In a somewhat dangerous way, the route Diamond Tiara took did lead to Canterlot Crater. Following the underground river, the herd came out of the caves away from the volcanic range. Recognizing the Great Wall that surrounds the valley, Apple Bloom's witnesses did give a sigh of relief that they didn't have to climb up the bedrock mound again. The river made it's stop at a very deep pond just near the final road to Canterlot Crater. Still having tar on them, the herd stopped and jumped into the water to get themselves cleaned off. Pip and Zipporwhill, being the smallest, stuck to the shallows as they cleaned themselves as if their human/pony counterparts would. Just as they were about finished, a large roar echoed the area.
"Aggghhhh!!!" - Button screamed - "Tirek!!!"
In a flash, the herd crammed each other to hide behind a slab of rock, Snails adding an extra measure by slamming his head into the water. The massive Sharptooth was just above them. Even when removed, the tar removed their scent. Tirek sniffed the air, trying to get a scent of prey. From his teeth, drops of saliva fell on Diamond's frill. Diamond noticed one of his teeth jutting out longer than the others. Knowing this is a loose one, Diamond Tiara licked her chops and tried to reach for it, much to the other kid's worry. Tirek then rose to his full height at the sound of a large animal bellowing. His ears picking up the source, he found that he was just near Canterlot Crater. His massive body turned and proceeded to walk towards the Crater. Having had his head underwater long enough, Snails lifted his head, gasping for air.
"Oh no..." Scootaloo gasped
"If he makes his way into Canterlot Crater, there would be no home to get to, no family to return." Dinky added
Cosgrove was also in a desperate mind as he watched Tirek start climbing up the large hill of bedrock, before looking up to find a large boulder balanced at a ledge much higher than Tirek himself. The Longneck then came up with the most unlikely of answers.
"Let's get rid of him once and for all!"
The herd looked at him with confused and scared looks.
"Are you crazy?!" Diamond exclaimed, stamping towards him
"We're so small," - Silver Spoon added- "we can't fight a Sharptooth that big!"
Cosgrove thought for a moment before looking at his herd again, "So was Tall Stepper when he saved his sister. And if he could gather the courage to beat the wind, then we can gather the courage to beat the biggest, meanest Sharptooth that ever lived."
Although Diamond Tiara, Silver Spoon, Dinky, Boysenberry, Button Mash, Rumble, and Zipporwhill weren't there when the story was told, they had no choice nonetheless. Those that have walked up to him.
"What'll we do?" asked Snips.
Cosgrove walked towards the center of the pond.
"Okay, Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo and I will coach him into the deep end of the pond."
"No way he's swimmin' with those scrawny arms!" Said Apple Bloom.
The Long Neck then turned to the rest of the herd, "You guys will be on that ledge and push that big rock onto his head. Featherweight, you and Zipporwhill will whistle when he's just at the right spot."
"Now we need some bait..." Said Scootaloo
"Bait?" - Pip asked - "Where are we gonna get bait?"
"From someone... small..." Said Sweetie Belle
"Blotchy..." Dinky added
"Hard to see..." Featherweight inched his bill up Pip's even smaller snout.
Pip looked around to see his herd looking right at him with a snide, pleading look on their faces, with Snails giving a goofy chuckle.
"Oh no! No, no, no, no, no, no..."
Higher up the bedrock hill, Tirek was now one cavern away from Canterlot Crater. As his growls and footsteps echoed the cave, Pipsqueak slowly walked up to the mouth of the cave, whimpering. Many thoughts of death ran through his head; he is small enough to not having to be crushed by Tirek's teeth, just swallowed whole into the vat of acid known as his belly. Tirek grunted, bringing the Ankle Biter to hide behind a rock barely larger than he is. He took one look at the Rex, licked his chops, and screamed as loud as possible, ducking back down immediately before Tirek's good eye could spot him. Pipsqueak slowly looked up once more. Tirek was nowhere to be seen. Pip was now really scared; the Rex could have entered the valley, but on another hand, the black sections of his body could have him hidden somewhere in the caves.
The Ankle Biter did not dare to turn around. As he stepped backward towards the exit, Pip kept moving his delicate head, trying to catch a sight of the giant carnivore. At one point he felt something wet drip on him. He assumed that it was from the moist roof of the cave when he got dropped again. Wiping his head, Pip felt an unusual viscosity, something that water doesn't have. His beady brown eyes shrank as he tilted his head upward. As if an elephant-sized animal became a ninja, Tirek was just above him, staring at Pip with an open black eye. While one eye was twitching, the Compsognathus' jaw dropped on its own.
Tirek raised his head up and lunged at him, just missing the Ankle Biter. Pip ran forward towards the exit before Tirek leaped in front of him. forcing him to Make a quick turn towards the mouth of the cave. The Rex was about to scoop him up with his jaws had he not stubbed his foot on a rock. Being top heavy and with small arms too small to slow the fall, Tirek "flew" out of the mouth of the cave, with Pipsqueak on his snout, sliding down the bedrock hill all the way to the small pond. The children high on the ledge watched as Tirek struggled to get up.
"Pipsqueak!" Shouted Zipporwhill
In the water, Pip swam to an underwater alcove, peeking his head out just a little. Tirek slowly rose up, his uninjured eye spotting Cosgrove and the Crusaders. Tirek furrowed his brows as he rose to his full height. For such small creatures, they have the guts to take him on. He opened his jaws before Apple Bloom rammed at his foot. Tirek turned around when Scootaloo leaped on top of him and bopped him on the eye. Tirek was now raging mad, spinning the Fast Runner off his snout before roaring into the air. Pipsqueak rose from the surface as the Rex thrashed about.
"That serves you right, you stupid beast!" Pip yelled at him before making a series of faces. A bad move to make when your a bite-sized snack, as Tirek retaliated by almost crushing Pip under his weight.
Featherweight noticed Tirek on the target spot and tried to whistle through his toothless beak. Zipporwhill, though birdlike, was still able to whistle. Tirek looked up, spotting the rock as it began to shake.
"Push, guys!" - Diamond Tiara shouted as she and her group pushed the massive rock - "Push with all your life!"
Now he knew why the kids were acting like this. Tirek looked at the children on his level; that moment, he knew, that they would be the ones he hunted so many miles away. Cosgrove glared at him as he stood right on the face of the ledge.
"That's right, Tiny." - Cosgrove hissed - "No running from us this time..."
Timing it right, the Long Neck dodged Tirek's snapping jaws, colliding his snout with the wall. The shock rocked Zipporwhill and Featherweight off the ledge. While the Feathered Glider managed to glide to another part of the ledge, Featherweight wasn't so fortunate. Featherweight started flapping his wings repeatedly, lifting his posterior to avoid the Sharptooth's snapping teeth. Featherweight closed his eyes, expecting the worse. A few moments later he found that he wasn't descending anymore, and what's more, there isn't any pain on his wing.
"I'm flying," - Featherweight frantically looked around, smiling as he ascended - "I'm flying, I'm flying! I'M FLYING!!!!"
"HEEELLPPP!!!!" Shouted Sweetie Belle as she barely avoided the Sharptooth's teeth.
Featherweight growled at Tirek as he started to walk away from the pond, now it was time to give back a little something. Puffing his chest, Featherweight swooped down, grabbed the Sharptooth by the tail and slowly pulled him back towards the pond. Cosgrove and Apple Bloom ran underneath his heels, causing Tirek to fall back to the deep end. Tirek struggled to stand back up as the waves crashed against the barren land around it.
"Now's our chance!" - Scootaloo grabbed Pipsqueak - "Let's do it!"
The Crusaders and Cosgrove ran up to the ledge and joined them as they pushed the rock. Tirek watched as the rock began to shift forward. Luck favored him against when his toes grabbed the shore. Standing up, Tirek crouched down before leaping straight up onto the ledge, the boulder the one obstacle in his way from crushing them under his feet. But the added weight also kept the children from pushing the rock. Diamond looked back at the length of the ledge. A smirk in her face, Diamond avoided the Sharptooth's jaws and ran to the end of the ledge. Scraping the ground, Diamond screamed as she began charging at the boulder. Ramming the boulder provided the inertia needed to tilt the boulder. With one final push, the children pushed Tirek and the boulder off the ledge.
Tirek collided with the water first, the last thing his good eye saw was the boulder falling fast. With a loud thud, the rock smashed his side, crushing his ribs. Tirek's tail became limp, then his legs and arms. The children watched as the Sharptooth breathed out one last breath. The children walked down to the shore, staring at the lifeless eyes as blood spilled into the water. Cosgrove stepped forward and looked at the injured eyeball. Apple Bloom walked up to him, seeing tears stream from the Alamosaurus' eyes. The young Three Horn nudged him before they turned around and walked towards the bedrock hill. Diamond Tiara took a few steps forward before running back and prying the loose tooth from the corpse and joining the herd.
As the children walked towards the other side of the cave, they can smell the green food and hear the sounds of flowing water and the bellows of larger dinosaurs. When they walked out the cave, Diamond's half of the herd widened their eyes as they took in the amazing view of Canterlot Crater. Snips and Snails had their mouth agape.
"Welcome home, y'all." Apple Bloom announced.
With a trumpet of Dinky's crest, the herd began running along the trail that led them down to the valley. Featherweight would have flown first, but having walked for so long, why not?
Over by a placid lake, a Parasaurolophus family grazed. One of them, Doctor Whooves, looked to find his wife looking at her reflection in misery. Even when arriving at the valley, she hardly ate. Amethyst Star walked over to comfort Derpy.
"Mommy?" - the wall-eyed Hollow Horn raised her head at the familiar sound - "Mommy?"
Derpy quickly rose to her hind legs, as she and her family group looked around, wondering where the sound is. One of her eyes caught a glimpse of a gray-violet hatchling of her species. Focusing both eyes, she found the young Hollow Horn running towards her.
"Mommy!!!" Dinky cried out.
"Dinky!" Derpy ran towards her child as fast as she could, her ditzy self tripping on a few rocks. The mother and child embraced each other, tears flowing from their eyes. Doctor Whooves and Amethyst quickly trotted to their returned child.
In time, Silver Spoon, Button Mash, Rumble, Zipporwhill, and Boysenberry rejoined their families, each one being received with a very heartfelt reunion.
Then came the ultimate test; the remainder of the herd appeared right in front of Diamond Tiara's herd. Filthy and Spoiled Rich had their mouths slightly agape as Diamond walked to between her friends and her parents, holding the tooth in her beak.
"What... is... that?" Asked Spoiled Rich in a shaken tone.
"Tirek's tooth..." - Diamond answered, hiding her sadness in her former proud voice - "I trust it would be to your liking."
Filthy immediately batted the tooth away and embraced his daughter. Diamond felt her father choking up as her mother walked over and joined the embrace.
"We missed you so much..." Whispered her father.
Diamond Tiara teared up before she stepped back.
"Mom, Daddy..." - She wiped the tears away before turning to remaining children, pointing at Apple Bloom - "I wish to thank this brave Three Horn for leading us to this wonderful place."
Spoiled Rich looked at Apple Bloom before walking up to her group.
"Then you have my greatest thanks, young Three Horn..." - The adult Crown Head lowered her head, closing her eyes - "and my sincerest apologies..."
Apple Bloom tilted her frill forward, "Much obliged." she responded before leading her group away.
"Wait!" - Diamond grabbed the tooth and tossed it to the herd - "Call it a token of our appreciation."
Pipsqueak held the banana shaped object in his arms as they continued the last part of their journey.
Over by a slow moving river, Babs Seed sadly walked to the sandy river bank and began to take a drink. Hearing the sound of feet, the dark-tan Chasmosaurus turned to her right, her discovery widening her grass-green eyes.
A further distance away, Scorpan's herd were browsing in a clearing between the forest. Though the relatives of their loved ones still felt a deep sadness in their hearts. Granny Smith walked up to her eldest grandchildren as they conversed with Lion Tamer, Loopty Hoop, and Scorpan.
"And so what if we found enough food to last us for years, who cares?" - Applejack stamped her feet, her face showing signs of insomnia - "If we don't have the kids, what's the point?"
"For once, I agree with you..." Lion Tamer responded with a hopeless tone in his voice.
"We've got to have faith." - Granny Smith joined in - "Our children will find their way."
"How?" - Applejack turned to the matriarch - "Come out of the bushes?"
Just as she said that, Loopty Hoop turned to the sound of rustling bushes. Shortly after seeing Babs, the old Edmontosaurus became startled.
"Why that's exactly what they're going to do!"
Her husband and the Apple Family turned to find the children, appearing before them for the first time in days. Immediately each child ran to their family member, rejoicing in tears as they found their children are still alive.
"Bulk, I can fly again!!!" Featherweight approached his giraffe-sized brother before leaping up and soaring around him.
"Way to go, Little Bro! YEAAAHHHH!!!!" Bulk responded in his "usual" tone.
"Oh, Sweetie Belle!" - Rarity cried tears of joy - "I'll never let you out of my sight again!"
The Apple Family embraced their returned member, some taking a notice of the scar on her red frill.
"If Ma and Pa were here right now, they'd be so proud of you!" Applejack cried
"Eeyup!" Big Mac added as he rubbed his little sister's back.
Cosgrove's friends and their relatives embraced him before Scorpan stepped forward, breaking the festivities. The herd now looked worried as the large Duckbill stared him down.
"Cosgrove, I have told you many a time that you must not wander away from the herd. And that time so long ago, you disobeyed me again and brought your friends in danger, and worse, it cost your mother's life."
Scootaloo ran forward between the elder Shantungosaurus and young Alamosaurus.
"Scorpan," - The leader of the herd looked at the Fast Runner - "it wasn't his fault this time... it was mine..."
Scorpan closed his eyes, his brows still tense, "Had you not been separated from us in the Great Earthquake I would have exiled you from the herd." - The Duckbill opened his eyes and looked at the children - "But for the time you have been away from us, I hoped you learned a great lesson." - the hadrosaur turned and walked away - "Keep to your families and treasure them well, for when change does come to Canterlot Crater, they may not be there to protect you."
Loopty Hoop and Lion Tamer embraced their "grandson," with the Crusaders giving him a sad look.
"Hey, guys!" - the children of Scorpan's herd turned to find Diamond Tiara, Silver Spoon, Dinky, Button Mash, Rumble, Boysenberry, and Zipporwhill and their families meeting with them - "Want to play?"
The children looked at their families who gave them a nod of approval.
"Come on, we'll race each other!" The children began racing to the top of a hill.
Canterlot Crater was all they dreamed it would be: a land of life. There were waterfalls, grassy meadows, enough green food to feast them forever. And grazing among them the same loving faces they looked into on the day of their birth.