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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“Buckminster?”

Hearing his name, Bucky drifted in the chasm between sleep and the waking world. He began to cross the gap, leaving the blissful pain free place he was in and moving towards the agonising state of being known as waking reality. He forced his eye open.

“We didn’t know you were sleeping, I’m sorry, I whispered your name at the door, we can come back,” Cadance said apologetically.

“Stay,” Bucky mumbled in a raspy gurgle.

“Would you like a drink?” Twilight Sparkle asked.

“Please,” Bucky said appreciatively.

A moment later, a cup of grape juice was set on the little table that reached over the bed and a straw popped into existence. The cup was held up to his lips and Bucky slurped through a straw, relishing the sweet liquid and its cold refreshing effect upon his throat.

“We didn’t know Buckminster,” Cadance said.

“What?” Bucky asked groggily, the straw slipping from his lips and grape juice dribbling down his chin, staining his pelt purple as it did so.

“The trial. We didn’t know what was going to happen. We didn’t know what Luna had planned out so carefully and told her sister, or that Shining Armor had directed you to do what you did. When we heard those words coming out of your mouth, the things you confessed to, how remorseless you seemed about all of it, it had a profound effect upon us both,” Cadance explained.

Twilight Sparkle nodded as she leaned in and began to study Bucky’s horn and eye.

“You were very brave to take a fall for your family like that,” Cadance said.

Bucky’s remaining locked onto Cadance’s own sad eyes. “Anything Cadance. I would do anything. So Luna planned this?”

“I know,” Cadance said, acknowledging what Bucky would do for his family. “And yes, she did,” she replied.

“Your horn is really fascinating. Based on my brief analysis, you’ve constructed one giant focusing crystal. The intensity of your spellcasting must be spectacular. I’ve been given a commission from the sisters to study you. Gently of course. We wish to investigate the possibilities of artificial horns and prosthetics for injured unicorns, but we don’t want them having focusing crystals and becoming exceedingly overpowered. There are a lot of unicorns with cracked horns right now, the hospitals are crowded with more cases than the system can deal with given its current state of affairs. Overzealous earth ponies and pegasi are attacking innocent unicorns and intentionally cracking or even breaking their horns, not realising that they could kill a unicorn by doing that. So many have died and the survivors… It really-”

“Perhaps another time would be best to discuss this issue, wouldn’t you agree Twilight?” Cadance said, gently interrupting her sister in law.

“Oh, sorry,” Twilight said, grinning sheepishly as she fell silent.

“How long Cadance? The foal?” Bucky asked, his voice sounding much better after a long drink, his throat soothed and cleared by the grape juice.

“As you might have discovered, I gave you a little wedding gift,” Cadance said with a soft smile. “The spell affected me as well. My foal will be born in the spring. Probably right around the same time that Derpy and Berry Punch’s foals will be born. The doctor gave your wives a clean bill of health by the way. The foals are in fine condition. You are going to be a busy daddy.”

“I am going to be an aunt,” Twilight said, her muzzle scrunching. “I wonder if there is a book explaining how to be a good aunt,” she muttered to herself.

Cadance, rolling her eyes at Twilight’s words, smiled broadly at Bucky. “You need to pick out a godmother for your foals. I don’t want to pressure you, but I know of a perfect candidate,” Cadance said with an effervescent giggle in her voice.

“Who?” Bucky asked.

“Luna has never once in her long life been asked to be a godmother,” Cadance answered.

“What?” Bucky said in reply, his voice full of disbelief.

“Well, you see, a thousand years ago, Luna was the Night Princess, and she scared ponies. She was the Sister of Thunder, The Electric Death Fury, the winged embodiment of war, death, and destruction. It made her unpopular with the nobles. Also, dark blue was considered a colour of ill omen, and ponies were superstitious back then,” Twilight muttered as she continued to peer at Bucky’s replacement eye. “You know, with my help, I think we can give you some vision in this eye of yours again, but it wouldn’t be regular vision. This would be perfect to test my theory on light warping and photon field manipulation theories, giving you extraordinary extrasensory detection abilities and the ability to see things that do not want to be seen.”

“Twilight, regular pony words if you please,” Cadance coaxed.

“The ability to see things with powerful aversion spells and to see past invisibility spells. To see all of the things hidden all around us in plain sight. I cast a really powerful spell in the library that allowed me to see like this for about thirty seconds and I found a whole bookshelf that had been secreted away. It was full of amazing books on how to detect invisible creatures and things that do not wish to be seen. All of those books have been hiding in plain sight this whole time. The world might be full of things just hidden right outside of our field of view,” Twilight explained. “I also found a whole new library wing that exists only in fold space, it appears to be completely empty, but I am testing to see if that initial observation holds true.”

“I feel stupid,” Bucky announced.

“We all do,” Cadance said as she smiled at Twilight.

“So what is going to happen to Berry Punch now that we are home… she started the war. I know there were going to be consequences we would have to face. How do I save her?” Bucky questioned.

“What laws do we try her under? Currently, there are none. Berry Punch is a free pony and there are no plans to hold her accountable,” Twilight answered.

Bucky heaved a sigh of relief and went limp in bed, his exhalations coming out as a long pained groan. He took a few deep breaths, feebly raised his good foreleg to his barrel, and laid it over his breastbone.

“I am creating the Bureau of Thaumaturgy,” Twilight announced rather suddenly.

“Oh?” Bucky grunted in a somewhat curious reply.

“Yes. And as of this moment, consider yourself drafted. Don’t bother telling me no. As of just a few hours ago, when the laws were struck down, Celestia and Luna both gave me authority over all magic. I’m taking over what is left of the agency known as the Black Cloaks and rebuilding it from the ground up. Celestia disagrees with me, but I intend to put your talent for dark magic to use and study you as I do so. Dark magic is dangerous, but I want to give it a scientific study. I don’t believe it is inherently evil, but I do think that most of the ponies who exploited it were evil. I’d like to study its usage by a pony that clearly has a good heart. You proved that today when you took the fall for your family,” Twilight replied.

“So I have no say in the matter,” Bucky grumbled.

“No,” Twilight said coldly. “Let me make this clear. Luna and I have a lot of work to do. You either work with us, or we place a magic inhibitor on that ugly black lightning rod you call a horn.”

“If this is what my Mistress wants, I will do this,” Bucky agreed.

“And what about what I want? Why is it always Celestia this and Luna that?” Twilight snapped in irritation. “So frustrating,” she grumbled as she ground her teeth together. “And why do all of Luna’s devoted servants call her “Mistress”... the whole dark mistress thing is so cliché.”

“Twilight, be gentle,” Cadance urged.

Drawing in a deep breath and flexing her foreleg, Twilight calmed herself. “We have cultists running around creating havoc and chaos. We have unicorn superiourity groups who want a return to the way things were. We know for certain there is a necromantic coven that has sprung up somewhere down in the badlands and they are experimenting on changelings. Equestria has enemies. All of our black cloak operatives have died fighting various threats and Tirek, save two, Witching Hour and Tiddlywinks. You will be meeting them soon Buckminster. They’re paranoid, crazy, and exceedingly dangerous. Just like you are dangerous. The fact that almost a thousand of their colleagues have died has left them a little bit unstable. They’re survivors though. Just like you are,” Twilight explained.

“Only two?” Bucky questioned.

“That’s it. They survived. Mostly due to their eccentric natures and extreme paranoia,” Twilight answered.

“Twilight, you need to speak to my wife… Lyra Heartstrings would jump at an opportunity like this. Lyra is a better spellcaster than I am by far. She was second only to you in her specialisation when she was in school,” Bucky said to Twilight.

“Hmm, that is actually a good idea,” Twilight murmured absentmindedly.

 

 

“Lugus, do you have a moment?”

Lugus looked up from his book and saw Sentinel. The colt was weepy eyed and looked miserable. He shut his book and set it down upon a small ornate table beside the couch and patted the spot on the couch next to him, inviting Sentinel to come have a seat.

Seeing the invitation, Sentinel hopped up on the couch beside Lugus and settled in. He took a deep breath and then shook his head.

“I’ve read the transcript,” Lugus said in a low voice.

“I was there,” Sentinel whimpered.

“I know,” Lugus said, his beak snapping together and clacking once.

“How could this happen? I don’t even understand what went on… my father is a hero… a knight. Was a knight. I don’t even know what he is right now. Why did they do this to him?” Sentinel questioned.

Reaching out, Lugus gently stroked Sentinel’s mane, trying to comfort the foal. “Your father had to perform one final task to be a hero. He brought down a very corrupt system by exposing all of its worst faults during his trial. He exposed the gross injustice. The fact that his word was considered divine and beyond reproach is an abhorrent concept in the times in which we live. Do you want for me to explain to you what has taken place?”

“Yes please,” Sentinel replied.

“The sisters rule by the divine right of their word because they control the celestial bodies. By condemning your father, they have condemned their own rule. It was the only way they could admit that their absolute power was faulty. Making your father guilty was the only way they could expose their own guilt in a way that would be meaningful. I suspect that your father was made aware of everything ahead of time. Your father proved that having a divine mandate was a terrible injustice. Such a mandate prevented the Princesses themselves from seeking justice against the alleged crimes being presented in court. If two ponies have divine mandates that hold that their word is absolute, what happens when they disagree with one another? The system cannot hold,” Lugus explained.

“So are the Princesses still in power?” Sentinel inquired.

“They are for now, but I have a suspicion that will change,” Lugus replied.

“Who will replace them?” Sentinel asked in a worried voice. “Somepony has to be in charge! Everything will fall apart and become even worse if nopony is in charge!”

“Sentinel, the papers keep talking about an old form of earth pony rule called democracy. It seems to be what the ponies want. I believe the sisters are positioning themselves to allow for such a system,” Lugus said, trying to comfort Sentinel’s worries.

“So my father had to say all of those terrible things… he had to lie… he had to admit to such awful things to… to… to…”

“The legal system had become a dragon, and your father was tasked to slay it,” Lugus said as he stroked Sentinel’s good ear. “Your father bravely charged into battle and never once flinched in his duties. Already, there are editorials appearing in the newspapers explaining much of what I just said so the common pony can understand what has taken place this day. As the sun outside sets, so does the old empire.”

“Will the new empire need knights?” Sentinel asked.

“An empire always has need of devoted defenders,” Lugus replied.

 

 

 

 

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