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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All thoughts of sleep were now abandoned as Bucky stood in Keg Smasher’s room, looking over a large map that was spread over a wooden table. Lord Wrecker stood beside him, and Deadspin stood nearby.

“You said that unicorn that vanished from the castle was found in the Hydra Teeth. Drained and untouched by rot,” Bucky stated.

“Yes,” Wrecker replied.

“The Hydra Teeth are almost the near center of the Isles… the center… the middle is where most of the danger is. The outlying islands get attacks and have wolves, but you say the attacks lack the ferocity and seeming coordination that they do here. And this is why,” Bucky explained. “The magic gets weaker the further you get from the center, which is here,” he said as he moved a marker using his magic over the mountains drawn on the map.

“So what do we do?” Keg Smasher asked weakly. “We take yon airship and bombard the mountains?”

“No no no!” Piña cried, unable to be a good filly any longer. “You can’t!”

“Why not little one?” Wrecker asked.

Piña, aware that she might have blown it by speaking out even after promising that she would be good and she would be quiet, nervously composed her thoughts. “Whatever it is... it still has its earth ponies… its wolves... they’re still harvesting... we need to wear it down and stop it from gathering food,” she explained as she continuously licked her lips and halted out of nervousness.

“Piña, I am trusting your instincts just like I trust Berry’s instincts. Calm down. Take a deep breath. And explain a little better,” Bucky said soothingly.

“The wolves are still scaring ponies and feeding on fear. Whatever is out there is using the wolves to gather power. If you attack, whatever it is will be too strong. We need to starve it first, make it weak. We need to destroy the wolves and give it time to weaken. I’ve been reading about shadow batteries… remember? I showed you in the book daddy… you said I was smart and you hugged me and said that I might be on to something,” Piña said in frantic tones.

Bucky nodded. “Piña, calm down. Settle. You have everypony’s attention and nopony is discounting what you are saying because you are a foal. At least, I’m not,” he said in soothing tones.

Lord Wrecker eased his backside down to the floor and pulled Piña close to him with his remaining wing. His movements were slow, jerky, and looked pained. “I trust earth ponies a great deal little one. Winter Wheat had a feeling that something was going to happen, and she prepared for it. Little Wheatberry is still here because of her mother’s foresight. I think it is safe to say that everypony in this room believes you,” he whispered gently.

Piña took a deep shuddering breath and leaned into Wrecker’s embrace, thankful for the pegasus’ gentle comfort. She had just interjected herself into a very adult situation, had come out unscathed, and the event was already being pulled apart and examined in her mind.

“I could take a wing of pegasi and we could begin scouting,” Deadspin offered. “Daylight hours of course. Look for bones. Some signs of a den.”

“I don’t know about that,” Bucky said hesitantly. “My wife Lyra is paranoid, and so am I. Whatever it is we’re facing, it knows that we know something obviously, because we are preparing. But if we start patrolling the Hydra Teeth, it could reveal what we know too early. It might use magic against you. Shoot down your patrol. It might get desperate, send out another massive wave of wolves, and then another undead army.”

“Lord Rising Star and Lady Sparkler can deal with the undead army if such a thing happens,” Deadspin said gruffly. “Not sure what to do about the wolves though. While they are dealing with the undead, you could bring your own considerable magical powers to bear upon whatever is hiding out there. Isn’t there some sort of army you could conjure?”

“No,” Bucky replied in a flat monotone. “Had I time and resources, I might be able to make a few golems,” he added. As he spoke, he thought about the dream and the spell jar golems. Perfect soldiers made of glass and death. “Never done anything like that though.”

“What about necromancy?” Deadspin blurted out, which made Keg Smasher groan loudly. “That son of a bitch raised the dead against us! Our own dead! Our Honour Guard are experienced hard arses and they came home haunted! We should return the favour and turn the dead against their master!”

“There will be no unnecessary acts of necromancy upon my isles Deadspin,” Keg Smasher grumbled.

“Of course sir… I spoke out of place sir. Do forgive me sir and allow me a chance to return to your good graces sir,” Deadspin replied as his body shifted to attention.

Bucky was reminded of Sentinel as he watched Deadspin fall back into line.

“It is an emotional time Deadspin, and as a pegasus, I understand your anger,” Keg Smasher grunted. “I’d feel better if we were fighting a pony though. I want its head on a spike and mounted on the gatehouse,” he muttered.

Piña whimpered and buried her face into Wrecker’s leg, suddenly reminded that she was still very much a foal. She felt feathers gently stroking her side as she cowered.

“I am going to boost Dinky’s power and even if we can’t plague the Hydra Teeth, I am going to see what we can do about rooting out some of the dens they are bound to have around here someplace. The insect swarms should drive the wolves from their dens and into the daylight. I’ve been letting her experiment so she could learn, but it is time to take a more direct approach,” Bucky announced as he continued to study the map. “Also, I think it is time to let Lyra loose, but that might be reckless.”

“Lyra?” Keg Smasher asked.

“She is a powerful electromancer. I thought about goading her on a bit, getting her worked up and angry, and then let her conjure up a hell of a storm. It might cause some flooding though-”

“But it should also flood any dens that are found below ground,” Wrecker said, finishing Bucky’s sentence. “That is risky. Might destroy a lot of crops.”

“Sparkler can summon gems at will now. If need be, I will have her conjure up a king’s ransom and we will simply buy whatever food is needed to continue to survive,” Bucky replied. “I am too exhausted to tell if it is a good idea though. I will admit, it is reckless. Lyra isn’t even aware of the power she holds. She scares me a bit.”

“She scares you?” Keg Smasher asked incredulously.

“Imagine a hurricane so large that it stretches from one horizon to another and then some, and hailstones the size of watermelons,” Bucky explained.

Oh feck,” Keg Smasher gasped.

“Electromancy must be respected,” Bucky stated. “I have no doubts that Lyra is my equal when it comes to casual rampant devastation.”

“So… when the airship flies, and we begin hunting the wolves, I suppose it will be you on the ground drawing them out. We will blow them to smithereens with the magical ordinance you’ve been creating, thin out their numbers, bide our time a bit, allow our foe to weaken, find our foe, destroy them, and then try to perform some kind of final purge,” Wrecker summarised, bringing everypony back to task.

“That sounds like a solid plan,” Keg Smasher said in agreement. “Deadspin, because you have worked with Knight Captain Buckminster previously, I am placing you in charge of the wing of pegasi that will be used to pull and defend the airship. You said that you trusted his leadership…”

“I do sir,” Deadspin answered solemnly.

“And Buck Sergeant Sparkler is to be your second in command upon the deck. I am leaving it to you to prepare her for this position. She’s a powerful defensive unit unto herself. I want you to get her fit to lead,” Keg Smasher ordered.

“Sir, yes sir,” Deadspin said as he drew himself to attention.

“You are to get Lord Rising Star prepared for battle as well. Help him get his head screwed on straight,” Keg Smasher commanded.

“Yes sir,” Deadspin answered.

“And finally, you are to give some combat training to young Ripple. Let her bust your chops a bit. Let her knock you down a few times. Give her some confidence to work with,” Keg Smasher suggested.

“Of course sir. I can do that sir. Not a problem sir, being beaten down by a filly sir,” Deadspin replied.

“Look Deadspin, I am only going to say this once. If you want any hope of a future in command, you will do as I ask. I took a savage beating at the hooves of Buckminster’s matriarch. She knocked out my teeth and broke my nose. She laid me flat… I was stallion enough to let her pummel me and I deserved it too… that filly Ripple might surprise you," Keg Smasher grumbled.

“Yes sir, I will do as you ask sir,” Deadspin said as his ears splayed out sideways.

“Attitudes about mares need to change around here,” Keg Smasher growled.

“Actually sir, I have a petition from a group of mares that want to join the guard. They’ve been training themselves,” Wrecker reported.

“Oh really?” Keg Smasher replied as his eyes narrowed and his brows furrowed.

The Scorned Mare inspired them all. All of them are widows. They gave me quite a display. They call themselves the Ball Buster Brigade,” Wrecker explained. He heard a giggle from down at his hooves and gave Piña a little tickle with his wing.

“I want them all brought to me at once when we are done here,” Keg Smasher demanded.

“Sir?” Wrecker replied.

“I want them here. Right away. I wish to speak to them. I intend to place the Ball Busting Bitch Brigade on decks. Buckminster’s foals are going to be aboard that ship. I want ferocity damnit!” Keg Smasher snapped.

There was a gasp from Piña and her eyes went wide. She covered her mouth with her hoof.

“And what do you think of that Deadspin?” Keg Smasher grunted.

“Sir… I… I think it is a delightful idea sir,” Deadspin said in a wavering voice.

“Damn right it is a delightful idea,” Keg Smasher snarled.

“I think we should place Buck Sergeant Sparkler in charge of them,” Deadspin said, and this time, his tone seemed warm and genuine.

Keg Smasher noticed the change in demeanour from Deadspin and his lip curled back into a snarling smile. “You’re still responsible for getting Sparkler and Ripple combat ready,” he growled.

 

 

Bucky could feel his bones ache with weariness as he eased himself into bed. He had been awake for far too long. As he settled into bed, he felt two powerful forelegs wrap around him and pull him close. Bon Bon’s touch was welcome and he could feel her warm body against his back as he lay on his side. His mind began shutting down, he was too tired to keep thinking and focusing on all of the details. He felt a half awake Bon Bon kissing him just behind his ear and he felt little tingles course through his body. He could feel the warmth of her belly and the touch of her teats against his back.

He was vaguely aware that at some point, this would have sent him over the edge at an earlier point in his life. What was it that Derpy had said to him? A touch was just a touch? Something like that. He felt warm and secure with Bon Bon’s hind leg resting upon his cutie mark.

He drifted away into what he hoped would be a dreamless slumber, his final thought was of Piña and how much she had grown in such a short time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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