Pop was standing before Flippy, who was disappointed but not very surprised; he knew Tiger was gonna make his death as hard as it’s ever gonna be.
“What are you doing, Pop?”
Pop said nothing.
“Pop, you do know you don’t have to do this…”
Pop looked away. Tiger stared at Pop, with a look of pride and joy in his eyes. He was happy to see them both so miserable.
Pop looked back at Flippy.
“Please. I understand your pain, Pop.”
Pop pressed the gun against his head, looking ready to pull the trigger. He was that livid.
“How can you possibly understand my pain?! Knowing I’m forced to hurt and kill and I can’t do a thing about it?”
Flippy looked in his eyes.
“Because of the monster in my head.”
Pop realized he was right. When Fliqpy attacked at the shelter and stabbed Pop in the shoulder, Pop knew he didn’t really mean it, it was some sort of evil, powerful force inside him. He felt like he was gonna throw up.
“You have to be stronger than this, Pop. For Cub’s sake at least.”
Pop thought of his son; earlier that day, Cub was taken away to a secret location, so he wouldn’t have to see Pop kill anyone himself. This was all for Cub; all this pain, all this suffering, all these tears, was so Pop could protect Cub.
“Cub is ok, Pop. We can help you protect him. Please.”
“Flippy… are you serious? You really think you can beat… him?”
“Don’t you see, Pop? The way he’s torturing us, the way he treats us? Pop, we’re stronger than him. And I think he knows it.”
Pop realized; Tiger never trusted Pop with any extremely powerful weapons, the strongest he ever had were a few rocket launchers.
“He’s torturing us mentally so we won’t retaliate with force.”
Flippy looked at the screen.
“Tiger… is afraid of us.”
Tiger immediately stood up and snarled, obviously furious.
“Enough of this nonsense! Fear is simply a word meaning weakness, and there’s no way I’m a weak man! Paul, you will kill this man now!”
Pop was shaking. He felt as though Flippy was right; if he was released, together they could defeat this tyrant. But now, if he didn’t do his job, it could cost him his own life. But, if it meant he had to kill this man, the one he used to call his own son, he couldn’t live with himself anyway.
But, it was for his little boy.
Pop then looked up at Flippy.
“Any last words, Vetern?”
Flippy looked away, then looked back at Pop.
“I love you… Dad.”
Pop was shaking, holding back tears. This was the most vulnerable moment he ever had in his life.
His finger was about to pull the trigger.
Suddenly, a huge explosion in the far wall left a huge hole, and suddenly through the hole came Cuddles, leading the Tree Friends into the hall, guns blazing. Flippy had a huge smile on his face; his family was still his family.
“Tree Friends! Paul, do it now!”
Pop then wiped his face, and smiled as well. He fired the trigger, and the bullets went through the screen, shattering it into many shards of glass.
Cuddles and Flaky went to his captured friend, and forced his braces apart. Flippy fell to the ground, breathing heavily. He stood up and hugged them both.
“Thank you, Cuddles. You too, Flaky.”
“Of course! You’re our friend!”
He then looked at Flaky.
“Guess my tears got to you then.”
Flaky looked confused.
“You were crying for me?”
“Yeah. I thought you hated me again.”
Flaky started to cry, but then smiled hugged him again.
“I would never hate you, Flippy.”
Flippy started to stagger; his leg started to give out again.
“We need to get back home.”
“Right. Come on, lets go.”
The Haven approached them, ready to fire. Pop went in front of them.
And he stood tall and started firing at the tiger soldiers.He turned and faced them.
“Listen everyone. We work for Tiger… no longer! From now on, we are working for these good people.”
The Haven was shocked, and glad that Pop finally accepted the Tree Friends as their friends again.
Flippy saw as Pop and The Haven were killing tiger soldiers one after the other. He saw the blood splattering. Flippy knew what would happen now. He looked at Flaky, and hugged her again, whispering through his deep breaths.
“He’s coming. Get out, now!”
Flaky knew what was happening, but she knew he was in no shape to get out on his own. She stayed with him.
“Everyone! Get out now! Fliqpy is coming!”
Cuddles took the Tree Friends and Pop took The Haven out the door, as they started to descend a large group of stairs. The trial was held on the top floor, and The Tiger Pit was five stories high. The people of both groups finally started tolerating each other.
Cuddles just had to say something during the run.
“Pop, Nutty, Mime... Welcome back.”
They all smiled as they ran out the door.
Fliqpy emerged, and started to kill the leftover soldiers, laughing heartily. He hadn’t killed a tiger soldier in years.
He felt bullets go inside his leg though, as the soldiers quickly figured out that was his weak point. Flaky was standing behind him, and for the first time picked up a gun and started firing.
For being a timid girl, she was a pretty good shot.
Suddenly, Russell, who was still alive, brought out a special weapon; a detonator. He had planted C4 explosives on the buildings corners as a secret attack . He pressed the button and the three heard the explosions. He laughed as he escaped.
The building began to rumble. A large piece of the ceiling came down and crushed Fliqpy’s leg. He cried out in pain. Flaky just cried. But he raised his head and looked Flaky in the eye.
“Hey, this place is gonna come down. Get out now, girl.”
She knelt down to the evil looking soldier.
“No. I’m not leaving this time.”
“I don’t wanna force you. If you don’t leave now, you’ll die.”
“So will you! I’m not leaving you here to die!”
Fliqpy couldn’t believe this girl, who he saw was afraid of him, was staying behind, no doubt going to die with him. He got up, painfully, and started walking to the door, which was shaking along with everyone else. Flaky followed him, putting herself under his arm to provide support. They walked slowly down the shaking the stairs.
“Come on! Hurry up!”
Fliqpy and Flaky were almost running down the stairs. They came to the last floor, and Flaky left Fliqpy behind went forward.
“Wait here. I’m gonna go get the others.”
She went outside. She couldn’t see any of the Tree Friends, but she saw The Haven, all looking scared.
“Where’s Cuddles and the others?”
Pop came out and spoke, sounding petrified.
“They… They were here. They brought his… Weapon. It was… So horrible.”
“Weapon? Who was here?”
“Tiger. He was here. He took them. All of them.”
“IT’S TRUE, SENORA!”
She turned around and saw four green eyes, looking evil. Two twin brothers, both in suits with a pistol and knife in their hands, stood before her. One had a white fedora on. These were Rey and Eddie, two thieves who were known for their assassination skills. They were known as “Lifty and Shifty.”
Fliqpy heard a gunshot and a knife go into Flaky, as she screamed in pain. He also heard two voices saying in thick Spanish accents.
“L&S here. She’s down. No sign of the soldier.”
He limped as fast as he could out the door, where he saw Flaky, beaten and shot, but she was alive. Breathing, but barely.
He also saw Pop and The Haven, shaking in fear. He couldn’t help but grab Pop out of rage.
“What have you done?! You could’ve stopped them! You could’ve saved her!”
“Flippy… they brought the weapon. We couldn’t do anything.”
Fliqpy backed away, saw Flaky and picked her up. It was hard to do on one leg, but he didn’t care.
He started limping with the girl in his arms.Pop reached out to him.
“Flippy, let us help you.”
“BACK OFF, ALL OF YOU! YOU BETRAYED ME AGAIN, POP!”
He started off again. Pop knew he did; once again he let his fear get the best of him.
It started to storm as Fliqpy heard The Tiger Pit collapse to the ground. He held Flaky tighter and continued to limp, heading for the hospital.
“Gotta find a hospital… Gotta save… Flaky…”