's where he met… me!"

"Ohh!" the swimmer whimpered, jumping onto the root of a dead tree as she craned her neck forward to listen more closely. "Dear, brave Cera…"

"Dear, brave Cera!" the flyer concurred, repeating alongside his swimmer compatriot as he continued to grip tightly onto the longneck's neck.

A small smile tugged upon my lips as I wallowed in the symphony of their shared praises. "Yes!" I reaffirm to myself with that prideful smile accompanying my words, "I am brave."

Poor, brave me indeed! Facing down the Sharptooth himself? Oh, the horror! Aren't I the bravest? Yes I am, yes indeed!

"Sharptooth is dead!" The longneck snarled at me in response, repeating his earlier statement as though saying it again would give him an edge in this argument.

…okay, yeah. I'll admit, I might have exaggerated the details of what really happened just a teeny-little bit. But really, a little white lie never killed anyone, right? Like what my daddy always said to me…

"We threehorns are the best at everything! We're better than longnecks, swimmers, spiketails, even those stupid flyers!"

Invincible and insurmountable we threehorns were, at least according to daddy and his Threehorn Way. Even if we couldn't get through a stubborn obstacle using a combination of this specific quote and our vicious horns, Daddy's advice was to relentlessly lie your way out to make yourself seem more intimidating so that we would never lose our position of authority!

And what better way to ensnare those who dared to befriend that longneck by bewitching them with valiant tales of my heroic exploits against Sharptooth himself?

Deciding rather quickly that I wasn't willing to lose my grip of authority, I proceed to throw an insult at the annoying longneck to shut down the argument. "My father told me that flatheads have very small brains."

He wasn't the only one, though. Oh, someone help me. These dinosaurs with me right now are so inept that it's not even funny anymore. They must have forfeit anything resembling a brain to some kind of freak accident when they hatched, I swear.

The longneck appeared to lose his patience at this point. I could only stare at him as he used his teeth to pick up a fallen treestar on the ground, before a sneer found its way on my face when I saw him spinning on his hind feet and beginning to strut off.

The nerve of him… he thinks he can just turn around and leave, just like that!?

Though I had conditioned myself to fight for my independence by swearing to my heart that I was a big threehorn and could thus tackle this perilous journey alone, a part of me got agitated when I saw the longneck turn around to leave. While I had wanted him to leave me alone earlier on, now that he was actively trying to fire me up, I wasn't going to let him simply stroll off until I had the last word.

It was the Threehorn Way! I'm a threehorn… I can't possibly let a lowlife like that dumb flathead get the better of me by actively ignoring my claims and treating me as if I'm nothing!

And to be honest… I actually did miss having some company. Not that I'll ever admit it to anyone… Daddy will throw a fit if he knew! That said, the real reason for this phenomenon was because I found that I had an incessant drive within me to brag and lord over others to prove my stature, but since my sisters weren't here with me at the moment, these fools were all I had.

My eyes darted around the barren undergrowth until they caught sight of a plank standing out amidst the dead vegetation. With fiery valor, I leapt into the air and landed forcefully on that jagged piece of wood. As it was balanced precariously in the middle by a large rounded root, the impact of my fall tilted the other end up, halting the longneck's exit and certainly succeeding in getting his attention when it almost hit his body.

With all eyes on me once more, I went on, sucking my captive audience into the throes of my imaginary tale. "I was all alone with him in the dark…"

"E-Eek…!" the flyer straightened up, his startled cry in tandem with my dramatic pause.

Hearing his squeak of terror made me pitch my head up in pleasure. Personally, it felt good to elicit such a response as it made my momentary fallacy against Sharptooth when he woke up out of the blue after I confronted his seemingly dead corpse seem like it wasn't so bad after all. I mean, the flyer was reacting just as badly as I was, if not worse. His reaction made me feel a sense of satisfaction in knowing that I wasn't the only one to have the specter of Sharptooth looming over my head.

"Just the Sharptooth and me. I can hear him breathing." Smirking when I saw the swimmer ducking under the wooden plank, I steadily cranked up the narrative tension by beginning to build up towards a climax, creeping forward as I relished in the rising fear that the others were visibly exhibiting.

"I could see his big, ugly eye—" I leaned forward and tilted my head at an angle so that I was bulging my right eye out at the swimmer, both scaring her and mocking the injured predator at the same time, "—looking for me!"

I continued to step forward, slowly but surely making the frightened swimmer back off my turf. As the swimmer stepped off the plank, the end that she had been standing on lifted slightly into the air due to my weight, which caused her to land on her tail.

Now that she was belly-up and prone, I didn't waste any time in my onslaught. I exhaled a ragged breath of air to imitate a subdued roar.

Or at least, my best impression of one. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught the longneck resisting the urge to laugh.

What?! That was my best attempt at Sharptooth's roar. Take it or leave it!

"What did you do? Huh, huh?" As her curiosity piqued and won against her fear—I'll give the swimmer that much—I saw her getting back on her feet and looking at me with bright aqua-blue eyes. Though she was admittedly puny in size, the tiny swimmer held onto the suspended end of the plank so that she could poke her head over it and pose the question directly to me.

Well, I'm definitely glad she asked that! Now it was time to seal the deal, embellishing and sweetening the turn of events so that I could seize the day. Go, Cera!

"I walked right up to him." Now that I had the swimmer captive in the clutches of my imaginative tale, I whirled around to the now-apprehensive longneck to try and suck him into my weaved story as well. "I looked him straight in the eye. And then… graghhh!"

It happened on a whim, actually. When I saw the longneck frowning and clenching his teeth down on the rolled-up treestar in his mouth, I decided that I wanted—no, needed—to hear an audible reaction from him. I had already been rewarded with cries of fear from both the swimmer and flyer, so all I had to do now was nab the last holdout.

I'll admit — pride won out over common sense there. In my bid to scare the longneck I pounced forward in his direction, only to change my mind mid-jump when I felt the ground shift beneath my feet.

Of course, I'd forgotten that I wasn't standing on the ground when garnering my audience, but rather that uneven plank of wood. But by the time it hit me, it was too late. I'd already committed to the jump, my feet feeling nothing but air.

This had two major consequences.

For one, the trajectory of my jump was significantly gimped because I was leaping off of an incline. That meant that I missed my target entirely, and even though I was feigning an attack, I didn't want to slam myself against a rough surface like splintered wood instead of the longneck's soft flank. As a result, I literally had to react on the fly to land on my four legs instead of directly on my unprotected stomach. We threehorns might have some pretty tough heads, but I'll accept that we unfortunately do not have underbellies that are as rock-solid!

And as for number two…

"Ahhhhhhhh!"

A startled yelp permeated the air. I tilt my head up to the source of the cry, only to see that the swimmer was flung upwards, hurtling through the air until she disappeared into the canopy above and was out of my sight.

It took me a while to realize exactly what had happened here, but I eventually deduced that she must have been standing behind me when I landed on the far end of the plank, and the force of my landing must have propelled her lightweight body up, just like a flyer.

A swimmer experiencing what it's like to be a flyer. Who would've thought…

"Oops…" I eventually managed to murmur when I saw both longneck and flyer looking at me with faces of disapproval when the shock had waned off. "Um… hey, look, it wasn't my fault! How was I supposed to know that she was there behind me?" I added indignantly in an attempt to save face in light on their judgmental stares.

The longneck simply let out a long-suffering sigh. "Let's just find Ducky, okay?" he recommended as he looked in the direction that the swimmer had been launched in, "She can't be that far off."

Ducky…? That's her name?

I nodded my head in agreement, letting out an annoyed sigh as I glare at the offending piece of wood that had caused this whole mess. "So… Ducky, huh?" I endeavored to break the silence by name-dropping the swimmer in front of the other two dinosaurs as a prompt to start a conversation.

"Yep. She's Ducky," the longneck nodded, before a contemplative expression crossed his face. "Hey… did I ever introduce myself to you?"

"No." The words left my mouth in an instant.

However, the longneck chose to take my response as an opening. How he made that mistake with the scowl on my face that screamed "don't do it", I'll never know.

"I'm Littlefoot." He smiled good-naturedly, that stupid presumptuous grin plastered on his face as he introduced himself only causing my scowl to worsen.

"Really? Littlefoot?" I began to shake as I stifled a laugh. "Ahhhaha… that's such a stupid name!"

He ignored my comment and carried on talking as though he didn't even hear my blatant insult, an act which almost caused me to want to stab something with my horn. "My grandparents told me that it's polite to introduce yourself back to someone when they introduce themselves to you. But this is where I have to confess that I already know your name back when I overheard your father talking to you…"

I found myself grinning malevolently at his confession. "Hmph! At least you remember that much, flathead!"

My usage of the derogatory term instead of identifying him by his actual name was deliberate. Why should a superior creature like me have to bow down to the whims of some longneck and refer to him using his name all because he bothered to introduce himself to me? Who does he think he is, huh!?

He's been calling me Cera from the very start, ever since he heard my father calling me that when he recalled me to his side. The thing was that he kept on doing it, calling me by my name every time we met thereafter in such a casual fashion.

…almost as though he thought we were friends, like those two suckers he managed to persuade over to his side when I initially turned him down the first time.

Gah! That makes me so angry! Did he really think he could win me over so easily? As if! He must be delusional! What part of 'threehorns never play with longnecks' does he not understand?

My face filled with scorn. The only reason I was even putting up with him in the first place was because I had no other choice and was getting lonely. I craved the attention, I practically needed to flaunt my infinite abilities and skills to somebody else. And without my mommy and daddy—or heck, even my siblings—around to validate my ego, these three were an acceptable substitute.

I just hated the fact that the longneck viewed himself as an equal to me. How dare he even entertain the very idea? A glorious threehorn like me was vastly superior to a dumb flathead like him!

"Um… my name Petrie."

My eyes shifted upwards to see the flyer perched atop the longneck's head meekly waving. Those eyes quickly narrowed.

"No one asked you, beak-brain," I shot at him nonchalantly, already irritated enough by the flathead underneath the flyer.

That flyer Petrie actually took my words relatively hard, literally crumpling atop the longneck's head in a spectacular display as they struck him hard. On his part, the flathead drooped, his neck dropping slightly in disappointment. "That wasn't nice, Cera," he muttered.

I took a step towards the longneck, horn pointing at him threateningly. "No one asked you either, flathead!"

My eyes locked with his. The rising tension in the air was palpable.

"Please no fight! Petrie no like this! We need find Ducky!"

Littlefoot relented at Petrie's panicked words, the flathead averting his eyes in embarrassment. Heh, serves him right.

"Petrie's right," he conceded, "We have to find Ducky. It's dangerous out here." Before I could comment on how ridiculous it sounded to risk himself for some bigmouth swimmer who he barely even knew, the flathead craned his ridiculously long neck and threw his voice out into the dark forest.

"Ducky! Where are you? Can you hear me? Hellooooo!"

I roll my eyes at his valiant, yet futile effort. Sure, I can appreciate him trying, but his attempts were so bad. Must be the tiny brain in his tiny, weak head. "Hey, doofus," I interjected, letting clear hints of irritation creep into my voice. "You know, maybe staying in one single spot without moving isn't the brightest idea to find someone. How about you go and get that flyer to fly up and look for that bigmouth from above, huh?"

Geez, I can't believe that I had to lead them on to this extent. Wasn't the way forward plainly obvious? Was I the only rational one over here?!

The flyer gulped, quivering for an unknown reason. As I turned towards him, the movement causing my shadow to grow in size, his shaking only grew more vigorous. "Um… me no know how say this…" he shifted his talons uncomfortably, eyes darting about frivolously. "Oh, Petrie no know how fly!"

My jaw literally dropped. "What in the… you're kidding me!"

All I could do was shake my head in exasperation when he meekly shook his head at me. "Oh, daddy. How did I end up here, stuck with such morons…" I lamented, distractedly kicking at the ground under my feet. A flyer who couldn't fly was akin to that of a threehorn cursed with a broken horn. What a humiliating weakling!

"Wait!" A gasp from the longneck. "Guys, I see Ducky! She's over there, out in the clearing!"

The longneck's ecstatic cry broke me from my rant. Geez, it was about time. Following the direction that his neck was pointing in, I ran forward to an area where the trees got less dense.

That was where things got awkward. We certainly found that swimmer, alright.

No one said anything about an extra.

She was relatively unscathed despite her extended airtime, and she was even walking backwards while waving about a branch with sweet bubbles on it to a large, very idiotic-looking, green spiketail who was trudging towards her as though he was in some sort of trance.

"Here you go, Spike…" she whispered in a tender voice to the spiketail, who hypnotically swayed his head in tune with her motions. "You want these tree sweets, do you not? Yes you do, oh, yes, yes, yes!"

I stared at the sight, blinking my eyes in disbelief before coherent words finally left my mouth. "What is happening here? Who is… this?"

The swimmer turned around at my voice, and in that exact moment the spiketail lunged at the tree sweets dangling from the branch that she was holding and swallowed the bait whole. I have to admit, I stepped back in surprise — the dopey look he had earlier was heavily contrasted with the momentary ferociousness he displayed in nabbing the sweet bubbles.

"Awwww! I was saving that…" The swimmer looked at the empty branch in her hand, now devoid of any sweet bubbles, before tossing it aside and turning to face me. "You are back! You are, you are!"

"Answer the question!" I pressed, glancing around to see that the longneck and flyer had managed to catch up. "Who is he?!"

"This is Spike! He is a spiketail," she explained without the slightest hint of sarcasm. "He is, oh yes he is! Yep, yep, yep!"

Somehow, I had a sinking feeling about the direction that this talk was about to head in. It was probably the swimmer's peppy tone that did it. "And?" I prodded her, swishing my tail about.

"Can he come with us to the Great Valley? Can he? Can he? Huh, huh?"

I'm rolling my eyes. I'm rolling my eyes so hard right now. Someone save me from this madness.

"Look here." I used my nicest tone possible to try and persuade the swimmer to give the ludicrous idea up. "We're all starving here, and that guy over there is one extra mouth to feed and look out for. Give me one good reason we should take him along."

Ducky looked glumly at her toes. "But, but…" she pouted, "We have to take him in! We do, we do!" She sniffed before choking out the next statement. "He hatched in front of my eyes with nobody around him. He did, he did. If we leave-ed him behind, he will be all alone. He will, he will…"

He will be all alone…

I widened my eyes, my heart seizing up as I briefly pondered if I had come off as being too pensive. An image of my daddy and the rest of my family who were stuck on the other side of the ravine and forced to go their separate ways from me immediately flashed to the forefront of my mind at her chilling declaration. The whiplash hit me so hard that I had to take a few steps back and avert my eyes from the swimmer lest I show her—or anyone else—a sign of weakness.

"There's a reason we don't need to be together with anyone, and that's because we're better than them all!"

My daddy always said that I didn't need to be with anyone…

But on the flip side, now that I was alone and all by myself in the Mysterious Beyond, I've come to the harsh conclusion that what he told me couldn't be further from the truth. When I was bragging to the group earlier about my exaggerated exploits, I realized that I needed to be around others, that I needed the attention.

"…and that's because we're better than them all!"

Better than them all…

Yes, that's it!

Just because I was begrudgingly going together with them didn't mean that I was going against my mommy and daddy so long as I remained the best of the lot of them. If I was the very best and they asked me for help instead of vice versa, I wouldn't need to sacrifice my pride and stoop down to their level for the sake of finding my family, and I wouldn't be going against the Threehorn Way. It was a win-win!

Smirking as I found the loophole to my father's words, I let out a fake, overdramatic sigh at the swimmer's request. "Okay. I guess you can bring the spiketail along, I suppose."

"I can?! Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you! You are coming along with us to the Great Valley now, Spike! You are, you are!"

I made sure to pay special attention to the longneck as the swimmer cheered. Sure enough, he proceeded to look at me as though I was crazy. It didn't matter what he thought, though. With that singular gesture, I managed to score some major points with the swimmer and that weird spiketail who seemed to come out of nowhere.

There was only enough room for one leader of this little group, and that's me! Move over, flathead!

"Alright, everyone!" I spoke up, raising my voice. "I guess we're a group now!"

"Yep, yep, yep!" I chuckled when I saw the swimmer beginning to do a headcount using her fingers. "One… two… three… four… five!" She gasped when she hit all her digits on one palm and had to start using her other hand to count. "There are now five of us! There are, there are!"

The flyer smiled atop of the longneck's head. "Wow! That lotta dinosaurs! We one big gang!"

"The Gang of Five…" the longneck murmured, nodding alongside his avian passenger. "…it has a nice ring to it." He then turned to me with a smile. "I guess you can thank Cera and Petrie for that name!"

His face suddenly dropped, his tail following suit as he proceeded to smile sheepishly. "Oops! Uh guys, I'm not sure if you caught me using her name many times before, but this is Cera!"

"Yeah, yeah," I rolled my eyes at the longneck. He'd pre-empted my introduction before I could speak, causing me to grit my teeth at him. "They're not deaf, you know? I'm pretty sure that all of them know my name, especially given that I am the greatest threehorn ever!"

"Don't we all know it…"

"Hey! Watch your words there, flathead!"

The rambunctious laughter that followed was contagious. Despite myself, I let myself laugh alongside them, all while thinking about the current turn of events.

Whoever would've thought that I would end up joining up with a rag-tag group of lowlings all for the sake of survival and an audience to swagger. Even the me of yesterday would never have predicted that!

To be fair, desperate times call for desperate measures. And besides, this was merely a means to an end. I might be able to relax my stance, sticking with them just so I can find my family, but I will never allow any further concessions to those who are currently traveling with me.

We were simply acquaintances who've coalesced together like swamp mud, staying together in pursuit of a common goal. And at the moment, it was nothing more, and nothing less than that.

…unless I'm the one in charge.

I licked my lips as I began to scheme. That dumb flathead can't possibly be better than me! Not when I'm the best there is! Everyone I know says so — my parents, my siblings, even Ducky and Petrie… and those two just met me! Even so, they all unanimously agreed on that absolute fact!

All except for him.

My eyes hardened. That will soon change, Littlefoot.

If it means that I have to prove I deserve to be leader of this group throughout this journey of ours, then so be it! I'll throw down this gauntlet between us!

Because in the end, we threehorns are better than all those other lowly species… and that's the way it'll always be!



Author's Note:

Sorry for the long wait between chapters! My work-life balance was most unforgiving to me for the past few months.

I believe that the gang (mostly Cera, obviously) arguing over whether the newborn Spike can come along with them was part of a scene from an older version of the script that ultimately got cut, but as I'm not too familiar with the deleted scenes, this is my own take on it.

Anyway, I decided to adapt more scenes from the first film than I originally planned and go for a more comprehensive take of the original Land Before Time. When I first wrote this for the December prompt, I'd wanted to skim the plot, but with this new focus on Cera's journey with the others, this story should now have four or five chapters instead of the originally planned three.



DiddyKF1: Cera's definitely a snob in the first film. It's only when I intently analyzed all her actions and words while writing this story that it really hit home just how harsh she comes across to the others. When writing this, I really tried to put myself in her shoes—as that of a lost threehorn who tries to overcompensate for her own insecurity by lashing out and taking charge—and ironically, it made me understand her actions in the film more than during my initial viewings.

Sovereign: Cera's original personality is certainly a spectacle to behold, and I totally understand if her behavior to Littlefoot and the others throughout leaves a sour aftertaste, especially since she isn't quite as nuanced in this movie compared to the sequels! Still, I've tried my best to look into her words and actions and why she reacts the way she does as a threehorn for this chapter. I can see your critique about the awkward cuts, and I suppose that if this were a longer story and I'd opted to adapt more scenes from the film the transitions won't seem as abrupt, so I'm going to try and do just that.

Rhombus: Part of the reason I opted on first-person perspective over traditional third-person was to delve into Cera's mindset in the first film, because while it might seem exceedingly shallow on the surface, the sequel films—though it could also be her growing more tolerant over time—seem to paint her in a different, less jarring light. It was also surprisingly fun to view things from her admittedly tinted lenses, because while she might seem brash, she still has her reasons for acting the way that she does.

Ducky123: Thanks for your words! I must confess that the word choice is rather colorful and bombastic, but I hope the snarky true-tested threehorn personality makes up for it! Yeah, I’m more of an introspective writer than a person who goes for dialogue. I’ll try and complete this by the end of the year, hopefully.



Next time — a longneck, a threehorn, a bigmouth, a flyer, and a spiketail… all together. :p



Oops! Just like the first chapter, this chapter lagged behind a fair bit in part due to real-life events and in part due to stress. I was so tempted to blow this entire week on watching a speedrunning marathon on Twitch, but I actively forced myself to complete and proofread it today as it was so close to release. Hope it was worth the wait, and I'll try to write more in the coming months.

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Re: The Threehorn Way
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2019, 11:21:25 AM »
Wow! A new chapter! YAY! :smile

I must say that you're really continuing to do justice for Cera's atrocious behavior in the first movie. Now, we get to see just what her true initial thoughts on the others were, especially Petrie it seems. It was quite believable to see her lamenting about her new situation with three (and then, four) other kids whom she thinks are all just a bunch of misfits with no place in this world.

On one side, she is sorta starting to show signs of change, but not quite enough. To Littlefoot, she hasn't changed a bit. Her initial argument with Ducky about Spike reminds me of another story that Ducky123 once wrote in an AU of the first movie, except that one ended up much harsher and had quite a bad long-term effect on their relationship.

It was especially eerie to see just how she decided to hatch a scheme to get Ducky and Petrie to essentially "worship" her just so that Littlefoot would "be proven wrong." The way I see it, it's all a plan to get Littlefoot's followers to abandon him. This perspective gives us something we never really saw within Cera in the movie. Her cunning is beginning to show, and I'm sure we all know just what the consequences will be ...

This story is really starting to bring us the Cera that perhaps just could have been the ruthless, cunning schemer behind the scenes. We've already seen quite some loathsome behavior from her in this story, but we've only seen the beginning of what I think will be a devious plot that could come on the verge of tearing the Gang apart.

Oh, and the way they came up with their "Gang of Five" name was just priceless! Very nice touch! :D

Anagnos

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Re: The Threehorn Way
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2019, 04:43:52 AM »
This story is pretty interesting, so far. I’m mainly intrigued how you extend the plot of the first film in this fashion. I especially think it’s the most interesting point in this whole story. Thus far, I have not come across any major issues that I could criticize, but it will be more clear in the future if this is going to continue or whether things will change later on. Threehorns are usually very arrogant about everything, they see themselves as the best world can offer and anyone else as feeble.

You were very well able to keep Cera’s characterization on point as it should be in the original film. I also liked the addition of her own thoughts about different matters, as they drive her persona even more. At the moment, Cera’s sentiments are exactly what one might expect; she views herself as the leader of the world, and all others as her  ’’subordinates’’ you could say. It’s also pretty fascinating to see, how her family life is. She obviously has a good relationship with Topps, but I got the impression that she really doesn’t seem to care about her sisters that much. I could be wrong about the whole thing, but that’s what I’ve gathered so far. And, of course, she also wants to be in charge of the gang, but we all know how it ends. I’m not saying that this version is not good. On the contrary, I quite like how this story is progressing right now. The future will surely bring more trials to these five young dinosaurs, but they can only triumph if they work together to achieve their goal of reaching the Great Valley.

As I said before, I have not found anything in this story that I could complain about, but it does not mean that there is no need for development. But the good thing about moving forward is that you get better each time you write something and your skills develop all the time while writing.

So, do I have any final thoughts before I end this feedback? The only thing that comes to my mind is that continue writing because this story is one that I wish to read to the end. Great job, Owls! :^^spike

Sovereign

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Re: The Threehorn Way
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2019, 02:56:09 PM »
It’s certainly a surprise to see an update to this story after half a year. I had already started to think it would be discontinued but I’m happy to see that wasn’t the case. This chapter continued the great job in presenting Cera’s way of thinking and you certainly managed to make that scene feel quite deep and Cera’s motivations more complex than one would think. But it’s clear that her father’s authority still lingers within her mind very heavily. Cera’s loyalty to him and this Threehorn Way explains her erratic actions but it still doesn’t make her actions any better. Her exchange with Ducky was quite enlightening in regards to her way of thinking.

At this point, it’s rather sad that she sees Littlefoot as her enemy and the others as vessels for her coming reign over the small group but that’s quite a realistic view of her personality at that point. It’s good that all turned well in the end but if I didn’t know what was happening, I’d see things getting really dangerous. There’s not really that much I can say about the plot, obviously, but you’re doing a great job in presenting Cera’s complex transformation during the film.

rhombus

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Re: The Threehorn Way
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2019, 01:24:11 AM »
I am quite glad to see this story resume after a long hiatus.  :)littlefoot  I believe that I mentioned this before but I think you have made a good choice in using the first-person perspective in capturing Cera's inner tensions (and self-deceit) as she tries to live up to her threehorn ways (or how she imagines them to be) while facing down her own justifiable fear on one hand and the allure of true friendship on the other hand.  Though in this chapter we are again seeing elements of Cera's character that may be unsavory (her desire to rule over the group and to outmaneuver the 'stupid' longneck) it does fit her characterization in the first film. 

That being said you have captured these unsavory aspects in a way that still makes Cera sympathetic.  She has been raised to favor taking on a dominant role and to never show fear or submission.  This is a necessity for a threehorn due to their herd dynamics, but Cera is now seeing a reality that flies in the face of her previous expectations.  And though (as we know from the first film) her road to accepting the friendship of the others will be a hard one, I do look forward to seeing how you capture the events to come.  :)