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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Tradewinds stretched out before them, one of the largest cities in the world. It was a stunning mix of old and new, stone towers existed in between modern high rise skyscrapers of steel and glass. Small mini-airships darted around the city. The city was impossibly large, stretching from horizon to horizon, and walking from one side of the city to another was a daunting prospect.

On the distant edge of the city was the famous shipyards of Tradewinds, massive airships were being mass produced, the end result of centuries of cooperation between the zebras and the unicorns that lived in the city.

The entire city was remarkably clean by any standard. The skies were clear, greenery grew everywhere, and massive vertical gardens grew up along the sides of tall buildings to provide food for the residents of the city.

As they drew closer, Bucky saw that the streets were flooded with traffic. Equines on hoof, drawn cabs, cargo wagons, and endless stream of thriving life trying to get from one point to another. In the entirety of his life, he had never seen streets so packed, even during his foalhood, when he occasionally spent time in industrious Baltimare, he had seen nothing like this. He immediately thought of the griffons’ small trolley trains and how efficient they had been.

Tradewinds was the most amazing thing that Bucky had ever seen, and it changed him profoundly to look upon it. The unicorns here were free with their magic, doing all that they could to improve the lives of the earth ponies, the pegasi, and the zebras. The tiny personal airships alone were all the proof that Bucky needed. It took serious magic for featherlight spells and cloud containment fields. A massive weather factory was visible, the end result of unicorn and pegasus cooperation, and it churned out massive clouds which were immediately gathered up by sky wranglers and placed into waiting airship gasbags.

Tradewinds was a city of cooperation. It was everything that Bucky hoped a city could be, or should be, and seeing it from up above gave him ideas on how things might be in Equestria if the right decisions were made.

It did not escape Bucky’s attention that he was now one of the ponies responsible for making those decisions. He sighed, watching as more and more of the city came into view, the city’s lights starting to twinkle as the sun settled upon the western edge of the world off to the right them, igniting the ocean in a riotous display of oranges, golds, blues, purples, and pinks. The past few days had brought an endless stream of news of violence erupting in the world, the civil war in Minos was already getting ugly, and the first ships of the Sea of Grass fleet were now reaching the Shetlands and Minnowrock to battle the griffon remnants.

 

 

Two figures approached Bucky as he was carefully set down upon the stone dais by Lugus. He recognised them both from having spoke to their projections. Oya was a very pretty zebra and Canterberry was a crotchety old unicorn wearing a tall conical hat with a dark blue cloak covering his body.

“Welcome, welcome both of you,” Oya greeted, looking at Twilight and Bucky.

“We hope you will enjoy your stay here,” Canterberry said in a tired sounding voice. “The whole city has been awaiting your arrival. It has been a long time since royalty from Equestria has graced us with their presence. Hopefully, we do not continue to be strangers.”

“I would rather that we be friends,” Twilight Sparkle said in a careful cultured voice, the results of many lessons from Cadance.

“We have been in contact with Princess Celestia and Princess Luna. Both are worried and seeking answers. They wish to know why you have not been in communication with them,” Oya said to Twilight, her eyes narrowing slightly.

Grunting in frustration, Twilight Sparkle rolled her eyes, her carefully cultured mask falling away. “Because I need time to think about everything that has happened and get my head together without Celestia influencing everything that I think.” Twilight, realising what she had just said, slumped, her ears drooping down to the sides of her face, and her expression became one of disappointment. “That should not have been said out loud.”

“A good leader must learn to think for themselves. Herd-think can at times be dangerous and counterproductive. Canterberry and I are ostracised from our respective councils because we are far too independently minded,” Oya said in a very honest and open voice.

“I think that Bucky and I are are well on our way towards that end. Bucky is of course a lot farther along than myself,” Twilight huffed, her wings fluttering.

“Come, there is much to discuss, both councils wish to speak with both of you directly, there is a meal planned, and we wish to formally thank you for returning our citizens to us safe and sound. Please, allow us to show you our hospitality,” Canterberry said in a kind voice.

“Will there be coconut milk?” Bucky asked in a hopeful voice.

“Bucky, you are such a foal,” Twilight grumbled, snorting in gentle derision.  

His nostrils flaring, Bucky glared at Twilight, his eye narrowing until most of the green was gone and only the crimson was visible. “If the Sea of Grass offered me a lifetime supply of the stuff, I would drive their enemies from this continent and into the sea in gratitude.”

Twilight Sparkle froze in panic, worried how Bucky’s words would be received. Her breath caught in her throat and she could hear her own heart beating in her ears. She turned to look at Oya and Canterberry, fearful of their reaction.

What she was not prepared to hear was their laughter.

Sighing with relief, Twilight Sparkle allowed herself a tense nervous chuckle.

“I will go and fetch the others who cannot fly,” Lugus said, excusing himself with a formal bow. “Please excuse me,” he added as he unfurled his wings and flew away.

“Feels wrong leaving Pinkie Pie all by herself,” Twilight Sparkle said in a voice full of regret. “She still hasn’t come around.”

“Don’t worry so much Twilight… once this is over, I plan to talk with some healers I know that live here. They’ll fix Pinkie Pie up in no time,” Bucky said in a low reassuring voice.

“I feel funny attending to this function while Pinkie Pie just lies there drooling,” Twilight sorrowfully confessed.

Oya, seeing Twilight’s distress, stepped towards the troubled alicorn with her head held high. “I know the healers of which Buckminster speaks. I will have them summoned to look at your friend. I am certain they will be able to help her.”

“Thank you,” Twilight Sparkle said, her eyes tearing up slightly. “This has been a very difficult time. To tell the truth, I’m not in the mood for a big party or a lot of noise.”

“Come on Twilight… we’ll get through this. It isn’t about what we want, there are many depending upon us and our actions,” Bucky said, moving to Twilight’s side and touching her with his stump.

 

 

Atropos looked at her sisters Clotho and Lachesis with a raised eyebrow. The three were crammed into a smaller cabin aboard The Scorned Mare with Pinkie Pie. The three sisters exchanged a three way glance with one another, the unicorn, the earth pony, and the zebra all reaching a conclusion.

“The embodiment of the Element of Laughter is broken,” Atropos the unicorn said in a mournful voice.

Clotho the earth pony nodded. “War has put an end to Laughter, making himself stronger and the forces that can stop him a little weaker. This is worrisome.”

“Our brother did not mean to subdue her. She is not his foe. This was accidental,” Lachesis the zebra said, looking at her sisters. “Still, it is disconcerting to see how his power manifests. Even his accidents are beneficial and make him stronger.”

“We need to restore Laughter to keep his terrible power in check. How do we do this sisters?” Atropos asked, her eyes narrowing as she prodded Pinkie Pie.

“We can’t heal her,” Clotho said in frightened voice. “This is beyond us.”

“We need another spirit of laughter,” Lachesis stated, having an idea.

“There is another. We need to speak with Twilight Sparkle… she is still connected to our Tree and our Elements,” Atropos said, tugging on Pinkie Pie’s ear.

“We must make sure that the Elements persevere. They do not know their own importance or that they continue to carry the power of the stones within them. This was unexpected, our brother undoing a potential threat,” Lachesis said, running her brown hoof along Pinkie’s spine. “The Living Elements are the only other hope we have of stopping him should the worst happen.”

“Can our brother be stopped?” Clotho questioned, looking first at Atropos and then at Lachesis. “It is the one thing I cannot see when I peer forward.”

“Yes,” Atropos insisted, trying to reassure her sister. “Soon Cadance will have her date with destiny. The day draws ever nearer. We Fates will intervene. Soon our brother will be shackled with the only things that might stop War. We must have faith that our plan will work.”

“Our brother loves. I trust in love,” Lachesis said in confident voice. “So long as he continues to love, the manifestations of his hatreds will remained weakened.”

“And now he has a fierce spirit of devotion guiding his way… the griffoness will do him much good,” Clotho said as she rolled Pinkie Pie over and rubbed the mare’s stomach.

“Thanatos says that Platinum’s screams can be heard across the various planes of Tartarus,” Atropos muttered, sounding annoyed.

“That is not important. Let Platinum scream,” Clotho grumbled. “We need to heal the Element of Laughter.”

“She will never be whole on her own after this. She will need somepony to make her laugh,” Lachesis said, touching Pinkie Pie’s cutie mark tenderly with her brown hoof. “Motherhood will do her good.”

“The spirit of laughter will make a good father, a good husband, and will restore Pinkie Pie to her usual self,” Atropos said, her eyes glowing with a strange light as she peered forward towards Pinkie’s future. “Destiny has been changed slightly. Our brother has changed one possible future but there is still hope. We three Fates can still intervene. Our creator can still be stopped and life will continue.”

“So the Element of Laughter will no longer be an individual, but a collective of souls?” Lachesis questioned, looking at her sisters.

“It will make the power of laughter stronger. This works out to our advantage if we continue our gambit correctly,” Atropos said as her eyes returned to normal. She stroked the comatose pink pony gingerly, her touch genuinely loving. “You have long wanted motherhood… it is now time,” the unicorn whispered into Pinkie Pie’s ear. “Your foal will help hold back our brother’s terrible power. I can already see the new future as it unfolds.”

“I don’t want all of this to end,” Clotho said, her shoulders slumping slightly as her eyes teared over. “Our brother scares me as much as our creator does.”

“We mustn’t fear him, it will make him stronger. We must love him sister,” Lachesis said, wrapping a foreleg around Clotho’s withers. “We cannot make war against War, the only option we have of stopping him is Love.”

“Cadance is our best hope, which is exactly why our creator seeks to undo her,” Clotho said, tears coming down now in a flood. “Our creator can be so cruel. Life is just a means to an end, there is no connection to what has been created. It is like watching fish in a tank.”

“The future keeps changing. Our brother keeps severing threads faster than we can make plans to counter. I keep getting blank places in the future that I can’t seem to peer into,” Atropos said.

“Which is why we have no hope of opposing him directly. We must encourage him to love so he will stop himself,” Lachesis said to Clotho, trying to comfort her sobbing sister.

“And if we fail, there is still the Living Elements, the embodiments of what they represent. If we fail, they might still be able to stop him, which is why we must restore the pink one and make her strong again,” Atropos said in a low voice. She leaned down and gently kissed Pinkie Pie upon the forehead after brushing her now straight mane aside. “You carry our hopes and dreams…”

 

 

 

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