• Published 3rd Feb 2020
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The Howlite Howler - JNKing



A White Wolf must escape Equestria after killing an abusive pony

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Chapter 9: A New Home

Shiva found out what Luke was talking about soon enough.

The home of the diamond dogs already seemed like a rough place to live. The caverns stretched deep into the earth, twisting and curving into an impossible maze. The air was dusty and choked with the stink of hard workers. In the branching tunnels, Shiva saw diamond dogs of every shape, size and dog breed working hard, dislodging the glittering jewels and gems from their stone prisons.

However, all too soon, she saw it. Two diamond dogs were piling gems into a cart… and a scared pony was chained to the cart, ready to pull it.

Shiva froze in place, staring at the pony. Luke noticed her hesitation.

“Diamond Dogs need work horses,” he tried to explain. “Best way to cart gems and jewels.”

“She’s… chained,” Shiva whispered. Her ears flattened as she saw lash marks. Her own lash marks throbbed in empathy. “D-Did they beat her?” she asked, turning to Luke.

She got her answer as the two dogs finished filling their cart. One of them grabbed a bull whip, and turned to the pony.

“Yah!” he cried, striking the mare. With only a flinch and a whimper, the pony started to pull.

“Faster,” the diamond dog barked, striking her again.

Shiva’s tail tucked. The memories of the pit. Of the whip. They were overwhelming her mind.

She felt Luke’s paw on her shoulder. Heard his voice trying to soothe her. But it wasn’t enough.

She saw the whip get raised again. She shot forward, her fur flaring with magic. With a bark of rage, she lunged at the diamond dog, knocking him backward with a barrier. The diamond dog scrambled back, his compatriot hiding behind his cart as Shiva glowed with anger.

“I will kill you if you touch her again,” Shiva snarled, her fur pulsating.

The diamond dogs stared at her in shock.

“Magic diamond dog?” the one with the whip mumbled. “How does diamond dog have magic?”

“Tentacles!” his compatriot gasped, pointing at the tendrils curling around her. “Like the ones that grabbed us!”

She quickly glanced at the diamond dogs partner, who had been inching towards a cudgel. He wisely backed up as her eyes bore into his.

“Shiva!” Luke barked, racing next to her. He jumped between her and the other dogs. “Why help them?” He indicated the pony, who flinched at his gesture. “They do the same to you. They deserve this.”

“Always been like this,” one of the dogs offered. “Good, strong work horses. Work long and hard in the mines.”

Shiva glared at the pony, who was cowering and whimpering before her. A throb of disgust shot through Shiva – she could see why Luke would be angry. Why was she defending this equine scum? They had done far worse to her.

Yet, as Shiva stared down at the mare, she didn’t see an equine. She saw herself, scared and resigned to a life of pain and torment. That had been her. And she couldn’t live here if that was the norm.

Shiva glared down at her paws, still sparking with magic. Something could be done.

Something had to be done.

She turned back to Luke and the dogs.

“Who’s in charge here?” she asked.

#

The dogs led her to a wide-open chamber. Gems and anything that glittered covered the area, almost like a dragon’s horde. Yet it wasn’t just treasure; Shiva spotted swords, coins, shiny scraps of metal. Basically, anything that was shiny, like a nest for the world’s largest convention of magpies. But it wasn’t magpies tending to the shiny bits, neither was it dragons. It was diamond dogs. Dozens of the wolf-man hybrids either dumping the shiny objects into piles or simply gazing transfixed at them.

In the center of the horde sat what looked like a throne Celestia herself had discarded. The back rest formed what looked like a rising sun, with the metal bands representing sunlight chipped and broken off. On the torn feather cushion sat a bulky looking diamond dog with the head of a German Shepherd. He radiated an intense energy, and the moment Shiva entered the chamber, his eyes locked on her, and stayed on her as she crossed the treasure room to his throne.

Luke followed behind her, along with the diamond dog who had carried the whip. Between them was the work horse Shiva had saved. She was still collared and chained, but Shiva held the chain in her paws, and refused to let either of her male companions take it.

Shiva’s heart hammered as she drew closer and closer to what had to be the diamond dog Alpha, but the memory of her time in the pit and the whimpers of the mare behind her drove her forward.

I can’t let this continue, Shiva thought. I won’t let this continue. Her claw sparked again, and she held it to her chest. I lost my Master to have this power. I have to use it to do something good. Luke was a good start, but he’s only one diamond dog.

“Alpha,” the diamond dog with the whip – Whipper, Shiva decided to call him – called forward, sinking into a bow. “We bring new diamond dog. Powerful female. Wishes to speak to you.”

The Alpha rose from his throne, regarding Shiva with a hungry light in his eyes.

“New diamond dog?” he asked, his eyes running her up and down. He hummed in approval. “Quite beautiful.” He nodded. “I approve.”

Whipper whimpered in glee, though the Alpha was soon distracted by the work horse behind Shiva. His brow furrowed.

“Why bring work horse here?” he demanded.

“Because work horses are not going to be used here anymore,” Shiva declared, hoping she sounded braver than she was starting to feel. “You are going to strike the chains from any equine here. Then you are going to throw them back into Equestria where they belong, and ensure they never come back.”

The Alpha stared at her for what felt like an eternity. Behind her, Shiva could feel Luke’s anxiety, while Whipper shot him a grin.

Finally, the Alpha threw back his head and bellowed with laughter. His laughter rang through the cavern, and despite none of the other dogs being involved in the conversation, they began to laugh as well. Shiva had to resist the temptation to chuckle as well; this guy’s laugh was admittedly contagious.

Focus, Shiva, she forced herself to think. If any other girl said that, they would likely be punished. But you are not just any other girl. And if anyone’s going to be punished around here, it’s not going to be you.

Finally, the Alpha gave one final ‘HA’ and descended the rest of the way from his throne. He stood right before Shiva, giving her a less than stellar view of his chest and allowing her nose to fully get enveloped by his stench. He gripped her by the ear, ignoring her bared teeth.

“I will do none of those things,” he growled at her. “You, on the other paw, will bear me strong male pups.” He pulled her closer. “You understand?”

Shiva could feel Luke’s anxiety growing. Now or never, she thought.

Her claw lashed out and caught him by the neck. And her magic channeled to life. As all his power was sucked into her, she was able to lift the Alpha off the ground. Every diamond dog stopped what they were doing, staring at her in shock as her entire body glowed like a star. Her fear faded, replaced by anger. She could easily imagine this guy as that obnoxious prince or as Beast Breaker.

But she would not murder him. Not this day.

“You are going,” Shiva snarled, her voice like a demon. “To strike the chains from every work horse here.” Her claws dug into his skin, threatening to rip his throat out. “Then you are going to send them back into Equestria where they belong, and ensure they never come back!”

Lighting flashed from her form, blasting several approaching dogs back, and the remaining dogs yelped as thunder BOOMED through the cavern. She drew the Alpha closer, feeling a surge of catharsis at the fear in his eyes.

“Do YOU understand?” Shiva growled.

The Alpha Diamond Dog – the biggest, baddest one of them all – whimpered like a long-lost puppy, and nodded. She released him, and he scampered off into the tunnels with his tail between his legs, still whimpering like he was going to soil himself. The dogs all watched him run away, gave one scared look at Shiva, and then scampered off, all yelping and whimpering as well.

Shiva turned back to the mare, who had slunk back to the end of her chain. Shiva lifted her claws, and the mare flinched like she was going to strike her. But Shiva only slashed at the chains, and with a burst of lightning, the chains clattered to the ground. The mare stared at the chains fragments, before looking up at Shiva in shock. Shiva ascended to the throne, and stared back at the mare with loathing in her eyes.

“Leave this place,” Shiva told the mare. “And tell every other pony what you saw. If you or any of them come back…” Shiva bared her teeth. “I’ll slaughter you where you stand!”

The mare yelped, and dashed away, crying her eyes out. Luke and Whipper stared at each other, as Shiva sat on the throne, sighing in repressed relief.

“Shiva,” Luke said, drawing her gaze. “How are we supposed to mine for gems now?”

Shiva’s ears flicked, while Whipper stepped forward.

“Diamond Dogs need work horses,” Whipper insisted. “To push carts and carry gems. How we supposed to mine now?!”

Shiva glanced down at her claws again, but she knew terrifying them with magic wouldn’t work forever. Then she remembered Luke, and how she had felt stronger when her link bonded to him. Cautiously, she extended a link to Whipper, and as the light tendril entwined around him, Shiva felt the familiar surge of strength.

Her tail began to wag again. “I may have a few solutions,” she declared.

#

Twilight paced angrily behind Spike as he lowered a gem into the hole that Shiva had disappeared down. Behind her, her five friends glanced at each other with worry.

“Are you sure this is going to work twice, Twilight?” Spike asked. “I mean, I know it worked when we were looking for Rarity, but…”

“Diamond Dogs aren’t smart, Spike,” Twilight insisted. “And we need to get that wolf back. There’s so much she needs to answer for, and so much we can learn from her.”

“Is that going to include hurting her?” Fluttershy asked passive-aggressively.

“She hurt us!” Rainbow Dash snarled. “She’s more than asked for a fight.”

“A fight we started,” Fluttershy whispered.

The aggression faded from Twilight’s face. She followed Fluttershy’s gaze. She was staring up at the mountain where they had found Shiva. At the cave where, not that long ago, ponies had been beating and hurting other creatures.

“Girls,” Twilight tried to insist. “We’re not like that. We’re better than those ponies.”

“She don’t know that,” Applejack said, pointing down into the hole. “’S far as she’s concerned, we’re just trying to drag her back to another cage. Maybe intending to punish her for what she did.”

“Well, why shouldn’t we?” Rainbow Dash argued. “She murdered ponies. She went after Blueblood.” She paused. “Not that I’m saying that jerk probably didn’t deserve a good kick or two, but still…”

“Those ponies tortured her,” Fluttershy said darkly. She looked down. “I don’t know why she went after the Prince, but I do know that we hurt her. And we’re not going to make things better by dragging her back.”

“Well, what can we do then, Fluttershy?” Twilight asked. “Sit on our hooves and wait for her to hurt more innocent ponies?”

Almost as if fate was answering her, Spike peered down into the hole and gasped.

“Guys!” he yelled, drawing their attention.

The mares raced over… and gasped. Crawling up out of the hole were several dirt strewn ponies. Mostly earth ponies and pegasi, but all of them crawled their way out of the dirt and into the sunlight. The ponies were blinking and shivering like they hadn’t felt the sun in a long time.

One of them, a mare so scuffed with dirt she looked like brown was her natural color, saw the mares, and raced over to them.

“T-The Elements,” she whimpered, kissing Twilight’s hooves. “Celestia be praised… I thought we’d never get out of there.”

“W-Who are you?” Twilight stammered. “Where did you come from?”

“I-I’m…” the mare looked down, tears of relief and fear staining her cheeks. “Oh, by the alicorns, it’s been so long since I got to use my name, uh… Sugar Belle.” She looked over at the others as they crawled, moaning, back to the surface. “We were work horses for Diamond Dogs. For so long, we had to help them find jewels, cart them around. It…”

She quivered and threatened to start bawling. Rarity darted forward, and despite the dirt staining her fur, she embraced the sobbing pony.

“It’s alright – it’s alright,” Rarity comforted the mare. “I know how horrible it is. You were very lucky to escape.”

Sugar Belle hiccupped, and shook her head. “Didn’t… escape,” she got out.

“Huh?” Rainbow Dash asked. “But… how did you get out of there?”

The mare looked up, almost as if she could see a bird in the sky. She smiled softly.

“This… beautiful white dog,” she whispered.

Twilight paled. Her ears flattened.

“She saved me,” the mare whispered. “She saved all of us.”

Twilight gazed across the field. Dozens of ponies were crawling out. Whatever Shiva had done, it looked like she had just freed every pony that had ever been held by the diamond dogs. Twilight could feel Fluttershy’s glare on her back, her silent ‘you were saying?’ hanging in the air.

“What d’ we do, Twi?” Applejack asked.

Twilight glanced down at the hole. Spike had abandoned his fishing line to help another mare out of the hole. And with all the ponies around, no one noticed the fishing line get yanked, hook, line, sinker and everything, into the hole.

She sighed.

“Let’s get these ponies to Ponyville,” Twilight declared. “We’ll write to Celestia, explaining what happened. And then we’ll let her decide what to do next.”

Author's Note:

So, what do you guys think Celestia will decide? On the one hand, Shiva didn't exactly make the best first impression. But, on the other hand, dozens of work horses are free thanks to her.

And for those that are wondering why the Diamond Dogs submitted that easy, I was taking inspiration from Rise of Darth Vulcan, where another magical being managed to cow the diamond dogs into submission with both a display of magic and a promise of better lives. The better lives, you will see in the next chapter.

Until then, thanks for reading. You've been a wonderful audience, and I'm looking forward to sharing the next chapters.
:twilightsmile: