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THE LAND BEFORE TIME XX: THE TALE OF A SPIKETAIL January 2021 (Blue Ray)


CHARACTERS


Littlefoot Male Apatosaurus (Longneck/Flattooth) Alignment: Good

Cera Female Triceratops (Threehorn/Flattooth) Alignment: Good

Ducky Female Saurolophus (Swimmer/Flattooth) Alignment: Undecided

Derrick (OC) Male Saurolophus (Swimmer/Flattooth) Alignment: Good but sometimes unkind

Petrie Male Pteranodon (Flyer/Flattooth) Alignment: Good

Spike Male Stegosaurus (Spiketail/Flattooth ) Alignment: Good

Steg  (OC) Male  Stegosaurus (Spiketail/Flattooth)  Alignment:  Good

Leda (OC) Female Stegosaurus (Spiketail/Flattooth) Alignment:  Good

Grandpa Longneck Male Apatosaurus (Longneck/Flattooth) Alignment: Good

Grandma Longneck Female Apatosaurus (Longneck/Flattooth) Alignment: Good

Topps Male Triceratops (Threehorn/Flattooth) Alignment: Good

Tria Female Triceratops (Threehorn/Flattooth) Alignment: Good

Tricia Female Triceratops (Threehorn/Flattooth) Alignment: Good

Mama Flyer Female Pteranodon (Flyer/Flattooth) Alignment: Good

Pterano Male Pteranodon (Flyer/Flattooth) Alignment: Good

Mama Swimmer Female Saurlophus (Swimmer/Flattooth) Alignment: Good

Papa Swimmer Male Saurolophus (Swimmer/Flattooth) Alignment: Good

Ducky’s Aunt Leslie Female Saurolophus (Swimmer/Flattooth) Alignment: Good but a big yacker

Ducky’s Uncle Phoebus (OC) Male Saurolophus (Swimmer/Flattooth) Alignment: Good but sometimes too stern

Tippy Male Tippy's Species (Spiketail/Flattooth) Alignment: Good

Tippy's Mother Female Tippy's Species (Spiketail/Flattooth) Alignment: Good

Spiketail Leader Male Spiketail Species (Spiketail/Flattooth) Alignment: Good

Lisa (OC) Female Stegosaurus (Spiketail/Flattooth) Alignment: Good

Stella (OC) Female Stegosaurus (Spiketail/Flattooth) Alignment: Good

Orni (OC) Female Ornithiomimus (Egg Stealer) Alignment: Bad

Otis  (OC)  Male    Ornithiomimus (Egg Stealer)  Alignment:  Bad

Prisci  (OC)  Female  Struthiomimus (Egg Stealer) Alignment:  Bad

Dro (OC)  Male   Dromiceiomimus  (Egg Stealer)  Alignment:  Bad

Egg Stealers (OCs) Mixed Ornithiomimus, Dromiceiomimus, and Struthiomimus (Egg Stealer) Alignment: Bad


 

Steg the Stegosaurs looked at his wife Leda.  “This egg should hatch soon.   At least we have one kid.”  Steg had blue eyes and was a dark green colored.  His wife, Leda, had purple eyes and was brownish-green colored.  They were watching over their last nest egg, which was hidden in the grass. 

“Stinking Egg Stealers took the others.” said Steg.

“What should we call her?” asked Leda.

“How do we know it’s a her, Leda?” asked Steg.

“Just a lucky guess I guess, Steg.” said Leda.

They returned their gaze to their egg.   However, a moment later, they heard something nearby.  “What is that Steg?” asked Leda.

“I’ll go check it out.” said Steg.

 

Orni, a violet-eyed Egg Stealer, moved away from them.  She had been the one eating their eggs.  They hadn’t caught her yet and she didn’t want that to change.  Orni hid behind some bushes, crouching on the ground.  Steg didn’t see her and went back.

“It’s nothing.  Just must have been the wind.” Steg said to his wife. 

They resumed staring at the egg.  “It should hatch anytime now.” said Leda. 

RAR!   The two turned as they heard a snarl.  In the bushes nearby, Orni the Egg Stealer also looked around.  Six Fast Biters came toward Steg and Leda.  “We cannot let them get the egg!” said Steg.

“We’ll have to lead them away!” replied Leda.

 

“Come get us you Rock Heads!” shouted Steg and Leda at the Fast Biters.   The Fast Biters chased after them.  The two Spiketails were corned by a cliff.  The six Fast Biters advanced at them.  Steg and Leda struck two Fast Biters with their tails.  The Fast Biters hit the cliff wall.   Some boulders on it teetered.   The Fast Biters advanced forward.  It didn’t look like Steg and Leda would be able to get out of this alive.  They wondered if, after finishing with them, the Fast Biters would come back for their egg.    However, they didn’t have to worry about that, for, at that moment, the boulders came loose from the cliff, crushing Steg, Leda, and the six Fast Biters to death.

 

Orni waited a while.  She didn’t want to encounter the Spiketails, or worse, the Fast Biters.  However, after several minutes, she concluded that the Spiketails must have fallen victim to the Fast Biters, which, having finished off the Spiketails, had gone elsewhere.  “Come here my delicious egg!” Orni said, smirking.  She moved toward the nest. 

 

However, as she came into the sight of the nest, a Swimmer fell out of the air.  Orni blinked.  She moved out of sight.  The Swimmer came into the nest.  A few moments later, the Swimmer came out, accompanied by a baby Spiketail.  The Spiketail ate the grass around the nest and then left with the Swimmer.   Orni had been foiled!  She sulked off, empty-handed. 

CHAPTER ONE:  SPIKE ALONE

Twelve years later, Spike wandered with his older sister Ducky and his friends. She wasn't his real sister, for she was a Swimmer and he was a Spiketail. He had never met his family before, any of them. The first face he'd seen when hatching had been Ducky's. He always saw her as a sister. He regarded Ducky's family as his own. Still, sometimes, he lay awake at night, wondering if somewhere, out there, somebody was alive in his family.

Everyone in the group had some family. Littlefoot had his father, a foster brother Shorty and a foster sister Dayo, his third cousin Ali and her mother, and his grandparents. Petrie had his mother, all of his siblings, and his uncle Pterano. Ducky had all of her family, including her annoying aunt who sleep swam and blabbed a hundred miles a minute with gusts up to 300 and her grumpy uncle Phoebus.  Ducky also had at least 24 siblings. Cera had her dad, Topps, who was stubborn and liked to argue, her older sister Olivia, her nephew and niece Dana and Dinah, her step mother Tria, and her step-sister Tricia, as well as her grandfather Tryus. He himself had nobody.  He was like Guido in that regard.

He was shy and didn't like to talk much. Still, he almost wanted to break his habit of not talking so that he could listen to the green food so that he could talk to Ducky. Her name had been his first word. His bond with her was very strong.

Spike went off to get green food. Eating always helped. He did it as a habit, a habit to hide his pain of having nobody. He'd eaten a lot as a kid, mainly as he liked it. He'd kept this up even into the Time of Great Growing as a coping mechanism for dealing with being, as he thought, the very last of his family. It bothered him. He wasn't one to envy others and so wasn't spiteful that his friends all had family and he didn't. Still, it bothered him.

Lately, he'd put on some weight, as he didn't just burn it off anymore now that he was older. Ducky had put him on an exercise program, and he'd lost weight, though the exercise was annoying as he had to keep going up and down the Great Wall. It had put off a lot of weight, but it still didn't help.

"Don't worry Spike. We will keep trying. We will. We will." she had said. He was afraid of that. Still, he needed some way to cope.

As night fell, he looked at a star. He hoped that somewhere, somehow, there would be someone that was a Spiketail that he could call family. As he went to bed, he wished that he could be like his sister and have someone as kin. He went off to sleep. His sleep rumbles annoyed his sister and she put leaves over her ears to drone out the sound.

CHAPTER TWO: SPIKE AND DUCKY


The next day, Spike walked over to some green food and ate it. He kept going, even eating awful smelling plants. "Hey tubby, don't you ever stop eating?" came a taunting voice. A gaggle of Swimmers was staring at him and laughing. He decided to ignore them. "Your sister's diet isn't working very well tubby!" they continued.

Spike shook his head. Some dinosaurs could be very unkind. He continued to ignore them, eating yellow flowers now. "If a Sharptooth ever came across him, he'd not have to eat for over a week!" yelled one belligerent Swimmer.

Spike stared at his brother Derek. Derek was looking angrily at the Swimmers, but didn't want to get involved. He had decided to let Spike handle it on his own, as he could easily stand up to them due to his larger size and spikes on his tail.

However, his twin sister Ducky wasn't so convinced. She had had enough. Though Derek knew that she was normally gentle, in fact, gentler than him, she had had enough. She threw a shell at one of the bullies, conking him right in the middle of the forehead and causing him to fall down and splash in water behind him.

"You have done that enough! You have! You have!" she shouted angrily. She then started to chase them away. She ran at two of the bullies, her arms outstretched, and knocked them into water with a strong force. The others scattered under her wrath. She came to Spike. Spike had earlier started to cry from the bullying, which had pushed her past the breaking point.

She glared at her twin brother Derek. "You were no help. Oh no, no, no." she said, glaring at him. The two twins were quite different. He was less adventurous and a good deal harder than his sister. He'd seen nasty things after the Great Earthshake too, including having thought for a week at least that she had died. He'd also thought that she must surely have perished in the Land of Mists and was very relieved to find that she had lived, though he had been most alarmed how narrowly she had escaped being eaten by Dil.

"You cannot always fight his battles Ducky." he said. He walked away.

"It is ok Spike. It is ok. They are gone. They are. They are." she said.  He stopped crying and went and hugged her. She really wished that he could have a family like hers. A true family with Spiketails.

She and Spike went to go find Littlefoot and the others in the Gang. Suddenly, the ground shook. A few trees fell. Ducky screamed. She held onto Spike, who had jumped as the ground had started to open under them. Luckily, he was able to get her to safety.

"Oh thank you Spike. Thank you!" she said. They kept running. The ground stopped opening. They narrowly avoided falling rocks from a rockslide. The Earthshake stopped. Everything was now eerily quiet.

Luckily, the worst of the damage appeared to be some bruises. "I'm glad everything is fine and we're all right. I'm glad it's all over." said Mama Swimmer to her children and Spike later that day after they had determined the extent of the damage at a meeting of the dinosaurs.

"That was scary." said Littlefoot.

"Yes, but it is gone now. It is. It is." said Ducky reassuringly. But it was to only be the beginning!

CHAPTER THREE: STELLA


"Ducky, why do you keep sticking up for him? He's got to fight his own battles someday. You can't shelter him forever." said Derek.

Ducky said nothing. She felt that it was true. Yet she didn't like to think about Spike being bullied and her not around to help him. She'd fight a Sharptooth to save him if she had to.

"You are not nice Derek. Spike does not like you." said Ducky. She and her twin brother did not get along very well. In fact, one day she had said that she'd rather have a Fast Biter as a brother than him. Spike shook his head at Ducky. "Well, he is nice, for which you should feel glad that he is not upset that you did not help him. You should be glad for that. Yep, yep, yep, you should." she said to her twin brother.

"I wish you and your twin brother wouldn't fight Ducky. It's so not like you." said Cera.

"You and Tricia fighted last week." said Ducky.

"It was just some friendly horn-butting." said Cera innocently.

"You should feel lucky that you have a brother Ducky. I have none." Littlefoot reminded her.

"I'd rather have a Swimming Sharptooth as a brother." said Ducky, glaring angrily at Derrick. She and her twin brother resumed arguing. Littlefoot sighed.

“A Swimming Sharptooth?  Boy she mad!” gasped Petrie.

Spike got bored with the arguing, which he really hated anyway, and started eating again. He belched. He happened to be near Derrick when he did this. "Oops." he said.

"You are nasty! Watch where you burp tubby!" said Derrick angrily.

WHAM! SPLASH! Ducky rammed him and he fell into water. She grabbed him and started splashing water in his face. "Take it back!" she snapped angrily.

"Ducky, what is this?!" he said angrily.

"You insulted Spike! You did! You did! I said to take it back!" she growled. She pummeled him.

"Ducky, stop!" came their mother's voice.

The two stopped fighting. Ducky paused, her fist raised. They were both really wet from all the splashing. "Apologize to your brother now!" demanded Mama Swimmer.

"I am sorry that you are a creep Derrick. I am. I am." said Ducky angrily to Derrick.

"DUCKY!" said Mama Swimmer angrily.

"Kiss my tush Derrick!" said Ducky, shaking her hind end at her twin brother. He was her least favorite brother.

"That's enough Ducky!" said Papa Swimmer. Ducky got grounded for the rest of the day for her bad behavior. The others in the Gang were totally taken aback by her actions.

"Ducky's never done this before. I know she and Derrick don't get along too well, but this has never happened before." said Littlefoot.

"Perhaps we should try and see what is the matter." suggested Littlefoot.

"But she grounded. We get in trouble if we..." protested Petrie. Littlefoot ignored him.

"Ducky, what the matter?" asked Petrie.

"You should not be here. Oh no, no, no." whispered Ducky.

"Me want to know what bothering you?" he asked.

"Oh Petrie. We all have family. Even Littlefoot has some. Spike has nobody. It is not fair. Oh no, no, no!" said Ducky.

Just then, Tippy's herd was spotted coming into the Great Valley. Spike was glad to see his old friend back.

There were two new Spiketails with the group. One, an adult female and the other, a female of Spike's age. They were Stella and Lisa.

Stella looked at Spike. "I think I've seen you before, but I don't recall meeting you." she said thoughtfully.

Spike shook his head to show that he didn't recall meeting her before either. "You remind me of someone." she said.

Spike wasn't sure who he reminded her of. He went up to Lisa. "Hello, I'm Lisa." she said kindly.

"His name is Spike. He does not like to talk." said Ducky.

"That's ok." said Lisa.

They learned that Lisa had lost both of her parents to Sharpteeth and had gone with Tippy's herd.

Stella had bright pink eyes. Lisa, meanwhile, had cute turquoise colored eyes.

"Now Spike, I'd like to spend more time with you. There is just something really familiar about you. You remind me of my brother Steg." she said.

"What was Steg like?" asked Ducky. It was lucky that Stella was more tolerant, as many herds didn't associate with other kinds. As it was, she was tolerant and hence talked to Ducky.

"He looked quite like Spike, only he had blue eyes. His wife had purple eyes though. Both of them died around the time of the Great Earthshake. There was some kind of rockslide in the fight. No survivors.  Appears that they got into a fight with Fast Biters and somehow, during the fight, the rocks fell, killing all of them.  I found dead Fast Biters along with their bodies.  They had told me earlier that they had lost all but one egg to Egg Stealers. Nasty things." said Stella.

"What happened to the last one?" asked Ducky.

"It got taken. I'd have said that it was taken by Egg Stealers, except that there were footprints near the nest.  They weren’t Egg Stealer footprints or Sharptooth footprints.  They were Leaf Eater footprints.  And there were Spiketail footprints too going with them.   I think my niece or nephew might still be alive. I just don't know where." sighed Stella.

CHAPTER FOUR: ORNI


In the years since the deaths of Spike’s parents, Orni had formed a group of various types of Egg Stealers.  Normally, Egg Stealers, much like Sharpteeth and Flatteeth, didn’t associate with other types outside of their own particular kind.   However, like Orni, the other members of her group were outcasts and misfits, the type that didn’t fit in with their herds. 

Now, she and her group of Egg Stealers sat licking yoke off their hands. Some Flattooth parents had been distracted by the Earthshake and she and her group had helped themselves to their nests.  They had left before they had come back.  Orni did not want to be noticed.  However, much to her annoyance, as they were heading away, Orni saw something that, if not dealt with, would likely hamper that. 

Orni saw two of her group fighting over an egg.

“That’s my egg Otis!” shouted a female Struthiomimus.

“Is not Prisci!  I grabbed it first!” shouted a male Ornithiomimus. 

Orni came toward them, a tone of disgust in her voice and a look of disgust on her face. "Prisci! Otis! If you'd stop fooling around, then we can get out of here!" snapped Orni softly. They cowered under her rage. She wasn't the leader for nothing after all. "If they come after us and we get any trouble for it, I'm feeding the both of you to Sharpteeth!" she grumbled softly at them. Otis handed the egg to Prisci, figuring that, though he wanted the egg and felt it rightfully was his, it wasn't worth suffering Orni's wrath over.

Orni was still hungry, for she liked her protein. She snuck up to a Fast Biter nest. She jumped left as the Sharptooth started to sniff. She found some rocks and threw them away from her. The curious Sharptooth mother went off after them. Orni smirked. She came back with the eggs to her group. "Dinner." she said, as if this didn't bother her one bit, which it in fact didn't.

They were walking away, having eaten more eggs. Then they heard a snarl. The mother Sharptooth had come back, not finding anything but a rock in her search. Orni knew that she might find herself being a meal if she wasn't careful. But Orni was very great at dealing with Sharpteeth. She had had to deal with one at a very young age.

Her own mother, unhinged by her mate's betrayal, had, realizing that her daughter might slow her down when the Giganotosaurus had appeared, taken off to save her own skin and that of her nearer children rather than risk her own life to save Orni.

Orni had thought that she was going to die that day, but she had, by the greatest of luck, fallen into a crevice. The angry and hungry Sharptooth, seeing what he thought was an easy meal, had decided to go for her instead of her bad mother and her siblings. The Sharptooth had snapped and snapped at the entrance, getting closer and closer. She had been so terrified that she had wet herself.

She often recalled how her mother had said that she was slow and would never amount to anything in life. Orni believed that her mother had believed that she was responsible for her father leaving her. She knew that that was nuts. She had known that her father was cheating and had told on him.

Her mother and father had had a big fight, which came to clawings and blows at the end of it. At last, her father had left. Her siblings, devastated, had started to blame her for it, as she had told and they reminded her that if she had kept her mouth shut, that their father would still be with them.

Her mother hadn't exactly gone and blamed her, but she was no longer kind to her and she knew that she too wanted someone to blame and had picked Orni for a scapegoat.

Orni had been in luck. The Sharptooth had reached rock that he couldn't get through just a short distance from her. He tried to reach into the hole to get her, but she was just out of his reach. After a few hours, he finally left.

Orni had come out, very scared and white, and also parentless and without a family. It seemed that a part of her had died that day indeed. The Sharptooth may not have eaten her physically, but the old Orni, whatever seemed nice in her, had gone away. Orni had decided to first get revenge on the Sharptooth.

She happened to find him and went to his nest. She waited till he and his mate were asleep and took his eggs. She now had to make it on her own. It seemed only fair to her.

Orni's thoughts returned to the present. Otis slipped. Claudius, another Egg Stealer, a Struthiomimus, said to her "Shouldn't we go and get him. He's part of our group?"

"No. It's everyone for themselves. That's how my mother left me." stated Orni without feeling. Claudius shook his head at the Ornithiomimus.

They left Otis behind. The others wondered if he had died, but Orni just kept urging them on. They were relieved to see Otis come a few minutes later. He was dripping sweat and very frightened, but still alive. "Ah, glad you've joined us again." said Orni, not mentioning one bit any relief that he was still alive. The group continued on.

They came near the Great Valley. Orni had heard the stories of this place. Big walls and a united group of Flatteeth. Still, this place would serve them well if they could get into there and get to eggs undetected. It would be much easier than in the Mysterious Beyond, provided that they didn't get caught.

She knew that the inhabitants primarily feared Sharpteeth. A Sharptooth, which would go after grownups, would attract attention to itself sooner or later. An Egg Stealer, which only went for eggs, could easily slip in unnoticed.

"We camp here for the night." she ordered her group in a stern and commanding voice. Nobody dared argue with her. She was hoping for an opportunity to get eggs from the Great Valley.

CHAPTER FIVE: SPIKE AND LISA


"Hello Spike. Where is your family?" asked Lisa.

"He does not have them." said Ducky.

"That's a pity Spike. I lost my father and live with my mother and our friend Stella." said Lisa.

Spike smiled at Lisa. He thought that she seemed friendly. He went and got her silver ferns. Lisa really liked them.

"Huh?" said Ducky in confusion. It seemed odd that Spike would like a girl. He'd pretty much been single his whole life. All the others, minus herself, had found somebody and it wasn't as if guys hadn't tried to win her over. She just hadn't found the right one yet.

"Looks like Spike has got himself a girlfriend." said Derrick.

Ducky turned to look at her twin brother. "Yes, he has. He has." piped Ducky happily.

"It won't last." said Derrick.

"You are just jealous!" snapped Ducky.

"Jealous of what?" snarled Derrick.

"Spike has a girlfriend and you do not have any." replied Ducky.

"It won't last long. He won't even talk." laughed Derrick.

"Lisa said that she did not care. She did. She did." retorted Ducky.

Spike gave Lisa a bunch of green food. He dropped a bunch of it. He was nervous around girls. He was fine with Ducky, but he realized that she was not a Spiketail like him. "What a klutz!" giggled Derrick. Ducky elbowed him. "Ouch!" he moaned.

"Thank you Spike." said Lisa. Spike smiled.

"He's cute, just like my brother Steg." said Stella.

"Hey Spike, wanna play tag?" Tippy asked.

Spike nodded. "Can I come too?" Lisa asked. Spike nodded again.

The three ran way playing tag. Suddenly, the earth shook again. "Oh no, Earthshake!" yelled Tippy.

The three Spiketails were moved forward as a bunch of earth underneath them was moved. The ground opened in front of them. Lisa and Tippy went over. Spike stuck out his two front legs. Lisa and Tippy each grabbed one of these. The others came to help out Spike. He was able to save them.

"Thank you Spike." said Tippy.

"You saved my life Spike! Thank you!" said Lisa. Spike grinned. The earth stopped moving.

Grandpa Longneck came by with Tria. "Is everyone ok?" asked Tria.

"Spike saveded Tippy and Lisa." said Ducky.

"It was just luck. It could have been anyone that saved...OW!" said Derrick, crying out in pain as Ducky stepped on his foot.

"That is great that everyone is ok." said Grandpa Longneck.

"We sure seem to be having more Earthshakes than usual." said Tria.

"Yes, though nothing like that horrible Great Earthshake several cold times ago." remarked Stella.

"Yes, that was the worst. We lost our daughter in that one, though not to the Earthshake." said Grandpa Longneck.

"What happened?" asked Stella.

"A Sharptooth." said Grandma Longneck.

"I'm so sorry. I lost my brother Steg and his wife not long afterward. They had their last egg in a bunch of green food. It was put there to hide it from Sharpteeth and Egg Stealers." said Stella.

Ducky gasped. "What is it dear?" asked Stella.

"I finded the last egg. I did! I did!" said Ducky.

"Where?" asked Stella, a tone of great concern and excitement in her voice.

"It is Spike. I found his egg like that. He was all alone!" said Ducky.

"Spike! Oh, it makes sense! He looks like Steg because he's his son! I've found my nephew at last!" said Stella. She hugged Spike.

"Oh Spike, it's wonderful, you've finally found a family member!" said Lisa. Spike was really overjoyed.

"Oh, I'd like to thank you for saving my life." added Lisa. She kissed Spike. He turned bright red and said "Dahhhhhhhhhhhh!"

"Oh, I'm so glad I've found my long-lost nephew!" said Stella, still overcome with emotion.

Derrick grinned at the incident. "Well well. Spike's found a family member. Perhaps he'll go with her and get out of our lives." said Derrick.

Ducky wanted to punch him into the next cold time for making such a comment. However, she worried that it might be true. She burst out into tears. "Spike, do not go! I need you! I do! I do!'" she wailed.

"I don't know what I'm going to do about Spike. I'd hate to lose him again." said Stella.

"Spike should stay with his actual family." said Mama Swimmer.

"No, he's my brother!" shouted Ducky.

"But Ducky, Stella is his aunt and..." shouted Papa Swimmer.

Ducky ran off, tears streaming down her face. "Ducky, you need to just..." said Derrick, coming across her. WHAM! She plowed him over.

"Ducky, apologize now!" shouted Mama Swimmer. Ducky ran off, sobbing as the sun set. She wanted to be alone. She was really hurting.

Spike looked at Lisa. He had found family, yet Ducky was his big sister. He couldn't leave her. Yet Stella was his aunt. He was confused on what to do. "Da...Da...Ducky!" he said.

"Oh, poor Spike!" said Lisa.

"Please stay. I don't want Ducky to be unhappy." said Littlefoot to Stella.

"I'm not sure. My whole herd cannot possibly stay here indefinitely. I'm really going to have to think about it." said Stella.

Meanwhile, Ducky climbed the Smoking Mountains, her face wet with tears and more streaming down her face. "Why did I have to open my big mouth? I could have not tolded her. She would not have known then. Oh no, no, no, she would not." moaned Ducky. She recalled what Derrick had said about their lives being better off without Spike. She really hated Derrick. "How can he say such mean things about Spike? I would give him up if I could keep Spike. I would. I would." said Ducky angrily.

Unbeknownst to Ducky, lava in one of the volcanoes, having been disturbed by the Earthshakes, started to rise somewhat. An eruption seemed likely within a few days.

CHAPTER SIX: ORNI MEETS DUCKY


Orni and her group snuck into the Cave of Many Voices that night. "Isn't this the Great Valley, where there are a lot of Flatteeth of different kinds?" asked Otis.

"Yes, at least it's not a Sharptooth Pack." said Orni.

"Don't mention Sharpteeth right now." said Claudius. His voice echoed as he reached the echo room. "Hey, there's a lot of me in here!" said Claudius, laughing. "Hello!" he said. His voice echoed back. "How are you?" he asked. His voice echoed back again. "I'd like to say that I…." he said.

WHACK! Orni shoved him over. "Imbecile! You are going to get us caught!" she snapped at him. A bunch of Orni voices echoed back, making Claudius even more frightened than he would have with just one voice, which was bad enough.

They heard someone coming. "Well, you've gotten us caught. Quickly, let's go. And you can go last Claudius. If they are going to get one of us, it's going to be you for your big mouth!" said Orni coldly. They all took off, Claudius trailing the rest of them.

"Hello, who is there? I will not hurt you, oh no, no, no." came Ducky's voice. it echoed throughout the place.

"Oh, that's good, I thought you were one of them Flatteeth coming to..." said Claudius. WHACK! A rock, thrown by Orni, came and conked him in the head.

"You are so dumb!" groaned Orni. Claudius fell, the others leaving him behind.

"But Orni, he's..." questioned one of the others. Orni glared at her. "He should be lucky that they aren't Sharpteeth." said Orni unfeelingly.

"Are you ok?" asked Ducky, seeing his silhouette.

"Yes, I'm fine." said Claudius, still not sure what she was. "Don't hurt me!" he pleaded.

"Oh, I will not hurt you. Oh no, no, no, I will not." said Ducky. Claudius noticed that the Flattooth seemed to be kind. Maybe they would just chase him off and he'd escape bodily injury. He'd twisted his ankle before after being chased by irate Threehorns. He'd had to get out of there on his own that time, with no help from Orni of course.

Ducky laid eyes on Claudius. "Egg Stealer!" she yelled. Claudius saw that she was alone.   Ducky turned to run to get the grownups.  Claudius didn’t want others coming.  He jumped on her and took her down to the ground.  Ducky hit her head and was knocked out. 

Meanwhile, Mama and Papa Swimmer could not find Ducky and it was getting late. "Her behavior is most unacceptable." said Derrick, who was sore from being plowed over.

"I know, but she loves Spike. She cannot stand the thought of losing him." said Papa Swimmer.

"Da-Ducky! Ducky!" Spike cried.

"We cannot find her tubby. Perhaps she doesn't want to be found." grumbled Derrick. Spike sighed at being called tubby. He went off looking for her, feeling bad about letting himself get overweight.

"Spike, come on, it's getting dark. Ducky can just spend the night out there alone if she's going to act like this." said Ducky's grumpy uncle.

"Come on now Phoebus, that's really harsh. You should really lay up on a sad girl. Why I can recall how you behaved when we were at your cousin's union ceremony and his mate was really reluctant to tie the knot. You went and said that she..." Ducky's aunt began blabbing, per her usual self. They and the others went off to bed.

"Me worried about her." said Petrie.

"Me too." said Littlefoot.

"I hope she's all right." said Cera.

"You worry too much Cera." said Tricia.

Meanwhile, Ducky came to. Orni and the others had come into the chamber at the request of Claudius.   Orni told Claudius not to be seen."Ah, what do we have here?" said Orni, coming next to Ducky.

“Where am I?  Where did that Egg Stealer go?” asked Ducky, confused.

“Egg Stealer?  Poor thing.  You must have fallen asleep and had a bad Sleep Story.” said Orni sweetly. 

Ducky wondered if she had indeed fallen asleep, for it was much darker out.  They had taken her out of the echo room of the Cave of Many Voices.  “My name is Ducky.  I should be getting home now.  I should.  I should.” she said nervously, getting up.  The others were ready to grab her to stop her, but Orni shook her head.  They backed off, baffled. 

"Ahh, what a cute thing you are." said Orni, putting her face next to Ducky's.

"Thank you...er...I think." said Ducky very nervously.

"What should we do with her?" asked another Egg Stealer quietly to Orni.

Orni had thought of taking Ducky and throwing her off the Great Wall. After all, she might squeal. Orni stole eggs for a living. Knocking off a teenager wouldn't bother her too much. However, she felt the faintest bit of pity for the poor Swimmer. The girl was cute and seemed really sweet. Sweeter than Orni had ever met. Also, killing the girl might bring trouble too. Orni decided her best bet was to win the girl to her side.

"You seem lost. It is nighttime." said Orni.

"I am here to get away from that awful Derrick. He is my brother though I wish that he were not. And I am worried that I will lose my brother Spike. He is not really my brother but is a Spiketail. His aunt came and now I am worried that he will go with her and I will never see him again." said Ducky, a tear in her eye. "What are you doing here?" Ducky asked suspiciously.

"Just looking around." lied Orni.

"I should be getting back now. I should. I should." said Ducky nervously. She was worried about what her family might be thinking.

"What should we do with her? She is a liability. I say we throw her into a gurgly pit or find a nice hungry Sharptooth or...?" whispered Otis to Orni. Orni shook her head. This confused the others, who knew that Orni was practically heartless. However, they had enough sense not to question her.

"Who are you?" Ducky asked Orni.

"My name is Orni." said Orni.

"Aren’t you an Egg Stealer?" Ducky asked, for Orni looked like one.

"I don’t like eggs.  I prefer other food.” replied Orni, a smile on her face. Orni rightly guessed that Ducky was gullible.

"Oh that is a relief. It is. It is." said Ducky in relief.

"Having trouble with a pesky brother?" asked Orni.

"Yep, yep, yep, I am. I am. Derrick is the worst. He is. He is." grumbled Ducky.

"Also, I heard you mention a Spiketail." said Orni sweetly.

Claudius pinched himself. To see Orni act this sweetly seemed dreamlike. He wondered if she was up to something. Perhaps Orni planned to use Ducky. Claudius felt that Ducky was very sweet and thought it low of Orni to try and use her as a pawn. However, they wanted the eggs and Ducky might be their key to getting them.

"Yes, they might take him away from me." said Ducky, tears dripping from her eyes.

"Aw, you poor dear." said Orni, patting her on the back. "You and Spike could always run away." suggested Orni.

"But I cannot survive in the Mysterious Beyond. Oh no, no, no." said Ducky.

"You could. Orni would help you and Spike." said Orni sweetly.

"We will?" asked Otis in shock. Orni kicked him out of Ducky's line of sight. "Oh yeah, we will." he said quickly, wincing in pain.

"Thank you." said Ducky appreciatively. Ducky turned to go back home.

"Remember what I said. You can always come with me." Orni called after her. Ducky left and went back home, lying down next to Spike and going to bed.

"You let her go." whined Claudius.

"She doesn't suspect us. And, if she leaves to go with us, we can have two captives. Plus, the little search for her will mean less attention on the nests." said Orni.

Otis sighed. Orni was still her usual self. He kind of felt sorry for poor Ducky.

Ducky wondered how she could get Spike to stay.  She recalled Orni’s offer to help her.  She decided to go back and ask for help, so desperate was she.

Orni smirked and counted on her hands, moving down fingers.  She had reached zero right as Ducky came into sight.  “Told you.” she whispered to Prisci.

“Hello.  I wanted to know what you could do to help with Spike.  I do not want to leave the Great Valley and run away, but I do not want Spike to leave forever either.” said Ducky.

“Well dear, there could be a way.  However, you’d have to break the rules.” said Orni.

“I do not know about this.” said Ducky uneasily.

“Look, you want to get rid of Spike’s aunt, don’t you?” asked Orni.

“Get rid of her?  That is not a very nice thing to do!  Oh no, no, no!” said Ducky.

“Do you want to keep your brother Spike or not?” asked Orni.

“I do.  But Stella doesn’t seem so bad.  And what could I do anyway?   Stella wants to take him and mother said yes.” demurred Ducky.

“You’ve got to get your mother to not want to let Spike go with Stella.” Orni replied.

“How do I do that?” asked Ducky.

“You make her look bad.” Orni answered.

“I do not know.  That does not seem very nice.” said Ducky skeptically.

♪ You have to do what is needed to get what you want.

Do all that you must

For in the grand scheme of things everything is just.

Whatever hesitation you have doesn’t amount to a hill of beans.

Just remember, the ends justify the means. ♪ sang Orni.


 

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