“That old mare in the corner finally had her litter. Decent colored unicorn, passable earthy.”
“No Alicorns? Cotton candy’s never had a litter without one before. I suppose she is getting on…” the man addressed was going over a list, barely looking up. At his feet, the deep blue stallion twitched, then leaned back against his ankles. “Starting to regret getting Jolly fixed after that one incident.”
“Well…. There sort of was an alicorn? It just didn’t come out right.” the younger man came back a moment later, setting a frantically peeping brown and tan jumble on the desk. For a moment, Jason wondered why Ryan had set down two foals…and then his brain made sense of the jumble. It should have been two alicorn foals, only spoiled by the brown shades that made up the babyfluff of the chirpies- if they hadn’t been conjoined. Although…two heads, each with the correct features, eight legs, four wings. They-it…they, were only connected at their lower belly and haunch. Only one tiny set of genitals, but that could be worked around if the right organs were also duplicated.
“I assume, by the lack of shrill complaints and begging, Cotton Candy rejected them…for perfectly understandable reasons?” At the nod, he sighed. “Put them in one of the incubators for the premium salestock. I can salvage at least one of them once they’re a little older. Maybe both if things go right. It’ll be a good test of the new techniques anyway.”
Their eyes still hadn’t opened, but they were big enough to have a chance. The larger of the two was the one who had the better aligned anatomy, and it followed into what inner organs could be seen as he cut them free. A few minor fixes with the help of the trash foals he’d snagged for this, things tucked away and stitched tighter back up later, and he set the foal with the darker coat patches back into the incubator. One completely intact little colt, if he survived the next few days. The color was a disappointment, but not an issue for the replacement kennel guard he needed. Assuming this proved out in training- Jason glanced down at Jolly Rancher and his greying muzzle, and the deep scars over his side.
He always needed kennel guards for most of his runs and stock, but getting one qualified for house duty was harder. Either manners or looks good enough not to throw off the customers, tough enough to deal with whatever came up and smart enough to know when to use the alarm to call him in, and absolute, unquestioning, reliable obedience. Getting the last took the right mix of breeding and training, and even then nothing was certain. Nothing was ever certain with fluffies, even Gregory’s fancy branded hunting friends. Jolly Rancher and his sister had been expensive, but worth it, and the foals neutered out as good kennel guards and sold to the right customers had made differences in the bottom line more than once.
Laffy-taffy and Skittles had been …acceptable as house fluffies as well. They’d had to be gelded even faster than Jolly to keep them from getting territorial with the Breeding stallions, but they’d settled into their jobs and had been close enough kin to keep Jolly from getting touchy with them. Stupid fucking kids. Abuse was abuse…but other peoples property should be left alone. He’d made it over to that side of the house when the alarm sounded in time to protect the breeding stock themselves…to find a barely breathing Jolly on the alarm button waiting for him, the other two in a puddle of their own blood. To say nothing of the lost pregnancies from the stress and the carnage in the outdoor pens.
He’d sued for the vandalism and property damage as hard as he could, of course. Lost income from the stress miscarriages, the broken window and door lock… the base value of Skittles and Taffy. Designer breed, specialty type, gelded males in popular colors. Nothing added by the sheer amount of training that had gone into them. Nothing added by the fact he’d bred them himself out of Cotton Candy and a good Lab stud, that he’d raised them from birth, that they had been his- that they had been valued and tolerably mannered workfluffs.
So, he’d had hopes. None of the others in the line had passed the last testing to justify remaining intact or earning a house spot, but this litter might have had his next chance. …Maybe he should let their siblings try for the training as well. Otherwise he might as well retire Jolly entirely and buy a sibling set new from the Lab.
But, meanwhile, there was an experiment to try. He undid the clips used to keep the second foal from bleeding out entirely as he worked on the colt, and prodded into the abdomen before opening it further. Those trash foal donors were still available, so Jason carefully excised what he’d need to graft in. Little thing wasn’t missing much more than the other one was. A way to reroute the bladder and urethra where it had once merged with another, skin to replace some of the hindquarters. A few little details for aesthetics.
Easier to dig a hole than build a pole was a stupid line, but it wasn’t wrong. Gregory’s “Demonfluffs” might not heal the way standards did, but they still were easier to meddle with than actual animals. The little filly he had just made wouldn’t ever be fertile, but she’d be functional enough to pass and live her little life. Once certain he had accounted for every issue he could, he tucked her in with her “twin” in an incubator with antibiotic dosed milk. Time to see if they had the will to fight off any infections that might come their way.
A few days later, they had opened their matching grey eyes, one after the other. The brown colt had deepened in color to something more like nutmeg or cherry fudge, with hints of lighter dappling, the start of his mane and tail showing reddish. His twin’s lighter patches had spread into something that looked like fever coat, the darker spots shifting into expresso dark roaning over her greyish brown fluff. She was still smaller than her brother, though, and her mane was either matching her coat or a little late in developing.
They both made sleepy, content chirps as he petted them, brief murmurs of ‘daddeh?’ before ‘miwkies’ as they crawled forward to the single nipple in their tank. They bumped noses just before it, the lighter foal scootching back just enough to cuddle her brother as he fed.
Jason frowned, considering that. Touching, yes. Or it could be a lack of energy or will to live. All of the jobs she could fill when grown needed that will, that fighting instinct.
Another week. And then they could be turned into the foal pen with the other potential kennel guards, to succeed or die trying like the others.