Xion the Author: Chapter 1, completely rewritten to keep up with a third-person point of view rather than an omniscient point of view (which I think the former is better). Also fixed up some grammar issues and dramatically rewrote for quality control. Commence Two Roads, One Destination two-point-oh (2.0)
Going back to this, I find myself amused by my old childish self. This plot is basically very abrupt, and the writing style complements the lousy writing. I actually find it quite humorous. I can see why people prefer my latter works, as they more professionally written. If the following chapters are not stated to be completely rewritten (which you'd actually notice with the grammar and erros), please forgive me. I only did this in my past time.
Two Roads, One Destination
Chapter I. Melon Cakes and Natural Disasters
Out in the snowy field of ice and sleet, a strange squirrel-rat hybrid can seen sniffing and scratching at the ground. Scrat, as his uncanny name dictates the nickname of his breed, is off once again in his endless quest to find his beloved acorn. He's been going nuts looking for his nut. He remembered it being left back in the world under the ice, so he's looking for another entrance down there.
Right now it was probably with the wretched Scratte. He irked at the thought of her.
Scrat digs… yet no entrance, so he goes to another area. He digs and hits a hard surface – no entrance once again and the cycle continues. He has been perseverant in his endless search. Not a stone left unturned. Not a night had past in his sleep, for not an hour he wasted to be reunited with his beloved. His eye bags have eye bags. As every minute passed, fatigue slowly crept up on him. He is continually tiring himself with only disappointment at every turn.
At the desolate field of ice and snow, the winter wind blew against him, chilling his fur and numbing his senses. He collapses to the ground - almost falling asleep of exhaustion. But, at the flicker of sunlight at a distance, he cracks up (almost literally) an idea when he saw – A ROCK.
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOOOOUUU!"
A special gathering of different animals were singing and shouting. The scene was indulged in a joyous muse. At the feet of a baby mammoth was half a watermelon with 8 lighted twigs set on top. Today was Peaches' 5th birthday. Almost everyone was wearing leaf-coned hats, from small ones specifically for possums to medium ones for saber-toothed tigers or even for sloths.
Everyone was having a blast. Peaches was even getting better at blowing with her trunk, and her tusks grew a few inches quite smoothly as a female mammoth's should.
"Hey Ellie!" said Crash and Eddie in unison, "How'd you like the hats we made?"
"I love it!" chortled Ellie, still trying to convince his husband to wear one too. "Manny, why won't wear one too?"
"Because, I look too silly wearing one," he replied quite frankly.
"Oh come on. It's our daughter's birthday. I mean, look!" she said while pointing at Diego and Sid. "They're wearing it."
"Yeah, and now Diego isn't moving so he won't topple it off, and Sid looks more like an idiot than he already is," replied Manny still insisting that he wouldn't.
"Come on big guy!" Crash encouraged, handing over a giant hat with Eddie. "It's just this once!"
"Yeah!" said Eddie agreeing with him as they carried the hat which was a little heavy for them. "Well, maybe on the following birthdays too, but don't mind what everyone thinks and just do it for your daughter."
"How many times do I have to tell you guys that I won't be wearing it?" Manny insisted.
Then suddenly, a cute ball of fur came up. "Daddy?" asked Peaches from behind.
"Woah!" Manny let out while hastily grabbing the hat and putting it on his head as he turned. "What is it Sweetie?
"Can I please go play with the other kids?" Peaches asked, putting on display her cute beady eyes.
"Uhhhh… sure, just stay close, okay honey?" Manny answered.
"Okay!" Peaches cheered happily. "Love you, papa!"
After she left, Manny sighed out of relief. He glanced back to see Ellie staring at him, with the twins dangling down her tusks with their arms crossed as the entire three were smirked.
"Okay okay, fine, you guys win," Manny said in defeat. "But just this once, and probably 'till her… uhhh… eight birthday."
"I like the cake you got," said Sid to Diego as he pleasurably walked to him. Sid was in quite a festive mood, wearing a more fashionably-designed hat he made for himself.
"Uhh, yeah, nice touch with the… lighted twigs…" he replied, still trying to balance the hat on his head.
"That's right! I am after all–" Sid stood up in a somewhat proud way. "-Lord of the Flames!"
Diego chuckled, "Hah! You haven't called yourself that in ages! Last time I remember you did, you got yourself almost sacrificed by some insane sloths!"
"Ahahahaha… yeah…" Sid said, trying not to remember. "Funny how fast time passes when you're with a family."
"Yeah… I... guess…" Diego said blankly. "Good times. Good times."
"What does that supposed to mean?" asked Sid.
"Come on, Sid," He replied while finally just removing the annoying hat on his head. "We've all had our own families for once. They just - didn't work out in the end…"
Sid looking at Diego, felt compelled to agree with him. "Yeah… I still can't believe my family left me there while I was asleep. It's still funny every time I remember. When you go that far in reminiscing stuff, you can't help remembering that time we met and the mess we had with Pinky.
"Yeah, that was one heck of a mess," the saber tooth said in distinct agreement.
"You've had pack issues. I had sloth issues. Even Manny – back with those cave drawings…" Drawn in recollection, Sid stopped himself as he realized there was something he'd never asked Diego before.
"Hey, Diego," Sid said abruptly.
"What is it pal?" replied Diego while looking at the cold, white snow.
"I know this is just plain bothersome but…" Sid hesitated a bit, but after so long just went with trusting Diego won't maul him for asking. "How come you've never told much about yourself before?"
"What exactly should I talk else about?" asked Diego finally glancing towards Sid.
"You know, about how you're life was before you had us?" the sloth clarified, "Before your bloodthirsty quest for revenge with that Soto guy."
That question made Diego quiver for a moment, especially after hearing his ex-pack leader's name. In a cold reprise, he answered: "Do I need to?"
"Well no, but come on! We're a family, it's okay to tell us!" Sid said, being the glue that he is that sticked everyone together. "Were you always with that old pack of yours before?"
No one had ever asked Diego this before. No one seemed to bother, so he was never prepared to answer such a question. "Well, not really. I guess it was the same thing everyone went thorugh. I had an even older pack but I ended being alone. Found it hard to hunt till I met Soto and his pack. So to survive, I pledged my loyalty to him."
Sid got closer and sat on a nearby fallen tree trunk. "Tell me more about this, old family of yours"
Diego sighed. "Well... my dad was a great hunter. He wasn't pack alpha, but he was a great father. But he died from a stampede during a hunting trip back when I was still a cub."
Sid was shocked and was flooded with a sudden mix of emotions, instantly feeling anxious and regretful that he tried to pry. Even with everyone else at the party were laughing and enjoying themselves, Diego continued on.
"So it was just me, my mom…" Diego felt a block of wood was caught in his throat and he difficultly swallowed it, "and my sister."
"Woah woah woah," Sid leaned over getting interested. "You have a sister?"
"Well… 'had'. I-It's kinda complicated."
"Come on! Tell us!" shouted the twins, finally revealing their presence above them perched on the tree branches.
"Woah, how long have you guys been up there?" Sid asked.
"From the beginning," Diego confirmed.
"Wait-" Crash muttered, he and his twin looking at each other. "You knew all along?"
"Of course. I'm a naturally built predator; I can smell you a dozen of feet away." Diego explained, almost arrogantly.
"Dang…" Eddie said a bit impressed as both the twins went down the tree to join their company. "But that didn't bother you?"
"Seeing as Sid could never shut his mouth even to save his own skin, might as well tell everyone myself than just him." Diego smirked towards Sid and the sloth just rolled his eyes. "So, as I was saying. Yes, I do have a sister. But, unfortunately, something happened." Diego paused here for a bit, but found the will to go on.
"I was young. My mother brought me and my sister to this… forest. There were plants there everywhere. I remembered there wasn't much snow there, and there were birds and flowers and trees and pretty much every plant you could think of, other than those of course in the Jungle of Misery back in Dinoland."
We were catching fish at a river there too, having a great time! It's one of my fondest childhood memories. But, while we were playing, a piece of driftwood came out of nowhere. It pushed my sister's little body, carrying her farther away from the riverbank. I panicked. I didn't think I could do anything, so I ran to my mother as quick as I could. I went back with her but she told me to wait for her there. B-but then–"
"She… didn't come back, did she…?" Sid said in a saddened tone.
"Yeah, I sat there for hours, so I ended up looking for them myself. Thought I could do it, but I got lost along the way. And, well, long story short I grew up half my childhood alone and soon found myself in Soto's pack."
Sid didn't know what to say. This was the first time Diego ever told them about himself. He tried saying something but Diego interrupted with something he had to say.
"I know you can't keep even your own secrets, but you'd better not tell Manny about this. If you did, that guy wouldn't let me live without mentioning it from time to time, and I hope you wouldn't do that as well. I don't need a reminder of how miserable my life was.
"The same thing goes to you guys," eyeing at Crash and Eddie. "And don't think of even telling Ellie. If she knew about this, I get the feeling Manny will know about it too."
Sid and the twins couldn't do anything else but nod. The sloth was compelled to say at least something to comfort his friend. But all he could mutter was his name.
"I know. I upset you guys with a horrible story." The sabertooth said. "But don't worry. Things have really brightened up with everyone around, so don't sweat it and go back to enjoying yourselves."
The three looked at each other. Knowing there's nothing they could ever really say, they went up and walked away. Diego's let out a deep breath. He ended up lowering his head, making the leaf-fashioned party hat tumble down his head. He didn't want to bother picking it up and putting it back in place. He rested his head down on his paws, and tried not to even think about it anymore.
Scrat didn't know what he was doing wrong. Even after a day of pushing it and jumping down on it, the earth didn't crack like it always did with everything he's done. He was hoping it might crack the earth open and make an entrance to Dinoland for him. He can almost see it now: gloriously taking that nut from the evil Scratte. Hugging it, Dancing with it, and totally not eating it.
He had already pushed half-way the size of it. And it was about 12 inches long and a hundred times heavier than him. He kept on thinking that maybe just a little bit more and the earth would split right open. He laughs hysterically while frantically jumping on it. He had been jumping on it for over a day.
But his ears flickered as he heard behind something like a tornado approaching. He turned to see something worse; a white cascade of gusty winds and blowing snow. Over the plains, he saw a blizzard coming right towards him. He screams! He jumps on the rock faster and faster before it comes near him. He jumps and jumps and jumps until… well… the blizzard inevitably reached him.
The sudden blizzard blinds everything in view. But if you'd look a lot closer you would see him still holding on to that tall rock. He keeps a firm grip on the rough edges, keeping his claws on it with no sign of giving up.
Meanwhile, Manny and the herd are running to a nearby cave to take refuge from the snowstorm.
"Okay. Is everyone here?" Manny asked, scanning the entire cave.
"Let's see. There are 7 people in our herd. Manny, Ellie, Peaches, Diego, Crash or Eddie, Crash or Eddie" says Sid while walking around pointing at them. "W-wait! That's just 6 people!"
Manny slapped his forehead. "Uhhh... Sid."
"Yes Manny?" glanced Sid.
"I think you forgot to count yourself," he dictated.
Sid froze to that comment. "Whoops… ahaha…" he mutters, feeling more stupid as usual and makes a fire with the twigs and leaves inside.
"So anyways, everyone is here, right?" said Manny. "At least we're all – wait." Manny rests at the mouth of the cave, hoping the storm would end soon. He stares at the mesmerizing cascade of sleet and ice.
However, while watching, he could see a shade that isn't moving like the snow and the wind. "H-hey… I think I see someone out there," the bull said, pointing at a peculiar silhouette shape in the distance.
Ellie walks towards him, keeping Peaches away from the mouth as possible. He eyes out to confirm whether or not it's true. "I think I do too!" she shouted as everyone went and checked. They could see something perhaps lying down on the snow. "And it doesn't look like he'll be helping himself any time soon. It's dangerous out there!" shouted Ellie trying to make her voice louder than the gusts.
"I'll go!" shouted Manny willingly "You and the others stay here till I come back."
"Daddy!" said Peaches. Manny looks back to see her daughter. "Please, be careful."
"I will, sweety," He says as he picks her up and kisses her before going outside.
"I'm going after him," said Diego. "He might need some help" And goes outside to find Manny.
"Wait!" Sid runs after him. "I'm coming too!"
"No, Sid. You'll just get in the way. We can take care of this." Diego said, and Sid stopped in his tracks.
"Will I always just be in the way?" the sloth ruminated.
Leaving everyone else behind, Diego goes out into the raging and freezing blizzard. After a few strides through the snow, he reaches his way towards Manny.
"What are doing out here?" Manny shouted at Diego loud enough to be heard from the blizzard. "I thought I told you to stay put!"
"I'm here to help! I'm not one who follows orders precisely, remember?" shouted Diego out loud as well. "Where is he?"
"Uuhh..." Manny looked around through his pure white surrounding. Finally, he sees the distant shadow. "Wait! I think I see him over there!"
The two of them made their way to him. It was hard since the blizzard was blowing from the side. After a few short steps, they finally made it to him. Trying to make out things out from the snow and heavy winds, they could see he was canine in shape. He was unconscious, so Manny picked him up and carried him on his tusks. But as they tried to make their way back-
Scrat got tired of just holding on. He clawed his arms up, inch by inch. With the rest of his body resting on the ground, he tried push the rock down as much as he could.
He pushed it down as hard as he could, squeeling as he did. Finally, it budged, sinking down a bit. When the sound of cracks started becoming apparent, Scrat made a maniacal victory laugh. He knew got his wish. Soon enough, the cracks collected around him and he fell downwards whilst laughing.
The cracks followed through the ground, gradually becoming bigger and bigger. As it came across Manny, Diego, and the unknown person, the tiger's ears flickered as he heard the oddly familiar sound.
"Step back!" Diego shouted, putting his paws on Manny's lifted hoof. Soon they both heard the loud cracking sound from the ghostly wails of the gusts and zephyrs. The two looked down to see a crack right across them before realizing what the slowly increasing glow of orange was. A torrent of lava suddenly came out of the crevices in the ground.
"Woah!" Diego yelped backwards "Why is it that these things inconveniently keep happening?"
More lava gushed out from around them, and the way forward was blocked. "Run!" Manny and Diego sprinted away as they could. Soon, fountains of lava was spewing out everywhere. It rose up the sky to about ten meters high. The blizzard's cold quickly made short work of the lava, quickly freezing it and turning it into stone.
From the cave, Ellie could also the orange glow through the blizzard. "Guys!" Ellie shouted and trumpeted her horn. Peaches hid behind her while staring at it along with the others. The cracks continued to form in front of them and across, creating even more geysers of lava. Then the ground gave in, making the geysers of magma collect into one giant fountain.
As if an earthquake shook, the cracks grew into large crevices that followed kilometers away into the mountains. No one could see it happen as they were blinded from the snow storm. All they could see was white and orange.
Manny and Diego took cover to a nearby boulder stuck in the ground that covered against the rushing snow. All they could do now was wait for the blizzard to stop.
And after a while, shorter than they expected, they got what they hoped for. The storm finally ceased. The duo came up from the boulder to widen their eyes in disbelief. A large wall of hardened lava blocked they way back, surrounding them like a fortress. The herd had suddenly separated.
"Peaches, stay here. I'll be right back," Ellie told her. "Can you guys take care of her for a while?"
"You can count on us, sis'!" the twins saluted as the cow made haste towards sudden amalgamation of the lava.
"Guys!" Ellie, from the other side shouted out to them. "Guys, are you there!"
"We're fine!" Manny trumpted back.
"Oh thank goodness!" Ellie let out a sigh of relief.
Manny let down their found companion and grabbed a nearby tree, using his massive strength to pluck it from its roots. He swung it around with his trunk and hit the wall. But it barely budged. Manny kept trying to slam it on the wall, but not a crack or scratch would form.
Diego noticed the wood on the tree began to turn into charcoal. "Looks like the wall is still hot! Try not to get too close to it!" he warned to the others.
"What are we gonna do?" she asked.
"Ellie! Just stay over there. We'll find a way around it!" shouted Manny.
"Please be careful! We'll be fine, so no need to worry about us! Just worry about yourselves!" she cried out.
"We will! Tell Peaches I'll be back soon!"
"I will!" After saying their goodbyes, Ellie walked back to the cave. But to her horror, all she finds was a dead fire stacked with burnt twigs and charred stones. Peaches and the others were gone.
While Ellie and Manny were shouting at each other, Peaches was inside the cave waiting for them with her three uncles.
Peaches made a soft sigh, wanting to go to her parents. Noticing this, Sid tried to cheer her up before she would start to cry.
"Don't worry princess. I'm sure they'll be just fine." Sid reassured.
"You think so Unca' Sid?" she asked. Sid nodded. They all suddenly heard a weird crashing sound behind the cave.
"W-woah!" Eddie blurted. "Hey, what was that?"
"I dunno… but let's go check it out!" said Crash excitedly.
"W-wait you guys!" interrupted Sid "Ellie told us to stay put!"
"And you're gonna listen to her?" chuckled Crash. "Come on! Maybe we could even find some treasure!"
Another wild crashing sound echoed through the cave."I don't know guys." Peaches said cautiously. "It might be dangerous."
"That's okay!" said Eddie "We're ready for danger! Right, Crash?"
"Right!" And the boys did their secret handshake.
"Well, it is inside this cave. And she didn't tell us not to go in further, so what harm could it do?" said Sid cheerfully.
"Alright," agreed Peaches. "I guess it wouldn't hurt..."
So eventually, they ventured forth into the cave with Crash and Eddie leading the way, unknowing of what perilous journey they were about to overcome...