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Fluffy Springs Saga
Chapter 32

Wednesday, February 02

The snows in the mountains fell heavy that winter, but unlike any feral herd, the little biotoys of Fluffy Springs were happy to see the heavy layer of white. With most animals cut off from their little meadow valley, the dangers from the ground were minimal. With no leaves on the trees to hide flappy monsters and all the Browns back home, they were safe and together, at least for a loose definition of the word when talking about feral fluffies.

Their little barn kept them warm. With it so well stocked from the long summer's bounty, it kept them all fed to the height of health. The winding hot springs warmed the barn from the simple heat exchanger that was rigged up a long time ago, or a fluffy could just walk along the little stream, and so the chills were kept to a minimum.

By now, all of the spring's foals were more or less full sized, and the young adults were hard to tell apart from the older ones who hadn't any streaks of grey yet. With all the brown fluffies in, the herd was much larger than Snow had known since her late summer arrival. She recognized the brown ones that had been her escort in, and Oak.

And Acorn.

Although he acted strange at times around her. She didn't quite understand why, but didn't let that phase her from talking to him, usually as he was practicing his brown skills of running softly and blending into the background unseen. Snow had realized that her white coloring helped her hide well in the cold times, and from watching him and the other browns, had learned quite a bit about how to camouflage herself. It did occur to her that it only worked when the world was cold, and white like her, and not the browns of the warm times. But it was fun learning anyway.

It came in handy too, on the day when she decided to follow Sky as he left the herd, as he did so often nowadays when there was little that the herd needed him to attend to. She'd realized that he was slipping away in the mornings, then coming back in the late afternoon, and became curious as to the herd leader's activities.

She found herself sneaking around Fluff Springs one morning before many of the fluffies were up and around. Sky had come out and followed his routine as she hoped. It simply became a matter of blending into the drifts of snow, standing still when he looked her direction, and running along the well maintained paths that the Browns used year round in Fluffy Springs. The pads of her hoofs were still hardened from her travels, just as all the browns got as well, and so the prickly paths of pine needles that she traversed weren't an issue.

Sky and his shadow travelled down to the nearby human town. Snow had been there many times since coming to the herd so knew the general direction but not the destination. Into the town the pair went, where the heavy snows were moved to and fro by the humans, winding up at one of the two stop lights in town.

Sky turned around facing the way he came.

COMING, SNOW? LIGHT WILL BE ALL RED SOON.

Snow walked embarrassingly out of her hiding place where she thought she was unseen. Sky correctly read her face.

SKY SAW SNOW SEVERAL TIMES. BUT YOU ARE GETTING BETTER.

He turned back to watch the stop light. BRIGHT WILL BE HAPPY TO SEE YOU.

Destination known! It was the little ramshackle house that the humans had built for the elderly fluffies in town and where she had come many times before. Sky was coming to see his father. The revelation wasn't as exciting as some of the ideas that had been floating around in her mind, but any trip to see the oldest fluffies in town was a good time so the let down from the exotic to the mundane was bearable.

The duo met a trio of grey fluffs not far from the drinking river in front of the hut, Deep, Spotty, and Sky's father Bright.

HEWWO, BWIGHT! Snow called out when they got close enough. The grey fluffy lifted his head and waved, then his two companions did as well, although the nearly blind Deep waved in the wrong direction and had to be nudged in the correct direction by her friend.

SNOW! SKY! Bright said. HAB SKY BWOUGHT NEW SPESHUH FWIEND TODAY? HUH?

Snow blushed under her fluff. BWIGHT! SNOW NO HAB SPESHUH FWIEND!

The grey trio laughed at the embarrassment flashing across her face. Sky was unfazed.

HELLO, BRIGHT. HELLO, DEEP AND SPOTTY. HOW ARE YOU TODAY?

Deep nodded, YUP, IT AM BWIGHT DIS BWIGHT TIME.

Bright facehoofed. Deep's hearing loss was almost as bad as her eyesight now. Bright spoke loudly and explained the question again to his friend.

OH! Deep said, YES, THAT'S GOOD TO HEAR! and turned back towards her new friend, Red, that she'd been talking to.

The fire hydrant wasn't saying much back, but it was nice to talk to someone that so totally understood her so well.

Sky turned to Snow. BRIGHT WAS HERD LEADER BEFORE ME.

Bright nodded. WAS. STIWW SKY’S DADDEH BUT AM JUS' A FWUFFY NOW. HAB WISP AGAIN. And the demeanor of the fluffies save Snow turned a little down.

Snow was confused, as again yet a bit of fluffy knowledge seemed lacking. SO? AWMOST AWW FWUFFIES HAB WISPS, she said.

Sky looked at her. I DO NOT. AND AT ONE POINT BRIGHT DID NOT. FLUFFIES... GROW OUT OF LISPING, AROUND THEIR FOURTH OR FIFTH WARM TIME. AND WE CAN TALK WITHOUT ONE.

Bright then added. FOW A WHIUH. DEN, WISP COMES BACK TO DA FWUFFY. KNOW DAT FOWEBAH SWEEPIES AM SOON.

Snow turned to Bright. BWIGHT AM SOON FOWEBAH SWEEPIES? she exclaimed. WHY BWIGHT NO TEWW SNOW?! SEE BWIGHT EBEWY THUWD WEGGIE DAY!

Bright gave a slight grin. SOWWY, BWIGHT FOWGET DAT PWETTY WHITE FWUFFY NO AM FWOM FWUFFY SPWINGS. Then he sighed. VEWY PRETTY MAWE. Deep was too busy talking to Red, but Spotty joined in.

SNOW AM VEWY PWETTY. SOME WUCKY FWUFFY AM BE YOUW SPESHUH FWIEND. VEWY WUCKY.

Snow shook her head. NO, SNOW AM UGWEE KEWWIE BABBEH. SPWUCIE SAY SO.

Bright snorted. HA! SPWUCIE AM SMAWT? AM KIND? NO, SNOW TEWW BWIGHT STOWY MANY TIMES.

Snow glanced at Bright, suddenly realizing how many times he'd asked her story when she visited because he couldn't remember, and it was his turn to be a little embarrassed at her sudden realization. WEWW, he said, BWIGHT NO AM DUMMY YET. BWIGHT WEMEMBUH SNOW STOWY... AN' JUS' WIKE TAWKIN' TO PWETTY FWUFFY. SPWUCIE HAB PWOBWEMS, SO DON'T FEEW BAD ABOUT AM SNOW PWETTY OW NOT. AM PWETTY.

Then he got serious. WIGHT! SO DON'T FEEW BAD! AM PAWT OF FWUFFY SPWINGS! SNOW WAWK WONG WAYS AN' MANY FOWEBAHS! AM GOOD FWUFFY! AM VEWY GOOD FWUFFY! He stamped his hoof, interrupting Deep's talk with Red, but only momentarily. His ability to speak clearly returned as his thoughts turned serious and his concentration focused.

SNOW. WISTEN TO BRIGHT. LIFE IS NOT LONG FOR A FWUFFY. HUMAN AM SEE FWUFFY'S DADDEH'S DADDEH'S ... MANY DADDEH'S BEFORE TAKE HUMAN FOREBAH SLEEPIES! WHY? DUN KNOW. JUS' AM. BE FWUFFY. BE HAPPY FWUFFY. ENJOY LIFE, SNOW! ENJOY COLD TIMES, ENJOY HOT TIMES. LAUGH. LOVE. GIVE HUGGIES. GIVE LOTS OF HUGGIES. HUGGIES DON'T HELP HURTIES ON OUTSIDE, BUT HELP ALL HURTIES ON INSIDE. FIND SPESHUH FWIEND.

Bright looked to his son, Sky, who'd received the same lecture many times. And in turn had given the same lecture to many a fluffy before who had come for advice. It wasn't Bright's speech either but had been handed down with minor variations from the first fluffies that made their home at Fluffy Springs.

SKY NEED HAB SPESHUH FWIEND TOO.

Sky simply nodded. YES, YOU'VE TOLD ME. AND I HAVE A SPECIAL FRIEND. WE ARE HAPPY. THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DID FOR ME, DADDEH.

Bright nodded, sternness gone. GOOD. AM GOOD BABBEH. HOWWY WAISED YOU WEWW.

Sky grinned and Snow looked to him and said, SKY MUMMAH AM HOWWY? HOWWY AM BWIGHT SPESHUH FWIEND? She remembered the green fluffy with the white mane, but didn't see any family ties.

Sky shook his head. NOT REAL MUMMAH. JUST... HOLLY RAISED ME. I DID NOT KNOW BRIGHT WAS MY DADDY UNTIL I WAS CHOSEN AS HERD LEADER. SOME BABIES IN THE HERD GROW UP NOT KNOWING WHO THEIR FATHERS ARE. BABIES OF LEADERS. KEEPS THE SMARTY AWAY.

At that, a dark cloud seemed to pass by Sky, but it disappeared as quickly as it came.

WELL, he said quietly, HELPS AT LEAST.

Bright nodded. YES. GOOD FOW BABBEH TO NOT GET BIG HEAD FWUFF. BABBEH DON KNOW BABBEH AM WEADEW BABBEH, DEN BABBEH CAN GWOW UP STWAIGHT, WIKE WEED.

Snow cocked her head. BUT WEEDS NO AM STWAIGHT. WEED GWOW DAT WEGGIE, OR DAT WEGGIE, OR...

Bright stamped his foot in frustration. NO! WEED NOT WEED! He sighed, and closed his eyes, concentrating. EEEERRRRREEEED. REED. GRRRROW LLLLIKE RRREEED. His eyes sprang open. SNOW UNDEWSTAND NOW?

She nodded her head vigorously. She'd never seen the former leader this agitated before, and it scared her just a little.

Bright nodded, but gentler. GOOD. AM GOOD. AM GOOD FWUFFY. NOW, SKY! The elder fluffy turned to his child. WHAT AM HAPPENIN' TODAY?

Snow followed bits of the tales that Sky was telling his father. About which fluffies were talking about which other fluffies. About what drama was running through the herd today. The topics wandered worse than some of the paths that led to the upstream farms, and began to bore the bright white fluffy. The occasional head jerk told her she'd nodded off for a second, but none of the fluffies seemed to notice. The three elderly biotoys slowly meandered back towards their little home next to the human building, with Sky and Snow following along, keeping with the older one's paces when it was time for movement, and staying patiently around when the two or three feet of travel had worn out one of the trio enough to stop and discuss something of importance that they just found on the ground.

The bright time sky ball slowly made its way to its nestie for another dark time. Sky finally managed to say his goodbyes to his father and companions, then he and Snow started their way back to Fluffy Springs. Snow could hear snores coming from inside the little shelter before they had even made it back past Deep's friend Red, silently guarding the little waterway that cut through the grass.

Her mind drifted back to the earlier conversation about special friends. She couldn't help but to start guessing which of the fluffies was Sky's special friend. Sky was bombarded with name after name of the herd mares that were "his type" according to Snow. Each guess was met with a terse declaration in the negative. She was running out of names and running out of time as the little meadow slowly started to show itself along their path. But even a mentally mature fluffy can have a breaking point and it only took four more guesses before Sky broke.

IF I TELL YOU WHO MY SPECIAL FRIEND IS, WILL YOU PROMISE TO NOT SAY ANOTHER WORD UNTIL TOMORROW? he asked.

Snow wasn't sure he was serious, but readily agreed.

And he told her.

She gasped! HEW?! BUT... SHE AM... AN' SHE WAS... BUT... SHE AM SO NOT WIKE YOU?!

Sky was walking a little ahead and turned back to her. NO, WE AGREED. NO MORE WORDS! Smiling, he turned back up the path, basking in the quiet.

She followed behind sullenly, but obediently silent.

Comments

- Reply
Fluffy_Angst: Dun dun dun!
- Reply
shaithis1: How does Snow hid in the snow when she has a bright red mane and tail?
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PencilWingie: @shaithis1: Er... she didn’t? She was pretty obvious and only thought she was well hid.
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shaithis1: @PencilWingie: A fair point sir