"Hello, there!" Pterano called to the longnecks. The entire herd all turned to see this flyer as he came in close. "Tis a nice day, is it not? A pleasant day for flying." He addressed the leader. "My name is Pterano." He motioned behind him to Cera, Ducky, Petrie, and Spike as they came over a small hill. "I'm the leader of this marry band of travelers."
"Leader!?" Cera barked. "Ha! You wouldn't be our leader if you were the last flyer on earth! If anyone here is leader, it's me!"
Pterano brushed her off. "Might I enquire as to your name?" He asked the herd leader.
"My name, is Bron." The leader said.
"Is that such a good idea, Bron?" The tall, dark-green longneck stepped forward. "Just giving your name to some random Flyer? We have no idea where he comes from or what he wants."
"It is not a problem, Shorty." Bron said.
Cera, Ducky, Petrie, and Spike came to stand in front of Bron. Cera looked up at him quizzingly. This longneck was familiar. He had a resemblance to Littlefoot, but was too old to be him. Still, she recognized him. And the taller longneck next to him. Suddenly, she realized, like a flying rock exploding in the sky. "Bron! Shorty! I remember you now! You're Littlefoot's father!"
"Littlefoot?" Bron said. "You know my son? Wait a minute, you're that Threehorn. The one my son used to play with." He chuckled a little. "It's been a few years, I'm sorry I didn't recognize you right away. What was your name again?"
"CERA!" A voice called out from the herd. It caught the attention of Bron, Cera, and all the others. From within the mass of longnecks, a young female clamored forward. She pushed through the crowd. "Cera, Ducky, Petrie, Spike! I'm so happy to see you again!"
Ducky was the first to realize who she was. "Ali! It's you, yup yup yup!"
Petrie swooped down and wrapped his wings around Ali's neck in great big hug. "Yay, Ali! Me not see you in so long!"
Ali giggled. "Yes, I know. It has been a long time, Petrie." Her gaze turned to meet Cera's. "Hello, Cera."
Cera nodded. "Hi, Ali." She exchanged glance with Bron, and then looked back to the female longneck. "How long have you been traveling with Littlefoot's father?"
"It's been at least a few days," Ali said, "but honestly, I didn't know they were related."
"You know my son?" Bron asked.
"Yes," Ali replied. "We are… friends."
"And we're trying to find him." Cera said.
"Why isn't he in the Valley?" Bron interjected. "Where did he go?"
"It's a long story." Cera said.
Bron shook his head. "If it concerns my son, I need to hear about it. What has happened to him?"
"Bron!" Shorty shouted. "As much as I'd like to hear about Littlefoot too, we can't have the entire herd out here in the open just standing around while you listen to Threehorns telling sleepy stories. We need to keep moving."
Bron sighed. "Yes, you're right." He turned to face his adopted son. "Shorty, I want you to lead the rest of the herd to the Great Valley."
Shorty was taken back. His eyes widened and mouth dropped. "Really? Me?"
"Yes." Bron said. "I know you're more than capable. You know the way. But I need to find out what's happened to Littlefoot."
With a quick nod, Shorty said, "I won't let you down, Bron." He twisted his neck around to the herd. "Everyone, I was just put in charge! I'll be leading you the rest of the way to the Great Valley."
The herd began to mutter amongst themselves, but when Shorty started to walk they fell into line behind him. Eventually every longneck aside from Bron and Ali had left with Shorty to continue their march for the Great Valley. "Now, Cera, tell me. What's happened? And where is Littlefoot?"
Ali spoke up. "I saw him recently. Not even three days ago. When we split up he said he was going to the Longneck Rock."
"Then that's where we need to go." Cera said. "We'll tell you the whole story on the way, Bron."
"We need to hurry." Petrie chimed in. "Grandpa Longneck might not last much longer."
"Grandpa Longneck?" Bron asked. "What's wrong with him?"
Pterano came down to perch on a jutting rock about level with Cera's frill. "Yes, indeed. Please indulge us with all the details. You have been rather scarce of those since this little excursion began."
Cera cursed under her breath. She'd really not wanted to tell Pterano about Grandpa, or her father. But now it seemed like it was inevitable. "Alright fine. But let's get moving at least."
The small traveling band, now joined by Ali and Bron, wondered together through the Mysterious Beyond. Now with a destination, and a guide who knew where they were going, they started to make better time. As they walked, Cera explained everything to Bron, with a little help from Petrie and Ducky. All about Sharptooth's reappearance, his rampage through the Valley and the deaths of her father and Grandma Longneck. She finished with Littlefoot leaving with Doc, followed by the departure of Sharptooth and Chomper's disappearance.
Once Cera was done, Ali began to explain her story. How her herd was attacked by Sharptooth, and confirming the gang's fear that Chomper had joined with him. And how she soon found Littlefoot and Doc, only for Sharptooth to find them again and how Doc sacrificed himself to save them. "And after that we ran into you, and you know what happened after that."
Bron shook his head. He took several deep breaths, trying to absorb it all. That his son was the target of the most vile sharptooth to have ever lived. That his mother-in-law was dead and father-in-law was dying, and he hadn't been there to do anything about it. But now he was. He wouldn't leave his son to face this threat by himself anymore. "Okay. I understand things now. I know where Longneck Rock is, I'll lead the way now." He stepped out ahead of the small group.
Pterano, who had been riding on Bron's back for most of the explanations, flared his wings. "I will go above and scout out the area for danger."
"That's a good idea." Bron replied.
With two flaps of his wings, Pterano lifted off the longneck and took to the air. While high above the other dinosaurs, a sly grin came to his face. "Well, things may have turned my way." He said to no one except himself. "My most vocal opponents are gone. And if I can just get the Threehorn on my side, then I can return to the Valley with glory and prestige. Once I have that, it'll be almost too easy to become leader of the herd, and have control over the Great Valley for myself."
Under the Rock that looks like a Longneck, Littlefoot scraped the ground with his foot, his eyes fixed on the small pebbles before him. He knew what awaited him. Sharptooth was still out there, still hunting him and still killing other dinosaurs. Sooner or later, Littlefoot would have to face the bloodthirsty monster, but when he did what would he do?
Was he really prepared to take a life? To kill Sharptooth? The incident with the horned-sharptooth made him question. What would it accomplish if he did?
It would save countless lives, it would stop his murderous rampage and allow Littlefoot to live in peace after nearly seven years of running. Besides, he didn't have a problem with killing Sharptooth when he was younger. What was the problem now?
The problem now was that he was older, wiser, and more experienced. Now he knew that killing wasn't the answer, there were always non-violent solutions. But were there any for this situation? Could he really stop Sharptooth without killing him?
Go ahead and finish him off. He killed your mother! Your Grandmother, your mentor, your best friend's father, all of them dead because of that monster! Best to just get rid of him, smash his filthy head against a rock and crush his chest beneath your feet!
There has to be another way.
There is none!
He's a living being.
How many living beings has he killed?
It all started when Sharptooth killed Doc's friend, Serena, in a fit of blind hunger. And then Doc killed Sharptooth's mate, Razorclaw, on accident when she attacked him. A pair of accidents that caused a cycle of hate and vengeance that continues to this day. Littlefoot knew he had to stop it.
Isn't the best way to stop it just to kill Sharptooth?
That would just perpetuate the cycle, it has to stop.
And how do you plan to stop it, if not by killing the monster?
I tried to kill him once and failed. The result was only more death, more sorrow.
Then don't fail this time. Get rid of him once and for all.
Littlefoot shook hid head from side to side. He took several deep breathes, but his heart was still conflicted. He stepped out from under the rock formation, allowing it's shadow to fall away and have the light of the Great Circle shine down on his back. Clouds moved across the bright blue sky, casting their own shadows upon the rocky terrain of the Mysterious Beyond.
Littlefoot watched the clouds with only a small understanding of what they were. He remembered back to when he was a child on his first journey to the Great Valley, how his mother's spirit would appear in the clouds and help to guide him when times were difficult. He wished for her guidance now. What would she tell him to do? What would Doc say?
None of it mattered now. Neither of them were here, this was a question he had to solve on his own. No matter how much it tore at his mind and conscience.
In the distance, a small group of dinosaurs appeared on the horizon. Littlefoot could only make out the basic shapes of them, but it appeared that there were two longnecks and a few smaller dinosaurs. Littlefoot hardly cared anymore. He crawled back under Longneck Rock and curled up in a ball with his legs tucked under his body. No matter what dinosaurs came by, he would pay them no heed. His eyelids grew heavy, finally closing and he drifted off to sleep.
A hard nudge to the head and Littlefoot was awakened. He blinked furiously, confused and disorientated. Being kicked in the head while sleeping will do that to a person. "Hey, what's the big idea with-" He locked eyes with the dinosaur that woke him. A Threehorn with yellow scales. A female only slightly older than himself. A face that, in spite of the many years that had past since last he'd seen it, he recognized instantly. "Cera!" He quickly noticed the other dinosaurs with her. A Swimmer leaning against a Spike-tail, now that she was too large to ride on his back anymore, and a Flyer perched on the swaying plates of the same Spike-tail. "Ducky, Petrie, Spike!"
Cera smiled. "About time you woke up, sleepyhead."