Chapter 8: The Hurty Tree
Travis and Maggie didn’t need to say anything to each other the next day, he knew Crowley had had his way with her and she was now carrying the bastards foals. He could see the hurt and disgust on her face and silently promised not to tell his siblings, they didn’t need any more bad news.
As the foals took their morning feed, Crowley approached the family, a cruel smirk on his face. “Hewoo babbehs, gud sweepies?”
The four of them gave a half-hearted ‘Yes’ in response, Travis saw Crowley wink at Maggie but nothing was said between them.
Crowley resumed speaking. “Wen babbehs hab miwkies, need come wiv Smawty. Tom gun be wiv Tuffies, stawt twainin tu be Tuffie wun day. Twavis am wiv Cwassus, he teech yu be smawta Fwuffy.”
Tom shook his head. “Nu wan be Tuffie, wan stay wiv mummah.”
“If yu be Tuffie, den yu can pwotect mummah fwom… munstahs.”
Crowley’s eyes locked with Maggie’s on that last word, again only Travis noticed the implications.
Maggie swallowed her fear and stroked Tom on his back. “It ok babbeh, gu wiv Tuffies, yu am stwong babbeh, nu huwt be stwonga.”
Maggie turned to Travis, but he simply nodded, he was willing to take the risk with Crassus for her. Maggie smiled before turning back to Crowley.
“Wha bout Iwis an Bet-see?”
“Dey tuu wittew tu be mummahs yet, Mag-ee need make dem weady fow wen dey awe. Fwuffies onwy gud fow da hewd wen dey con-twib-oot, eeda as Fightin, Food or… Pwoduct-shun. Iwis wiww be Cwow speciaw-fwiend wen she become mawe, gib pwetty babbehs tu him, Bet-see can hab Tuffie as speciaw-fwiend, she be gud babbeh an she can pik wun, she be bad babbeh, Cwowwey pik fow hew.”
Iris and Betsy huddled into their mother, both absolutely terrified at the idea of being breeding machines, Maggie tried to calm them down, saying they would make excellent mothers and have good babbehs, but a pain in her voice told them she didn’t fully meant what she was saying.
Crowley looked down at Travis. “Wittew Twavis gu see Cwassus, he teww yu wha tu du. Yu wucky, mummah ask dat yu nu be enfie dummeh fow Cwow anee-mowe, shame she nu say day bout aww hew babbehs.”
It was a cruel remark, unnecessary except to add more pain to Maggie’s life, the subtle indication that she chose one of her children over another. Travis could hear Iris falling for Crowley’s trick behind him, questing her mother, asking why she didn’t try to save her from being Crow’s future fuck-toy.
Travis just stared Crowley down as he slowly walked away, heading towards Crassus’ sleeping area. He hated what Crowley was doing to his family, but there was little he could do to help them, not when his mother was already pregnant with his foals and his sisters were likely to become mummahs soon rather than later.
For a brief moment Travis considered running away with just him and Tom, but he shut that thought down quickly.
Travis found Crassus alone just outside the hole in the tree he called his home, the old silver Alicorn was lazily munching on some fresh leaves whilst enjoying the morning sun. As Travis got closer, Crassus looked him over but said nothing as he kept chewing away, now able to get a good look at him, Travis could tell that Crassus was still a tough old Fluffy, he wasn’t gargantuan like Roarke or Boulder, but there was still some good definition to his muscles, which made sense when Travis thought about it, to have lived as long as Crassus had, he had to be as strong as he was smart.
Though Travis was still terrified of the old stallion’s icy stare.
Crassus swallowed his breakfast and finally looked Travis in the eye. “Cwowwey teww yu come hewe?”
“Babbeh knyo wha Cwassus du? Wha ad-vi-suh is?”
Travis shook his head. “Wha am ad-vi-suh?”
“Ad-vi-suh am smawt Fwuffy who hewp Smawty, teww him wha du, wet him knyo if make bad choosie ow nu. Dat wha Cwassus du, hewp Cwowwey be betta Smawty, sumtime he wisten, sumtime he nu, but Cwassus stiww gib advice coz wan hewd tu be betta.”
“Wha dis du wiv Twavis?”
“Twavis am smawy babbeh nu? Cwowwey say yu awe, wan yu be neks ad-vi-suh afta Cwassus, yu hewp Cwow wead hewd wun he be neks Smawty.”
Travis immediately recoiled in disgust. “Twavis nu wan hewp Cwow, Cwow gib Twavis wowstesh poopie-pwace enfies, hate meanie Cwow.”
“Cwassus heaw bout Cwow enfies. Undastan wai Twavis nu wan hewp him, bu wet dis be fiwst wesson fow babbeh. If Twavis am Cwow ad-vi-suh, can hewp make suwe he nu enf udda babbehs.”
Travis paused, there was wisdom in Crassus’ words, being the right hand of the Smarty would allow him to steer the herd in a better direction. Of course Crow was also a little monster, and Travis didn’t like his chances at going against him.
“Twavis nu fink Cwow wisten tu him, jus fink Twavis an enfie-dummeh.”
“Cwassus hab dat pwobwem, Smawty befowe Cwowwey, Gwaham, he fink dat Cwassus am bwoken Fwuffy, nu cawe bout enfies, Cwassus su him dat Cwassus am smawt Fwuffy, make Gwaham wisten tu him. Need find way make Cwow wisten tu Twavis.”
Crassus got up and slowly walked towards the main area of the den. “Come, Twavis watch Cwassus, see wha smawt Fwuffies du.”
Travis still wasn’t sure about Crassus, but with few options he decided it was best to just do what the older stallion said and fell in line behind him,
Boulder slammed the dome of his skull into Roarke’s face, the yellow bastards tasted blood but it just made him laugh.
“Am dat da bestesh dat wittew bwudda can du? Yu fight wike a mawe.”
“Bwudda AM a mawe.” Boulder countered back.
The two massive Toughies reared at each other and kept fighting, while all around them the other stallions cheered them on. Crowley had abolished the fighting pens after he’d taken over from the previous Smarty Graham, now the fights were purely as bragging right. Roarke and Boulder were often seen battling each other for rights as ‘The Superior Brother’, but given the size and strength of them both, no-one ever saw it as a dull affair.
Crassus brought Travis in to watch the fight, filling him in on some of the details of the Fluffies and who everyone was. Across the ring, Travis could see his brother Tom with Crusher and Breaker, Breaker telling Tom the same details Crassus was telling Travis. The two brothers caught eyes with each other and smiled, both happy they were safe.
Further away from the fighting pits, Maggie saw her two sons among the crowd, she was a little worried about them but far more worried about her daughters as Crowley led her, Iris and Betsy into his sleeping area where Coral and Crow were waiting.
Coral was in a foul mood, more so than usual. She’d finally reached the stage where in her pregnancy where she couldn’t reach the floor and was now currently trapped inside her home with the worst stomach ache, something just wasn’t sitting right with her and she felt like she needed to take the biggest poopies.
Currently the only thing holding her back was the disgust of making her bed smell like literal shit.
She looked down at Crow, the little black colt wasn’t with the rest of the stallions, he was also in a sullen mood but his angst was brought on by his sore lumps, Coral could see his hips slowly rotating as he rubbed his nu-nu stick on the soft dirt.
“Bad babbeh, nu enf gwound, dat diwtee.”
Crow scowled at her. “Nu wisten tu dummeh mawe, yu nu hab wump huwties, yu nu undastan.”
“Cowaw am yuw mummah nyo, yu wisten tu…”
“Dummeh Cowaw nu am mummah, yu nu teww bestesh babbeh wha du.”
Coral harrumphed. “Am Smawty speciaw-fwiend.”
Crow was about storm off when he saw his father approaching with Maggie and her daughters, Crow felt his sore lumps tighten at the sight of Iris. Hell even the ugly poopie filly Betsy would do if he couldn’t enf Iris yet.
Anything to rid himself of this pain.
Crowley stopped in front of his son. “Cwow, dis am Iwis, she tu be yuw nyu speciaw-fwiend wen she come mawe.”
Crow grinned. “Pwetty fiwwy, wan hab speciaw-hugg…”
Crowley knocked Crow backwards, exposing the colt’s expanding erection as he landed on his side. “Nu, Cwow nu hab enfies wiv fiwwy. She nu weady yet, gib hew wowstesh huwties in babbeh pwace.”
Crow got back to his feet and snorted. “If dummeh fiwwy nu fow enfies den wai show hew tu Cwow?”
“Iwis am yuw speciaw-fwiend soon, need make suwe she comfowtabew wiv Cwow, nu wan hew tu be scawed of Smawty.”
“Wai nu? Udda Fwuffies scawed of daddeh, it gud tu hab Fwuffies scawed.”
“Smawty need make udda Fwuffies scawed su nu-wun twy tu be nyu Smawty, nu-wun act wike Buwke. Bu speciaw-fwiends need tu feew safe, safe meen comfowt, comfowt meen gud-babbehs, gud-babbehs mean stwong hewd.”
Crowley looked down at Iris, the little Pegasus cowering behind her mother’s legs. “Wet Cwowwey take Iwis, hab hew pway wiv Cwow.”
Maggie heard Iris sobbing. “Huu, nu mummah, nu wan pway wiv Cwow.”
Maggie leant down and cuddle into her daughter. “It ok babbeh, jus wittew pway-time. Wai nu pway hidies wiv Cwow, show how gud yu awe.”
Crowley could tell that ‘Hidies’ was the best game to keep Iris away from Crow, but he also knew it was likely the best start they would have to get the two of them to start liking each other, at least getting comfortable with each other. Iris reluctantly pushed herself forward to join with Crowley and Crow as the Smarty motioned for them to follow him deeper into the forest.
Coral flipped her shit. “Wha speciaw-fwiend duin? Nu weave soon-mummah wiv dis dummeh mawe, she nu gud-mummah, wet babbehs make bad pee-pees on hew. Cowaw nu wan hew neaw tummeh-babbehs.”
Crowley seethed. “Cowaw nu can wook afta hewsewf nyo, neba mind tummeh babbeh, need Fwuffy wiv yu.”
“Den wai HEW? Wai nu udda Fwuffy.”
“Coz Smawty say su, dat wai.”
Crowley glared at Coral, whatever had sparked between them had died out and he was done with her, he wished for their foals to come as quickly as possible so he never had to deal with her again.
What Crowley didn’t know, was how soon that wish could come true.
Turning away from her, Crowley could hear Coral screaming after him.
“DUMMEH CWOWWEY AM WOWSTESH SPECIAW-FWIEND! WEAVE SOON-MUMMAH WIV DUMMEH MAWE!”
Maggie’s eyes bugges out as she watched Coral bouncing on her stomach. “COWAW! Cawefuw of babb…”
“SHUDDUP! Dummeh mawe nu teww bestesh mummah wha du, yu am wowstesh mummah, Cowaw nu wan yu neaw tummeh-babbehs, gib Cowaw wowstesh tummeh-huwties. Dummeh mawe wiv dummeh…”
Coral froze, her stomach had turned something awful and she could no longer hide it, there was something wrong inside her.
Maggie slowly approached her. “Cowaw? Yu ok?”
“Hnnnnggghhhhhh. BIGGESH POOPIES! NUUUU! TUU SOON BABBEHS!”
The whole herd stopped whatever they were doing, Coral was going into premature labour, the Smarty’s foals were in danger. As the closest mare to her, Maggie rushed in behind Coral, whatever she thought of Coral didn’t mean she could let anything bad happen to the foals.
Coral of course didn’t see it that way. “Gu way dummeh, yu gibben speciaw-pwace wowstesh huwties.”
“Mag-ee nu huwting dummeh Cowaw, babbehs am coming.”
“Babbeh? NU! Nu wet dummeh huwt babbehs, SPECIAW-FWIEND HEWP!”
Crowley didn’t help, he had been there for the birth of his last litter with his mate Scorch, but he loved Scorch, he still did, with Coral he felt nothing towards her.
She could suffer alone for all he cared.
Maggie tried to steady the frantic Coral as her first foal came out, dropping onto a soft pile of leaves she had set up behind Coral. It was a yellow earthie colt with a red mane, not the prettiest but looked decent enough, Coral tried to turn round to see it but was caught off guard by the next foal, a unicorn filly with Coral’s peach fluffy and yellow mane, Maggie already knew she was looking at a bestesh babbeh.
Coral shook her bloated body trying to escape from Maggie. “Dummeh mawe gib babbehs, Cowaw knyo yu numming dem, yu jeh-wous of bestesh mumm…AAAAAHHAHHHHHH!”
The next foal came out, another colt, this one a red unicorn like his father with a soft orange mane. Maggie had just enough time to place him next to his siblings before the forth foal was being pushed out, Maggie was able to put down some new, dry leaves just before the foal came tumbling out. This was another colt, a Pegasus oddly enough with black Fluff and a yellow mane, Maggie places him down next to his siblings just as the final foal fell out of Coral along with the afterbirth, Maggie felt the ground beneath her feet soak up Coral’s fluids but she paid no mind and approached the final foal.
Her heart sank when she saw how still the babbeh was, a poor little orange filly with a red mane, born with the forever sleepies, a victim of her mother’s carelessness. Maggie went to comfort the little filly before she was smacked, HARD, by Coral.
“Dummeh mawe gu way, bestesh mummah nu wan yu neaw babbehs.”
Maggie didn’t want or expect any degree of thanks from Coral, so it didn’t hurt her when Coral smacked her for her efforts. What did hurt, was as Maggie turned to leave, she watched Coral take one look at her dead daughter, and turned her nose at the forever sleeping filly.
“Bestesh mummah nu wan foweba sweepie babbeh.”
Maggie felt her heart twist at the callous attitude Coral had towards her own child, but she could do nothing as Coral turned her attention to her living children.
Coral immediately picked up the peach filly, the exact mirror of herself, and licked her clean. “Yu am bestesh babbeh, yu wook jus wike mummah and mummah am bestesh su YU am bestesh. Had wots of miwkies babbeh, yu gwow big an stwong.”
Next she picked up the red colt. “Yu wook wike speciaw-fwiend, speciaw-fwiend am dummeh bu mummah teech yu be betta, yu am neks bestesh.”
Coral placed the red colt on her other teat next to his sister and picked up the yellow colt, it was mustardy, unappealing yellow that clashed with his red mane. “Hmm, yu nu am pwetty babbeh, mummah nu wub yu as mush, yu wait fow miwkies.”
Laying the yellow colt on her leg, and ignoring his flailing arms as he smelt the sweet scent of milk just inched from him, Coral picked up her last foal, the black Pegasus colt.
“Mummah nu knyo wai she hab wingie-babbeh, nu wook wike mummah ow speciaw-fwiend. Yu am wastesh babbeh, yu wait for miwkies tuu.”
Pleased with how she’d ordered her foals, Coral set about licking the Pegasus foal clean, as the birthing gunk came off him she saw a shiny coat of black and wondered if maybe she’d been too harsh, if maybe her wingie babbeh could be above her ‘nu-pwetty yewwow babbeh’ in the ranking.
Then her tongue felt something, a hard nub on the wingie babbeh’s forehead, the start of a horn, wingie babbeh was a munstah babbeh.
Crowley was getting impatient by the time Coral finally appeared from the tree, her foals fed and happily sleeping on her back.
“Wook speciaw-fwiend, Cowaw hab thwee gud babbehs fow yu.”
Crowley approached his new born children, ignoring his feelings towards Coral to let them breath in his scent.
“Hewwo babbehs, am daddeh, gun wook afta yu aww.”
Maggie looked over Crowley’s shoulder, she thought she’d heard Coral wrong but no, there was three foals there. Maggie wasn’t a genius but she could count well enough and she could’ve sworn there was more foals than that.
Coral saw Maggie looking at her foals and she kicked the dirt at her. “Gu way dummeh, dese am bestesh mummah babbehs, nu yuw dummeh babbehs.”
“Whewe am udda babbehs?” Maggie asked, almost without thinking.
“Udda babbehs?” Crowley’s ears perked up.
Coral put on her best sad face. “Hab udda babbeh bu she awweady hab foweba sweepies. Mummah hab biggesh heawt huwties. Nu wan teww hewd bout it.”
The glare that Coral gave Maggie would’ve chilled any other mare, but Maggie was done with Coral’s abuse, and she went in for the kill.
“Whewe am wingie-babbeh?”
Coral tensed up, she hadn’t expected Maggie to stand up for herself. “Wha wingie babbeh?”
“Cowaw hab wingie babbeh, hav thwee an twu babbehs, wun babbeh hab foweba sweepies, thwee babbehs hewe. Whewe am wingie-babbeh?”
“Mag-ee am dummeh, Fwuffy onwy hab thwee an wun babbeh.”
“Mag-ee dewe, see thwee an twu babbehs. Cowaw am wyin.”
“NU CAWW BESTESH MUMMAH WIAW! Speciaw-fwiend nu bewiebe yu, dummeh mawe make Cowaw wook bad coz she jeh-wous.”
Crowley looked at Coral, then at Maggie, then back at Coral, his mind trying to work out what was going on.
“Wet Cwowwey see foweba sweepie babbeh.”
“Spe… speciaw-fwiend nu wan… wan see d… dat.” Coral shivered trying think of an excuse to keep Crowley away from the tree…
“Nu, Smawty du.”
He pushed past her before she could stop him, Coral looked around torn between saving her skin and protecting her foals. She looked inside as Crowley saw the dead filly, and a small pile of blood coming from beneath a fresh and steaming pile of poopies, and Coral cried out.
“BABBEH AM MUNSTAH!”
Everything went quiet, some of the mares gasped, but nothing was said until Crowley returned with the corpse of the black wingie-pointy, his tiny little body covered in poopies, his head unrecogniseable from where Coral had crushed it and killed her own son.
Crowley spat out the poopies he had in his mouth from carrying his dead son. “Wha am dis?”
Coral doubled down on her insolence. “Dat am munstah babbeh, Cowaw am bestesh mummah, nu wan munstah babbehs tu gib bestesh babbeh huwties.”
Travis saw Crassus tense up beside him, oddly though Crowley stayed relatively calm. “Cowaw hab bestesh babbeh? Wich wun?”
Coral proudly picked up the peach filly and handed it to Crowley. “Dis wun, wook jus wike mummah.”
“Can Cwowwey hab babbeh pwease, am daddeh.”
Coral paused, before letting Crowley take the peach filly. The red unicorn lay his newborn daughter on the ground and gently stroked her with his hoof.
Then his eyes locked with Coral’s and with one stomp he crushed the foal beneath him.
“NUUUUUUHHHUUUUHHUUU!” Coral wailed, throwing her two surviving foals from her back as she tried to save her already dead bestesh daughter. “YU GIB BESTESH BABBEH FOWEBA SWEEPIES! COWAW HATCHU, HAT…”
Crowley smacked her in the face so hard he drew blood. “Yu gib Smawty babbeh foweba sweepies? Who du yu fink yu awe? Yu am wowstesh mummah, Cwowwey nu wan yu as speciaw-fwiend nu mowe, nu wan yu as mummah nu mowe. TUFFIES!”
In a flash, Crusher and Breaker was standing either side of Coral, Zip and Aqua quickly grabbed the two surviving foals and carried them out of the way. Coral looked around for help, but there was none to be found, only to cold eyes of Crowley as he passed down his decree.
“Take hew tu da Huwtie Twee.”
“NU!” Coral tried to run but was quickly stopped by Crusher and Breaker as they each bit down on one of her arms and dragged her away, kicking and screaming. Most of the herd turned away, not wanting to see what came next, but Crassus forced Travis to walk forward, to follow Crowley towards The Hurty Tree.
“Babbeh need see dis, yu gun hewp Smawty, yu need knyo bout da Huwtie Twee.”
Confused, Travis followed Crassus out of the den and towards the trees on the outline of Crowley’s territory, specifically the tree with Burke’s corpse still hanging from one of the branches. Stopping in front of the tree, Crusher and Breaker bit down harder on Coral’s forelegs and lifted her up, she kept thrashing and kicking until she felt a sharp branch brush against her back.
Then she froze solid.
Crowley sneered at him again. “Cowaw, fow da cwime of gibben a Smawty babbeh foweba sweepies, yu am tu be twapped by Da Huwtie Twee untiw yuw babbehs am tawkie-babbehs, dey neba knyo yu as mummah, dey neba heaw yuw mummah song, neba see yu wen dey open deiw see-pwaces. Dey am nu yuw babbeh anee-mowe. Du it.”
On cue, Crusher and Breaker pushed Coral back against the tree hard, the branch pierced her right shoulder and kept her suspended just high enough off the ground that she couldn’t touch it with her feet.
Her screams of pain went ignored as Crowley and his Toughies turned around and left her there, she wouldn’t die there, but she’d wished she would.
Travis tried to shield himself away from the bloody sight in front of him. “Wai Cwassus show dist u Twavis?”
“Coz if Twavis am tu be neks ad-vi-suh, den Twavis need tu knyo hewd pun-ess-ments. Da Huwtie Twee am onwy fow da wowstesh Fwuffies, dey neba am da same wunce they come down, if dey eba du at aww. It am gweat an tewwibew fing, an a bad Smawty mite wan use it aww da time, as ad-vi-suh, Cwassus hab tu make suwe dat da Smawty nu oba-du Da Huwtie Twee, dat it stay jus fow da biggest meanies and wowstesh Fwuffies.”
Crassus turned and looked Travis in the eye. “Fwuffy need tu knyo da powa of sumfing befowe he can yoose it. Eben if Cwowwey ow Cwow of whoeba da neks Smawty is nu undastan, Cwassus du, an nyo Twavis du tuu. Feaw am gud fing, bu tuu mush can tuwn tu anga, an angwy Fwuffies make fow dangawous hewd.”
Travis looked up, towards Coral still hanging from The Hurty Tree, in front of her he could see his mother, and he could just make out the smirk on Maggie’s face.
Maybe Crassus had a point about angry Fluffies.