I'm terribly sorry about the delay in posting this chapter. I realize that all of you are accustomed to a more regular schedule from me and I regret my tardiness. Hopefully my work schedule will allow me to be more punctual in the future.


Chapter 3: Observation

What is daddy doing?

Dive looked at his father with a inquisitive expression. Despite his parents landing in the clearing a few moments before he and his siblings, they had not really moved for several moments.

The small flyer looked over to the assembled fastbiters who seemed to be eyeing him with unreadable expressions. For a flyer who was already anxious about being on the ground their scrutiny did not improve his mood. Sure he considered the younglings to be his friends, but he had been used as "the prey" in too many of their games to exactly trust them not to pull a prank on him. Their rapt attention did not exactly fill him with confidence.

In confusion at the preoccupation of the fastbiters, he looked over towards his two sisters. They too had confused expressions on their faces at the odd antics of the ground-walkers. Lift seemed to be in the process of edging closer to father, whereas Valaria simply looked in Dive's direction and gave him a concerned expression. Seeing that his siblings were just as clueless at the odd behavior of everyone as he was, Dive opened his mouth in order to speak to his mother. It was only then that another realization hit him.

Where is Momma?

Crash!

"Ahhh!" In terror, Dive took off into the air and soared back towards his nest. He had no time to see what predator crashed beside him, he only had time to react. The instinctual reaction was immediate. In the instant that followed the only sound that he could hear was his thundering heart and the screaming rush of air in his ears. He could feel the gusts of air from the wings of his siblings as they powered through the air beside him. It was only when he and the others had landed back in the nest, hearts pounding and breaths gasping, that he could finally hear another sound.

Laughter.

What... The small flyer peeked over the edge of the nest and looked back towards the clearing. A small stick was still situated where it had landed beside him moments before. Around the clearing all of the assembled fastbiters could be seen laughing. More surprisingly however, was the appearance of two amused flyers in the clearing and the sudden words of his mother.

"Well, children... you did what we always told you to do if threatened."

Dive's beak hung agape. Had mother done this?

"But you forgot the most important lesson."

Dive clicked his beak together. "Mother! That wasn't nice!" He glared at his parents as grunts of protest erupted from his siblings as well.

"We thought something attacked us!" Valaria offered.

At this point the rather unhelpful banter of Taunt's daughter could be heard.

"Yep, you were attacked alright! You were attacked by a stick!"

At the resumption of laughter from the numerous younglings, Dive looked down in embarrassment. He couldn't understand why his mother had scared them all like this and why father didn't disapprove of it. He looked back towards his siblings with a pouting expression when his mother's words suddenly returned.

"Come back down, children."

Had Dive had been older and a bit more assertive then he might have considered disobeying his mother's request, but in his current state he didn't feel anger. He simply felt confusion. It wasn't unheard of for the family to play tricks on one another, but to do so in front of the ground-dwellers was a terrible embarrassment for the flyer. Now he was sure that he would never hear the end of it from what his father called 'our good friends, the ankle-biters'. Despite the fog of confusion and discontent, however, he took flight and guided himself towards his parents. The others, seeing their brother obey his mother's call, followed in silence.


Soar looked upon her children as they landed softly onto the soft ground. It pained her to see their downcast faces, but she knew that this had to be done.

Sometimes it is the painful lessons that stick. She thought to herself. And a little pain in training is better than the pain of loss. She sighed deeply as she prepared to speak to her little ones. However that was when she felt her mate whisper into her ear.

"Pride is a powerful thing. They get over this eventually."

She tilted her head without taking her eyes off of the children as she hissed back.

"You'd better be right, dear..." She teased. "This was your idea after all..."

In response to his mate's jest, he simply shrugged.

"Your mamma always call me bad influence." She could hear the smirk in his voice. "But me think it be important for them to learn moral before song this time."

To this she simply nodded and nuzzled him back slightly. In many ways her mate communicated more articulately through actions than with words and here was but one example. But now was not the time for affection, she realized. Now was the time to tell the children the lesson that they had just be shown. A lesson that Petrie had learned the hard way many years before.

"Children, I am proud of you." The heads of the three flyers looked up at her with confused gazes at that affirmation. "You did what you were supposed to do when danger comes and you followed directions even when you probably didn't want to." She noted the slightly ashamed look in Dive's eyes. It was not surprising to her that he had considered refusing. In many ways he was the most headstrong. "But it is very important that you pay attention to everything around you. You must observe."

A chorus of 'yes, mother' echoed from the children, but she was not dissuaded from her lecture by their response.

"You're wondering why I tricked you." The little flyers quickly nodded at this. "You're wondering why we embarrassed you in front of your friends." The nodding stopped as Dive's eyes bored into his mother's direction. He like the others were no doubt wondering about his mother's intentions. "You were tricked by me because none of you were paying attention and you all got embarrassment from that... but what if that happens outside of this forest? You would be eaten; that's what."

The little ones looked down at this. The truth was finally sinking in. That was when their father sealed the deal.

"The reason why momma tricked you, little ones... and the reason why me suggest it... is because Spotter learn that lesson the hard way."

Dive's eyes lit up at his father's words. "You did, daddy?!"

Petrie nodded with a smile. The storyteller had just roped in his audience.

"That is right, son. Me had important mission from Seeker, but me nearly die because me get careless." With that he waved a wing and his children immediately fluttered into the circle, ignoring their misgivings about the earlier prank. As they did so, Petrie turned and looked out at the other children in a well-rehearsed motion. He smiled at the little fastbiters and bowed with a graceful motion. He had learned a bit of showmanship from his uncle over the years, and he knew how to use it.

"The lesson this time, younglings, is about observation." He was so lost in his act that he didn't notice his speech impediment disappear as it always did when he worked himself up into the frenzy of a song. "Observation saved me; observation saved the pack; and observation can save you... So please observe all you little flyers, fastbiters, and dear friends, as Spotter recounts to you his song..."

As the flyer began to sing his low tones in preparation of the words that would follow, he didn't notice his mate share a knowing smile with Seeker. They both knew that whatever Petrie couldn't communicate well through speech, he certainly could sing.


Water. Clear and reflective. In many ways by staring into the water a person could stare into their very soul. There was a certain sense of irony in that the process of consuming the liquid of life could allow one to reflect upon life. The need for water was as unavoidable as seeing one's face in the reflection. An unavoidable confrontation.

The irony was not lost on Petrie.

As he stared into the cool blue void he could see a face stare back at him that seemed alien despite it being his own. It still amazed him that the predator that looked back at him was himself. The only thing that hadn't changed were the eyes. The same desire to do good was there even if the innocence was not. A solitary reminder of who he once was.

Splash!

The fish didn't even have time to register the bite as Petrie swallowed the hapless creature whole. It was simply another victim that had to die so that he might live. The reality of his existence no longer horrified him, despite the harshness of it still rearing its head from time to time. He was a sharptooth now and nothing could change that.

But what kind of sharptooth would me be?

That was the question that still weighed heavily on the young flyer's mind. He would never abandon his friends, but he was a very different kind than them. This difference meant more than a simple difference in perspective, it also meant a difference in lifestyle. Despite being welcomed in the pack and still feeling like one of the gang, he knew that he was simultaneously something else as well.

He was a sharptooth flyer, but what exactly did that mean?

The others had numerous chances to learn the songs of their kind... to learn the rituals and the taunts... to learn how to use their abilities for the benefit of the pack... but he was different. He could not ask Pterano for pointers on how to be a sharptooth flyer, it was simply up to him to find out how to relate to his own kind. He couldn't help but wonder what songs the sharptooth flyers sang and what stories they told. It was something that he knew that he would have to explore one day.

"Spotter?"

Petrie sighed. Me suppose me think too much about me. He chided himself. Me is pack's flyer! Me need to help.

He quickly took to the air from the water he had been floating upon. The resulting splash and hard landing quickly caught Littlefoot's attention. An apologetic expression quickly crossed the fastbiter's face.

"Oh, I'm sorry, Spotter! If you need more time to catch your meal..."

Spotter shook his head and raised a wing to silence Littlefoot.

"Me already catch food. What going on, Spotter?"

Petrie stared at his friend with an unintentionally harsh expression. The piercing red eyes and the relative lack of expression in the mannerisms of his kind often made his packmates feel a bit self-conscious he noted. He regretted this aspect of his change when Littlefoot cleared his throat and looked at the ground.

Petrie noted Littlefoot's apprehensive expression. This not look good.

"We need to talk, Spotter."

Petrie's eyes went wide. Oh no! Now me know this not good! Despite the concern that now filled him, he kept his expression somewhat neutral. It was times like this that his lack of expression was a blessing and not a curse.

"What we need to talk about, Seeker?" Petrie offered tentatively. "Me supposed to scout Land of Shallow Waters, right? Me can do that fine. Also, uncle go with me." His expression did not capture the turmoil that lie inside. Surely Seeker did not doubt his abilities?

Littlefoot coughed. An odd, hacking sound that was made out of nervousness and not out of distress.

"No, Spotter, that is not what concerns me..." A deep sighed escaped him as he ran his claws through his crest in a flustered expression. "That is only part of your mission... that is your mission for Dein and Terri..." He looked up at Petrie with an intense expression. "The pack requires you for something else."

Everything froze in that instant for Petrie. The implications were clear. The 'pack' had another task to be completed and that would be his 'real' mission. They were going behind the backs of their allies... of Chomper's parents...

"Me obey the pack, Seeker." Petrie spoke with a firmness that surprised even him. "Me do whatever pack needs... but please tell Petrie what he be doing... and why me doing it." The piercing stare was now directed full-force at Littlefoot's face. "You may hide it from Dein and Terri, but no hide from Spotter. Me not hide things from you."

Littlefoot reared back as if he had been struck. The apprehension was now replaced with a look of apology.

"I'm sorry, Spotter, but I couldn't tell you last night." His face bowed slightly in a look of contemplation. "I had to talk to Ponder and Thud before the others... Thud is a pack leader like me and needs to plan what is best for his pack... and Ponder..."

Petrie waved off the attempt to explain his actions. "You not need explain Ponder... Me know why you not want to keep secrets from her." Littlefoot seemed to squirm a bit at that statement. "But why you keep it secret from others? And what you keep secret?"

Littlefoot sighed. "That is what I am trying to explain... I had to make sure that Thud's pack would be on our side if it comes to this..." Petrie stepped back at the mention of 'sides'. "And I had to ask Ponder how best to break the news to Path..." He waved his hand and made a gesture as if he were trying to grab the right words from the air. "You see, Spotter, if I am right then our time with Path's parents might need to come to an end."

Petrie nodded as he had already deduced this. "Yes, me figure that... but why must it end?"

Littlefoot exhaled a light breath as he looked at the small flyer.

"Both Thud and I smelled it, though it is slight... and Dein's behavior confirms it..."

Petrie had grown tired of this. "Spit it out already!"

Littlefoot stopped speaking and looked at the flyer in surprise. It wasn't everyday that Petrie was assertive in a conversation, but then again it wasn't everyday that Littlefoot was at a loss for words.

"Terri is going into heat."

Silence permeated the scene for several moments as Petrie processed that bit of information. If Terri was going into heat then that meant that Dein would be fiercely protective of her... and want to impress her... and...

"Oh crap." Petrie muttered.

Littlefoot could only nod at Petrie's understanding. "Exactly. He already is acting more unreasonable than usual and..." A sigh escaped him as he looked at his claws. "We have duties to them, but we need to start planning our escape..."

Petrie shook his head at this. "You no think they keep as allies?"

Littlefoot frowned at this. "I've talked to Thud about this and he says that the last you place that you want to be is by two-footers during mating season." He put on a distressed expression. "A fastbiter is a potential egg-stealer after all..."

Petrie blinked at this. "If they have new baby then they not want us near..." The implications kept on coming to the flyer and Littlefoot remained silent as Petrie vocalized them. "They not want no one but them there... and Path not part of their pack no more!" A horrified look then appeared on the flyer's face. "You tell Path?"

Littlefoot sighed. "Not yet... I need to make sure that everyone is ready first..." He contorted his face in a pained expression. "I don't want to tell Path until we are for sure, but..."

"You pretty sure." The flyer's words were not a question.

"Yeah." Littlefoot muttered.


The next day:

"You seem preoccupied, nephew."

Petrie blinked as he turned towards his uncle. They had been flying since they had woken up, but Petrie had been uncharacteristically quiet during the entire morning. Realizing that it would be hard to hear him over the roar of the wind, Petrie guided himself into a circling pattern in order to reduce speed. It was only when the background noise became bearable, that he spoke.

"Petrie have lot on mind."

Pterano looked at his nephew with concern. The young flyer was seldom like this. In fact the last time that he could recall him being this way was back after the nearly disastrous first meeting with the hidden runners many months prior. The fact that Petrie had insisted on looking at a few other locations before going to their destination also concerned him. Not that they wouldn't be able to give the pack their report in time; they could meander for days and still be able to inform the others before they reached the Land of Shallow Waters. No... Petrie was usually very driven on his missions. The fact that he appeared to be dithering here was extremely noticeable.

Pterano bobbed his head in order to adjust his speed and then promptly turned back towards his nephew.

"Well, care to tell your uncle?"

The elder flyer looked intently as Petrie seemed to shift uncomfortably in the air. His eyes quickly darted from side to side as if to confirm there was no one listening in, which in this context made little sense. The rare moment of vulnerability made Pterano think about Petrie in his leaf-eater days. However, Petrie soon regained his bearings and again focused straight ahead. It was then that his words cut through the air like daggers.

"Me have other mission, uncle. Mission that Path's parents not know about..."

"Well... well... what do we have here?"

Kralle watched the two flyers with suspicion as he attempted to fly above their line of sight. However, as both of the flyers seemed to be conversing with one another, this was a relatively easy thing to accomplish.

Hmmm... odd having a sharptooth flyer and a leaf-eater fly together. I wonder if...

He shifted in the air and fell several body lengths as the painful scar on his right wing again made itself known. He still had not recovered from the debacle in the valley. Everything had been going well until those damn carrion eaters came into the picture. Still, he had been luckier than most. Very well of his comrades had survived the ordeal.

But now that was all in the past. He had to go back to the old way of doing things. Solitary hunts and solitary meals. No pack to back him up and no collective security. It was entirely up to him if he lived or died. It was odd to think that in Redclaw's pack he could have found solidarity, but for the flyers such a bond had existed. It was the bond of being worthy. Of being something larger than yourself. Now that it had gone he felt hollow.

He looked down at the flyers again as they pass through the other end of a cloud. He could now confirm that it was indeed a leaf-eater and a sharptooth flyer. The very implications of that made a deep anger rise in him.

Has the valley begun to recruit my own kind now?! He knew that an alliance of the desperate had formed during the Battle of the Valley, but it was uncommon for sharptooth and leaf-eater flyers to do much interaction in the Mysterious Beyond. That was when something caught Kralle's eye.

The sharptooth flyer had the exact same coloration of the one that had fought Sierra. Could it be...

He crumpled his wings towards his chest and descended into a vertical dive, before again extending his wings and falling into a silent glide. This gave him enough speed to gain on the two targets. That was when he saw one more piece of evidence that made everything fall into place. The larger flyer had the same coloration of the one that had fought Rinkus. But that was not what caught his attention.

The flyer's eyes. Using his own superior sense of vision he could see into their depths. It was then that he knew that this was the one.

Kralle seethed. In his anger, his wings twitched in impossible to constrain rage.

I will finish what my comrades could not, you loathsome vermin!

With a final crumpling of the wings, he dived towards the unsuspecting flyers.


"So, you are telling me that you think that your pack will have to move on soon?"

Petrie nodded. "Yeah. When two-footers mate, it not good idea to tempt fate. At least that what Thud say."

Pterano snorted. "Remind me to never ask Thud for lessons on poetry." He soon took on a more serious face, however. "Well... if you all will need to leave eventually, why don't you go now? I am sure that Chomper's folks can manage fine on their own."

"No! We not turn back on allies!" Pterano was taken aback by Petrie's fierce objection. "Path's family help us save old home, now we help them take back their home. Only then we leave."

Pterano sighed. Considering Pterano's own checkered past he was not about to lecture his nephew on matters of honor. However, he couldn't brush away the thought that Petrie would be better served by being a bit more self-serving in this case.

"Be that as it may, nephew, you are all putting yourselves at risk." Pterano nodded his head away from the nearby bluffs as he directed his nephew to circle back with him towards their original path. "The first step in evading a danger is to spot it. It seems to me that you are like a flyer who sees the mountain but is still willing to fly into it."

Petrie shook his head. "Pack not break mountains, but pack can break enemies. We do so again."

His uncle nodded. "I hope so..." A deep sigh escaped him as his nephew looked towards him. "Just remember what your job is in the pack, Petrie. You are an observer. So what do you observe now?"

Petrie was taken aback by this. "Me no understand."

Pterano smiled slightly. "What do you notice about this situation? What do you observe? Observations aren't just things you see, my dear nephew, they are things that you figure out as well." Seeing that Petrie was looking contemplative, Pterano continued. "Your friend, Littlefoot must do a lot of observing in order to keep the pack organized. He must have to know everyone's moods, their fears, their strengths... A leader must observe those things."

Petrie spoke without thinking. "Is that how you got others to follow you?"

Pterano cringed at his nephew's question, but answered truthfully.

"Yes, Petrie. That is how I did it." A frown descended upon his face as he looked ahead. "Once you know a person's hopes and fears you can easily know how they will react. It is not something I am happy about."

Petrie nodded. "Me manipulate bad flyers and hidden runners before. Me not happy about that either, but me still do it. Me wonder what Seeker trying to make us do."

Pterano nodded at this. "All leaders manipulate others, Petrie, but only good ones do it for the benefit of the manipulated. I don't doubt Littlefoot's intentions, but maybe if you can find out what they are then you can determine what to do."

Silence descended upon the flyers for several moments as Petrie pondered this. Only the sound of flapping wings and the occasional wind gust interrupted the blanket of quiet. Finally though, Petrie spoke.

"He want to protect Path. That why he not tell him yet." Pterano nodded at this insight from his nephew. Chomper, though already a battle-hardened sharptooth, was barely a young preadolescent. Matters of mating and his parents suddenly acting cold towards him may be difficult for him to understand. "He only tell Thud because he need Thud's support if packs leave quickly. And he only tell Ponder... well, because she is Ponder." Pterano chuckled at this. Being the companion of the leader entailed a special status all to itself. It seemed that Petrie was already aware of this. "Me need to find new places for pack to live... but Seeker tell me to search on way to Land of Shallow Waters... oh!"

Pterano looked at his nephew in surprise. "What is it?"

Petrie frowned. "If Seeker want me to find places by Land of Shallow Waters, then maybe he don't think we make it there! Maybe he think that pack have to leave before then! Or maybe he think that pack have to leave in hurry!"

Pterano nodded. "You see, Petrie. Littlefoot is already making contingency plans. Even honor has limits."

"Why he not tell me?" Petrie muttered despondently. "Me trustworthy."

Pterano shrugged with his wings, a gesture that caused him to rise slightly. "Maybe he was not aware of this himself? Sometimes our actions say more about us than our words say... sometimes they say even more than our thoughts." He looked back at his nephew with a contemplative look. "You should probably let him know when we get back. If he is that concerned deep inside then he should probably be made aware of that."

Petrie nodded at this though the downcast look still remained. "Like you say, uncle. First step to avoid danger is see danger. Me need to tell Seeker so he avoid it." He looked back at his uncle who was now at a slightly elevated position compared to him. He had to squint his eyes to see his uncle's form in front of the bright white clouds. "Thanks, uncle! Now me need to simply..."

That was when Pterano saw it.

"Petrie! Roll now!"


Both flyers rolled evasively as the massive flyer careened past where Petrie had been mere second before. Not wasting any time, the flyer entered into a hard spin and began to circle back to where his target had been mere moments before. Though he had lost the element of surprise, he still had a great advantage due to his advanced speed. None of this was seen by Petrie, however, who was still in a chaotic spin.

Sharptooth flyer! Me have to get distance!

Quickly breaking out of his spin, Petrie flapped his wings in quick succession. He would eventually need to build speed, but in a chase that could not be done by wings alone. No, he would need to built altitude and then let gravity do the rest.

Flap! Flap! Flap!

His wings burned with exertion at the sudden onslaught of activity. He had not been under such pressure since the battle for the valley... since his injury. The blistering pain that now returned to his wings was a fierce reminder of what he nearly had lost in the rocky bluffs surrounding the valley. He hoped that his body could handle the task that it now faced.

"Petrie dive!"

Without thinking, Petrie crumpled his wings and descended right as the claws of his pursuer cut through the air that he had just been occupying. The sound of an angry screech and rushing wind then followed as Petrie quickly looked back towards the threat.

And promptly wished that he hadn't.

Pterano's diversionary attack had only delayed the other flyer for a few moments, as he was now quickly gaining on Petrie despite the pursuit of his uncle. It seemed that the sharptooth flyer desire to seek revenge on Petrie transcended all other concerns. The combination of the flyer's hulking form and his crazed eyes made Petrie's pulse quicken with panic.

What do me do?! He have advantage!

Quickly darting his head back and forth as he maintained the dive, he searched in vain for any piece of terrain that might give him an advantage. The bluffs were too far away and only grassland greeted the flyer's eyes. Grassland that was rapidly approaching.

Petrie smiled. That was it!

"Uncle, follow!" Petrie screeched as he turned on his side and extended his wings, causing him to circle in a wide arc. This single action caused him to begin to turn, but it also greatly slowed his velocity. At a higher altitude this would have been a death sentence, but this close to the ground...

Petrie twitched in anxiety as a tell-tale whoosh reached his ears. The enemy flyer had passed him up due to his great speed, but Petrie knew that he would be back. His stunt had only bought him some time.

But that was all that he needed.

"Petrie, are you alright?!"

The young flyer smiled at his uncle's voice. Despite his pained wings and exhausted muscles, he now had a plan.

"Uncle, me have plan! When he come back..."


"I will get you! You worthless piece of spiketail dung!"

Kralle was enraged. The small flyer had evaded him not once, but twice. Nonetheless, he was certain that the pathetic flyer would not best him this time. The flyer had used up most of his velocity during his evasive turn. Now it was just a matter of catching up to him and finishing the job.

Unless his friend intervenes...

He stared at the sky around the small flyer and noticed something immediately. The elder flyer... was gone.

He darted his head back and forth, but it was only when he looked towards the clouds that he could see the other flyer. He was rapidly gaining altitude. It seemed that he was cutting his loses.

Heh... So much for leaf-eater loyalty...

With a satisfied smirk, Kralle pumped his wings and rapidly gained speed on Petrie. Within mere moments he would be within attacking distance of the hapless flyer.

But little did he now that he was playing right into their plans.


Observe... Learn... Plan...

Pterano soared into the clouds as he focused on the chase going on below him. He could now observe details that he could not when he was in the heat of the battle. It was amazing what distance could do for one's perspective. With the old flyer mantra playing in his head, he considered the situation.

Observation: the flyer is totally focused on Petrie... now that he thinks that I am flying away he is paying me no heed...

His wings pumped vigorously as he struggled to match the horizontal speed of the enemy. He would have to be ready for when the right moment came.

What have I learned: the flyer is impulsive and fixated on one goal. He will not see the unexpected.

As he had these thoughts he could see the distance slowly close between the large flyer and his nephew. It was less than a longneck neck's distance between them now. Both flyers were pumping their wings like mad in order to keep up the necessary speed. At the same time, Petrie was noticeably sinking closer to the ground. This increased his speed, but also made the room for error much less. A loss of control at that altitude would mean a crash; and a crash at that speed would mean death.

Which is the plan... he will never know what hit him.

The distance rapidly closed as Kralle pumped his wings like mad. Soon only a tree's length separated the two combatants. It would be mere moments before the distance was closed completely.

Without hesitation, Pterano dove.


I have you now!

Kralle's wings burned with exertion as the distance rapidly closed. They were literally a few body-length's away. From this distance he could see fine details on his enemy's body. He could see the swaying of the individual filaments that covered his wings... he could see the gleam from his wide eyes... he could see the gentle swaying of his crest... but most strikingly he could see the scars of battle past. Several scars on each wing... a healed gash on the head... this flyer had obviously seen serious battles in his short life.

Kralle smiled. Time for you to meet your last...

The distance had closed now and the two flyers were barely off of the ground. The grass below them swayed due to the rushing air from their wake. As soon as Kralle made his attack, the poor flyer would have nowhere to go but down. The battle would be over as quickly as it had started. With a quick strike from the air.

Kralle had no time to realize how very right that he was.

Slam!

With a sudden jolt and a burst of pain, Kralle felt the claws of the large flyer slam into his back. In an instant he lost any maneuverability that he once had. The sea of grass below him now turned into a green blanket in his vision. A blanket that was about to overtake him.

Wha...

He never heard the collision that ended his life.


Petrie stared at the scene in front of him in shock.

The body of the sharptooth flyer lay in a crumpled heap. There was no wing or appendage that was not bent in a horrifying, unnatural direction. His neck was twisted in such a manner as if he were staring at someone behind him, which was a testament to how close the fiend had been to decapitating himself when he collided into the ground head first. The only sign of life from him now were the involuntary convulsions that came with a traumatic death. His eyes seemed to stare at Pterano in silent condemnation. Despite the necessity of his actions, it was simply another death that had been caused by his actions.

"Uncle!"

Pterano looked up at the small form of his nephew. His words had been choked out with an exhausted and weary tone. It was obvious that Pterano had made his move not a moment too soon.

Pterano took a deep breath as he too was trying to regain his breath. "I am glad that you are alright, Petrie." He looked over at the massive flyer. "It seems that the carrion flyers did not take care of all of our friends."

Petrie nodded as he stumbled over and embraced his uncle. The elder flyer could feel the trembling of his nephew like the rumblings of an earthshake. The danger had been destroyed and the emergency had passed, but now they had to pay the price that came with surviving the moments of mind-numbing terror. Petrie's observations had saved the day, but it had yet to be seen if the pack would be as lucky in the days to come.


"Me was lucky on that day, but it was close. Spotter understood the need to observe in the days to come, but me was unaware of what was happening while Spotter away from pack..."

Dive quaked in excitement. "What happened next, daddy?!"

Petrie smiled. "Well... Me afraid that is a song for another day..."

A stream of protests erupted from the children as they were all now enraptured in the ensemble story that the pack had been singing. But, like Ruby before him, his feigned intent to bring the story to a close was just for show.

It was at this point that Petrie's beloved mate, Soar, addressed the children.

"Alright, kids. We will continue, but only if you all behave. No interrupting and no tail biting!" She looked at Taunt and Cera's kids as she said this, which made Taunt chuckle. As the mutterings of agreement arose from the children, Soar finally allowed a satisfied smile appear on her face.

"I guess that it is my turn. It is, it is!"

The children turned towards the new voice as the green fastbiter approached the circle. Leap gave her a quick nuzzle before she entered into the center of attention. It was only then that Petrie and Soar flew to where Littlefoot and Ruby were sitting. Their song in this particular story was finished, but the story had only begun.


Thanks for the feedback, everyone! I hope that you all enjoy the latest installment.

RichardTerminator: Thanks for the offer, but at the moment I already have the coming characters planned out. They will be encountering some other fastbiters, but... well, you will see a bit later on.

gordhanx: That is an interesting question about Chomper. The only thing that I will tell you right now is that his current 'relationship status' and role in the pack will be revealed a bit later. I am glad that you enjoyed several of the aspects of the previous chapter, including the interactions between Cera and Taunt's families and the conversation between Thud and Ruby. I hope that you enjoy the latest chapter.

bryan mccloud: Yeah, it was interesting trying to envision an adult Chomper. And don't worry, we will be seeing more of Chomper (both child and adult) in a future chapter. His story is going to be quite an interesting one. His specific 'role' in the pack is going to be revealed slowly over time as well.

Viridis Lord of Ice: Yeah, that is quite a few names to take in. But don't worry, knowledge of all of their names will not be required to enjoy this story. The main focus will be on the retelling of the pack's history. I am also glad that you enjoyed the depiction of the pack's families. In many ways the children embody the personalities of their parents.