The Chase

Bucky Bitters struggles to escape the airborne affections of Derpy Hooves after a chance encounter caused them to bump noses together. His real mistake was trying to comfort the mare after the snoot-bump. Little does the poor stallion realise that their meeting was only the prologue to a journey that will change not only his life, but the lives around him forever.

This story is a sequel to The Catch

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The broken throne remained empty and Bucky sat on the floor next to it, just as Keg Smasher had done. He couldn’t feel his legs, he could only feel a painful burning sensation and a tingling tightness. For the past few hours, Lord Wrecker had been quietly telling Bucky everything he knew, and the old pegasus knew quite a bit.

As Bucky squirmed and shifted, the pain finally becoming too much to bear, he felt himself lifted in a prickly field of magic. There was a faint pop sound as a rock suddenly appeared into existence, followed by another pop as it was transmuted into a purple-grey cushion. He was plopped onto the cushion without a word spoken.

He cast a grateful glance upon Lyra, who stood nearby, alert and attentive, occasionally pacing back and forth.

“Lay down,” Bon Bon instructed. “You can hold court in a more comfortable position. I can’t wait to get home and have a doctor look at your legs,” she muttered.

“I can’t,” Bucky said in soft protest. “Lord Wrecker is just as messed up as I am, and he is stuck sitting on the stone floor.”

“LAY DOWN!” Bon Bon snapped, clearly not in the mood for shenanigans or protest. “Lyra, another cushion for Lord Wrecker if you please,” Bon Bon commanded.

Lyra complied with Bon Bon’s request, lifting Wrecker, summoning a stone and then transmuting it into a cushion. Wrecker grumbled in protest as he was dumped onto his cushion.

Sentinel crawled onto Bucky’s cushion with him and settled in beside his father. The colt had listened to every word spoken by Wrecker, and while he had a few questions, he chose to remain silent.

“It nears midnight,” Wrecker stated.

“Thank you for telling me everything,” Bucky said as he kicked out his hind legs behind him and made himself comfortable.

“I had a bit of a talk with your matriarch,” Wrecker said. “I told her some of what I told you. She’s a fine mare, but I think I prefer the fiery spirit of yon daughter of Shetland,” he said as he gestured at Bon Bon.

Bon Bon turned and glared at Wrecker with a burning stare. She was in heat and frustrated, and wasn’t in the mood for no guff.

“See, that is what you want in a mare. I can’t stand it when they are soft and submissive. I want a mare that can bloody my nose and defend my foals,” Wrecker stated. He continued to look at Bon Bon appreciatively.

“Seems to me that quite a few stallions here want their mares submissive,” Bucky replied in a faint angry tone.

“Sadly, yes. We live under dire and desperate circumstances, which are now changing. But submissive mares can be treated like a resource and managed. I’ve always disliked that sort of thinking. It’s wrong,” Wrecker grumbled.

“Makes me feel better to hear you say that,” Bucky said to the battered old pegasus.

“I am not a popular noble,” Wreckler said in a strained voice, clearly in pain and in need of sleep. The old stallion grimaced as he settled into his cushion and tried to make himself comfortable. “There are those that feel that since the sweeps are over and things have changed, Keg Smasher needs to go. I disagree. I think we need him more than ever. He makes mistakes, sure, but he has done a better job of leadership than most of our previous Lairds. And lad, I hope you will forgive him for the many mistakes he has made involving you,” Wrecker stated.

“I just hope he is alive,” Bucky said in a worried voice.  

“Don’t want to be Laird?” Wrecker asked the stallion beside him.

“I want to go home,” Bucky replied in a flat monotone.

“But if it fell upon your shoulders…” Wrecker said, his sentence left open and unfinished.

“Of course I would do it,” Bucky muttered as he made a sour look.

“Keg Smasher was right about you… you’re a noble lad alright. Sort of like yon Sentinel there,” Wrecker said in a low raspy voice. “I could have went to the mainland. I applied and received clearance. I was ready to go too, was just waiting on the boat to arrive.”

“What happened?” Bucky asked.

Wrecker sighed and looked weary. “Word got out there was a mad unicorn running amok on the isles. He was capturing earth ponies and pegasi. He was chopping them up for study. He was obsessed with earth pony hooves and pegasi wings,” he explained.

“That’s horrible,” Bucky said in disgust.

“Guess which house he was from,” Wrecker growled.

Bucky sighed in frustration but said nothing. There was nothing to say, and nothing that could be said. It was one of the many things he hoped to make his former house pay for.

“I was part of the group that hunted him down and killed him. He killed quite a few of us before we finally brought him down,” Wrecker said. “He killed my brother and my father. I was sliced up by invisible knives made of magic. But we managed to kill him, and I was given the title of ‘Sir’ for my troubles. Afterwards, I stayed. The boat left without me. And I never went to the mainland to live a life of happy ever after,” Wrecker said sadly.

“You did good… be proud,” Bon Bon said in a low emotional voice.

“Thank you pretty lass,” Wrecker replied. He was old, but not far enough gone that he couldn’t appreciate the look Bon Bon gave him.

“And this is why I studied abjuration in school, even though it made me a total nerd. For a time, I entertained the idea of becoming one of Celestia’s black cloaks when I was a foal and full of dreams,” Lyra quipped.

“What is abjuration and what is a black cloak?” Wrecker asked.

“Abjuration is defensive and protective magic and a well practiced specialist can take it to an offensive degree. A spellbreaker. By knowing so much about magical defenses, it allows a unicorn skilled in abjuration to take out other unicorn’s defenses and protections. I was terrible about abjuration in school. It was my worst subject,” Bucky explained.

“And a black cloak?” Wrecker inquired.

“Black cloaks don’t exist. They’re spooks. Everypony knows they exist, but they aren’t acknowledged by the Crown. They’re the unicorn police and they take out rogue unicorns. And Bucky, I figured with your careful and cautious nature, you’d have been a natural for abjuration. Stupid Twilight Sparkle though, she kept making me look like I was an idiot. Grrrrr,” Lyra responded. “I did brilliant things in that class, but they were totally ignored because Twilight Sparkle did things that were even more brilliant and the second most brilliant unicorn in the class wasn’t worth paying attention to,” Lyra grumbled bitterly.

“I excelled in a number of areas but did really well in enchantment, transmutation, and the creative magical arts,” Bucky said to Lyra.

“Enchantment? Really?”Lyra peered at Bucky curiously and then sniggered.

Bucky felt his face grow hot. “Stop laughing!” he grumbled.

“Why is this so funny?” Bon Bon asked as she poked Lyra with her hoof.

“Enchantment is for homemakers and little fillies,” Lyra said.

“IT IS NOT!” Bucky snapped.

“Oh my,” Wrecker gasped.

“Yeah it is,” Lyra said. “One of the classes you have to take is actually called “Hearth and Home Enchantments” and it is the perfect class for every little filly looking for a husband,” Lyra said with a chuckle.

Bucky scowled turned away from Lyra, grumbling wordlessly as he did so.

“At least our husband will be useful in the kitchen,” Lyra said.

“I also have the theory required to create an enchanted suit of armor, which is how I am going to purge these isles from the wolves. I was able to enchant that ship outside and make it weigh a fraction of what it once weighed, which is how I plan to take you home. I could probably create golems, I can create magical objects and appliances, and with my current magical abilities, I could probably create magical artifacts of unspeakable power,” Bucky said in a low forceful whisper. “How do you think things like the Alicorn Amulet were made?” he asked.

Lyra’s laughter died. She turned to look at Bucky. “I am sorry Bucky, I didn’t mean anything by it, I was just having a laugh. Look, I know how powerful you are. I was trying to lighten the mood a bit, I guess I screwed up. I’m sorry,” Lyra said apologetically.

“I got teased a lot about it in school,” Bucky said in a low voice. “I’m sorry if I overreacted,” he added. “And now it seems I could possibly become the Dark Lord Buckminster, Scourge of the Hearth and Home Enchantment’s class,” he snarked.

“Enchantment and transmutation seemed to have worked out for you, you are the second most powerful unicorn I know,” Lyra said in flattering tones.

“Do you know what Twilight Sparkle specialised in?” Bucky asked, thankful that Lyra provided the means to change the subject.

“Abjuration and divination,” Lyra answered.

“Magic is confusing,” Wrecker interjected. “I’m glad I am a pegasus,” he said.

“Being an earth pony isn’t so bad,” Bon Bon said.

“We need a school for magic here on the isles,” Wrecker stated. “Now that the sweeps are over, we’re going to have a lot of unicorns here that will need to learn all about abjuration and enchantment.”

Bucky took the pegasus’ words to heart and he fell silent, thinking about how a school could change the isles. More than alcohol or raw resources, a school for unicorns could turn the isles into a civilised place.

 

 

“It will be dawn soon,” Lyra said in a low whisper so she would not wake the two sleeping ponies. Bucky and Wrecker were sound asleep on their cushions. Sentinel had dozed on and off through the night, and was currently awake. Lyra was exhausted. She was maintaining two lyre spells, one in the throne room and one back in their private room.

Bon Bon nodded. She felt irritable and hungry. She knew that Lyra was hungry, because she could hear Lyra’s stomach grumbling. Guards paced around them, occasionally glancing at the two mares in concern.

Sentinel pressed himself up against Bucky and didn’t care who saw him doing it. He too was thankful to feel warmth and life in a body that he loved. Several ponies had come to the hall during the long night to speak to Bucky, and Sentinel had stayed at Bucky’s side.

“Hey… you… yes you, you right there, since it is getting to be about dawn, I want you to go off to the kitchens and tell whomever is cooking that I want fried potatoes for breakfast,” Lyra commanded.

The guard blinked at Lyra several times in astonishment.

Sentinel raised his head. “I do believe that was a direct order from one of Lord Buckminster’s wives,” the foal growled.

The pegasus snapped a wing in a cautious salute, went to the door, whispered something to a guard outside, and then returned to his position. “Fried potatoes for the lady,” he said in neutral tones as he resumed his post.

“Lyra,” Bon Bon muttered while rolling her eyes.

“Hey, no eye rolling. I’m not sharing my potatoes with you,” Lyra grumbled.

“But now I want potatoes,” Bon Bon whispered.

“Too bad,” Lyra quipped.

 

 

Bucky stood at the castle gatehouse looking over the mustered guard as they presented themselves for inspection. There was still no sign of Keg Smasher. There had been no new word. Wrecker moved slowly beside him, wobbling around on three legs.

“This isn’t like Keg Smasher at all lad. There should have been word by now. Or something,” Wrecker said in worried tones.

“I hope the guard I’ve dispatched to check on Keg Smasher return with some kind of word soon,” Bucky said as he eyed the assembled pegasi.

“Lad, I have a bad feeling. I wouldn’t expect good news,” Wrecker warned. “Come lad, let’s go have breakfast.”

Bucky stood in place and gave the guard a final once over before giving a nod, which seemed to satisfy them. He looked down at Sentinel beside him. “Let’s go to breakfast and try to reassure some scared ponies. Then we’ll get Thistle and have a nice breakfast of fish. Sound good?” he asked of the colt.

Sentinel nodded. “I think I smelled potatoes cooking. I hope I get some,” he replied.

 

 

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