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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Once again, the dreamer lies dreaming… recalling lessons past.

The small glass orb on the table before him infuriated Bucky. He didn’t know what was wrong, but the cursed glass orb was resisting his attempts to enchant it. He had no instructor to speak to, no teacher to ask for help, this was his exam and he was secured away in a small room with no windows. Just a simple plain room with a small table and a cushion for him to sit on.

And the hated glass orb that he could not seem to enchant.

The corner of his eye twitching painfully, Bucky glared at his now hated enemy. He was going to fail this exam. All he had to do was cast a simple light spell on the globe. He had cast all kinds of simple enchantments already, including plenty of light spells on glass globes as practice.

This one seemed to resist him, which was maddening.

Feeling a clever burst of imagination, Bucky squirmed on his cushion and cast detect magic upon the orb. He felt the tingle of strong magic coursing through him. His birthright. The only thing his parents ever gave him that was truly his to keep that they couldn’t hold over his head or take away.

The orb showed no signs of enchantment or other signs of a magical signature.

“Oh come on!” Bucky grumped. With no further use for the orb since it couldn’t be enchanted, Bucky hurled the hated glass object into the stone wall with considerable force, not caring in the slightest that he would be in all sorts of trouble for breaking it.

The orb hit the wall and bounced, coming back to strike Bucky in the head.

Without knowing it, this moment was the defining moment of young Bucky’s life, the moment where he would perfect his technique for dealing with everything that would puzzle him in life. It would become the way he dealt with his problems, learned from the world around him, this was the moment that made him Buckminster Bitters, that shaped him into the unicorn that could out stubborn an earth pony. The defining characteristic that would exemplify his life and his method of complex understanding and his entire philosophy was remarkably simple…  

Blunt force trauma.

“CONK!” … “BONK!”

“Oh horsefeathers! I hate you!” Bucky screamed at his new sworn enemy as he struggled to lift himself up off of the cold stone floor where he had fallen and then bonked his head on the stone floor. He lifted the orb in his magic, ready to hurl it into the wall again, when he had an important thought as he rubbed one of the two large lumps growing rapidly off of his skull, the beginning of the many injuries he would sustain in a life of grievous bodily harm.

The orb did not break.

If the orb was ordinary glass, it would have broke. The realisation dawned through Bucky’s mind, filling him with competing emotions of rage and elation. The orb was enchanted. Even if he couldn’t detect it. “AH HAH!” Bucky crowed. “I have you now, you hated inanimate object of lies and betrayal!”

Bucky glared down at the orb as he placed it upon the table. He couldn’t place a light spell on it and he knew why now. Grinning maliciously, he rubbed his forehooves together and let out a small cackle, while not his first cackle, it was still a developing cackle, and would have been seen as a serious warning sign had his teachers witnessed it.

Igniting his horn, Bucky went to work, summoning up all of his willpower, hoping he could dispel the enchantment upon the orb. He had a marvelous idea. He could feel the orb resisting him, something pushing back, creating pressure in the base of his horn. Gritting his teeth and clearing his mind, Bucky continued to will the enchantment away.

And then, with enough force to make his ears pop painfully, the pressure in the base of his horn burst, giving him a terrible headache and horn-ache, but he knew that the enchantment was gone. Another brief cackle escaped his lips as he leered over the orb, plotting and planning. It was just a glass orb now. He could enchant it with a light spell, but that seemed meaningless after his effort. His stomach growled painfully. His constant magic usage was leaving him thinner and scrawnier than he usually was.

Holding the ball up close to where he could see it, he carefully conjured a tiny bit of stone from the wall, shaping the tiny amount of matter with his magic, which was exhausting. He made a tiny little castle with a few towers, one long tall tower, and he teleported it inside of the globe. He affixed it into place with a simple cantrip intended to make things stick and stay upon a surface, and he began to swoon with fatigue.

Summoning up the last of reserves, he cast a tiny snowstorm inside of the glass globe. As he watched, tiny snowflakes swirled around inside of the sphere, a raging blizzard upon the castle trapped in glass. Satisfied with his work, he lowered it to the table and placed it on the rounded indentation intended to hold the orb and lowered his head to the table, hoping his headache would go away sooner rather than later.

 

 

“Hi Harper… are you daddy’s little filly?” Bucky asked. He was laying on his back, holding Harper in the air, held between his fetlocks. He bounced her up and down gently, allowing her to ‘fly’ overhead, which was something she seemed to enjoy.

“Mama!” Harper responded and then burbled as her father gently bounced her around.

Without warning, the burble changed to a gurgle and Harper vomited up the contents of her stomach directly upon her father’s face below her. She heaved once, hiccupped, heaved again, belched, and then heaved for a third time, all upon the unicorn beneath her that was too stunned to respond.

“Oh dear,” Bucky gasped after several moments of stunned silence. “Did Harper have an upset tummy-wummy?” he inquired in a silly voice, vomited milk running down the sides of his face.

“Mama?” Harper said in an uncertain voice.

“Oh my… Bucky…” Lyra said from behind a fetlock covering her mouth. She began to snigger.

“Lyra, ’s’not funny,” Bon Bon scolded as she tried to choke back her own chortles.

“Snot is funny sometimes,” Lyra retorted as she collapsed with the giggles.

“I was trying not to laugh, I didn’t say snot,” Bon Bon argued as she began to titter.

Harper, not yet done, hurled again, this time emptying her stomach of several clumps of curdled soured partially digested milk which rained down upon her father below her.

“Oh Harper… what has daddy done to you to make you hate him? Do you feel neglected?” Bucky inquired.

“She’s been getting little magical surges, they upset her tummy as she tries to convert food to mana I think,” Lyra explained.

Bucky gently placed the foal down in the straw and sat up. He wiped the steaming vomit from his face and realised that he needed a good washing. He conjured up some water into the clean bucket, rose to his hooves, crossed the room, and went to work as Lyra came over and tended to the foal.

“You were dreaming again earlier, you seemed happy about it this time,” Bon Bon remarked.

“I was dreaming about an exam I took in school,” Bucky replied as he scrubbed his face.

“Only you and Lyra would enjoy dreaming about taking exams in school and be happy about it,” Bon Bon quipped.

“I sort of passed an impossible test. I was supposed to enchant a glass globe that couldn’t be enchanted. It was a test to see how I handled failure. The globe appeared to be completely unremarkable, with no sign of magical enchantment,” Bucky explained. “Advanced enchantment applications caused a lot of students to have nervous breakdowns. I figured out that the orb was enchanted. I broke the powerful enchantment placed upon it, made a little castle inside of it, and then conjured up a tiny little blizzard to turn it into a snow globe. My teacher, Apricot Summers couldn’t believe I’d done it. She summoned Princess Celestia. Celestia took the orb away, I have no idea what happened to it. Nopony had a way to grade me for what I had done, the whole purpose was to fail the test and then be evaluated on how you dealt with failure,” he said.

“I had to take a similar test in advanced abjuration. It was how to handle failure. Twilight Sparkle did what you did. She broke the test and then lectured the teacher about how lousy the defensive protections were that held the spell matrixes in place and that the magical wards should be protected with additional magical wards to protect the wards, and then more wards to protect those wards, and then everything covered up in feedback loops to confound any attempts of interference. I really hated her,” Lyra muttered.

“How did you handle your failure?” Bucky asked as he dried his face using magic.

“Oh, I had a total meltdown as was expected. I had to spend almost a week in the recovery wing. From what I was told, I rocked back and forth in a chair muttering about sapient oranges and their plans to infiltrate unicorn society,” Lyra replied.

“I had a week similar to that. I was taking exams. I was a little stressed. And my green beans were touching my mashed potatoes one day during lunch. I liked my food to be well separated. I lost it. I accidentally made it rain green beans after a surge. I spent a bit over a week in the recovery wing,” Bucky said,  fondly reminiscing about his time in school.

“That was you?” Lyra asked. “They had to get the best spellbreakers in the school to clean up that mess. It didn’t stop raining green beans for three days and there was butter everywhere.”

“You two scare me sometimes,” Bon Bon said hesitantly.

“Dinky is rapidly approaching the age and the education where she could make some really interesting things happen if she surges,” Lyra said with a self satisfied sigh.

“When harmony magic sours, it turns into chaos magic… good times, good times,” Bucky said.

“I swear, both of you are incorrigible,” Bon Bon muttered.

“I have to go,” Bucky announced. “I will be in the lab filling spell jars and making more spell jars.”

 

 

Derpy studied the big griffon as she sat on her haunches holding the tiny pegasus foal named Peekaboo. Lugus was looking back at her expectantly, awaiting some kind of reply. Derpy sensed that he was nervous and the fluttering of his wings confirmed her suspicions.

“You want me to do what?” Derpy asked, still not believing exactly what she had just heard a moment ago.

“I want for you to tell me how to woo a pegasus,” Lugus said in a soft somewhat humiliated voice.

“Um… why?” Derpy inquired.

“Because,” Lugus stated.

“Because is not a reason. Doesn’t work when Sparkler or Dinky use it on me, won’t work for you either,” Derpy said in reply.

“I have found a pegasus that I feel would be a suitable nestmate for me and I want the best warrior mother available for Peekaboo,” Lugus explained.

“Why me? Why not one of the many other pegasi males around here?” Derpy questioned.

“This is humiliating. I do not wish to be made into a laughingstock. I thought you would understand,” Lugus answered in total honesty.

Derpy nodded. “I do understand that,” she said in return. She looked over her shoulder at Dinky and Piña, who were giggling. “Sorry about them, they can’t help themselves.”

“Foals will be foals?” Lugus said hesitantly.

“Yeah, foals,” Derpy repeated.

“So will you help me?” Lugus inquired.

“Yeah I guess… you do so much to help Bucky,” Derpy agreed.

“Good!” Lugus cheered.

“So who is the pegasus you are after?” Derpy asked.

“Yew,” Lugus responded.

Derpy growled. It was a frightful sound, and the stiffening of her legs was immediate. Her wings flared out slightly as her ears folded back against her skull. Her head lowered, protecting her throat. One front hoof began to paw the earth.

Lugus let out a loud squawk of alarm and backed away. “Oh no, not you, Yew. Yew Wood. She is named after the tree,” Lugus cried in panic.

Derpy snorted and threw her head back. She whipped her mane around in frustration and flicked her tail. “For a moment, I thought I was going to have to remind you that I am a happily married mare and I was going to give you quite a lesson in pegasus talk,” Derpy said in a low growling voice.

“Can you still help me?” Lugus asked.

“Yes,” Derpy replied. “I might have a colt someday. And Bucky isn’t a pegasus. I might have to tell my colt how to attract a pretty pegasus filly. I guess you’ll make for good practice. This is weird though,”

Lugus nodded eagerly.

“First off, wings should be glossy and shiny,” Derpy said. “And neat. Give her something to look at. Make sure you work that wingspan too.’

Lugus spread his wings a bit. “My wings are immaculate,” he acknowledged.

“Expand your barrel… do griffons have a barrel? Make your ribs look big… bigger the better. Strut around with stiff legs, but not too stiff. You don’t want to challenge her to a fight, well, unless you are into that sort of thing but you had better not hurt her or there will be fur and feathers flying,” Derpy instructed.

“Seems reasonable so far,” Lugus answered.

“Wait, this is stupid,” Derpy said, suddenly looking very unsure of herself.

“This is?” Lugus responded.

"Yes,” Derpy answered. “This is. What do I know of pegasus courtship? I’ve been shut out by my own kind,” she said as she looked incredibly angry for a moment.

“Oh and now the storm cloud mare is angry with me again it seems,” Lugus stated.

“Okay Lugus, this is what you do,” Derpy instructed as she set Peekaboo down in the grass and watched as the foal toddled off towards Dinky and Piña. She marched up to Lugus stiff legged and commanding. “You give her a really sweet look right in the eye, just like this. And then, when you have her attention, you reach out very slowly and gently, so you don’t spook her, and then you touch the side of her cheek, like this,” she said as she demonstrated. She reached up and gently touched the side of Lugus’s head, away from his beak. “And now the next part is important. To make sure your intention is very very clear, you lean in very very close, and you tell her, “catch me if you can,” just before you take off running. And then, you run. You run fast. And if she is falling behind too much, you slow down. If she is right behind you, give a bit of speed. Make her chase you. Flying is okay, she’s a pegasus, right?”

“I see,” Lugus said, rubbing beneath his beak with his talons.

“I caught myself a pretty good unicorn this way,” Derpy said proudly. She could hear the giggling of her foals behind her. “You can skip all of the stupid dances and plumage displays and just go right for what matters. Good luck Lugus.”

“I think I shall go find her now, before the work of the day begins in earnest,” Lugus replied. The big griffon spread his wings and then he was gone.

 

Author's Note:

Bucky's learning method is flawless and produces results.

Derpy finally figures out what is important.

 
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