• Published 6th Nov 2020
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Son of the Howlite Howler - JNKing

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Chapter 14: Return to Ponyville

“So… let me get this straight,” Human Fluttershy summed up, as Tree Hugger’s van slid to a stop outside Canterlot High. “Shiva is a Queen of another species whose son was possessed by the former King, and you believe bringing her back will snap her son out of his trance and allow him to overthrow the King.”

“Exactly,” Spike agreed.

“I know it’s a lot to take in,” Pony Fluttershy admitted, before Human Fluttershy gave a soft chuckle.

“If you had told me before I met Twilight Sparkle,” Fluttershy said. “I might’ve found it a little hard to believe. But after the adventures we’ve been having…” she chuckled. “I think I can accept it.”

“Yeah,” Tree Hugger agreed. “Didn’t you get that ability to talk to animals too? That was radical.”

“Speaking of which…” Pony Fluttershy noted, looking to Shiva. “What do you think about this, Shiva?”

The wolf had no response. Spike blinked and tilted his head before turning to Human Fluttershy.

“Are you… getting anything from her?” he asked.

She shook her head. “No. She hasn’t said much since I found her.” She rubbed Shiva’s head. “She talked once about her old home, but…” Her face fell. “But we couldn’t find it. She hasn’t spoken since, and…” She sighed, and looked to Pony Fluttershy. “Please just tell me that she’ll be safe on the other side.”

“Of course,” Pony Fluttershy promised, taking her human counterpart’s hand. “She’ll be in good… hooves.”

The two chuckled, while Spike nuzzled up next to Shiva, who pulled him in closer like a mother with her pups.

“You’re going back to your pups, Shiva,” Spike promised her. “We’ll finally end this.”

Shiva still said nothing, but her tail wagged, and she lowered her nose to Spike’s head with a sigh. It seems that despite Sombra’s best efforts, he couldn’t erase the memory of her children. And as they rolled up to Canterlot High, Shiva’s eyes instantly found the mirror, glittering and waiting for them.

“Are you sure you don’t want us to come with?” Human Fluttershy asked as they neared the portal.

“Thank you,” Pony Fluttershy replied. “But we don’t want to risk you getting hurt.” She looked down with a shiver. “I have no idea what’s happened while we were gone.”

Spike touched her knee. “Shiva can stop it,” he insisted. “Once Kodo sees her, he’ll stop. I’m sure.”

“Right,” Pony Fluttershy agreed, before Human Fluttershy touched her head to Shiva’s.

“Goodbye, Shiva,” she whispered. “I hope that you find your home.”

Shiva’s paws came up, touching Fluttershy’s shoulders. And a soft, “Thank you,” escaped the dog’s lips.

They held that pose for a few seconds. Then, Human Fluttershy gently nudged Shiva towards the mirror. And with Pony Fluttershy and Spike at her side, Shiva took a deep breath, and jumped into the portal…

#

…Into a nightmare.

The sky was red. The sun was closer than before, and almost seemed to take up half the sky in a blazing ball of gold. An unbearable heat not unlike a desert hung over the wilting trees. And the wind carried screams with it. Screams of the dying.

Shiva whimpered. Instinctively, she started to turn back to the mirror. Fluttershy almost turned back with her. But Spike – returned to his dragon form – grabbed them both.

“Come on,” he insisted. “We gotta move.”

Reluctantly, Shiva and Fluttershy followed after him. As they raced through the Ever-Free Forest, they saw other animals racing away. Fluttershy whimpered as a manticore barreled by like a freight train, his eyes wide with fear.

“Something’s… terrifying them,” she whimpered.

“W-What happened?” Shiva whispered. “H-How long was I gone?”

She got her answer, as they came to the border of Ponyville… and saw it in flames.

Fluttershy started to cry, before they realized that the flames were on the other side of town. The last ships of the Storm King were plummeting out of the sky, engulfed in flames. And the ponies were gathered, watching in horror as an unfamiliar alicorn descended on another unicorn.

“Who… that?!” Shiva stammered, pointing to the alicorn.

“I-I don’t know,” Fluttershy squeaked out. But Spike’s eyes widened in horror.

“It can’t be…” he whispered, before rushing to the barricade.

Twilight, Luna, and the rest of the denizens of Ponyville were only able to watch in horror as Tempest Shadow tried to hit Day Breaker with an obsidian grenade. Day Breaker blasted the orb aside, and smirked as Tempest quivered beneath her gaze.

You betrayed my nation,” Day Breaker growled. “You DARE help an invading force hurt MY PONIES?!”

“I… only…” Tempest tried to say, before Day Breaker’s horn lit up. Tempest turned to the other princesses, before Day Breaker’s beam fired.

Tempest’s scream rattled Shiva’s ear drums. She knelt down with a frightened whimper. A whimper that caught the others attention.

Twilight gasped in glee. “Spike!” she exclaimed, racing over to him. “You…”

“Twilight, no!” Luna hissed, pulling her back.
But Day Breaker had turned to Twilight in confusion… allowing her draconic eyes to settle on Shiva.

Ah, at last,” she noted sarcastically. “The ‘Great and Powerful’ Shiva graces us with her presence.”

Among the Ponyville residents, a familiar dark blue unicorn scoffed, but didn’t dare voice her indignation.

Shiva shook her head, glancing around as the alicorn bore down on her. “I didn’t…” Shiva whispered, before Day Breaker teleported right in front of her, sending Shiva to her back with a frightened yelp.

Tell me,” Day Breaker growled. “While my ponies suffered under your diamond dogs… were you having fun? Laughing it up with your human friends?”

Shiva whimpered and hid her face.

“Sister,” Luna hissed. “Celestia. That isn’t her fault! Sombra overpowered her. Threw her into the other world.”

She failed to control her whelp, Luna,” Day Breaker insisted. “The whelp who gave Sombra the might of the Diamond Dogs! We never should have trusted those creatures.” Her horn lit up ominously. “We should have destroyed her the second she was brought to Canterlot!”

Shiva yelped and curled into a ball… only for Twilight to step between them.

Twilight trembled under Day Breaker’s fiery gaze. But she forced herself to hold her ground.

“W-Would you have done the same thing to Luna when she was Nightmare Moon?” Twilight got out. “Y-You’ve always taught me to handle things with tolerance and friendship! I-If we act like…”

She winced and whimpered under Day Breaker’s furious gaze. Another few seconds, and the purple mare might have folded completely. Luckily, Luna took to her side.

“Please, sister,” Luna said. “Shiva is not our enemy. She is here to fix all this.”

Day Breaker narrowed her eyes. She turned to the thestrals, which had twice as many in their ranks, all trying so hard to look inconspicuous.

“Thorax…” one of the ‘thestrals’ whispered.

“Sh!” the disguised changeling hissed.

“But she’s watching us!”

Finally, Day Breaker's gaze turned to the North.

Shiva’s help is no longer required, my beloved sister,” Day Breaker finally said. “However, for the sake of you and my student, I will spare her for now.” Shiva and the town sighed with relief as the alicorn took to the air. “After all, I must do what I should have done the second that mutt of hers desecrated Canterlot with his filthy paw steps!” She narrowed her eyes at Twilight. “And if his mother causes me anymore trouble, do not think that you will be able to save her a second time, Twilight.”

With that, Day Breaker shot away, the sun blinding the others to her departure. Shiva took to her paws, her eyes wide with horror, but her voice was lost to her. And either way, it wouldn’t have stopped Day Breaker’s charge.

Twilight shivered at Shiva’s whimper, before looking back at Tempest – or rather, the charred lump of cooked meat that Tempest had once been. “Can someone get her some help?” she demanded.

Discord raced over to Tempest in a hospital getup, while Rarity and Pinkie reunited with Fluttershy.

“Oh, Fluttershy,” Rarity bemoaned. “I fear we’re too late.”

“W-Well…” Pinkie said half-heartedly. “That was Princess Celestia, right. Just in a really-really-really-really-really bad mood? Maybe we can still talk to her?”

“M-Maybe,” Twilight stuttered. “But I don’t know… I’ve never seen her like this before…”

“No,” Luna admitted. “But you have seen me like this.”

The others slowly turned. Twilight’s eyes widened in horror.

“Luna…” she whimpered. “I-I can’t…”

“You must,” Luna said. “Find Rainbow Dash and Applejack. Then you must use the Elements of Harmony to free her. As you freed me!”

Twilight looked down with horror – fright that she had to do this to her own teacher – before a voice growled.

“No.”

They turned. Shiva began to rise. Her fur pulsed and glowed.

“My… pack…” she whispered, touching her head. “My… son…” She looked up. Her body still shivered with fear, but her eyes were alight with a motherly urge to protect. “She can’t be allowed to hurt him!” she whispered, her voice cracking as fear fought against instinct.

Twilight’s ears flattened. She and Spike exchanged a glance.

“Shiva, no!” Spike insisted, trying to stand in her way. “You saw how powerful she was! You just got back!”

“If you try to stop her, you and your pack will all be destroyed!” Luna said.

“We need to find Rainbow Dash and Applejack,” Twilight insisted. “Reunite the Elements of Harmony. Maybe then we can…”

But before she could finish, a burst of light blinded them. They felt tendrils seize them around the necks.

There was a draining sensation – several ponies whimpering as they remembered Tirek. However, Shiva relented before she could drain them completely.

Save for Discord, Spoiled Rich and Diamond Tiara, who hit the ground once again drained of their magic.

“OH, COME ON!” Discord wailed. “SERIOUSLY?!”

“THAT IS COMPLETELY UNCALLED FOR!” Spoiled whined.

But Shiva was long gone before their protests could even echo. Racing after Day Breaker.

Following the trail that led to her children. And her true home.

#

And yet, Shiva wouldn’t arrive in time. As Day Breaker made her way towards the borders where Kodo had gone, the young diamond dog, his family, his pack, and the changelings of Caritatin Hive stood in horror. Watching as the Golden Grim Reaper that was Day Breaker made her way towards them.

As she flew towards them, her eyes glanced down at the places where diamond dogs tried to keep a handle on ponies. She fired beam spells down at them. And Kodo winced as diamond dog cry after diamond dog cry was silenced forever.

The Diamond Dogs began to panic.

“B-Big alicorn!” several whimpered. “How are we supposed to fight big alicorn!”

Kodo turned back to Celine. Celine turned to the changelings.

“I… don’t suppose Queen Vespa could…” Celine tried to ask.

But Scorpia and Orenta were shaking their heads. Quivering in their carapaces as they beheld the dark version of Celestia.

“W-Wait,” Luke noted. “T-That Tempest Shadow said she worked for the Storm King. Maybe we can get his help!” He turned to the changelings. “C-Can’t one of you fly north? Where did those ships come from?”

“Even if we tried,” Kodo said. “They’d never get here in time.”

The pack turned to him. Despite his heart hammering in his chest, the young demi-wolf’s face was devoid of emotion. Almost… peaceful. Like he had gone right past the point of terror, and wound back to grim apathy.

“Kodo?” Celine asked.

“I’m the one who started all this,” Kodo said. “With Sombra in my head, I can just say that the Diamond Dogs were hypnotized.”

“B-But Beta…!” one of the diamond dogs protested.

“Kodo, no!” Luke insisted. “I’m your father. I should have controlled you!”

“But I have Sombra,” Kodo insisted. “Maybe, if we confront Day Breaker…”

Are you insane boy?” Sombra demanded. “I never saw Celestia like this. But… if she’s anything like the Nightmare…”

Briefly, Kodo’s eyes flashed with a terrifying memory. A version of Luna, with fur black as night. Swinging a scythe at him. Pain exploding across his chest. But Kodo forced it down.

“A pack without their Alpha may be lost, Sombra,” he reminded the King. “But an Alpha without their pack is nothing.”

Sombra shivered in Kodo’s mind, as he turned to his sister, and hugged her.

“Lead them,” he whispered to her, before pulling his father in as well. “And help her lead,” he whispered.

“Kodo…” they protested, trying to reach out for him.

But Kodo pulled himself from their grip. And as the diamond dogs parted before him, all of them too afraid to do what he was doing, Kodo began to march towards Day Breaker.

Though many miles still stood before them, Kodo and Day Breaker’s eyes locked. Sombra’s power made Kodo’s eyes glow.

Kodo smiled softly. “Well, Sombra?” he asked.

Sombra sighed. “One last dance,” he said. “I will not let you go gently into the good night. Or… good day, I suppose.”

Kodo huffed, before he felt tears push at his eyes. His heart beat, like a bird trying to escape a cage.

Yet, the thought of his sister – his father – all the diamond dogs he had led into this madness. The thoughts of them paying instead of him kept him putting one paw in front of the other. Approaching his destiny.

Author's Note:

The final battle approaches. :rainbowdetermined2:

Also, if you're curious, Sombra's mention of the Nightmare is a reference to the Fall of the Crystal Empire animation. Definitely check it out; it's a marvelous masterpiece.

Thank you as always for reading and sharing your thoughts. I look forward to hearing what you think.