Author Topic: Separate Ways  (Read 4744 times)

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Re: Separate Ways
« Reply #120 on: June 11, 2019, 04:40:12 PM »
Damn... there is a lot to unpack in this amazing chapter.  The title is quite apt as this conflict has been many chapters in the making and this chapter lived up to the crisis that we all knew was coming.  Though instead of either catastrophic defeat or a glorious victory, our protagonists are left with a more tragic outcome in many ways: a hollow victory.  Far too much has been lost in this battle.  Though Ruby and her companions will survive the ordeal, though maimed, the damage to them personally in terms of actual injuries and lost friends is truly incalculable.

You have succeeded quite well in this chapter in capturing the justifiable (from their perspective) motivations of each of the major players in this drama.  Dein and Terri obviously see Ruby's family as instruments in their son's death and as untrustworthy opportunists.  Pearl and Detras are stuck serving an opportunist (Stealth) upon the threat of death and know that their options are limited.  Ruby and her friends merely want to come out of this alive.  And, in the end, everyone suffers.  Ruby quite directly gets to experience the hollowness of revenge as she Terri dies only after having killed her father.  To add to this tragedy she not only loses Greentail (a source of guilt for her even before her death) but also loses Greentail's brother who blames Ruby for her loss.  In a way the damage to Ruby's tail is a reflection of her own internal losses.  She is still here, but much of what was is now lost.

Though battle scenes are by necessity somewhat chaotic I think that you have done well in capturing the fast-paced action of the battle while at the same time allowing the narrative to be coherent and to capture the emotions of the scenes.  It did not feel like any part of this chapter was too long or too short to me, but rather just the right length to convey the scenes effectively.  As such I honestly do not have anything in terms of constructive criticism to offer you.  I think you handled this long-awaited chapter very effectively.  Now we must await the aftermath of this bloodbath and see how Ruby, Ducky, Pearl, and the others adapt to a much more solemn future.

This is an astonishingly well done chapter.  It hit the emotions that it needed to hit and it paced itself at the proper pace.  I both fear and look forward to what happens to our poor protagonists as they proceed from this terrible battle.

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


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Re: Separate Ways
« Reply #121 on: June 17, 2019, 10:25:30 AM »
A Brief Rest

A deep sigh escaped Petrie’s beak as he slowly opened his eyes. The first thing he saw was the dark ceiling of the cave he and his siblings had slept in following the long and happy reunion last night. For the first time in what seemed forever, Petrie had truly slept peacefully without any hint of fear or sorrow as the presence of his family seemed to cast those sentiments into nothingness. He looked around himself with a curious look, noticing the morning was still young but despite that, his mother was still missing. However, that fact didn’t bother the boy at all as he knew she most likely wanted to surprise her family happily on a day like this.

That thought alone made Petrie smile deeply as he slowly rose to a sitting position, both looking forward and dreading that what he knew would follow soon enough. His family would certainly want to hear what had happened to him but… he already dreaded how his mother would react to his news about Pterano and… and also just how his siblings would take his tale.

A slight frown rose to the boy’s peak as he looked at some of his brothers and sisters, the seemingly endless days of torture a small group of them had put him through returning to his mind. The image of his older siblings doing their best to humiliate and hurt him still bringing a chilly feeling to his heart. However, he wanted to believe those days to be distant past and there was no reason to believe even his siblings would resume their sickening antics after this reunion. After all, he had been thought to be dead fore many cycles of the Night Circle and certainly even the worst his siblings had missed him at least a bit? Hopeful look rose to Petrie’s face as he rose to his full height, preparing to greet the new day. However, after taking one step, his good mood died down completely.

As his foot hit the ground, the boy immediately felt it slipping in the cold ground… sending him falling straight forward... into a small, frigid, muddy pond he hadn’t seen the previous evening. As the flyer felt his beak sinking into the mud and started to cough the water from his lungs away, he felt a sharp pain to his right side, followed by a cruel voice that he hadn’t missed in the least.

“I’m happy to see you’re still the pitiful, good-for-nothing weakling you always were, Petrie! Hopefully you didn’t forget that fact while you were gone. But no worries, I’m here to remind you again.” For a moment, a few tears formed in Petrie’s eyes as he heard those words, the hurt of those endless days of bullying returning to his mind in full. The past weeks had been enough to cast that pain away but Donnie’s memory had never truly gone away. It wasn’t long before he heard another familiar but almost equally disgusting voice.

“It’s more than a small wonder a flyer like you survived even an hour without momma, Petrie? Did some lonely threehorn protect you all this time while you lied in her nest whimpering?” The boy knew that that voice belonged to Terra and he closed his eyes slowly as he thought about what to answer. Even if the old pain and hurt was still there, only the boy himself knew he no longer was the Petrie Donnie and Terra had learned to know. He knew very well he could defend himself these days but… but could he gather his newfound courage against his long-time tormentors who were also his siblings? Petrie slowly turned to look at the duo and spoke with teary eyes.

“Neither of you… know what you talk about! But believe… believe me when Petrie say me can defend meself… this time…” He said in a voice which turned out to be so meek that not even a ground fuzzy would have taken it seriously. Donnie couldn’t hide his amusement at those words and he nodded to Terra briefly as he started to approach his long-time victim.

“Excuse me, Petrie, but I don’t believe you! You’re still the same runt you always were! Terra, cool his head a bit, it seems like it’s burning!” He said and before Petrie could react any further, the girl used her wings to raise a large amount of water and dropping it upon Petrie as Donnie moved closer, raising his fist.

“And now, I’ll make sure you’ll drop any thoughts you had of “defending” yourself. I’ll just give you what you deserve…” He said as he prepared to hit Petrie in the cheek but before hit the younger male, Petrie sighed deeply as he grabbed Donnie’s hand and regaining his footing. Donnie’s eyes widened as he realized Petrie had managed to halt his hit. It wasn’t possible! He was the strongest of his siblings while Petrie was a complete weakling! The latter’s eyes widened as he growled his answer to his old nemesis.

“Petrie not fear you anymore, Donnie! If you ask me, Petrie just hope you’ll drown in that stream along with…”

“What is happening here? Stop whatever you’re doing, now!” Volant’s voice rang through the cave, waking up all of the remaining children. The older female’s eyes gleamed with disappointment and outrage as she looked at Donnie who frowned deeply before disengaging from his small fight with Petrie. Volant walked forward with shocked steps, clearly struggling to find words as she walked towards her eldest son.

“Donnie… I’ve been forced to punish you more times than I can remember, every time for something more disgusting than the last time. But this… THIS IS THE ABSOLUTE WORST THING YOU’VE EVER DONE! YOUR BROTHER LITERALLY RETURNS FROM THE DEAD AND THIS IS HOW YOU GREET HIM? AFTER ALL THE SORROW AND PAIN I WENT THROUGH? ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR CURSED MIND?!” She cried, not able to believe what was going on. All her life, she had hoped that Donnie would one day change but… but to see him act like this… Deep inside, she was starting to wonder whether the older child could ever change. Donnie looked at his mother for a few seconds before spitting his answer.

“As if anyone ever wanted him back. I, for one, liked it better to not have him as a burden on us others.” He said to which Terra nodded and continued from.

“Indeed. We’ll have many more tests ahead of us and I don’t want Petrie to hold us back ever again! He was never of any use to anyone!” She yelled, causing Volant’s heart to freeze immediately. To hear her own children say things like this… she had done her very best to raise them right and this was how badly she had failed? She had hoped that Petrie’s return would be a joyous one but the duo had ruined everything once again. However, just as her composure was starting to break, she heard a cry which heartened her more than anything at this point.

“Piss off, you two! All of us deserve better than you two’s stupidity on a day like this! And to think I once looked up to you, Donnie and Terra!” The voice belonged to Skybeak, a younger boy who had most of the time joined his two siblings in attacking Petrie. However, during his brother’s absence, deep down he had realized that despite everything, he had always liked, even loved Petrie deep inside. And right now, his blood was boiling at the display before him. That sentiment was shared by Tovi who looked at the duo with murderous eyes and cried to them in a voice that dipped with hate.

“Both of you should be thrown off these cliffs with your wings tied together! Even a sharptooth is worth more than you, Donnie and Terra!” He cried, causing Petrie’s expression to soften ever so slightly. Was this actually happening? Were some of his siblings… actually defending him? Especially Skybeak’s words stunned him as he had once thought of him as something nearly as bad as Donnie himself. The boy looked at the larger male with a dark expression before addressing him.

“Petrie always knew you too bad to ever learn anything, Donnie, and Petrie was right. Me just happy others see it as well!” He cried to approving nods from the other children. Donnie cringed deeply as he felt the outraged, hateful stares upon himself but he would never, ever apologize to someone like Petrie. Not in this world nor in the next. He spat a bitter answer that made things even worse for him.

“I don’t care what you others think but it was clear all along Petrie needed a lesson to cast away any thoughts he might have had of himself! You all know he’s worth…” He started but before he could get any further, he was interrupted by a violent hit on his cheek.

“Silence, now! I will make sure you and Terra will pray for my previous punishments soon enough. I’ve had just enough of you two and I will leave nothing to chance this time around…” She said, her chilly words causing even Donnie’s courage to fail. Petrie couldn’t help but feel slight satisfaction at the situation but he didn’t want this opportunity to shame he further pass away.

“Me hope so, momma, but Petrie not fear him any longer! You just a sad coward, Donnie, and me know you will never hurt Petrie again!” He said, more than happy by his ability to stop his attack earlier. Volant didn’t exactly approve of those words as she didn’t want the bullying to soon turn the other way around but she decided against condemning Petrie’s words in a moment like this. She just took a forced sigh before speaking to the older boy in a lower but just as hateful voice.

“Stay here, Donnie, until we’ve got over Petrie’s…” Volant started but Petrie didn’t allow her to finish. The younger boy realized what his mother was about to say and cut her short as he thought about the coming discussion.

“He and Terra can listen to Petrie’s story! Maybe then…” He started to speak but this time, it was Volant who interrupted him.

“Just let it be, Petrie! Donnie deserves to be punished but I’m not allowing him to say there to be despised by all of you others! I’ve tried to keep us as a family where no one is hated or discriminated against!” She said sternly, momentarily breaking Petrie’s courage. However, he soon recovered it and spoke softly as he looked right at Donnie and Terra.

“No, me not want to attack them but… They think Petrie is just some helpless weakling! Ma… maybe me story will change some of that.” He said in a stable and genuine voice, causing Volant to touch her beak with her hand. There was some wisdom to Petrie’s words and after a moment, Volant finally turned at her two troublesome children and snapped at them impatiently.

“Well, follow me then, both of you! As for you others, say one word against Petrie, Donnie or Terra or you’ll be in bad mess yourselves! I, for one, am interested to hear what your brother has to tell!” She cried as she headed towards the small clearing outside the cave, hoping that this day would continue without any further problems.

A slight look of impatience rose to Ortin’s face as he looked at the flyer family not far before him. He was slightly eager to hear just how Petrie would portray his recent adventures but from the other hand, the boy couldn’t say he was happy by any of the last night’s events. Of course he was happy for Petrie but every moment he spent here raised the chances that Lenel could recover and reach the Land of the Dancing Waters unchallenged. He frowned slightly as he spoke to Glide.

“Hopefully this won’t take too long. I just want to get moving before the evening!” He mumbled to his friend whose expression was more mixed. She took a slight smile as she answered but she simply couldn’t deny that she was every bit as eager to move on as the male.

“So do I, Ortin. Of course Petrie wants to spend some time with his family and I’m willing to give him that but you’re right. We must not tarry here for too long. I just hope Petrie knows it as well.” She said, causing a painful thought to suddenly form within Ortin’s mind. He sighed deeply as he asked a question he knew could be an uncomfortable one for the girl.

“Glide… I’d like to ask about your parents. I know you never liked them too much but… you actively stood up to your dad yesterday! You’ll… they will never see you as family again.” He asked, feeling his chest ache as he thought about his own family. The more the thought of it, the more he had began to despise every member of his “noble” line that he had known. He still wanted to find something positive about it all… but it was getting more and more difficult he thought of them and Peak. Glide grinned slightly as she heard that question, her voice a mix of bitterness and despise.

“Good riddance for them! Ortin, you know I never liked mother or father and now that I know what dad was always up to, I don’t him to even acknowledge me either. It seems like neither of us exactly liked our folks.” She said, clearly happy by the fact that she could now lead her own life. Ortin looked at her oddly, wondering if it were better to completely let his ties to his family disappear. He still loved his father but he had met his end a long time ago whereas his grandmother… Ortin shook his head as he tried to reconcile the good times with her with the elderly flyer’s efforts to kill him. The boy’s voice was meek and bothered as he answered.

“You are right but… even after all, I still have some in my family who I wish were alive but… but your folks are still here. It just doesn’t feel right.” He said, hiss thoughts and emotions a complete mess. He was at a complete loss of what to think but at the very least, the crushing pain he had felt when he had witnessed his family being torn to pieces had disappeared a long time ago. Now, he only had to get to terms with himself. In the end, he had to agree with Glide: despite all, both flyers’ lives were easier now that hey had no oppressive families holding them back. Glide turned to look at Ortin sadly while speaking to him silently.

“We both know by now there are many things in this life that don’t feel right, Ortin. But by all means, let’s hear what Petrie has to tell.” She said as she looked at the flyer family looking at Petrie curiously.

Petrie had never been a dinosaur who greatly enjoyed being the center of attention and even now, he felt very uncomfortable as the eyes of his siblings and mother bored deep into him. Even then, he was more than prepared to tell them everything he had gone through. His chest swelled as he thought about all the good and bad times that he had survived and he truly hoped that even Donnie and Terra would change their opinions about him. Petrie frowned slightly as he heard his mother speak to him.

“Go on, Petrie. Tell us everything as I’m sure there are many interesting stories you have to share.” She asked with a smile even if inside she wasn’t nearly as eager to hear her son’s story. His encounter with Donnie had shown just how much the boy had changed and Volant knew that suck changes simply didn’t happen by accident. She even dreaded about what was to come and she felt already bad for Petrie about it all. The male locked eyes with his mother before gulping audibly and asking her the first question.

“Me will, momma. But Petrie’s story very long and… me would like to know about your departure from the Valley first. Petrie returned there first and… Etta told me that you left because the Valley became a bad place to live in and that the others only fought with each other.” He asked, causing his mother’s gaze to fall slightly. She felt sorry for Petrie for all the fearful searching she had forced him to embark on but before she could answer, Skybeak cried to him.

“That is mildly said, Petrie! The other herds did nothing but argue and threaten each other all day long! They acted even more miserably than you used to, Petrie.” He spoke with a clear smirk, knowing he was testing his mother’s patience. Petrie frowned at first but soon enough, he could tell that his brother’s words were meant to be a harmless joke. Despite that, Volant gave him a murderous stare before giving her answer.

“That is true, Petrie. After the storm ravaged the Valley, I saw no reason for us to stay in the Valley surrounded by those idiots and… and I hated the fact that everything in the Valley reminded me about you. I’m so sorry about everything you went through to find us. I truly am, Petrie.” She spoke, causing the younger flyer’s gaze to fall as well. It had all been just a maze of mistakes and unlucky coincidences that no one had wanted to happen. He took a deep breath before asking another question he still wanted an answer to.

“It okay, momma. But… but why you come here, of all places?” He asked, looking at the wastelands around him. He had been slightly bothered by the fact that he had had no idea where his family could escape in a time like this. Volant took a brief sigh, her guilt worsening be the second.

“Petrie, I should gave told you all from the beginning where we’d go if something bad happened in the Valley. I just never… never thought something like that could happen. In any case, I spotted this place on our journey to the Valley and I found it to be a safe spot surrounded by at least little green food. I thought of this as a temporary place to retreat to from the beginning but I never told it to you, kids. I’m sorry.” She said, looking at the younger flyers with apologetic eyes. Petrie stared at her with a slightly bothered expression, not willing to see his mother like this. He cleared his throat before starting his long story.

“V… very well. As for Petrie, me story a terrible one from the start. The first thing we tried to do after leaving all of you was to try to get Chomper home. Ruby would find her parents at some point but we had no idea where Chomper’s momma and daddy were.” He started, earning worried looks from his siblings. They had feared Chomper from the very beginning and their sentiments didn’t seem much better at this point either. Petrie felt weird as he recited those events, feeling as if he was retelling a dream. It felt like ages since he had last met either of those dinosaurs. It was even like… like he hadn’t met them at all. Like he was telling something he hadn’t really been a part of. Petrie felt his heart aching as he continued.

“But that never happen. Soon, we met a group of fastbiters and… and Petrie was left all alone.” He said, causing his mother to gasp audibly. She knew just how much his friends had meant to Petrie and she couldn’t help but regret the fact that Petrie had been forced to go through all that. Besides, she knew very well how much she owed to Petrie’s friends herself… The older flyer sighed sadly as she spoke to her son.

“I’m… I’m so very sorry, Petrie. None of them deserved that fate… except for Chomper. I wish I were there with you.” She said, knowing her words would do little to help Petrie but she simply wasn’t going to act as if Chomper had been innocent. The sharptooth had been behind all of this when he had killed a denizen of the Valley. Petrie’s expression darkened at first but after a moment, it softened again. What was done was done. He had no wish to argue about Chomper with his mother, not after everything that had happened. He simply continued, not showing in any way he had even heard his mother’s words.

“Me also hurt me wing on that day. For a moment, Petrie even thought me would die out there, all alone and with a broken wing. And Petrie would have… hadn’t it been for uncle Pterano.” At this point, there were even more signs of interest among his audience. His siblings stared at him in interest, Tovi crying to him in clear excitement.

“Pterano? How is he doing? What did you and he do then?” He cried, missing him just as badly as Petrie had. Terra’s face brightened as well but she wasn’t going to ask anything from the flyer she despised so deeply. There were other calls as well but Volant waved them silent. She then looked at her son curiously, genuinely willing to know what had become of her brother.

“I’m glad my brother could at least be of help to someone. But Petrie, I trust you’ll tell more about his whereabouts as you continue.” She asked, hoping the next parts of Petrie’s recount would cheer him up a bit. Deep inside, she knew that was merely a fool’s hope but that’s what she wanted to believe. Petrie’s heavy gaze killed that wish almost completely, though, as he continued.

“Uncle… saved me from a few sharptooth flyers… and gave me a new temporary home. He brought me to a large flyer herd where he acted as one of the leaders’ deputy. That also where Ortin and Glide come in.” He said as he nodded at the duo. Volant didn’t like those words at all as she was far from convinced the duo were the best potential friends for her son, especially as she looked at their scars and their hardened facial features. She couldn’t hide her unease as Glide started to speak.

“Or from my perspective, that’s where Petrie came in! He beat me in a flying race even if he was still clearly hurt by his earlier accident! I can’t blame him but he made my life very miserable as he earned his place among us.” She said, prompting Volant to ask the next logical question. She frowned deeply as she spoke to her son, her heart racing as she thought about the possible answers.

“I always knew you were a great flyer when you were allowed to do it your own way, Petrie. But… I have to know, what herd was it?” She asked, noticing Ortin and Glide’s deep unease at those words. Back in the day, she had been forced to know the names of practically every flyer leader and even in the Valley, she hadn’t skipped the chance to listen to news from the farwalkers. The female’s face fell as Ortin spat in disgust before answering.

“Our herd was led by Peak, Nimble, Nira and Lenel back then. I’m sure you’ve heard those names.” He said in a chilly voice, confirming much of Volant’s fears. One pride-filled flyer was already bad enough but to have four of them… she didn’t know the continuation of the story but she knew it wouldn’t be to her liking. She took a few gasps before sitting down on a small rock to calm her mind. Petrie was about to check if she was alright before he heard his mother ask him almost sternly.

“And what was my brother doing with them?” She brought her hand to her forehead, dreading to learn everything that had happened. The change within Petrie and Pterano’s absence made her stomach sick but even then, she had to know the rest of the story. The boy cocked his head slightly as he thought about his answer. After a moment, he gave it.

“He was Lenel’s deputy and his most trusted one at that.” He merely said but there was no change within Volant’s expression. After a while, the female growled oddly.

“Go on, Petrie.” She said, causing a wave of nervousness wash over the male. He hated the fact that he was going to confirm his mother’s fears but he knew she deserved him to be honest with her.

“Well… Petrie was accepted into the herd and after a while, me got to know Ortin and Glide. We liked each other already but… me tell of it later. At first, Petrie thought uncle Pterano and me new friends would make things good again but… it wasn’t long until bad things start to happen. It all started when… when Ortin’s dad was killed.” He said but before anyone could say anything, Ortin walked closer to the flyer family while struggling to keep his rage at bay.

“He was murdered in cold blood within his sleep! I was at his side all along but noticed nothing! When I woke up, my… my dad lied dead beside me, his throat cut open! And the worst thing is that I’m sure the one we got later for that deed wasn’t the real culprit! It was all a lie!” He cried with teary eyes, causing the other flyers to look at him with either stunned or sympathetic eyes. Volant sighed deeply as she looked at him, not at all surprised that the boy’s life had been anything but easy. However, before she could speak, another flyer answered to Ortin first.

“W… what do you mean? Why would you punish someone who hadn’t done anything?” Tovi asked, the other male’s words not making sense in his mind. Ortin rolled his moist eyes but he didn’t waste time giving his answer about this most sickening of memories.

“I guess he did it but he certainly didn’t act alone! The investigation stopped there because our leaders felt that investigating further would have broken the peace in our herd! My father was Peak’s cousin so… so it was a difficult issue for many.” He said, finally allowing his emotions to show. There were close to no unsympathetic faces around the clearly mournful flyer. Volant crossed her arms before speaking silently.

“All of that sounds far too familiar. All of that plotting and intrigue is the main reason I never searched for safety among the larger herds. I’m so sorry for everything, Ortin.” Volant said, earning only a slight nod from the younger dinosaur. Petrie exchanged glances with him before continuing from where he had ended his little tale.

“But things got worse quickly. Petrie… ran into a problem with Ortin and Glide because… because of me being from the Valley and me already thought our friendship was over. For a while it was… but things got better again but only much later. A bit later, we were attacked and… Nimble was killed in that battle.” Those words caused Volant to look towards the skies, knowing that in the next few seconds she’d hear something she certainly wouldn’t like. She could question Petrie about his friends later but right now, the trio seemed to be on good terms. She merely waved Petrie to go on, a chill starting to form ion her heart.

“After that, the other leaders didn’t trust each other and after a long fight… they decided to break the herd apart. All of them but Lenel… who attacked the other leaders and their followers.” He said with a heavy voice, doing his best to keep himself from losing his calm as he thought about the horrifying night. However, when he heard one of his sisters’ question, he broke up completely.

“But… uncle Pterano was Lenel’s deputy, wasn’t he? Did they win?” She asked but at that point, Petrie could no longer hold his emotions in. The boy turned at his mother and sobbed to her in an inconsolable voice.

“Uncle Pterano never see the next morning! He was slaughtered out there and Petrie could do nothing about it! Uncle is dead, momma! Dead because he served an evil flyer like Lenel!” He cried with wide eyes, looking as the older female stared at him with glassed eyes. For a moment, Petrie looked at his mother with an expression that begged for consoling but Volant wasn’t able to give it. Not now. There was a chorus of mournful wails and alarmed questions from her children as the older female tried to rise to her feet but before she could take a step, she stumbled to her feet, dropping on all fours to the ground as tears started to fall to the ground.

Yes, her brother had done sickening deeds and yes, he had betrayed her trust twice in the most serious way but… but he was still her brother! The duo had shared their entire childhoods and even as adults, they had been closer than most siblings of their kind. Volant started to weep even more as she thought about the days when both he and Tuulen had been there by her side, the three of them facing the future together.

And even after her mate’s death, Pterano had been there. Even if she had been far from happy with him back then, she couldn’t deny the contributions he had given to keeping the children safe and her spirits up. And after his exile from the Valley, she had genuinely hoped he had changed back to the Pterano she knew but… that was all over now. She’d have no chance to tell him how much he had meant to her, no chance for some final reconciliation… nothing. After a moment, she heard Petrie’s alarmed voice speak to her.

“Momma, are you alright? Please get up!” He asked, the sight of his mother practically lying in the ground haunting him immensely. After a few seconds, she slowly rose back to her feet while trying to calm herself down. She took a deep breath before asking her son the obvious question.

“I’m… I’m so very sorry, Petrie. B…but what happened to him? Do you know… what happened to my dear brother?” She asked, tears falling down from her eyes. The other flyers around the duo were either staring into nothingness or sobbing deeply. Yes, they had known Pterano for a short time but they could still remember him during the early days of their lives. It was clear that there would be no moist eyes left tonight. Petrie tore his gaze away from his mother as he tried to find the right words.

“P… Petrie wasn’t there but me… me heard that Peak… attacked him in the back and tore his throat open! Me only saw his body later on… poor uncle…” He sobbed as he thought of that horrible morning. At first, Volant was about to turn around to gather her thoughts until she realized what she really had to do. With forced movements, she knelt besides her
son and embraced the boy slowly. She tried to fight her own sorrow as she comforted the broken child in front of her.

“There, there, it’s over now, Petrie. I… I can’t imagine what it was like out there. I’m so very sorry you had to go all that. No one ever should have but these things happen sometimes. Just don’t blame yourself for any of it.” She said, as she raised her gaze upwards. These news were monstrous enough on their own but to hear what Petrie was gone through… it was all so very, very wrong… She listened silently as she listened to Petrie’s next words.

“Pterano continued to make many mistakes… but he never deserved this. Not even if this was the worst mistake he ever did…” He sobbed, regretting he’d have to continue his story further. He had gotten over the most painful part but the memory of that moment lingered in his mind without any end. Volant slowly let Petrie go before answering to him in a warm voice.

“None of us do if we are willing to learn from everything we did wrong. B… but what is this mistake you’re talking about?” She asked, willing to get over thus most depressing of moments. Petrie sat on the ground behind himself before going on, returning himself into the day that was likely the worst one of his entire life.

“Lenel was evil all along and uncle still helped him! Petrie tell of that later but me continue telling what happened after that. Petrie tried to get out of the herd but when that failed, a flyer called Hoist I had met a few times before appeared. He… wasn’t Petrie’s friend.” He said, his sorrow slowly turning to guilt. Volant was trying to keep her interest in the story up even if her mind lingered within her memories of Pterano.

Glide listened to Petrie with saddened eyes, not having heard that part of Petrie’s past recounted this deeply. At this point, she simply hated herself for trying to end her friendship with Petrie in the first place and adding to the pain the boy had felt. It seemed his past had been even more difficult than she had thought. However, she hoped her thoughts would brighten in the next parts of Petrie’s tale.

“In fact, he started to attack uncle Pterano after his death in the most disgusting ways possible. Petrie… me could stand him and we fight… and me nearly kill him.” He said to many gasps. However, before anyone else could say anything about those news, Donnie walked closer to Petrie and snorted at him in disgust.

“You couldn’t hurt a maimed crawler, Petrie! That is a bad lie and that makes one wonder, how much more of your tale is made up? Perhaps you just hid in some small hole in the ground inventing some story simply to make yourself better in momma’s eyes? And those two are likely some as pitiful outcasts as you are? Am I right?” He asked, Petrie’s eyes widening in outrage as Donnie approached him. Volant turned at her son in outrage and snarled at him in cold rage before she was cut short.

“How dare you, Donnie? Your brother was through all of that and you… STILL MOCK HIM? GET OUT…”

“Is that it? Do you really wish to test just how pitiful we are, Donnie, was it? You really should have taken Petrie’s place as you would have been torn to pieces within a day in our herd.” Ortin said as he walked towards Donnie whose courage nearly failed as he saw the more muscular boy approach him. At first, he thought of simply asking him to get away
from his eyes but then, he simply decided that he wasn’t going to show any weakness to the other flyer.

“How can I know that you aren’t? At least only a fool would befriend Petrie.” He said but inside, his mental blockade was starting to fail. For the first time in his life, he saw someone apart from his mother defend Petrie and he didn’t like it in the least. Usually he had earned his siblings’ admiration by humiliating Petrie but now… now he was the center of despise and outrage. Slowly but surely, he felt doubts starting to rise within him but no matter what, he’d never reveal that to Petrie. His mood fell further as Glide moved to Ortin’s side.

“You know what, Donnie? Hoist was far worse than you were and Petrie beat him all on his own. I can only advise you to stay far away from him if you wish to keep being this small, slimy idiot you are! Come, Ortin. He isn’t worth our time.” She said before turning around, soon followed by Ortin. Donnie looked after them, extremely relieved inside that they had left him alone. Petrie had followed that scene warily but in the end, he was more than thankful to his two friends for helping him on this hour. He cleared his throat again as he prepared to continue.

“Me can tell every word true, Donnie. But after that, Lenel sent me away to the Valley. That was when Petrie thought me would see you again but that never happen of course. But it wasn’t all for nothing because at the very least I learned that L…” His expression brightened as he was about to tell of the longneck’s survival but a sudden realization killed the words within his mouth. Of course he should tell his family the truth but…

The boy suddenly frowned as he realized that if he told that his journey was still incomplete, his mother would try to prevent him from going on or at the very least offer her aid. But doing so would cause his entire family to be put to severe danger when the final showdown with Lenel eventually came. And that could mean only more bloodshed and sorrow. Petrie suddenly felt more miserable than in a while as he looked at his mother’s expectant look, knowing he’d have to lie to her. He could only hope he’d make the right choice for his family, for Littlefoot and for himself.

“I learned that Guido was still out there! Yep, Guido and Etta were both there! Petrie would have wanted to stay in the Valley but… me wanted to find all of you! Me friends gone as well so there not that much for Petrie out there. Especially with everything that happened there.” He said but his little lie wasn’t lost on his audience. Volant frowned as she noticed that Petrie was lying but she couldn’t say about what. And she wouldn’t want to embarrass him before his siblings in a moment like this so no matter how difficult it was for her as a mother, she silently accepted Petrie’s words.

“I already told you I’m sorry, Petrie. I should have been there but… there was no way I could have known you we alive! I thought it was certain that you were gone when you spent weeks and weeks away from the Valley! At least I would have wanted some message from you.” She said heavily, her mind dwelling within her memories with Pterano. She couldn’t help but pity her poor son… it was a wonder he had gone through all of that and still able to be even as close to his old self as he still was. Petrie looked at the older flyer for a while before answering those words.

“M… me wanted to get back but… me no longer knew where the Valley as after the sand cloud. As for uncle, he would have wanted to contact you in the Valley… but Petrie didn’t. Me feared the Valley would still hate me for what happen with Chomper.” He said, only now realizing the full folly of what he had done. Volant shook her head in disbelief as she knelt by her son’s side.

“Petrie, look at me. Yes, the days following that meeting were more than difficult and the domeheads started a real push to drive the longnecks from the Valley. When they left from their own free will, they agreed to drop their demands against Ducky and Cera’s families and me. It is true that many wouldn’t have wanted your return back then… but that should never have stopped you from returning.

I will never let any of my children suffer because of the pride of some foolish herds and I would have done anything for you if I just knew you were still alive. The reason I didn’t head after you immediately was that a real battle was starting to start in the Valley and when that threat was over, you had already managed to head to some place where I didn’t find you before dark and by next morning it was already too late. But if anything like this ever happens again, come back to me as soon as you simply can so that these kinds of messes will never come to pass again. Do you understand?” He asked while she stared deep into her son’s eyes. Petrie returned that look s he took a deep breath before answering.

“Me do, momma. Petrie… Petrie was just afraid back then. Afraid of both the Valley and even afraid of what you say about Chomper.” He said while cocking his head slightly. Volant
pulled Petrie slightly closer to herself as she gave him the answer.

“From the very beginning I thought that allowing Chomper to the Valley was a mistake, Petrie, but I would never blame you for something someone else but you would do.” She said, earning a slight smile from Petrie. He didn’t approve in the least about his mother’s comments about his old friend but… after all this time, he simply didn’t care enough for him to start arguing with his mother. He still loved Chomper but… his friendship with the sharptooth felt so very distant right now. His thoughts were interrupted as Ortin’s curious voice broke the brief silence.

“Who is this Chomper? I don’t think I’ve heard of him before.” The flyer asked, that name causing him to frown somewhat. It was an odd name for any leaf eater and even after everything he knew about Petrie, he wasn’t ready for the answer which wasn’t given by Petrie but by Skybeak.

“Chomper was a sharptooth that helped us a few times but he was still a sharptooth! I feared he’d lose his mind one day and attack someone and it did happen at last! His killing of a resident of the Valley was the real reason all of this started!” He cried to which Petrie finally snapped in an annoyed voice that clearly demanded that conversation to stop.

“Chomper only protect his best friend from the clubtail! He still not a monster even if his attack did kill her! Stop attacking him for that, he deserve at least that much!” He yelled, earning deep frowns from his siblings. Petrie’s own eyes were locked with those of Ortin and Glide’s who stared at him in clear suspicion. They were clearly beyond stunned by those news but even then, both of them realized they shouldn’t have been surprised by those news. It seemed like Petrie could surprise them more and more by the day. After a few moments, Petrie calmed down again and started to speak but before he got much further, he realized one thing he had overlooked.

“Well, after me visit to the Valley, Petrie started to follow two of Lenel’s new deputies… Uhh… me just realized me didn’t tell how that previous battle end. Well… Lenel kill Nira and drive Peak away. He now the only leader.” He said, causing his mother to shake her head once again. At this point, she wasn’t particularly interested in herd politics but she was still disappointed by those words.

“I had hoped better from Olres’ heir but it seems like I can’t underestimate the pride of flyer leaders.” She said, causing Petrie to frown deeply. So, Olres’ name was practically as widespread as he had been made to believe if even his own mother had known of it all along. However, he didn’t allow that to hold him back as he went on to finish the story which he hated deeply but which had made him better in so many ways.

“Anyway, Petrie was sent to the Valley with his deputies and me hid meself from them as Petrie returned to the herd. Etta had told Petrie to start me search for you in the same place the herd was but… Petrie learned nothing new there. There only more bloodshed and death when Peak return to kill Lenel.

It was at that point when Petrie saw Ortin again for the first time since… since uncle’s death. Lenel want to kill him as well because he a part of Peak’s family. He the last one left of it.” He said as Ortin nodded simply to the others to confirm that tale. Volant looked at the boy in clear compassion even if she knew it as well that she didn’t have many tears left for strangers. She only spoke to Ortin briefly, sick from the thought of all that had happened.

“I can’t imagine how you got through all of that, Ortin. I’m so sorry that not even children can be saved from these atrocities.” She said, looking as a few tears fell from Ortin’s eyes. Even if he managed to retain a somewhat brave face, it was clear to everyone he was hurting badly inside.

Petrie glanced deeply at his friend, his mood falling further as he realized this was his time to wrap up his story. If he wanted to keep the remainder of his quest as a secret, he couldn’t tell of Littlefoot’s survival or his lingering feud with Lenel. He hated those thoughts but that was the only way to keep his family safe.

“The worst thing of all is that it happen yesterday. After that, we tried to find some meaning in it all… unless me saw Tovi flying above us. That how we got there.” He said, a moment of silence reigning over the group for a moment. Glide was especially torn as she looked at her friend, realizing very clearly that he was lying. But inside, she was more than content with it as that fact confirmed that Petrie hadn’t abandoned the trio’s plan after finding his family. She was more than unhappy with the emotions Petrie’s tale had raised but of course, all of that was to be expected.

Another flyer who was uncharasterically silent was Terra. She had turned her head away from Petrie, not willing to see him in her eyes. She still despised everything within him but… but his story haunted her mind. She tended to believe her friends that it was all a lie… but her mind told her otherwise. Everything within the boy’s story sounded genuine enough and his two companions supported everything he said completely.

A void started to form within the girl’s mind as she tried to decide what to think and believe. Deep down, she knew her comments of Petrie being a completely hopeless failure had been wrong but… she simply wasn’t a flyer who gave up that easily. She glanced at Donnie whose expression was just as torn, both of them knowing that their carte blanche from their siblings to harass Petrie had come to an end.

Volant stared at her son with a stunned look, everything about his tale sickening her deeply. She knew he hadn’t told everything about Lenel or his search but right now, she was only thankful about that. Her heart was already heavy enough and deep down, she only wanted to get away from this situation to gather her thoughts and start mourning properly. Finally, she spoke to the boy that was simultaneously warm and tired.

“You certainly have a natural tendency to find adventures, don’t you, Petrie? Though, this time everything would have been better if this one hadn’t happened. Thank you for telling all of this to me. You are more than welcome to come speak to me about it all if you want to but… I’d want to have a short moment to think about my brother. But know that I’m beyond overjoyed to see you back here, Petrie. And you two as well.” She said as she nodded at Ortin and Glide.

Inside, however, she knew that nothing would ever be the same again. Petrie had seen countless dinosaurs getting killed before him, including his uncle, and he had even been ready to kill this Hoist in cold blood. All the tragedy and drama that had happened would never leave her son’s heart and Volant realized more than well that his siblings would have a hard time understanding Petrie’s mentality from now on. She couldn’t help but smile solemnly at her son’s lost childhood as he answered to her again.

“Me likely will, momma. But that’s mostly what Petrie been doing lately. Petrie sorry about uncle Pterano but… me had to tell about him too.” He said as he looked at his mother’s haunted expression. The silence around him was deafening as none of his siblings found any words to say after hearing of their uncle’s passing. Volant glanced at Petrie briefly, speaking to him silently before she turned around to take her leave.

“Of course you had to, Petrie. You owe it to him and… we others as well. Children, you can always seek me out if you want. I understand these news will be difficult but… but it is all a part of the Circle of Life. I’m just sad that I…I couldn’t fly it to the end with him.” She sobbed as she headed away from the small clearing, her sense of responsibility still intact within her. Even in a moment like this, she couldn’t go very far or she’d leave her children unprotected.

Petrie looked after her with heavy eyes, hating to see her like this. He sighed deeply, in a clear loss about to do from now on. He locked glances with Ortin and Glide before the duo rose into the air, more than willing to give the distressed family a bit more time to calm down.

After a while of wandering around, Petrie understood just why his mother had chosen to move to this particular place. The peak on which the flyers’ new nest lied on overlooked wide distances of the surrounding lands, making ambushing anyone living on it practically impossible. Even better, its slower slopes resembled a complicated maze and it offered many places to hide from any sharpteeth. The boy smiled slightly as he saw small patches of green sticking out from under the ground sparkles which was a rare sight on this season. Yes, this was a place worthy of being called home but… but that very thought caused Petrie’s mood to fall steeply.

The thing is, he wanted to stay here, grow up with his siblings safe from most dangers and forget everything about Lenel, his herd and the bloodshed he had caused. Even Littlefoot… it would be so much easier to stay here and tell to himself he could never find the longneck anyway. He had everything he needed here, many great brothers and sisters, shelter, food, his mother…Everything would be so very simple if he simply ended his adventure here and started to live a quiet life away from everything bad.

Even Donnie had stayed silent during the conclusion of his tale and their encounter in the morning had proved that the older boy was no longer the threat and nuisance he had once been. A slight smile rose to Petrie’s face as he thought about the future he could have if he simply did nothing. All it would take was to explain the situation to Ortin and Glide and his life would take a major turn for the better.

The flyer sighed as he looked at the sight around himself, more than surprised to see the smoke rising from the Mountains that Burn far, far away in the distance. These lands reminded him of his first adventure even if they weren’t quite as desolate as they were back then. The memories of these areas returned to his mind and in a way, they raised nostalgia to the mind of the young dinosaur. Yes, this would be a good place to call his home and…

“Hey, Petrie! That was quite an impression you made upon the others! I… I didn’t know just how much your uncle’s death affected you. I’m sorry I ever attacked you about him.” Ortin said as he landed beside his friend. Petrie twitched noticeably as he saw the duo land beside him but it didn’t take long for him to calm down and answer that comment.

“It okay, Ortin. Yesterday was a terrible day for everyone. Petrie not even remember that fight anymore.” He said, not finding the strength to care about such things anymore. Ortin gave him a slight smile for that answer but it didn’t take long until Glide got to the main part of the conversation. Her voice was kind but urgent which didn’t make Petrie’s thoughts much brighter.

“That’s great, Petrie. But anyway, we have to get going soon enough! I know you’re happy you found your family but that doesn’t change the fact that Lenel is getting better every second and we can’t waste more time if we wish to stop him!” She said, the implications of her words more than clear. Petrie stared forward for a few seconds while burying his head in his hands. When she finally answered, his voice was a weary and unsure one.

“Me thought about that and… Petrie thought that me have pretty much anything me need out here.” He said simply, causing the girl’s jaw to drop. After everything that had happened, that hadn’t been the answer she had expected to hear. She frowned deeply as she moved closer to Petrie, willing to end this dispute here and now.

“Petrie… we all agreed that we’d stop Lenel and find the Land of the Dancing Waters, remember? This is something we simply have to do.” She said softly, willing to hear no further objections. Petrie turned at her slowly, clearly torn inside.

“But back then, me hadn’t found me family! And now that Petrie has, me don’t want to lose them again!” He said but before he got any further, Ortin spoke to him in a much sterner voice that wasn’t nearly as understanding as Glide’s.

“And because of that, you wish to let the monster who ruined our families off the hook? Is that really what you are going to do, Petrie? Is it?” He asked, not willing to believe this was even an issue. Petrie started to stutter, knowing he was wrong… even if it felt like it was right. He tried to gather his thoughts, hoping to save the situation somehow.

“Petrie sure you could stay near us as well! There no need to go see more death!” He tried to reason but before he could finish, Ortin grabbed Petrie’s arm and spoke to him almost menacingly.

“Even if we could stay, I wouldn’t be able to rest for a moment, knowing Lenel is going to rule our entire kind. After all, it was you who so convincingly preached about the magical powers of that place and if you were right, Lenel will claim all of them! It was you who wanted to find this friend, Littlefoot was it, using those very powers! Was he completely made up or are you willing to abandon your friend to his fate because you tell yourself that your life is complete now? Are you?” He asked, causing Petrie’s beak to shudder slightly.

Suddenly, the brown-colored boy realized just how selfishly he had acted towards everyone. The joy of reunion had just blinded his judgement for a moment but inside, Petrie could feel his heart telling that what he was saying was wrong. Littlefoot was still out there and he simply couldn’t allow Lenel to win, not after he had done to Ortin’s family… and uncle Pterano. Petrie turned to look directly at Ortin and took a deep sigh as he prepared to answer.

“You right, Ortin. Petrie just wanted to believe it all over for me… but me cannot leave you in trouble. Nor Littlefoot. Hopefully you not mad at Petrie.” He said, slowly realizing all the implications of his earlier hesitation. Glide’s face softened first and she even smiled as she spoke to Petrie.

“Don’t worry about that. Of course anyone would want to sometimes lay down and believe the worst is behind us. But finally moving on is the most important one even if I’s sure leaving your family behind is far from easy for you.” She said, causing the boy no nod slightly. He waited for a while before speaking again, already regretting the pain he’d have to cause to his mother again. Still, there was no longer hesitation within his voice.

“Me no know if you realized it but Petrie never told of out future plan to momma because inside, Petrie always ready to move forward. But let me spend this evening here. It… easier for all of to move on in the dark of the night.” He said, looking in deep regret at the small cave she had seen her mother go to gather her thoughts after her brother’s death. He hated everything about his situation but inside, he knew it would get far worse before it would get better. Ortin rolled his eyes as he turned to look at the skies and gave his answer.

“That’s the best we can hope for, I guess. Just remember not to make any fuss when we finally leave a few hours after the Bright Circle sets.” He said, not expecting to hear any objections but Petrie wasn’t completely happy with that order. He quickly turned at the other male and spoke to him even more urgently than needed.

“Petrie not do that! Me mean that… momma, brothers and sisters deserve to know where me go this time. Petrie will wake Tovi up and tell him where we are going to go.” He said with distant eyes, causing Glide to snap at him in near shock.

“You can’t tell him that! They’d follow us immediately!” She cried, not really willing to believe her ears. Petrie, however, wasn’t too happy by the question and his expression was nearly hostile as he gave his answer.

“Of course me not tell them where we going! Me just tell that we off to stop Lenel and find Littlefoot! Hopefully that good enough for you!” He nearly cried before realizing just how excessive his voice was. However, he saw no clear reason to apologize for those words and Glide’s exchange of glances with Ortin confirmed that his plan wasn’t too badly received.” After a while, the girl gave her answer and spoke to her friend in a more silent voice.

“Very well if you truly believe Tovi is trustworthy enough to not alert the others immediately! Let’s go, Ortin. We’ll have a long day ahead of us.” Glide said as she took off, immediately followed by Ortin.

Petrie looked after them for a moment, taking a deep sigh as he turned to look at the Bright Circle which still lingered relatively high in the sky, praying deep down that this wouldn’t be the last evening he’d ever spend with his family. Yes, he still had work to do but… but he could just pray that the things he had already won wouldn’t be stripped away from him by some cruel twist of fate. The flyer looked longingly into the horizon, having decided to savor this short moment of peace before the next, hopefully last part of his journey.

It seems like the last chapter’s reunion was but a small stop for Petrie as after everything that has happened, he simply can’t turn his back to all his friends. Whether his decision will be the right one, it will be seen soon enough… Yeah, this chapter was a much slower one but I felt that we had to see just how Petrie’s family reacts to Petrie’s adventure. To be honest, the idea wasn’t just my own as it was proposed by Rhombus so thanks to him!

You may or may not have noticed but Donnie, Terra and Skybeak were the three bullies from DiddyKF1’s rather recent short story Gone Too Far as I felt that allowing them to make kind of a cameo would make Petrie’s development in this fic more concrete. Thanks a lot for allowing me to use them, Diddy! That being said, I hope you liked this chapter and let me know what you think of it!

Anagnos: I’m really happy about your praise! Battle scenes aren’t what I find the funniest to write so that makes your words even better! Your comments about Greentail are very true as Ruby has been sorry for Greentail’s injury from the beginning and her death will be a huge blow for her, certainly. And it goes without saying that the entire family will have a very bleak future from now on.

And yep, this chapter is certainly very long but there weren’t many scenes I felt could be cut as this installment needed a lot of time to live up to its potential. Though, that won’t be a major problem going forward as there will be one major battle left at most. But again, thanks a lot for the kind review!

rhombus: Hollow victories often tend to be the ones with the most interesting and emotional outcomes, at least in my opinion. Here, it allows us to move on from this long chase but simultaneously creating new plotlines that will help this story in its way towards conclusion. Ruby is most likely the one most hurt by these events and she certainly has much to come to terms with in the next chapters.

I’m also happy by your words about the pacing as I’m quite content with it myself. This battle seemed to move forward naturally to thanks a lot for those words! As for the future, it will indeed be bleak and I truly hope I can build on the apparently well-received events of this installment.

« Last Edit: June 17, 2019, 12:39:49 PM by Sovereign »


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Re: Separate Ways
« Reply #122 on: June 17, 2019, 12:32:39 PM »
I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that Donnie and Terra haven't changed a bit, or so it seemed at first. You did a nice job blending my OCs into this story in a very effective way. I was very impressed.

This had just about everything I could have imagined for this potentially short-lived family reunion. Volant is trying her hardest to be that warm motherly figure to Petrie even after learning of the fate that has befallen her brother, and Donnie and Terra are slowly realizing that this is not the same Petrie they've known all their lives. In fact, it gives me an idea you could use for a future chapter, although I think I'd rather tell you about it in a PM so I don't spoil the idea to everyone else reading this.

Finally, the way the chapter ended gives us another possible heart-stopper. Just as Petrie has gotten his family back, he now faces the prospect of losing them again after so much he's been through to find them. Selfishness is not the answer in a time when the fate of all Flyers will likely rest in their hands (or rather, wings :Mo). Not every adventure will have a happy ending, and Petrie has had to learn that the hard way. :opetrie

I did notice one tiny error where you put Greentail's name in where I think Glide would be the correct one. If I recall, Greentail is dead and was not part of Petrie's story. Just letting you know. :smile

Excellent chapter, and I will eagerly anticipate what will become of Petrie's next move.
Suddenly, I've written so many fanfics that I can't possibly list them all! :P


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Re: Separate Ways
« Reply #123 on: June 17, 2019, 02:11:40 PM »
It was rather fascinating to witness the structure of Petrie’s family in such habit and also to see Petrie’s own reactions on the matter. Donnie’s characterization in this chapter felt really familiar to Diddy’s own short story. It’s always a pleasure to see someone else expand on OC narratives. Volant’s reactions to Petrie’s adventures since splitting from each other long time ago in the story is in my opinion done very well. Petrie’s transformation must have been a great shock to not only Donnie and Terra but also for the other children and even Volant herself. Also, her reaction to Pterano’s death was indeed quite excruciating experience to witness. Her reactions felt fathomable.

But despite this change, she still cares very deeply for her son. I wonder how she will eventually take the news of Petrie’s departure from the nest. I could see Volant very desperate to protect her child from any dangers outside their nest. Even keeping him there against his will, if you might say because he very much still wishes to see the Land of Dancing Waters.

Petrie’s own thoughts about abandoning his family and even the search for Littlefoot felt… awkward to say the least. I do not really see Petrie as someone who would abandon his loved ones for any reason whatsoever. One other thing that I can nitpick about being how slow this chapter advanced. Don’t get me wrong, I can agree with taking things slow, especially since the last chapter’s gruesome battle but it did bother me nonetheless. I can’t say that I spotted the same error as Diddy did. It is always good to double-check that you have all the names and such correct prior to publishing but I can understand that things like these are very easy to miss from time to time.

That being said, I don’t have anything else to nitpick about. I hope I didn’t come off as too rude or something. It has been quite long and tiring day for me so I apologize if you got that impression. I know that I have said this before but the end is very clearly looming near and it will be very intriguing to eventually see, what you will bring us in the future. :)littlefoot


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Re: Separate Ways
« Reply #124 on: June 23, 2019, 12:04:36 AM »
The waited reunion between Petrie and his family was certainly an interesting thing to behold.  Previously in this story we did not have an in-depth overview of his siblings so this allowed for a lot of potential possibilities. Though unfortunately for Petrie it appears that although his journey has changed him, time has not changed the antics of two of his brothers.  Petrie's attempt to put them in their place through explaining his story was quite believable and although Donnie might not have explicitly backed down fully, I am sure that he will now have pause concerning how he relates to his brother.

The strong part of this chapter to me, however, are the interactions between mother and son, and Volant's reactions to the news Petrie has shared. Though she undoubtedly must have suspected that Petrie had joined with a flock for some time out of safety, the exact nature of his situation came as quite a shock to her. It must be heartbreaking to hear of the death of one's brother in that way and also, based upon Petrie's story, to know that she will almost certainly have to part from her son once more.  She is quite right that this is not the same Petrie that left the valley previously.  He is a changed flyer in many ways.  Which brings me to my next point...

I must agree with Anagnos, however, that the sudden desire of Petrie to stick around with his family and to give up his search for his friend did not really fit my perspective of Petrie's personality. I could see him being tempted by the option mentally, and to perhaps even doubt himself in some detail, but to basically back down from his self-imposed mission now seemed out of place to me, especially in light with the flyer Petrie has become during his journey.  I am glad to see that he is now resolutely back in favor of his mission, however.

I look forward to seeing what happens next.  With Petrie's story ongoing and Ruby's sad journey at a major milestone (and with fewer members) I can only hope for the best for our three wayward members of the gang.


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Re: Separate Ways
« Reply #125 on: July 03, 2019, 09:48:30 AM »
The Cold Time of Endless Tragedies

The world stopped around Ruby as she stared at the fallen behemoth before herself. The sight of Dein’s dead body was one she had never expected to see, even if right now it made the turmoil within her heart a little bit easier. Looking at the fallen predator indeed ended all these weeks of fear and chasing which was an answer to her prayers. However, that sight was but one of the many things fighting for dominance within her mind.

For now, the deep satisfaction with this victory prevented the stinging sorrow from manifesting itself in the girl’s mind even if they certainly were there. As she thought about Dein and Terri’s ends, she felt a warm feeling within her chest which felt like they weren’t her own at all. Rather, those emotions seemed to belong to another dinosaur she had known and loved deeply and suddenly, she felt a few words leave her mouth even if she felt like none of them were her own.

“It’s alright now, Chomper. Your parents will never hurt anyone again.” She said, that whisper surprising even the fastrunner herself. However, nearly immediately afterwards, a horrifying wave of agony coursed through her body. Ruby screamed as she fell to her knees, taking her ruined tail to her hands, looking at it in horror. The loss of her father coursed everywhere within the girl’s thoughts but for a moment more, the physical pain was enough to overshadow that horrifying thought into the background.

Sickening parts of torn meat were exposed from the tail and the entire area around the cut was horribly damaged and bruised. But worst of all, it was still bleeding large amounts of blood and Ruby realized even in her current mental state that it had to be stopped or she’d die before too long. She suddenly piled large amount of the ground sparkles above the tail, cringing as they melted from the warm liquid. The omnivore sighed in relief as her hand hit the solid ground and she wasted no time taking soil to patch up at least some parts of the maimed appendage. She knew the risks of getting sick later but for now, it mattered little.

In those moments, Ruby was far from conscious about Ducky looking at her from nearby. She had jumped off from the fastrunner’s back as she had charged Dein and right now, she struggled to hold back her tears as she looked at her dear friend. The glassed look on her face as well as her highly unsure and confused movements confirmed the fact that she wasn’t capable of thinking clearly, the shock of her many losses causing her thoughts to get completely jammed.

However, the swimmer shook her head sadly as she knew what would soon follow. It wouldn’t be long now until Ruby remembered everything that had happened during the fight and…

Poor, poor, Ruby. I hope you can stand these moments, I do, I do.

The omnivore breathed almost unnaturally heavily as she looked at the earth and the ground sparkles grow red with her blood. At this point, her mind’s eyes was a combination of pain and sickening flashes from the concluded battle. At that point, there was absolutely nothing plausible within her mind as she looked at her bleeding slowly starting to slow down. The seconds moved on slowly and bit by bit, Ruby’s panting eased… and with them, the mental locks holding back the incoming shock.

Suddenly, the pain from the halftooth’s tail seemed to disappear completely, its place taken by a deep aching of her heart. Suddenly, war tears started to fall into the ground as a scene that felt like a bad sleep story from a previous life returned to her mind. With a haunted look, she turned to look towards the direction where Terri’s earthly remains lie, seeing the dead dinosaurs around her. Ruby’s emotions rebelling against her increasingly vivid memories, she started to walk towards that scene of tragedy. Please, it can’t be true… it isn’t true… Daddy is still alive, he must be! He has to be…

Those kinds of thoughts swirled within Ruby’s mind as groups of other dinosaurs looked for their friends around the battlefield with few of their eyes remaining dry. Some sharpteeth were already tearing into the flesh of the dead but at this point, Ruby didn’t care. From the corner of her eye, she could see Stealth starting to hold his victory speech but that was something that didn’t interest Ruby in the least. The only thing that interested her was the slight of a dead fastrunner that was drawing closer by the second. She was just about to confirm her fears as she saw Orchid and Arial run to the scene, something that was soon followed by an inconsolable wail.

“D… daddy?! Please, daddy, wake up! You have to wake up!” Arial’s cry was soon followed by an even more alarmed cry from Orchid.

“Mommy, come help us! We can still save daddy if we act quickly enough! Please, hurry!” He yelled but Pearl’s pace didn’t improve in the least. Even Ruby would have wanted to believe her brother but the sight that greeted her was very similar to the one she had expected to see. Detras’ entire midsection had been crushed and there seemed to be not one bone intact within the fastrunner’s torso. But the most haunting thing within his remains was his undamaged face that still retained its characteristics despite his horrifying end.

Ruby could feel tears starting to flow down her cheeks as she fell to her knees besides his father, not able to believe he was really gone. All her life, he had guided her forward and always been there for her when she needed it. The memory of that fateful night on the Desolate Rise was far from Ruby’s thoughts as she dwelled in the happy memories from the seasons long gone. Her father was gone, another victim from her failures. The fastrunner looked with moist eyes as Pearl spoke in a broken voice.

“There’s nothing we can do anymore, children. You can see that he’s gone. M… my dear Detras is gone…” She said, not able to hide her own emotions as even the younger children resigned to the sickening reality. Ruby was crying horribly, the pain within her chest worse than anything she could remember thus far because this time, she had lost a member of her own family, some that had been in her life since its very beginning. The girl shook her head, clearly sickened by it all as she spoke to her mother.

“I… it’s all my fault. Without… without me… daddy would still be…” She said but before she could finish, her mother interrupted her in a silent voice.

“Silence now, dear. Come here, all of you.” She said, waving her children to her. Orchid and Arial did so readily but at first, Ruby seemed like she was hesitating. However, at this point, any relief was welcome and after a moment, she approached her mother who then spread her hands around all of her children, trying to stay strong for their sake. Each of them accepted this embrace wholeheartedly, each of them wanting some consolation from the cruel world. She looked at her beloved mate’s remains before her while trying to keep her words somewhat understandable.

“We cannot blame ourselves, Ruby. All we have now is each other. Detras was the best mate I could have asked for but… but we have to survive without him now. At least all of you are still here. That’s the most important thing.” She said, cringing deeply at her own words. It wasn’t long before Orchid spoke to his mother in a broken voice.

“B… but we can’t survive without daddy! We need him so badly! I miss him so very much already…” He said, weeping violently as he spoke. Pearl looked at him with teary eyes, trying hard not to upset him further.

“We all do, Orchid. But we have to move on.” She merely said, not believing her own words. She had no strength left and without her mate by her side, she was at a complete loss of what to do. Detras had not only been a good father but he had also known the best way moving forward always, except that one, horrifying time. Her words caused each of the children to sob even more, none of them noticing the high shadow appearing behind them. Soon, they heard a sharp voice speaking to them.

“Ruby, Pearl, look at me.” A male voice said which they all recognized as Stealth’s. However, none of them was interested in anything the predator would have to say. Soon, the sharptooth spoke in a louder and more demanding voice.

“Look at me, now!” Those words suddenly hit a nerve within Ruby and awakened her somewhat from her pain. She turned at Stealth and cried to him loudly, not even bothering to hide her tears.

“Was it all true, Stealth? Did you really seek me out simply so that I’d call you to mommy and daddy to use them as pawns against Chomper’s parents? Did you?” She demanded so harshly that her mother spoke to her in a silent voice.

“Ruby, don’t make things…”

“I can’t make them any worse and besides, he owes us a few answers! It may be his fault daddy is dead and he better not lie to me anymore! So, Stealth, was that the truth?” She cried, causing Stealth to cross his arms. He was horribly battered and he was bleeding from almost every part of his body but that didn’t seem to bother him at all. He looked at Ruby with a blank expression, her outrage not seeming to bother the sharptooth in the least. He looked at the girl for a few seconds but to Ruby’s further confusion, there was not a twinkle of pleasure within Stealth’s eyes. And when he spoke, the carnivore’s voice was heavy but highly void of emotions.

“All of it was true. I knew just what you’d do and in the end, my faith in your parents’ ability to help me beat those two bastards wasn’t misplaced. However, that isn’t the only thing I foresaw.” He said, something within him suddenly making Ruby’s heart drop even further. Right now, she would have wanted to attack Stealth and make him pay for what he had done. Ultimately, it was his fault her father was dead! But the sharptooth’s tone forced Ruby to ask the next question even if her voice was practically a horrifying cry of pure pain.

“Why would I be interested in anything you have to say anymore, monster?! Everything that has happened is your fault and if everything hadn’t happened, daddy would still be alive! I hope you’ll choke to death before the evening!” She cried, her agony fusing with her despair as she shouted at Stealth’s unmoving face. It felt like the perfect metaphor for her entire life: she was shouting against all the world’s evil, powerless to change any of it and the world not even reacting to her struggles. Stealth crossed his arms and looked at Detras’ corpse, more than happy to see his old enemy dead along with his former masters.

“Everything that has happened is my fault… You are more right than you even realize, Ruby. After all, it was me who put you in that situation in the first place. No, it wasn’t me who sent the fastbiters after you but it was me who finished your little friend’s life and brought Dein and Terri’s fury upon your family.” He said calmly, waving a few of the smaller sharpteeth closer to himself in anticipation of what was to come.

Ruby felt like her heart was freezing as she heard those words. Even if she had expected to hear something disgusting after Stealth’s ominous comment but this… this was far beyond monstrous. It… it simply couldn’t be true. Trying to contain her overflowing emotions, she spat out a few words while her eyes were locked into the ground.

“W… why? Why would you do that… do that to Chomper? Please, Stealth… say that was a joke.” She said, not listening to her own words. Stealth moved closer to Ruby and spoke with a voice that surprised Ruby greatly. It had no trace of malice, it was even compassionate, but it still held absolutely no regret for his actions.

“I must admit it was something I didn’t really want to do. Killing helpless hatchlings is far from honorable but when it comes to Dein and Terri’s son, this Chomper, I had no choice but to act. I knew about your little arrangement but believe me when I say that it was just a lucky, or unlucky for you, coincidence that I was near enough to smell him wandering the desert all alone. I knew Dein and Terri would never forgive you nor your family and well, here we are. I did make it quick for him, though.” He said in a voice that was even borderline mournful. However, he had no illusions about how Ruby would react to his little revelation.

The fastrunner’s hands turned into fists as she started to shake more and more by the second. After everything that had happened, after everything she had lost, Stealth was now revealing he had been behind it all? And she had trusted him like a naïve hatchling once! Ruby’s breaths grew quicker as she stared at the sharptooth, all rational thoughts disappearing from her taxed mind. She’d get her revenge on the sailback now and avenger her father, Greentail and Chomper at the same time! She screamed from the top of her lungs as she began to sprint towards the male.

“How could you hurt Chomper, Stealth?! I’ll make you regret what you did before the end, murderer!” She yelled as she looked at the predator with a hateful look. However, before she could even get close to him, she felt two fastbiters tackle her to the ground and before she even realized what was happening, she found herself lying on her belly, a large fastbiter’s foot pinning her into the cold earth. Her eyes widened in hurt and despair as Stealth spoke to her again.

“And after seeing that my deed on that day helped me cut down my oldest enemies, I would gladly do all of it again, Ruby! I would again kill Chomper and sacrifice your father. But there’s no reason to dwell in that any longer as I have one final offer to you and your family.” He said but Ruby hardly even heard him anymore. She was in a mental lockdown, her pathetic failure blocking the rest of her sentient thoughts. After a few moments, Pearl cried at Stealth with teary eyes.

“We don’t need any more of your offers, Stealth! Just get lost and leave us all in peace!” She cried, willing to attack the sharptooth as badly as her daughter but she knew doing that would only make things worse. She hated the sharptooth from the bottom of her heart but even then, she could never win him in a fight. After a few seconds, another dinosaur joined the conversation, one the fastrunner hadn’t expected to hear.

“That is the least you can do, Stealth! None of us deserve to be told what to do from a bad sharptooth like you! Chomper was a far better dinosaur than you will ever be, he was!” Ducky yelled with an appalled look. To think anyone would ever want to kill Chomper… Ducky had always wanted to see the good in other dinosaurs but… but Stealth seemed to be beyond any hopes of redemption. And inside, she was slightly bothered she wasn’t even slightly sorry about that.

She may not have been as close to Chomper as Ruby had been but she had still loved him deeply and hearing about his demise had hurt her deeply but to hear Stealth brag about his deed to Ruby… that fact alone made something boil within the swimmer. As her memories moved towards her happy times with the small sharptooth, her inner rage towards Stealth only worsened. Inside, she wanted revenge on him as badly as the omnivores but there was even less she could do about it.

Stealth snorted at those words deeply but did his all to retain his composure. The smaller dinosaurs’ words meant nothing to him even if he couldn’t deny there was a small voice in his conscience that told him that his deed has been wrong but on the other hand, he had righted a terrible wrong with his plot. The sailback looked at the swimmer briefly but looked at Ruby and Pearl as he spoke.

“Indeed, I am planning to leave all of you alone very soon but before that, I still want something from all of you. The life of the one who, along with her mate, helped Dein and Terri to track down my parents in the first place.” He announced, causing each of the omnivores to gasp in horror and disgust. They simply couldn’t believe what they were hearing and Orchid spoke for all of them.

“Leave mommy alone, sharptooth! We already lost too much because of you! You can’t take her as well!” He cried, hoping this was just some cruel joke. Pearl herself looked at the sailback in shock even if she hadn’t been too surprised by the male’s words. Her answer was a pained one but the fastrunner made sure not to sound pleading in the least. She’d never slither before this monster, no matter what the cost.

“We had a pact, Stealth! We would help you get rid of Dein and Terri and you would let us go! Show that you have at least a modicum of honor and keep your word this one time!” She pleaded but Stealth merely grinned briefly before he started moving towards the hapless female. He revealed his teeth as he spoke, making clear he had already decided how to move on.

“The way I remember it, I promised you I’d consider allowing you to go free if you served me well. And Ruby just confirmed you were plotting behind my back last night in order for you to escape my judgement. Though, I had heard that conversation myself so there’s no reason to be upset about that, Ruby.” He looked at the younger fastrunner whose misery clearly worsened by the second. Pearl looked at the sharptooth in disgust, speaking the only words she could at this point.

“Don’t take me for a fool, Stealth. If that really was your only reason to killing me, you would have abandoned it the moment this little plot of ours never succeeded and thus, we never hurt your interests in any way. Admit it that your only reason to slaughter me is that you never even thought of letting me or Detras escape. Just admit it, Stealth.” She said with a wavering voice, everything around her feeling so unreal. It had been ages since she had faced the world without her mate and the gaping hole and sorrow inside her tortured her without an end. This day had turned into a perfect nightmare from which there was no escape. Stealth spat into the ground before answering.

“You are correct about that, Pearl. I never planned to let you go as I want everyone responsible for my parents’ deaths to pay the price. But look at this this way: with your death, you will buy your children the safety they only dreamed of when Dein and Terri were still chasing them. They hadn’t been born the day Sprinter and Whiteclaw still lived so I have no reason to hurt any of them. But I certainly will if you decline my offer.” He said, not really caring what answer he’d receive. In the end, he’d get what he’d want, one way or another. However, before Pearl got a chance to even speak, another horrified wail rang through the air.

“Don’t listen to him, mommy! You must not allow yourself to get killed by this monster, no matter what! We’ll get out of this together, I promise you! Just don’t give Stealth what he’s after! Think about what daddy would want!” Ruby yelled, trying to make her words as clear as possible through her tears and chaotic mind. However, immediately after he finished, she cringed in pain as the fastbiter pinning her into the ground tightened his grip and whispered to her in disgust.

“Stay silent, brat! Nobody wants to hear any of your thoughts now!” She said, her expression telling Ruby that she meant what she said. Even then, the only thing she was interested in now was her mother’s answer and she stared at her with a pleading look. She had already lost her father and now she was about to lose her mother as well. All eyes were gathered on Pearl whose gaze suddenly darkened greatly.

In many ways, the offer interested her greatly. it would finally give her the opportunity to redeem herself from her terrifying crime towards her daughter and reunite with her beloved mate again. Ruby, Orchid and Arial would be safe and free to go on with their lives in any ways they saw fit and her own pain would forever be extinguished. The female even smiled as she thought about it all but even then, doubts lingered within her mind.

The pleading looks of her children haunted her greatly as the twins gazed at her with lost and horrified. Could she let them down again? Inside, she knew they needed a mother on their journey towards adulthood, a thought that made her heart ache even more. Her eyes grew even more moist as the female’s eyes met those of Ruby’s, not willing to hurt her once again. Still, she knew that Ruby would do just nicely without her already but she also realized her daughter still wanted to have her mother still in this world.

However, when she looked at the sight around herself, the fastrunner’s face fell further. Two dozen sharpteeth were looking at her with murderous eyes, ready to rip both her and her children to pieces if she answered the wrong way to Stealth. In a way, she had no choice in this matter. Either she’d accept Stealth’s ultimatum or she could try to escape with her life but in that case, she would very likely doom her children to an eternity of fear and hiding or even immediate death. Here, she could end all of that, forever.

Pearl slowly turned to look at the sky, a look of deep longing appearing on her face. Her place was by her mate’s side and inside, she knew what was the right thing to do. Here, she had the option to make things right for her children as well as follow her mate wherever he went as she had pledged for many times. Ruby would take good care of her siblings, Pearl knew that much. The fastrunner then looked at Stealth in a hurt and horrified face but she knew in her heart she was doing the right thing. Without her mate by her side, she could never hope to withstand an enemy like Stealth.

“Stealth, if I agree to your proposal, do you swear in the name of your ancestors to leave my children at peace from this moment on? Swear it to me now, sharptooth!” She snapped in a demanding voice but before Stealth could answer, Arial cried to the older fastrunner in a horrified voice.

“Mommy, you can’t mean that! Please, mommy, don’t do it…” She cried as she sobbed against the older female’s plumage. It broke Pearl’s heart but she was doing this all for Arial and her siblings’ sake. Stealth looked at the halftooth and after a few moments, he spoke to her in a slow, crystal clear voice.

“I swear that in the name of every member of my family who came before me. I give you my word that I will never harm Ruby, Orchid or Arial as long as I live.” He said, causing Pearl’s forehead to tighten greatly. She knew that Stealth’s word wasn’t worth much after his little deal with her and Detras but it was all she got and right now, she had no better options before herself. She had never expected to survive this day, after all. With a pained nudge, she pushed Arial further away from her as she finally answered to Stealth.

“Very well. I accept your proposal then, Stealth, even if I had hoped it wouldn’t end this way. But I guess this could be seen as the final payment between our families.” She said, falling to her knees as she saw Stealth waving a few fastbiters starting to approach her slowly. Orchid looked at the scene in horror and he quickly started to run towards his mother, wailing heartbreakingly.

“You can’t do that, mommy! Please, you…” He cried but suddenly, he was pulled backwards with a harsh force and his eyes widened as he saw it was one of Stealth’s fastrunners who Pearl could identify as Jaros. He cried at him in growing panic, his heart pounding violently in his chest.

“Let me go! I have to go help her! LET OFF!” He yelled but the older male’s grip held steadily. He then whispered sadly but firmly at the boy.

“It’ll be over sooner if you don’t watch. I owe it to your father to make this at least as easy as possible for you.” He said, knowing there was nothing he could do to prevent the inevitable from happening. Deep down, he prayed that there’s be some better way he could repay Detras for saving his life during the battle but he’d at least do as much as he could. Orchid looked at the larger omnivore in outrage but no matter what he did, he couldn’t free himself of Jaros’ grip. He saw from the corner of his eye that Arial was also
caught by another fastrunner, also being pulled further from their mother.

Ruby could only look at the scene unfolding before her eyes in shock and outrage. How could her mother do this? She simply couldn’t abandon her and her siblings like this! It had to be some mistake that she could and would make right! There was no other explanation than her mother being deeply confused by something and wasn’t thinking clearly. Suddenly, she raised her hindlegs upwards and hit the predator’s stomach with her claws and immediately afterwards, tried to pull herself away from under the sharptooth’s foot was just as she felt like she was about to break free, the grip tightened again and the girl cringed in pain as the carnivore started to sink her claws into her back slowly and surely. She growled at the fastrunner in hate, looking as her belly started to bleed.

“Do that again and I swear I’ll crush your ribs one by one, halftooth. And I will keep my word.” She said, making sure there was no way Ruby could ever escape. She even put her hand before the halftooth’s mouth, knowing what kinds of wails would soon be heard if she was allowed to speak.

That scene was from some kind of bad sleep story for Ruby. Here she was, unable to move or speak and forced to watch as the fastbiters moved closer to her mother, preparing to strike the killing blow. The girl tried to free herself in any ways possible but it was all for nothing. With a horrified and fearful face, she looked at her mother’s calm expression, praying she’d change her mind before it would be too late. She simply couldn’t lose both of her parents on the same day. She simply couldn’t!

A slight frown appeared on Stealth’s face as she looked at the struggles of the three children. Deep down, he couldn’t help but see himself somewhere deep down within all of them, running for his life after the loss of his parents. He could see the same emotions swirling within their eyes but after thinking about his own seasons of suffering, he wouldn’t call this execution off.

And besides, there was one difference here that made him calm despite the eerie comparisons between himself and the probably vengeful children: he was a sharptooth, they weren’t. Even if one day they’d want vengeance against him, they would never be a threat to him and for that simple reason, he could keep his word to Pearl. Looking in disgust at the last surviving harbinger of his parents’ deaths, he spat at his followers in a sharp voice.

“Finish it. After that, our mission here will be complete.” He said, not even bothering to look at Pearl’s last moments.

The aging female herself looked around herself surprisingly calmly, knowing that she’d never know if she had made the right decision or not. It could be possible that she had made the best decision in a long time and safeguarded her family’s survival or she could just as well have only rubbed her beloved children of their mother while giving them nothing in return. Yet, she wouldn’t allow her son and daughters to live in an eternal tyranny of fear if she could only help it. After the deaths of Dein, Terri and Red Claw, the Mysterious Beyond would be a safer place for a young fastrunner to grow up in any case. She looked at the sharpteeth around her briefly before speaking to them in an almost neutral voice.

“Well, don’t waste any more time! Ruby, Orchid, Arial, just stay safe! I only want you to grow up, have children of your own and to live happy lives yourselves. Hopefully you can forgive me one day for everything.” She merely said, looking as one rather large fastbiters sank his claws into her throat, ripping its contents to pieces with a one, powerful move. At first, the fastrunner felt a stinging pain but it faded away so very quickly… One final thought lingered within her mind as she fell into the ground.

Wait for me… Detras, I’ll follow you wherever you go, dear…

All the voices on the small clearing within the deep forest died down the moment Pearl fell into the ground. That silence descended eerily upon Orchid whose eyes had been covered by Jaros the whole time. He could already tell what had come to pass but still, he was beyond disgusted by Jaros’ presence. He suddenly swept his hands from his eyes and turned to look at where his mother had been… and saw the sad sight he had expected. That was a moment the young boy would never forget, no matter how badly he would have wanted.

For the third time on this same, cursed day, Ruby felt like the world was falling apart everywhere around her. When she had woken up, she had thought about whether or not she’d be able to forgive her parents but… but now it was too late for that. In the matter of half an hour, she had been turned into an orphan which was something she almost couldn’t take. She tried to press her eyelids together as her sobs intensified again. This day was every bit as horrifying as the one during which she had lost her friends.

Slowly, the fastrunner felt the pressure on her back easing as the predator raised her foot away from her. But even then, Ruby hardly stirred. What was there left for her to do anyway? She was parentless and it, as usual, was her fault. She hated everything and everyone and she would have wanted to simply attack the predator will all her might and make at least her pay for what had happened. But… even then, a small voice could be heard within the girl’s heart. She’d have to bid her mother a proper goodbye, at the very least.

With weak and forced movements, Ruby rose to her feet but before she could take ten steps, two sharpteeth blocked her way in determination. The fastrunner paid them little heed, shouting them in deep outrage.

“Go to hell, all of you! You will not prevent me from saying my farewells!” She cried but immediately, she received a harsh hit to her chest which sent her falling into the ground again. She looked in disbelief as the sharpteeth spoke to her.

“We owe you nothing more, pitiful halftooth. Join your friends and get lost from here, now!” One of them said in a voice that made Ruby’s jaw drop in disbelief. She suddenly turned at Stealth and cried from the top of her lungs like she had never done before.

“IS THIS ALL A JOKE, STEALTH? TELL THESE BASTARDS TO GET OFF SO THAT I CAN AT LEAST BID MOMMY GOODBYE!” She yelled, not able to comprehend anything of which was happening. All of it happened like something that could never happen but here she was, denied even a chance to look at her dead mother for the last time. Stealth glanced at the girl one last time before answering to Ruby harshly.

“I promised her only that you’d leave this place unharmed and I need no children like you swarming around me or my herd anymore. Do as I told you and leave this place immediately.” He said, preparing to revel in his triumph. For the first time in many seasons, he was free of his thirst for revenge and at least for the duration of the coming night, he’d be willing to spend in peace and to think about his next move. Ruby’s breaths grew quicker by the second and even a wheezing voice started to escape from her lungs. She was sickened beyond words and the worst thing was that she was powerless to do anything about it. She slowly started to stutter with a forced voice, clearly at a loss herself.

“I… I’m not going to… I’ll see mommy again…” She started but before she could continue, she heard a gentle touch on her right hand, one that made her breath at least a little more easily.

“Let us go, Ruby. There is nothing for us here anymore, there is not.” The utter storm inside the fastrunner died down a little as she heard the soft and familiar voice speak to her. With glassed eyes, she turned to look at Ducky’s sad face and after staring at her for a few seconds, she merely nodded weakly. Slowly, she followed the swimmer towards her siblings, their movements closely followed by the group of sharpteeth and omnivores. It wasn’t long before the four hapless dinosaurs disappeared into the darkened woods.

It wasn’t long before they had to stop as they simply had no strength to go on. The three siblings were in no way capable of moving on at this point, each of them crying their hearts out against the cold wind of the forest. The fastrunners sat down on a group of rocks, none of them capable of having any kind of conversation right now. However, in a certain way, it was Ducky to whom this situation was the most difficult one.

Here she was, forced to witness Ruby and her siblings’ sorrow while being unable to do anything to help any of them. She felt like a total outsider as she couldn’t fully partake in the siblings’ sorrow, only able to witness their loss from the sidelines. She felt more than bad for Ruby’s parents but she had met them only a few times which prevented her from sharing Ruby’s agony. Ducky had always been a compassionate swimmer and the fact that she was unable to help her dear friend in her hour of need agonized the girl greatly. Tears dropped from her own eyes as she looked into the distance, hearing sounds of Stealth’s minions feasting far in the distance.

Even then, she thought she really understood just how Ruby and her siblings felt. She had lost her father a long time ago as well as Spike, a memory that haunted her still to this day. True, his passing wasn’t in any way her fault but the pain of losing a loved one who you saw every day was a horrifying experience to any dinosaur, let alone a child. And the swimmer knew full well that there was absolutely nothing she would have wanted to hear in the immediate aftermath of Spike’s death. He, as well as Ruby’s parents, was gone and no words could ever change that fact.

However, Ducky hated to see the fastrunner like this and inside, she prayed there was something she could do to at least somewhat ease Ruby’s pain to a certain degree. Even if she couldn’t undo what had happened, she could at least attempt to break the despair within her friend’s mind. She had no illusions about what she could do but she’d t least have
to try. If there was anyone who could get to Ruby, it was her. With forced movements, she moved towards the omnivore and whispered to her hopefully.

“Uhh, Ruby? That feeling will pass in time, I kn...” She  started but before she got any further, Ruby mumbled with a broken voice, not a trace of her former optimism or cheer to be seen or heard.

“Go away, Ducky. I don’t deserve anyone’s company anymore.” She said, not even looking at the girl. She was reliving her entire life before this point, seeing her parents’ smiling faces on her stardays as well as their proud expressions as she learned ever more skills. They had looked after her when she was sick and encouraged her forward whenever she was feeling down. And now, they were dead, all because of her. The omnivore started to sink her claws into her thighs which started to bleed slightly. Ducky cringed as she saw that but decided against giving up just yet.

“I just want to thank what you did back there, I do. You saved me from a certain death and for that, I am forever grateful.” She said, hoping that something within her words would at least catch Ruby’s interest in some way. However, the omnivore gave no indication that she had even heard what the swimmer had said and after a few moments had passed, Ducky decided to try again.

“I am just saying that you did what you could to save everyone. You could save me… and you did, yep, yep, yep!” She said and this time, Ruby finally turned at her and snapped at her in anger.

“Do you seriously think I care about that in a moment like this, Ducky? I had always thought you’d know better than that. Mommy and daddy are gone and… and I couldn’t care less what I did today. It all happened because of me.” She said while starting to weep even more violently. There was not a flicker of light within her mind and the swimmer’s words felt like they were at most mocking her and her sorrow. The only upside was that Orchid and Arial were too broken to even speak at this moment. Ducky, however, wasn’t finished just yet.

“I know, Ruby, I know. And none of us deserved what happened out there. But… I was all alone after Spike left me and… you aren’t. We are still here because of the things you did right in the past days! Your mommy and daddy died because of Stealth but we’re here because of you!” She tried, praying her efforts would pay off. At first, Ruby only stared forward, as if to think about how to answer to the swimmer’s words. After a moment, an odd twinkly appeared in her left eye as she started to speak.

“Ducky… everyone is dead because of what I did in the Valley and because I couldn’t keep Chomper said. Nothing else is important. So, please your mouth shut AND DON’T TRY TO CHEER ME UP WITH YOUR DAMNED LIES THAT NOT EVEN A STUPID GROUND FUZZY WOULD BELIEVE! I’VE HAD ENOUGH OF IT!” She yelled, momentarily stopping to think of her own words but just as it seemed she was going to apologize for her outburst, her expression hardened again and she turned away from the swimmer. Her voice became much slower but also much more toxic than before.

“It’s true, Ducky. It should have been me who died out there and not mommy. She was innocent about it all. It would be better for everyone if I just died here.” She said, investigating a small rock she picked up from the ground absentmindedly. If she thought about things more rationally, she would have realized the folly of her own words but not in this moment. She then threw the stone violently against a nearby tree, imagining that she was hitting another copy of herself. Orchid and Arial looked at their older sister in shock but neither of them found anything more to say.

The swimmer looked at her friend in deep compassion. She knew each of those emotions very well as she had felt them herself. She also knew her chances of getting to Ruby were abysmal and those fears had already been reinforced during this discussion. It was as if Littlefoot had told her that one wise dinosaur had told him: everything would get better with time but only with time. Her voice was meek as she spoke, hoping that her next words wouldn’t make things any worse.

“You know that isn’t true, Ruby. Your brother and sister need you and… and if you did that, your mommy and daddy’s deeds would be for nothing. Besides, I need you, Ruby. I want to return to the Valley one day but I will never make it through this Cold Time without you. You will realize it in time that most of what went wrong wasn’t your fault. We all make mistakes whose consequences we won’t learn until much later and we can’t be blamed for them.” She said, realizing how much she sounded like Littlefoot overall. Those words weren’t something she would have said in her Valley days but so much had happened for her as well since then. Inside, she was just happy that she had learned something from Littlefoot who had been, in his own way, the wisest dinosaur she had known. Ruby snorted deeply as she answered, not liking this conversation in the least.

“But that doesn’t change the fact that if things had went differently, none of this hell would have happened! Greentail wouldn’t have been maimed and killed, daddy’s body wouldn’t lie out there in pieces and mommy wouldn’t have practically killed herself! So yes, I do blame myself for that, thank you! This… this is just…” She started to again cry more audibly, the sight of her mother being slain before her eyes haunting her deeply. And the knowledge that it had been Stealth who killed Chomper… absolutely everything had gone wrong her during her journey.

She was just about to bury her head in her hands when her ears heard something that caused her to turn around and reveal her claws before her mind had even realized what was happening… just in time to stop Yarel’s incoming blow. The thinclaw gritted his teeth in a horrifying, his trauma clearly guiding his actions. His voice seethed with hate as he spoke.

“I’m surprised you even remember that my sister existed at all, fastrunner scum! A pity you never did so when she was actually alive!” He cried with a teary expression which revealed immediately that his conscious mind had absolutely no idea about what he was doing. Ruby cringed as she struggled to keep the boy at bay, finding just enough strength to defend herself. The fastrunner’s voice, though, was beyond resigned as she answered to the other omnivore.

“Y… Yarel? I thought that… that you would be gone by now…” She said, not willing to admit her guilt once again. Her heart ached as she looked at Yarel who was just another of her many victims in the girl’s eyes. Yarel started to sob ever more pathetically as he heard those words, practically spitting the next sentence from his mouth.

“Gone… where exactly, Ruby? I have no home or any dinosaur to return to, thanks to you! Greentail was all I had and she lies out there, getting as cold as this cursed world! WHERE DO YOU THINK I WOULD GO TO? WHERE?” He demanded, not sparing any of his hate against the fastrunner. A sudden wave of weakness washed over the female as she heard those words which was just enough to break her defenses. Ruby’s eyes widened in fear as she fell into the ground, doing her best to safeguard her throat against the other juvenile omnivore’s attack. Her next words were more like desperate wails but it was all she could form at this point.

“I… I know, Yarel. If I hadn’t ever met you… I’m so very sorry about everything, Yarel.” She had no strength left to defend herself nor did she even want to. The male gave a surprised look but he didn’t end his efforts for a moment. He’d get his revenge, no matter what. However, he cringed deeply as he noticed the two younger fastrunners jumping on his sides, crying in outrage and fear.

“Leave Ruby alone, Yarel! It wasn’t her fault!”

“You won’t take Ruby from us, thinclaw! Get away from here!”

Arial and Orchid, cried respectively as they prepared to attack the other omnivore. Yarel looked in slight shock as they aimed their claws into his belly and back, knowing even their claws were capable of hurting him severely, possibly even taking him out. However, he wasn’t about to be outdone by the duo and with one blow, he cast away Ruby’s arms and aimed right at her throat. He growled in hate as he spoke to the twins.

“Harm me in any ways, pipsqueaks, and your sister will pay the price! If I were you, I wouldn’t even bother to defend this villain!” He cried as he looked at Ruby, cursing the day he had first met her. That was the day his life had been ruined and the day that had led him to this situation. Orchid and Arial gulped in fear, doing as they were told. However, all of the dinosaurs present realized they had reached a dead end in this struggle… all except Ruby.

While she would have sacrificed herself to bring any of today’s victims back to life, she still didn’t want to die… not like this. She suddenly remembered that it was only on this very morning that she had still seen Yarel as her friend but here he was, ready to kill her if he only managed to wrest the situation back into his control. The girl looked at him pleadingly, trying to keep her words at least somewhat intelligible.

“Yarel… this isn’t what you are. This isn’t what your sister would have wanted.” She said but it didn’t take long until she realized her mistake. Yarel’s eyes widened immediately and he wasted no time tightening his grip on Ruby’s throat as he gave his answer.

“Don’t talk about her! None of us knows what Greentail would really have wanted since she was practically gone ever since her injury! My sister… she never was the same again and I have no way of knowing what the old Greentail would have wanted! And it was all because of you!” He cried, the boy clearly having a hard time keeping his own composure together. Ruby inhaled deeply, trying to somehow convince Yarel that his line of thinking was twisted even if her heart told her she was wrong. At this point, it was her primal will to live that guided her rather than her own mind.

“But she was still Greentail after the injury! Yarel, I know you are upset but it was Chomper’s parents who did this to her! And if you think I got out of that fight without losing anything, both of my parents are dead! Slaughtered by Terri and Stealth!” She yelled, struggling to prevent herself from simply giving up. Her self-loathing emotions told her Yarel was right but something prevented her from simply resigning to her fate. The thinclaw looked at the fastrunner for a moment, surprised by those words but his mind was too twisted right now to play that much heed. His voice was a cold one as he gave his answer.

“So it seems there is at least some justice in this world, Ruby. Your parents apparently payed the price of your stupidity alongside my sister which is more than fair in the end!” He spoke, some cracks starting to appear in his shield of hate as he saw the deep pain on Ruby’s face. However, at this point Ducky had seen enough. She walked closer to Yarel and cried to him in a pleading voice.

“Yarel, you don’t want to do this! We didn’t know each other for a long time but during the few days we spent together, I saw that you aren’t a heartless killer that you look like now! Deep down, I know you are a good dinosaur so don’t let that sorrow ruin your entire life lie this! You know you don’t want to kill Ruby!” She spoke, hoping her words were correct. She indeed had learned to respect the thinclaw but still, she wouldn’t call him a friend just yet. Yarel was about to give a prompt response but the words died down in his throat. He waited for a few moments before he finally spoke again.

“What do you know about all of that, swimmer? You hardly know me and you weren’t out there to see it all! And what do I care about how you would react if I killed Ruby? I don’t have a future anyway without my sister!” He yelled with a hurt voice that made the smaller dinosaur to cringe deeply. However, it was Orchid who spoke to the enraged omnivore next.

“We worked together for many days to even reach this day and you joined us voluntarily! I lost my mommy and daddy but I wouldn’t want to insult them by attacking someone who isn’t responsible for their deaths! Yarel, please, I know there were times where you liked all of us… and we liked you. Don’t do this. I’m sure Greentail wouldn’t want you to do that either.” He spoke and to his extreme surprise, Yarel seemed to stop suddenly. His eyes seemed to stare into nothingness but as seconds passed, the boy started to weep increasingly violently as he started to cry again suddenly.

“I… I’m not a good dinosaur and I never enjoyed anything during this journey… at least since Greentail’s injury. After that… I never cared about anyone else than her… without her, I am nothing.” He said as he suddenly brought his hand to his face and started to shake heavily. Ruby breathed in deep relief as Yarel leaned against a nearby tree, slowly collapsing into a sitting position. All of the other dinosaurs present suddenly gathered around him, more than relieved the moment of dread had passed. Ruby looked at him with a bothered look, not really even feeling bitterness towards the boy despite what he had been about to do to her. At least, she could clearly see now that he wasn’t a threat anymore.

“Do you really mean that? Did you join us on the Rise… simply because of your sister? In the hopes she could recover her skills faster?” She asked, bothered by the implications. Even now, she was more than certain that deep down, Yarel still thought of her and of the others as friends but even then, she felt more than guilty for never before bothering to ask about anything from Yarel before. The male looked at Ruby in the eyes, all traces of malice vanishing from his face.

“I do. After we left the Rise, I never cared about the rest of you, only about the possibility that… that one day the old Greentail would return to me. It was a folly but… but you don’t know how close we were back in our home forest. You didn’t know… how much she meant to me. So in the end, I used all of you to my own ends.” He said, guilt starting to flow into his mind. Only now did she realize the depth of his mistakes even if his heart still reminded him that if he had never met Ruby, none of this would have happened. Though… if he had not agreed to follow Ruby, all would be well too… the boy shook his head which was starting to increasingly hurt. He hardly heard anything when Ruby spoke to him in a heavy and teary.

“But… certainly you would have left me immediately if you never wanted to come with me, Yarel. I’m sorry to hear all of that but…” Suddenly, the fastrunner’s words were interrupted by a magnificent display of colors which rose to the sky over the forest, illuminating everything around the small group of dinosaurs as it was day. Ruby’s eyes widened as she looked at the dancing colors, immediately recognizing that they were similar to the ones she had seen previously. But this time, they were much closer than before and they seemed to sallow the whole sky under its radiance. Those colors were reflected within Ruby’s moist eyes and the fastrunner’s breaths grew even heavier as she looked at that display. After a moment, she whispered o the other dinosaurs around her.

“Look at that… it is those dancing lights again. I just wish I knew what they meant.” She said, earning many agreeing nods from those around her. After a while, they died down again, disappearing as quickly as they had come. The dinosaurs were again left in the dark day of the Cold Time and it didn’t take long before Ducky spoke t the others.

“I saw them before as well! But they were never this powerful before, they weren’t!” She said but immediately, she realized her enthusiasm wasn’t shared by her friends. Ruby took a deep sigh as she looked at the swimmer, her earlier despair returning to her face.

“I’m sorry, Ducky but… but I’m not too interested in that right now. I… I’m not really interested in anything more.” She said, sitting down again while she looked at Yarel. Inside, she felt only disgust and guilt and her curiosity had been completely buried under those feelings. The thinclaw shook his head again while affirming the other omnivore’s sentiment.

“I agree, Ruby. I agree.” He said, the feeling in the small group sinking immediately. For a moment, the only things that could be heard were Orchid and Arial’s continuing sobs and Ruby and Yarel’s sniffs which made Ducky frown deeply. She hated to see her old friend like this, a sight which awakened old memories within her mind. Littlefoot had been very similar to Ruby when he had first met the her soon after losing his mother.

Sure, she hadn’t known it back then and it had been a few days since the tragedy at that point but… but the longneck had shown her that even in a mind full of despair, there was still courage that had to be awakened. She cringed as she thought of herself after Spike’s death but deep down, she realized that Swiftsplash had managed to pull her away from her near-fatal sorrow. The swimmer looked at the fastrunner and spoke to her in a soft voice.

“But… that was what we had already decided to do, wasn’t it, Ruby? Besides, we cannot just stay here doing nothing, no, no, no.” She said, causing ruby to look at the sky, apparently thinking about the swimmer’s words. However, before she could answer, Arial gave her answer.

“I don’t want to go anywhere if mommy and daddy aren’t going with us! I’d rather just stay here, Ducky. There… there isn’t any reason to go on.” She said, burying her face in her thighs. Ruby looked at her in horror, not having expected to hear such words from her sister’s mouth. To see the usually-happy child speak like this… It made Ruby to slowly realize what she was doing. Even after everything, her siblings still depended on her for survival and if she gave up… so would they. Without really even realizing it, the fastrunner hit her first into a nearby rock, crying with all her might into the skies.

“How could you do to us, mommy? How am I supposed to look after Orchid and Arial when you escape into the Great Beyond like a cursed coward? That… none of this is fair! Screw you, mommy! Screw you!” She cried into the heavens as her composure failed once again. Everyone around her looked at the girl’s outburst in shock, the two younger children’s eyes also widening in horror and sadness. They were extremely bothered by their sister’s reaction, not expecting or wanting to hear those words right now. Ducky looked at her old friend with an expression that was one of the most serious ones the swimmer had ever given to anyone in her life.

“That is where we are now, Ruby. But please, do the right thing at least for your brother and sister’s sake. They have no place to go and you are the only one who can give them any kind of a future. That’s what your mommy wanted all along.” She looked Ruby directly in the eyes, causing the latter to start weeping deeply. She was extremely upset by all of this and she looked at her siblings for a few seconds, her heart growing heavier by the second. After a few seconds, she turned at Ducky again and spoke in a lower voice to the swimmer, willing to merely disappear into the air.

“I cannot look after them, Ducky! I said it already after we left the Rise and I already proved that point, didn’t I? I… I just can’t do this!” She said, cursing the fact that she was again in a situation like this. For so many times already, she had been pushed to these kinds of tragedies and each time she had been right about her own faults. Even then, Ducky whispered to her slowly, hoping to get over this debate as soon as possible.

“You know I am right, Ruby. You cannot leave them to die.” The swimmer said in an almost grave voice that made the fastrunner freeze completely. To hear such terrible words
from the swimmer… it finally made the terrible reality come to life around the omnivore, one that she had tried to deny ever existed. She could only look at Ducky with half-closed eyes but she was soon interrupted by Yarel who walked closer to Ruby with a sickened expression.

“Do what you want, it hardly bothers me! I… I’ve had enough of all of you!” The thinclaw said, causing Ruby to turn at her. The fastrunner looked at him sadly, asking him the only question she could. Inside, she had expected to hear something similar from Yarel and after his attack, she wouldn’t have wanted his company anyway. In a situation like this, she could forgive Yarel’s unthought assault but it had scarred her deeply. This would be their parting of the ways.

“Where are you going, Yarel?” She asked simply, causing the boy’s eyes to flash swiftly. His answer sounded like a belly slider’s hiss as he turned away from the omnivore.

“Anyplace that is just far away from all of you! Also, I will not ask for your forgiveness about that attack before you ask.” He said with a deep voice. The fastrunner frowned deeply as she looked at him, more than outraged by his antics. She was happy to bid him farewell but there was one question she still wanted an answer to.

“I never expected that. But Yarel, when you say you never wanted to follow me, was that also true before the hunt in the nightly valley? I want you to answer honestly if our entire friendship was a lie from the very beginning?” She asked, looking with some relief as Yarel stopped for a moment, his body language confirming that there indeed was some hesitation and regret within his mind. The boy took a deep sigh and after a few seconds, he turned his still-teary face at Ruby. When he spoke, his voice nearly broke down completely.

“Ruby… I’ll just say I hoped things would go differently, that… we might be able to call each other real friends but… that’s over now. Right now, all I just hope is that may our paths never cross again.” He said as he disappeared into the forest, something deep within Ruby repeating those same words. All along, she had only brought sorrow and tragedy to Yarel and his sister and in all honesty, this might just be close to the best circumstances they might have separated from each other. The girl took a deep sigh as she looked again at Ducky, speaking to her in a soft voice.

“I never wanted any of this but… let’s finish the journey we started. That’s what… what mommy and daddy would have wanted.” She said with a heavy voice, not even trying to hide her tears. Inside, she no longer cared about her quest at all but Ducky was right: she couldn’t freeze to death with Orchid and Arial here. The fastrunner turned to look at the direction the dancing colors had come from, praying that whatever waited for her wouldn’t be even worse than what she had already gone through.

Unknown to them, Ruby and her companions weren’t the only ones to see the sky colors. Stealth looked at them in deep awe, not having expected to see them again after the last display a few nights ago. Back then, he had simply cast them away as something of little consequence to go on with his revenge but now… now he couldn’t help but feel he had seen them for some real purpose. Inside the sharptooth rose a new curiosity, one that he knew he could extinguish.

Unconsciously, the sharptooth licked one of his many wounds when the unnatural display ended, the Cold Time’s afternoon’s gloom again setting over the wide forest. A deep smile rose to his face as he thought about it all. He had just achieved his lifelong dream in full and right away, fate offered him a new path forward in life. He was already the most respected predator in the Mysterious Beyond and whatever had made those colors would only serve to make him one of the sharpteeth of legend.

Even then, he knew more than well that his own injuries were severe and his followers would want their rest before moving forward. He would allow the Bright Circle to set and rise
again when he’d make his move but one way or another, Stealth knew he’d soon achieve another great victory to make up for his past. A confident smile rose on his mouth as he looked into the horizon, hardly able to wait for the opportunity to make his next move.

After the tragic events of this chapter, Ruby and the others have decided to resume the journey that they had been forced to halt due to the conflict. But will they find the strength to move forward or have the endless losses finally broken their resolve? Yeah, this chapter became much darker than I originally wanted but I’m in many ways rather pleased with the result. I hope you like it as well and see you next time as always! 

DiddyKF1: I’m happy to hear you approve of my usage of your characters and thanks again for letting me use them! And yep, Petrie’s mother was in a tough spot in this chapter as her situation was far from easy or pleasant. Donnie and Terra were also up for a lesson but it’s hardly this was the last we’ll see of them. As for the chapter’s ending, that indeed was left open but the fact is that Petrie will have to face his quest’s final part on his own. As for how it will end, that still remains to be seen…

Anagnos: It’s a relief that the story part didn’t seem to drag for too long as I feared that going through the old story again could get boring. But apparently Donnie and Terra as well as Volant were written will enough to pull that sequence through the finishing line which is a relief. And yep, it was quite sad to write Volant’s reactions because there were practically no news that would have been more devastating for her.

Even then, I understand the contrast to the last chapter was a profound one so it makes sense this installment might have been a little bit low-key compared to the last one. And don’t worry, that review is a completely fair one and thanks for sharing your thoughts as always!

The Rhombus: Yeah, Volant’s reactions to her son’s change were one of the main part here but I’m also glad to hear you found Donnie and Terra’s inclusion a good decision. They just offered the best mirror to Petrie’s character at this point. But indeed, the new Petrie is a shock to her mother but all of those thoughts were buried under the pure joy of reunion… until the news of Pterano’s end, at least.

However, I am genuinely surprised by the reactions to Petrie’s hesitation. I tried to portray his hopes of staying with his family as a moment of weakness that he didn’t fully believe even himself. I thought that the scene would make Petrie more sympathetic as he only wanted to simply stay with his family and have a normal life after the months of tragedy. Maybe I didn’t do good enough job to show that, though. Anyway, thanks for the review!


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Re: Separate Ways
« Reply #126 on: July 03, 2019, 11:54:00 AM »
Oh, my God. This whole chapter seemed to turn Ruby's entire story into a tale more tragic than it seemed to be. To say that I was absolutely shocked by Stealth's confessions was an understatement. Ruby has come to realize that she was dragged into this whole mess mostly through no fault of her own. From the moment the Gang was separated, her story seemed sealed for the most part. Each and every paragraph of this chapter just turned it more and more into a depressing, hopeless tragedy, and you really drove this one effectively well, all the way to the possibility of contemplating suicide. There were actually several points in this story where I really thought Ruby was going to die and her story would reach its conclusion, but it's a relief to see that she's survived so far, even if she's not willing to go any further. She is completely broken with absolutely no ambition for anything anymore, but she still has those she needs to protect, and her road to recovery may take the rest of her life, if she survives, at least.

I hadn't been paying too much attention to Ruby's story as I had for Petrie's, because of my character bias, but this chapter was a pure tearjerker, and you have absolutely outdone yourself with emotions in this installment. I really felt for Ruby here, and now that her story seems to have changed completely for the worse, I can't even begin to think what will become of her next ...


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Re: Separate Ways
« Reply #127 on: July 05, 2019, 02:44:44 AM »
Although I was expecting a brutal follow-up to Ruby's story this chapter hit especially hard.  Now not only has Ruby been grievously injured, lost her father, and lost a friend who is now an enemy, but now she has lost her mother in the worst way imaginable. In the end Pearl's sacrifice for her family must stand in contrast to Ruby's unwillingness to join Chomper in death or to be killed by her father, which can only further increase her pain.  And as if this was not enough she now knows the full extent of Stealth's scheming which absolutely blind-sighted me and Ruby alike.  He is easily the greatest hate sink in this story for me.  All because of him and his ambition an entire family, no, two entire families have been left brutalized and destroyed.  Ruby's willingness to just end it all right here is believable considering the circumstances and, ultimately, it is the need to be strong for her siblings that is keeping her going.  I can only hope that will be enough for the struggles to come and that, in time, she can find some measure of peace. (and that Stealth dies horribly)

Although my review might be less verbose than previous ones rest assured that this chapter exceeded expectations as it explored the depths of Pearl's love for her children, Ruby's despair, and Stealth's brutality.  But much like Ruby's emotions in this chapter there are certain things that cannot be explored adequately with words.  All I can say is that Ruby's tale is truly a dark one and it has now entered into some of the darkest depths imaginable.  Hopefully by the time her tale comes to an end she will be able to get some measure of peace for herself and for all of those she has lost.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2019, 02:46:45 AM by rhombus »


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Re: Separate Ways
« Reply #128 on: July 07, 2019, 07:18:49 AM »
First of all, I would like to say that I am sorry that this review is a little late compared to my previous ones. Without further additions, let us go over the newest chapter.

I must say that this chapter is perhaps the saddest part of the whole story and it even made me a bit sad when reading the aftermath of the bloody conflict between Dein, Terri and Stealth. It seems that my assumptions hit quite the right place earlier in the case that Stealth wouldn't leave it at that and continue his life in the Mysterious Beyond after finally avenging his parents. Ruby not only lost her father, but also her mother to this cruelty. The future does not look good for Ruby and the group and they will certainly face further threats to their existence. I actually assumed that Stealth would, however, eventually, have tried to kill the rest of the Ruby’s family. This little  ’’mercy’’ shows that Stealth is not a complete monster as many would see him as. I see him as an individual who has had terrible experiences and as a result has changed.

Now that Stealth has accomplished his goal of killing Chomper's parents, will he eventually become a power hungry fool? His reputation may be a good one in the Mysterious Beyond as of now, but when one has a lot of power, they may eventually be corrupted by it. And the thing about Stealth being responsible for Chomper’s death… I didn’t see that coming. I guess I have to keep more of an open mind about things from now on? I do have to agree with Rhombus’ statement that Stealth suffers a horrible fate sooner or later.

I fully understand Yarel's feelings. It is not easy to get over the death of Greentail. Especially when she was actually the only person left in his life that he cared deeply about. Life alone in the world can do bad things to a person, especially if the person in question is not quite clear in their mind and after this massacre none of them seem to be completely fine. But time heals wounds, or at least make the pain easier to deal with when enough time has passed.

I was looking forward to reading this new chapter so much and it goes without saying that this was once again quite well written. The upcoming chapters may not be as sad as this one, but if you consider what this story has been like so far, it has been quite moderate in my opinion. Exciting things are in store and I can’t wait to see them occur. :)


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Re: Separate Ways
« Reply #129 on: July 11, 2019, 09:48:10 AM »
Two Final Departures

Shivers ran through Petrie’s body as the flyer slowly opened his eyes. He had only returned to his nest about an hour ago and during that time, he hadn’t even thought of falling asleep. No, he had waited for all of his siblings and mother to fall to sleep one by one, his mind more than heavy because of what he was about to do. He looked in fear at the mouth of the cave, knowing the night was turning out to be a very cold one.

He sighed deeply as he resigned to the reality. Ortin and Glide were waiting for out there and no matter how much he would have wanted to just curl besides his siblings and resume some form of his old life, he knew he had to do this. Lenel would have to be stopped and he would find Littlefoot, no matter what. The flyer’s expression turned into a decisive one as he rose to a sitting position, smiling slightly as he saw that the others really were asleep.

He was more than happy by the fact that Donnie and Terra would have to sleep outside the cave with little food the next week as a punishment for their reaction to Petrie’s return so there was no reason to worry about them. Petrie felt his heart beating in agony as he started to walk towards Tovi, not willing to leave his family again without letting the others know where he was going. The boy walked as silently as he could and after a few moments, he knelt besides his brother and brought his hand to his shoulder gently and whispered.

“Tovi, wake up! Petrie have something to tell you. Be silent, don’t wake up others!” He said, more than nervous as the other male opened his eyes, clearly surprised by this interruption. He looked at Petrie with sleepy eyes and tried to ask his brother the obvious question.

“Wh… what is it, Petrie? Why would y…” He started but before he got further, Petrie literally shut his beak with his hands and spoke sharply.

“You’ll see but now, just follow me! Petrie promise you can go to sleep again soon!” He said, able to breath easier as he saw Tovi wake up a bit more and nod to him. Petrie then released his beak and spoke to him again with a silent whisper.

“Good! Come with me!” He said, taking a deep breath as he noticed they hadn’t woken up the others. Tovi looked at his brother with a confused look, growing slightly worried by Petrie’s antics. He had never been one to approve of Petrie’s past adventures and something within his body language told Tovi that he’d soon hear something that he wouldn’t be happy about. He looked questioningly as Petrie stopped near the mouth of the cave, gulping as he saw the sky stars flying nearly horizontally, knowing that the weather was absolutely horrid for flying. However, his observations were soon interrupted by Tovi who finally wanted some answers.

“Well, Petrie, what is it? You can’t just wake me up and then keep me wondering about what’s happening!” He said, taking an almost stern look towards Petrie. The darker colored boy twitched slightly as he heard those words, the many things racing in his mind having already made him forget about his sibling’s presence. However, his focus returned immediately as he heard Tovi’s voice and he turn at him while taking a deep breath. He then spoke in a bothered and almost pleading voice.

“Tovi… me know you not like what Petrie gonna say but… no matter what, don’t tell momma and the others before the morning. Promise?” He looked his brother in the eyes which caused Tovi’s mood fall even further. He didn’t approve of Petrie’s tone at all but even then, what could he answer but the thing Petrie wanted? If he started to argue about it, Petrie might decide against telling what was within his mind. Tovi’s voice was nearly an annoyed one as he finally gave his answer.

“Yes if you just tell me what’s going on!” He said simply, causing Petrie to frown deeply as he looked into the dark skies once again. However, soon enough he looked back at the other boy and sighed deeply as he spoke.

“Well… me tell you. Petrie gonna leave all of you again this night.” He said matter-of-factly, causing Tovi’s heart to drop immediately. Had he actually heard what he thought? B… but Petrie couldn’t do that! He had just returned from the dead and… and why would he head off again? Tovi took a grim expression as he approached his brother and spoke to him even with an inquisitive voice.

“W… why would you do that, Petrie? You can’t go! I and many others missed you for so long and you saw how happy momma was to see you again!”! He said in disbelief, causing Petrie to gulp slightly. He was in no way eager to answer that question but he knew it couldn’t be avoided. He looked at Tovi with heavy eyes for a few seconds before he gave his answer, hoping Tovi would find it in himself to understand.

“M… me wasn’t completely honest with me story. You see… not all of Petrie’s friends die in the Sand Cloud… or at least not one. Littlefoot is still out there and Petrie have to find him.” The flyer said with a forced voice, causing his brother to look at him extremely oddly. He was highly surprised by these news, not really having believed that Petrie would lie to his family about things like these. He spoke to his brother again after a few moments.

“Why didn’t you tell us about this? Why… why lie to us and then leave us like this?” Tovi was starting to feel even hurt as he had always loved his brother deeply and he was far from happy to see him act like this. Petrie’s face fell slightly but he didn’t wait before giving his answer.

“Tovi… just think what momma and the others would have said. Me know they don’t want me to leave and momma could even try to prevent me from going. Me tell this to you because of all me brothers and sisters, Petrie trust you the most.” He said with a smile which made Tovi’s mood ease a bit. He returned that smile and he couldn’t help but appreciate the other child’s words. However, he was still far from finished with this conversation.

“Th… thanks a lot, Petrie. B… but we are your family, Petrie! I… I can’t believe you abandon us again just to search for one of your friends! You might not find us again or you might even… even… die.” He said with a meek voice, his face falling as he looked at the ground below him with a highly unsure voice. Petrie, however, didn’t want his brother to take this meeting any worse than he had to and he grabbed his right hand and looked the other boy in the eyes.

“You know just how much me friends mean to Petrie. Without them, me would never have found the Valley and without them, Donnie and Terra would have made me life far worse than it really was. Me not want to say this but… but of me family, I love only momma and you as much as I do me friends. And Littlefoot was the best of us… after Ducky. Petrie has to find him, no matter what.” He said slowly, the eye contact with Tovi not breaking for a moment as he spoke.

Those words made the lighter-colored boy’s heart grow even heavier. Yes, he knew very well that Petrie had spent far more with his friends than with his family but for some reason, he had still thought of Petrie as just one of his siblings rather than as one of his eccentric group of friends. But indeed, now that he thought of it, it had often felt like his friends had been the sole light within Petrie’s life. Deep down, his heart told him that there was no way he could persuade Petrie to abandon his quest but he still wanted a few more answers.

“I… I think I understand, Petrie. But… but you know how momma will react to this. It may take ages before you find Littlefoot if you ever will.” He said, his mood falling further by the second. He had been so happy to see Petrie return to his family and before, Petrie had been one of his favorite siblings as well. But he also knew now that Petrie really was his own flyer these days and he had no way of stopping him. Petrie looked at Tovi with weary eyes as he spoke.

“Me know but at least you will tell momma I will return one day. As for Littlefoot, me think me have a clear idea about where to look for him.” He said, earning another nod from Tovi. He had nothing more to say as deep inside, he would have wanted to alert his mother to stop Petrie but he didn’t wish to betray his brother’s trust and start any further drama inside his family. Knowing he had but one choice, he gave his last, mournful answer.

“I think I understand, Petrie. I wish you good luck. Just… just return to us alive.” He said, preparing for one final embrace with his brother, a gesture which Petrie seemed more than happy to accept. However, the scene which could have been a touching display of love between the two siblings soon turned into a mockery of itself as the two heard a voice that made both of their hearts freeze in their chests.

“Oh, leaving already, are You, Petrie? I thought a brat like you could have taken a bit more than that to escape us but apparently I thought too highly of you!” Donnie’s voice rang through the mouth of the cavern, causing both the boys to frown in deep annoyance. Petrie looked at Donnie and Terra with deep bitterness, praying he could still save the situation somehow.

“Get lost, both of you! Is your punishment not bad enough or do you want even more!? Leave Petrie alone!” He hissed, knowing he could very easily make the duo’s lives even more miserable if he told his mother but that was it: je simply didn’t want her to know of his departure just yet. His only option was to try to send the duo on their way without alerting the others, a task he knew would be beyond difficult. And indeed, Donnie moved closer to him with a mean expression, clearly not willing to do as he was told.

“I just might do that, Petrie, if you tell everyone you are a shameless liar who told made-up stories to look good in front of the others! I heard you say you lied to everyone which was something I knew all along!” He said, not caring about Tovi and Petrie’s increasingly defensive postures. Terra then looked at Petrie herself and spat her words out of her mouth.

“The worst part was that I was almost dumb enough to believe you! At least you’ve learned to act better than before and it would be a shame if mommy learned that you use that for betraying her trust!” She said, causing Petrie to frown deeply. He wasn’t taken aback by those words at all and he put his hands on hips in ager as he gave his answer.

“Petrie lied about Littlefoot simply to protect all of you, Donnie and Terra! All of what me said was true except that and that me journey would continue this night! Me swear it!” He would have wanted to yell but he kept his word low in order not to call the others. However, those words only earned mocking laughter from the duo and Terra whispered to her brother briefly.

“As if his word is worth anything at this point! Can you really get any dumber than that?” She spoke, earning a wide smile from Donnie. The older boy shook his head before speaking to Petrie again, this time in a far more hostile voice than before.

“Terra is indeed right, Petrie. You’ve lost all credibility long ago and soon not even momma will believe you. We won’t forget easily that it was your lies that doomed us to shudder outside in hunger for a full week and we’ll make you regret that very soon.” He said while he started to approach the younger boy but before he got any closer, Tovi stepped between the two siblings. He looked at Donnie with a hateful glare, speaking to him with a clear threat.

“Back off, Donnie! Petrie is starting a journey to find a long-lost friend and he deserves far better th…” He started but before he got any further, Petrie cut him short with an uncharasterically hostile voice, one that Tovi hadn’t expected to hear those words from his brother.

“Don’t tell any of what me told to him, Tovi! He doesn’t deserve to know any of it!” He said, annoyed that Tovi had already forgotten his order not to tell about any of that to anyone until the morning and here he was, already telling of it to the flyer who he should have told of Littlefoot the least. However, he immediately realized that the damage had already been done the moment Donnie approached him again with a wide smile on his face.

“I’d really like to know what I don’t deserve to know, Petrie. There is a whole lot of explaining to do for you.” He said, relishing in the control he had over the situation. The growing fear on Petrie’s face betrayed his growing distress as he had no good options at this point. He exchanged glances with Tovi briefly, accepting his look of apology and deciding that he had only option to move forward: to tell the truth or at least the parts of it that mattered to Donnie.

“You have to allow Petrie to leave! Even besides Littlefoot, there are so many dinosaurs out there who might depend on Petrie to succeed! Just please, listen to me this once, brother! Just let Petrie go!” He said, looking at Donnie with a pleading expression, only now realizing he had never spoken to Donnie like this. Right now, there wasn’t even a hint of fear or disdain for Donnie n his eyes, only genuine hope that the other boy would do the right for the first time in his life.

That sentiment wasn’t lost on Donnie as he suddenly realized the same thing that Petrie had. Deep down, he realized that this wasn’t the same sad runt he had bullied for so many seasons. No, this was a different Petrie but even then, he couldn’t let the younger boy go like this. Maybe there still was something for him to gain by pushing this a little further…

“Only in your sleep stories, Petrie! But if you really are so afraid of being caught out here, what do you say we get everyone here to listen to your tales? How does that sound?” He asked, relishing as he saw Petrie’s eyes widen more by the second. At this point, Petrie knew his wish to leave in peace was in shambles and knowing his older brother, he realized that no matter how he answered, the others would know soon enough. He didn’t want to slither in front of someone like Donnie but he had to try one more time and hope there was still some sense within him.

“Don’t do it, Donnie! Petrie has never asked anything like this from you but just this once, do as Petrie say!” He would have been ready to do practically anything to make his brother give up just this once but it wasn’t long before a wide smile formed on Donnie’s face. He turned to look deeper into the cave and to his younger sibling’s horror, cried in a loud voice.

“Petrie is trying to run away from home, everyone! Come here to help me stop him!” He cried but that yell was just too much for Tovi. He gritted his teeth in pure anger and started to run towards Donnie, more than willing to make him regret those words greatly. However, before he got even close to him, Terra stepped forward and before the boy
could even blink, Terra tackled him to the ground while laughing in clear mockery.

“That was a sad show even for you, Tovi! You’re soon starting to look like the old Petrie!” He chuckled, Donnie joining her in laughing to the poor flyer’s shame. Petrie looked at the scene in deep shock, starting to hear surprised and confused murmurs from the nest. His attempt to leave undetected had failed and right now, he had only two options. He could either try to flee now and hope he wouldn’t be caught or he could stay and try to make his mother see things his way. The decision had to be made in a matter of few seconds and that decision was far from obvious.

His instincts told him to leave now and ignore his family but in his heart, Petrie could see that the option was a cruel and even a dangerous one. Even if he, Ortin and Glide could escape unnoticed, Petrie felt already bad for his mother if he left her like that. He had just returned to her and… and to practically flee in the dark of the night… he already knew it would hurt her very deeply. Even if Tovi told her the truth, that would still be a parting both he and his mother would regret for a long, long time. And if he were caught by the older flyer, that would only make the coming conversation all the more guilt-ridden and awkward than it had to be.

Deep down, Petrie knew that staying here and trying to explain things to his mother was the only true option. Even them, the boy couldn’t help but fear for the coming minutes. If he couldn’t change his mother’s mind, he would have to do practically what Donnie had suggested and run away from home, a thought that made his face fall even further. No, he would get through this even if it would hurt far more than he had wanted. Petrie glanced at Donnie in anger and murmured between his teeth as he looked at the shadows starting to move before him, a confirmation that the meeting he had wanted to avoid was approaching quickly.

“Awesome stuff, Donnie. But at least Petrie will confirm that you will not get away with this.” He said, knowing that his mother would believe him over Donnie on any day. The older boy looked at Petrie in annoyance and spat before him in disgust as he answered to his brother.

“That’s what I think of your threats, Petrie! Soon, everyone will see just what a lying weakling you really are!”

A concerned look could be seen on Volant’s face as she headed towards the direction of the cry. She could already determine it had belonged to Donnie, a fact that already made her feel sick. Inside, she couldn’t help but starting to doubt whether she could ever turn him into a good and responsible flyer as no matter what she did, he seemed to ignore her completely and continue his senseless bullying. True enough, outside of his group of siblings, he acted nearly normally but for some reason, he and Terra simply couldn’t leave Petrie in peace.

She still loved each and everyone of her children but she couldn’t help but feel helpless around those two but even then, she prayed in her heart that they, too, would find their places in this family and world one day. That’s all she could do at this point. However, the words she thought she had heard made her even more bothered. Donnie had said that Petrie… was trying to run away from home? Those words made her even madder than before and one thought swirled in her mind.

You better not be up to no good again, Donnie, or you will regret it before morning!

It wasn’t long before she saw four shady figures in the distance, immediately realizing who they were. She didn’t even bother to wait until she had reached them before she cried in an annoyed and demanding voice.

“Well, start to explain, all of you! Donnie, if this another of your stupid “pranks”, I will make sure the last laugh won’t be on you!” She said, seeing Petrie’s clear distress. This scene certainly seemed far too familiar but even now, she didn’t want to make any rash judgements. Her oldest child looked at her in mock alarm as he nodded towards Petrie.
“It is exactly as I told! He was trying to leave us forever until I stopped him and called all of you here!” He spoke, trying to sound as genuine as he could. Even then, Volant could see right through him and her voice was beyond doubting as she turned at her younger son.

“Well, is it true, Petrie? Or is he lying as usual?” She asked, not even considering the former option as a possible one. She could see no reason for Petrie to do something like that so she didn’t even find a reason to consider that possibility. However, Petrie’s immediate gloom made her heart sink soon enough as she realized there really was something bothering him. She looked at him in shock as the brown-colored flyer finally started to speak.

“Most of it true, momma. Me want to come back to you but yes, Petrie was trying to leave again.” He said in slow voice, earning a chorus of surprised gasps from his siblings. Volant’s eyes flashed wide open as she thought about those words, nearly sickened by them. Why in earth would Petrie even think of something like that? Her thoughts were a horrible flux as she knelt beside Petrie and asked him in a haunted voice.

“Wh… why, Petrie? Why would you something like that? You risked your life so many times to return to us… so why? Please, tell me, Petrie!” She said as she put her hands on Petrie’s shoulders. The boy’s heart sank as he looked into his mother’s distressed eyes, for a moment feeling as if his courage would completely fail him. At first, he felt like he wouldn’t be able to form any coherent words but after a moment, he started to stutter some words that seemed to Petrie as if they were coming from some other dinosaur’s mouth.

“M… me wanted to go find Littlefoot and stop Lenel! I have to do it momma! Please, let Petrie go!” He said pleadingly, only after saying those words realizing how little they made to her mother. And indeed, Volant’s wide eyes turned into frowns as she looked at Petrie, not even able to decide what to think. Even in her willingness to receive answers, she realized that she’d have to remain calm to speak her son out of any folly he had in his mind.

“B… but Littlefoot is gone, Petrie! You said it yourself! And Lenel will never hurt you or any of us again. I promise you that, my dear child. Forget all of that and…” She said before Petrie interrupted her abruptly. His voice was a heavy one as he started to speak again and his eyes were even starting to grow moist as his gaze fell to the ground. Already, he had brought so much unnecessary pain to his mother without any good reason and the boy knew she deserved to hear the truth. Now that he thought of it, he should have told all of it yesterday. The flyer took a brief sigh as he started to speak.

“No, that not true. Etta told me in the Valley that Littlefoot still alive out there somewhere. Petrie lied because… because me wanted to leave in secret. Me told Tovi and Petrie wanted him to tell you in the morning because, somehow me thought leaving alone in the night would be much easier.” He said, causing Volant to bring her hand to her forehead, slowly scratching the corner of her eye. At this point, she was still shaken by her brother’s death and she still hadn’t been ready for another shock. Her voice was one of disbelief as she answered t those words.

“Why, Petrie? Why didn’t you want to tell me about it all? Don’t you have any idea how much pain and concern it would have caused me if you had succeeded in leaving without me noticing it? Don’t you?” She asked with a wavering voice, more than bothered by all of it. The implications of Petrie’s plan as well as the looming argument made her feel even more miserable. Petrie looked into the ground as he gave his answer.

“P… Petrie think me know. B… but me didn’t want to argue with you because me know just how badly that would hurt you, momma. B… but Petrie ended up making it all just much worse. Me so sorry about it all.” He asked, only now knowing how wrong he had been. Volant looked at him for a long time, her disbelief almost drowning her shock under it. She didn’t really want to think of the implications of Petrie’s words just yet but she wanted some answers.

“So you should be.  But… you’ll never find Littlefoot out there on your own. And how does Lenel relate to all of this?” She asked while looking at the boy oddly. Everyone around the two flyers looked at them in silence, none of them wanting to get drawn into this fight. Neither of them noticed it just het but even Ortin and Glide had heard that something was wrong with Petrie’s plan and their moods fell as soon as they saw their friend facing his mother in that emotional display. However, that scene was slightly broken as Tovi joined the conversation.

“I asked it too and Petrie says he knows where to look for him, momma. But… he didn’t tell me anything about Lenel.” He said, not really surprised that the same questions that he had asked also haunted his mother. Petrie glanced at his brother briefly before giving his answer. He gulped deeply before continuing from where Tovi had left.

“Well… it kinda the same thing. Say, momma, do you know anything about Olres’ story?” He asked, genuinely curious about the answer. By now, he expected her to know something which was an odd thought as during their common seasons, he had never asked her about his kind’s stories. Volant looked at the boy very oddly, not really knowing what to expect. She waited for a few seconds before she whispered her silent answer.

“Yes, I do, Petrie. But what about it?” She said gravely, frowning as Petrie turned to look at her. To his surprise, that revelation didn’t raise any emotions within the child as only now did he realize just how Olres’ legacy had shaped the world of the flyers. He took a deep sigh as he answered to the older flyer.

“Lenel after his secret… and so is Petrie. He wish to use it to get its power like uncle Pterano whereas Petrie… Petrie just wish to find Littlefoot.” He said, not really knowing what kind of reaction he should expect. Volant stared at him in disbelief, not expecting that kind of an answer. Volant looked into the cold night in deep thought, completely astonished by what she heard. She simply couldn’t get her mind around it as it was just a tale for children! She was just about to give the obvious answer when Ortin suddenly made his way besides the female and spoke to her in a serious voice.

“I know it’s hard to believe, Volant was it, and we’ve had to explain it to many flyers before but it’s true. Lenel is after his ancestor’s secret and he must be up to something. He isn’t a flyer who would waste so much effort and time to chase pure tales. I promise you he’s up to something.” He said, causing Volant’s face to fall even further. She stared at the boy for a few seconds, not really finding anything to say. It was at this point that Terra decided to interrupt the conversation and add her own thoughts to it.

“You hear that? They are trying to use some another stupid, magic thing to g…” She tried but Volant’s voice stopped her immediately. The older female’s voice was an annoyed, even angry one, as she looked at her daughter.

“Silence, Terra! You and Donnie have already spoken more than enough for today! As for you, Petrie, I don’t know Lenel myself but if anything you told of him was true… I cannot let you go face him again. I’ve already lost your father, my brother and… and I cannot lose you as well. I just can’t.” She said, causing the guilt within Petrie to only grow more profound.

The boy hated to see his mother in mental distress because of him but… but he simply couldn’t help it. Not this time. He walked closer to his mother, his face more than gloomy after the mention of his father and Pterano. She couldn’t remember anything about Tuulen as he had died only days after his children were born. There had been long nights when Petrie had wondered what it would have been like to have his father with him but… in one way, maybe it was for the best that he hadn’t passed away later on as the pain would only have been greater in that case. Yet, Tuulen had been in Petrie’s thoughts more often than most knew but right now, he couldn’t allow the thought of his father to prevent himself from getting through this parting.

“Me know it, momma, but… me friends have lost so very much because of Lenel and… Petrie has to find Littlefoot. Me know Lenel might be dangerous but… me have met him many times before and survived. Petrie and me friends just make sure he never gets what he wants and then we try to find out where Littlefoot is. Petrie promise you, me won’t fail on a trip like this.” He said, each word radiating genuine faith that he believed what he was saying. However, those words earned only a cynical snort from Volant who was far from happy with that answer.

“Few dinosaurs head out there, thinking it is their last journey, Petrie. I know that a leader of a flyer herd will not hesitate to get rid of you if they know you’re up against them so you might very well die out there. But I know I cannot prevent you from going without tying you into the walls of this cave with a few vines and because of that, I will have to go with you.” She said in a bothered voice, causing each of her children to gasp in shock. All of them knew the implications of those words and immediately, Petrie knew none of it would be possible. However, it was Tovi who answered that comment first.

“D… does that mean we’re all going to go? B… but that isn’t possible, momma! Just think of it yourself!” He cried, earning an approving nod from Petrie. He was more than concerned by his mother’s words as well but deep down, he was certain she would accept the obvious before too long. He cocked his head slightly as he looked at her carefully.

“Tovi right. The Land of the Dancing Waters many days away from here and… me not mean anything bad but Petrie know not everyone here will make the journey quick enough. And momma… even if we get there in time, you will just endanger all of us. The rest of you have to stay here. That exactly why me wanted to leave in secret.” He said, more than saddened by the mournful look within Volant’s eyes.

However, his mother was far from his only listener. Donnie looked at his younger brother with a dark expression, more than happy he was about to leave. Deep inside, he had to admit that there was something within the new Petrie he liked even himself but he’d never, ever tell of it to anyone. But if he left on his own, he’d never have to tell anyone why exactly he had stopped haunting the younger flyer and when, or rather if, Petrie returned one day, he could simply forget it. He spoke to Terra with a silent voice, surprising even her with his words.

“Bullying him will no longer be worth it, apparently. I miss the old Petrie as he was far easier to make fun of. But at least he isn’t as annoying these days.” He said, the point he was making not lost on Terra. She looked at her brother in astonishment, not really sure what to make of them. She had always seen Petrie as the worst and most pathetic dinosaur she knew but… now he seemed like a completely other dinosaur. His reaction to his mother’s arrival had proven that and his calm and kind reasoning had made an impression even on her. The girl’s voice was tense as she spoke, the situation making her more than uncomfortable.

“I guess if you say so, Donnie. I’m just annoyed that he had the last laugh.” She said, cursing the fact that she’d have to suffer her punishment to the end even now. But if Petrie ever returned, she’d never become his friend after all this but with any luck, they wouldn’t have to hate each other any longer. In her heart, Terra was no longer sad about that prospect.

However, Petrie’s words had an even greater effect on Volant. She had raised her gaze away from Petrie, the implications of his words hanging heavily upon her. She indeed had to admit that not all members of her family were capable of flying for days with minimal sleep and it was true that if they lost the race to Lenel, embarking on that journey in the first place would make little sense. And Petrie and Tovi were right: endangering her own family to prevent Petrie from getting himself hurt made little sense.

No matter how badly she wanted to believe otherwise, she could see she had no way of convincing Petrie to abandon his journey. Her options indeed were overseeing him for every moment of the day and forcibly prevent him from leaving or she could just accept the inevitable. The latter thought was beyond a difficult one for her and she could feel her emotions swirl deep within her.

She knew Petrie was capable of great deeds and that he had survived encounters few grown flyers could survive but… he was still her child, one of the precious babies she had looked after and taken care of her entire life! As she looked at him, she suddenly started to feel a mix of pain and helplessness. It had been Petrie whom she had already thought she had lost during the great Earthshake, it had been Petrie who had caused so much sorrow and worry before the Great Day of the Flyers and it had been him who she had thought had perished along with his friends those few cycles of the Night Circle ago.

The more she had thought of it, the more she realized that even until now, she seemed to have been able to affect her son’s fate even before now. All his life, Petrie had been unlike any of his siblings: he had made more mistakes, he had in many ways more flaws than the others… but most of all, she had to admit he had always been his own flyer. A sting of agony shot through her as she realized that he had always learned the most important lessons with his friends and that she had never been as important in his life than a mother should have been, a thought that at the same time made her swell with pride and shiver in guilt simultaneously as she thought about it all. She started to weep slightly as
she knelt in front of Petrie and spoke to him in clear distress.

“Petrie, my child, I know I cannot keep you from going and I know just how much your friends mean to you. Believe me, I’d like to prevent you from going with all my heart but as it has been so many times before, that is not up for me to decide. It pains me that I’ve never been able to protect you when you most needed me but on the other hand, I am happy I have a son who’s more able to look after himself than most adults of our kind. In many ways… you are one flyer who I’ve never been able to take care of as you yourself and your friends have done it for me.” She said in an emotional voice, causing Petrie’s chest to grow heavy as well.

He hated to see his mother like this but on the other hand, he was more than astonished by the praise and the kind words she had for him. This moment seemed almost unreal: here his mother was telling him just what she thought of him and in many ways, those were some words the young flyer hadn’t expected to hear. He looked at Volant longingly as she continued to speak.

“But… even then, it never was right for me to have to worry about you so much! The days when I had to deal with Pterano’s betrayal and your siblings after your disappearance and our departure of the Valley were one never-ending bad sleep story for me and… as a mother, I can’t stand the thought of losing you. Even now, I already see some flyer bringing me the words of your death in my mind and just think how I’d feel at that moment. Just think of it, Petrie.

But still, there’s nothing I can do to prevent you from doing what your heart tells is right. I just pray to you, Petrie, that you never forget that you can always stay with us. We are your family and you know just how much you mean to all of us. But if you really have to go… just don’t forget that you have to survive, for your own and for our sake. Promise this to me, Petrie.” She said with moist eyes, hating this feeling of utter powerlessness. She knew there was nothing she could do and to her, that was the worst feeling of all in this night.

Petrie frowned deeply as he looked at his mother, a sad look forming on his beak. The last evening’s brief moment of hesitation returned to his mind and he couldn’t help but feel the concern and fear in his mother’s eyes. He would have wanted so badly to do as she wanted but even then, that wasn’t possible. He had to embark on this journey for everyone’s sake. For his friends’, Littlefoot’s, even his family’s. His voice was a tender one as he answered to the older flyer’s appeal.

“Petrie promise me do me best out there. But as me said, this simply is something Petrie has to do. Me more than thankful you understand me well enough but me also try to return to you as soon as Petrie can. Who know, maybe we together again in just a few days!” He said, earning a weak smile from his mother. Volant knew there was nothing more she could say and her face was slightly more relaxed when she spoke to the boy.

“I’ll wait for you each and every moment you’re gone, my son. But I and your brothers and sisters will welcome you back when you’re done. Good journey, Petrie.” She said, praying for this meeting to end already. She was feeling miserable as a whole and she was starting to wonder how long it would take for her fears to overcome her judgement and prevent Petrie from leaving. The boy then nodded at Volant for one more time before speaking silently.

“Thanks a lot, momma! Me hope you stay safe as well!” He said as the older flyer suddenly grabbed the boy to her embrace one more time. That embrace was a brief and pained one and it was over before Petrie even knew it. He looked at the female with an odd look as she released him.

“Go then, Petrie. We’ll meet each other again before we know it.” She said, earning a longing look from the boy. Petrie looked at her for a long while before finally turning around and heading towards his two friends. It all felt surreal to him as he looked at his siblings, nearly each of them watching at him in shock and concern. However, Petrie cast that off and spoke to them in a meek and silent voice,

“Well, see you again, everyone! Petrie will miss all of you too.” He said as he started to hear a chorus of equally unsure farewells from his siblings. Petrie’s legs felt like stones as he tried to keep his emotions at bay as he drew ever closer to Ortin and Glide. However, there was one flyer among the flock who was only relieved by that sight.

Donnie looked at his brother with a confused look, even he had to admit Petrie most like was not lying and the way he acted here… it was a highly odd sight for the boy. The Petrie he had used to know was truly gone, replaced by someone who felt like a different flyer altogether. He exchanged brief glances with Terra, once again gladdened by the fact that he would leave for a while longer. Even if Donnie didn’t realize it himself just yet, he didn’t even want to sabotage Petrie’s departure in any way. He could only look after the younger boy with a deep frown along with all of his siblings.

His voice was a rough one as Petrie spoke to his friends. The duo could see very well the mental turmoil within him and this time, neither of them would blame him for it in any way.

“Let’s get on the way. We waste too much time here already.” He said as he started to prepare for takeoff. The two other flyers simply nodded at him silently, not finding anything to answer to Petrie’s clearly saddened words. Ortin looked at him for a short while before finally saying to him the only words coming to his mind.

“We indeed have. Glide, let’s go. There’s nothing more for us here.” He said as the trio spread their wings and headed towards the dark skies. Petrie’s heart ached deeply as he felt his feet leave the ground, praying he could keep his word to his mother. He didn’t even want to think what she would do if he perished on this journey but those were some thoughts he’d have to bury for now. A new adventure waited for him and he’d see it to the end, no matter what.

The sight of her son vanishing into the darkness was a haunting one for Volant and she didn’t even notice that she was shuddering slightly in emotion. Inside, she despised herself for allowing Petrie to leave as it wasn’t something any sane mother would have done. However, she had to admit that she done the only thing she could have and now, all she could do was to wait for Petrie’s return… or news about his demise. She nearly broke to tears as she turned around, speaking to her children.

“Let’s get back to sleep, children. There’s nothing more we can do for him but try to keep ourselves as calm and hopeful as possible.” She said as she headed back into the cave even if she knew she’s hardly be able to fall to sleep on this day anymore. The younger flyers did as told, the ever increasing fall of the ground sparkles slowly hiding the cave’s opening behind its soft curtain.

A slight jolt of pain flashed through Lenel as he took another step forward. He cursed at the enduring effects of Peak’s poison but at the very least he could move once more. However, his bad mood was largely lifted as he heard a warm question from behind him.

“Are you sure you’re feeling alright, dear? You still seem to be in a lot of agony.” She said, causing her mate to stop for a moment. He slowly turned at the female, his earlier frown turning into a careful smile. He was more than happy Sireia was here with him as it had been to a large degree her love that had given him the courage to recover from Peak’s treacherous assault. He could very well understand Sireia’s worries but on the other hand, her condition was hardly much better than his. Lenel’s voice was a calm and approving one as he started to speak.

“You’re right, Sireia, but we have waited for long enough already. I can fly perfectly and a few reminders of that bastard’s plotting won’t hold me down! Besides, your wounds haven’t fully healed either.” He said, regretting her injuries but even then, it was clear at this point that she’d recover from her injuries completely. However, those words caused only a brief snort from her as she walked closer to Lenel. She looked at the pale flyer’s eyes, speaking to him in a serious tone.

“Those were just normal wounds but Lenel, you were poisoned to the brink of the death! I still say we should wait for a few more days and we’ll both be in much better conditions! There’s no reason to begin risking everything we have worked for because of impatience!” She said, hoping the male would listen to her. She cringed slightly in the cold wind, looking at the white plains around the peak the duo were now standing on. It was a normal sight of the season and one that Sireia dearly hoped would turn into blooming meadows before long.

At first, Lenel was at a loss of what to say. He knew she was right but… but on the other hand, he simply couldn’t wait for any longer. The day he had longed for ever since he was a hatchling was within his grasp and he simply didn’t want to see his day of triumph against escaping into the shady horizon. And to be honest, he didn’t even have to be in his prime for this journey as the only threat he’d have to think about was this small group of traitors and even then, Lenel knew he could withstand any challenge he’d receive. He took a brief breath of the Cold Time’s wind as he spoke to Sireia.

“My love… I know both of us have waited for this ever since we first met. You know how much it means to me and… and I know you yearn for that day as well. I know you want to lift our kind to new heights by my side and I… I also want us to become a real family without further delays. That’s what we agreed on, isn’t it?” He said softly, thinking of the day when the duo had decided to delay having their first bunch of eggs only when it was certain the hatchlings could grow up in peace and safety under their then-legendary father’s protection.

Those words caused Sireia’s heart to drop completely. Yes, she couldn’t deny the truth in the male’s words as the future of the flyers meant just as much to her than it did to him. She wanted so badly to secure the place of her kind in this world but it was also true that there had been many days when Sireia simply felt… felt lonely or rather, incomplete. She couldn’t deny the inner voice inside her that yearned to be a mother and as she looked into her mate’s encouraging and expectant expression, she couldn’t help but return his smile. She then asked him kindly.

“Yes, I want all of that so very badly, my love. But… but Haste and her possible allies are a threat to all of that. I don’t think… I’d be able to take it if… if our dream died this close to it becoming our reality.” She said, her mind slowly starting to see the other female as the probable traitor more clearly by the day. She was torn inside between her yearning for the next phase in her life and the many threats that still could turn her and her mate’s triumph into tragedy. Lenel took her hand and looked her in the eyes with half-closed eyes.

“We’ll have many of my most trusted flyers to accompany us. I’d put my life into their hands and if Haste, or whoever our enemy is, tries to harm either of us in any way, I will send them to the Great Beyond with their help. Just listen to yourself, Sireia. Are we really too weak to defend ourselves against some pathetic assassination attempt?” He asked, hating the fact that he even had to ask such a question. However, those words caused Sireia to really think of her situation and she looked nervously around herself as she prepared to answer. She knew her mate wouldn’t like her words but they were ones she had to say.

“Against one flyer alone, I believe we could. B… but we don’t know how many enemies we’ll have in our group. Wh… what if most of them… will be our enemies?” She asked, praying that she was only seeing dangers where there were none. However, Lenel’s next, amused words caused her to realize the folly of her comments.

“If most of our herd were off to get us, they would have done so when we were in far worse condition, dear. This group of traitors cannot be larger than a few flyers which is why we’ll be able to stop any treacherous attack they think they can throw at us. We’ll be fine out there, dear. I promise.” He said with a wide smile, cocking his head softly as he looked at the female. Sireia took a deep sigh but in the end, she found no real reason to distrust her mate. Even if she was far from happy about what he had done to Peak’s family, she understood it was more than necessary and even besides that, Lenel had always known the right path forward. After a moment, she looked the male in the eyes and spoke to him happily.

“I guess you are right, Lenel. I’ll be more than happy to share this journey with you… and whatever comes afterwards.” She said, praying in her mind that everything would go the way Lenel had said. She looked in expectation as the male turned around and walked to a nearby cliff overlooking the herd and let out a brief but loud call. It didn’t take long before three familiar flyers rose into the air and headed towards their leader just as Lenel expected them to do. He looked at Northwind, Kero and Haste approvingly as they landed in front of him. He cleared his throat briefly before starting to speak.

“I thank you for coming here this quickly, all of you. As you can see, I’ve finally recovered well enough from that coward’s attack and certainly all of you know what that means?” He asked, crossing his arms. Of course, the question was purely rhetorical as the plan was clear to everyone at this point. Kero was the first one to speak and hopeful tone didn’t surprise Lenel in the least.

“O.. of course, Lenel. But shall we proceed as we agreed upon earlier?” He asked, his question’s true meaning not lost on Lenel. He looked at the other male darkly, not willing to argue with him at this point.

“The answer is yes, Kero. You will stay here to oversee the herd but I’d ask you to understand that it might be a far more important task than my other deputies’. If all goes well, all who accompany me will be just wasting their time.” He said, his tone telling the other male to simply forget any further complaints. Kero tried his best not to seem disappointed but he knew that further complaining wouldn’t do him any favors. Haste looked at the with a weary look before asking the obvious question.

“Are you sure you can make the journey, Lenel? You still seem a bit weak and it’ll be far from an easy flight, with all due respect.” She asked, causing the male to look at her with unreadable look. However, it wasn’t the pale flyer who answered the question but Sireia. She was deeply uncomfortable with Haste speaking about Lenel’s health and deep down, she hoped the deputy would just disappear. But without proof that she really was behind the false rumors about her leader, she simply could do nothing about her or she’d risk Nira’s old followers breaking away from the herd.

“He’ll be just fine as will I, Haste. I’m more concerned about our other companions.” She said, causing Northwind to look at her with an agreeing nod. it wasn’t long before he asked the obvious question.

“Shall we begin assembling the group that will accompany us, then, Lenel?” He said simply, earning an approving look from the higher-ranked flyer. He then spoke to the other male in a serious but expectant voice.

“Indeed you will. Do as we agreed earlier and gather thirty able flyers that will be able to fend off any challenge we might face and be quick about it! I want to get moving before the Bright Circle reaches its highest point in the sky!” He said sharply, causing the three flyers to nod at him in respect and then be on their way. The moment of his triumph was indeed growing near and every second he had to wait for his group to be assembled felt like an eternity for him. However, it wouldn’t be a long time anymore until he’d finally take his place on Olres’ side in the history of the flyers…

And indeed, it hardly took an hour before Lenel gazed upon roughly thirty flyers in front of himself, more than happy about what he was seeing. Despite the many battles they had been through, none of these males and females were seriously wounded and they’d do more than well in the days to come. The pale flyer also saw the rest of his herd gathering in the plain under Lenel’s hill, each of them eager to hear just what their leader had to say. He was accompanied by his three deputies and by his mate as he spoke to the thirty flyers in a deep voice.

“I’m more than grateful that you could answer my call this promptly, everyone, but I promise to you that you will not regret coming here for a moment. I’m not sure if my deputies told you just what I have to tell you but in any case, I won’t keep it as a secret. I want all of you to follow me to the Land of the Dancing Waters to find my ancestor’s secret to his legendary abilities. If the Bright Circle is merciful on us, we should face no obstacles at all on this journey but in case anything should happen, you need to keep the dangers at bay. However, I promise you a great reward for your efforts before long.” He said, hoping to hear no further questions. However, he soon realized that such hopes were a complete folly as one of the males asked him in a surprisingly rough tone.

“And what is this “reward” for days of flying, fighting and being away from my family? If I were completely honest with you, Lenel, you’ve taken your fair share from us already!” He said, the lighter-colored flyer recognizing him as one of Peak’s old followers. He was hardly a threat to his rule but Lenel was far from happy to hear such whining at this point. He moved closer to him and looked at him sternly, willing to end this kind of talk immediately.

“What happened before was necessary for all of our unity, my faithful follower. However, this journey will make up for everything that has happened as I promise you that I will use Olres’ wisdom to all of our common good. And certainly you, who made it all possible, will receive a huge share of what I’ll have to offer to our kind!” He spoke, earning a doubting look from the other flyer. He found no reason to continue arguing with his leader, knowing it wouldn’t lead anywhere. However, it didn’t take long until Lenel heard another question.

“And how long it’ll take for us to reach this Land of the Dancing Waters? And answer us honestly, Lenel, are there any threats that we should be prepared for?” One female asked, those questions causing him to smile slightly. He walked closer to her and answered matter-of-factly.

“The flight there should take four or five days if we don’t waste much time resting. As for the dangers, I’ll be as honest with you as I can. Of course we can be attacked by our own kind or by sharpteeth, as can happen everywhere, but other than that, I don’t know. In fact, I have no idea what will wait for out there except that Olres’ secret will lie out there.
There might be no real dangers out there or there may be but no matter what, keep your eyes and ears open. That’s why I bring you with me. Any further questions?” He asked, slightly disappointed by the doubting and unsure expressions of his followers. It was clear that many of them had many misgivings but none of them were willing to be the first one to ask what would happen if they declined the offer.

The same detail wasn’t lost on Sireia and she was far from happy with it. She walked closer to her mate and spoke to the others with a serious but encouraging voice.

“I know some of you might be nervous about this plan but I swear to you that you won’t regret this journey! It will be a flight of legend and each of us will be remembered for countless cycles of the Bright Circle as the ones who made the world like it should always have been! Do not fear and accept this honor any flyer would be proud of!” She said, earning a surprised but happy smile from Lenel.

After a moment, restrained murmurs of approval could be heard among the gathered flyers and slowly, their mood started to improve. Maybe this journey wouldn’t be another slaughter like Lenel’s previous plans had turned out to be. The highest-ranking flyer then turned towards the gathered herds, knowing they’d want to hear what was going on before his departure. His voice thundered through the mountains like never before, powered by the swelling pride and excitement inside the flyer.

“My dear herd, I know you want answers about what’s going on and by the honor of my family, you will receive them! I know many of you are still recovering from the many losses Peak’s treacherous assault caused upon us and I know there are some among you who are all but broken by our recent losses and I partake in each of your sorrows. I was nearly poisoned to death myself and I also nearly lost my mate to a most cowardly group of assassins but all of that is in the past now! The cowardly Peak lies dead as do all of our other foes. Only Nimble’s killer is still out there but we have no idea where he or she is but we’ll act once we get a word about that bastard.” He said, more than happy Deron had already left the Hills as he wanted no more drama here. There were some agitated flyers in the herd eager for his blood who would have been sickened to know of their leader’s deal with

“But none of that matters anymore. What really matters is that your mates, your children and your friends will accompany me to uncover the most precious secret of our kind, my ancestor’s gift that will make our herd the first among equals in the upcoming golden age of our kind! Their efforts will be needed to secure that powers but I promise to you that within two weeks, we will dwell in glory like none of us ever imagined!” He yelled, earning many cheers among the gathered flyers but also many angered stares. Lenel knew the recent rumors and battles had turned large swathes of his herd against him but with any luck, all of that would also be history once he took his place as Olres’ heir.

“I also swear to you that my companions won’t be put to any major danger and that they’ll return to you in good health. All I ask from you is patience and loyalty for the duration I’ll be gone. But do not worry, I leave the charge of keeping the peace to my most trusted deputy Kero and I’m sure he’ll keep you safe and comfortable for the time I’ll be gone. I have complete trust in his abilities.” He said as Kero walked to his side, showing himself to his new followers. He still would have wanted to go with Lenel but as he heard the cheers and sounds if approval, a small smile rose this face. Maybe his part wouldn’t be that bad after all. He hardly listened as Lenel continued to speak.

“I know some you might question me for seeking out a scene of a story but I swear to you that it exists. I have waited for this day my whole life and all I have done I’ve done to receive Olres’ gift and to deliver the world to the flyers and in particular, to our herd. I promise that when I’ll return, I’ll pave the path to that future for us all and on that day, you’ll know it has all been worth it! Now, my friends, we’ll take our leave but when we’ll return, all of our worries will be over!” He cried as all of his companions gathered around him to rousing cheers. Not all of the flyers were happy with what they had just herd but they knew better than to start sowing discord in a moment like this.

The gathered herd looked with hopeful eyes as the group of flyers took to the skies, flying over them as they headed into the wide plains of the Mysterious Beyond. That sight alone was an enchanting one for many as they couldn’t help but see this expedition as the culmination of their hopes for a better future. Maybe after all, their leader had been right to assume control of the herd, no matter what.

Lenel himself could hardly believe this day had finally come. This day, he’d begin his journey he was born to complete, for both his own aske and for the sake of all of his kind. He first glanced at Haste, briefly, wondering whether his doubts about her were misguided or not. However, when he caught a glimpse of his mate flying besides him, a wide smile rose to his face. Inside, he was starting to realize that her mate was at least as dear to him than anything he would find in the Land of the Dancing Waters. He smiled deeply as he looked at Sireia, feeling genuinely happy as he headed towards his destiny.

Now all of the loose ends within Petrie and Lenel’s stories have been tied together and all that remains for them is their showdown in their destination. How all of that will end remains to be seen… Funnily enough, I don’t even know myself as this is the point where my detailed plans end. I’ll likely take a few days to think about this fic’s ending as the end is quickly beginning to approach. In any case, now it’s time for another short story so it might take a while for the next chapter to be released. Still, I hope you liked this chapter!

DiddyKF1: Yep, maybe I’m starting to get too cruel for Ruby but indeed, this might be her lowest point yet. I have to remind, though, that Ruby blames herself for all of this as after al, it was her ruining of the clubtail’s egg in the third chapter that launched this entire tragedy and gave Stealth a chance to do what he did.

And yep, there were a few points where the fastrunner’s demise might have been close but as much as I hate to say it, a story’s protagonist always has a bit of plot armor. But you are completely right that Ruby will never be her old self again, this day confirming that at the very last. Anyway, thanks for your kind words and I’m beyond glad to see you taking a look at Ruby’s story as well!

rhombus: Your take of Pearl achieving the noble end that Ruby would have wanted for herself is a very interesting one as I hadn’t really even thought of that myself. However, it is indeed true that everyone else around Ruby seems to be able to achieve at least something good while she just keeps making things worse. As for Stealth, as I said in the AN, I still don’t know what happens for him so that remains a complete mystery.

That being said, I’m glad that found found this chapter effective as I feared if I had gone too far here. But indeed, there were parts where there was nothing to be said and it’s likely that the next chapter or two won’t be in any fay easy for Ruby either.

Anagnos: I’m happy about your thoughts about Stealth as I hoped to leave at least a modicum of goodness within him by showing him to be willing to be brutal only to those who
he thought had wronged against him or those who could help him achieve his goals. Stealth is a villain at this point but I hoped to leave him at least in a slightly grey area when it comes to his morality.

As for his future, all I can say is that his fate is still tied to Ruby’s as both of them are heading for the same direction even if they don’t know about it yet. I’m also glad that found Yarel’s part to be good enough as I really wondered whether my portrayal of him worked here. But it’s true that he has a long road to a mental recovery but it is very unclear how much more we will see of him.


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Re: Separate Ways
« Reply #130 on: July 11, 2019, 10:52:56 AM »
This chapter was released pretty suddenly. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. The separation between Petrie and his family was a very pretty decent one, which didn't really leave questions to ask. Although I am a little surprised by how fast Volant allowed Petrie to depart from the nest to prevent Lenel’s plans and also seek out Littlefoot eventually. But viewing the reasons given by Volant, it didn’t cause a terrible headache in the end.

And Lenel has now finally been healed enough to continue his journey to the Land of Dancing Waters to obtain Olres’ wisdom for himself. However, I do have to point out about one theory I have in mind for the following chapters about Lenel. I do believe that not everything will go exactly according to his plans so my expectation is that something dramatic will happen sooner or later that will leave an everlasting impact. It must also be admitted that we may see another brutal brawl between Lenel and Stealth occur soon. With the way the both of them act, apparently they do have similar sentiments about discovering and obtaining this ’’magical’’ power, if you could claim it that, as their own.

Hopefully, even our own familiar gang will cope with these upcoming trials. They have undeniably seen far too much suffering for one lifetime already. Who knows how much their sanity will still last before it finally collapses. We might also see a bit of infighting occur in the following chapters. Haste definitely has something planned, and I don’t see that the conclusion of that will be so great for Lenel and Sireia in particular.


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Re: Separate Ways
« Reply #131 on: July 11, 2019, 12:23:24 PM »
I was trembling before I even started reading this chapter. I knew that Petrie's parting was possibly not going to end well, even if I wasn't sure if his family would accompany him or not. Donnie and Terra are still trying to be their old selves, I see, but even they can see now that this new Petrie is so different than the one they had always been used to from the day of their births.

I'll admit that I had a very tiny glimmer of hope when Volant stated that she and the family would accompany Petrie on his quest, but that hope was just as quickly washed away. She has truly come to see the new Petrie for what he really is; determined, emotionally broken by so much loss and driven by all of that to put an end to all the misery that has impacted him so that his family will not become victims themselves. Volant and Petrie's final goodbyes were very heartbreaking to read. I honestly felt myself being in Volant's place and just wishing he wouldn't just leave her just so he can save all Flyers of the world from this wrathful Lenel and his potentially unimaginable power ... if he were to end up winning ...

Meanwhile, speaking of Lenel, he is not wanting to wait any longer, either, just as Petrie's companions aren't, and I can see this slowly turning into an eventual Petrie vs. Lenel showdown for the power of all Flyers, just as his own uncle tried to do. Familial ties were the only thing that stopped bloodshed before, but this is completely different.

Petrie's story has essentially become "The Stone of Cold Fire" all over again, except with different companions, a new villain and even more sinister motives than Petrie could ever have imagined. Pterano, I'm sure, would never have wished for this ... :opetrie

Emotional partings are never easy, but you've nailed it with this depressing chapter. It was very saddening to see that Petrie's "epic quest game" could not gain another five allies, but in good time there will be reason that it was for the best. Great job on this one! :)petrie

-"You win or you die. There is no middle ground."


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Re: Separate Ways
« Reply #132 on: July 14, 2019, 02:39:23 AM »
This chapter did a rather effective job at aiming Petrie and Lenel on a collision course with one another, and removing the last remaining obstacles to the coming confrontation.

When Petrie first tried to part from his family but allowed himself to talk to Tovi first I thought that he might succeed in escaping as he intended, but ultimately this was not the case as Donnie and some of the others acted as they always had.  Though I think for Petrie that this unwanted interruption was actually a blessing in disguise as it allowed him to fully come clean with his mother about why he had to do what he had set his mind towards, and it allowed his mother to make her peace (as much as possible) with his decision as well. One has to truly feel for her here as she has done her best for her children, but ultimately Petrie has always flown on his own path, and she now recognizes that this might be the final time that their paths cross.

With Lenel now healed and his motivational speech made to his pack, it is obvious that he will stop at nothing to gain Olres’ wisdom. But with multiple factions now fixated on the same goal I sense that he will not find his route to glory an easy one.  The only thing that is clear at this point is that the ultimate confrontation is coming soon.