Chapter XXXI

But Ali's joyfulness shouldn't last continue for long. "We are going back to the resting place!" ordered the old one. "There we'll handle the thing with Ali!" Her voice didn't sound furiously as Littlefoot had expected because of her look before, but tranquil. Nevertheless not only Ali but for Littlefoot's surprise also her mother became perceptible nervous by the old one's words. The old one turned round and stepped away. The other grownups took the children between and followed her to the resting place of the herd. Even though Littlefoot could understand that Ali feared the grownup's anger, he thought that it was a bit exaggerated when he noticed how pale Ali had become. Eventually she hadn't done anything wicked, that would have vindicated such an anxiousness, had she? "What's the matter Ali?" he asked. Ali looked at him confused. "You look as if we would be on the way to the sharptooth." Without the slightest touch of irony in her voice or on her face answered Ali: "If it would be only that!" Littlefoot looked at her amazedly and forgot to move along. First when Ali had went on already some steps Littlefoot ran after her hasty and asked "My goodness Ali, what are you so afraid of?" " I've transgressed against the rules. I've withdrawn from the herd although the old one had forbidden it." Said Ali as if this would be the worst sacrilege that could be done. "So what?" asked Littlefoot and continued hasty when he saw Ali's shocked mien: "You've done it to help us and if I guess that right, you haven't said anything to the grownups because Cera wouldn't have wanted that." "Exactly!" Cera who had caught up and heard the last exchange of words agreed. "You haven't done anything evil. Sure, the grownups will be angry, but they won't kill you." Cera laughed, but ceased immediately when she saw Ali's unnerved mien. "Not killing." Ali said and speaking seemed to be very difficult for her, "But maybe banishing." "Banishing?" Littlefoot asked flustered. "Shutting out from the herd." explained Ali. "You don't really mean that Ali?" asked Cera yet harassed after all. "But why Ali?" asked Littlefoot who had read from Ali's face that she really meant what she said. "You are no herdsaurus." Ali answered and it sounded nearly a bit condescendingly when she continued: "You are allowed to commit and omit as you like, but that is differently with us." Cera already wanted to give an irritated answer, but Littlefoot forestalled her: "But Ali, that's baloney, how could they banish you? You're a kid." Now it was Ali who answered indignantly: "I'm not a baby anymore! And I've contravened against the old one's order and endangered the safety of the herd by that!" After this words Ali fell into a sort of melancholic tranquility and continued nearly whispering: "And that is nearly always punishable by banishment!" But that's impossible!" meant Cera. "They would have to banish your mother too!" "Why?" asked Ali. "She is another member of the herd." More silently she continued: "If they banish me, then mum will certainly leave the herd self imposed and we'll have to stay at one place forever. And it is my fault!" Littlefoot understood Ali's anxiousness now. But still he could hardly believe that somebody at Ali's age really could be banished from the herd. But he had to admit that Ali had to know that better, eventually she had always lived in a migrating herd and he did never. Moreover he couldn't understand why Ali was so horrified of the thought to life at one place forever, but he bewared of saying this to Ali, because it seemed to be impossible to understand that as a sedentary, not migrating dinosaur. "You won't be banished Ali. Oh no, no, no. Certainly not. All this was not your fault and we'll say that to the grownups. Oh yes, we will. Yep, yep, yep!" chattered Ducky who had caught up too and heard the last argues. Spike who carried Petrie on his back, because his leg still hurt, had caught up likewise uttered some agreeing noises and he and Petrie nodded fiercely to Ducky's words. But Ali only gave them a just as thankful as hopeless smile and said sadly: "Whatever you may say, it won't be of use." "Why not?" asked Ducky who hopped, apparently very much for telling the grownups everything and asseverating Ali's innocence, in front of Ali. Ali looked embarrassedly first at Cera, then at Ducky and finally at Spike and Petrie and then she said downcast: "Well, you know, it is a longneck herd and you are no...", Ali sighed instead of finishing the sentence. Ducky, Spike and Petrie looked dismayed and a bit offended. Littlefoot seemed affected too and Cera frowned and made ready for an angry answer. But she didn't find the time for it, since they just arrived at the resting place and one of the longnecks bend it's head down to them and said: "Now Ali you'll have to answer some questions to us!" If there had been still any doubts about the seriousness of Ali's situation for Littlefoot and the others then they were evacuated by the longnecks intonation.