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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Berry Punch yawned. It had been a long night of being mostly unnoticed. She had remained in a quiet corner, dozing lightly, waking only when somepony had come to speak to Bucky. Sleeping on the stone floor was unkind to her joints and everything crackled and popped as she stretched.

“Did I miss anything?” Berry asked of Lyra. At some point, during her dozing, Bucky had slipped off.

“Bucky went out to inspect the guard. We’re waiting here until we are summoned for breakfast, in the event of somepony coming to inquire about events,” Bon Bon said, her words punctuated with a yawn.

Berry scratched her cutie mark with her hoof. “Some of the nobles last night,” she muttered to herself.

“Do you think any of them actually tried to kill Keg Smasher?” Lyra asked the red eyed earth pony.

“Those neep headed numpties that talked to us last night? No,” Berry replied. “They were all scared and clueless, weren't they Bonnie?”

Bon Bon nodded.

“Hey, there are cushions?” Berry asked as she saw the cushions on the floor.

Lyra kicked her hooves. “I was keeping two lyres going last night, several detection spells, and making those two cushions nearly did me in. I only did it because Bucky looked miserable,” the unicorn explained.

“It’s okay Lyra, I was just giving you a bit of a hard time,” Berry said. “Oh gosh, I wish I hadn’t slept, I feel more tired now then I would if I had just stayed awake all night,” she muttered .

“You can always come to bed with us,” Bon Bon offered.

“Yeah, you are always welcome in the bed with us,” Lyra said. She paused when she realised what her words might sound like and she blushed. “Uh, actually…”

Bon Bon raised her eyebrow at Lyra. “Lyra, why are you acting funny?”

“Well, um,” Lyra began.

“We’re lesbians. She’s female. It’s okay Lyra. I mean, come on, we’re married to her too,” Bon Bon said in irritation.

“Are you saying what I think you’re saying?” Lyra asked.

Berry giggled. “You know, I wouldn’t feel right about this until I talked with everypony else. I am flattered of course. But for right now, no stepping outside of our current arrangement,” Berry said coquettishly.

A guard coughed and Bon Bon turned and looked in irritation. “Some kind of problem?” she asked.

“No ma’am. Er, no Lady Bon Bon, there is no problem at all,” the guard replied.

“I bet you’re probably thinking that if you could just spend just one night with us, you could change our minds, is that what you are thinking?” Bon Bon asked.

“Bonnie,” Lyra whispered forcefully.

Bon Bon scowled but said nothing else to the guard.

 

 

The trip to the lake caused nothing but irritation. A contingent of guard insisted on following him. Keg Smasher went around alone quite often, and Bucky felt as though he was being foalsitted, which made him feel cranky.

Lord Wrecker was quite unable to follow Bucky to the lake and had stayed back at the castle. Bucky worried for the old pegasus’ safety but said nothing. He walked around with jittery nerves and gritted teeth.

To make matter worse, the guard unit dispatched to Keg Smasher’s last location had not returned, something which all of the rest of the guard agreed wasn’t right.

They should have returned by now.

Finally, Bucky could take no more. He needed sleep. He had secured himself in the room he shared with his family, and was now settling into the bed, where there were already a few sleepers. After laying down, he was quickly piled upon by Berry, Bon Bon, Lyra, and Sentinel, who arranged themselves all around him.

The last sound he heard was Wheatberry giggling.

 

 

“Bucky, wake up.”

Bucky awoke to the sound of Derpy’s voice. He blinked his remaining eye a few times and felt his head thudding. Awaking with a headache was not something he was fond of and he kept his head where it was, resting on something soft and warm. Had he looked, he would have noticed there were the image of three wrapped candies just below his chin, more commonly called bon bons. He could feel the most delightful heat against the base of his throat and his chest. There was something heavy on his foreleg and it too felt warm. And rather damp.

As Bucky came around, he became aware of where he was resting his head and where his foreleg was tucked. At some point, he had used Bon Bon’s backside as a pillow, his foreleg had somehow wound up between her legs, and she was clenching it tightly between her solid thighs in her sleep. His leg felt damp.

“Gah!” Bucky said, extracting himself from the awkward situation with a strange wordless cry. Once he was free of Bon Bon’s clutches, he looked up at Derpy. “Forbidden nethers,” he muttered. Much to his own shame, he could not resist sniffing his damp foreleg.

Derpy laughed at her husband and stroked him with her wing. “Good news,” she said.

Bucky looked up and around him. He pulled himself from the bed, hearing commotion in the hall. He was on his hooves in an instant, and out the door in moments.

He saw Wheatberry and what could only be her mother. Winter Wheat looked battered and bloody, joyful and grief stricken. Fear made Bucky’s balls feel as though they were being jammed full of pins.

“Where is Keg Smasher? Is he okay?” Bucky asked.

Winter Wheat looked sad even as Wheatberry clung to her neck and was kissing her face. “He’s still alive,” she said, her eyes glancing down at Wheatberry in some unspoken communication.

“What happened?” Bucky asked.

“Later, please,” Winter Wheat pleaded. “Keg Smasher needs you right away,” she said, her eyes locked on Bucky and looking at him, begging him for his help.

“Brace yourself Lord Bitters, and follow me,” a guard said.

Bucky fell into step with the guard. He glanced over his shoulder, shut the door behind him with his magic, and then turned his head around to watch where he was going. All thoughts of Bon Bon’s well cushioned backside were now gone and Bucky wondered what had happened.

 

 

Bucky had never been to Keg Smasher’s private quarters before. There was a door that looked like any other, plain, simple, and solid. The room was spartan. There was a wooden desk, a tall wooden cabinet,  a table with stuff scattered over the surface, and a pile of straw in the corner.

And in the pile of straw was what remained of Keg Smasher.

Bucky wanted to ask what had happened, what had gone wrong, but all of those words seemed useless. “How can I help you?” Bucky asked, his voice little more than a scratchy whisper. Bucky moved in close, scarcely able to take in what he was seeing. He heard the door click behind him and he knew that he was alone, that he was trusted alone with Keg Smasher.

“I need your help lad,” Keg Smasher grunted weakly.

Keg Smasher needed more than help. He was a bloodied mess from ear to hoof. One wing was missing, leaving behind a trickling bloody stump. He was covered in bite marks and gashes. One leg had a rope tourniquet around it and most of the flesh from fetlock to knee had been stipped away.

Bucky swallowed his revulsion and kneeled down beside Keg Smasher. “What do I do?” he asked in a strained voice. His head was thumping now, thudding away, as though there was hammer inside of it.

“I need for you… to magic my leg away... what’s left of it. I don’t think I’d survive the sawing. And then I need for you to burn it shut,” Keg Smasher said breathlessly.

Bucky looked down at the bloodied straw. There was a lot that needed to be burned shut. He would start with the leg first, and then go from the largest to the smallest wounds. It seemed to make sense, at least in his own mind.

“No dying,” Bucky commanded.

“I don’t want to go lad,” Keg Smasher wheezed. He looked terrified and both eyes were wide with fear.

Bucky felt sick knowing that he was about to use his magic to sunder another pony’s flesh. He fought back his growing nausea and panic, knowing that he wasn’t actually bringing harm to another pony, but doing what he could to save Keg Smasher’s life. None of Sombra’s memories that he had recovered so far could prepare him for this.

“Sleep,” Bucky commanded, his horn igniting and his words carrying the force of magical compulsion. He watched as Keg Smasher’s eyes slowly closed and the big pegasus went still. Bucky steeled his nerves and drew together his force of will.

He teleported the remains of the leg away from the body. It  reappeared a few feet away and fell to the stone floor with a thud. To Bucky’s credit, he did not throw up, but he came close. He removed the tourniquet and as he was doing so, gathered a telekinetic ball of energy together, imbuing it with great heat. He paused before burning the leg shut. He teleported away several inches of bone and muscle from inside of the stump, pressed the flesh together over the now smooth ends of bone, and pressed his magical brand against the bloodied flesh.

There was a sizzling crackle as well as the smell of burning flesh and hair.

The wound closed and Bucky looked around for his next target. He chose to work on the wing stump. He removed the bloody stump completely, teleporting what little bit was left away, and then pulled the remaining bit of bone free from the ball and socket joint with a wet sounding pop. He cringed as he worked. He pulled the skin closed with his magic and applied his magical brand, cauterising the wound shut.

Bucky felt that he was off to a good start. He licked his lips nervously and looked over Keg Smasher, trying to figure out what to do next. He went to work on the legs, knowing that a pony could bleed out from leg wounds. One hind hoof was cracked and Bucky didn’t know how to fix that. It would need time to heal.

He lifted Keg Smasher into the air using his magic and checked his belly, checking everything for wounds. He pressed his magical brand to every spot that oozed blood.

And then, Bucky realised, his task was finished. There was nothing left to burn shut after many agonising minutes of work. He looked around the room and found a bucket, a clean bucket that was half full of water. He conjured more. He set to work cleaning Keg Smasher up, carefully wiping away the blood using his magic and rinsing Keg Smasher off with water. He held the maimed pegasus in the air and pondered the current situation. He could turn the straw into a mattress and get a big rock later for something more substantial, or he realised, he could get a big rock now. Teleporting that much mass would have been difficult if not outright impossible, but now Bucky realised it was within the realms of what he was capable of. He teleported the bloodied straw into the fireplace and set it ablaze to be rid of the mess. He touched a large rock from somewhere with his mind, took it within his will, and teleported it. As it winked into existence in the room, he transmuted it into a thick mattress, some sheets, and a few blankets and pillows. They were crude things, but better than the cold floor and straw.

Unsure of what to do with the severed leg and the remains of the wing, he lifted them in his magic, wrapped them in a blanket, and set it upon the table.

He felt his stomach growling. Teleporting that much mass was not without consequences. He felt tired, weak, and starving. He couldn’t remember ever having a headache this bad in a long time and he wondered if his remaining eye was going to pop out of its socket from the pressure.

He settled Keg Smasher into the bed and covered him with a blanket. He lifted Keg Smasher’s head and placed a slightly lumpy pillow under it, and then let the pegasus’ head gently drop.

He went to the door, pulled it open, and stepped out into the hall. Winter Wheat was looking at him imploringly. Her eyes were red and she had been crying. Wheatberry was on her back, looking distressed and afraid.

“I think he’s going to make it,” Bucky reported in a low voice. “I did what I could. He’s comfortable. I made him a bed. A real bed.”

The earth pony moved swiftly and Bucky felt her kiss his cheek. She drew away after she had done it and looked down at the stone floor. “Forgive me Lord Bitters,” she said in a wavering voice.

“Think nothing of it,” Bucky said soothingly. “And please, call me Bucky. Everypony calls me Bucky,” he offered.

Winter Wheat looked back up at Bucky and he saw moist gratitude in her eyes. She was young and pretty, and couldn’t be too much older than Sparkler. She was also bitten, but she didn’t look too bad. She was a big solid sort of earth pony, broad shouldered and thick legged.

“My fellow-wives know what has taken place,” Winter Wheat said in a quiet concerned voice. “The guard have gone to fetch them. Keg will be looked after,” she continued.

“If you need my help, you come to me and you ask. If you need somepony to look after Wheatberry for a while, she is safe with us. And when you get to feeling better, I’d really like to know what happened,” Bucky said gently. As he spoke, his words made his head thud painfully and he felt light headed. “There are some remains in the blanket on the table. I do not know what you might want done with them.”

The earth pony filly nodded gratefully. “Thank you for the warning,” she said in a low voice. “And again, thank you for everything. My husband speaks highly of you. I see why.”

Bucky nodded, reached out, touched her softly with his folded fetlock, and then excused himself. “I need to go. I do not feel well,” he said apologetically. And with that, Bucky pushed his way through the guard, thankful that he was not Laird Buckminster Bitters.

 

 

 

 

 

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