The Toy Castle chapter 8 (Novelization) (Writer: SqueakyFriend)

The Toy Castle, chapter 8

Flesh-Eater


“Snowcone suwe nu wan gu back?” Reddy asked, and Snowcone nodded in turn.

She could understand his worries, really. She was wounded and they carried two foals - the yellow one they’d saved from Wawa, and a red one they saw sleeping tangled in some sheets. But they didn’t have time to run back and forth, not with Wawa searching out foals ahead of them.

“Weddy can gu back if wan,” she suggested as she walked, but the foal shook his head indignantly.

“Nu! Weddy stay with Snowcone, hewp babbehs!”

“Den haf tu keep going.”

Maybe the worst part was how used she was getting to pain. Her battered body ached, her wing and ear protested when she tried to move them and her back welled blood with every step. Had she been hurt this way before the castle, she would have been crying and cowering, but now she’d suffered the same wound torn open again and again, walked on bleeding hooves and unending aches. A nicked wing and ripped ear were so minor in comparison.

Following the blood drops left in Wawa’s wake, the two emerged into a garden. Plastic flowers and thorny bushes decorated the area, and shearing the grass in half was a stream of water - the only path forward, and ending Wawa’s trail. Snowcone approached the water and looked down at the clear surface, faced with her own reflection.

She really did look like a mess, she thought. Lines had appeared under her eyes and her ear was split down the middle, leaving a bloody trail down the side of her face. Her wings no longer matched as she spread them, and her fur was an absolute mess.

Below the surface swam thin fishes, and Snowcone eased somewhat as she murmured. “Hewwo, fishy fwiends.”

Mimicking the words, her reflection tilted its head with a thin smile, and Snowcone scrambled away from the water.

“Snowcone? What’s wong?” Reddy asked, but Snowcone just shook her head.

“Nee’ keep going.” This place of no logic and no safety was exhausting. Still, she looked for any foals and found just one, tiny and blue, lying on a large flower on the other side of the water.

It took some doing to get across, as Snowcone didn’t want to risk being eaten by fish or drowned by her own reflection, but with the help of a large plastic stone rolled into the stream they were able to grab the foal and continue onward.

Carrying three chirpies worried her, even as they moved on past the garden and back indoors. Part of her wanted to go back, to leave the new foals with that brown smarty. Maybe send Reddy back with them. But what if she found more foals while he was away? If he got swallowed up by a monster on the way back?

She had no choice but to continue. The nearest safe spot she could find, she decided, she would hide the foals.

Past the garden was another hallway, lit with fancy little wall lamps that didn’t bring much light. It soon split in two, leaving the fluffies at a crossroad with only a thin and tall table for company.

“Which way du fwuffies go?” Reddy asked, looking up at her. Snowcone frowned and sniffed at the air - it seemed the same in both directions. She strained her ears for any sounds nearby, wincing at the torn ear’s protests, but that didn’t help either.

Should they split up? She glanced down to Reddy. Staying with her was one thing, but would he dare to strike out on his own?

“Um… Eenie, meenie…” she murmured to herself as she pointed between the two paths. “… meemie, moe… catch a fwuffy by de … hown?”

That didn’t sound right. Hm. She shook her head and breathed out. “Dis way.”

As she turned to the left path, she almost didn’t hear the peep. She stopped in her tracks, eyes wide and ears perked. “Babbeh?”

Another chirp, somewhere above her? But where-?

“Babbeh!” Reddy screamed in horror. “Wood thingy!!”

She turned just in time to see a green fluffball tumbling over the edge of the table, seeking their voices without eyes to see where it was going. She tried to catch it but was too slow and too far away; it was Reddy who caught the baby, or rather ran below it and acted as a cushion.

“Owwies…” he murmured as Snowcone looked the two foals over, breath stuck in her throat. Thankfully neither seemed injured, and she gently pulled the two into a hug.

“Gud job, Weddy,” she soothed him. “Yu saved babbeh.”

The cuddle quickly cheered the foal up and he grinned up at Snowcone, his little tail wagging. “Hewp babbehs!” he declared. “As Weddy said!”

She allowed him to carry his new protegee as they went down the left hallway, with Snowcone walking in front and listening carefully for any more dangers. In some spots the carpet was ripped or little cracks lined the walls, as though the cheerful facade of the building was falling apart all on its own.

Then they entered a big, fancy room, decorated with pretty cupboards and couches and all sorts of things. At once something was wrong; even from afar Snowcone noticed a bad smell, the smell of something dead, though it was still faint.

“Yucky smeww…” complained Reddy. She didn’t tell him what it was, near creeping forward as she searched for danger, but nothing in the room seemed any weird at all. In fact, they found a big plush fluffy nest settled against one of the cupboards, a tiny pink foal snoozing on its pillow. It was as though they had stepped into the living room of a loving human daddy.

It made the open door that lead to darkness all the more concerning. The closer to it they got, the stronger that horrid smell of death became.

“Nice nestie, wike safey wooms,” said Reddy as he nudged the pink foal awake. Snowcone couldn’t agree; it felt too open, too convenient and inviting. But she had no time to voice her disagreement, as voices wafted from the death-smelling room.

“Eeep! … Be nice munstah…?”

“Tasty babbeh~”

She didn’t know the second voice, but the words alone made her blood run cold. “Weddy watch babbehs!” she yelled, sweeping the foals off her back and into the nest with a smooth motion of her tail before sprinting through the door.

“STAHP!” she bellowed before taking in the room or its occupants, somewhat stumbling over a pile of flesh.

The room was worse than she’d thought. Blood coated the floor along with the flesh of reddened fluffy corpses, torn open and half-eaten. The stench of death choked the air and ahead of her, just in front of a mint-green talkie foal she recognized as Mint, stood a grayish blue fluffy.

Her first thought was that it was a pegasus, but no - the wings didn’t have feathers, closer resembling those of a bat. Another monster. As the monster fluffy turned to face her, it only got worse: The fluff on its belly parted in dark red as though its stomach had been cut open and blood had seeped into its white-gray mane from some unknown head wound. Its jaws and chest were caked in fresh gore, and its eyes carried the same crazed look she’d seen on the starved smarty.

Except this fluffy wasn’t desperate. The expression that accompanied its crazed starvation was one of pure delight.

“Biggie fwuffy…” it said thoughtfully as it stepped toward her. “Mowe meat on biggie fwuffies… Wook su tasty.”

Snowcone backed up, and as she did there was a chirp of distress. Instantly she froze; one of the foals had clung to her tail and been taken along! A second one clung to her neck where her tail hadn’t reached, whimpering with fear.

She couldn’t take them back to the nest, not now. She’d lead that monster right to the others.

As the cannibal fluffy sped up, lunging for Snowcone, she ran. What she could do, she didn’t know; she certainly couldn’t fight with foals in her fur.

“Sno’cone…! Mint am su happy tu see yu!” called Mint, and Snowcone made a bee-line for the foal. The thought of her catching that monster’s attention again, getting gobbled up before Snowcone could interfere, was unacceptable. So she didn’t answer, she just snatched Mint up as she passed and carried her in her mouth.

Still, running wasn’t a solution. Not for long. The sea of corpses made for uneven footing, and the cannibal fluffy seemed far more used to it than her. And even if Snowcone managed to get out of the room, that monster would follow.

She tried to think of a solution as she moved, but focusing on both planning and her movements proved to be too much. A wrong step onto an open ribcage threw off Snowcone’s pace and at once the cannibal had come too close, biting down on her tail and tearing out a chunk of its hair - along with the shrieking red foal that had clung to it.

“NU-!” Snowcone gasped, dropping Mint as she swiveled around just in time to see the foal’s bottom half drop to the floor. Too late.

“Tasty~!” The cannibal fluffy let out a delighted sound as he swallowed the top half of the foal, tail wagging. “Fwesh meat am su much bettew!”

As much as Snowcone wanted to fight back, to reclaim the poor baby’s remnants as that monster gobbled them up, she couldn’t. Not with two foals left to protect. Blinking away the tears in her eyes she snatched the horrified Mint back up and ran, searching for anything she could use.

There was an exit opposite where she had entered, but that carried the same issue as leaving the way she came. A last resort. The dim lighting didn’t let her see anything usable amongst the gore on the floor, not that she wanted to dig through the corpses anyway. But there were some pillars holding up thin platforms. At first she thought they might be cages, like the one that had held the starved smarty, but they were much too thin for that and as she took an instant to look closer, she found they weren’t really solid at all - just loose parts stacked atop each other.

“Wan mowe,” she heard the monster say as he began to move. “Mowe fwesh fwuffy! Mowe nummies!”

He was after her again! Snowcone hurriedly took off, trying to think of a way to use what she had found. Maybe if she could get the monster to run into the pillars, they’d collapse on him? Would that be enough to take him out?

There was nothing else she could use, so despite her misgivings that was the plan she went with. She tried taking little detours, rushing around the thin pillars in the hopes of making the monster slam into them.

At first, it seemed like it might work. The cannibal fluffy had a one-track mind and didn’t turn fast, slamming straight into the pillars as Snowcone dodged around them. But the pillars didn’t collapse from just one hit, and dodging took more time than just slamming and turning. Before Snowcone knew it the cannibal was on her again, biting down on her tail to force her to a stop.

Horror flooded her mind, not for herself but for the babies she carried. Dropping Mint, Snowcone did all she could think of, throwing her full weight back at her attacker. It caught the monster off guard and he let go as the two were sent tumbling. Distraught cheeps told that the foal in her scruff had fallen out, but Snowcone had no time to think about that - tangled up with the cannibal, she had to focus on not getting ripped open by his fangs.

She tried to throw him off, but couldn’t get any distance until the two tumbled into one of the pillars. The cannibal struck the structure back first, and it stunned him for just the moment Snowcone needed to break away. Panic and disorientation muddled her thoughts; where were the foals? She couldn’t run without them, couldn’t grab them before he’d recovered.

The wobbling pillar behind him was all she could think of, weakened but refusing to fall, and she put all her remaining strength into tackling it. The fragile structure shattered, chunks of plaster and plastic dropping onto both fluffies, but it wasn’t enough. The cannibal snapped at her and dug his fangs into her fur as she passed by, and her efforts just weren’t enough.

“Sno’cone!” shrieked Mint desperately, both fighters’ attention snapping to her. “Woofie thingy’s fawwing!!”

Roofie thingy-?

The platform. The platform the pillars were holding up. Panic surged in Snowcone’s chest and she tore herself free from the cannibal, snapping his attention back to her as she ran. He sprinted after her, but right now she didn’t care - the platform above her creaked and shuddered and then, all too suddenly, it fell.

The crash made her jump and she tripped on a corpse, tumbling onto her back. No, no - not so close, not now. She threw her hooves up to keep the monster from her throat, but seconds passed and nothing pounced on her. Slowly, Snowcone lowered her legs and glanced toward the cannibal.

She saw nothing but the collapsed platform. Was he dead, crushed by the rubble? Pinned down or knocked out? She didn’t dare to put faith in him being down permanently.

“A-Am Sno’cone otay?” whimpered Mint, not having moved from where she was dropped. Snowcone slowly pulled herself up to her hooves.

“… gun go fetch Weddy,” she murmured. What else could she say? None of this felt okay, but she needed to keep moving. Get her foals, continue onward, and leave this place forever.

She returned to the living room to find it splattered with blood.


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9 Likes

Fun fact: This chapter took over a week to write because turns out, unlike all the other obstacles, I never actually figured out a way to defeat the damned bat-fluffy in the game.

2 Likes

the way to beat the bat thing definitely feels video game-ie