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

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2: Protection

Pumpkin looked Storm Walked in the eye. “Stormy, I need a big favor from you.”

Storm trembled. “W-what is it?”

She helped Pound onto the scooter again. “I promise to protect you, but I need you to look after Pound for me. That’s all.

“My brother got hurt protecting me. I’m sure there has to be a way to turn him back to normal. The same with your parents. I can’t just leave him behind, though. All you have to do is keep him on the scooter and walk with it.”

Storm looked at the frozen Pound, and wiped a tear from her eye. “Your brother got hurt too, huh? I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay. He’s going to be fine.” She took a deep breath. “He’s going to be FINE!” She just had to keep telling herself that. Twilight had once been turned to stone by a cockatrice, and she had come out of it just fine.

She saw a large group of bugs coming closer.

She closed her eyes, picturing her brother. Storm was counting on her for courage. She couldn’t surrender to despair.

With a heavy heart she took Pound off of the scooter. As much as she hated it, she knew that Pound would understand. With so many bugs floating around it was even more crucial that they get to the castle as soon as possible, and Pound was simply added weight at the moment.

“What are you doing?” asked Storm.

Standing on the back part of the scooter she said, “Get on quickly, facing me and hugging me.”

“But what about your brother?”

She tensed, trying to avoid crying. “Right now there’s nothing I can do for him. I can still help you, though.

“Now, stop arguing and just get on.”

Storm quickly hopped onto the front of the scooter, hugging Pumpkin. “O-okay,” she said. “I’m on.”

Pumpkin’s horn lit up, and she forced herself not to look back at Pound’s frozen body as she moved the scooter with her magic. “I’m sure we’re going to attract some attention,” Pumpkin said loudly over the wind. “I’ll take care of any of them that come in front or the side. I need you to keep an eye behind me, okay?”

“O-okay,” she said with a nod.

She had a single orb floating behind her, ready to fire or protect. She didn’t want to waste too much magic.

She grimaced at the sight of other pony statues, especially as they passed the marketplace. She had to guess the reason she saw so little ponies was because they were already taken down or they had chosen to hide in their houses. She was starting to think it would have been wiser for her family to have done the same.

Storm tensed against her. “It’s coming! To the left!”

Pumpkin steered to the right, avoiding a burst of lightning.

Several more blasts came her way. With Storm’s instructions she managed to not get hit. She knew she could always just attack the bugs, but she was already using her magic to propel the scooter. She didn’t want to risk dividing her attention between two spells.

Pumpkin gasped as she went around the corner of a house, seeing one of the bugs stabbing a mare, who began turning gray like Pound. She grimaced, knowing she couldn’t do anything for the mare now. She didn’t even know how to make her own brother better.

A bright blue pegasus stallion nearby growled, rushing the creature with tears streaming down his eyes.

Pumpkin saw it charging up its tail, and she paused in her rush to slice the bug in two.

The stallion paused in confusion. He was surprised to see a small filly had taken it out.

Pumpkin stopped in front of him. “Come on!” she said. “We have to get to the castle.”

“But… but my girlfriend,” the stallion responded.

“I’m sorry about her. Me and Stormy here also lost someone we loved to those things, but you have to keep yourself safe. I’ll protect you.”

“Protect me?” he said dumbly. “I don’t mean to be rude, but-”

“I know. I look like a weakling, but I discovered I have some powerful magic." The bugs that had been following her came around the corner, and Pumpkin created a shield for them, deflecting their lightning. "Excuse me a second."

She took down a few of the creatures, before nonchalantly saying, “I’m Pumpkin Cake. Who are you?”

He blinked a few times. “ Blue... Blue Diamond,” he responded, quite impressed.

“Okay, Blue. Let’s go.”

“But…” He looked at his girlfriend sadly. He sighed. “I guess you’re right. I have to keep myself alive for her.”

He flew next to them as she took off, marveling at the child. Pumpkin’s eyes were intense, even in the midst of all the chaos.

He was further impressed as they came upon another group attempting to fight, and he saw Pumpkin’s magic again. She easily dispatched the five bugs, and said encouraging words as they continued on their way.

They reached the castle a few minutes later. It looked untouched. The group went inside, closing the door behind them.

Pumpkin let out a sigh of relief. For now they were safe. “HELLO!” she yelled out. “TWILIGHT? SPIKE?”

She waited, but there was no answer. Logically speaking, there shouldn’t have been. Twilight wasn’t an idiot. If she had been home there was no way she wouldn’t be aware that something was going on outside.

That only begged the question of where she had got to. Maybe she had been called by the Cutie Map to solve a friendship problem outside of Ponyville. Or maybe she had some kind of meeting with Princess Celestia. Whatever the reason, Twilight was definitely not home, which meant there was little else to do about their bug problem.

She wandered down one of the side halls, looking for the throne room with the Cutie Map. It took her a few minutes to find it, considering how big the castle was, but there was no one inside.

She put a thoughtful hoof to her face. Auntie Pinkie might have been crushed. Fluttershy and Applejack lived on the outskirts of Ponyville. Rainbow Dash was the physical type who would likely be fighting in the battle. That only left Rarity as a possibility of using the summoning function of the Cutie Map to alert Twilight. But if Rarity wasn’t there already, it likely meant she was either hiding, taken out, or fighting herself.

It seemed they would simply have to wait for Twilight to come home on her own.

The rest of their group had followed them into the throne room.

“What’s on your mind, Pumpkin?” asked Blue Diamond. “You look like you have an idea pulling at your lips.”

She explained to them about the Cutie Map. It didn’t fill them with confidence.

“Who knows when she’ll return?” said a mare, stroking her son's mane. “For all we know she’s planning to spend the night with her family in Canterlot.”

“There’s nothing else for it,” said a stallion. “We’ll just have to tough it out. Those bugs don’t seem to be interested in the castle. At least… not yet.”

Pumpkin could see that though they were still scared they were at least calm. She had brought that to them. There were more ponies out there, ones that might need her. Once more her brother's face appeared in her mind, saving her from attack.

“Okay, everyone!” Pumpkin said in a bright tone. “You just hide and barricade the doors.” She turned around, heading toward the exit.

“Pumpkin, where are you going?” asked Storm.

“I’m going back out there!” she said strongly.

“W-what?” the filly exclaimed, her eyes going wide. “B-but you can’t! It’s safe here. Why would you want to go back outside?”

Pumpkin turned back to Storm with a warm smile. “Because that’s what my brother would do. I protected you like I promised, but there are other ponies that need help too.”

She put a hoof to her heart. “My brother sacrificed himself for me, so I have to be willing to do the same.”

Tears came down the filly’s eyes. “B-but what if you get hurt? I… I don’t want you to go! Please stay with me!”

“I have to agree, Pumpkin,” said Blue Diamond. “You’re just a child. This isn’t your battle to fight.” There was a murmur of agreement from the other adults.

Pumpkin stood her ground. “I’m still a child, yes, but my magic is strong. I have the power to protect others, and I’m not going to just stand around hiding while families are being torn apart like mine and yours and Stormy’s. I… I want to save everyone that I can!”

Blue looked into the filly’s eyes, seeing a blazing strength in them again. She wasn’t going to back down from this. He could tell that right away. He let out a sigh and turned to the other members of their group. “Hide somewhere in the castle and block it off with whatever you can, like Pumpkin said.

“As for me, I’m coming with you, Pumpkin.”

“No, you’re not!”

“I’ll grant you that your magic is powerful, but it’s certainly not invincible. I don’t know much about magic, but I’m assuming that like any energy it’s something that can’t be used indefinitely before you have to rest and restore it.

“And if that's the case, someone should come with you and look after you while you're out there just in case something goes wrong. And, not to be rude, but at your age and size you hardly represent strength and protection at first glance.”

Pumpkin had to acknowledge the point. She had been gifted with a powerful spell, but she shouldn’t let it go to her head. She still had limits. “Okay, then. Let’s go. Together.”

Blue was grateful she was willing to see reason. Partially, at least. He still didn't want her to leave, but he knew he had no means to stop her. If she was going to go, regardless of anyone's wishes, the least he could do is help her if she got in over her head.

She saved a few ponies outside, but most of them seemed to be hiding inside. They infiltrated homes, finding families hiding under beds or inside chests, encouraging them to come to the castle. Naturally, most ponies assumed that Blue Diamond was the one in charge, and got a shock when told to put their trust into a little filly’s magic.

It would take some coaxing and convincing on their part, but Blue Diamond and Pumpkin would manage to convince them to come along by demonstrating her power and telling them of what she already accomplished.

While the bugs were numerous they were in manageable numbers. After grabbing a few families she’d direct them to the castle. She’d drop off the other ponies, Blue Diamond being the only one to remain with her.

On her fourth trip out of the castle she was returning with another group of ponies when she heard the familiar hissing and humming.

They were completely surrounded by bugs. At least twenty of them were stabbing at her shield or shooting electricity at it, but it was holding against their onslaught.

They began chittering at each other, and half of them moved to the other side so they were all right next to or on top of each other.

Pumpkin started to get a bad feeling as all of them charged up their tails. Too late she understood what they were going for.

Every one of them fired at the same spot, combining their power together. The combined force of the twenty blasts shattered her spell, sending her flying.

She landed hard on her head, before falling on her back and skidding a few feet.

Pumpkin’s vision was hazy and her head was throbbing. She felt too weak to focus. They were coming.

“PUMPKIN!” came the stern voice of her brother. “You can’t give up! Everyone is counting on you.

"FIGHT! FIGHT NOW!”

She felt a modicum of strength return to her. She took a quick look around to make sure no ponies would get hurt, then she created a group of swords, swinging at random into the air, feeling them cutting through creatures until the pain in her head stopped her from being able to focus and her world grew black.

Author's Note:

Oh noes! :twilightoops: Pumpkin's really coming along here, but it gets even better in the next chapter.

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