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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Princess Luna could not help but feel a little proud as she looked at Sentinel. He was holding up under the pressure rather well. Her sister had continued to try and question him, Princess Cadance had tried to make a few gentle inquiries into Buckminster’s possible whereabouts, and Sentinel was now playing a word association game with Princess Twilight Sparkle and Piña Colada to pass the time. Any further attempts at questioning would be interrupting Princess Twilight Sparkle’s game, which would be rather rude and breach of etiquette.

The great hall was still packed with ponies who waited and there was quite a bit of laughter as guards came in from time to time to report that Buckminster Bitters could not be found. When Princess Celestia had requested that the unicorn guard lock in on Buckminster’s magical signature, his location was pinged as being in thirty seven different locations all at once, including Princess Celestia’s office as the school Headmistress.

The guard remained flummoxed.

Princess Luna watched Buckminster’s wives, all of whom were tittering and giggling, making quiet jokes among themselves. His older foals, Sparkler’s herd, were off standing with one another and the pegasus known as Loch Skimmer occasionally brayed with laughter.

Eventually, Princess Celestia admitted that there might be a few issues getting the Prince to his own coronation and she had food and refreshments served to the guests who had arrived to attend this momentous occasion.

Princess Luna smiled a serene smile. She knew exactly where Buckminster was. He was safely secured in his hidden nook beneath the stairs of the astronomy tower according to one of her shadow stalkers, a mostly invisible servant made of shadowstuff that roamed the castle and kept her informed of everything that went on within these walls. She hoped that Buckminster had a nice conversation with Trixie Lulamoon and she hoped that Trixie would make a much needed friend. Trixie needed friends. She had been inside of Trixie’s mind many times now and Trixie lingered upon the very edge of suicidal despair.

“That’s impossible Piña! There is no way that floccinaucinihilipilification is a real word!”

Now watching the word game being played, Princess Luna saw Princess Twilight Sparkle conjure up a massive dictionary of obscure words. The book was opened and Twilight began searching, quickly flipping though pages. Princess Luna’s smile turned into a wide toothy grin as she watched Princess Twilight Sparkle scowl.

“How in Equestria did you know about that word?” Princess Twilight Sparkle demanded.

“Oh I have no idea what floccinaucinihilipilification means,” Piña replied politely. “But Starjammer was fond of using it. I encountered this word at least a dozen times in one of his books.”

“Ugh!” Princess Twilight Sparkle grunted as she stared down at the paper.

“There is also floccinaucinihilipilificate… whatever that means,” Piña added. “He used that word quite often as well. And floccinaucinihilipilificating too.”

“Starjammer was a bit verbose,” Princess Twilight Sparkle agreed. “Well, Piña Colada, you win. Congratulations. There is no way I could top that.”

Perhaps delighting just a little too much in Princess Twilight Sparkle’s defeat, Princess Luna felt a great deal of satisfaction in watching the Princess of Friendship being taken down a notch by a foal. Princess Luna sighed. There was going to be nightmares over this. Surely Princess Twilight Sparkle’s neurosis would be triggered by such a loss.

 

 

“You have food and a few drinks. That cushion is dusty but comfortable. Are you sure that you will be okay in here?” Trixie asked.

“I’ll be fine,” Bucky said. “Thank you Trixie.”

“There are guards everywhere. The unicorn guards are out in force. I had to walk right through the middle of a group of them. I wasn’t sure if my spell would hold,” Trixie said.

“Trixie, mind if I give you a magic lesson?” Bucky whispered.

“But I must go and lure them away from here,” Trixie said.

“Trixie… I’ve learned something very important. Magic is always stronger when it is being cast for somepony else’s gain rather than your own. I would be willing to bet bits or donuts that your spell held out because you were helping me. This is the big secret to having powerful magic.”

Inhaling sharply, Trixie looked stunned from Bucky’s words. “Thank you… stay safe my friend. I will lure the guards away and keep them busy.”

As the mare walked away, Bucky smiled a self satisfied smile. When Trixie slipped through the well hidden opening, his smile broadened into a wide grin. He had no idea if what he said was true, but it had seemed true enough for Trixie and that is all that mattered. He hoped that he had set her upon a better path.

His hidey hole was pretty much exactly as he had left it. A hidden nook that could be found under the stairs, the door would open when you pressed upon a hidden stone button that was heavily protected by aversion spells. Bucky had first found it by accident, when he noticed there was a place he couldn’t seem to look at no matter how hard he tried. He was busy trying to count all of the stone blocks that made up the retaining wall along the side of the stairs and his count kept failing.

Some other student from long ago has made themselves a secure place to hide away and Bucky had taken it over. Several of Bucky’s old books were still secured in the room, Bucky had left them hoping that some other student would find the room. His notes, his cheat sheets on various types of spell casting were still right where he had left them.

He cracked open a bottle of watermelon-lime soda and took a long swallow. He stuck his muzzle down inside of the basket of food Trixie had rummaged from somewhere. He didn’t know where she had found the basket, but the food probably came from the kitchen. In the basket was a wedge of cheese, a loaf of crusty bread, a whole pie of some kind but Bucky wasn’t sure what sort, a dozen hard boiled eggs, a small jar of blackcurrant preserves, a pile of peanut butter cookies, and a big container of raspberries that had cream to go with them.

Smacking his lips, Bucky went to work on the eggs, which were already free of their shells. He chewed thoughtfully and noticed that the egg was perfect. Not over boiled with the yolk turned green. Bucky was famished. He tore into the rest of the food and enjoyed the cozy feeling of being back in his hidden nook.

Finally, when he was finished, he settled in for a much needed nap. He was too full.

 

 

Princess Celestia watched as the ponies filed out of the great hall, trying to ignore the many snickers and fits of laughter as the crowd exited the room. The coronation had been a dud. She looked over at the small modest circlet still sitting upon the cushion. Buckminster was entitled to the Platinum Crown, but she knew that he would never wear such a gaudy tacky thing.

The circlet was plain, made of silver, and had a fine silver snowflake in the center of the front. It was plain and otherwise unadorned. It had the stark austerity that somehow seemed suitable for the Lord of Winter. Beside it was a torque, a gift commissioned by Keg Smasher. The torque was a relic of a forgotten time, a symbol of a proven warrior in the old traditions, and this torque was carved in old script from the old dead tongue with the word “chieftain” written in a language that nopony had spoken in over thousand years.

Princess Celestia still spoke the old words though and the meaning of what they stood for blazed within her breast. She understood now why Keg Smasher had commissioned the torque. It was only after she had read the newspaper article about Buckminster’s newfound ideals that the real meaning of Keg Smasher’s gift had come crashing down upon her like an avalanche from a mountain.

The room was nearly empty now and Princess Celestia watched as the last few ponies filed out. She came the understanding that she and Buckminster truly wanted very different things. She didn’t know how to feel about this revelation. She wanted Buckminster to celebrate his accomplishments. After all he had endured, especially after his painful trial, she wanted a moment where he was seen in a positive light. She wanted him to be happy. But Buckminster had hidden himself away, and Princess Celestia was not entirely certain why. She could not figure out what he was running from.

 

 

After awaking from a long nap, Bucky was now roaming the halls, walking out in the open. He had no concerns about being caught. The sun had set and he had a feeling that the coronation had been called off by now. He passed several guards who saluted. Lunar Guards. The Solar Guard has vanished with the setting of the sun. He was now walking among guards loyal to him and his interests, and had no fear of being caught.

Most of the guards were chortling as he passed, and he smiled a self satisfied and rather smug smile as he hobbled along. The augmentation spell was marvelous. His frail body and legs moved easily and he was adjusting well enough to his three legged gait.

He came to the Hall of Glass and noticed that there was a new window, just as he suspected there would be. It was cordoned off by velvet ropes. He approached slowly and looked up the stained glass window and sat down to have himself a long look.

He didn’t like the window at all. He scowled. He stood triumphant, striking a heroic pose over an enormous pile of dead wolves, cute looking dead wolves with comically dead faces. He was not wearing his armor. His fulgurite horn was missing, the unicorn in the window was unblemished and perfect in every way. A radiant beam of sunlight shone down upon him. No crystal lich. No terrifying darkness that had nearly robbed him of his sanity. The unicorn standing upon the wolves had all four legs.

“After everything I’ve endured, I have to deal with this insult?” Bucky snarled.

It was almost too much to bear. Reaching out with a careful thump of telekinesis, Bucky shattered the window. It took all of his effort to control, but Bucky held every shard in place. He had long worked with glass, and it was now his prefered medium. He struggled with the focus required for the harmony magic he was using.

The glass was rearranged slowly, a few pieces at a time, and reassembled. It was painful work and it gave Bucky a headache from the level of concentration required. He moved slowly, carefully, making the glass conform to his will.

In no time at all, he was sweating from his concentration, but this was the price of having to learn how to use his magic again. Slowly, the new window took shape. Bucky liked what he was seeing in the new window. This was closer to the truth.

After what felt like hours of effort, Bucky sat back and studied his work.

There was a little tan unicorn with a long black jagged horn. He was missing a hoof. The unicorn was happily shagging a grey pegasus from behind, her hindquarters up in the air and her wings spread. The grey pegasus’ face could not be seen because it was jammed between the legs of a plum coloured earth pony who was lying on her back. Sitting on the earth pony’s face was a pale blue kelpie pony with a green mane and tail. Beside the foursome was a beige earth pony and a mint green unicorn engaged in mutual cunnilingus, just as Bucky imagined they would do. He included the careful detail of the beige earth pony being on top. He didn’t want to make Bon Bon angry again any time soon. He owed her after the lying he had done.

In the distance, there were a few foals playing with one another, and off to the other side was another group of ponies. A purple-pink mare, a sky blue stallion, and two charcoal grey pegasi, one with a straw coloured mane and the other with blue. They were chasing after one another in a circle. In bottom corner was a pile of dead wolves. Horrifying ugly things. Nothing cute about them. Flames rose from the pile of bodies. In the other bottom corner, a room full of different coloured crystals could be seen, and a black armored figure standing defiantly before them.

Bucky liked this version of the window much better. Especially the happy grin on the pale blue kelpie pony’s face as she was being gobbled three ways to Sunday by the earth pony beneath her. Now the window was truthful, or so Bucky felt.

“You know, your artistry with glass is spectacular. Your wife Derpy showed me the marvelous glass pegasus you made for her.”

Bucky cringed.

“I have been alive for a very long time, and I have never seen any glasswork quite as perfect as that pegasus. You captured every detail of her perfectly. And now, you have created a masterpiece of stained glass.”

His muscles all clenching, Bucky waited for the mother of all scoldings. He was caught in the act, and he had stood Celestia up today. He could hear her approaching. After a moment, she stood beside him, leaning forward to study the new stained glass window Bucky had worked so hard to create.

“Thistle looks very happy,” Celestia remarked.

Bucky said nothing, he knew a trap when he was caught in one.

“You are the Lord of Winter. Upon the first day of winter, I will surrender my control of the seasons to you. You will be responsible for creating the first snows of the season. I know that you know the spell to do so. It will be your job to heal the land during the cold season of death. Come spring, you will surrender control of the seasons back to me. Sombra once did this job. It was a duty that he truly loved, and it was how I knew that he was lost to me forever… when he refused to end the winter.”

Bucky didn’t know what to say. Celestia was crying again and he had no idea how to make her feel better. He remained silent as he sat by her side. She towered over him, he could stand completely beneath her and not even touch her belly. He felt like a foal again.

“Since you seem to have an aversion to the word “prince” I am giving you the title you feel most comfortable with. Chieftain. I feel that it is somehow most appropriate for you. You are already gathering a tribe. Cadance has the north, Twilight has her kingdom, you will have your tribe. Somehow, this all feels right.”

“Cadance sits upon the throne that is rightfully mine,” Bucky stated in a low solemn voice.

“Do you want it? She has offered to abdicate her position for you,” Celestia replied.

“No,” Bucky responded. “Let Love rule in War’s stead. I will lead a tribe of warriors, defenders, and dutiful servants.”

“I am so very proud of you. You should ascend-”

“Not this again,” Bucky said, daring to interrupt the monarch he knew he was in hot water with. “No. Every time you ask, every time you mention, my answer will be no. It will never change. I refuse to release war upon the world. I will remain the unicorn of lusty buggery,” he stated, gesturing at the window with his bandaged stump.

“Buckminster, you cannot run from your destiny forever. Look what happened to Twilight Sparkle. She died. Eventually, the same will happen to you,” Celestia said in a sad voice.

“And if you love me you will let me stay dead,” Bucky retorted.

“Buckminster, please, do not ask me to pick between the love of one pony and the lives of millions,” Celestia pleaded.

“You don’t understand… the alicorn of war is the end of all things. Even you. I love you. But if you walk away from this conversation with me believing that you will raise me once I go, I will go out and commit deeds so black that Tartarus will secure my soul in the deepest darkest prison they have available just to keep it from ever reaching my body again,” Bucky promised.

“So this is how it is going to be between us?” Celestia asked in a heartbroken voice.

“That depends on you. I don’t want things like this between us. I would rather be your servant. I would rather be your devoted slave, just as I now am to my wives and family. But I don’t want to ascend, and I don’t want to live in fear of you raising me when I am in no position to stop you,” Bucky replied.

Celestia bowed her head. “I give you my word. I will not resurrect your divine essence. However, I will occasionally try to convince you to do the right thing,” Celestia promised.

“I can live with that I suppose. It will be annoying, but I can live with that. I will serve you. I suppose you already know about my special oath of fealty to Luna,” Bucky said.

“I do,” Celestia answered. “It has made my sister very happy. We have talked about it in private at some length.”

“I’m glad you like the window,” Bucky commented, desperate to change the subject.

“I plan to leave it exactly how it is,” Celestia said with a sniffle. “I know how my little ponies stay warm through the winter. It is somehow fitting.”

 

 

“Today, Trixie learned the secret to power that you and the others have kept so carefully hidden from me,” Trixie said to Twilight Sparkle.

The pair were sprawled out and comfortable in Twilight’s private quarters, both flopped out on the enormous bed, and Twilight was pleased that Trixie had managed to make a friend. She was curious about Trixie’s knowledge about the secret of power. Trixie often came up with all kinds of interesting things in her quest for power and glory.

“Buckminster revealed the secret to strong magic… how he is capable of such powerful feats of magic and you as well… and I have seen the proof for myself!” Trixie exclaimed.

Twilight smiled. Trixie kept slipping in and out of the third pony, but she was getting better. Her neurosis wasn’t as bad as it once was. “Well, what did Buckminster reveal exactly?”

“He told me the secret to having powerful wizardry is to not cast spells for yourself, but for others… and I have witnessed the proof of this today as I eluded the guards and brought him lunch. I did nothing for personal gain today and my feats of magic were most impressive,” Trixie replied.

“You know Trixie, he is absolutely right… I am a little shocked that he shared our little secret to being great and powerful. You must have really touched him today for him to reveal that,” Twilight answered.

Trixie blushed. “I confessed to him that I only picked on him in school because I had a crush on him,” she said as she tapped her forehooves together. “And I was very honest with him today. He was kind to me.”

Twilight sighed and felt happy for her friend. It was obvious to anypony who looked that Trixie was definitely turning over a new leaf. She made a mental note to have a word with Buckminster about his cleverness in dealing with Trixie.

 

 

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