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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Bucky looked down at the foal that he had just put to bed. Dinky was still fighting, and even in her state of exhaustion, had somehow managed to resist his sleep spell after he had cast it several times. He felt fiercely proud of her, as both his daughter and his student.

As he turned around to look after the other foals, he saw a grey blur in his field of vision. A strong leg wrapped around his neck and he felt himself pulled close to a warm firmly muscled body. A moment later, there was two lips pressing into his, and waxy drool flooded into his mouth. The kiss was enough to make his hind legs buckle, afterwards, he felt himself being pushed down to the floor and rolled over, where the kiss continued.

Finally, Derpy pulled away and Bucky gasped for air. He felt as though he was on the verge of being aroused, and he was on his back and fully exposed. He quickly rolled over and struggled to his hooves.

“You helped her to become so strong,” Derpy whispered into Bucky’s ear as he made his way upright. “We’re going to have strong foals. Help me make more,” she said in a seductive whisper.

“Whatever you ask of me I will do,” Bucky whispered in reply.

“Come home to me safe then,” Derpy whispered back.

 

 

The day already felt too short as Bucky inspected the wagon in the courtyard. He had cast a featherweight spell on it to make it lighter, and a slipstream spell so that the pegasi could pull it behind them. Supplies were being loaded onto the wagon. There was a lot of food being packed in. It was only few hours after dawn and the group had eaten as much breakfast as they could possibly hold. Bucky felt hungry for fish, but he didn’t feel there was time.

“Reporting for duty Lord Bitters.”

Bucky turned and looked at the young pegasus saluting him. He couldn’t be much older than Rising Star. He was already heavily scarred and had the distinctive patches of missing hair on his pelt that indicated cauterisation. The other three pegasi were not covered in scars, and they looked scared, even though they were doing their best to hide it.

Bucky had learned too much about pegasi body language and was able to see right through their efforts to hide how they felt.

“Do you understand what is expected of you?” Bucky asked.

“We are to be your shields,” the scarred pegasus said.

“No,” Bucky said forcefully. “If you are in a position to be my shield, then I have failed. You four are to remain at our sides at all times. You are not to engage the enemy under any circumstance. I am in charge here and you will listen to me. We strike at distance and do not engage them directly. Do exactly as I say and we’ll all come home with our skins intact,” Bucky explained.

The three frightened pegasi relaxed a bit and the scarred pegasus whipped out a wing in salute. “My name is Deadspin and it is an honour to serve you Lord Bitters, loyal equal to our Laird,” the scarred pegasus said brusquely.

“One more thing,” Bucky said.

“And that is sir?” Deadspin asked.

“Never again call me Lord Bitters,” Bucky demanded.

“Sorry sir, would never mean to offend sir,” Deadspin responded.

The sound of hooves on his blind side made Bucky turn sharply. He saw Sentinel, who looked bleary eyed and tired.

“Shouldn’t you be in bed where I left you?” Bucky asked.

Sentinel snapped out a wing in salute to the four pegasi, folded his wing, turned, faced Bucky, and then snapped out a wing in salute once again, while standing at attention.

The response from the four pegasi was immediate, all of them returning the salute and dropping their heads down low to Sentinel’s head height.

This was a new behaviour to Bucky, and he watched it in great interest. Pegasi of both types that held true to their militaristic culture were fascinating, and completely different than the pegasi of the mainland.

Sentinel then turned towards the other members of his herd a short distance away and saluted, his wing once again snapping outwards.

The four pegasi followed Sentinel’s lead and saluted the others, which left Bucky wondering what sort of unspoken communication had just taken place.

Derpy stepped forward and offered a salute, trying to mimic the well practiced gestures of the soldiers and Sentinel. Her attempt was clumsy but produced a snap, and the soldiers drew sharply to attention, all eyes focused on her. There was another salute from the four pegasi.

“You do us a great honour ma’am!” they said in unison.

“Look, time grows ever shorter,” Bucky said gently, wishing there was more time to watch the display. The look of joy upon Derpy’s face was impossible to ignore and it made his heart feel warmed. She never had this sort of respect afforded to her on the mainland, and watching the mare basking in the attention and devotion being offered to her now made Bucky feel good. Bucky felt thankful for the soldiers’ respect and it was little moments like these that almost made the isles bearable.

As Bucky watched, Rising Star pulled Loch Skimmer close to him and kissed her passionately, and then whispered something in her ear. The filly giggled nervously and pranced around on her hooves as her wings fluttered at her sides. Her body language indicated apprehension, fear, and arousal.

“Look, I know you can’t help yourself when it comes to doing stupid things, but try to listen to Bon Bon today, will you?” Berry said as she drew near to Bucky’s side.

“Today I intend to be my careful and meticulous self,” Bucky said reassuringly.

“Yeah, today you just act like an accountant. You subtract what you need to and you come home. And keep an eye on Lyra. She’s jittery already and I am getting weird vibes from her already,” Berry said in a low voice.

“Tell Thistle I love her and that I thank her for looking after my foals,” Bucky said, wishing that Thistle was here. She was back in their room watching over the sleeping foals who had kept watch all night. “Give her a kiss for me Berry,” Bucky asked.

“Where?” Berry said with a seductive eyebrow waggle.

The brazen words of the earth pony made Bucky chortle and he felt his spirits lift. “Anywhere you think you can get away with,” Bucky whispered.

“Get away with what?” Derpy asked as she drew near.

“Nothing,” Berry said with a giggle.

Derpy scowled at the earth pony and then turned her good eye on Bucky. “Sparkler is scared. She is trying not to show it, but as her mother I can see it plain as day. Be gentle with her if you can, be harsh on her if that is what it takes to get her to move. I want her brought back to me safely and whole of body,” Derpy instructed.

“So long as everypony does what I say, we’ll all come home in one piece. I have thought this through and I know what to do,” Bucky replied reassuringly.

“And Rising Star scares me,” Derpy said. “He’s scared too, but he’s also eager to pick a fight. That’s never good. You keep him under control by whatever means you have available,” she added.

“Rising Star is young and wants to prove himself,” Bucky said in return. “I’ll keep him focused but it is my intention to release his rage today. There is a lot that needs burning and by the end of the day, Rising Star will be a colt that knows his worth and measure.”

The grey pegasus mare looked over her shoulder at Rising Star and then turned back to Bucky. She nodded gravely, leaned forward, and then kissed Bucky.

Berry Punch took her chance to also get a kiss and then backed away from Bucky, understanding how precious the daylight hours were.

“Okay, everypony into the wagon. I’m going to hitch up the pegasi and we’re going to go,” Bucky commanded. His voice was smooth and authoritative, sonorous and proud.

 

 

The flight was short. They flew over the Hydra Teeth, over a short expanse of ocean, and then landed in the ruined port of the Isle of Wheat. The pegasi were skilled fliers, and, even though none of them had ever pulled a chariot or a sky wagon before, they had quickly adapted to the extra load and had compensated accordingly.

The landing was a little rough, but there wasn’t a landing strip or even smooth road, just patches of dirt and grass.

After landing, many supplies were loaded on to the pegasi and Bon Bon’s sturdy backs. The pegasi bristled at the idea of Lady Bon Bon being used a common pack animal, but Bon Bon bristled right back and insisted that she was here to do her part.

Bucky surveyed the ruins and had trouble taking in what he was seeing. There were still dead bodies everywhere, probably those that had died after the others had risen. Burnt buildings still smoked and smouldered. The stench of death was everywhere and flies had already began arrive.

It was heartbreaking. Bucky wanted to give each and every body the respect it deserved, but there was just not enough time. He silently resolved to come back here once the crisis was done.

“Lyra, you said you have a spell that will allow you to track the dead?” Bucky asked.

The green unicorn nodded and looked nervous. “Yeah I do… give me a moment… Bon Bon, I need your hoof to steady me,” Lyra requested. “Here we go, I’m committing necromancy,” she muttered.

Bon Bon looked worried and moved close to Lyra. She touched her mate, pressing her hoof into Lyra’s ribs as the unicorn began taking deep breaths.

Lyra’s eyes closed but her horn did not ignite. There was a whiff of ozone in the air and there was a faint hum. A moment later, Lyra’s eyes snapped open. They were red and the whites of her eyes were now a sickly green colour. A purple haze drifted from her open eyes and black flames shot from her horn. “The pain… the pain… no please no... no more cutting and burning… I’ll be good I promise… please stop cutting things off and making them grow back... I can hear the voices of those who died… no…”

Bucky felt worried and moved to Lyra’s side. She was twitching and continued to mutter horrifying things. He exchanged a worried glance with Bon Bon, who looked terrified.

And then, the black flames went way, Lyra closed her eyes, and her whole body slumped. She leaned on Bon Bon and panted heavily. When she opened her eyes again, they were normal.

“Lyra, you okay?” Bucky asked.

“I’m fine, I just feel a little shaky,” Lyra replied.

“You were saying stuff while you were casting that spell,” Bucky said.

“I was?” Lyra asked as she shook her head. “I think I’d remember saying something… I don’t remember saying anything,” she stated.

Bon Bon rubbed her mate affectionately and stared at Bucky, her eyes narrowed and glinting. “We’ll talk about it later,” she said gently.

“It is really weird… all of them went off in this direction. Which doesn’t make sense. They’re mindless killing machines. Golems made of flesh. They should have just wandered off randomly in different directions hoping to find something to kill,” Lyra said as she rubbed her head. “Was I really saying something? I’m kinda worried now,’ she added.

“Never mind about that now Lyra,” Bucky said. He looked in the direction that Lyra pointed. “Will you need to cast that spell again to track them?” he asked.

“No, should be good for about twelve hours or so,” Lyra said. “We should be heading home before the spell expires, so we’re good,” she added.

“Okay then. We move. You four stay as close to us as possible. We are not to be separated. If we see something that looks like a pony, we check and see that it is a pony. If it is undead, we put it down. If it is fast and it charges, I will freeze it solid. Rising, set them on fire and use your magic sparingly. Don’t focus on making them burn, just ignite them and get them burning, and then let your flames do their job. Lyra, you are free to zap anything that draws near. Sparkler, this is your chance to experiment with offense. Try to see what you can do,” Bucky commanded.

“Alright,” Rising Star agreed.

“Will do,” Sparkler replied.

“Gotcha,” Lyra answered.

“Any idea what sort of numbers we’re facing?” Bucky asked.

“No clue!” Lyra exclaimed nervously.

“Shite,” Bucky muttered. He set off in the direction that Lyra pointed, the others falling into step behind him. He moved slowly but with purpose, and then realised that he should not be taking point because of his blind spot.

“Rising Star, up front with me. I need you to be my eyes,” Bucky requested.

The colt moved up front quickly and walked abreast at Bucky’s right side. Bucky turned and looked over his shoulder. Sparkler was just behind him, Bon Bon and Lyra walked together, and the four pegasi had spread out, two on each side of the column of unicorns.

“Keep watch over our rear,” Bucky commanded.

“Doing that sir,” Deadspin responded.

Not knowing what was ahead, the group left the wagon behind and trotted out of town. They moved together, staying close to one another, a unified herd in the face of danger.

 

 

“Something draws near,” Lyra warned. “I can feel it. Just ahead.”

The group was walking through a vast wheatfield and ahead of them was a collection of boulders, a few trees, and a thicket. The group stopped and all ears perked. A rustling sound could be heard.

“Rising, come with me. The rest of you, move closely behind. Rising and I will assess the situation,” Bucky said as he began to move forward. His legs were aching and he was already having trouble walking, something he had not taken into account. He hoped that he could hold it together. There was whiskey, beer, and a cask of gin in the supplies. If he had to, he’d start drinking just to dull the pain.

The pair moved forward and a jet of flame curled from Rising Star’s horn. Bucky turned his head so he could get a look at his companion and he realised that he was looking up at Rising Star. The colt had grown at some point during their exile, and it had escaped Bucky’s notice. Bucky cursed silently at being so short and continued onward, seeing that Rising Star appeared to be fine.

“There,” Rising Star said, narrowing his eyes. “Pony shaped. Only has three legs. Looks… messy,” the colt reported.

“We need to be sure,” Bucky said. “Ready?” Bucky felt Rising Star nudge him and Bucky took a deep breath.

“You there, identify yourself. Can we help you?” Bucky asked.

There was a low moan in response.

“It isn’t living!” Lyra shouted.

“We have to make sure,” Bucky said.

“But I can tell, I can sense the undead right now, and that’s undead!” Lyra retorted.

“And I wanted to be sure!” Bucky shouted. “Rising Star, burn it!” he commanded.

The three legged pony had pulled itself out of the thicket and was now shambling towards the group. Rising Star growled, a deep resonating sound deep in his barrel, and there was a wash of heat from his body.

The pony burst into flames. It continued to move forward for a few steps and then fell over, rolling and writhing in the wheat, setting the field on fire.

Bucky watched as it burned, waiting patiently. Beside him, Rising Star was muttering to himself. The undead abomination burned with surprising intensity, bright blue and green flames rising up into the sky as the cleansing fires destroyed it. Sparkler came up along his left side and he saw her come into view.

“I hope it doesn’t feel anything,” Sparkler whispered.

“The soul is gone. Off to Tartarus to be judged and then off to Elysium once they’ve paid their penance. What you see is just a shell Sparky, just remains that haven’t stopped moving yet,” Bucky said reassuringly.

“It’s awful. To violate somepony’s body like that. Seems so wrong,” Sparkler said sadly. She reached up with a foreleg and wiped her eyes as the body burned.

Bucky extinguished the flames in the field but allowed the body to continue to burn, now surrounded by a black patch of earth. He stood with two young ponies that he considered his foals, aware that their innocence was burning away as they watched the body that was consumed by flames.

Finally, Bucky gave the signal to continue to move ahead, and the group left behind them a pile of bones and ashes.

 

 

“Something is aware of us,” Lyra hissed. “I sense a group. No idea how many. Fast moving. Coming right for us,” the unicorn warned.

There wasn’t much time Bucky realised. He peered ahead, his head cocked to one side, his ears perked.

“I see them,” Rising Star hissed.

Bucky realised that he couldn’t see much of anything that far ahead and it concerned him. It was something he was going to have to worry about later and he shoved the thought from his mind.

Several things happened at once. Sparkler shouted “Wolves!” and a feeling of panic settled over the herd. Rising Star let loose with what appeared to be a meteor shower, and the flaming missiles homed in on their targets. Bucky was still having trouble seeing at such a distance. He felt a tremendous magical surge from his left and wondered just what Sparkler had done.

There was a crackle of lightning and the stench of ozone, and as suddenly as it began, it was over. A large fire raged in the fields ahead of them. He moved forward cautiously, ready to freeze something solid if need be.

“There is a wolf there but it isn’t moving,” Rising Star said as he peered forward. “It looks funny,” he reported.

“That’s the one I zapped,” Sparkler said. “It does look funny,” she added.

The pair followed Bucky forward, and the rest of the group moved behind them. Each unicorn was ready, horns ignited, and all of them were curious about the strange looking wolf ahead that was not moving.

Bucky was the first to approach, waving Sparkler and Rising Star back with his hoof. He had trouble understanding what he was seeing. The wolf was grey and unmoving.

The undead wolf was petrified Bucky realised.

“Oh my,” Bucky gasped.

“What is it?” Rising Star asked as he approached cautiously.

“Sparkler…” Bucky said.

“What did I do?” Sparkler asked, her voice full of concern.

“That undead wolf is petrified,” Bucky stated in shock.

“That’s a useful spell,” Rising Star said.

“No, you don’t understand,” Bucky said. “This isn’t common magic. You’d need the Elements of Harmony to do this or a rare number of magical creatures,” he explained. “Ponies do not cast petrification spells.”

“Sparkler does,” Rising Star said, wiping his nose and shaking his head as the stench of burning wolves assailed his nostrils.

“I was scared! I didn’t know what I was doing!” Sparkler shrieked in panic.

“Sparkler, you need to stop being afraid,” Bucky said in a serious voice. “We need you to keep it together and fear is not a luxury we can afford right now.”

“I can’t help it,” Sparkler said.

“What if Rising Star accidentally scared you?” Bon Bon asked.

Sparkler couldn’t bear the thought of what Bon Bon said and burst into tears. She stood crying, the soot in the air clinging to her wet cheeks and turning her face black. She sobbed even more when Rising Star pressed up against her side.

“We’re both going to have to learn control,” Rising Star whispered, trying to comfort the pony that he loved so much. “And we need to begin right now by holding it together. No more tears Sparky.”

Sparkler sniffled and tried to contain herself. She covered one nostril with a hoof and snorted forcefully, expelling snot and ashes from her nose, and then covered the other nostril and cleared it out with one mucusy blast.

“And this is why I married you, such an attractive pony,” Rising Star said softly.

Sparkler turned and gave him a weak smile. “My nose was running,” she said in reply. “I didn’t know what else to do.”

Bon Bon patted the distraught filly and gave her a smile.

“We need to keep moving. The sun is almost overhead. We’ll need time to get back to the wagon and I can still sense something in that direction,” Lyra said.

Bucky nodded and looked at the collection of burning corpses. Their work here was done. One undead wolf had been left to mark their passing as statue, a monument to lost innocence and of foalhood left behind.

 

 

The group came upon a collection of crude stone cottages with thatched roofs. There were corpses all around, and something had been feeding on them. Several families had lived here, farmers, and they were all dead now. Mares, a few stallions, and a fair number of foals, all dead and mostly devoured.

Sparkler wept bitter tears upon seeing them and Rising Star could only wrap his foreleg over her withers and hold her close, unable to speak himself.

The group hadn’t stood a chance.

Bucky took the chance to sit down, and he noticed Bon Bon giving him one of those looks. He smiled weakly at her.

“We’re taking a lunch break. No protesting,” Bon Bon commanded.

The group moved away from the mass of corpses and then ate in silence, eating out of necessity, none of them taking any pleasure in what they ate. After eating a meal, it was Lyra that urged them onwards. The group departed from the massacre, all of them looking over their shoulder one last time at the cottages.

 

 

“Everypony holding up?” Deadspin asked. He was mostly concerned about Bucky, who was limping along, but didn’t want to say anything about Bucky directly that might get him a dressing down.

“I’m managing. I feel kinda sleepy,” Lyra said with a yawn. She said nothing about her itching nethers that seemed to be ignoring the spell she had cast to relieve her heat. Her gaze fell upon Bucky and she felt a mix of concern and horniness. But mostly horniness. She pushed the thought from her mind and looked at Bon Bon instead as she walked, but found her gaze being drawn back to Bucky’s gnarled and scrawny backside. His tail had grown as long as any mare’s tail and it made her feel confused when she looked at him.

“I could keep this up for days if I had to,” Bon Bon reported. She looked at Lyra and then at Bucky. She too was feeling concerned. Among other things. And she had noticed Lyra’s glances. She began to wonder if it would be so bad, Bucky was her husband after all. She bit her lip and ignored her thoughts.

“I am young and impervious,” Rising Star said, not feeling at all impervious. He felt miserable and scared. And part of him wanted to cry, to bawl his eyes out and let everything go. But he couldn’t. He was the most effective weapon they had against the undead threat, and he began to notice that Bucky couldn’t see very well, so Rising Star made sure to keep his mind focused and his eyes free from things that would cloud his vision, like tears.

“I’m okay,” Sparkler announced. “I’ve been better, but I am coming to terms with the idea that I am a magical abomination that is probably going to be locked away once I head back to the mainland,” she muttered. She noticed that both Bucky and Rising Star were giving her the stinkeye and her steps faltered. “Look, it was a halfhearted attempt at humour… I didn’t know what else to say,” she explained as she resumed her pace. She shut her mouth and stared ahead, refusing to acknowledge the dirty looks she was getting.

“Bucky?” Deadspin asked.

“What?” Bucky snapped, feeling irritated from Sparkler’s comment and the pain shooting up and down his legs.

“Wanted to make sure you were alright sir,” Deadspin stated.

“I’m fine,” Bucky grumbled unpleasantly.

“We’re getting close,” Lyra said in warning. “Just ahead,” she added.

 

 

The group moved through a copse of trees and saw ahead of them a long stone house with a thatched roof. They saw  the undead wolves moving in a circle around the house and they heard screaming.

“No more death!” Sparkler shouted as she charged forward.

“Damnit Sparkler, no!” Bucky shouted. In his panic, he failed to think of the fact that he could grab her and pull her back with magic, he bolted forward after her and summoned his magic for other purposes. A chill filled the air.

Rising Star let go a stream of profanity that made the four soldiers ears feel soiled, every word spoken were words he had heard from Bon Bon or Berry Punch. As he charged forwards, he felt his own magic surge, and his body ignited into flames.

Bon Bon held Lyra back and the pegasi as well, worried about the chill in the air and the flaming unicorn far more than she was worried about the wolves. Something bad was about to go down and Bon Bon’s own earth pony sense told her to stay back.

 

 

As Sparkler continued forwards she felt a strange tingling travel through her body. She felt heavy and solid. She realised that she had turned to stone again. The first wolf reached her, moving with alarming speed, leaping for her, mouth open.

The wolf’s teeth shattered against her stony skin and then it  bounced away from her.

The stone unicorn lifted her hoof and stomped downwards, crushing the wolf’s skull. She continued onwards, hurrying for the stone house, now screaming at the top of her lungs, which came out sounding like two stones grating together.

 

 

Rising Star felt an overpowering sense of relief when he saw Sparkler shift forms and turn to stone. He had shifted himself, and was now on fire. He welcomed the wolves. Fire needed things to burn. And to make fire happen, you needed rage.

And Rising Star was nothing but a burning ball of rage at the moment.

Around him, the fields began to burn as he ran forward. Sparkler was safe, and he was free to simply let go, so he did. Flaming meteors shot from his horn and went blazing off, looking for targets. Several undead wolves ahead burst into flames and Rising Star felt a grim feeling of satisfaction. All of his fear had burned away, consumed by flames that burned from within and without.

 

 

Bucky’s adrenaline allowed him to move much faster than he expected, his terror urging him onward. As he watched, he saw Sparkler turn grey and his mind flooded with relief. He knew that she would be safe. He focused his magic on a cluster of wolves up ahead and summoned a gravitational singularity, which sucked them all in to one confined area and crushed them. He blasted their crushed and broken bodies with cold, freezing them solid and then hit them with a tiny ping of telekinetic energy, which caused them all to shatter like glass.

In all of his life, he had never done anything like that, something so perfect and complex. It was almost as if something else had channeled his spell energy and cast through him. He dismissed it as reflexive spellcasting and went about the work of killing.

There had been a lot of undead wolves, but now their numbers were rapidly dwindling.

 

 

As Rising Star watched, an earth pony stallion was brought down, half a dozen undead wolves pulling at him from all sides. He had been around the corner of the house and had only now become visible as Rising Star had drawn near. There was nothing he could do. He watched helplessly as a geyser of blood shot into the air and the sight filled him with even more rage.

He focused his rage upon the wolves and they exploded violently into clouds of ash and flame. There were no corpses, no bones, no nothing left behind but bits of black ash.

 

 

Sparkler slammed her way through several wolves and carefully leapt over the body of a fallen pony. The door of the house was ripped off of its hinges, which were old and rusty. She charged through the doorway and into the house. The first thing she saw was a mare having her throat torn away, but still kicking and fighting, and behind the mare was a younger filly backed into a corner.

Sparkler charged.

The mare fell and the wolves fell upon the filly, yanking at her legs, seizing her by her throat, and taking her down. One bit down savagely on her belly, trying to open her up.

Sparkler was far too enraged to notice the filly’s swollen belly.

She kicked the first wolf she reached and its head exploded into a fine red mist. She stomped down on the second, shattering its spine. The second stomp crushed its head. She kicked out, her stone hoof inches from the filly’s face, and the wolf crushing the filly’s throat was tossed away.

One wolf bit down savagely on Sparkler and she felt nothing. She kicked out with her hind leg and half of its body turned into soupy chunks of wolf bits, splattering all over the wall and dirt floor behind her.

Sparkler let out a roar that sounded like an avalanche, and continued to rampage like the angry earth elemental that she was.

Under her angry gaze, another wolf turned to stone.

 

 

Bucky entered into the house behind Sparkler as Rising Star dealt with the few remaining wolves outside. The inside of the house was a mess. There was several dead ponies, many dead wolves, and a sobbing purple-pink filly in the corner.

He rushed to her side, seeing that it was safe. Some of the limbs and body parts were still twitching, but there were no longer any solid foes except for the stoned undead wolf near Sparkler.

“Help her,” Sparkler begged.

Bucky looked down at the bloodied filly. Her eyes were glassy and she twitched feebly, still barely alive. Even as he watched, her opened throat continued to release her precious life’s blood.

The filly’s lips moved but only a gurgle came out. Bucky looked over her body and realised with dawning horror that she was pregnant. He looked down at her belly, and then his gaze fell between her legs, where he saw two tiny hind legs protruding. She had been in the middle of a difficult birth when the wolves had finally reached the cottage, freshly fed and full of fight.

“Sparkler, close your eyes honey. Don’t look. Stay here with me though, Rising Star is still killing a few wolves outside I think. I need you to close your eyes,” Bucky commanded.

Sparker was busy staring at the two little hind legs protruding from the filly’s bloodied slit. One leg still kicked feebly. Sparkler closed her eyes and turned her head away.

Bucky wasn’t sure what to do. He knew what he needed to do, but the filly was still alive and he had trouble with the knowledge of what was going to happen next. The filly had suffered enough.

As he watched, the light finally faded from her eyes and she went still, giving out one final gurgle as she passed. Her eyes were vacant as she stared up Bucky. He prepared himself for the grim task ahead. He had precious seconds.

Teleportation was never used for difficult foal births. The teleportation bubble was never exact and important bits could be sheared away. Bucky was left with one option. He closed his own eyes and summoned his magic. Reaching down with telekinetic feelers, he prodded around the slit and around the foal, and worked tendrils of magic up inside of the birth canal. He wrapped the barely moving body of the foal in a protective bubble.

And with a heart wrenching splattering sound, he tore the filly open.

The foal fell free of its confines and Bucky lifted to his neck, trying to keep it warm. It did not cry and Bucky felt his heart sinking.

“All clear!” Rising Star bellowed.

Bucky stumbled away from the remains of the foal’s mother and out the door, leaving the house of horrors behind him. Sparkler followed, her chin resting on Bucky’s withers as they walked, her eyes still closed. She was wailing with grief.

Feeling nauseated, Bucky felt a small twitch from the foal, but it was not crying, and there was no hot breath on his neck from the foal’s muzzle. He staggered and fell into the grass, his hind legs finally giving way as his adrenaline ran out. He felt Sparkler collapse atop him, and could both feel and hear her grief stricken sobs.

A stupour fell over Bucky, his mind falling into a daze. He lay in the grass as the other ponies gathered around him.

“Give it to me!” Lyra barked, cutting through Bucky’s mental fog.

Bucky felt the foal torn from his telekinesis and he looked up at Lyra.

The foal was wrapped in a golden glow and Lyra held it before her. Lyra bent her head down and touched the foal with her horn and there was a faint crackling sound.

A moment later, there was a shrill cry of a foal that was feeling the coldness of the world around it, free of the womb.

“What did you do?” Bon Bon demanded. “What did you do Lyra?” she repeated.

“I saw it in a movie,” Lyra replied. “A doctor used his horn to electro-zap somepony back to life just after they had just died,” she explained.

“Lyra,” Bon Bon whispered.

Sparkler looked up, scarcely believing what she saw. She could feel her own heart racing. She wrapped her legs around Bucky’s neck and squeezed tightly.

“Lyra Heartstrings,” Bucky gasped. “I want you to mother my foals.” He blinked a few times in astonishment.

“It is a little unicorn,” Lyra said. “A filly. A little unicorn filly,” she announced.

“And she’s alive,” Rising Star said in startled awe.

“No more death,” Sparkler murmured, pressing her face into Bucky’s neck and releasing the rest of her tears.

“While this is a very happy occasion, we need to get out of here,” Deadspin said, his voice of worry.

Bucky leaned his head into Sparkler’s warm embrace. “I hate to say this, but I think my legs are done for,” he announced.

“Oh shite and buggery,” Bon Bon swore.

“The foal needs to be fed,” Sparkler said as she wiped her face off on Bucky’s neck.

“It does,” Lyra agreed. “I know a spell. Gimme some time,” Lyra begged.

“I’m going to need somepony to haul the gear I’m carrying so I can haul Bucky back to the wagon,” Bon Bon stated in an irritated grunt. “And before you noble pegasi say anything, he’s my husband and he belongs on my back,” she added, blushing fiercely as she spoke.

Rising Star collapsed into grass. “I feel dead inside,” he muttered.

“All of you, eat, as hard as might be, you need to eat. We need you strong so you can make it back to the wagon,” Bon Bon commanded.

“Foal,” Bucky said in a strained whisper. The crying foal was music to his ears.

“Somepony is going to need to put out the fires and torch the remains of the undead,” Bon Bon announced.

Bucky lifted his head and called to mind a spell of extinguishment. In moments, the fields ceased to burn.

“I’ll take care of the wiggly bits in a moment,” Rising Star groaned.

 

 

“This is awkward,” Bucky muttered. He was sprawled over Bon Bon’s back and the mare kept cursing with every step she took.

“Of course this is awkward. I’m a lesbian. In heat. With a stallion draped over my back, and I can feel your balls slapping up against my croup with every step,” she grumbled. “And your hot sweaty pony smell is making me crazy. I’m tempted to drag you into the bushes right now and shatter your pelvis.”

“Oh, this isn’t any easier on me Bonnie,” Bucky replied.

“We’re almost to the wagon you two,” Sparkler said in a dull voice.

“I ate but I feel like my legs are going to give out at any moment,” Rising Star announced. “So this is what magical fatigue feels like,” he groused.

“I am having a troubling thought. All of the those undead took off in one direction… what if they were after this unicorn foal?” Lyra asked.

Bucky felt his blood run cold and his balls shriveled.

“That’s a horrifying thought Lyra,” Bon Bon said as she felt Bucky shivering on her back. She felt a twinge of pity for poor Bucky, especially when she felt his testicles retract.

“That’s awful,” Sparkler said. “Why was that undead pony in the thicket?”

“Probably after some rabbit that had gone down its hole,” Lyra guessed.

“Tomorrow we are coming back here to deal with the dead,” Bucky announced.

“No need sir. We will have an honour guard dispatched and they will deal with the dead. You need to be at home recovering with your family,” Deadspin replied.

Bucky did not reply. His head sank down on Bon Bon’s broad withers and he felt a quiet sense of relief. He stroked Bon Bon’s side with his foreleg and he felt her muscles quiver beneath him. “Sorry… I… I guess I just need comfort,” Bucky whispered.

Bon Bon steeled her resolve and continued for the wagon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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