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 reclined and watched as Lyra fed their foal. The foal seemed to be absolutely enchanted with Lyra’s enchanted lyre, and watched it intently after it sprang into existence. As he watched, he reviewed his plans for the evening. He felt confident after his many hours of making spell jars to create something a little special. Tonight, there were dozens and dozens of spell jars to fill and Rising Star was going to help him.

In the quiet of the evening, Sparkler was studying Bucky's own personal spellbook. She looked confused at times, shocked at other times, and keenly interested most of the time. Sentinel was practicing his writing, a crude pencil held in the grasping digit that opposed the central knuckle on his wing. Piña and Dinky were tucked away in bed, cuddled up against Derpy, and now sound asleep. Derpy was still awake, and Bucky could hear her talking in a low whisper to Thistle and Berry Punch. Loch and Ripple were still awake, but on the verge of falling asleep. Their quiet giggles were becoming fewer and fewer.

“Bucky, I need to understand something,” Sparkler said in a low whisper.

Bucky slid from the sofa, crossed the narrow path between the sofas, and settled in beside Sparkler. He leaned over and looked down at the page she was looking at. “What do you need to know?” he asked in a soft voice.

“Right here, there is a spell called “Acidulent Assault pH 0” and a long series of notes and hoofnotes. I don’t understand any of this,” Sparkler whispered. “What does acidulent mean and what does pH 0 indicate?” she inquired quietly.

“Acidulent means something that is highly caustic or acidic. The pH is how you measure if something is an acid or a base. I took a simple cleaning spell that removed tough stains and that was mildly acidic, about on par with vinegar, which is about a three to a five. I modified it through some magical experimentation until I created the ultimate cleaning spell. This spell will dissolve almost anything. Stone, wood, metal, even living beings. I took a simple cleaning transmutation and turned it into something else,” Bucky explained in a low voice.

“Oh… oh dear,” Sparkler whispered, her mouth now hanging open. “So you could clean away something or somepony you didn’t like.”

“Oh, I would never use it on a pony,” Bucky insisted in a gentle whisper.

“What about something not a pony?” Sparkler whispered with full body shudder.

“Things not a pony better make sure they never hurt a pony in my presence,” Bucky said in an icy whisper in return.

“So you just figured this out one day because you were curious?” Sparkler questioned quietly, looking down at the finely scribbled notes.

“Yes,” Bucky replied in a nod.

“And you worked as an accountant,” Sparkler whispered in a trembling voice.

“I enjoyed making the numbers add up,” Bucky admitted. “It satisfies my obsessive compulsive disorder,” he explained in hushed tones.

“I see. OCD. Explains why all of your notes are kerned to perfect justification to invisible margins,” Sparkler murmured.

“You know what kerning is?” Bucky asked in stunned disbelief.

“I worked in the school newspaper for a while. I too, like neat looking text,” Sparkler answered as she leaned over and whispered near Bucky’s face.

Bucky suddenly felt extremely close to Sparkler, more so than he ever had. He smiled a broad smile and cherished the moment he was experiencing.

“Can this be put in a spell jar?” Sparkler asked.

“Of course,” Bucky answered, his smile broadening as he replied.

 

 

The paper crinkled as Bucky reviewed his notes and magical calculations. He glanced over at Rising Star, whose face still showed signs of being in awe every time his horn slid through the sides of a glass orb and he filled with a tiny puff of fire. The colt inserted his horn, his eyes widened, he released a gout of flame, and then lifted the orb away.

“That is so awesome,” Rising Star muttered quietly.

Bucky grinned and returned to his notes. He was creating a new type of spell jar. Something to hold a volatile liquid and a special type of stasis field woven into the glass. It would also have a sort of magical spigot, which would allow the liquid to pass through so it could be used.

“You are allowed to drink here with me you know. You’ve earned that right,” Bucky said, reminding Rising Star of his privilege.

“Been sipping, I don’t feel drunk though,” Rising Star answered.

“Continuous casting of magic nullifies the onset of inebriation,” Bucky explained.

“I don’t feel magically fatigued yet,” Rising Star reported.

“It will happen eventually. As long as you keep taking in energy, raw calories, you will be fine for a while, but soon your thaumaturgical nerves will begin to wear out and need rest. You’ll know it when you feel it,” Bucky said, informing the colt so he would be aware.

“So I could chug a gallon of whiskey and not feel at all drunk?” Rising Star asked.

“I do it frequently now,” Bucky said.

Rising Star let out a low whistle.

“Won’t need to piss either, the continuous casting burns it right out of your system. Last night I killed a three gallon jug of mead down here,” Bucky explained.

“I am a living inferno powered by booze now,” Rising Star quipped as he returned to work.

Bucky chuckled and flipped through his pages. Everything looked right. Inside of the glass globe, time should stop completely in a very localised sense, much in the same way that it did inside of a spell jar. Decay would also be prevented, which was important for what he had planned. There were multiple spell matrices and various latticeworks that could contain something very powerful. This was the very pinnacle of transmutation and enchantment. This was ten thousand hours of his life now finally paying off.

His eye roamed over his supplies. Salt. Sand. His notes. Images of a heptagram drawn to perfect proportions, done in seven perfect strokes. Several sketches of anatomy, detailing the internal structure of a chest cavity and the tissue structures around a heart, all drawn from memory after having seen a book once a long time ago.

“Rising Star, things are going to get weird for a while. I am going to need you to stay silent. No matter what happens, you must not break my concentration. You must stay silent. Do I make myself clear?” Bucky said in a commanding tone.

Rising Star nodded and set down the glass globe he had just gone done filling. “Before you start, what is going to happen? I mean, so I can be prepared. I’ll keep quiet,” he asked, hoping for some kind of warning.

“I don’t know what is going to happen exactly, but if everything works, you are going to see something that nopony would believe if you told them,” Bucky said.

Rising Star nodded, stood up, and backed off to the corner of the laboratory. He sat back down, took a deep breath, and prepared himself for whatever was about to happen.

Bucky prepared himself mentally for what he was about to do. He was the only pony on the isles that could do what he needed to do, but he was alone, and he needed a second pony with his spell casting abilities. The problem was, type fours were rare. He had found a solution though, and he had been preparing himself for a while.

He closed his eyes, focused his will, and manifested a direct tie to the ley lines nearby. Raw magic flowed through him and the air around him began to crackle. His horn glowed with a bright blue-green aura. The stench of ozone filled the air. There was a thunderous roar and a flash of bright light.

And then he saw himself stepping out of a ball of crackling energy.

“We have very little time,” he said to himself.

“I know,” Bucky replied. “Ready?” Bucky asked of himself.

The other Bucky nodded.

Rising Star watched as Bucky had a conversation with himself and wondered if he was going to go mad. He gritted his teeth together to keep from crying out. One Bucky stood, his horn glowing in blue-green magic, and, as he watched, the other Bucky’s eye changed. It turned red, the white of his eye turned a diseased green, and a pestilent purple haze drifted from it. Black flames crackled from his horn. A whirlwind formed and sand was sucked up into it. Raw magic crackled from both Buckies and the sand turned into liquid glass. The two types of magic shaped the glass into a large orb, it glowed with heat and Rising Star felt as though he was standing too close to a fire. Rising Star realised he had no idea what he was seeing.

Both Buckies stopped casting and the magic orb was held aloft in a blue green aura. The one that had been using dark magic vanished suddenly with a loud popping sound that made Rising Star’s ears ache.

“Rising Star, hold this up for me, do not drop it. I shall return shortly,” Bucky promised.

Rising Star did as he was bid, holding the glass orb up in his magic. It felt both light and heavy. As he stared, he couldn’t tell if the orb was growing larger or if somehow, he was growing smaller. And then, Bucky vanished.

Rising Star was alone in the lab with an impossible object that seemed to be ignoring reality. It felt wrong in his magical grasp. It was a violation of the natural order and every cell in Rising Star’s body screamed at him to let go of the horrible object, or, better yet, hurl it into the wall. Time seemed all wrong. Rising Star wasn’t sure if a few moments or a few hours had passed.

And then, as suddenly as he had vanished, Bucky returned, reappearing with a thunderclap. Rising Star felt the orb taken from his magical hold. Somehow, he remained silent.

He watched as Bucky sat down and the orb was further manipulated. The whole room thrummed. He could feel a terrible pressure both inside and outside of his head, and it felt as though it was crushing him.

“I bet you are wondering what just happened,” Bucky asked.

“Yes,” Rising Star said in a gibbering whisper.

“Be calm Rising Star, you sound troubled,” Bucky said soothingly as he worked.

“There was two of you,” Rising Star whimpered.

“Yes there was. Do you want to know how I did it?” Bucky inquired.

“Yes,” Rising Star replied.

“A pony named Star Swirl created a spell that allowed a pony to step through time. The ultimate winking spell if you will. Star Swirl was very clever. He used the spell to send multiple copies of himself back in time so he could give himself details about what he observed, and all of the different versions of himself would watch and observe and experiment as it happened. He would then write down everything he saw from all the different angles of study into his notebooks. I learned this from Sombra’s memories,” Bucky explained.

“Fascinating,” Rising Star whispered .

“I used the spell to step back into time and help myself infuse magical glass with harmony magic and dark magic. I bent the rules a little bit, but I didn’t break them,” Bucky said with a hearty chuckle.

“So that’s what happened,” Rising Star said, still trying to understand what had just taken place. He took a few deep breaths, rose, and came forward slowly. He took a seat beside Bucky and watched the glass globe take on more enchantments.

“You can’t change the past. I didn’t change the past. I merely lent a little assistance to the present. Took my self a bit of convincing that I had succeeded in the future, but I believed that I had and I used my will to cling to that belief,” Bucky explained.

“So you willed the future into existence?” Rising Star questioned.

“Something like that. Star Swirl did it a few times, Sombra pulled it off once, and I figured if he could it, I had no good excuse for failure,” Bucky answered. He turned the globe around and examined it. It seemed perfect.

“That thing… it feels wrong,” Rising Star muttered. “It messed with my head,” he added.

“Yeah, it is trying to mess with mine too. Not doing a very good job. I’ve had much stronger things mess with my head, and a lifetime of learning how to repress everything. All that neurosis has been good for a few things. The essence of dark magic infused into the glass doesn’t like being woven together with harmony magic. This is an artifact Rising Star. The perfection of unicorn enchantment. An impossible object. Sombra made several artifacts. Star Swirl was obsessed with mirrors and made many reflective artifacts,” Bucky said as the room grew cold and the glass orb was cooled.

“So, what is that thing?” Rising Star asked.

“A prison and a cask,” Bucky replied. “Well, of sorts. When it is completed, I will show you. You’ve earned that right.”

“I suddenly want to learn magic… I mean really learn magic. Teach me,” Rising Star begged in a soft pleading voice.

“We begin tomorrow,” Bucky replied as multi-hued lightning crackled and popped around the orb. “I have so much to show you,” he added.

Bucky carefully set the orb down on a simple shaped wooden stand he had prepared. It was cool now, and it swirled with darkness and the colours of the rainbow. It was mesmerising to watch, almost like a lava lamp, the darkness an amorphous greasy looking mass that refused to blend with the rainbow whorls.

“Other than my wives, it is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen,” Rising Star murmured.

 

 

Author's Note:

Star Swirl was a very clever unicorn.

Bucky created a very effective cleaning spell.

 
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