|Where Paths Diverge
Author: Nimbus01 PM
An attack occurs which puts the Great Valley's residents on edge. Chomper is sent to deal with it, and the problem is solved quickly, but not everything is as it seems. Can a single event, one common to every Sharptooth that grows up, destroy the friendship that Littlefoot and his friends share? A tale of undying friendship and loyalty, for your consideration. Please review!Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship - Chomper & Littlefoot - Chapters: 14 - Words: 30,239 - Reviews: 18 - Favs: 6 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 05-17-12 - Published: 05-05-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8088154
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Chapter 4: The Shortcut
Upon leaving the Great Valley, it was quickly decided that Fyn should lead the way out of the Mountains that Burn; after all, they were following the route his herd had taken to enter the Valley. In general, everyone was content with this choice, but Cera, as always, disagreed.
"I still don't see why Fyn gets to lead here," she said to Ducky at the back of the pack.
"He's the only one that knows where we're going right now. He's been here before, he has."
"Well I still think it's a bad idea."
Fyn, of course, heard every word, but he'd learned long ago to just let Cera rant. It was safer for everyone. Instead of replying to her snide comments, he decided to check on Chomper. He slowed his pace and fell back to him.
"Hey, Chomper. How are you feeling so far?"
Chomper grinned slightly. "Better. I was a bit upset at leaving the Valley, but I love adventuring, so for now, I'm feeling pretty good."
"Great," Fyn said, "just let me know if you need anything. By the way," he added almost as an afterthought, "where do you plan to go?"
Chomper thought about this for a moment. "Probably to the Big Water, where my parents live."
"The Big Water?" Fyn said, "I've never been there before. How do we get there?"
"I know how," said Littlefoot, approaching from behind. "If you don't mind, Fyn, I can get us the rest of the way there once we're out of the Mountains that Burn."
"Sounds like a plan to me," Fyn agreed.
They walked on in silence a little longer, then Fyn spoke again.
"So Chomper, what are your parents like?"
"Well, I haven't seen them in a while, but they're really nice; not your average Sharpteeth. They became friends with Littlefoot and the gang when they helped save my life."
"Do you think they'll be fine with me?" Fyn asked, "After all, I wasn't there when any of this happened."
"Oh, I think they'll like you just fine. I just might have to explain you to them first."
"Right," Fyn agreed. After a moment, he had another question.
"Will you miss the Great Valley?"
This time, Chomper answered without any hesitation. "Absolutely. It was my second home, but I'm also glad I'll be able to see my parents again," he paused, then added, "even if I don't remember them."
Fyn nodded, then decided to get his bearings. He began to survey the land in front and to the sides of him.
As he looked around, he could see that the nearby mountains were beginning to grow smaller. Good, they were almost out.
"Petrie," he called back to the Flyer perched between Spike's plates, "can you fly up and see what's ahead of us?"
"Sure, that no problem for me," he piped back immediately. With a rush of air, he opened his wings and soared into the sky. Everyone watched as he glided through the canyon above their heads, riding the wind. Before long, he circled back down, perching on Spike again. The Spiketail didn't seem to mind.
"Well, what did you see?" Fyn asked.
"Me saw that this canyon go on for a little longer, but there a shortcut coming up."
"A shortcut?" Fyn asked, "What kind of shortcut?"
"Oh no," Cera said, barging up to Fyn, "I've been through plenty of so-called 'shortcuts' before, and I have no doubt this one's any different."
"What do you mean?"
"Every time someone says 'shortcut' and I listen to them, I end up plunging into some river, or dodging boulders, or dangling off of some ledge. I like living, so no thanks."
"Maybe we should at least look at it," Ducky said.
"Yeah," Petrie agreed, "it not look too bad."
"Let's ask Spike," Ruby said. "Spike," she addressed the Spiketail, "what do you think?"
Spike seemed to think about it, then nodded his head and hummed.
"He says yes!" Ducky said.
"Oh fine," Cera grumbled, "we'll look at it."
As they set off again, Fyn kept his eyes sharp, looking for Petrie's shortcut. It wasn't long before he saw something: a crack in the canyon walls leading outside.
"That must be it," he called, "follow me."
As they reached the crack and turned the corner, they saw the path fully. It was completely clear, only sand covered it. Fyn was amazed; he'd expected something more challenging.
"How about that, Cera?" he asked.
"We'll see," she replied. The dinosaurs began to move onto the path. The sand was soft and warm, and felt good on their feet. Fyn, especially, was enjoying it. He'd been accustomed to living in a warm climate, and any source of warmth was a comfort to him.
"Not so bad, is it?" he asked.
As they moved farther, Fyn could feel something strange: his feet seemed to be moving deeper and deeper into the sand with each step, and the ground underneath was starting to feel wet.
"Hold on," he said, "wait a moment."
Everyone stopped. They were noticing the same thing. Fyn tried to lift his feet clear, and couldn't. Something was gripping them. Suddenly, a terrible thought crossed his mind. "Sinking Sand!" he yelled.
"I told you!" Cera roared, struggling with her footing. Ducky began to panic, Petrie was trying to coax Spike onwards, Littlefoot was trying to free his front feet, and Chomper had lifted Ruby clear and allowed her to sit on his back. Fyn tried to think of what the other dinosaurs in the Great Valley had said about getting out of situations with Sinking Sand.
"Littlefoot!" he called, "do you remember how to get out of this?"
Littlefoot began to think. Meanwhile, the sand was making sucking noises. All of the dinosaurs were sinking faster, now. Suddenly, Littlefoot remembered.
"Everyone, stop moving and spread yourselves out. Try to stay close to someone in front of you."
Everyone began to pair up. Fyn and Littlefoot were at the front, spreading their limbs out. Once everyone was in a single-file line, Littlefoot spoke again. "Now at the same time, push through with all of your strength."
Everyone positioned themselves accordingly.
"Now!" Littlefoot said.
Everyone pushed, and the chain of dinosaurs began to move sluggishly forward. It was slow going at first, but soon they were making progress.
"Keep it up," Fyn said, "I think we're close, now."
Of all of the dinosaurs, it was perhaps Cera who was doing the most work. She pushed with all of her strength, as well as the fury of once again being proven right.
"I'm not dying here!," Ducky heard her say, "And most certainly not because of some cloud-brained Flyer's instructions!"
Fyn laughed in spite of himself. He could hear her words just as clearly. He didn't know why, this was a life-or-death situation after all, but Cera's rage could be funny in the darkest times. Then Fyn caught himself; he'd pay for that laugh later, and the vengeance of Cera was swift and painful. He heard an exasperated groan from the back of the line where she was, and suddenly everyone in the line jerked forward rapidly. Fyn flew out of the Sinking Sand, getting a faceful of gritty Drylands sand instead. He didn't have to guess to figure out who had shoved everyone. He could see Cera bringing up the rear, and the look she was shooting him confirmed his suspicions. He got up out of the sand and shook himself clean; he probably deserved that.
Everyone else was climbing out slowly, and soon they were all clear.
"Never again," Cera growled at Petrie as she dragged herself free of the ooze, "never again." The Flyer seemed to shrink to half of his size under her withering stare. Satisfied, Cera walked away.
Fyn looked at the horizon. The Bright Circle was starting to set. "We need to find a place to rest," he said, "we won't have much more light."
"Not here," Chomper said, sniffing the air with a concerned expression.
"Why not?" Ducky asked.
"I don't know," the Sharptooth responded, "but something just doesn't seem right."
Ruby also sniffed around. "I think he's right," she said, "we shouldn't stay here if we can stay somewhere else."
"Then let's trust Chomper and keep moving," Littlefoot said, "we can stop a little farther ahead." The dinosaurs all agreed and kept moving.
They were not the only ones.
As it turned out, Chomper had good reason to suggest traveling farther. Back at the Sinking Sand, others had been watching the dinosaurs' struggles with anticipation, waiting for them to succumb. When they didn't the watchers were sorely disappointed; they would have to wait longer for a meal. As the dinosaurs left the Sinking Sand behind, the mysterious observers revealed themselves. One by one, they came out of hiding, from the shadows, behind dunes, around rocks. Slowly, they became visible. They looked much like normal Fast Biters, and from a distance, one could be forgiven for thinking they were, but these creatures were different. They stood at the height of a fully-grown Spiketail, and the inner finger on each hand held a long, sharp claw, much like those found on the toes of smaller Fast Biters. They were a slightly dark green in color, with a single blue stripe running from head to tail, and as the last rays of the Bright Circle left the sky, their eyes glowed, reflecting whatever light was left.
Their leader hopped down from his perch on top of a nearby boulder and sniffed at the tracks made by the dinosaurs who had just left, committing the scent to memory. The herd had a Sharptooth with them, and would be impossible to take without the element of surprise, but given enough time, the leader felt, something could change, and when it did, the Fast Claws would be ready. Slowly, they edged into the night, all but disappearing into the shadows. Soon, they would feast.
Urgent: the new Sharpteeth (Fast Claws) are Megaraptor. Now before I get chewed out about the claws on the hands, I was doing research and discovered that with this particular species, the claws were, in fact, located there. This week, I'll be getting my stories out a bit later: around 10:00 p.m. central time, due to school, but it's reasonable to expect a chapter a day from me. Until tomorrow, see ya!