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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Just as the sun began to crest over the horizon, Bucky began to take off his helmet and power down his armor. He had spent the night pacing slowly over the deck, cursing and muttering to himself after his encounter in the cave. As his armor began to drop away, several ponies who loved him used this moment of distraction to strike.

“SLEEP!” Lyra commanded, calling forth everything she had, surging forth with a powerful mental enchantment. The spell struck Bucky unawares. His horn flared for a moment and then his helmet clattered to the wooden deck just before his body tumbled down.

“I didn’t think that would work… catching Bucky off guard allowed me to slip past his mental defenses and his guard. He didn’t have his will power up,” Lyra said sheepishly.

“Good work Lyra. Lugus, load Bucky’s armor into the case made for it. Derpy, let’s get him to bed,” Bon Bon commanded.

The grey pegasus nodded and gave a friendly kiss on the cheek to Lyra. “Ya did good,” she said to the unicorn and then she patted her with her wing. Derpy moved forward and gently prodded Bucky with her hoof. “How long will he be out?”

“Hours,” Lyra replied.

“I feel bad for ambushing him, but it had to be done,” Berry Punch said as she drew near Bucky’s body.

“That wheeze of his is getting worse,” Bon Bon stated.

“When he wakes up, if it is still daylight, we feed him, give him some water, and then we do what mares do to wear out our husband to make him sleep. We have numbers on our side. Or we can distract him and have Lyra zap him again, but he might be a bit suspicious or on to us,” Derpy said as she looked down at Bucky’s sprawled out form. As she watched, Lyra’s magic enveloped him and lifted him into the air. Derpy watched Bucky’s body wiggle in the air as Lyra shook him gently, shaking loose a leg guard and then she lowered him over Derpy’s back. Derpy grunted, shifting Bucky’s body around. “He doesn’t weigh anything anymore,” she added as muscle in her foreleg quivered from a line of drool that came from Bucky’s open mouth as it began to trickle down towards her hoof.

“I know,” Lyra said in a timid voice. “It takes no effort to lift him now.”

“We need for this to end. I know we need to go home, but I don’t know if that is a good idea. Bucky needs time to recover. I’m worried that this is gonna kill him,” Berry Punch said, giving voice to her fears. “Not whatever is hiding under the mountain, but all of this.”

“We’ll need to pamper him for a while. He’s earned it,” Bon Bon stated.

Lyra nodded and watched as Derpy carried Bucky away, heading off to the door of the cabin. “I love him Bon Bon. It makes me feel funny,” she admitted.

“Me too,” Bon Bon replied.

 

 

Sentinel watched as Moonbow settled herself on his bed and sprawled out. It was the late afternoon, soon to be evening, and ponies were starting to wake up. Except for Moonbow, who seemed ready for a nap. He was sitting at a small fold out shelf desk intended just for him and his writing.

“Are you happy?” Sentinel asked.

The lunar pegasus filly yawned and then studied Sentinel before responding. “What does happiness have to do with anything?”

“Well, I don’t want you miserable,” Sentinel replied.

“I like it here. I like Dinky and Piña. I like Ripple, from what little I have been around her. And I really like our matriarch,” Moonbow admitted.

“I love all of my mothers,” Sentinel stated.

“It is only proper for a male to love the females that have reared him,” Moonbow said with a snort. She wiggled around and rolled over onto her back, scratching herself with a hoof as she did so. “We must hunt other worthy females together. I demand a proper herd.”

“Hunt? Seems like such a strong word,” Sentinel said in a soft reply as he watched Moonbow rolling around and scratching. “You need a brushing. I get the itchies too.”

“Hunt. Capture. Catch. Lure in with sweet words. Find. Keep. I require more females,” Moonbow said as she gave Sentinel a look.

“I want to make something very clear. I intend to follow my father’s example if I do form a herd. If I take other wives, they might not be like us,” Sentinel said in a worried voice to Moonbow.

The filly gave a snort. “I like you. You are bold. I shall hunt you something soft and weak.”

“They are not soft and they are not weak. Berry Punch, the earth pony mare, she started a war to declare her love for my father,” Sentinel said in a slightly annoyed voice. “She set off a war that ripped a country apart and broke a fragile peace that has lasted for centuries.”

Moonbow rolled over onto her belly, lifted her head, and then looked at Sentinel with narrowed eyes. “That is a powerful courtship display. I shall have to rethink my thoughts of the others.”

“You do that,” Sentinel said, looking Moonbow in the eye.

“You are a fearless male to be meeting my eyes like that. In my colony, if a male looked into the eyes of a female, he was thrashed until he submitted,” Moonbow stated.

“And how did that work out for your failed colony?” Sentinel asked. He watched as Moonbow bristled in front of him, he could see the fine hairs along her back rose up in anger. Her breathing increased.  As Sentinel watched, the filly became angrier and violence seemed likely.

“You are right. We were stupid.”

Sentinel gave an internal sigh of relief when he realised that her anger was not directed at him. He watched her ears droop as the anger melted away from her, and was replaced with sadness. He abandoned his desk and went to his bed, which was two whole steps away. He crawled onto the bed and sat down beside Moonbow, who was looking at him. He thumped his skull up against hers, headbutting her gently, and rubbing his scent glands below his uninjured ear over hers.

It was a move that Moonbow did not expect and had nothing to compare to. In her colony, no male had ever done anything quite like this. Unable to come up with any kind of response, she froze and waited for Sentinel to make the next move.

Sentinel raised his head and peered at the door. A second later, Dinky and Piña came barreling through, big grins plastered on their faces as they looked at Sentinel and Moonbow.

“You two are kinda adorable,” Piña said as her smile widened.

 

 

“Bucky, I know how to speed up our search,” Lyra said.

The stallion yawned as the sun neared the horizon slowly. There was still a while before there was darkness. He looked up at Lyra as he lay upon his back on the bed.

“I had the most excellent idea Bucky… we’re wasting too much time and effort hunting for spires and going from island to island. I was able to secure the magical frequency from the crystal sample you brought back. I am working on a spell that will make the ethereal bridge visible and make it flash like a beacon. The ethereal bridge will look like a beam of magic going towards the Isle of Groats. We just need to find the beams and follow them out to their locations. At the end of each beam will be a crystal spire. I just need for you to give the command to head back towards the general direction of the Isle of Groats so we can find the termination point of the beams, and then we can head back out and follow the beams to their source. No more random fumbling around hoping to find a spire,” Lyra said, giving a long winded explanation.

“You are a better wizard than I am,” Bucky said as he pulled Lyra down on top of him. The unicorn mare let out a cry of alarm as Bucky groped her, and Bucky gently embraced her. He kissed her on the cheek as he rolled over on his side, spooning a bit with a Lyra and looking into her golden eyes with his own single eye.

Lyra, realising that once again, Bucky was not actually trying to do anything too untoward with her, relaxed in his embrace and trusted him with her body.

“I was taunted by our mutual enemy. He… it said that you were a better wizard than me. And he’s right. You come up with utterly brilliant simplistic solutions while I rely on brute force. We might have been out here hunting for days,” Bucky said as one hoof traveled up Lyra’s shoulder, trailed along her neck, making the mare shiver, and then he gently pulled her in for a tender kiss, holding the back of her head with his hoof.

Lyra melted. It was a simple soft kiss, there was no invasion, no intruding, no tongue, not even an open mouth, just a simple soft pressing of the lips together. There was absolutely nothing at all threatening about the kiss, and Lyra found herself reciprocating, reaching around and stroking Bucky’s neck.

And then, before things got too heated and tempting, Bucky pulled himself away.

“I am a one trick pony. I am practically a pegasus when it comes to magic. I use raw magical intimidation, brute force, and I bludgeon everything into submission because it is the only thing I know how to do,” Bucky whispered to Lyra, whose snoot was scant inches from his own. “But I can change. I need to change. Help me.”

“Of course,” Lyra said in a strained voice, feeling strangely emotional. She was close enough to be breathing Bucky’s air, something that usually only happened with Bon Bon. “We’ll start all over tonight if you will give the order to head back to the Isle of Groats so we can find the ethereal bridges.”

“Done,” Bucky said.

“These two are so sweet with one another,” Bon Bon said as she crawled over the bed and flopped down on top of Lyra, making the green unicorn grunt.

“Bucky, you can cast wards and protective spells… you have the basic theory. You just lack the patience. Don’t get me wrong. You can be incredibly patient when it comes to certain things,” Lyra said as she struggled to talk with Bon Bon crushing her.

“Hey, come and eat. Dinner is done and the sun will be setting soon,” Berry Punch announced as she stuck her head in the door.

 

 

Bucky stood at the prow of the ship, staring ahead into the darkness. They had changed course, and flew back at full speed towards the Isle of Groats, the ocean dark beneath them. The wind whipped his long mane around him, and the ponies behind him agreed that he struck a fine figure leaning into the wind.

Ripple stood by, fierce and protective. It was unlikely that anything would attack them, but Ripple felt better protecting her father. She was beginning to understand that she needed to feel useful, she needed something to define her life and give her purpose.

“Bucky, that’s enough dramatically staring ahead into the darkness for now,” Lyra said in a loud merry voice. “You and I are dueling. Right here on the deck. Sparkler, Rising Star, Dinky, it is time for you to learn something, so gather around and watch. The rules are simple. Defensive spells. No hurting one another. I’ll use a little zap spell that might sting a little, but it doesn’t really hurt. I’ll even go easy on you at first. Try to wear down my protections using the spells I’ve been trying to teach you.”

Bucky turned and looked at his unicorn wife, who was already throwing up protective bubbles and shields. A floating tiny magical bubble was orbiting around her body, darting about wildly to and fro. He started calling up his own defenses, which were crude and simple, things he had learned in remedial defense, which he had only just barely passed.

The other ponies on the deck scrambled, giving the dueling unicorns a wide berth.

Before Bucky could even get off a spell to begin to wear down Lyra’s defenses, he felt a powerful zap. It made his mane and tail stand on end and electricity coursed over his pelt.

“That was easy,” Lyra teased.

Bucky let go with a brutishly powerful dispelling enchantment. The blue-green bolt of energy flew at Lyra. The little soap bubble that Lyra had conjured zoomed in to intercept and second later Bucky was hit by his own spell, which did nothing. The tiny magical orb that Lyra had summoned bounced around in a seemingly mocking fashion.

“You would have just ripped apart your own defenses. This little floating orb is a spell reflector. Anything you cast at me will be bounced back to you. So trying to break down my defenses, slapping me with telekinesis, shooting ice magic at me, this little bubble will bounce most direct attacks aimed at me back at the idiot shooting me. You need area of effect attacks that do not try to target me specifically to even have a chance at slipping past this little fella. He’s protective,” Lyra explained.

Bucky nodded and began to summon more defenses. “How do I dispel it?” he asked.

“You don’t,” Lyra replied. “It is master level abjuration. There is no way to dispel it, you have to slip past it somehow,” she instructed as she made the spell reflector pop into nothingness.

“Well, that makes things a little more fair,” Bucky muttered.

“I have no intention to make this fight fair. Fights are never fair. You and I, we don’t have honourable enemies Bucky. So come on, do your worst,” Lyra invited. She smiled a smug smile and gave Bucky a saucy wink.

Bucky let go with several spells, most of which bounced off of Lyra. One spell caused her shield to crackle and pop but the shield held. He took a bit of satisfaction in seeing the look of surprise on Lyra’s face, but he couldn’t tell if she was being genuine or just leading him on. Lyra was crafty, and like Berry Punch, probably much smarter than he was. Bucky was beginning to realise just how thick headed and stupid he was.

“It is all music Bucky… spell crafting is music. Shields and protections are like glass and spells are frequencies. You have to find the right pitch, the right tone. You make just the right sound, and glass shatters. When you slam into a shield, you have to figure out how it hums, how it reacts, and then you have to hit it with just the right frequency to make it shatter. Just like tapping on a wine glass will make it ring, you have to learn how to listen to the sounds of magic as it happens. I have a pitch perfect ear. I know every spell, I hear the music in everything. And then it is merely finding the harmony between the spell and the shield… the right magical musical note to make the shield shatter,” Lyra explained.

“Bah, your metaphors are confusing and sleep inducing!” Bucky taunted.

Lyra pulled back her lip into a sneer and pressed her advantage. She let go with a powerful burst of magic, stripping away all of Bucky’s defenses and giving him a good zap to teach him some respect.

Bucky staggered backwards, sparks still coursing along his body, and gave a maniacal laugh. “For all of your defenses, taunting still gets through,” he said after he guffawed for a bit.

“You celebrate a pyrrhic victory,” Lyra scolded.

“I take what I get!” Bucky retorted.

“Ugh, you are so thick headed and brutish!” Lyra grunted.

Still smiling, Bucky began to summon up his defenses as he heard laughter all around him. Lyra was soundly thrashing him, repeatedly, but he didn’t mind. He grinned his fiendish grin and send off a few shots at Lyra, making her shields crackle and pop.

Lyra blocked his attacks effortlessly and kept her defenses secure. Bucky’s attacks were weak and ineffectual. She sighed, and began to prepare a much stronger zap spell. Bucky only understood one thing when it came to instruction, there was only one way to reach him. As she prepared to cut loose, a glass orb materialised directly in front of her and crashed to the deck, shattering. There was a flash of golden light, and she felt the powerful rush of her own magical signature. A second later, she felt a light telekinetic tweak upon her nose, and a building fury began to build up inside of of her.

“YOU CHEATED!” Lyra shouted.

“UNICORN CLEVERNESS!” Bucky crowed. “It isn’t cheating when I do it!”

“You used a spell jar you conjured up filled with my own magic against me!” Lyra cried.

“Your own magic ignores protective enchantments and always works. No chance of being resisted. I learned that in enchantment,” Bucky replied.

Lyra felt a grudging slightly hateful respect for Bucky as she stood there glaring at him. She had been defeated, felled by her own magic. “You clever bastard,” Lyra said. “Ugh right now I want to toss you over the railing Bucky. You are unbelievably infuriating sometimes. And I think I love you for it.”

Bucky lifted the shards of broken glass in his magic, crushed them into a fine glittering powder, and then let them float away into the breeze.

“Would somepony explain to me the moral of this lesson?” Rising Star begged.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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