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

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Chapter 8: Canterlot's Fall

From the outskirts of Canterlot, Kodo watched as Fluttershy and Spike flew towards Ponyville. Muffins and Luke stood alongside him, watching the duo’s slow trek.

“Looks like they’re heading for Ponyville,” Luke noted.

“Might be trying to… get reinforcements or something,” Muffins offered.

“Or they’re trying to continue the search for Mother,” Kodo pondered. He pat his father’s shoulder. “Tell one of the changelings to follow after them. If they start looking for the mirror… tell him to help em however he can.”

His words sent another squirming sensation through Kodo’s mind.

Kodo, be reasonable,” Sombra growled. “You’re going to help them…?”

“I’m going to help them find my Mother,” Kodo growled, wishing he could glare the dark king down. “You’ve been stalling me and making me do your dirty work, and now you’ve probably got most of the ponies against my kind.” He grinned darkly. “You might want to consider how long you want to press me. Because if those ponies find Mother before you decide to tell me, you’re going to have a bit more of a fight on your hands.”

Sombra shifted with a grumble. “Right now,” He pointed out, indicating Canterlot. “You’ve got an entirely different fight ahead.”

Kodo followed his gaze, and couldn’t find it in himself to refute the king. What was left of the Royal Guard was practically plastered across the walls of Canterlot. Every unicorn had a spell ready to cast, and every pegasus and earth pony had crossbows ready to fire.

Luke, however, chuckled at the defenses. “Do you think they took out the catacombs we dug to get into the Canterlot Mines?”

Kodo and Sombra blinked. “You did what?” he asked.

Pulling his son away from the guard’s line of sight, Luke unsheathed his claws before digging into the ground. The dirt parted before him like water, and with an “OOF!” Kodo found himself staring down at an opening into a massive tunnel. Luke gazed back up at him, his smile as wide as the crescent moon.

“No, they didn’t!” he sang, as the dogs gathered eagerly around the hole, before glancing nervously at Canterlot gates.

“Keep their focus,” Kodo ordered Muffins, hopping into the hole with his father. “We’ll go right under their defenses.”

Cackling in glee, Muffins and several of the wild dogs clambered back into view, proceeding to hurl spears and spells at the gates.

“Stupid ponies!” Muffins taunted. “Hiding behind your fancy walls! You think that’ll keep you safe from the diamond dogs of destruction!”

Muffins dodged a spell that was fired back, while underneath the ground, Kodo and Luke followed the pathway underneath Canterlot.

Hm…” Sombra noted with an ominous chuckle. “Your tunneling under here could’ve seriously destabilized the support structure of Canterlot.” He turned to Kodo with a grin. “Why not just go all the way? Send Canterlot into the ocean, and ensure no resistance ever gets in our way again?”

Because I’m not a mass murderer?” Kodo replied with a snarl. He stopped, peering up at the roof and tapping at the stone. “And the ponies won’t learn anything if they’re dead.”

They won’t be a threat either,” Sombra pointed out.

Kodo hummed, but ultimately barked, calling his father and dogs over. He indicated the top of the roof.

“Feels like the structure of the wall starts here,” he said, cracking his knuckles. “Let’s break it down.” He turned to one of the smaller dogs. “I’ll have the main force advance; keep anything from hurting us by pulling them down here.”

The dogs saluted, and Kodo raced back to the outside.

#

Celestia, Luna and the Mane Three were drawn to the sound of a structure collapsing. Racing to the outside, their jaws dropped as the walls to Canterlot fell, swallowed up by the very ground. Guards jumped or flew off the collapsing peak, yelling in shock and horror as their last means of defense crumpled.

And as the gates crumbled, the diamond dogs advanced, Kodo in the lead.

Earth ponies and unicorns tried to blast at him or his dogs. But hands burst up from the ground, and sucked them into the earth.

“T-The Catacombs!” one of the pegasi screamed. She lunged up into the air, but Kodo snagged her with his pack link, throwing her back down to earth and allowing Luke and his Spear dogs to reclaim her.

"I thought we buried the ones leading into the mines!" another earth pony protested. Luke caught him.

"You didn't do a good enough job," Luke replied, before yanking the hapless guard into the earth.

Celestia’s eyes shut as guard after guard was sucked down into the earth. Yet, Luna and Twilight’s eyes narrowed as Kodo stared up at them. Slowly, he advanced into the city. Any guards that tried to stop him were quickly sucked into the earth. Yet, as one guard cowered by a building, Kodo spared him a small glance, before moving on. The diamond dogs similarly let him be, one dog pointing his spear at the equine only out of caution.

Celestia sighed. “Luna,” she ordered.

The younger alicorn straightened.

“Take Twilight and the others out of here,” Celestia declared. “Though Canterlot may fall, Equestria will not!”

"B-But Princess…” Twilight stammered. Celestia silenced her with a wing.

“Sombra promised to tell Kodo the location of his mother if all threats to his reign were eliminated,” she noted. “Maybe if she is found, this madness will come to an end. But if it does not…” She turned to Twilight and rested her hoof on her shoulder. “I will need you to stop his madness.”

Twilight’s ears flattened, and she pulled Celestia into one final hug.

“Twilight,” Rarity insisted. “We have to go.”

Twilight’s eyes filled with tears, but Celestia gently nudged her towards the others. As Rarity was grabbed by Luna, Twilight took hold of Pinkie Pie. And the four mares darted away from the castle, as Celestia turned and stared the rapidly approaching Kodo down.

“You know…” an ominous, evil voice whispered in Celestia’s ear. “You could dispose of him yourself. It would be so easy…”

Celestia shut her eyes with a grimace. “I swore that I would never allow your evil to reign across the land again,” Celestia thought darkly.

And yet, you need me again,” the voice pointed out, even as Celestia turned back inside her castle, and moved to her throne. “Let me out,” the voice ordered. “I will show that whelp true terror.”

Celestia settled herself at her throne. “He doesn’t deserve it,” she insisted.

Even after he attacks your armies?” the voice demanded. Celestia’s fur glowed as she struggled to reign the darkness in. “Even as he imprisons your subjects? Turns your home into a wasteland for dogs?!”

Celestia grit her teeth and shut her eyes. “It will only be temporary,” she replied, desperation entering her voice. “He will stop as soon as his mother is returned.”

The voice laughed. “You have always been a naïve fool,” it mocked. “And now, how many ponies are going to suffer because of your faith in those who do not deserve it?”

Celestia shook her head, before the opening of a door jarred her back to reality.

Kodo stood at the end of the hallway. His diamond dogs right behind him. Slowly, cautiously, he strode up to Celestia.

With relief, Celestia noticed a look of regret on Kodo’s face, like he wasn’t fully happy with this. Celestia stayed on her throne, watching as he slowly approached.

“So,” she declared softly. “Who am I speaking to?”

Kodo tilted his head.

“The son who wanted to reunite with his lost mother?” Celestia asked. “Or the False King who can’t stand not having the entire world under his hoof.”

Kodo twitched, darkness billowing up around him, but he forced it down.

“It’s just me,” he replied. “Though…” he added with a small grin. “Sombra does feel like you attacked him first.”

Celestia sighed, while Kodo shook his head.

“I don’t know what history you guys have,” he admitted. “And I honestly don’t care. All I know is that he won’t hand over the memories I need to track Shiva until he’s certain his Empire will be safe.”

Celestia gazed at Kodo with disappointment. “It will never be safe as long as he’s in charge,” she noted. “You know that, yes.”

Kodo nodded. “I know it might be hard for you,” he replied. “But try not to worry about it. I know what he is, and he needs me to survive.” He smiled. “Otherwise, I’m pretty sure Flurry Heart and Cadence would have a far worse fate than simply being under house arrest.”

“I hope you’re right,” Celestia replied. She shifted on her throne. “So, how exactly does this play out in your minds? With my head on a pike?” Despite her coy tone, her skin paled under her fur at the thought.

Kodo chuckled softly. “No,” he assured her. “No, I don’t intend for any harm to come to you or your subjects.”

Darkness billowed around him, but again, Kodo stamped it down. Celestia tilted her head.

“Oh,” she noted. “Can I… assume I won’t be staying in my palace?”

Kodo tsked. “Unfortunately,” he replied. “The other dogs wouldn’t be exactly comfortable if I let you walk around free. Sombra,” he indicated his head. “Would probably try something risky if I allowed that.”

Celestia rolled her eyes, before taking off her crown. She stared at it for a solid minute, before she glanced up at Kodo.

“If I do this,” she said. “I need assurance that my little ponies won’t be hurt. Throw us all in the dungeon if you need to, but don’t hurt them.” She glared into his eyes, hoping Sombra was squirming in his mind. “Because if you do, you will see exactly why Sombra, the griffons, the diamond dogs and every other non-pony was right to fear me.”

Yes…”the voice in her mind whispered, as her mane shimmered with gold.

Kodo nodded, and put his claw over his heart.

“As a Son of Shiva,” he promised. “As an Iron Wolf… I promise that if you surrender, you and your ponies will not need to suffer anymore.”

They held each other’s gazes for one second. Two seconds. Three.

Finally, almost in slow motion, Celestia threw her crown from her throne. It bounced to a stop in front of Kodo, and he stopped it with his back paw.

Celestia lowered her head in defeat, and Luke and Muffins raced forward, clamping a collar to her neck.

“Take her down to the dungeons,” Kodo declared. “I have… business with a certain unicorn.”

The dogs took Celestia from the throne room, as Kodo settled himself on her throne, and envisioned Sombra before him.

I certainly hope you mean Twilight Sparkle,” Sombra growled.

Kodo said nothing, glaring the dark king down.

Our work is not done,” Sombra insisted. “What about Princess Luna? And the last of the Elements of…”

You got what you wanted,” Kodo growled. “Celestia’s down and Canterlot is yours! When do I get what I want?”

Oh, Kodo, my boy,” Sombra soothed. “I want the same things as you. I want to bring Shiva back to a kingdom that will be safe. That will truly be hers.” He grinned. “And besides,” he added with a grin. “The place Luna and Twilight would likely go to is the very place where your mother went missing in the first place.”

#

Sombra wasn’t wrong. As Twilight, Luna, Pinkie Pie and Rarity soared towards Ponyville, they were nearly battered by a barrage of apples.

“Who goes there!?” Big Mac boomed from a massive barricade.

“It’s us,” Twilight called back. “Princess Twilight, Princess Luna…” she shook her head. “Canterlot has fallen. And we need to make sure Equestria doesn’t fall with it.”

Racing past the barricade, Twilight quickly found Discord. She blinked as she saw him summoning giant clouds and molding them into snow fort like castles.

“Your… magic is coming back?” Twilight stammered.

Discord chuckled. “Shiva may have taken away my current magic at the time,” he replied. “But chaos is still mine to control, my dear.” He took in a deep breath. “And the chaos her son’s been kicking up has been quite a marvelous meal.” He sighed as Twilight’s horn began to glow in warning. “I promise, I only intend to use it on the diamond dogs.”

“And what about Fluttershy?” Luna asked. “Has she or Spike found the Howlite Howler?”

Discord glanced towards the Ever Free Forest. “Last time I saw her, she and the dragon went in there.”

Twilight turned to the forest with hope in her eyes. “I hope they’re safe,” she whispered. “Even if Shiva could end this war… I don’t want it to be at the cost of any more of my friends.”

#

Spike cackled in victory. “I knew it!” he cheered to Fluttershy. “I knew it! Didn’t I call it?!”

Fluttershy merely smiled softly. In the Castle of Two Sisters, sitting innocently between the ruins of Celestia and Luna’s old thrones, the mirror sat, it’s surface shimmering like water, holding the place where Shiva was being held.

Author's Note:

Happy Holidays everyone.

I decided to send this out a little earlier than before, in the name of the Christmas Spirit. Hope you guys enjoy.

Thanks as well for all your support and feedback.