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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“Well, how did it go? Y’all was gone for quite a while,” Applejack drawled, unable to resist asking about whatever had just taken place. “You done been gone for hours. Can we have Twilight bring us dinner down now?”

“In a bit Applejack,” Twilight responded.

“Our priorities have changed a bit. We have friends now… there is hope to be found here,” Bucky said, looking around the room at the gathered ponies, who were all peering curiously at him and Twilight.

“And friends look after one another,” Twilight said, giving her friends a little nod. “Tannis and Agnetha are our new friends, and we need to help them if we can. The situation here is worse than previously thought. But there is hope.”

“Hope is always good,” Rarity stated, lifting her head. “And this is what we were sent here for. To make friends.”

Coughing, Fluttershy weakly raised her head to look at Rainbow Dash. “See, I told you, not all griffons are bad. Gilda was just having a bad day or something.”

Shrugging, Rainbow Dash looked nervous. “So do we negotiate peace with them? They’re not in charge… I don’t understand.”

“They’re not in charge but they are close to those that are,” Applejack said sagely. “So I reckon we now have an angle to work.”

“So nice that we’ve found friends,” Pinkie Pie announced. “Makes my pinchy knee worth it. We’ve found good griffons.”

“We need to convince the griffons to leave Huginn and Muninn peacefully,” Bucky said. “The land here is unfit for life. It is the very land itself making the griffons mad and volatile. If we can convince them to leave peacefully, we might still save them. Heal their minds perhaps. What they have done to the land has made them sick. It doesn’t excuse them of their atrocities, but we might still be able to save them from themselves.”

“So you believe that peace is possible?” Rarity questioned, a thoughtful expression up her face, her blue eyes glittering with hope.

“I don’t know that peace is possible, but I am willing to work towards this end,” Bucky said hesitantly, his voice quavering. “I feel that a resolution with violence would be a failure on our part.”

“I believe that peace is possible,” Twilight said. “And with all of us working together, we can do anything.”

“We’ve pulled off more impossible stuff in the past,” Applejack grumbled, shaking her head and scratching her cheek. “So what’s one more impossible act?”

“I think this will be easier to pull off than it would be to get Applejack to make dresses,” Rainbow Dash sniggered.

“You got waylaid by rodents, Dashie... rodents,” Applejack retorted.

“And a bear!” Rainbow Dash spat out.

“Oh he showed up later,” Fluttershy interjected in a hoarse whisper.

“HAH!” Applejack grunted smugly.

“Oh stop that!” Rarity scolded.

Both Rainbow Dash and Applejack started to chortle as Rarity stared them down, and the pair wrapped a foreleg over each other’s withers, sitting close on a bed together. When Rarity rolled her eyes, the pair fell into uncontrollable giggles and Rainbow Dash leaned in to whisper something into Applejack’s ear, the pegasus’ snoot bumping into the brim of the farmpony’s hat.

“Sometimes I wonder about you two,” Rarity grumped.

 

 

The sound of ponies eating filled the room. Dinner was simple, and Twilight had retrieved it with Lugus to watch over her, returning with a large insulated chest full of hot food, with a second chest full of cold food and drinks.

The meal was unusually silent, not much was being said, and there was a distinct lack of laughter. The severity of the situation was settling in upon them and it had left the companions feeling rather subdued.

Looking down at the tin of sardines he was eating, Bucky saw that they were canned in Vanhoover. He found that he rather liked sardines, even though Thistle did not, and he really enjoyed the extra spicy ones pickled in spicy pepper sauce. He looked up at Lugus, who had torn through several cans of sardines and hoped that Lugus was getting enough to eat. Concern gnawed at Bucky’s insides. Lugus was a large creature with a staggeringly high caloric intake required for his health and wellbeing.

“Here Lugus, take my cheese wedge. I’m not in the mood for cheese right now,” Bucky said, his voice breaking the near silence, the only sounds were ponies chewing.

“Are you certain?” Lugus inquired in reply, turning his eye upon the wedge of cheese with a hungry glance.

“Please, I’m not in the mood, go ahead,” Bucky insisted.

Twilight paused in mid bite, shoveling a spoonful of sweet baked beans with shredded bits of carrot into her mouth. She watched the big griffon nervously accept the cheese wedge and she realised what Bucky was doing. She chewed thoughtfully, watching the griffon eat, pecking off bites of cheese.

“Here, take mine as well,” Twilight offered.

“Are you certain?” Lugus said sheepishly, looking at Twilight with a somehow shy expression, his eyes narrowed.

“Cheese gives me gas, and I’ll be sharing a bed tonight,” Twilight responded.

“Never stopped you before,” Rainbow Dash chuckled.

“Oh goodness gracious,” Rarity muttered, rolling her eyes. “Some ponies.”

“Thank you,” Lugus said appreciatively, accepting the cheese that Twilight levitated to him and shook gently in offer.

“So we’ll all be meeting with King Tanner tomorrow,” Pinkie Pie said thoughtfully, her voice unusually reserved and soft. “For whatever reason, he didn’t feel like speaking with us today.”

“Yes Pinkie,” Twilight acknowledged.

“So what do we do when he refuses to meet with us tomorrow?” Pinkie Pie asked.

“Pinkie Pie, do you know something? Do you have one of your special feelings?” Twilight Sparkle questioned, concern evident in her voice, her brows furrowing as she peered at Pinkie.

“I just get the feeling that there is no party planned for us. At least not a party we want to attend,” Pinkie Pie said in a strange raspy voice.

“What? Pinkie, what are you saying?” Twilight asked.

“I was saying something?” Pinkie Pie questioned in response, looking confused. The earth pony mare blinked a few times and wiped a few limp strands of mane out of her face with a foreleg. “I wasn’t saying anything, I was eating,” she said in cheerful tones, looking around at the ponies staring at her. “These beans are really good!”

“You were saying something about some party,” Applejack said, waving her spoon at Pinkie Pie as she spoke.

“No I wasn’t. I think I’d know if I was talking about a party, I’m the party pony,” Pinkie Pie said in a chirpy cheerful voice.

Twilight, realising that she was engaging in equine necrosadism, decided that beating a dead horse just wasn’t worth it, and she cringed internally at her own morbid thoughts that manifested, wondering how certain words and thoughts just popped into her head. She shot Applejack a meaningful glare and the orange earth pony fell silent.

“This is like the most boring sleepover ever,” Pinkie Pie muttered as she took a bite of stewed cabbage and potato. “There is gonna be a party… the party to end all parties and we’re all invited,” Pinkie Pie said, her voice shifting into a deep baritone growl as she spoke.

Terrified, Twilight silenced her friends with a gesture so she could continue to listen to Pinkie Pie’s premonitions, pronouncements, and prognostications.

 

 

“I don’t like this,” Applejack grumbled, gesturing at Twilight and Buckminster, who had secluded themselves inside of a sound proof bubble. The orange mare scowled, pulling her lips back from her teeth. Her nostrils flaring, she snorted. “Nope, I don’t think I like this at all.”

“I don’t like it either,” Rainbow Dash agreed, leaning on Applejack and frowning.

“They have important things to talk about, and we don’t always need to know what is going on,” Rarity said dismissively. “You two are behaving like two foals who want to eavesdrop on their parents.”

The two mares glared at Rarity, offering her a withering stare. Applejack raised her eyebrow, and Rainbow Dash fluffed out her feathers, two very clear signs that they did not approve of Rarity’s interjection upon the issue.

“With you two behaving like ruffians, no wonder she had to secure herself behind a sound proof bubble,” Rarity said, sniffing and turning her nose up at her friends.

“All three of you, cut it out,” Ripple muttered. “This is bad on morale.”

“Thank you Ripple,” Sentinel remarked, looking up from his journal at his sister.

“We are all miserable together. Bucky and Twilight are miserable in a bubble. So what?” Lugus said dismissively.

“He’s right,” Applejack groaned. “I’m just complaining for the sake of complaining.”

“I’m complaining because I’m bored. I want to fly or do something,” Rainbow Dash admitted, her wings twitching when she said the word fly.

Polishing his helmet, Flash Sentry grunted. “Sure, it’s boring, but no worse than guard duty,” he commented, rubbing a small cloth in measured circles on the back of his helmet as he spoke.

“I think I’ve read all of my comic books now about five times over,” Spike grumbled. The little dragon heaved a sigh and looked at Sentinel. “I don’t know how you make this look so easy to bear.”

“That’s easy. I write,” Sentinel replied, looking up at Spike.

“Whatcha been writing?” Spike inquired, tugging on his tail from nervousness.

“So far, Applejack and Rainbow Dash have done little but complain, Rarity has been bossy, while poor Pinkie Pie has done all of the work of looking after Fluttershy who can’t stop coughing until her feathers fall out,” Sentinel answered. “I’ve written down almost everything to preserve the little details for the history books.”

 

 

“There seems to be a lot of commotion,” Twilight Sparkle observed, looking through the sound proofed bubble at the rest of the room. She blinked a few times, her eyes watering, and then reached up and wiped her runny nose.

“I think Sentinel is entertaining them. I don’t know what is going on, but Sentinel certainly has their attention,” Bucky said, peering at his colt. “Twilight?”

“Yes Buckminster?” Twilight responded.

Taking a deep breath, Bucky wondered if he would be able to get the question out or if incomprehensible garble might come out like it did when he tried to talk to Celestia. “What do you know of the Fates?” he asked, relieved that the words came out.

“Very little,” Twilight responded in a low voice.

“What do you know?” Bucky inquired, his tone cautious.

“I know that very little is known about them. They are apparently immortal, operate out of a shop in the ancient city of Tradewinds, and like to meddle in the affairs of mortals. I know that Princess Celestia doesn’t like them and wishes they would stay out of Equestria. They exist upon the council of Immortals, along with other entities like Scorch. I also know that to know their names is to know suffering and death,” Twilight answered, reciting what facts she knew from memory, her stare rather blank and vacant while she spoke.

“Hmm, at some point, you and I should go to Tradewinds to have a talk with them,” Bucky said, choosing his words carefully, feeling an odd tickle in the back of his throat as he spoke, and he didn’t think it was from the dingy air. He suspected it was the odd magical warning kicking in and letting him now that he was about to blurt out something about chimicherrychangas or oatmeal or perhaps pickle barrel kumquats.

Or worse, flirting with Twilight Sparkle, which would be awful indeed. She was confused enough with Flash Sentry and Rainbow Dash. Bucky sighed, feeling embarrassed and awkward from something that actually hadn’t happened yet.

“I would actually be interested in meeting them,” Twilight admitted, looking pensive as she spoke, blowing her mane out of her eyes. “I have some questions for them… like Slate. He’s doing really well Buckminster, you need to meet him sometime soon. He’s really a nice… pony.”

“I’m sure he is,” Bucky answered. “There are other questions though…” Bucky said, pausing, not willing to push his luck.

“I’d like to know ‘why me’ and how come I was chosen,” Twilight said. “Why a sonic rainboom brought me and my friends together. How all of our lives tie together so strongly and overlap even before we knew one another. Or why a unicorn bumps into a pegasus while out doing errands and ends up in love. It all seems so contrived.”

“Maybe it is,” Bucky admitted in a low voice, nodding at Twilight.

“How I hatched a dragon egg into a dragon… that’s the real question Buckminster. Celestia doesn’t know that I know… Spike was never supposed to have hatched from the egg. The real test is actually about how you deal with failure. I was supposed to have failed that test, handled it well, not have a meltdown, and proved that I was worthy as Celestia’s student. Instead, I hatched a false dragon egg and caused a real dragon to appear… I am not supposed to know this Buckminster. Celestia has kept this from me. I suppose she has her reasons. My divination is getting to the point where I can’t control what I find out anymore. I keep stumbling into things I’m not supposed to know,” Twilight confessed in a frantic voice, looking Buckminster in the eye as she spoke, becoming increasingly more nervous.

“We’ve both done impossible things,” Bucky whispered, looking up at Twilight. “Think about who we are and the bloodlines from which we come from.”

“I think about it all the time Buckminster, my power grows every day, I keep getting surges. Ever since the train, things haven’t been the same for me. I’m taller. Stronger. Faster, bigger, and better. And my magic is getting harder to control sometimes,” Twilight said, closing her eyes and shaking her head in doubt. Her lips pursed together for a moment and then her eyes opened.

“Still have a stubby little horn though. Out of all of the royals, you have the tiniest most adorable little horn,” Bucky teased.

“Only because you cheated! Your horn is only as long as Celestia’s because you went and made this enormous glass sword for a horn rather than a reasonable artificial extension! I can’t even imagine how much that horrendous looking changeling like extremity amplifies your magical power… it’s probably like having the Alicorn Amulet sticking out of your forehead,” Twilight retorted angrily. “And you made it from fulgurite, so even a tiny amount of magic is focused to incredible intensities.”

“Hey, Luna helped me, this was her doing,” Bucky said defensively.

“But you didn’t have to make it so long!” Twilight argued.

“Does it make you feel insecure?” Bucky chortled in a smug voice.

“Yes! You cheated! I’ve worked hard for everything I have… you just stuck a big black scary changeling antenna on your noggin,” Twilight protested, sputtering as she spoke.

“I never would have thought that Twilight Sparkle, the great force of magic that she is, would suffer from horn envy,” Bucky chortled.

“Ugh, you smug unbearable lout! I hate you sometimes!” Twilight shouted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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