It was the Kapro from before—Forest could see now—her dull, washed out red scales, her scowling expression, her narrowed, furious brown eyes.
“You followed him here?” Spark bellowed.
“Tracked his scent all night. Like I said. NO ONE STEALS my KILL.”
Forest turned to Rust. The blue and orange deinonychus wasn’t moving. “Rust?”
The Kapro hissed with delight. “My job may already be done. Let me go!”
“No.” Spark growled. “Rust!”
He didn’t answer. Forest hurried to his side.
No. No. He couldn’t be gone. Forest had been starting to like the spunky, feathers creature. “Rust,” he whispered, shaking him. “Rust. Wake up. Wake up, Rust.”
The deinonychus’s tail twitched, and Rust sucked in a breath. He was just unconscious. Two long scratches were bleeding through his feathers, but he was alive.
Forest sighed with relief.
“You’re not going anywhere,” Spark said. She pushed down her foot harder. The Kapro gawped uncomfortably. “He may have stole, but it doesn’t mean you should kill him.”
“I do what I like!” The Kapro growled. “Why do you care?”
“We just do,” Spark said as Forest said, “cause he’s our friend. And we have to save the world.”
The Kapro let out an amused snort. “Rubbish. You’re a sack of lies, aren’t you?” She squinted at Forest. “Then again… it’s a little strange, three carnivores wandering the swamp.”
“Like I said—“ Forest tried, but Spark whacked him with her tail.
Rust trembled lightly, growling in his throat. He jerked his head closer to his chest, like he was having a nightmare.
“Let us go on our way,” Forest said. “ and we can pretend this never happened.”
“Forest,” Spark warned. “You may not know much about Kapros, but I do. They keep grudges. For a long, time.”
The Kapro hissed in response.
“We have to let her go sometime, right?” Forest prodded. He nodded to Kapro. “So let’s just make a deal with her. We’ll never have to see her again, if she lets Rust live.”
“What?” The Kapro shouted.
“Alright. Yeah,” Spark turned to look down at the Kaprosuchus. “I’m gonna let you go. And you are gonna leave. OK?”
The Kapro growled deep in her throat, then nodded slightly. “Fine. Keep your stupid raptor. I don’t care.” And Spark lifted off her talon.
The Kapro jumped up, her eyes glinting.
Please don’t try anything. Forest thought, seeing Sparks glare. Don’t fight.
The Kapro opened her mouth.