Seth made his way from the kitchen down the hallway with Jerome following behind. While not thrilled by the boy’s antics, he was more disappointed in himself than he was Jerome. Never lose your cool in front of others was a rule that Seth tried to live by everyday. While a turbulent sea of emotions on the inside, he always tried to display a calm and relaxed demeanor, as it put people at ease and allowed him to manage social interactions without unpleasant looks or pesky questions.
But the kid had fucked up, thought Seth as they arrived outside the hobby-room. To not only ignore the rules so blatantly but to make light of it afterwards, it was a clear sign that the boy needed guidance. And despite how angry Seth was that he’d need to retool Kismet’s torture sessions, he was the only one who could help Jerome find his way.
Leaning over, Seth picked up the shoebox bed, annoyed that he’d dropped it so abruptly after seeing the teen with his foal. Opening the top, he was content to see that Frostbite was unharmed and besides having soiled himself, most likely due to the fall, he was physically fine. Peeping lightly, the foal closed his eyes tightly when he noticed Seth, wiggling slightly as he tried in vain to hide. Pleased that Frostbite seemed fine, Seth replaced the lid, beckoning for Jerome to follow him. “Just gotta drop this off in my room and we’ll take her in my hobby-room…Come on kid.”
Once out of earshot, Bullet let out a relieved sigh, scared that the mean men from before might have heard her singing to her tummy babies.
“Nu wowwy babbehs…Buww’it nu wetchu get huwt…”
It was a short trip to place Frostbite’s bed on the nightstand beside Seth’s. Then he and Jerome returned to the hallway, hefting the carrier with the pilfered mare upward, prompting a startled shriek from within. Seth shared a confused glance with Jerome before peering within closely, seeing that the unicorn had worked the tape off of her muzzle, with several tufts of fluff clearly missing were it had been. “Gotta work on your tape-work kid. Oh well, no matter now. Let’s get her inside…”
Walking in the hobby-room, Seth could see Jerome’s eyes light up as he took everything in. From the toolboard behind the workbench, slightly stained from blood and soot, to the oversized trunk that predominated the other side of the poorly lit room.
“So is this where…”
“Not all of it kid, but yeah. This is where I have most of my fun with fluffies.” Taking the carrier, Seth opened the grating and tilted the opening down over the bench, forcing the mare to tumble out slightly, screaming from the sudden fall.
Jerome had to cover his mouth to suppress the urge to laugh, the sight of the tumbling unicorn striking him as rather hilarious. Peering around, the mare seemed anxious, as though she knew some of the terrible things that had happened within the hobby-room’s walls. While she still had a slight bravado to her posture, it was clear to Seth that the mare was growing more and more nervous by the second, the uncertainty obvious in her panicked expression.
“WAI MEANIE HOOMIN GIB BUWW’IT HUWTIES?! BUWW’IT AM SOON MUMMAH! IF MEANIE HOOMINS HUWTIE TUMMEH BABBEHS…DEN BUWW’IT TEWW MUMMAH ON DEM!!! GETS YU IN SU MANIE TWUBBLES!”
Seth looked towards the defiant mare for a few moments, noticing how angry she looked and now unnerved Jerome was by her words. As he peered towards Bullet, the mare shifting uncomfortably as she turned her head away from Seth’s gaze, he began to chuckle, which seemed to make the unicorn far more upset.
“NU AM FUNNY MEANIE HOOMIN! NU WAFF AT BUWW…*SCREEEEEEE!!!”
Seth ended her angry shouting by lightly flicking her snout. While not exceptionally harmful, it never failed to silence a fluffy as it was still quite painful. “Good fluffies do not yell at humans Bullet…Now, I have some questions for you. If you don’t answer me, or if you try to lie to me, then I’ll have to give you even more hurties…” Her hooves rubbing her wounded nose, the mare sniffled and whimpered, clearly unused to physical punishment. But even faced with the threat of more pain, her blustering courage was far from gone.
“Wai meanie hoomin gib Buww’it smeww pwace huwties?! Huwties nu am gud fow tummeh babbehs! Buww’it nu wetchu huwties tummeh babbehs meanie hoomin!”
Clearly she’s lived a charmed, sheltered life, thought Seth. Still, she wasn’t as dumb as some fluffies, having halted her tumultuous yelling, her voice only slightly raised. Nudging Seth as the mare complained, Jerome whispered so Bullet wouldn’t overhear.
“Just like that man…She’s been goin’ on and on…like she ain’t scared…”
Nodding slightly, Seth retorted, never taking his eyes off the brattish unicorn. “Don’t sweat it too much kid, I have a feeling she’s all talk. We’ll get to the bottom of this and then we’ll decide what to do with her. In the mean time, watch and learn…” Leaning in abruptly, Seth gripped one of the mare’s ears, her whining and threatening halted as she yelped.
“Wet Buww’it gu! Nu gwab Buww’it’s heaw pwace! Wet gu! Wet gu!”
“Fluffies should never tell humans what to do Bullet…” Holding firm, Seth began to twist the ear slightly, the mare’s eyes widening as the delicate tissue was slowly stretched and pulled.
“Now, how long have you been away from your home?” Both distracted by the aching in her ear and the growing dread of Seth ignoring her previous threats, the unicorn failed to answer.
“MEANIE HOOMIN NU GIB BUWW’IT OWWIES!!! GOWNA TEWW…*SCREEEEEEE!!!”
Grasping her by her collar with his free hand, Seth began to pull on Bullet’s ear, the pained flesh already a bright pink within. “How long have you been outside? The pain won’t stop until you answer me Bullet…” Trying to shake her head loose, the mare shrieked violently as Seth held firm, her ear now stretched as far as the cartilage and tissue would physically allow.
"*SCREEEEEEE!!! HUWTIES SU BA’!!! STAHP!!! *SCREEEEEEE!!! P’WEASE STAHP!!! "
Giving the unicorn a moment’s respite, Seth let up slightly, still pinching the ear slightly but no longer stretching it. “It won’t stop until you tell me…How long Bullet?” Tearing up, the mare began to whimper, her eyes gazing up towards Seth.
“*huuu…huuu…huuu…Ni…nices mistuh…p’we…p’wease nu huwties Buww’it nu mowe…*huuu…huuu…huuu…Fwuff…fwuffies am fow huggies an’ wuv…”
Not wasting a moment, Seth grabbed both ears and pulled, lifting the portly mare upright by the tender flesh, trying not to chuckle as the shrieking unicorn stood awkwardly on her trembling legs.
“*SCREEEEEEE!!! WET GU!!! *SCREEEEEEE!!! WET BUWW’IT DOWNS!!!”
“No more breaks Bullet. It stops when you start talking. How…Many…Days?!” As he enunciated each word, Seth let the unicorn droop down slightly only to pull her upright abruptly, the mare screaming as the force of her own weight tore at her ears.
“*SCREEEEEEE!!! NU KNO!!! BUWW’IT NU KNO!!! BEEN…*SCREEEEEEE!!! BEEN WOTS OB BWITE TIMES WEN BUWW’IT WAST AT HOUSIE!!!”
Letting her fall to the workbench, the mare shook violently, breathing hard as she curled up against her swollen belly. “Good girl…” Letting the unicorn have a few moments to recuperate, Seth leaned in and spoke softly to Jerome, so as not to be heard by Bullet. “Okay, so she says she doesn’t know how long it’s been…so I’d say she’s been missing for at least four days, probably a week or more…”
“Really? How you figure?”
“Fluffies aren’t very bright, and most can’t count past three. So it’s been more than three days, but her fur is pretty dirty and matted. She isn’t starving, but she’s a little thinner than a dam should be. Means she’s been scrounging for a while now.”
“So whoever she belongs to…They haven’t seen her in like a week?”
Nodding, Seth beckoned Jerome to come closer as he approached the bench. Still breathing rapidly, Bullet’s head was firmly placed against her fluff, the mare clearly still scared from her previous assault. Grasping the back of her head, the unicorn shrieked as Seth forced her to face towards him.
“*SCREEEEEEE!!! NUUUUUUU!!! MEANIE HOOMIN NU HUWTIES BUWW’IT!!!”
Pressing against the sides of her jaw, Bullet’s desperate pleas were quickly muffled. "I already told you Bullet. Answer my questions and I won’t hurt you…but tell me what to do again…"Seth tightened his grip, the mare’s eyes widening as she felt her jaw squeezed, her hooves rapping against the bench as she tried to get away. Once he felt that he’d made his point, Seth loosened his hold, the unicorn crying but no longer screaming. “So tell me Bullet…Why did you leave your house?” Trying to look away, it only took Seth pinching her jaw slightly to prompt the mare to answer.
“*huuu…huuu…huuu…Buww…Buww’it wan babbehs…Buh…buh mummah teww Buww’it nu can hab babbehs…*huuu…huuu…huuu…Ask mummah su mani times buh awways sai nu babbehs fow Buww’it! …*huuu…huuu…huuu…S…Su Buww’it run way’…”
“And you found a special friend and now you’re a soon mamma, right?”
“Do you know where your special friend is? What’s he look like?” It was obviously a sour note for the unicorn as her whimpering escalated to full throated bawling at the question.
“N…nu kno…*huuu…huuu…huuu…Sp…speciaw fwend weeb tu find nummies…b…buh nu come back…*huuu…huuu…huuu…W…wus wingie fwuffy wiff pw…pwetty bwack fwuff…”
Letting go of the mare’s head, Seth looked to Jerome, the teen seemingly befuddled.
“So she left cause her owner said no foals?”
“It’s fairly common in poorly raised fluffies, especially mares. When nature calls and they decide that they want offspring, most fluffies will talk to their owners, but spoiled or bratty ones won’t take no for an answer. It’s not as prevalent around here, but it’s one of the reasons the feral population is so bad further north.” Seth slowly let his hand fall towards Bullet, the mare shivering as she noticed. Closing her eyes tightly as he approached, the unicorn was suddenly shocked as she felt Seth stroking her side gently. Cooing slightly, Bullet slowly rose to her hooves, nuzzling against his hand. “Good girl, Bullet. One last question. Do you know where your house is? Do you know how to get home?”
“N…nu…Buww’it nu kno wewe housie am…Tu faw way’…”
Nodding as he continued to pet the unicorn, it was all adding up for Seth. Feigning a smile, Seth motioned for Jerome to follow him. “Okay sweety, I’ll be right back with some food. I know you must be hungry. Stay right here.” Heading out of the room, Seth waited until Jerome had closed the door behind him. “Based on what I got out of her in there, I think you’re in the clear kid.”
“Really?! You sure?”
“It checks out…Left to have babies, not sure where her home is, missing for days…Safe bet that her owner either isn’t looking for her or doesn’t want her back.”
“That’s fuckin’ awesome Seth! God man, you really helped me out with this one…So, what are we gonna do with her?”
Smiling, Seth patted the teen on his shoulder, an almost sinister undertone to his disposition. “Oh we’re not doing anything…I’m giving her to you, kid…”