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

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Chapter 6: The Power of Friendship

“Attention citizens of the Crystal Empire,” Kodo announced, his voice booming from the top of the Crystal Palace. “Princess Cadence and her daughter, Flurry Heart, are under the control of the Iron Wolves.”

Sombra smiled softly at the gasps of horror that sounded from below.

“Any acts of resistance will not just result in punishment for you,” Kodo continued. “It will result in punishment for them. So, before you start entertaining any thoughts of resistance, just consider; are you willing to have a baby’s life on your hooves? Are you willing to let her die so you can be under Celestia’s hoof instead of our own?”

No pony responded.

“Think about it,” Kodo finished, before turning inside to his father and Generals.

“Most of the city has been contained,” Luke reported. “But Shining Armor and Princess Scorpia have escaped with most of the Crystal Guard and Changeling loyalists.”

“We’ve tried to pursue them,” General Muffins added. “But a storm blew through and cut us off.”

“Storms,” Sombra scoffed. “The only thing the Crystal Heart is really good at keeping out.”

Kodo hummed. “Don’t risk our dogs out there,” he decided. “We can let the Frozen North take care of them. For now, focus on making sure there’s order in the streets. We don’t need any resistance cropping up.”

Nodding, the diamond dogs left for the streets, while Kodo crossed over to the throne. Sombra moaned in excitement as Kodo sat himself down on the throne.

I feared I’d never get to sit on this throne again,” Sombra noted. “Would never get to feel the power of royalty. To know an entire city bends to my will.”

Not your will alone,” Kodo reminded him. “We helped you. And I’d appreciate some show of gratitude for that aid.” He concentrated, and Shiva’s face shined before Sombra. “Where is she?”

“Patience, young one, patience,” Sombra insisted. “Our work is not yet done.” Reluctantly, he raised himself from the throne. “I foolishly believed my work was done once. I found a way to keep our Empire safe. Granted, not everyone agreed with my… methods…”

Kodo saw the memory: Sombra carving dark runes into the ground. Summoning a dark being that granted him his abilities. Turning his horn red and his eyes green with the purple highlights.

But once the city was secure, I believed us to be untouchable.” Sombra lowered his head with a glower. “But I never thought that I would be attacked by the very ponies I had once respected.”

The memory shifted. Celestia and Luna flying into his kingdom. Disrupting the security, he had tried so hard to maintain. And sending him falling into a dark abyss with a scream of… not rage, but betrayal.

“That mistake cost me, and led me to this point,” Sombra admitted, forming before Kodo with a desperate look. “It is a mistake you must not repeat.”

Kodo glowered down at the ground. “All I want is to know how to get her back,” he insisted.

Then help me ensure the safety of our Empire,” Sombra insisted. “March on Canterlot – March on Celestia – and ensure that she cannot take this from you as she took it from me.”

Kodo sighed, but reluctantly stood and went back outside. He reached the courtyard of the castle just as Luke returned.

“Patrols are heading through the streets,” Luke reported. “No one’s trying anything as long as they think Flurry Heart’s in danger.” He grimaced. “I personally don’t like threatening an innocent like that.”

“It won’t be for long, father,” Kodo promised him. “Prepare the armies. We march south. We march for Canterlot.”

#

Unfortunately for them, they weren’t the only ones on the march. As Kodo’s army prepared to march south, the Equestrian military was marching North. Celestia watched reluctantly as her ponies marched, garbed up and ready for battle.

“I didn’t want it to come to this,” she admitted solemnly, turning to Luna, Twilight and Celine. “I had prayed that the time of war would be over.”

“Maybe it still can,” Celine offered. Her gaze turned to the North. “Give me a chance to talk him down. This whole thing is completely distracting us from finding Mother. If Kodo’s really still in there, he’s got to realize that.”

Celestia sighed. “I hope you’re right,” she noted.

Twilight stepped forward. “And if Sombra has too much control over him,” she offered. “Maybe the Elements of Harmony can stop him.”

Celine paused. “Elements?” she asked. “But… didn’t you have to get rid of them?”

Twilight chuckled. “Well, technically,” she pointed out. “My friends and I embody the Elements. We just need to be all together, and we should be able to still use the power inside, even if the Elements themselves were given back to the Tree of Harmony.”

“Um…” Celine scratched at her neck. “Oh… kay, I guess.” She sighed. “Look, just give me a chance to talk to him ‘before’ you blast him.”

Luna chuckled. “Well, considering he has a literal army behind him, you can be assured we’ll play it safe.”

Celine faltered. “That… only makes me more terrified,” she mumbled, turning towards the North with a sigh. “Well… let’s see if diplomacy is really dead.”

#

The diamond dogs barely got a mile from the Crystal Empire before they saw the army advancing on them.

What did I say?” Sombra asked with a chuckle. “Just like before; they were coming for us. Just like they did to me; they’ll try to do the same to you.”

“Not if I can help it,” Kodo growled. He turned to his father and generals. “Tell the wild dog clans to stay out of sight. Dig tunnels underground, flank em from underneath. Don’t let em know about the extra dog power we got.”

“Right away,” Muffins agreed, darting off. However, Luke’s eyes remained on the army. Kodo pat his father’s shoulder.

“We can do this,” he tried to assure him.

However, Luke didn’t reply. He just pointed. Kodo followed his gaze, and saw a small group ahead of the army.

At the head of that group was Celine.

“Sister…?” Kodo whispered.

Luke turned to the archers. “Don’t shoot!” He barked. “Any of you fires a single arrow or spell at my daughter, I’ll gut you myself!”

The dogs wisely lowered their weapons, as Kodo and Luke raced out. There may have been a few miles of no-man’s-land, but it took the remnants of Shiva’s family no time to reunite with each other. Celine jumped into her father and brother’s arms, and together, the three embraced each other. A collective, ‘Aw,’ sounded from the ponies’ end.

“Good to have you back, Celine,” Kodo whispered, pulling her away from the ponies. “We were worried they were going to send you to wherever they sent Mother.”

“They didn’t send Mother anywhere,” Celine insisted. “Kodo, Dad; this is all just a big misunderstanding.”

“According to them?” Luke asked bitterly.

“Yes!” Celine said, before pausing. “Um… no?” She sighed. “Look, they weren’t responsible for Mom’s disappearance. They’re doing their best to look for her, but this freaky little attack you’re trying is just making it harder for everyone to search.”

Kodo sighed. “That’s the problem,” he admitted. “Sombra knows where she is. But he’ll only tell us if we attack.”

Celine blinked at him. “So, Sombra is alive? And you’re gambling with the lives of our pack on his word? The word of a unicorn? That even the ponies hated?”

“I have to try,” Kodo insisted, reaching out with a pack link. “If you listen to him, you’ll understand…”

But Celine backed up from him. “No,” she growled. “Keep that monster out of my head.”

Monster?” Sombra growled. “It seems the ponies have brainwashed her as well.”

Kodo tilted his head, almost turning, but Celine grabbed his face.

“Kodo, do not listen to him!” Celine insisted. “He’s using you for his own ends. He doesn’t really care about you. Not like…”

“Not like the ponies do?” Kodo growled, already reaching up to pull her arms away.

“Not like Mother does,” Celine replied.

Kodo froze. Inside his head, Sombra squirmed. Kodo lowered his head.

“You're right. No one cares about us as much as Mother,” Kodo admitted.

“And what would she think of Sombra?” Celine asked him. “What would she think, knowing you were trusting him with her return?”

Luke backed up, doubt crossing his face, while Kodo sat back on his haunches.

But she isn’t here to judge you,” Sombra replied softly. “And how do you intend to get her back if not with the one who put her away in the first place?”

Kodo shut his mind, trying to probe at the memories. Only to find a solid black wall between him and the memories. He opened his eyes with a whimper.

“I don’t see another option, Celine,” he replied.

“Of course, there’s another option,” she insisted. “Work with the others. They know unicorn magic. Maybe they could…”

But that’s the point. ‘Maybe,’” Sombra replied, speaking through Kodo and causing Celine to jump back in alarm.

“Kodo?” she whimpered in fear.

’Maybe’ they could figure out my magic,” Sombra continued to speak through Kodo. “’Maybe’ they find your mother. But what if they can’t?”

Celine was backing further and further away as Sombra urged Kodo after her.

Are you really willing to gamble with the life of the one who brought you into this world?” Sombra asked. “The one who you claim to love above all else?”

“Don’t you dare twist my words,” Celine snarled. Her magic crackled to life. “GET OUT OF MY BROTHER!”

She blasted at him, only for Kodo to rear up and blast his own magic. A beam struggle began between the two siblings, though Celine quickly began to lose, shock overcoming her determination.

“Kodo?!” she stammered as she was blasted back.

“I need him!” Kodo barked at her. “We need him to find Mother!” He stopped his beam before it could seriously hurt her. “Please, sister," he begged. “I don't want to hurt you.”

But as Celine struggled to her paws, a glow lit up behind her. She turned, as the Mane Six rose into the air; six blinding blobs of light. Linked together in the form of a star.

“King Sombra!” They boomed. “You have manipulated these children for the last time!

A beam of light surged from them and at the black wolf. But before it could hit… Luke jumped to his defense.

“Rally to your Alpha!” Luke boomed.

And as Kodo’s pack link spiraled from Luke to the army, he caught the beam of light… and held it in place.

Inside Kodo’s head, Sombra winced back, feeling the purifying beam’s searing against Kodo’s claws like fire. His essence disintegrated around Kodo’s claws. It should have been the end for him.

Yet Kodo was still able to hold the beam back. As his pack link spread from Diamond Dog to Diamond Dog, the pack link spiraled around his hands like bandages, condensing into a beam of their own that slowly pushed the Harmony laser back.

I-Impossible,” Sombra whispered. “How…?

The ponies run on friendship,” Kodo said. “Even now, I can feel their love for each other in this power. Their love for their country; their love for their princess. It’s why they fight, and it’s what powers their magic.” He chuckled as he took a step forward, his own beam pushing back, and wiping the grins from the Mane Six’s faces. “But they aren’t the only ones that can use that type of power.”

“What… how is he doing that?” Twilight stammered, as Celine backed up behind them. “How is he resisting!?”

“My magic is not just powered by some forsaken unicorn,” Kodo snarled out loud. “My magic is powered by the magic my mother wielded. The magic she passed onto me and my sister. The Power of the Pack Link!”

“Kodo, no!” Celine whimpered, as Celestia and her army rose up.

“Prepare for battle,” she called, even as the ponies quaked in fear.

“B-But how is he doing that to the friendship beam?!” several of them asked. “That destroyed Nightmare Moon! I-It stopped Discord. It even stopped Queen Chrysalis! Why is it…!”

“You Ponies thrive on friendship!” Kodo boasted. “But we diamond dogs thrive on pack. And pack is more than just friendship!” His fur lost all of its black luster, gaining a white tinge that made him almost look like Shiva reborn. “It’s FAMILY!”

The pack link’s beam overpowered the friendship laser. The Mane Six were blasted away, their super forms fading as they tumbled across the ground. The ponies backed up, quivering as Kodo and his army marched on them.

“But now, our family is broken,” Kodo snarled. “It’s broken, and you stand in our way of repairing it.” He drew his axes. “NOW PREPARE TO PAY FOR IT!”

Author's Note:

And so, the ponies finally meet someone that can use the power of friendship like they can.

Sorry to end it here; I'm still working on the resolution to this chapter. But, hopefully, it will be worth the wait.

Please let me know what you guys thought. And as always, thank you so much for reading. Until next time.

:twilightsmile: