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

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Chapter 9: Resistance

As Celestia paced in the cell the dogs had put her in, she pondered on if this is how Shiva had felt. Chained up in a cold, dreary dungeon. Unsure of what fate awaited her.

“Oh, stop feeling bad for your enemies,” the dark voice in her head growled. “Your pity is their greatest weapon. It’s the reason your ponies are suffering.”

You’re wrong,” Celestia insisted. “Kodo is not like Sombra. He’s not even like Nightmare Moon.”

Ah, yes, Nightmare Moon,” her dark voice mused. “The same Nightmare Moon you couldn’t defeat; the one you had to hand off to your precious student.”

She could handle it!”Celestia tried to insist. “We may be long-lived, but we won’t live forever. Twilight needs to be able to take over when I am unable to.”

“And how many times has she done that?”her dark voice demanded. “When Discord came for you? When Chrysalis? Oh, right; the diamond dog took care of that one. And Sombra, and Tirek.”She scoffed. “No wonder you were worried about Twilight; you may have chosen her as your successor, but she is not ready for the burdens of being a princess of Equestria.”

She…”Celestia wanted to protest. But before she could… someone came to her cell door.

She blinked. It was Blueblood! Scuffed and battered and no longer wearing his finest garments. But the light in his blue eyes as he unlocked the cell door held nothing but loyalty for his princess.

“Princess Celestia,” he declared, bowing his head as he opened the cell door. “I believe it’s time for you to leave this horrid place.”

“Blueblood?” Celestia stammered, stepping out into the open. “But how?”

“I believe my actions can be summed up in a single sentence,” Blueblood admitted, leading her down the hallway. “But ‘I told you so’ is far too immature for a stallion of my standing.”

“That… explains nothing,” Celestia admitted.

Blueblood deflated. “There were still ponies that were worried something like this might happen,” he said. “And the guards that held us and the rest of the nobles that were in on Beast Breaker’s actions agreed. We knew how you felt about provoking the dogs, so we took precautionary measures.” He turned to her with a grin. “Now a resistance will be able to form. And once we reunite you with the other Princesses, hope will spread. And we will be…”

ZAP!

Blueblood fell with a scream. Celestia jumped, back, only to find a changeling standing in her way. She tried to flare her horn…

ZAP!

Pain struck her from behind. And the next thing the Princess knew, she was laying on the ground, staring up as changeling surrounded her.

“A resistance, eh?” the changeling noted, walking away as the others began to bind Celestia and Blueblood in green resin. “Interesting…”

#

“A resistance?” Kodo demanded.

The changeling shrugged. “Apparently, it’s right here in Canterlot,” he replied.

“And without Shiva or Celine to maintain order…” Luke realized, turning to Kodo. “I’m sorry, son, but you can’t come with us to Ponyville.”

“But even if Mother isn’t there,” Kodo insisted. “My magic is the only way any of you will stand a chance against the alicorns.”

“But if you leave,” Luke argued. “What will stop this resistance from gaining more steam? From breaking Celestia out and allowing her to attack us?”

Kodo hummed, before turning to Muffins. “There’s been nothing from the Crystal Empire, right? The ponies aren’t trying anything there.”

“Nothing so far,” Muffins replied. “But if they find out we don’t actually have Flurry Heart, that could change.”

Kodo groaned, running his claws through his fur. He sighed.

“Alright,” he said. “I think I know what to do to keep this resistance out of the way.” He turned to Luke. “You at least get a good look at what kind of resistance we’ll be facing in Ponyville. And be careful.”

“I know, son,” Luke assured him. “If resistance can crop up here in Canterlot… who knows where else they might rise up against us?”

#

Celine yelped as pies splattered the cactus she had taken refuge behind.

“Please,” Celine pleaded to the ponies hurling pies at her. “I’m just trying to pass through!”

A pie splattered inches from her head, forcing her back behind the cactus.

“Well, you passed through the wrong town!” a heavy southern voice snapped back at her. “You tell that crazy diamond dog from the Crystal Empire that he can take Canterlot and Ponyville and all of Equestria. But AAAAPPLLOOSA ain’t going down that easily!”

“Literally, I think that it’s a bad idea to do anyway,” Celine pointed out. “Seriously. We’re on the same page in that regard!”

Briefly, the pies stopped flying. Celine poked her head out, hoping that she had gotten through to them.

Her smile vanished into horror as she saw a herd of buffalo in war paint charging at her.

Shrieking in fear, Celine sprinted away as the buffalo smashed her measly cover to bits, chasing her away from the southern town.

“When I hoped for peace between species, this isn’t what I had in mind,” Celine cried as she raced across the desert, ponies following behind the buffalo and continuing to hurl pies at Celine as she ran.

“Buffalo and ponies have learned to work together for ages,” the lead buffalo declared. “Something we believed you diamond dogs had started to learn at the Crystal Empire. You may have betrayed your kin, but we are not so easily swayed!”

Celine dodged a pie, desperately trying to avoid the herd. As she made a wide detour around, hoping against hope she could still find a way to the changelings.

If the buffalo are still this loyal to the ponies, Celine found herself thinking. Maybe the changelings can be counted on as well.

#

At the same time, deep in the Frozen North, the survivors of the Crystal Empire trudged through the snow. The changelings had shifted into big furry yaks, huddling the less furred ponies under their bulk. Yet, despite the extra protection, Shining Armor still shivered from a more painful cold.

“We left her,” Shining bemoaned. “My wife. My child. They’re both back there.”

“We will rescue them, Captain,” Scorpia assured him. “Once we reach Vespin Hive, we can ask Mother or my sisters for aid. They can’t deny us…”

She paused, as a shadow fell over their small group. Shifting quickly, her changelings turned themselves into rocks, concealing the ponies beneath them as a fleet of airships surged past. Each of them flew a strange black flag with two jagged blue lines arcing up like some kind of sword.

The ponies and changelings watched in shock as they flew over them and towards the south.

“W-What was that?” Flash Sentry demanded. “More of Kodo’s forces?”

“I-I don’t remember Kodo or Shiva talking about air ships,” Skippy insisted.

“Whatever they are,” Scorpia said grimly. “It looks like they’re heading for Canterlot.”
Shining stood. “Then we have even less time to waste than I thought,” he growled, moving out from under Skippy. “Come on, we need to get to Vespin Hive fast.”

#

Yet, as the group raced for Vespin, the diamond dogs led by Luke converged on Ponyville.

The ponies were ready for them. The barricades admitted looked more like snow forts, but with Discord grinning cheekily at them, the ‘snow forts’ could’ve held any sort of nasty surprises. A line of ponies stood ready as well. Pinkie Pie with her party cannon, and several pegasi with storm clouds.

Luke strode up to the front of the Fort, his eyes immediately finding Twilight.

“Princess Twilight,” Luke declared. “You’re needed back in Canterlot.”

Twilight didn’t move. “On the order of Princess Celestia, or King Sombra?”

Luke narrowed his eyes. “You can either turn yourself and Princess Luna over… or you can bring Alpha Shiva out of hiding, and return her to us. No one needs to get hurt.”

Twilight stood firm. “I’m not leaving my ponies,” she declared. “And neither is Princess Luna."

“Where is the alicorn of the moon?” another diamond dog asked. “Seems pretty cowardly to not have her here with you.”

“I could say the same about you and Kodo,” Twilight shot back.

As the diamond dogs snarled at her, Twilight glanced back towards Ponyville. At her castle, Luna sat in a meditative stance…

#

Projecting her consciousness into the dream scape. Hanging over Kodo, she watched as the diamond dog went about his business, walking down into the dungeons, where Celestia awaited.

"Do not fear, my sister,” Luna thought as she saw Celestia’s downtrodden expression. “The boy must sleep eventually. And when he does… that’s when he’ll be mine.”

#

“I’m not going to ask again,” Luke growled. “Either hand Alpha Shiva over, hand over Luna and yourself… or we’ll take all three.”

“And how do you intend to do that?” Discord replied. “Shiva’s not here. And neither are her pups. You know, for a bunch of dogs, you really seem to have a poor time tracking.”

He laughed, though Luke and the others seethed at his jokes.

“Alpha Luke?” the biggest of the diamond dogs growled.

Luke nodded. “They just signed their death warrants,” he agreed.

The dogs charged forward, the ponies and chaos spirit preparing to do battle…

Only for the rocks around the dogs to erupt into green flames.

Before the dogs knew what was happening, they were being sandwiched into Ponyville’s barricade by several changelings. The changelings were emaciated and fought like feral animals, sinking their fangs into dog necks, and draining them like vampires.
Thought Twilight shuddered at their feroicity, she reluctantly waved her hoof at the off-guard diamond dogs.

“Open fire!” she screamed, and a barrage of potions, spells, cakes, and thunderbolts slammed into the dogs, nearly scattering them.

Coughing and barely manage to fend off one changeling, Luke smashed his way into the ground. He tried to dig his way under Ponyville… only to slam his claws into a steel wall.

Discord laughed above him. “Sorry, my little mutts,” he declared. “But that trick’s not going to work again.”

Seething, Luke turned from the wall… and found a very familiar changeling before him. Admittedly taller than before, and with far more scars across his carapace. But Luke knew the light in his bottle blue eyes all too well. Remembering the jealousy he had felt when Shiva had gazed at them with pity they didn’t deserve.

“Thorax,” Luke snarled, baring his claws. “You changed your mind about joining your Queen in death?”

“My Queen is only dead because of your mate,” Thorax hissed. “It took us forever to recover from her loss, but now that we can put up a fight… we’re going to make sure that Shiva knows exactly what it’s like to lose someone you love."

With that, Thorax lunged at Luke with another hiss, but Luke caught his lunge, nearly breaking his jaw before being forced to use him to block a changeling spell. Digging his way out of the ground, Luke bellowed as he found his diamond dogs routed; either being cocooned by the changelings, or sent packing by the ponies.

A spell from Twilight nearly did Luke in. But he heard the sound of her horn, and dodged at the last second.

“This won’t stop us, Twilight Sparkle,” Luke snarled as he raced after his fleeing dogs. “Count on us coming back! Count on it!”

But a lightning bolt from a pegasi forced him to shut up and run. And soon, the only ones left on the battlefield were the changelings. Who quickly raised their hooves as Twilight and her forces trained their weapons on them.

“Thorax?” Twilight asked. “As in… one of Queen Chrysalis’ changelings?”

“Queen Chrysalis is dead,” Thorax replied. “And though it took a long…” he brushed over several more scars on his body. “Very long time… I am now king of the changelings. And I want only one thing.”

“Vengeance?” Discord asked with a grin. When the other ponies stared at him, he shrugged. “What? It’s classic."

“And true,” Thorax admitted. He stepped closer. “We share a common enemy in the diamond dogs. Let us help you defeat them. And we’ll sort out whatever damage Chrysalis has done to you later.”

Twilight turned away with a worried gaze, even as Rarity and Pinkie Pie joined her.

“I know it’s a… ‘less than ideal’ choice for an ally,” Rarity admitted. “But, surely it’s better than nothing.”

“But what about when Fluttershy and Spike bring back Shiva?” Pinkie asked. “What if Thorax hurts them.”

Twilight gave the Ever Free Forest a worried gaze. “I feel like we should be more worried that they haven’t shown up yet,” she replied, striding for the Ever Free. “What’s taking them so long?”

#

Meanwhile, in the dimension hidden by the mirror portal, a human Fluttershy stood with a canine Spike.

“No…” Fluttershy whimpered.

“No, this can’t be happening,” Spike whispered alongside her.

Canterlot High; the place where Spike had claimed the human versions of the ponies lived, was now as dark as an abandoned house. A sign was plastered across the door. A sign that chilled both of them to their bones.

Closed for Summer Vacation.’

“Spike…” Fluttershy whimpered. “If our human counterparts aren’t here… then where could Shiva be?”

Spike gazed around helplessly. “I… don’t know,” he admitted.

Suddenly, his nose twitched. His eyes widened as he noticed something that he never had before in his dog form. A small white trail, in the form of Shiva. Arcing away from Canterlot High.

“But I think we can find out,” he said, squirming from Fluttershy’s arms, and racing after her scent.