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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Rarity moved through the processing camp with recent arrivals from Manehatten. Behind her, her sister and her sister’s friends trotted with her, and Rarity carefully assessed the situation. There were wounded ponies that would need medical treatment, foals that were missing their parents or had no parents and needed to be looked after, and ponies with special needs like the elderly and the infirm.

Being the fabulous Element of Generousity had its perks. Ponies knew her and her visits to the camps were always well received. It was important that the refugees felt that somepony cared about them. Twilight was very insistent about this issue and Rarity agreed.  

“Oh Sweetie Belle… be a dear and take a message. We have a large group of foals that will need to be sorted out. It is going to take a while… be a good sister and run to Sugarcube Corner. Tell the Cakes that I will require treats. An assortment of cupcakes, cookies, and fresh fruit if there is any to be had shall do nicely. Tell them to place it upon my tab. And Apple Bloom… Scootaloo... could you be so kind to help deliver those treats?” Rarity said to the trio following her.

“We’d be glad to,” Apple Bloom said. “Alright girls, we have to go do our part. Let’s go!”

Rarity watched as the trio went running off and sighed. All three of them had become so responsible and grown up over the summer. Sweetie Belle was maturing. Apple Bloom showed so many leadership qualities. And Scootaloo had her delivery service.

Tossing her head around to whip her mane out of her face, Rarity continued on her rounds. She pranced carefully, moving among the crowd, waving and smiling, making her way to the hastily constructed shed that housed the office for the processing camp. As she moved through the crowd, she saw a familiar face.

She froze, looking at the soft cream coloured mare with a blue mane that was gingerly slipping free from a wagon hitch harness. The harness had rubbed away her pelt in places, leaving bare exposed skin, some of which was blistered. The mare was dirty, caked with old mud, her hooves were chipped and scuffed, yet somehow she managed to radiate a quiet dignity  despite all of this.

Rarity felt her heart seize up in her barrel. “Coco Pommel… what has become of you?”

 

 

The water looked cool and inviting. The afternoon was warm, entirely too warm, and Bucky realised that the heat was going to be a problem for him from now on. He watched Thistle swimming, surfacing occasionally to wave before disappearing once again beneath the waves. She had been in the lake all night. He had missed her in the bed.

He watched Ripple, marveling at her physical skill. She was standing on one front hoof, balanced upon the top of a post that held up the rail along the rear porch. She hadn’t moved in quite some time, and had become a Ripple statue. Earlier, she had gone tearing around the fields after drinking her coffee.

Out of the corner of his surviving eye he saw a streak of grey go galloping down the dock and then go diving into water, cannonballing in and causing an enormous plume of water to rise up. Bucky had practical concerns. Like wet ponies coming into the house and tracking in water. He was going to have to enchant the back door to instantly dry ponies. It was a simple enough enchantment and it was more commonly used to dry off ponies soaked in the rain before they came inside. He made a mental note to apply it on the front door as well.

Something large flew overhead and Bucky realised that Lugus was heading off towards the Everfree, probably to go hunting. Living on the edge of the Everfree had its perks.

It was almost too peaceful and Bucky had trouble letting his guard down. There was nothing to do, no pressing need, nothing to worry about, Bucky almost felt bored. He knew this blissful state would end soon enough.

He heard the soft approach of hooves drawing nearer to his chair and then the soft feeling of a foreleg slipping around his neck to pull him in. Without being able to see her, he knew it was Berry. One very smouldering kiss later, Bucky realised that he was in fact, entirely too hot. He rose from his chair, slipped free from Berry, ambled over to the dock, and then fell over the side rather than walk all the way down to the end of it. He sank into the water and was thankful to be home.

 

 

Bon Bon paused and looked at the napping pegasus. Loch Skimmer was sprawled out upon the couch, sound asleep, her wings fluttering at her sides occasionally. Peekaboo was quietly napping on a quilt spread over the living room floor, little Harper right beside her. Pinkie Pie had worn Peekaboo out and then had gone bouncing off saying she had a full afternoon of work. Fluttershy had flown off with Twilight Sparkle. The house was quiet and serene.

She checked on Lyra in the kitchen, who was busy mincing up onions, garlic, tomatoes, and mushrooms. A large pile of eggplants sat upon the table. Bon Bon could only guess what Lyra was fixing, but she assumed it would be baked eggplant with a rich red sauce.

Bon Bon walked through the dining room and pushed open the library door to investigate. Her mouth hung open. This was easily the largest room in the house. There were lots of comfy chairs, tables, a few desks, and the walls where all lined with shelves, most of which were empty. Bon Bon knew they would be full soon enough. There was a door in the back of the library and she moved to check it out, her hooves clattering over the hardwood floors. She noted that there was a big fireplace in the library, it was back to back with the fireplace in the living room.

Reaching the door, she pushed it open. There was a small room here, more shelves, and a fully stocked bar. It was a small cozy room made for one purpose. Bon Bon liked it immediately. There was a small loveseat, two high backed chairs, and a big pile of cushions in the corner.

She backed out of  the room, made her way through the library, and went off to explore the rest of the house. There was a smaller bedroom located right next to the master bedroom, a large nursery which would be full soon, several bathrooms as Barley had mentioned, a storage closet, and a nook under the stairs that some foal would probably turn into a hidey hole.

Correction. A foal had turned it into a hidey hole. She looked down at Sentinel, who was grinning at her sheepishly as she stood there with the access door open. He had brought along a few cushions and was fixing up the place.

“Hi mother… I’ve found a cave to call my own,” Sentinel announced.

Bon Bon found herself smiling. “Are you happy here?”

“Yes, very much so. I like this spot,” Sentinel replied.

“But you have your own room upstairs,” Bon Bon said.

“And I like that room… but I feel safe and secure here. I like having a hiding spot,” Sentinel explained as he tucked a book away on a small storage shelf.

“You’re my little cave dweller,” Bon Bon said as she shut the door. She left, walking down the hall and leaving Sentinel alone. She had long wanted a family, and all things considered, Bon Bon was happy with the family that she had. She appreciated them all the more after everything she had to endure to have them.

 

 

Twilight Sparkle landed near the massive brick building that was under construction, came to a running stop, folded her wings, and then became the composed alicorn she was known to be. Ponies waved as she drew near. Refugees were hard at work constructing the new Ponyville Orphanarium.

The refugees worked willingly. Any refugee who worked on various public works projects was promised citizenship in Twilight’s Kingdom, which was how Ponyville was jokingly referred to these days. Twilight Sparkle took a lot of pride in her sense of civic planning. When she had taken over Ponyville, she had been free to get things done and change things that needed changing. Her sense of civic duty had blossomed. Her trip to Fillydelphia had changed her profoundly and it was part of what made her the leader she was today.

“Mayor Mare!” Twilight cried, seeing the pony she was looking for.

“Yes Princess Twilight Sparkle?” Mayor Mare replied.

“Just call me Twilight, please, I keep telling you this… I need the orphanium report if you please. We look ahead of schedule,” Twilight said to the mare before her.

“Oh we are… volunteer turnout was at an all time high for the past few days. I’ve spoken with Silver Shill, the head of the Farmer’s Union… he’s pledged support with food when we start housing foals. There is going to be a food shortage though. We are overpopulated. We need water somehow,” Mayor Mare reported.

“And what of the caretakers?” Twilight asked. “How are they settling in?”

“Oh, they’re fine. Fancy Pants and Fleur Dis Lee are tickled pink about their appointment. Celestia’s punishment was surprisingly fair… they were starting to look for a foal to adopt when the collapse happened. Fancy Pants was mortified when he found out where his family fortune came from. It was so nice of them to join your parents right from the start… I’ve had them over for dinner several times. Such a nice couple. Just like your parents,” Mayor Mare said with a broad sunny smile, her eyes merry and bright.

“Princess Celestia will be pleased to know that the life she sentenced them to is working out for them,” Twilight responded.

“The water issue is a big problem Twilight. The town reservoir is running low. The river is at critically low levels. We need a big rainstorm or we need to start piping in water from the Everfree aquifer. But it will take time to tap that and lay in pipes. It will take too long,” Mayor Mare said.

“How dire is the food situation?” Twilight asked.

“Well, the grocery stores are almost empty. The farmer’s markets are usually emptied before noon. The town’s food reserves that you’ve had put aside are dwindling, running at a deficit. We need a big harvest. If we don’t get some drenching rain, we are not going to get a big harvest. But if we get a prolonged soak, it will flood the camps,” Mayor Mare said in a worried voice.

Twilight’s eyes opened wide. “I have a solution!” she shouted. Rearing up on her hind legs, she spread her wings, kicked off from the ground, and took off, streaking through the sky.

 

 

Bucky watched as Twilight landed, coming to a somewhat clumsy stop and then folding in her wings. She waved at him frantically and Bucky began to swim towards the shore to speak with her. She pranced in place impatiently and Bucky figured it must be important.

He crawled ashore, waterlogged, and struggling to walk on three legs. His coat was too shaggy and dense now, and held too far too much water. It was difficult to keep his balance.

“I need your help Buckminster. I need you to make the largest ice cube that Equestria has ever seen!” Twilight exclaimed.

“What?” Bucky asked.

“Big ice cube! To solve the water shortage!” Twilight  replied.

“If I make a giant ice cube, it will pull all the water from everything all around us and leave everything dry. The water has to come from somewhere Twilight,” Bucky answered.

“Get in the chariot. There is still one parked by the school. We’re going to Winsome Falls!” Twilight said as she snatched up Bucky in her magic and took off running around the house and towards the school.

Sighing, Bucky summoned his patience. If she wanted ice, the Lord of Winter would give her ice. Bucky had always wondered just how big of an icecube he could make.

He saw startled guards running towards Twilight as she galloped through the yard and wondered how it must look to them to see the Princess of Friendship running around with the Lord of Winter held in her magic. Upon reaching the chariot, Twilight stuffed him in and then hitched herself into the harness, shooing the guards away and telling them to guard the house.

And then, Twilight was off and Bucky discovered much to his terror what it was like to break the sound barrier as they went hurtling through the sky in complete silence.

 

 

“Just freeze one lake and we’ll haul it back to Ponyville. I’ll hit it with a featherweight spell and tow it back in my magic. We’ll dump it in the reservoir and call it a day,” Twilight explained.

The plan was brilliant and utterly insane, the sort of plan that only an alicorn and a type four unicorn could create and execute together. It was the sort of plan that had elevated equine-kind to prominence upon this planet. More importantly, Bucky liked the plan.

“This is going to drain me,” Bucky said.

“Both of us. I’ll be able to get us home, but we’re going to need a ten thousand calorie meal afterwards,” Twilight announced. “All you need to do is freeze a whole lake solid. I’ll featherweight it, rip it out of the ground, and haul it back to Ponyville.”

Grinning a maniacal grin, Bucky nodded. “I’m liking this plan.”

“Well, get to work,” Twilight said impatiently. “We have an obligation to protect our ponies.”

“Actually Twilight, if I freeze two lakes, we could drop one in the reservoir and drop the second one behind the dam possibly. How low is the water level back there?” Bucky inquired.

“Good thinking! Two lakes it is!” Twilight shouted.

Bucky hobbled closer to the lakes and looked around. “These will refill, right?” he asked.

“Yes,” Twilight replied.

“Good deal,” Bucky said as his horn flared.

He summoned forth everything he had, free to finally freeze everything around him. It began to snow in the general area. Frost appeared everywhere. He pointed his horn at one lake and let go, focusing a beam of pure elemental cold into the lake.

Twilight, a creature aligned with fire, felt the cold and it made her ache. She burst into flames to keep warm, her mane and tail becoming wisps of flame, and her feathered wings became a roaring inferno. She could feel the heat being leached from her, so she cranked up her internal furnace.

Profound changes overtook the pair. Bucky slowly turned to ice, his body turning blue and icicle spikes emerging from his form as ice consumed him. His horn became ice encrusted and grew even longer. His mane and tail were gone, now replaced with cold blue flames that were surprisingly like Freezerburn’s flaming blue feathers that produced no heat. He grew larger, taller, his small fragile body was completely encased in ice.

Twilight Sparkle burned hotter and brighter as more and more heat was leached from her body. Eventually, her physical form collapsed completely and she became a flame elemental, prancing around on legs made of living fire. After several minutes, she ceased to be a pony at all, becoming a ball of living fire that danced around the sky, bobbing back and forth like a miniature sun, a ball of living searing plasma.

Bucky turned his horn towards the second lake and went to work, the first lake now frozen. He felt surprisingly strong. The magical drain didn’t feel nearly as bad as he thought it would be. He realised that he had barely even tapped into his cold potential. He could keep going. He could make anything freeze. He could make things still. He could bring calm to the universe around him. He could restore order…

“BUCKMINSTER! ENOUGH!”

Bucky snapped to attention from Twilight’s magically amplified voice. He ceased his magic and realised he was completely encased in ice. He didn’t feel cold at all. He felt strong. He still had magic left. He looked up and saw a burning ball of white flame hovering above him.

The world warmed as his magic retreated.

Twilight popped back into pony form with a loud thunderclap and then landed beside Bucky. She looked at him and watched the chunks of ice melting and falling away from his body. “I think you lost control for a moment there,” Twilight said. “I’ve never converted into a plasma wisp before. I wonder how hot I was burning? Doesn’t really matter though, the ambient air temperature was still plunging down below zero. Whew, talk about a hot flash… now I feel all sweaty and cold at the same time. I need to eat something.”

“I feel weird,” Bucky said. He shook the ice from his pelt and large chunks of ice fell away from his body.

“We got what we came for, let’s go,” Twilight said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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