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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All things considered, this was a nice place. The fire didn’t bother him, the landscape was interesting, and oddly enough, the smell of brimstone was strangely appealing to him now. He stepped into the river of magma and it felt it running around his hooves. There was a pleasant tingling sensation.

“Oh bugger.”

Turning, Rising Star looked around to see who the voice was. He saw a tall bipedal figure of living flame. As he watched, it changed shape and became vaguely pony shaped, but it had no solid parts, it remained a cloud of flame.

“You’re not dead,” the flame pony said.

“No, I’m not. Who are you?” Rising Star asked in what he hoped was a polite tone.

“I’m Scorch. I sensed something strange. You don’t belong here kid, you’ve done been pranked,” Scorch muttered.

“Well, send me back,” Rising Star requested.

“I can’t,” Scorch replied.

“Why not?” Rising Star asked.

“The rules don’t work that way,” Scorch said. “But I think I can help you.”

“Please, I have three wives, I want to go home,” Rising Star begged.

“Hold on kid,” Scorch said. “Just keep everything together and we will work something out,” he promised.

“I just got tricked into being sent here by the fey. Why should I trust you?” Rising Star asked. “You’re a fey elemental right?”

“Oh, you shouldn’t trust me. Only a moron would trust me. But I am friends with Celestia. We play chess together. And she’s part of my bridge club. And you can trust her. Hold on kiddo,” Scorch replied nervously. “Oh the big dove is gonna be pissed…”

The fire elemental became bipedal again, snapped his fingers, and a sheet of parchment appeared in mid air. It floated there, not moving, and Scorch pulled a pen out from nowhere. He began to write slowly, humming to himself. When he was finished, he rolled up the scroll, held it up to what appeared to be his mouth, blew out a gout of flame upon it, and then he smiled at Rising Star.

“Now we wait kid. She’s good about answering her mail. We’ll figure out a way of getting you home in an hour or so. Now you just stay calm and tell me all about your wives or something kid,” Scorch said in a friendly voice.

 

 

“... And that is why Loch Skimmer is the most wonderful pervert ever,” Rising Star said with a big dopey grin on his face. He looked at Scorch, who was clutching his sides and guffawing with laughter, the big primordial fire elemental really wasn’t a bad sort at all. Rising Star could understand why Celestia liked him.

Suddenly, Scorch stopped laughing. He looked around.

“We got incoming kid, three alicorns… oh by the Hag’s saggy left teat, why does there have to be three alicorns?” Scorch said, now looking worried.

“I’ll tell them not to hurt you,” Rising Star whimpered, moving closer to the cowering fire elemental. “I kinda know them. Just stay close to me.”

There was a loud crackle, a pop, and a brilliant flash of light. When Rising Star could see again, there was two alicorns and one figure in dull black armor. Both of the alicorns, Princess Celestia and Princess Twilight Sparkle were on fire.

“I’ve come for my son,” Bucky announced, making no bones about why he was here, his voice a menacing mechanical growl.

“Scorch, why is my little pony Rising Star here with you?” Celestia asked, sounding very cross. Her nostrils flared and her brows furrowed. She made the sort of face that was the last face that millions of demons and evildoers saw in their final moments before their impending destruction.

“I DIDN’T DO IT!” Scorch cried out in a frightened voice. “I don’t want to lose my friend!”

“I met a pyrodryad. I ate an acorn. I ended up here,” Rising Star said, leaving out a few minor details in the sequence of events. “And don’t hurt Scorch. He’s nice. He’s been nothing but good to me, but I’d have to be a moron to trust him.”

“Rising Star… I do not even know what to say,” Celestia said in a very cranky sounding voice. She scowled. “You are an infernal fey creature now. I cannot undo that.”

“Look, I wanna settle this peacefully,” Scorch whined. “I don’t want no violence or bodily harm or any kind of trouble.”

“Then let him go,” Twilight commanded, her eyes blazing like miniature suns. She took a step forward and bared her teeth.

“He cannot do that Twilight. It is not that simple,” Celestia said in an annoyed voice.

“Look, Celestia, I owe you a few favours, but I can’t just give him to you… but you know that. So I’ll make this as easy as I can. We trade,” Scorch said in a trembling voice.

“I’d rather just kill you,” Bucky growled.

“You cannot kill him Buckminster,” Celestia said dismissively.

“Then I spend hours making him wish he was dead until he lets my son go,” Bucky growled, his horn now flaring with dark magic.

“Woah!” Scorch whined. “I’m not technically evil!” He grabbed Rising Star and held him close, trembling with fear.

“He speaks the truth,” Celestia muttered. “And he has been a big help to me in the past. I cannot let you threaten my friend. Now behave yourself.”

“We really don’t have anything on us to trade,” Twilight said, taking a step forward to get a better look at Rising Star, who was clinging to Scorch. Twilight thought the pair looked rather pitiful together, but she said nothing about her personal private thoughts.

“The only one who can trade with me is the buckethead over there,” Scorch said.

“Which is why I brought him here,” Celestia stated.

“Why me?” Bucky asked.

“Family member. Fey rules,” Celestia answered tersely.

“Oh… so what do you want from me?” Bucky questioned.

“Well, this is a pretty standard hostage situation… one soul for another. Has to be a family member. I really don’t care who,” Scorch said. “I’m sorry… them’s the rules. I didn’t make the rules, but I am bound by the rules.”

“So I could trade myself,” Bucky stated.

“No!” Rising Star shouted. “NO NO NO!”

“Or maybe a foal that you are not to fond of,” Scorch muttered dejectedly.

“Are you sure I couldn’t kill him?” Bucky asked.

“Buckminster… I do not know what to do. There are rules here. Strange magic. Primordial magic. We have to figure out some way to free Rising Star and give Scorch what he wants,” Celestia said in a strained voice.

“Very well. I accept,” Bucky said. “The soul of one family member in exchange for my son, Rising Star. How do we do the exchange? How do we make a binding deal?”

“All you must do is say the name of the soul you wish to exchange,” Scorch grumbled.

“Buckminster… don’t do this,” Twilight warned. “We’ll go to war… I’ll find a way to bend the rules of magic. We’ll find a way…”

“Buckminster, it was very noble of you to make this sacrifice,” Celestia said solemnly as she closed her eyes. She began to silently make plans on how to free Buckminster from Tartarus somehow.

“Wait, you are gonna let him do this?” Twilight snapped. “There is no way you can just let him do this… he is the alicorn of war. We need him!”

“NO!” Rising Star shouted.

“It is his choice Twilight. His soul is his own,” Celestia said in a sad voice.

“I just need a name,” Scorch said. “Just say the names of the exchange in full and we will seal the deal,” he explained.

“Very well. In exchange for the freedom of Rising Star, I offer you the soul of another family member in exchange. Primrose Propers.”

“BUCKMINSTER!” Celestia screamed.

“Done!” Scorch accepted. He snapped his fingers. A blue flash surrounded Rising Star and there was a loud pop.

“Where am I? What is going on here?”

“Welcome to Tartarus,” Bucky said in a low mechanical growl to his mother.

“Buckminster, how could you?” Celestia inquired angrily.

“I have brought no physical harm to her. I have merely facilitated her arrival to face judgment,” Bucky replied in a cold mechanical thrum.

“What have you done?” Primrose hissed. “What is this place? I demand to know what is going on! Tell me at once!”

“What a lovely juicy soul,” Scorch cackled. He snapped his fingers again and Primrose vanished. He rubbed his flaming hands together in glee and continued to cackle. “Oh I am going to have fun with that. I love the property laws here.”

“Buckminster… how could you?” Celestia repeated.

“It was easy,” Bucky answered.

“So I am free?” Rising Star asked.

“As a bird,” Scorch replied.

“I am at a loss for words,” Celestia whispered.

“Buckminster, you just traded your own mother… to a Lord of Tartarus,” Twilight gasped, finally able to say something about what had just happened.

“She was an insufferable coont,” Bucky growled.

“And this is why you treat your foals with respect and love,” Scorch jubilantly announced. He clapped his hands together a few times, looking very pleased with himself.

“Can we go home now?” Bucky asked.

“I want to be away from this place. Stinks like rotten eggs here,” Twilight muttered.

“Scorch, we must be going. I will speak with you soon, sorry if we must make a hasty departure, but the sooner we get Rising Star out of here the better,” Celestia said apologetically.

The great white alicorn’s horn flashed with a golden light…

 

 

Rising Star blinked and saw the farmhouse in front of him. He blinked again. He looked down. He still had cloven hooves. He was still a lot taller. He was still…

“OW” Rising Star shouted as a white wing slapped him in the back of his head.

Again the wing came down, a painful stinging blow. After the first two strikes to get in practice once again, Celestia let go of a flurry of blows, each blow landing in the perfect spot to cause the maximum amount of sting. When Rising Star tried to run from her, she ran after him and kept slapping, using both wings for maximum efficiency.

Ponies began to step out on to the porch into the dark night to watch what would become known as the Great Alicorn Slapfest. Nopony said anything. Nopony made any move to stop Celestia. Nopony made a move to help Rising Star escape her fury. Around and around the yard they went, Celestia raining down what seemed to be an endless number of blows.

“NEVER MAKE DEALS WITH A FEY CREATURE! YOU STUPID, STUPID COLT!”

Finally, Rising Star fell into the grass and curled into a ball, begging for the slapping to stop.

Standing over him, Celestia scowled down. “We are not done. We are going to talk later,” she said icily. She turned away in disgust and faced Buckminster.

“Take off your armor,” Celestia demanded furiously

“Uh oh,” Bucky whimpered, his voice odd inside of his helmet, sounding strangely foalish. He took off his helmet and various sections of armor began to fall away from him.

Wasting no time, Celestia rushed forward, wings out, and the Great Alicorn Slapfest continued. Bucky didn’t bother running, he stood there and took it, his ears splayed out to the sides in submission.

“YOU DO NOT TRADE YOUR OWN MOTHER’S SOUL TO A FEY DEMON LORD OF TARTARUS! BAD FOAL! BAD BAD BAD! SHAME ON YOU NEPHEW! YOU OUGHT TO BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF!” Celestia scolded as she landed many blows upon Bucky in rapid succession, her wings moving in a blur of righteous fury.

The ponies on the porch watched, eyes wide, mouths hanging open in utter shock.

“YOU! BOTH OF YOU! THIS IS NOT OVER! WHEN I HAVE CALMED DOWN I WILL HAVE WORDS TO SAY TO BOTH OF YOU!” Celestia shouted as she ceased slapping poor Bucky silly. She made no move to catch him when he fell down into the grass. Celestia stood there, panting with anger, her sides heaving like bellows.

White feathers floated in the breeze, drifting to the ground like snowflakes, and Celestia stood over two ponies that she loved a great deal but was currently very disapointed in.

There was a crackle, a pop, and then Celestia vanished.

 

 

 

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