Rubbing her stomach as it growled with hunger, the mare pressed on through the woods. Born a feral, her once deep red coat was mangey and coated with dirt that made the crimson appear more a dull maroon. She had been walking for ages, and could scarcely remember her last fulfilling meal, having eaten mostly grass and leaves for several days prior. Once part of a small herd, the red earthie had fled when several humans had found their nest, the sounds of their laughter and the gristly sights still haunting her restless slumber each night. The last moments of their leader had been the worst of all, the cruel invaders hefting him by his tail and striking him against the side of a tree over and over, his pleas for mercy lost quickly to loud and frantic screams. By the time they had finished, he was broken and near death, his battered body too damaged to move as he tried to beg for death through his mangled jaw.
It had been countless forevers since, and as cruel as it seemed, the mare focused less each day on what she had lost and more on how she was going to survive. Already feeling the exhaustion of hunger and her forced march gnawing at her, the red earthie struggled to press on until she finally reached the grove’s end. Just beyond was a rolling hillside and a large farmstead, covered by a slotted wooden fence that ran the entirety of the property line.
“*huuu…huuu…huuu…Am su faw way’…an’ am hoomin howsie…nu wike…buh nee’ nummies…”
She was horrified at the prospect of another encounter with humans, her mind drifting to the slaughter of her lost herd. But she was tired, and starving to the point of near collapse. With little other prospects within sight, the red earthie began to close the gap between her and the farm, hopeful that she’d find some food.
Gasping for breath, the mare could finally see the fence that surrounded the farm. Approaching slowly, she could just barely make out a sound in the air, like someone speaking but tinny and hollow. As she made her way closer, crawling slowly as she glanced about anxiously, the red earthie could finally make out the noise. It was strange sounding, but it was clearly a fluffy’s voice, albeit louder.
“Gud fwuffies nu gib huwties tu odah fwuffies”
“Gud fwuffies nu gib huwties tu babbehs…evah”
“Gud fwuffies nu taekies ow way’st nummies”
“Gud fwuffies nu hab speciaw huggies wiff’ow’t pew’missin”
“Gud fwuffies nebah wie”
"Gud fwuffies nebah begs ow askies "
“Gud fwuffies maek gud poopies”
“Gud fwuffies awways wisten to mistuh”
"Gud fwuffies teww mistuh wen a fwuffy am ba’ "
“Ba’ fwuffies get tap…tap…tap…”
Once the odd fluffy had finished there was an odd crackling sound, followed shortly by him repeating the strange phrase again and again. Confused by his unusual tone and never ending words, the red earthie was distracted, nearly walking head-first into the fence. Looking past the slots between the pickets, the mare was stunned to see fluffies. Countless fluffies within the property, struggling to drag burlap sacks and slowly pulling small manure filled wagons.
“Fw…fwuffy nu shud b…b…be hewe…”
Perplexed by all she had seen, the blue pegasus had startled the mare, eliciting a loud shriek before falling to the grass and covering her face with her hooves on instinct. Trembling slightly, she peeked from between her legs and saw the pegasus, staring at her cautiously as he glanced around, as though he were nervous to be seen.
“…Nu…an’ fwuffy shud weeb wite nao…”
Before she could question him further, the pegasus scampered off, grabbing a nearby sack with his teeth as he struggled to slowly pull it behind him. Moving inch by inch, the mare noticed that as he dragged it in a mindless hurry, the back of the burlap sack was pulling against the small grating that the other sacks were piled within, slowly tearing open and spilling out it’s contents. While unsure what the numerous, small brown pellets really were, the mare could tell that it was food by the smell alone.
“…Dohs smeww wike…wike nummies!!!”
Her mouth salivating, the red earthie quickly pressed herself against the fence, wedging herself through awkwardly as the post gave weigh and shifted. Kicking her back legs wildly, she finally burst free from between the fence, running past the pegasus and quickly devouring mouthful after mouthful of the pile of strange but delicious food. Shocked by seeing the mare run past him, the pegasus’ eyes went wide when he saw the massive pile of barley and then the intruder eating it.
“NUUUUUUU!!! STAHP!!! NU EAT DOHS!!!”
Lost in both the taste of real food and the sensation of her belly finally being filled, the mare could barely hear him, only halting her meal as his hoof abruptly struck her across her face.
“*SCREEEEEEE!!! *huuu…huuu…huuu…Dat huwt! Wai meanie fwuffy gib huwties!”
Before the pegasus could retort, he noticed that the mare’s shrieks of pain and his shouts from earlier had attracted unwanted attention. As he stood over the crying mare, several other fluffies had halted in their tracks, staring at the pair, mouths agape.
“G…g…gud fwuffies nu taekies ow way’st nummies…”
“Fwuffy am gud fwuffy…fwuffy am gud fwuffy…fwuffy am gud fwuffy…”
“B…b…b…BA’ FWUFFIES!!! BA’ FWUFFIES!!!”
A green unicorn, screaming as though she were horrified, immediately ran towards the fluffy’s wooden coops, scrambling towards a series of poles next to each domicile and rapidly pressing a small button on the side, each depression sending a loud clamorous ringing through the air. As though a gun had been fired, every fluffy within site instantly stopped what it was doing, running in a panic as they each headed towards the coops. With all the noise and screaming, the mare rose rom her meal, bits of barley falling from her maw as she watched the fluffies gather around their dwellings, the pegasus that had struck her running to join them.
“W…wat am wowd sown’d?! Wat am fwuffies du’n?!”
“ALL RIGHT…LINE UP AND STAY STILL!!!”
From across the entire field, the old man’s voice carried, scaring the mare far more than the bells that were now dying down as he slowly shuffled towards the coops, a long leather switch in his hand. Now in a panic, the red earthie looked around anxiously, unsure what to do. It had taken her time to get through the fence and she doubted that she’d escape that way in time, the old man growing ever closer. Yelping as he was now close enough to see her, the mare fell against the burlap sack, shivering as she covered her eyes.
Pacing a line back and forth, the older man simply stared down the fluffies who sat on their haunches, shivering quietly as they tried not to make eye contact. He occasionally glanced towards the mare who was out of formation, her gaunt frame and filthy coat a dead giveaway that she wasn’t one of his. Still, despite how obvious things were, he had drilled these fluffies in a very specific way, and to break that pattern would undo years of hard work.
“Alright then, Who was it?! Who was a bad fluffy?!”
Halting his steps, the man stood in place and let the quiet do the work for him, the nervous biotoys nearly driven to tears by his mere presence. He could already tell that more than a few of the fluffs looked more than a little nervous, but one of the unicorns, a green mare stepped forward first.
“D…dohs…tu fwuffies obah deww m…m…mistuh…bwu wingie fwuffy an’ nu kno wed fwuffy…bwu wingie fwuffy way’st nummies, an’ nu kno wed fwuffy taek wots of nummies…”
Simply nodding, the green unicorn backed up again as the man turned away from her. Looking towards the pegasus, the old man sighed as he watched it void it’s bladder, whimpering as it refused to meet his eyes. “So one of my own and an intruder…Well, you at least know what comes next…So, tell me fluffies…WHAT ARE THESE TWO?!”
Each voice called out, despite their nerves being shot, nearly in unison. Smiling as he stared towards the earthie mare, the old man nodded.“That’s right! and tell me, WHAT DO BAD FLUFFIES GET?!” Closing their eyes firmly, all the fluffies save for the outed pegasus and red mare began to tap their hoove aagainst the wooden ramps of their coops, again and again. Startled by the sudden noise, the mare moved her hooves, watching as all the fluffies begrudgingly rapped their hooves again and again, save for the blue pegasus who simply wept quietly, clearly scared of angering the old man further. Once the man held up his hand, the fluffies stopped just as quickly as they had started, some whimpering and fighting back tears. “Okay then…lets get this over with…”
The fluffies all began to walk quietly towards the barn behind the old man’s house, even the blue pegasus to the mare’s shock. Ignoring the others, the old man walked up beside the red earthie, even as she seemed ready to flee. “Don’t even try it…I may be old, but with this…” He let the switch in his hand snap firmly against the dirt in front of the mare, eliciting a sudden scream.
“…I can reach a lot further than you think…Now move your ass!” Letting the switch strike firmly against her backside, the old man led the earthie mare towards the other fluffies, careful not to hit her so hard that he broke her. Once they were within the barn, he shut the double-door behind them and grabbed her by her scruff, lifting her in the air.
“NUUUUUUU!!! WET GU!!! WET GU!!! *SCREEEEEEE!!!”
As she was pulled painfully upward, all she could think of was what had happened to her herd’s leader in the woods, his face as his head and body were repeatedly bashed against the tree. Wriggling helplessly in the air, the mare fought against the man’s grip as best she could as he walked her towards the middle of the barn, the fluffies all gathered in a circle. At it’s center was a large barrel that had been cut open and placed on it’s side in a rack to hold it at an angle. Wiping his tears with his hooves, the blue pegasus was sitting near it, staring at it as though it were death itself.
Close to where the pegasus had resigned himself was a metal stake planted through the floor with a bit of leather chord attached, which the man quickly used to tie down the mare by her neck. “Figure this’ll go better for you if you watch first…” Leaving the red earthie for the moment, the older man walked over to the pegasus, the blue fluff weeping wildly now but not daring to try and run away.
“*huuu…huuu…huuu…SOWWY!!! FWUFFY AM SU SOWWY!!! *huuu…huuu…huuu…PWEASE…NU HUWT…”
His pleading was quickly muted by the older man grabbing his jaw in his hand. “Now, now…only bad fluffies beg…and you are already in a world of trouble. I make the rules for a reason, and wasting my barley is wasting my money…and that makes you a bad fluffy…”
“NU!!! NU PWEASE!!! NUUUUUUU!!! *SCREEE…”
He didn’t have time to scream, his voice lost as he was dunked into the icy waters within the barrel. As he struggled to surface he could already feel the old man strapping him in, with only his head and front hoof free for the moment. Catching his breath, he watched as the man pulled out a small silver bell and affixed it to a small plank that was near the pegasus’ free leg. Knowing what came next, the pegasus lost what little composure he had remaining as he struggled against his straps, trying his best to move his head away from the man’s approaching hand. Pulling the chords taut, he secured them over his head, the only thing keeping the fluffy’s head above the water now being his hand still clutching the restraints. Now only sobbing, the pegasus struggled to breathe, hyperventilating as he tried to move his head to no avail.
“Now I figure with the wasted barley seed, and all that begging earlier…I think fifteen should square things away…” There was a series of gasps and muffled whimpers at the number the man stated. While unable to count exceptionally high, it unnerved them because they knew that if they didn’t know it, that it had to be a lot.
“WAWA BA’ FOW FWUFFIES!!! NUUUU…”
Letting the restraint fall free, the pegasus’ head was quickly submerged, his muzzle shaking frantically as bubbles rising to the water’s surface marked the fluffy’s terrified shriek. “So let’s count then…ONE…” As the old man raised his voice, all the fluffies around him lifted their hoof and rapped it against the floor with him. The pegasus’ free hoof started to strike frantically against the wooden plank, the bell ringing in rapid succession. Shaking his head, the old man bent the switch in his hand before lashing out at the limb, another swarth of bubbles abruptly rising to the surface as he struggled to shriek underwater. “You know that’s too fast…now we have to start over…” With his maw under water but his ears partially above it, the pegasus could vaguely hear but still struggled to calm himself as he tried to shake against the leather restraints. “You’re only wasting your own time…when you’re ready…One…” Yet again the fluffies tapped in succession, with the pegasus’ hoof shaking frantically but only striking the plank once. “Two…”
Pulling the drenched pegasus out of the barrel, he hung limp in the old man’s hand, dangling by his mane. Shaking his head slightly, he began to strike the fluffy on his back, again and again until finally he awoke violently, spitting up water before flailing and chirping.
“*chirp…*chirp…nu mowe…*chirp…*chirp…fwuffy be gud…*chirp…*chirp…fwuffy be gud…”
Knowing that it would be a fair while before the pegasus recovered from his reversion, the old man placed him aside for the time being, his attention now on the earthie mare.
“Pwease nu huwties fwuffy…n…nu mean tu be bad…nu…NUUUUUUU!!! WAWA BA’!!! WAWA BA’ FOW FWUFFY!!!”
“Fair is fair now…You saw how it works so you have a fightin’ chance…Now, for tresspassin’ and stealing seed…I’m thinking thirty…”
Good to be writing here again. This was an old concept that I wrote up last April that I’ve had on the backburner and now seemed like a good time.
Will be putting out some varied content until I know more about the status of the posts that came after the middle of December, after which I will either continue directly on Abuser Apprentice, or just rewrite the lost material as a long mega chapter or something, as well as rewriting Thirty Days to Smile/Lashing Out if need be. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed.