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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It was late afternoon when Princess Luna and Princess Twilight Sparkle blinked into existence in the front yard of the farmhouse, arriving with a thunderous crackle of magic. The pair wasted no time and immediately let themselves inside, where they were greeted by the herd living in the farmhouse, who was quite happy to see both of them.

After much time was spent saying hello and exchanging pleasantries, Luna got right down to business and pulled Bucky into the kitchen, with Twilight following along behind them.

“You sent me a message requesting my presence. And Twilight Sparkle’s as well. You said it was important and that we need to come as soon as possible. We are here. What is so important?” Luna questioned, her tone brusque.

“I have a gift for both of you,” Bucky said in an openly smug teasing voice. “But not here. Meet me at the top of my tower,” he invited. He gave Luna what appeared to be a coy wink, a difficult feat for a one eyed pony. A second later, he exploded into a cloud of snowflakes, leaving Luna covered in a layer of frost.

Shivering, Luna shook herself free of the ice and snow and turned to look at Twilight. “I really hate when he does that,” Luna deadpanned. “Let’s go,” she commanded, disappearing with a crackle of magical energy.

 

 

“This is not the top of his tower,” Twilight grumbled.

“No. It is not. Somehow, our teleportation has been blocked. No matter, we shall take the stairs,” Luna replied, casting a glance at Twilight, her eyebrow raised in irritated sense of annoyance.

“I can teleport anywhere,” Twilight growled. “I’ve even teleported into Celestia’s private rooms. Something is rotten here and it smells like the stinky warlock upstairs.”

Nodding, Luna agreed as she went to the staircase and mounted the steps. She took a few steps and immediately noticed there was something wrong. The stairs felt too steep. Too dizzying. There was something disorienting about them. Her hooves felt heavy and she found herself struggling after just a few steps. Nothing too bad, but just enough struggle to be rather annoying. She heard Twilight grunting behind her.

“You MONSTER!” Twilight shouted. “You wretched SPAWN OF SOMBRA! WHAT IS IT WITH STAIRS AND THE BOTH OF YOU?” Twilight bellowed, her voice echoing up the stairs as she stomped up each step, her anger making her horn glow menacingly as she took each step. “Sane ponies enchant stairs to be easier to climb or allow for winking… when I get up there I’m gonna…”

 

 

Panting in a most uncouth manner, Luna took the last few stairs and then staggered into Bucky’s office. There was sand all over the floor and one very smug looking unicorn examining a small glowing glass globe. For a moment, Luna felt the conflicting feelings of loathing and admiration for Bucky, and she was torn between which feeling was stronger.

“You monster!” Twilight heaved, pushing past Luna rather rudely and staggering into Bucky’s office. “You demon... of impossible staircase architecture! You warlock of impractical interiour design!”

“Sticks and stones may break my bones… but whips and chains excite me,” Bucky teased, looking up at the pair. He heard a chuckle from Luna, but Twilight continued to growl and grumble. “I am still fine tuning the stairs. When a student is sent to the headmaster’s office, I want it to be memorable,” he explained patiently, ignoring his distant cousin’s outbursts. “Thank you for your assistance. Your input had been most helpful.”

“You dastard!” Twilight bellowed, sitting down with a plop. She grimaced as she felt the sand clinging to her sweaty pelt and other places where sand should never go. It did nothing to help her mood having sand creeping up into those places. She squirmed, which only made the sand go creeping ever deeper, attracted to moist sweaty places that she was sitting upon.

“I am sorry, I really don’t have any furniture yet,” Bucky apologised, his tone sincere this time. He made a dismissive gesture with his stump. “But that is not why I brought you here,” he announced.

With a flourish, he lifted two glass globes with his magic and levitated them over to Twilight and Luna, making them dance in the air, moving in an orbit around one another, a delicate graceful dance. It was the showy gestures of somepony who took a lot of pride in their work and felt justified in showing off.

“These are orbs of undead compulsion. They attract the undead. They do not use necromancy. They override the animation magic of the necromantic spell and make it behave like a golem made of meat. Any undead in a wide area will be forced to walk towards the orb, where they can be dealt with in whatever way is wise. I have sixty four of these. I plan to keep one, I am giving one to both of you, and I plan to give one to Celestia and one to Cadance, which leaves quite a few to be used by Myrmidon units. This is me being clever,” Bucky bragged, doing absolutely nothing to hide his almost unbearable sense of smugness.

Examining the small glass orb, Luna took it into her own magic and eyeballed it carefully, scrying and divining its magic, and beside her, Twilight was doing much the same. Luna turned it over carefully, noticing it was a self contained merging of harmonious and dark magic, the harmony magic was infused into the glass that contained a dark magic core. The design was brilliant, beautiful even, in both concept and physical appearance. And then, she detected something she did not expect.

“This contains some of your life,” Luna stated, her tone cold and rather angry. “You… you shortened your life to make these. You made sixty four of these!” she snapped.

The smug look adorning Bucky’s face vanished and he slumped down, his ears splaying out sideways, and he pulled his stump to his barrel, trying to look as small as possible as Luna began to boil over.

“YOU STOLE YEARS OF YOUR LIFE AWAY FROM YOUR FAMILY!” Luna shouted, her eyes wide with fury, her nostrils flaring, and her wings flared for maximum intimidation as she took several steps forward and towered over Bucky, one wing raised high to slap him silly, quivering, barely held in check.

“I did what had to be done,” Bucky hissed, becoming defensive and daring to glare up at Luna, angry with her for being furious rather than grateful. “My life is already shortened. We both know that… I will go to Tartarus in a manner of my own choosing! And when I go, I will drag as many of Equestria’s enemies with me as possible!”

“Well this explains the silver hairs I see,” Luna spat, her tone icy. “We could have found a way. A different way. If necessary, we might have even used necromancy, as problematic as that is.”

“Buckminster, what did you do?” Twilight whispered, transfixed by the orb, its light shining upon her face and reflecting in her eyes. “So beautiful, but so dark, and made at such a terrible cost… how could you?” As she spoke, a single tear rolled down her cheek and splashed to the floor below, leaving behind a dark spot.

“I regret nothing,” Bucky grumbled.

“STOP SAYING THAT!” Twilight shouted, her eyes clenching shut as more tears escaped. She breathed heavily, her barrel expanding and contracting, and her wings drooped at her sides, the tips falling down to rest upon the sandy stone floor.

“So you have made these artifacts at the expense of your own life. Equestria owes you a debt of thanks,” Luna said, her voice now a neutral monotone. Her eyes shifted away from Bucky and once again she peered into the orb she held in her telekinesis. As she stared, she thought she could see things. Shapes. Possibly even cutie marks. Her eyes narrowed and she peered into the orb, trying to see what it had to show her.

“If you keep looking, you will not like what you see,” Bucky warned.

Tearing her gaze away, Luna cocked her head at Bucky. “What manner of enchantment is this?” she demanded, her tone one of impatient curiousity. She raised one hoof and tapped at the orb, and when her silver shoe struck it, it rang out like the clarion call of a rung bell.

“The dark magic… it seeks out necromantic energy and death. The orbs are directly connected to the ley lines, and thus, they are connected to the fabric of reality. If you stare into them for too long, you will begin to see the ones you love dying, each death more horrible than the last. I spent quite some time peering into them and not liking what I saw. It took me a while to realise it wasn’t scrying or prophecy, but the fear of death in my own mind that the orb was feeding on,” Bucky explained. He shifted uncomfortably and looked at Luna, a look of dreadful apprehension upon his features, one ear dangling down beside his face.

“So these can have some unpredictable effects upon the weak minded living,” Luna stated, her ears perking forward and her eyes narrowing. Once again, she dared peer into the orb and watched the rainbow colours swirling along the glass, occasionally revealing the darkness lurking inside. “This is good to know.”

Opening her eyes, Twilight peeked into the orb and her mouth fell open. “So beautiful,” she breathed. She raised her wing and touched the orb with her extended primaries. “Strong enchantment has always eluded me,” she whispered.

“Enchantment is more about empowering what you create rather than just raw power channeled to empower the self,” Bucky said, a proud look creeping over his face. “It is a subtle art that few truly grasp or fully delve into.” He lifted several orbs with his magic and they began to orbit around his head. “I have other ideas I plan to implement. Don’t worry Luna, none of these plans involve shortening my life any further, but that might still happen in the future.”

“I would rather you didn’t,” Luna said, her voice pleading. “I am sorry for my outburst, but Buckminster… how could you?” she asked, this time, her voice gentle and warm with concern.

“I did what needed to be done. I fear I have become a pragmatist Luna, I don’t know if the ends will justify the means, and I doubt I will live to see the ends. Others will have to determine if what I did was justified,” Bucky answered.

“I don’t understand... dark magic gains strength through hatred, through anger, through selfishness… these orbs reek of dark magic, I can’t imagine what you had to think about to focus this much darkness in these orbs, but you committed such a selfless act in their creation… this is a contradiction that I cannot reconcile,” Twilight said, expressing her innermost thoughts out loud. “How is such a thing possible?”

“I get the feeling that dark magic and harmonious magic isn’t quite as black and white as we currently believe. Buckminster’s extraordinary creations offer evidence of this, and we need to reexamine what we currently think we know,” Luna replied, turning to look at Twilight and observing the foal-like sense of wonder and curiousity upon Twilight’s face. She turned her head back around to look at Buckminster, who was peering into one of his own orbs. “One of these should go to Witching Hour and Tiddlywinks,” Luna instructed.

“They could put one of these to good use,” Twilight agreed. “The Bureau of Thaumaturgy thanks you,” she added, still studying her orb, its rainbow light reflecting upon her white teeth peeking out of her open mouth.

“I actually take a little bit of comfort in knowing that after I am dead, a part of my own life essence will continue to serve Equestria. A thousand years from now, those orbs will still serve a practical purpose in keeping ponies safe,” Bucky said, a soft sad smile playing across his crooked mouth as he looked down at his collection of magical orbs.

 

 

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