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 days were passing by in a blur now, and Bucky had lost track of just how much time had slipped by. He was sleeping very little. The wolves were slowly returning to the isle and their howls could be heard nightly now, but not in force. The bitterly cold nights were gone, and much of the lingering sense of fear had not returned.

The purge that Dinky had committed had been horrifyingly effective. Other isles were now reporting no howls at all now that the wolves had returned to the Isle of Groats, most likely having returned to guard their master.

Hope seemed infectious.

 

 

“It feels nice to have a day to do nothing together,” Loch Skimmer announced as she rolled over onto her back and rubbed her croup on the grassy earth. She snorted a few times, worked loose a fart, and she flicked her tail a few times just because it felt good.

“Mama bird made Bucky take a break, and I am fine with that,” Rising Star said as he flopped down beside Loch Skimmer. “Working in the forge though is awesome. I am learning a skill. I can keep steel in a liquid form with like no real effort at all, I don’t even have to think about it anymore, and I’ve heightened my control to amazing levels.”

Ripple flipped a cartwheel in the grass and then somersaulted backwards, landing on her hooves. Her wings remained folded the entire time. After giving a grin, she took off walking on her forelegs with her hindlegs held high in the air.

“She’s turning into an acrobat,” Sparkler remarked casually before also flopping down in the grass with her mates. “Ripple can stand on her front hooves and box with her hind hooves. She’s amazing.”

“All of my wives are amazing,” Rising Star bragged.

“You know Rising Star, when we go home, you are going to be the only colt your age that is married,” Sparkler quipped as she watched Ripple’s lithe flexible body bouncing about like a spring.

“I’ve thought about that,” Rising Star replied. “Every day I wonder what my mother and father are going to think.”

“That’s ‘nuff of that, too serious,” Loch said as she chewed on a mouthful of sweet clover.

“She’s right… I’m gonna go chase Ripple,” Sparkler announced as she rolled up on to her hooves and gave herself a shake.

“Good luck,” Loch snarked. “Ripple is faster than a pease porridge fart through a pegasus with its tail on fire.”

“Oh, I intend to catch her, maybe do a little innocent snoot-bumping,” Sparkler said, announcing her intentions.

“Oh I wanna watch this,” Rising Star remarked.

 

 

Derpy settled herself over Harper and Peekaboo, both foals under one wing. She let out a happy little soft nicker and fluffed out her feathers. Using her snoot, she scooted Harper towards her and smooshed her gently against Peekaboo. “I can’t believe Lugus named you Peekaboo,” she murmured to herself. Sentinel settled himself in beside her in the straw, taking a bit of a break. She watched as he yawned and she felt bad for Sentinel being awake during the day. With the foals sandwiched between them, Derpy felt that the foals were secure. She settled and gave Sentinel a loving nuzzle.

Her gaze went to Bucky and Berry on the bed. His head was between her hind legs, resting on one of her thighs, and Berry, who was laying on her side, was stroking his head softly with one folded fetlock. Under almost any circumstance, this would have seemed sexual, but in this instance the act was serene. Derpy could sense by his breathing that Bucky was asleep.

“Sentinel, I know that you think this family is a little weird sometimes, but do you understand at all what is going on?” Derpy said in a soft whisper.

“I understand that father carries an extraordinary burden upon his shoulders. I also understand that what he and Berry did together comforts him, even if looking at it does make me feel a little strange,” Sentinel replied. “I would never begrudge him for seeking comfort. Not after what I saw in the dream.”

“Still think about that huh?” Derpy asked as her eyes lingered on Berry Punch and Bucky’s blurry forms. She squinted one eye closed and the pair came into focus.

“How can I not?” Sentinel answered in a choked voice. “All of you were dead. I was dead. And he was alone. It broke him. And now he sleeps like a foal at mama Berry’s teats. At least he’s not crying and kicking in his sleep.”

“Does that trouble you?” Derpy asked.

“Of course it does,” Sentinel replied in a flat voice. “Watching him kick and cry makes me actually hurt inside.”

“No, I meant that he is sleeping at her teats… I’m just worried that this will seem weird somehow,” Derpy said for clarification.

“Oh,” Sentinel remarked. “I’d rather he do this than drink himself into a stupour.”

“I think I agree with you,” Derpy whispered. “Do you write about me in your journal?” she asked, changing the subject to something not quite so weird.

“Yes,” Sentinel said sheepishly.

“What do you write about?” Derpy inquired.

“It is kind of private,” Sentinel said slowly in a low voice.

“You don’t have to tell me,” Derpy said. She leaned over and gave the young colt a kiss.

“My last entry was about how I am learning everything I need to know about being a pegasus from you,” Sentinel admitted.

“D’aw,” Derpy gasped. She could feel her eyes beginning to water.

“You might have feathery wings and I might have leathery wings, but we are still pegasi and you’re the sort of pegasus I want to be like,” Sentinel explained in a low trembling voice.

“You say such sweet things and you mean them,” Derpy answered in a quavering voice.

Sentinel did not reply. He leaned his head over instead and rested it upon Derpy’s neck. He heard Bucky snort faintly and he watched as Bucky stretched out his hind legs. There was a faint soft snore coming from the sleeping stallion.

“He’s snoring!” Berry said in a hissing whisper. “It’s tickling my teats!”

 

 

The endless grey expanse loomed all around him and Bucky felt a serene calm settle into his mind. He knew this place. And he knew the two figures approaching him. He was actually glad to see them now, and he discovered that he looked forward to these visits.

“My son,” Sombra greeted.

“Bucky,” Platinum said warmly.

“Hi,” Bucky replied, not sure what to say. It felt strange trying to talk to them in a familial way, and all he had to go on for experience was his own parents. But Bucky didn’t want to go by those standards.

“The hour of your proving draws nearer and nearer I think,” Sombra stated as he pulled Bucky into a hug.

Not waiting for Sombra to finish, Platinum pushed her way into the embrace and wrapped her own forelegs around Bucky’s neck. She squeezed delicately at first, and then slipped into something a bit more base and equine.

“We’re proud of you. We watch everything you do now. The master of this realm, who has always used visions of failure to torture us now shows us your life in detail,” Platinum said as she pushed Bucky down to the soft grey expanse. After she made him settle, she rested her head upon his withers and then watched as Sombra sat down beside her.

“Certain things trouble us,” Sombra admitted.

“Yes they do,” Platinum agreed as she snuggled closer to Bucky. “Like the imp.”

“Bah, it was an imp,” Sombra retorted. “What is one imp? What troubles me is that you are keeping it from your wives. Be open with them. Be honest. You listen to Bon Bon you scoundrel, or I will tan your hide somehow. You aren’t so big that I can’t,” Sombra growled.

Bucky felt an odd sensation of absolute panic. Is this what it feels like to have your parents disappointed with you he thought to himself. He tried to reorganise his thoughts. He had lived his whole life with his parents disappointed with him and everything he did. But this was different. This mattered in some meaningful way. “I am sorry sir, I will try to do better,” Bucky promised in a fearful foalish voice, and he couldn’t help but notice that he sounded like Sentinel.

“Sombra, stop it, you’re scaring him. A gentle coaxing is all he needs, you don’t need to act like a brute pegasus,” Platinum scolded.

“He doesn’t even act like a unicorn anymore,” Sombra retorted.

“I don’t?” Bucky asked.

Both Platinum and Sombra fell silent, and Bucky could feel Platinum’s head rising from his withers. He could feel her soft breathing on the back of his neck, and it was comforting. He felt like a foal again, much like he had felt with Berry just before going to sleep.

“It is hard to say how you act… dear. We do find your behaviour a bit… troubling. There are times when you act like an earth pony. Or a pegasus. You behave like a brute now. Unicorns are supposed to be about gentle cunning,” Platinum said. A loud snort made her turn her head and she glared fiercely at Sombra. “Sombra, for all of his brutality on the battlefield, was still a unicorn. Refined. Graceful. He killed beautifully and artistically. He had this brilliant move where he sucked all of his enemies into one spot, froze them solid, and then shattered them with a delicate telekinetic tap. It was lovely to watch. He killed by the thousands but did so in a refined and genteel manner. Bucky… you behave like… like… like a filthy savage!” she said with a shudder.

“Oh come on, it isn’t so bad,” Sombra said.

“He’s making a suit of armor with claws! Claws! Do you know what you do with claws? It’s messy!” Platinum squealed, working herself into a tizzy.

“What is that modern parlance they use now? Yes… stop being a drama duchess,” Sombra said gently as he stroked his wife.

“I am a princess!” Platinum wailed.

Sombra rolled his eyes and carefully patted the unicorn mare in the throes of pique.

“I married earth ponies, a kelpie, and a pegasus,” Bucky said in his own defense. “And a unicorn too… I love them all… all you married were unicorns… things might have turned out differently for you had you opened your heart to others,” he insisted.

“I doubt that. I don’t know… perhaps,” Sombra conceded.

Platinum shuddered. “Marrying outside of your tribe… I understand you live in modern times dear, but like should go with like. You don’t mix lemon juice and milk without consequences.”

“Hey, I love all of my wives as ponies!” Bucky retorted, raising his voice enough to cause Platinum and Sombra both to draw back. “Tribe has nothing to do with it! You said that Sentinel was worthy as your heir, did you mean that or not?” he demanded.

“We did,” Sombra replied, taken aback slightly. “But that’s different.”

“A pony is a pony is a pony!” Bucky growled. “I see no difference! We are one tribe!”

“Perhaps he is right dear,” Platinum said in a soft voice filled with shame to her husband.

“It seems that even in death, there is much to learn,” Sombra admitted.

“They’re all mares. They all have hearts and needs. All of them are ponies, and all of them will have my foals. And those foals will be little earth ponies, little pegasi, little unicorns, and even little kelpies with your royal blood. I have four foals coming that I will treasure as my foals and there are no tribes! Just MY TRIBE!” Bucky said, his words getting louder and louder until he finally bellowed. “And if I hear so much as a single snort of derision from either of you, I will hunt myself down a griffoness, woo her, screw her, and keep screwing her until she squirts out little hippogriffs with your blood!”

Princess Platinum let out a gasp and fell over limp with a muffled thump.

“She’s fainted,” Sombra said in shock. “She hasn’t done that in about seven hundred years. The last time she fainted was when she discovered that one of her grandfoals had taken over the shadow government and the nightmare cult.”

Sombra prodded Platinum, trying to rouse her. He looked worried.

“I’m sorry… I guess I got carried away,” Bucky apologised. “I didn’t know the dead could faint.”

“She still has her unicorn sensibilities, which you seem to have lost,” Sombra said in neutral tones.

“I’ve lost nothing important!” Bucky growled. “But I have gained a great deal.”

“Perhaps you have my son,” Sombra admitted in a halting voice. “The Founders wanted their tribes to live together, but they still recognised each other as a different tribe. Perhaps it is better this way… your way… to look at your herd as your tribe. Maybe those distinctions were a mistake, and we should have seen ourselves all as ponies all along.”

Bucky pulled himself up into a sitting position and looked down upon Platinum. “I feel bad,” he muttered.

“You shouldn’t,” Sombra said reassuringly. “You defended your tribe… from us,” he finished, his words filled with a lingering pain. “You truly are my heir. I am proud to know that my bloodline had finally produced one such as as you. One worthy son after a long line of vile unspeakable monsters.”

“I don’t feel worthy,” Bucky confessed. “Especially after what I did to Dinky. I feel lower than dirt.”

“Dinky has a powerful talent. The sort of talent that historians will write entire volumes about. As terrible as it might have been, using her gift to assist you in your war efforts was a good move. Sometimes, the pressing needs of the many must be balanced upon the shoulders of a few. She is young and she is resilient. She will recover in time and be made stronger for her experience,” Sombra explained. “And wiser,” he added in a comforting voice.

“I still feel bad,” Bucky said.

“A prince should feel terrible when any of his subjects suffer… an important lesson that I myself forgot,” Sombra remarked.

Bucky lifted his head and looked at Sombra, his glance drooping into a slack jawed stare. “What?” he finally gasped in an almost silent breathy utterance.

“You heard me,” Sombra said in a commanding voice. “Just what do you think it means to be my heir?”

“NO!” Bucky retorted. “I don’t want that. I don’t want to be the alicorn of war, I don’t want to be the prince of anything, no no no!”

Sombra drew a deep breath, held it, and let it out in a patient sigh. Then, he looked at Bucky, fixing his commanding stare upon his flesh and blood. “You were meant to be the alicorn of war. My bloodline was promised to restore the alicorns back into the world. Already my brother’s bloodline has proven worthy of this prophecy and you must take your place by Twilight Sparkle’s side. You were born to this. This is your fate.”

“Is… is this why you haven’t gone through the gate? So if I ascend, do you think you will go through? Is this what it takes for you to be free?” Bucky questioned in a pained voice.

Sombra nodded. “I think we might, hard to say for certain… I have been punished for so long… and now, I get to watch your triumphs. I can only assume that my punishment will end with our mutual reward… your ascension and my freedom. I will have endured to see the restoration of the alicorns through my bloodline as promised so long ago.”

I can’t,” Bucky whined. “You don’t understand. I can’t!

Sombra slumped, looking defeated and saddened.

“I don’t mind destroying the wolves. I don’t mind protecting the ponies and restoring your legacy to something good and worthy… but I cannot become the alicorn of war. I don’t want anything to do with war,” Bucky argued.

“Then Platinum and I will endure here. Perhaps in another thousand years there will be another,” Sombra said as he stared down at his own hooves. “I am still proud of you for proving to be worthy as my heir and for attempting to restore my legacy. You have endured so much so far. I have no doubts that you will crush your enemies and go home a hero to Celestia, who will welcome you as one of her own, a noble that has truly proven worthy. And I do hope that you will be given a chance to continue our visits,” he continued in gracious tones.

Platinum began to stir and she raised one hoof to her cheek. She took a deep breath and made a wordless murmur.

Sombra stared down at her and gently touched her side. “You must do what you believe is right,” he said to Bucky. “Even if it means that we continue to suffer. We have one another, and we will endure.”

 

 

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