Evo trudged solemnly behind Araki, some random fluffy Chuck had picked to lead their group. Now they were here, shuffling down a random stone hallway in the tomb that killed his son. The painful image of his son pinned in midair flashed back into Evo’s mind. His beautiful boy, his young Yoga, disemboweled and strung up like a pig. All because Chuck had to drag them down here. All because Chuck couldn’t keep the food flowing. Everything Judas had told Evo was true. Chuck, and everyone associated with him, had to go to sleep. Forever.
Araki led the group of eleven down the left hallway. Araki had always been somewhat useful in the herd, a third generation fluffy without a real purpose. Whenever mares wanted special hugs and babies he would contribute to their cause because of his appealing colors, but he never stuck around. Araki just ate sky nummies, talked to the wizard, and played with rocks. However, it genuinely touched Araki to be chosen as a group leader. He would try his best for once.
The fluffy group finally emerged in a cylindrical chamber, like a tower. It had a lovingly crafted spiral staircase embedded into the wall, leading all the way up to the roof. The height was only a few feet, but to a microfluffy it was enormous. A fall from even halfway up would shatter legs or crush ribs, so a fall from all the way would completely splatter any fluffy. The party gazed in amazement and fear of the task ahead. Araki turned back to the group, trying to think of something inspiring to say.
“Em… Fwuffies… Dis coud be scawy… Wots of twaps an munstahs may be hewe… Bu… um… Fwuffies am bestest fwuffies Awaki knos… Fwuffies wiww be otay!” Araki pronounced with shaking confidence. All the fluffies, except for Evo, looked inspired by being called the bestest. Surely nothing bad could happen to them now! Araki led the group up the first few steps with cautious hooves. He kept his head down to the stairs to inspect for any hidden buttons or tripwires. Evo caught up the rear, still sulking and brooding.
“Awaki, fwuffy am hungwy an sweepie… Wen can fwuffies stop?” A fluffy from the middle of the group asked. The group had been walking up the stairs for what felt like forever, which in reality was only a few minutes. Fluffies just weren’t built for movement.
“Fwuffy am wight! Aww da fwuffies am tiwed of dummeh scawy pwave an staiws!” Another fluffy piped up. Now that every fluffy was babbling about how tired they all were, Araki began to notice the grumbling of his stomach and the throbbing of his hooves. But it wasn’t like they could just stop in the middle of the stairs and lay down. One little slip and they would tumble into the abyss. Araki almost made scared poops just at the thought of the fall.
“Awaki am tiwed too… Bu dere am nu whewe to take bweakie an dewe awe nu nummies hewe… Awaki am sowwie…” Araki mumbled meekly to the group. He kept his head down but he could feel the fluffies eyes boring into him with anger. Still, the group couldn’t do anything except walk. Araki’s eyes burned with tears as the group continued to walk.
After many more forevers later, the first fluffy to speak finally collapsed. His leg gave out and he fell on his face into the stairs. The fluffies behind him quickly stopped trotting to inspect the now fallen fluffy.
“Hu hu huu… smewwy pwace has wowstest huwties…” Said the now collapsed fluffy, making no attempt to get back to his feet. The fluffy behind him approached to comfort him, wrapping him into a healing hug.
“It am otay fwuffy… Huggies hewp huwties gu away!” Said the fluffy to the sniffling mass. Araki finally looked back to see half the fluffies trying to assist their fallen comrade and half of them staring at Araki in disdain. Araki glanced back to check their progress. The herd wasn’t even halfway up the stairs yet, even though Araki could swear they should’ve reached the top by now. He sighed, glancing around for any possible escape or retreat. But there simply wasn’t anywhere they could stop.
“Fwuffy fwends, dewe am nu whewe tu sweep and west…” Araki announced to the sunken group.
“Den wets gu back! Dis am dummeh, yu am dummeh, wets gu back tu nesties!” A fluffy yelled from the back. It was Evo. He was tired of walking behind this friend of Chuck, tired of walking with his son’s corpse left behind, tired of everything. Evo’s words inspired the rest of the fluffies to start a great protest with his beliefs. Araki was quickly outnumbered as leader and fell to the masses.
“Oh… Otay… Fwuffies gu tu nesties…” Araki relented. A lump formed in his throat and he felt tears welling in his eyes. What was he supposed to do? They were stuck on a staircase with no breaks, and honestly he was tired of it too. What would Chuck do? Chuck wouldn’t have this problem in the first place, what did it matter? Araki slumped his head down in shame. He was a dumb, stupid fluffy, not fit to be a leader.
A single tear burned in Araki’s eye as he looked up to the group. Evo was leading them down the staircase back towards the group as Araki pulled up the rear. They all waddled along single-file before something quickly caught Araki’s eye. The stair in front of him, currently occupied by another fluffy, was subtly vibrating. Araki was about to say something, maybe warn his fellow fluffy, but it was too late to even begin thinking. The vibrating stair shot back into the wall lightning fast, causing the fluffy on it to fall into the space left void.
Then, before the falling fluffy could squeak, the stair rapidly shot back out, shoving the helpless fluffy out of the way into the center of the spiral staircase. Araki could hear the distinct sound of shattering bones as the air shot out of the fluffy as a high-pitch yelp. The micro spiraled through the abyss before meeting his end on the stone floor way below. The rest of his glass bones shattered as all of the fluids rapidly burst through his paper skin, pooling around him. Araki stared slack-jawed into the chasm when he felt eighteen eyes fall onto him.
“MUNSTAH KIWW FWUFFY! DUMMEH AWAKI MUNSTAH GIB FWUFFY FOWEVA SWEEPIES!” Araki winced at the shout directed at him. He slowly drifted his eyes to see a hoof connect swiftly to his head. Araki stumbled backwards from the blow, his vision blurry and his eye throbbing. He had the wits enough to back towards the wall instead of the edge, and he felt the cold stone offer no more escape.
“TABWET GIB MUNSTAH FOWEVA SWEEPIES!” His attacker cried. The other fluffies, all except Evo, cheered on Tablet in his crusade against evil Araki. The herd had a few fights in the past, but they were quickly dealt with by Chuck. The fluffies could tell that this wasn’t going to end until someone was dead, and it excites them to the point of fervor. Evo instead ignores noise and continues his trek.
Tablet rushes at Araki with both front hooves high in the air, ready to crush Araki’s face in. Araki used his weak fluffy legs to throw himself out of the direct killing blow, instead being struck in the side. Tablet wasn’t exactly the strongest, but the double hoof hit to the ribs caused Araki to lose his breath. He tumbled to the cold floor, feeling blood fill his tender mouth. Tablet quickly followed up with a flurry of blows to Araki’s backside, many connecting with his no-nos and poopy place.
Araki fought through the fear and pain, bucking his two rear legs backwards in a desperate attempt to hit anything. He felt his soft hoof meet the sternum of Tablet, sending him down the stairs. Araki wheezed and tried to get to his feet, but his shaky legs wouldn’t do it. He opened his mouth and tried to explain, but blood clogged his vocal cords. To add insult to injury, a tooth fell out of his maw, splashing into the puddle of dark red spit.
Tablet was swiftly renewed with vigor, and started to stomp his way to Araki again.
“Dummeh fwuffy gib foweva sweepies tu fwuffy! Gib sowwy hoofies tu gud smawt Tabwet! Tabwet gonna gib Awaki sowwy hoofies an bad enfies, den aww da oda fwuffies wiww tu! Awaki gonna be mawe noa!” Tablet said, a glimmer in his eye as he approached the limping Araki. All the fluffies behind him seemed to agree with the sentiment of raping Araki.
Sure, Araki wasn’t the best leader. He could be lazy and stupid, maybe he deserved a sorry hoof or two. However, Araki wasn’t so devoured by self-pity that he was going to let himself get sodomized by some assholes and their party for something he didn’t do. While Tablet rambled on about how they were gonna brutalize Araki, the small micro slowly gathered all the strength he could into his shaking legs. Araki dove forward at Tablet, who clearly wasn’t expecting any resistance. Araki managed to deliver a single crisp hit on Tablet’s temple, sending the fluffy spinning. Tablet stumbled to the edge of the stairs, and before anyone could react, slipped over.
Tablet, just like the previous fluffy to fall, tumbled all the way to the bottom where he promptly went splat below. He screamed all the way down, screaming for help and love and- that was it. Araki was steadying himself to put up some more fight, but that time never came. Instead, all that happened was the group of remaining fluffies rushed past Araki, shoving him out of their path. It took a minute for Araki to notice what they were running from, as his right eye had swollen shut.
Araki saw Evo sprinting faster than he had ever seen a fluffy run before. Behind Evo the entire staircase was disappearing, Evo just barely able to keep in front of the stairs before they shot into the stone wall. The small fluffy was clearly running out of stamina with only the prospect of a long drop pushing him forward. Araki turned and began trying to make ground in front of Evo, but his beating earlier greatly slowed him down. Evo was a long way behind Araki, but he was rapidly approaching.
Evo was almost to the bottom before he saw the first stair shoot into the wall. He thought he might survive the fall, but he wasn’t going to risk it. Surely there would be a way out up top, a way that didn’t involve potential broken bones. Evo turned and started walking, but the stairs outpaced him. When he saw Tablet fall past him, he decided it was a great time to run. The stairs had actually sped up to keep pace with Evo, a fact that didn’t mean much to the fluffy, but did inspire fear. The other fluffies had turned tail and ran past that moron Araki. Araki stared at him for a minute before running to. Was Araki making sure he was going to make it?
Evo eventually caught up to Araki, who is barely able to hobble up the stairs. Evo feels a tinge of pity as he rushes past the cripple. But, looking past his shoulder, the stairs are still collecting themselves flush into the wall. Evo isn’t ready to join Yoga, not willingly. Araki watches as Evo rushes by, and he accepts his fate. It is obvious that the stairs are too fast for his beaten little stubs, and Araki clearly isn’t fast enough to make it.
Just then, in front of Evo, a section of wall slides apart, revealing a hallway. Evo uses the last of his strength and rushes into the cool, dark corridor. His lungs burn, his legs feel numb, and he pants and almost throws up. Araki sees it too, and rathers the last of his willpower into one last push. Araki limps forward at full speed, and is able to make it halfway into the passage before the stairs rush out below him.
Evo looks over to the dangling Araki. His eye is swollen shut, blood is draining out of the wound. His fluff under his snout is tinted red, and Evo can see a missing tooth as Araki gasps desperately for breath. Araki’s front two legs and half of his chubby body are barely inside the hallway, desperately trying to clamber inside. Evo slowly walks over to the helpless fluffy and thinks.
On one hand, this fluffy is in cahoots with Chuck, the very bastard that got your son stabbed to death. On the other, Araki himself hasn’t done anything wrong to you. If you failed to help him, or just maybe gave him a shove, no one would know. No one could possibly know. Evo slowly raises a hoof and places it on Araki’s forehead. Araki closes his eyes, knowing what comes next.
Instead, Evo lowers his hoof. He just can’t bring himself to do it. Even if he hates Araki, for no good reason, he has to imagine what Araki’s daddeh would feel like, losing a son. Instead, Evo gently bites into Araki’s mane and pulls him up until his back legs can gain traction. It isn’t easy, and about half way through it felt like Evo’s teeth would be ripped out, but they manage to squeak by.
Araki spends a few minutes on his side, gulping down large breaths of air. Evo sits down by the wall and takes an equal amount of time to process everything. A long shared silence passes, only filled by Araki’s subtle wheezing. Finally, Araki rolls over and looks at Evo.
“T-tank yu… Ebo… Yu am… Gud fwuffy…” Araki mumbles before going back to suffering in silence. A few more moments pass before Evo hears some windy screams pass beyond the hallway. Looking down, he can see the rest of the group scattered on the rock far, far below. Evidently, there was nothing at the top of the stairs. Araki and Evo are completely alone.