• Published 10th Jul 2020
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Howlite Howler 3 - JNKing

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Chapter 11: Cute Cub? Beware its Mama!

Just before Shiva could blast Discord halfway across Ponyville, Fluttershy jumped between them.

“Wait, Shiva, don’t!” she yelped.

Shiva’s gaze turned to her, as did her magic tendrils. But the yellow mare stood her ground between the diamond dog and the draconequus. A Stare hadn't developed on her face yet, but everyone could feel the build up to one.

“Fluttershy…” Discord started to say.

“Don’t worry, Discord,” Fluttershy said. “She’s not going to hurt you.”

Shiva chuckled darkly. “Don’t count on that,” she growled.

"Shiva..." Applejack tried to interject.

“Why is he here?” she demanded to the other mares.

“Well, since you took my powers,” Discord replied bitterly, snapping his fingers for emphasis. “I can’t access my home dimension. Where else am I supposed to go?”

“Tartarus?” Shiva suggested.

Discord chuckled. “Oh, good; you took some of my sense of humor along with my power.”

“Both of you, enough!” Fluttershy insisted. “Shiva, I know Discord scared you. But he’s really not as bad as you think!”

“He joined Tirek,” Shiva growled. “Threatened your nation, and tried to kill my daughter.”

“Kill?!” Discord stared at her aghast. “I don’t kill; where’s the fun in death?”

“You turned her into a statue!” Shiva insisted.

“I spent two thousand years as a statue!” Discord argued back.

“You’re an immortal being!” Rainbow Dash refuted, before pointing at Celine. “That pup’s just a kid.”

Discord huffed, and turned away, while Shiva and Rainbow Dash gave each other surprised looks.

“Huh, something we agree on,” Shiva noted.

Rainbow Dash shrugged. “I never trusted him,” she admitted.

“And yet you wonder why he sided with Tirek?” Fluttershy asked passive-aggressively.

“And I’ve paid for it,” Discord insisted. “A thousand times over.” He snapped his fingers again, but aside from a small spark, nothing happened. “But I’ve changed. I’ve learned just how valuable friendship really is.” He glanced away. “Considering it’s all I got now.” He gave Shiva a small grin. “Unless you’d like to change…?”

“No,” Shiva said instantly, brushing by him. Discord deflated, before trying to follow her.

“It’s not easy living like this,” he insisted. “Not having the power of chaos? It’s like… hunger. But worse! A thousand times worse!” He pointed at her. “What if you lost your own magic!”

Shiva didn’t look at him, but the thought of losing her magic – being turned back into a normal diamond dog – did send a shiver down her spine. Would the other diamond dogs listen to her? How would she maintain order and contribute to the Empire?

“Shiva,” Fluttershy insisted, going to her side. “We’re all on the same side here. Discord won’t hurt you or your pack again.”

“No, he won’t,” Shiva agreed. “Because I’m not giving him his magic back.”

“Would it help if I said… ‘pretty please?’” Discord asked, before snapping his fingers again. He groaned. “I’d have summoned some beauty makeup with that…” he mumbled morosely.

Fluttershy nudged him. “You know what would help,” she said knowingly.

Discord winced, but slumped again. “Alright,” he declared. “Alpha Shiva… I’m s…” he ended up hissing like a snake.

Shiva perked an ear in deadpan irritation.

“I a…polo-EYEIEEE!” Discord gagged, clutching at his throat, before chuckling. “Okay-okay, Shiva I'm sorry. So truly, utterly, sorrowfully...”

Shiva rolled her eyes and turned away. “I do not have time for this,” she muttered… only to groan as she ran into Pinkie Pie.

“How about time for…” Pinkie covered her mouth, but her eyes glinted. “Something fun!”

Shiva grimaced, but Flash popped up. “Like a party?” he asked eagerly.

“Party?” Celine asked. “What’re those?”

Pinkie gaped at her, before glaring at Shiva. “You never told her about parties?” she demanded, before turning away from her. “I can’t even look at you right now.”

Shiva glared at her. “Look, you might be sitting pretty in paradise here,” Shiva growled. “But my pack has work! I need to make sure the Sirens don’t get into Equestria, my kids need to learn how to harness their powers, we have to make sure there’s gems to harvest from the ground back at the Crystal Empire, and there’s relations to keep at ease between the changelings and ponies. Not exactly a lot of time to be celebrating every single thing there is to be happy about.”

“Well, parties could definitely solve… one of your problems,” Pinkie insisted with a hesitant grin.

Shiva tilted her head, blinking. “Which one?” she asked curiously.

“Bringing folks together,” Applejack said, striding up next to Shiva. “C’mon; we can have the welcome party in Twilight’s castle, so ya’ll can keep an eye on the portal, and we’ll keep the list down to just a few ponies. Just enough to show you how parties can really keep relations at ease between folks.”

Shiva still grimaced with reluctance, but when she looked to Celine, the diamond dog pup’s eyes were alight with awe.

“Can we try it, Mother?” she asked. “Can we?”

"Please?" Flash asked, trying his own version of puppy dog eyes.

Shiva sighed. “Alright,” she said. “Let’s see how well this ‘party’ of yours works.”

Pinkie squealed in glee, and shot away to prepare. Shiva slumped.

“I still really don’t know about this,” she admitted.

“I know Pinkie’s a tad eccentric,” Applejack said. “But who knows. Ya may like what we have to offer.”

“I know I like what Pinkie has to offer,” Discord noted. But Shiva didn’t even look at him. “Are you really going to force me to beg?” he demanded. "I already said sorry."

“I don’t care what you do,” Shiva replied. “I’m not giving you your magic back.”

“Ugh!” Discord collapsed in a heap.

#

Most ponies leaped at the chance to enjoy one of Pinkie Pie’s parties. The pink mare had earned quite the reputation for making any celebration fun and memorable.

But no one was quite prepared for the surprise party Pinkie had planned for Shiva and her group.

First off, the surprise. For every surprise party, Pinkie always demanded that every pony hide themselves in order to burst out and surprise whoever the special occasion was for. But when a minute went by and the dog of the hour didn’t walk through the door, ponies started to get antsy.

“Where is she?” Apple Bloom whispered.

“Maybe she got distracted by a stick,” Scootaloo deadpanned. "She is a dog."

“Sh!” Pinkie insisted. “We can’t spoil the surprise.”

“Technically, you already spoiled it,” another voice noted coyly.

The ponies yelped and jumped away from the sound. Sitting patiently next to Pinkie was Skippy. His diamond dog form was on display, but he still sent two stallions scurrying for the exits, and half the ponies ended up accidentally backing out of their hiding spaces while trying to hide themselves better.

The diamond dog just chuckled before glancing to the entrance. “C’mon in, Shiva,” he called.

With the ponies still disoriented, the doors opened, and Shiva trotted in, Celine, Applejack and Rainbow Dash on her heels. Fluttershy and Discord followed close behind, but with the meandering walk of people who knew they weren’t invited.

“Oh, uh… surprise!” Pinkie said half-heartedly, as the others reluctantly followed her lead. Shiva, however, just turned to Flash and Skippy.

“Alright, everyone,” she said. “Figure out what this ‘party’ business is all about. I’m going to check on the mirror, just in case anything changes.”

Flash eagerly nodded and raced into the crowd.

Skippy walked up next to her. “I can take over in a half-hour,” he said. “You shouldn’t have to miss out on this stuff, Alpha.” He sniffed the air. “There’s… potential positivity. Just ripe for the taking.”

Shiva gave the decorations and food a nervous glance. “We’ll see,” she replied neutrally, before retreating to the library.

However, the minute she opened the door, she found Pinkie, her hooves crossed like a bouncer.

“Shiva!” she chastised. “This is your welcome party!”

“And I’ll enjoy it the way I want to,” Shiva replied, her tendrils yanking Pinkie up and setting her on the other side. “By ensuring no Sirens try to crash it,” she added with a grin, before shutting the door on her.

With a sigh, Shiva turned back to the mirror. Her ears flattened as she noticed a shimmer along the glass. When she stepped up to the mirror, her claws couldn’t help but brush the surface.

Her heart leaped in her chest. Her claws sunk through. She could go through.

No! Remember Celine! Her thoughts reminded her.

Yet… it still took all her willpower to pull her claws away.

My home… she thought morosely. My original home… what if this is really the way back? What if I’m just a mirror away from going back to where I came from?

#

Celine meandered through the crowd, sensing the odd tension in the air. Pinkie tried her best to encourage interaction, but many of the ponies kept to themselves, eying Celine and Skippy with nervous whispers. Flash had no such issues, and was soon invested in a very intimate conversation with two female pegasi. Two fillies, however, walked right up to Celine, fixing her with disapproving gazes.

Celine tilted her head, but approached them with a cautious smile.

“Hello,” Celine said as they stopped within six feet of her. “Are you two… alright?”

“We want to know, like, what Pinkie Pie is doing throwing a party for a couple of mutts,” the gray one said.

Celine blinked. “Excuse me?” she asked. “I’m a diamond dog.”

“Yeah,” the pink one replied. “Those dirty, nasty, gem-hoarding brutes that attacked Rarity. What? Are you here to apologize for that? Because you should do a lot more than just apologize for that.”

Celine blinked, backing up in shock. “M-Me apologize?” she asked. “But… that's what Discord was supposed to be doing!”

The yellow mare spotted her, and instantly raced over. Discord similarly started to follow, but Fluttershy waved him off.

“Celine, are you okay?” she asked worriedly.

“Hey, why are you asking her?” the pink filly demanded. “She’s evil.”

“Yeah,” the gray one added. “And I bet she has, like, ticks or other nasty bugs!”

“Do not,” Celine growled, though she couldn’t help giving a self-conscious look at her fur.

“You can’t even tell?” the pink one asked with a laugh. “You’re just as stupid as the rest of them, aren’t you?”

Fluttershy bristled. “Don’t be cruel,” she said.

But the fillies laughed twice as hard. “Of course,” the pink one said. “Covering for an animal. What else should we expect from Fluttershy? After all, she adopted that crazy chaos creature.”

Discord bristled, looking more than ready to charge in even without magic. A stare from Fluttershy forced him to back down.

Celine gaped at them. “She’s your senior,” Celine stammered in shock. “How dare you?”

“Why don’t you mind your own business, dirt dog,” the filly replied. “No pony wants you here.”

“I do…” Fluttershy mumbled, though she looked like she was struggling to keep herself calm. Celine looked around for Applejack or Pinkie, but both of them had gotten into some sort of argument with Rainbow Dash. Discord was watching Fluttershy nervously, but when he noticed Skippy immediately noticed Celine’s fearful look, and race to grab Shiva, he curled his talons together with an ominous grin. The other groups were watching as well, but whispering among each other, as if unsure of what to do. Several seemed to be watching the pink filly as though she provided regular entertainment.

However, a familiar cream-colored filly near Applejack spotted them, and hurried over with backup. Celine wagged her tail as the three fillies converged on her.

“Hey, why don’t you leave her alone, Diamond Tiara?” a cream-colored filly demanded, standing next to Celine. “She ain’t hurting no pony.”

But the ‘Diamond Tiara’ filly rolled her eyes. “I expected you to cover for her, Apple Bloom,” she snarked. “Considering that mangy mutt you have.”

Apple Bloom turned as red as her bow. “Winona’s a border collie,” she corrected.

“And she makes far better company than either of you do,” the orange filly on her right added, Fluttershy nodding in agreement, and giving a reassuring smile to Discord.

“Like, what is it with you guys?” Diamond Tiara’s crony demanded. “She’s not a pony. She doesn’t deserve any of this.”

Celine blinked. “Excuse me?” she asked.

“Parties? Friends?” Diamond Tiara demanded. “Get it through your thick head, dirt dog. No pony wants you here.”

“I want her here,” Fluttershy growled.

“And so, do we,” Apple Bloom declared.

“So, you’re saying you’d rather be friends with a filthy,” Diamond Tiara jabbed a hoof at Celine. “Pony-snatching, gem-stealing, uneducated…”

“Say that… to me,” a voice growled.

Every pony froze as Shiva materialized in front of Celine. Diamond Tiara backed up, her eyes shrinking as she found herself snout to snout with Shiva, her hackles halfway bared and an expression of pure fury on her face.

"Oh~!" Discord shivered in glee, the potential chaos brimming in the air.

“Go on,” Shiva growled, her voice like rolling thunder and a crazy grin forming on her face. “Say that to me. See what happens.”

“No, Shiva,” Applejack begged, racing to her side.

“Shiva, please,” Fluttershy begged. “She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”

“Don’t make me defend that little jerk,” Rainbow Dash growled behind him.

But while their words had no effect on the diamond dog, the pink filly glanced at them, before trying to mold her expression into one of defiance.

“You listen here, d-dirt-diamond dog,” she said, even as the mares stared at her in horror. “You lay a single claw on me, and my daddy will…”

“I DON’T GIVE A FURRY FEATHER WHAT YOUR DADDY WILL DO!” Shiva boomed, lightning flashing from the sound wave her howl almost generated.

What little courage Diamond Tiara melted away, and she scrambled out the back, shrieking her head off. Followed by her crony and around half of the assembled ponies.

For a moment, silence reigned as the others stared at the partially empty room. Pinkie forced out a giggle.

“Well, that was fun,” she said, turning to Shiva. “Oh, hey, Shiva; I was hoping you’d come back.” She pulled out some cake. “How about some cake?”

Despite her cheery look, she couldn’t hide the sweat on her brow, or the darting eyes as the others glared at her. Shiva, however, was the last to turn to her, her expression like a hurricane that had yet to arrive.

“Thank you, Pinkamena,” Shiva said slowly, causing the grin to melt from the pink mare’s face. “Thank you… for showing me exactly how useless parties are.” She picked up Celine, cradling her to her chest, and turned back for the library.

Skippy winced and raced after her, while Flash tried to look like part of the background.

Yet, as Celine hung limply in her mother’s grip, she glanced back at the others.

“Thanks,” she whispered.

Apple Bloom and her friends waved sadly back at her, while Fluttershy’s eyes were hidden by her mane. Pinkie, however, slowly deflated, her mane turning straight like a curtain, and her eyes brimming with tears.

Applejack glanced around, before racing for the library. She found Shiva watching the mirror. Celine glanced back at Applejack, but the pack link bound around her kept her from approaching.

“Shiva…” Applejack started.

“The world beyond this mirror could be the world I came from,” Shiva said morosely, her claw reaching out for the glass again. “All I’d have to do is… walk through. And I could be home again.”

Applejack paused, her heart tearing at the longing in Shiva’s tone. The way she was reaching out for the mirror… Applejack wouldn’t have been surprised if there was a human on the other side reaching back.

But then, Skippy’s voice cut in.

“And what about your people here?” he asked.

Shiva flinched, her claws clenching as the disguised changeling drew her gaze.

“What about your mate?” Skippy insisted, looking down at Celine. “What about your children?”

Shiva’s arm lowered, as did her head. Skippy’s cautious look faltered, replaced by pity.

“Shiva…” he whispered. “You told me your master was dead. A side effect of them bringing you here.” He looked at the mirror. “There’s nothing for you back there.”

“Maybe not…” Shiva pondered.

“No, certainly not,” Skippy insisted. “And even if there was… you’ve built something beautiful here. Something worth protecting.” He touched her arm. “Don’t throw it away for ghosts.”

“Mom?” Celine added. “You wouldn’t leave Kodo and Dad for some… other dimension, would you?”

Shiva sighed, finally lowering her arm completely. She pulled Celine closer, gazing on her with love.

Then… the door burst open behind Applejack. She spun around, finding herself face to face with a very familiar – and very angry looking – stallion.

“Ms. Applejack?” Filthy Rich declared. “I need to speak with Alpha Shiva.”

Author's Note:

Sorry to end it there, but I had a few problems with the following scenes, and needed more time to properly flesh them out. :twilightsheepish:

But, what do you think about the current scenes? Discord not getting his magic back? And the mirror's temptation towards Shiva?

Let me know, and thank you very much for reading. :twilightsmile: