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


303. 303

“Keep together. Keep these ranks tight!” Ripple barked as she peered around half blind. “If I can’t see you, I can’t protect you!”

The little griffons swarmed around her, coming a little closer. She was not quite a full grown mare, and she was only just a little larger than they were. They packed in a little tighter, quite unused to the idea of something offering them protection.

Mercifully, the orbs that Bucky had given to Rarity and Applejack had gone unused so far. They encountered little resistance and what little they did run into was easily crushed by Bucky, who was by and large, completely impervious to the griffon’s assaults.

It would be dawn in a few hours, and this was a night that would be remembered by all forever. Each had been touched in some way by the terror and the horror of everything that had taken place. Bucky continued to think of his failure, and how this was his fault. Twilight Sparkle thought about how close she had come to death and knowing loss on a scale she could still only scarcely comprehend. Pinkie Pie remained catatonic, Fluttershy was still asleep from Rarity’s spell, Applejack learned that she was quite capable of killing, and Rarity was still internalising her role in all of this as she carried Applejack upon her back. Rainbow Dash learned that she would, in fact, do anything to protect Twilight, her friend and the pony that she loved, and she had suicidally charged into the waiting claws of a half dozen griffons to protect Twilight’s helpless body. Flash Sentry learned that he was more than willing to die for Twilight Sparkle, and had come moments away from doing just that. Spike learned how incredibly easy it was to burn things to death and was now busy trying to make himself forget just what he had done. Ripple learned that her training and skill had paid off in actual combat conditions, having killed quite a few griffons even while blinded.

Sentinel learned one of the most terrible lessons of all. Just how fragile the world around him was, and how careful he had to be to live in it. He hadn’t meant to tear off the foreleg of the griffon, ripping it free from the shoulder. He had meant to injure, to bring harm, but not kill. It had been too easy. The limb just popped off effortlessly, like snapping a thin brittle twig.

The fragility of the world around him now frightened Sentinel, and he thought of the time he had pounced Diamond Tiara. So much careful control had gone into that, so much gentle planning, to plow into her lightly and not shatter every single bone in her body. Earlier, the reverse was true… Sentinel had thrown caution to the wind and hit with everything he had, and what he had done horrified him. He marched silently beside Ripple and Spike, surrounded by griffons either not much larger than he was or just about the same size he was, and they pressed in tightly around him, touching him for reassurance.

Sentinel silently vowed to never strike back against his own ponies in a state of anger or emotional distress, the consequences of such an act would be disastrous and heart breaking.



The bridge loomed long before them, stretching across the channel from Muninn to Huginn. King Tanner could not be found, and there simply was not the time to search the entire castle, where there was still fighting.

Above them, a terrible swirling storm lit up the sky with lightning, and in the eye of the storm was The Scorned Mare, which seemed unharmed. There were several wrecked airships crashed into the ground around them, including one that was partially submerged in the ocean. Something awful had destroyed the airships, and Bucky doubted that it had been just the The Scorned Mare’s electro-cannons. Lyra had clearly been given an opportunity to unleash her pent up magical frustrations, and she had spared no effort, releasing a storm so large and so terrible that it defied imagination.

In this moment, Bucky loved Lyra in ways that words could not express. She was his destructive equal, this storm of nightmare proportions was her work, he could feel her distinctive magical signature in the hurricane overhead. A driving rain fell upon the land, and in the distance, over Huginn, watermelon sized hail could be seen falling when purple lightning arced from the clouds. When The Scorned Mare had obviously been attacked, Lyra had clearly unleashed every ounce of her fury upon the griffons in response.

“This is where we part ways,” Bucky announced.

“What?” Twilight asked, lifting her head high to look at Bucky.

The group stood just inside the gatehouse, out of the black rain, and Bucky stood at the threshold of the gate, staring outwards at Huginn castle. Prince Tannis and Agnetha huddled together, finally free to hug one another without a scolding from Goshawk.

“Father… what are you planning?”


“Oh… well, I see… of everything?”

“I don’t know yet. Hopefully only enough to make my point.”

“What does it take to make a point?” Sentinel asked, immediately regretting his question, cringing, his ears drooping.

“You have to kill enough so it becomes a statistical act rather than just a common garden variety massacre.  The body count has to be so staggeringly high that it has to be estimated rather than counted and survivors are measured in percentages of what used to be rather than listed numbers for the sake of softening the blow in the history books,” Bucky explained.

“I don’t understand any of that,” Sentinel replied.

“One day, you will,” Bucky said. “And it breaks my heart knowing that I am about to perform the act that will teach you.”

“I understand it all too well,” Twilight said in a strangled voice. “War Chief Buckminster Bitters, I Princess Twilight Sparkle, as the appointed senior representative of the Diarchy of Equestria, do back your formal declaration of war. I want King Fleshrender removed from power and I demand his execution. I… I.... want… I want… I want…” Twilight broke down, unable to finish, sobs overcoming her ability to speak.

There was a long dearth of words in the gatehouse, the only sounds being the driving rain and the booming crash of thunder every few moments. Twilight’s pained sobbing was completely drowned out by the sounds of the storm.


“Princess, I know what you want. I am your servant,” Bucky said, breaking the silence. “I will find out what happened. I will make Fleshrender tell me in detail why this happened. And before he dies, I will make him beg me for release, which I will not grant easily.”


With a flash of his horn, Bucky collected the unused spell jars from Rarity and Applejack, bowed his head slightly to Twilight Sparkle, and then he stood in the gateway once again, preparing himself, his horn still glowing.

Tears streaming from her burning eyes, Twilight Sparkle watched as Bucky summoned the deep magic, enchantment magic of the strongest type. Something began to materialise upon the bridge outside of the gate, Bucky was conjuring raw material from somewhere, constructing something to do his bidding.

Much to her horror, Twilight Sparkle realised that Bucky was constructing a golem from sewage, a frightful automaton made of pollution and excrement from the sewers spewing filth out into the oceans. It was a large bipedal construct, it let out a gurgling roar as it came to life, raised its arms, and bellowed in challenge.

And then, in an act clearly done for the sake of sadism of the worst stripe, Bucky cast a corrupted ‘want it need it’ spell upon the sewage golem, giving it magical sex appeal that would be hard to resist. In that moment, Twilight realised that Bucky was as cruel as Fluttershy was kind, and she loved her distant cousin for his unspeakable mind numbing cruelty.

“Return to The Scorned Mare. Sentinel and Lugus rule in my stead while I am gone. I will be gone for a while, I will empty the castle and I plan to take my time with Fleshrender. So I might be busy for an extended period of time,” Bucky said as he stepped out into the black greasy rain.

Watching him go, Twilight remained in the gatehouse, her friends and rescued griffons huddled around her. She was their safety now. She watched as Bucky grew smaller on the bridge, becoming a distant figure, his sewage golem moving ahead of him. There was a terrific sound as the gate on the far side of the bridge was ripped free from the castle and then flung into the sea below.

A second later, the war began in earnest, with Bucky delivering the Equestrian response for the earlier assault.

“Time to go,” Twilight said.

Her magic was still not quite right, but her telekinesis worked. She lifted everything around her effortlessly, wrapped them in a protective shield that would make her big brother best friend forever proud, spread her wings, and then she took flight, protected from the highly acidic rain. She flapped her wings, thankful for her earth pony strength and stamina, it allowed her to push through the pain. She climbed higher and higher, watchful of the sky around them, and she closed the distance to The Scorned Mare quickly.

She landed on the deck moments later, and saw Lyra moving quickly to greet her.

“Griffons attacked!” Lyra shouted over the storm. “They fired on us! With BIG BLOODY CANNONS!”

There was a sudden flood of sound, cries of concern, fear, and anger from the group on the deck. Twilight, still in pain, her face covered in blisters, most of her mane now burned away from the awful goop that had been poured over her head to subdue her, could not even hear herself think.

“SILENCE!” Twilight commanded, bringing silence to the deck around her. “Lyra, tell me what happened.”

“They used guns! Cannons! The shields went up and the cannonballs bounced off, and then the electro-cannons started to fire. I came out on deck and Bon Bon tried to stop me, but I was so scared for all of you… more ships came and attacked. I WRECKED THEM!” Lyra reported, her excitement evident in her voice. “And then I summoned up the biggest storm I’ve ever summoned in my life because there was nopony around to tell me not to and make me stop and I figured I’m never going to get a chance to become the Storm Queen again and I’d be foolish not to take this chance to see what I am capable of. I mean, this is AWESOME! The storm I mean… not everything else… I hope Bucky is proud of me… Bon Bon sure isn't. I want somepony to be proud of me,” the unicorn said in a soft insecure voice. “I also piloted the ship, pulling it out of the mooring without wrecking it, which I am pretty proud of.”

“I am proud of you. The storm was a good defensive gesture. Nice work Lyra,” Twilight said with warm sincerity. The alicorn turned around and faced the crowd behind her. “Get the wounded into the infirmary. Rarity, look after Applejack’s frog, get it cleaned up and disinfected. Keep the little griffons together so they don’t get scared. Tannis, you will check into the infirmary and get your wounds looked at… wait, we don’t have a nurse…” Twilight said, her words trailing off.

“Agnetha is somewhat trained as a nurse. As with most females in the royal families, she has medical training… a father tends to trust his own brood when something happens,” Tannis explained.

“I can help,” Agnetha offered. “I want to help!”

“Agnetha, get as cleaned up as possible and then you are in charge of the infirmary. Rarity, you are her assistant. Get everypony and everybirdy cleaned up and looked after. Sentinel, Spike, both of you are to look after our griffon guests. See that they are kept calm, comfortable, and their needs are met. When this is over, we will head back to the beach we visited for food, so I’m sorry if anybirdy is hungry. Lugus, I want you on deck with me, and Ripple, I am requisitioning you as my royal guard along with Lugus,” Twilight commanded, her tone one of absolute authority.

Snapping off a sharp salute, Ripple clicked her shoes together, producing sparks. She moved to Twilight’s side and peered around, still half blind, but performing her duty without complaint.

“Lyra, ease this storm off a little at a time. We’re going to need visibility once the dawn comes, but for now, the giant hailstones are useful for keeping the city locked down,” Twilight said, looking at Lyra as the group slowly filed off deck and went belowdecks.

“Aye aye ma’am,” Lyra replied, lifting a hoof in salute.

The wind whipping her tail around, Twilight realised she finally felt comfortable in her role as a princess. This felt right. This was getting something accomplished. This was making the world right, a better place. This is what she failed to do in Fillydelphia. More importantly, she had a willing accomplice in Bucky, who was more than eager to do the right thing. She felt no pity or remorse in turning Bucky loose upon the griffons.

Princess Twilight Sparkle had finally come into her own.



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