• Published 8th Mar 2018
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Pound and Pumpkin Tales: The finale - Never2muchpinkie

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1. Pumpkin's awakening

Pumpkin was on her knees, staring at her brother. He was gray and unmoving.

How had things turned out like this?

Ponyville was such a peaceful place. There was hardly ever big trouble. She had just been playing in her room with Pound when it all started.

***

They heard a commotion going on. There was screaming and loud noises outside that caught their attention.

“What in Equestria is going on outside?” asked Pound as he got up.

“I don’t know, but let’s find out.”

As they headed towards the window Pinkie suddenly ran in. “Pound, Pumpkin! We have to go right now!”

“Go where?” asked Pound. “What’s going on?”

“We’re going to Twilight’s castle. I don’t have time to explain anything-”

Pumpkin screamed as what looked like a bolt of lightning shot through the wall of their room.

“That!” Pinkie said. “THAT is what’s going on! We’ve been invaded.”

The twins didn’t ask any more questions. That had seen what the various threats to Equestria had been like when they had Discord’s power and went through Twilight’s memories. If they were under attack there was no time to discuss it. This was something they had to leave up to the adults to handle.

They went downstairs, seeing their parents anxiously waiting for them.

“Grab something to protect yourself with and let’s go!” said Cup, holding a rolling pin. “We don’t have any time to waste.”

Their dad was holding a shovel. “We’ll be protecting you to the best of our ability, but you still need to be able to defend yourself.”

The twins quickly ran back upstairs and got their softball bats. Along the way there was another shot of lightning that hit the stairs as they ran down it.

“Ready!” Pound said.

“Pound, please keep a close eye on your sister,” Cup Cake said. “If we somehow get separated I’m counting on you to look after Pumpkin.”

“I will!”

“The same to you, Pumpkin,” said Carrot as they headed for the door. “Look out for each other.”

Pumpkin gulped. “Right!” She sure hoped they didn’t get split up. This was the first time that Ponyville had been in danger since Tirek. She was already trembling.

Pound put a hoof over her. “I’ve got you covered, Pumpkin. Don’t forget: I’m your hero for a reason. I’ll keep you safe no matter what.”

She didn’t doubt Pound, but he couldn’t dispel all the worry she had. What was invading, and why? “C-couldn’t we just hide in here?” she asked desperately. “Why are we going out there to meet these things?”

Pinkie pointed towards the hole in the stairs. “Whatever is out there is capable of breaking through this house like nothing. It’s not safe here. Twilight’s castle is made from the Tree of Harmony. It’s much safer than here.”

“When we go out there,” said Cup, “us three will make a circle around you. You just stay between us.”

Pound nodded. “Gotcha!” He was nervous, but he had to stay strong for Pumpkin’s sake. He trusted his family to be the first line of defense. “Wouldn’t it be smarter if we were on your backs instead, though?”

Pinkie again pointed toward the stairs. “Not at all. That only puts you in more danger. If one of us is attacked we can shield you with our own bodies. If these things can attack from the air it only makes you more likely to be the ones attacked.”

That made sense to him. “Alright. Let’s do it.”

With that plan in place they opened the front door. After a quick check that nothing was waiting right in front of the immediate vicinity of the door they all ran out.

It didn’t take long at all before a bolt of lightning struck right nearby. Pound quickly looked towards the sky. Up above them seemed to be weird bug-like creatures. At first he thought they were Changelings, but they didn’t have the same pony-like body shape.

He didn’t have time to get a good look at them, as his parents rushed him along.

Around them other ponies were running. Pinkie knew strength in numbers was their best bet. “Stick together!” she yelled out. “Everyone head towards Twilight’s castle!”

Pumpkin didn’t know what was happening, stuck in the middle. The other ponies Pinkie called out to gathered around them.

As they neared Town Hall electrical explosions tore through the air in front of them, lighting the grass around them on fire and cutting off their escape route.

“Oh, no!” Pinkie cried out as they ground to a halt. “We’ll have to go around.”

“What’s that noise?” Pumpkin cried as the sound of cracking wood echoed out. Pumpkin turned her head toward the sound, and her eyes went wide. Town Hall’s support beams were being fired at, and the structure was starting to lean toward them. With another round of shocks the building’s own gravity forced it forward with a resounding snap.

Pumpkin was stock still, frozen in fear. Pound was as well, but then his mother’s words echoed through his mind. “Keep your sister safe.” He shook his head, focusing only on Pumpkin. Unfurling his wings he focused all his concentration on her as he grabbed her and lifted her up over the fire that had started, paying no attention to what was behind him until the entire ground shook with the collapse of the tower.

He landed on the ground, panting. Flying was hard enough for him without carrying someone else.

Pumpkin looked with admiration at Pound. He had saved her again. The feeling quickly faded as she looked with horror towards the fallen hall. “Mom! Dad! Auntie Pinkie!” she yelled out, turning towards Pound with tears in her eyes. “Pound… why…”

Pound felt disquiet in his heart, but now was not the time for pain. “I did what I had to. I promised Mom that I would look after you. There was no way I could fly anyone else out of danger.”

She ran the short distance to him and hugged him. “D-do you think they’re alright?”

He hugged her back. “I don’t know. I hope so, but that’s not important right now. I have to get you to Twilight’s castle, even if it’s just the two of us now. If… if they are dead then it’s the only thing I can do now to honor their memory. And if they’re not, then if us kids can make it there I’m sure they can too.”

“Shouldn’t we go back to make sure? I’d feel safer with them.”

He shook his head. “We can’t waste any time. Trust me, Pumpkin.” He rubbed her head. “I’ll protect you with my life.”

Looking reassured she nodded, releasing him.

The two of them ran, dodging more lightning, when all of a sudden three creatures came down to their level, forcing the two to halt.

Pumpkin looked on with revulsion at the things. They had many eyes and eight legs like a spider, wings like a fly, and a large barbed tail like a scorpion.

Pound gulped. Seeing them up close like this creeped him out, but he couldn’t break his promise. Summoning his courage he ran forward, jumping out of the way of a bolt of lightning, and smacking one of the creatures with his softball bat.

He struck the creature in the face, and fought not to gag as bug guts splattered over the ground. From what he could tell, these things weren’t that durable.

The other two creatures let out a hiss, and then a high-pitched whine.

Pumpkin just watched as Pound attacked another of the creatures, but she let out a shriek as a bolt missed her by inches and five more creatures came down from the sky, all coming after her.

She began running towards Pound, terrified, completely forgetting about the weapon she held.

“Help me!” she screamed, tears running down her eyes, tripping and falling to the floor.

As Pound dispatched the third bug he heard Pumpkin’s cries.

“Pumpkin!” shouted Pound as one of the creatures shot a blast at her. She was going to be too slow to rise.

“Oof!” she moaned as she went flying before she had to shut her eyes as a bright spark lit up the area.

Pound screamed in pain, dropping his bat. His coat was smoking slightly, and he sank to the ground on his knees, panting.

“Pound!” Pumpkin screamed.

Pound looked up into his sisters eyes. The pain was excruciating, but he wasn’t down for the count yet. He had to protect Pumpkin.

Picking his bat up, he turned around to an approaching bug, a bit wobbly on his hooves as he tried running towards it. As he reared back to swing a small bolt of lightning came his way, knocking the bat out of his hooves, leaving him without his means of defense.

The creature in front of him raised its tail, jabbing at him with incredible speed and stabbing him in the middle of his chest.

Pumpkin screamed. “NOOOO!”

As the tail came out Pound stumbled backwards, his eyes wide. Something was wrong. His wound was bleeding but he couldn’t feel any pain. His mind was going hazy. He fell to the ground, unmoving, right near Pumpkin, his coat rapidly turning gray and his body going stiff.

Pumpkin gasped, her heart racing. She was trembling from head to hoof as she looked up into the creature’s cold eyes, preparing another blast. She was next.

Her mother, her father, her aunt, and now even her brother. She was all alone. Everyone she loved might be dead. There was no one to bail her out, and she felt too scared to move.

“Pound,” she said helplessly. “Help me!” She tried to stand, but her body wouldn’t cooperate. “Pound, please!” She shut her eyes tight, not wanting to see the end coming. “Pound, help me!”

There was a sudden odd sensation from her horn. She didn’t know how to describe the feeling in words. It felt like some forgotten piece of knowledge had suddenly come back to her. Or an alternate path suddenly being revealed.

She heard the blast of electricity, but there was no pain. When she chanced opening her eyes she was flabbergasted by what she saw. “P-Pound?” she sputtered out.

Pound was right in front of her, blocking the blast and diverting it around her. Except… it wasn’t the Pound she knew. His entire body from head to hoof was the same blue color as her magic aura.

In her mind she could almost hear Pound’s voice talking to her, telling her not to be afraid; that he would protect her. The blue Pound lifted his hoof, and an orb came out of it, extending into the shape of a sword, all blue like him. Effortlessly he sliced up the other bugs around them.

Pumpkin just stared at him as he turned to her. She beamed. She didn’t know how he had done that, but she didn’t care. Her wish had come true. As she walked forward to hug him she tripped over something. Turning to look she blinked in confusion. Pound was still comatose on the ground behind her, but there was another Pound in front of her. How was that possible?

The Pound in front of her slowly vanished into a number of orbs before disappearing completely. That was when she realized what had happened. The Pound that had saved her was simply magic given a pony form, something akin to Mayhem.

It wasn’t like any other magic she had used before. She had used shield spells before when Pound was in danger, but this felt different somehow.

Getting down on her knees she put a hoof on Pound. He wasn’t breathing or showing any signs of still being alive. His shock and fear were still captured on his face.

Tears dripped down her eyes as she pulled him close to her. “You’re not dead,” she said firmly. “You’re not!” She couldn’t allow herself not to believe those words, or it would break her. Aside from the new coloration and a small incision from where he was stabbed he showed no sign of damage. Even his wound wasn’t bleeding at all.

She had no idea what had happened to Pound, but the scorpion tail likely had some kind of poison that petrified ponies. Either the poison would wear off after a certain amount of time had passed, or he would need a specific spell or antidote to get him moving again.

Looking around her she spotted an abandoned scooter on its side. Helping him onto it she began to push it, using her magic to propel herself forward. She had to get to Twilight’s castle. Twilight would probably know a spell to get Pound back to normal.

She had the general idea of how to get there, but she knew it wasn’t going to be an easy trip. She suddenly stopped, falling to her knees and hugging herself. Her stomach felt like it was going to explode with nerves and fear. She was just a little kid. What was she supposed to do? She was weak… powerless. There was an army attacking the town, and she didn’t know if she’d be able to make it.

“Huh?” Her head jerked as she heard the sound of the scooter tipping over and her nerves steadied a little as she saw Pound’s body roll away. Pumpkin put a hoof on Pound’s mouth, closing it and shutting his eyes. Now he looked like he was just sleeping.

She thought of all the times Pound had risked himself for her. He was willing to take any pain, any punishment, if it meant keeping her safe. Even when he had been terrified of storms he always played the part of a brave pony to inspire her and make her feel safe.

Her fear was barely diminished, but she knew this was not the time to whine and cry. She was all alone now. She couldn’t count on him to bail her out if things went bad. However, if she wasn’t willing to risk everything for him she would be unworthy to call herself his family. She took a steadying breath and said, “Now it’s my turn to be the brave one for you, Pound.” She wiped her face of the tears, and helped Pound back onto the scooter.

“HELP!” screamed a filly, running for her life, barely dodging the weird spells. “HELP ME!”

A chill went through Pumpkin, and her fear vanished entirely. The filly was smaller than her, and she ran towards her as she glared determinedly at the foal. “Over here!” Pumpkin yelled.

The yellow coated filly turned to her in relief, the two of them running toward each other. Several of the creatures blasted them, and the filly screamed as she held Pumpkin, the spell once more passing around her harmlessly, deflected by her magic.

The girl looked up at Pumpkin, then around them at the blue sphere surrounding her, points of light shining intermittedly around it.

Pumpkin grinned encouragingly at the girl, then gently pushed her away, her face set. She reflected on all her magic lessons. Magic was about concentration and will. Magic followed what you wanted it to do if you had the skill for it. In all her lessons she had never summoned this, so did this mean she had instinctively discovered her special magical talent? Her magic awakened because it was needed now. She was sure of that. Now she had to use her gift to help others.

She closed her eyes, thinking of Pound.

No matter what happened he would endure anything to protect her. It was why she looked up to him more than any other pony. Despite only being a few minutes older than her and around her size he had a heart and courage far beyond any other pony she knew. He had taught her so many important lessons. Now it was time for her to be the teacher. Right in front of her was a pony that was in need of protecting. Even if it cost her her life she would keep this child safe. It was the best way to honor her hero.

She concentrated her magic in her hoof, looking around at the creatures still trying to break through her shield. Magic responded to will. Magic responded to will. Magic responded to will. She kept repeating her mantra. Could she do other things with her magic besides just shield herself? The magic Pound had summoned an orb that turned into a sword, so she should be able to make weapons too.

She took a deep breath, and the energy of the shield faded around her, concentrating into an orb of energy. Turning her head and focusing she pointed her hoof, and the magic shot out like a whip, smacking the creature into a house where it fell to the ground, unmoving.

“Sharper!” she called out, lashing out at another creature, this time cutting it in half. She heard the cackling of electricity behind her as the last one charged up its attack. She spun around, lifting her hooves as she made a rounded shield facing toward the creature. Its own magic reflected back at it, and it fell to the ground, twitching.

Pumpkin took a quick look around. For the moment the space they were was clear of the creatures. For good measure Pumpkin created a cutting weapon again, snuffing out the last bug in case it could get up again.

As she watched, the magic shrunk back down again into an orb. She marveled at it. It was a malleable magical ball, turning into whatever she wanted it to become. She didn’t think even Twilight had a magic like this.

She didn’t entertain the thought of having more magical potential than the princess of magic herself, but she felt so relieved that this power was hers, and that she could be so helpful. She had felt so powerless just a short time ago. Now she had a potent weapon at her disposal. She could attack and defend. It was all she could dream of in a situation like this.

She got distracted from her thoughts as the filly jumped at her, squeezing her hard as she sobbed. “T-t-thank you! Thank you!”

Pumpkin put her hooves around the filly. “There, there. It’s okay. I’ll protect you.

“I’m Pumpkin Cake. What’s your name?”

“S-S -Storm Walker.”

“Where are your parents?”

“T-t-they g-got attacked. They got hit! I had to go running! They would have gotten me too if it wasn’t for you!”

Pumpkin squeezed tighter, tears running down her eyes as she looked at her brother. She understood the feeling of losing your stronghold figure.

With this power of hers, she could protect others. She could be just like her brother, risking anything for the safety of ponies in need. She had started with this filly, but this was war. Other ponies would need her help too.

Author's Note:

Oh, boy! It's finally begun. I envision Pumpkin's magic like a green lantern ring. It modifies it's appearance and shape to fit the situation.

I'm not the best at big scenes like war because I usually have a narrow focus in my writing when a lot of stuff is supposed to be going on. Regardless, I hope you like it anyway.

Pumpkin's bond with Pound is explored pretty deeply, especially near the end. Pumpkin gets solo cover image because she's the main character in all of this. :rainbowwild:

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