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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Derpy was not a happy pony. After their arrival at Canterlot castle, they had taken Bucky away, hauling him off to the hospital wing. The only thing keeping her from falling apart was her herd and her fellow tribe mates. They had been given a collection of rooms and then left alone, the door to the wing locked to keep them all secured.

This was not the homecoming Derpy wanted.

“Okay everypony. As hard as this might be, we all need to settle in. I know we are all worried, scared, wanting to know that Bucky is alright, and wanting some answers. We will get those in time. We just need to be patient and on our best behaviour,” Bon Bon announced, taking command saying what needed to be said.

“They just left us here. Not one word, just locked us in like prisoners,” Berry Punch grumbled angrily. She began to pace back and forth in the large common room.

“There is food on the table there, and there is a refrigerator,” Sparkler said. “At least they are looking after our needs and being kind. There are beds… and bathrooms… and bathtubs,” she added, her voice collapsing into a needy whine.

Rubbing her head with her hoof, Derpy looked thoughtful for a moment and then looked at her herd. “Somepony is going to need to explain what a toilet is and how it works to those of us that don’t know what a toilet is and how it works,” she instructed.

“The lights look funny,” Loch Skimmer said.

“Those are electric light bulbs,” Berry said in reply.

“Huh?” Loch grunted.

“You can turn them on and off by hitting the light switch. Think of it as magic that earth ponies and pegasi can use,” Berry explained.

“They took our weapons,” Lugus complained, his crest standing at full attention.

“Not all of them,” Sentinel replied. “We still have Rising Star, Sparkler, Lyra, you, and Ripple to look after us if something goes wrong.”

“I am shocked that we didn’t get fitted with magic inhibitors,” Lyra said as she began to explore the area, poking her head through the various doors exiting the common room.

“Sentinel, you really know how to make a filly feel good,” Ripple said, patting her sibling with her wing. “If we get a chance, I’ll show ya some of my fighting moves to help pass the time.”

Derpy listened as her herd settled in, the overwhelming sound of too many voices, and she began to think about how nice a hot bath would be. She felt guilty and conflicted, worried about her husband but wanting a bath for herself. A faint wordless whimper escaped her throat.

“It will be okay,” Bon Bon whispered into Derpy’s ear.

“Pregnant pony needs to pee,” Thistle announced.

“I guess we get started now,” Berry Punch said.

 

 

“You want me to pee into the freshest cleanest water I’ve ever seen?” Thistle asked in disbelief. She stared at the toilet, squirming and kicking her hind leg, and then she stared at Berry Punch. “Are you mad?”

“You’ve been to the mainland!” Berry Punch cried in exasperation.

“They pooped and peed in little wooden sheds!” Thistle cried back in reply.

“Just plop your backside over the bowl and pee Thistle, then you flush it by pulling down on the handle,” Berry instructed, trying to not let the stress get to her.

“But that water is fresh!” Thistle shouted. “What happens to the water after it is soiled?”

“It gets flushed and then it goes away. After that, ponies don’t think about it. The toilet just fills back up and we go on about our lives,” Berry answered.

“I feel funny about this… that is clean precious water,” Thistle whined. She began to dance in place. “What about that big thing over there, it has a little hole in the bottom?”

“The bathtub?” Berry asked. “Um, generally, you don’t pee in the bathtub, but there are exceptions,” she explained.

“Loch Skimmer! Stop playing with the light switches!”

Berry covered her eyes with her fetlock.

“Moonbow! Stop swooping around the chandelier at once! This is not a good time to practice flying in the dark!”

“I really gotta pee!” Thistle begged. “Where is a bucket?”

“Thistle, there are no buckets. You’ll have to pee in the toilet or end up going on… oh bother you actually did,” Berry said in a strained voice. She looked down at the growing yellow puddle. She could see the look of humiliation and shame on Thistle’s face.

“I’m sorry,” Thistle squeaked.

“Thistle, I know it seems strange, but you have to pee in the toilet… now the bathroom is dirty and we’re going to have to pester Lyra to come in here to clean it because there is no mop or some means for us to clean it up,” Berry said. She wrapped a foreleg over Thistle’s neck and tried to comfort the crying kelpie.

“Loch Skimmer! This is not one of Vinyl Scratch’s raves!”

 

 

Bucky watched the ceiling as his bed was wheeled to a room. He was comfortable enough, but lonely already. He wanted his family. He wanted somepony to be there to comfort him. Luna and Cadance were gone. He looked down at the IV now sticking out of his good leg and sighed. He hoped he would not be drugged up too much.

“I will bring you some special ice cream to help you get fattened up,” the nurse promised as she moved his bed. “Mister Bitters, I wanted to thank you… I think every earth pony in Equestria will want to thank you,” the nurse whispered in a low voice full of emotion.

“Thank you,” Bucky answered in a raspy dry voice.

“I will bring you some ginger ale too… is there anything else you want? Anything at all, some special treat?” the nurse inquired.

“Just my family,” Bucky grumbled.

“I wish I could do that, you deserve it… at least you will not be lonely, you will have a roomie,” the nurse said cheerfully.

Feeling frustrated already, Bucky groaned. The bed stopped for a moment and Bucky heard a door opening. Then, the bed started to move and Bucky saw the door frame up above him as the bed passed through the doorway. It was turned around so the foot of the bed was facing the door, and then rolled into place near the wall. He heard clicks as the wheels were locked into place.

“I will be back with the ice cream and a few drinks for you real soon. And don’t worry, I’ll feed you,” the nurse promised.

Bucky heard hooves on the hard tile floor and realised the nurse was gone. He sat in silence, hoping his roommate would be the silent type, maybe in a coma or a nice vegetative state so Bucky could be alone with his thoughts.

“It is funny what we do for love,” a weak scratchy voice said.

Wincing, Bucky tried to place the voice. It sounded terribly familiar.

“Love… the most hated of all emotions. It makes us stupid. We do stupid things. Well, I did stupid things… you on the other paw, you did incredibly evil things and I am not the least bit surprised, Buckminster Bitters. I remember you that day in Ponyville when you saved Dinky from the whole town. You went to such extraordinary lengths to save her. Dark magic… tsk tsk.”

The voice was vaguely sarcastic but surprisingly genuine and heartfelt. Bucky’s mind sluggishly attempted to put a name to the voice.

“You killed something on the cusp of godhood,” the voice said, all sarcasm gone. “You killed something that even the Elements of Harmony would have been powerless against. Some other way would have to be found… like dragging it to Tartarus… but you killed it and saved all of us the trouble.”

“You sure do talk a lot,” Bucky grumbled, still not able to place the voice.

“I get bored easily,” the voice answered. “Talking is all I can do…”

“Discord?” Bucky asked.

“The one and only,” Discord replied.

“Why are you here? Can’t you just magic yourself better with chaos?” Bucky inquired as he tried to move his head enough to see his roommate.

“I would if I had magic,” Discord said.

Bucky heard the snapping of Discord’s talons and then heard the pop and fizzle of magic.

“It will come back in time… or so Celestia thinks. She isn’t sure. Nopony is sure. Right now, I am distressingly mortal. I could die. It is so exciting!” Discord said in a manic voice. “I’ve never died before. Fluttershy slapped me when I told her that I could die and said she would never forgive me if I did.”

“I’m sorry Discord, I don’t know what to say,” Bucky said in a weak voice.

“I am not sorry. Not sorry at all,” Discord whispered in a frantic voice full of worry. “But I do regret not confessing my feelings for Fluttershy sooner. Why do we love? What do we gain out of it? Look at us, both of us, we lie upon the edge of ruin. They are going to railroad you Buckminster,” he added in a pained grumble.

“I know,” Bucky answered. “I don’t know why we love, Discord. I suppose it makes life bearable,” he said, answering his own question hesitantly. “How did you beat Tirek?”

“I dropped mountains on his head, zapped him with chaos magic, blasted him with harmony magic, I tried everything. Finally, I tried something crazy on the old magic eater. I gave him what he wanted,” Discord answered.

“You gave him what he wanted?” Bucky questioned.

“I lured him to a ley line nexus. He wanted to eat magic, so I force fed him all the magic he could stand. For a brief moment, he became the god he wanted to be. He was a giant… he was immense and all powerful. The next moment he popped and I contained the blast to keep Canterlot and Ponyville from being destroyed. It was an incredibly insane thing to do and also quite stupid,” Discord explained. “I didn’t know if it would work. I had no idea what I was doing, I used the only weapon I had, which was chaos. Tirek is dead, his physical body is no more. And the one little pony that I care about is safe.”

“That is all that matters. We keep those we love safe and damn all other consequences,” Bucky mumbled, feeling exhausted.

 

 

Foals could be counted on to be foals. Even during the worst of times. Especially during the worst of times. Berry shook her head at the rampant destruction of the common room. Sparkler had found several canisters of whipped cream in the fridge and all of the makings for ice cream sundaes. Instead of going on the ice cream, Sparkler had squirted the whipped cream into Dinky’s ear, setting off an epic battle between siblings, which quickly turned into a battle between hastily gathered allies.

There was chocolate syrup on the chandelier.

At least Derpy finally lightened up just a little tiny bit and had let go after Piña had squirted her with the strawberry sauce. Berry felt a bittersweet moment of happiness, it was good to hear Derpy laughing again, sounding almost carefree.

She hoped that Keg Smasher was well. He was somewhere else, secured away in another set of rooms somewhere. Berry did not know.

The door behind her opened and Berry Punch turned around. She saw Cadance, who looked incredibly sad. The sad look turned to one of shock when the alicorn saw the state of the room she had entered, and Berry felt a smile spreading over her muzzle.

“I’ve come with a bit of news,” Cadance said in a low voice. “Buckminster is secured in the hospital wing. He is comfortable, they have placed an IV in him, and the nurse intends to stuff him with special high calorie and high fat ice cream. Tomorrow, early morning, Loch Skimmer will be escorted to the hospital wing, and one pony may go with her. She will have her leg examined to see how it is healing.”

Sighing, Berry Punch looked Cadance in the eye. “Are we prisoners?”

“Not exactly. You have two family members who have been… altered, for lack of a better description. You are being observed. Which reminds me, Sparkler also has a doctor’s appointment tomorrow as well. Grimglammer wants those tremors checked out,” Cadance answered.

“What if we don’t want to be observed any more?” Berry said angrily. She held her temper in check, not making threats, and biting back all of the rage filled words that wanted to spill out.

“Please, for your husband’s sake, try to cooperate,” Cadance begged. “Now is not the time for rash anger, even if it is justified.”

“SO YOU ADMIT IT IS JUSTIFIED!” Berry snapped. She heard hooves behind her and could smell a whiff of ozone.

“Why are we being locked up?” Rising Star demanded. The room began to grow warm.

“Because of you and Sparkler,” Berry said. “Calm down Rising, don’t give them a reason to lobotomise you,” she warned. “I shouldn’t have lost my temper.”

“We would never lobomi-”

“Oh stow it,” Berry interrupted. “Wiping somepony’s mind clean is just the same is cutting out a chunk of their brain. I know what was done to Bucky. They carefully snipped out the truth and the dangerous parts and they poked around inside of his head trying to keep him safe. Are you going to keep Rising Star and Sparkler safe?”

The pink alicorn slumped. “I don’t agree with what is going on! Stop taking it out on me! I am not even speaking to my aunt right now because of what is being done! I hate her! I HATE HER!”

“I… I didn’t know… I’m sorry,” Berry said in a halting voice, her mind a confusing jumble after hearing the alicorn of love announce that she hated somepony she had loved.

“I hate that she is right. We’ve tried the other nobles. They are down in the caves below, which are now converted into dungeons. They’re not up here in the lap of luxury being made comfortable. Celestia said if we let Buckminster get away with what he’s done, it would undo all of the hard work that has been done to hold the nobles accountable. We can’t make exceptions for just one, no matter what he’s done. It would be hypocritical!” Cadance cried, the tears now running like rivers down her cheeks.

The crushing weight of reality came crashing down upon Berry Punch’s broad withers, and she felt faint. She felt her legs begin to wobble.

“We have to hold him accountable so we can uphold our values. We cannot excuse him for what he has done, no matter how good or how valid his reasons are. The future of our new legal system rests upon what we do next,” Cadance said as she sniffled.

Rising Star reached out and gently prodded Cadance. “Come sit with us. Stay with us for a while. Talk with Harper or play peekaboo with Peekaboo.”

“You’d let me stay for a while? You don’t hate me?” Cadance asked, confusion now in her voice and pain clearly visible on her face.

“No,” Rising Star said. “If you will excuse the mess, maybe we can show you that we are not a threat. We welcome you to spend a little time with us,” he added, the room cooling off slightly as his rage subsided.

“I would like to stay,” Cadance admitted. “For observation reasons,” she said with a sniff.

 

 

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