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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Alone in a cabin, Twilight Sparkle scribbled furiously with a pen, trying to figure out a riddle. She knew for certain that the cloak belonged to something that probably wasn’t a pony, but she wasn’t sure who or what it was. Who was Ash Tanto?

Ana Shott? No, that wasn’t it. Han Stoat? That seemed unlikely. She hadn’t heard of any immortals by those names. Nat Hosta, Nat Shoat, Stan Oath, Hot Satan, none of those names made any sense either. Hot Satan in particular sounded like total gibberish. What sort of deity would be named ‘Satan,’ hot or otherwise?

“Oath Ants?” she said out loud, puzzled. “Shat Nota, Tanto Sha, Toast Nah? None of these many any sense. And why am I talking to myself? I wish I had Smarty Pants with me… she could help me.”

She heard a grunt behind her and nearly jumped out of her skin. Flash Sentry entered the cabin, approached Twilight slowly, kissed her softly upon the cheek, and then looked down upon Twilight’s piece of paper. Picking up a pen, he scribbled something down, his ears forward in concentration.

Peering at Flash Sentry’s careful script, Twilight Sparkle read it out loud. “Thanatos.”

Sitting in stunned silence for a moment, Twilight Sparkle attempted to take in the ramifications of who this name was, who the cloak belonged to, and what to do with this information. “Flash Sentry, you are a genius!” Twilight cried, breaking the silence. She wrapped her forelegs around his neck and hauled him in to kiss him on the cheek.

Hearing Twilight say his name, Flash turned his head to look at her just as her forelegs were wrapping around his neck. A moment later, he felt two lips against his, kissing him clumsily, but he didn’t mind. He kissed back, and then things became interesting when he felt Twilight Sparkle’s mouth open slightly.

After several very interesting and heated minutes, Twilight Sparkle pulled away breathlessly, her nostrils flaring as she sucked in big lungfuls of air. Twilight stared into Flash’s eyes and found herself unable to say anything of importance, the owner of the cloak temporarily forgotten.

 

 

In the hours between midnight and dawn, Ripple stood upon the deck of The Scorned Mare surrounded by her fellow guard, trying to take in the events of the day. As she tried to gather her thoughts, she paced occasionally, moving from one side of the deck to the other, the little griffons following after her dutifully. She already had them marching in time and moving as a unit, little claws clicking in time with her steel war shoes.

“We live in a very different world,” Ripple announced, breaking her own long silence.

“Yes we do, a world where we are free,” a griffoness blurted out.

“Yeah, I suppose that makes for a different world as well,” Ripple agreed, realising her perspectives and the griffon’s perspectives were separated by vast gulf of varied experiences between them. “How do you feel about guns?” Ripple inquired, looking over her group of devoted followers who hung on her every word.

“How do you want us to feel about guns, Cornet Ripple?” a griffon answered.

“Stop that!” Ripple barked. “I want your opinions. I will not tell you mine until later.”

The flock of griffons all looked up at Ripple nervously and then at one another, each trying to reach some kind of consensus with the griffon next to them. There were a few nervous squawks, a screech, and many ruffled feathers.

“Private Grunion! Your opinion please!” Ripple demanded impatiently.

“I… don’t know… at first I thought guns were nice, but then today happened. How can anybirdy be safe if somebirdy just pops out of nowhere and shoots you? I’ve spent my whole life not feeling safe, I’m done being a slave and I don’t want to be a slave to fear either,” Grunion said, looking at Ripple with wide perplexed eyes.

“Anything else to say?” Ripple inquired in a softer voice.

Realising he had been put on the spot, Grunion sat back on his haunches and wrung his talons together, trying to think of something worthwhile to say. “If all of your power and authority comes from having a gun, what if somebirdy comes along with a bigger gun?”

“Very clever,” Ripple said, nodding her head thoughtfully.

“I suppose all of this talk depends on which end of the gun you are standing on,” a griffoness said thoughtfully. “I can see guns as being useful, but also a problem,” she continued, looking around at her fellow griffons and noting the many raised crests.  

“Is there really a need for guns with strong magic? What’s needed is a promise that those with strong magic will actually do more to keep creatures like us safe. If we arm the world with guns, some group will end up using those guns to keep another group oppressed. But those guns aren’t really all that powerful compared to magic. We either need to be armed with guns or an assurance of protection. I think… hard to say. I don’t see guns making the world safer, what we need is strong magic and the will to use it in the defense of the little creatures like us who suffer the most,” Grunion said, looking thoughtful.

“So if my father came to the defense of little creatures like yourselves, guns wouldn’t be needed?” Ripple inquired.

Shrugging, Grunion did not reply, not knowing what to say, his mind already dizzy from the complex thoughts bouncing around inside of his skull, tormenting his little birdy brain.

“My father makes magical ordnance. He makes really amazing purpose driven magical glass jars that only have an effect upon a hostile creature attacking him, and completely ignores the innocent. In my own opinion, I think guns might be a bit more viable if somehow they only worked when pointed and fired at something actively hostile towards you, wanting to do you harm, but the gun would be completely useless against innocents,” Ripple said, explaining her own feelings.

“Do you think your father could make a gun like that?” Grunion questioned.

 

 

Laying awake in the bed but unable to move, Bucky thought he was going to lose his mind, if such a thing were possible, given the current state of his mind. He had ideas, plans, thoughts, and no means to immediately begin to act upon them. He sighed, feeling impatient, and stoically attempted to endure the long night by taking comfort in his family, who were all around him in the bed.

The faint beginnings of a plan percolated through his mind, already he had ideas on what to do. The first thing that needed doing what to create a couple of big scary glass golems filled with fire so the press could come along and take pictures of them and then inform the press that these were the enforcement golems. The enforcement golem pictures would quickly become the image forever lodged in the public mind, the image would be enough of a deterrent for most. There was nothing like the image of a twenty foot tall multi-ton golem smashing through your city to make you pause and think about things, important things like keeping your head attached to your body somehow when said golem came knocking.

Fear was always a good place to start. At least fear did not bring harm to the innocent, and Bucky depended upon his plans not hurting the innocent. What he needed was a means of delivery. A simple glass globe spell jar with a small arcano-tech motor that he could enchant to draw power from the nearby ley lines that would power a small propeller to give the spell jar the ability to fly. Bucky recalled a detail from a book that he read about Twilight Sparkle and her friends, Rainbow Dash had a tortoise named ‘Tank’ that had a similar device that allowed him to fly with Rainbow Dash.

Bucky tried to grin fiendishly but found that his face was far too swollen.

A faint soft cackle escaped his lips as he continued to plan his greatest prank ever. A devious plan filled his mind and set his brain on fire. A means to make the world safer that would hurt no one, render firearms completely useless, and the potential to go down in the history books as the greatest prankster ever.

“Bucky, stop cackling and go to sleep… or else,” Bon Bon mumbled in a half awake state. “I mean it mister. I know you're planning something but you need rest.”

 

 

A zebra, an earth pony, and a unicorn stood upon the deck of The Scorned Mare, a massive stack of wooden crates piled up near them. Bucky, who was spread out on a blanket with a pile of cushions and covered in the black cloak, eyed his sisters as they approached. The ship was currently docked and a gangplank led to the deck, which was heavily guarded and defended by unicorns from the academy of sorcery.

“So my brother, we finally meet face to face for once,” the earth pony said in a low voice to Bucky. She came closer, lowered her head, and kissed Bucky softly on his bulging cheek.

“We’ve come with what is needed to heal the sick. These elixirs will purge poisons from your systems and heal the physical damage caused by those poisons,” the unicorn said as she looked around at the ponies and griffons staring at her.

The zebra lifted her head high and looked out at the crowd around her. “You have very kind kings who are willing to provide these things for you.”

“I’ve also cooked up a little something for Lugus,” the earth pony announced. “I’ll be heading off to look after him,” she said as she trotted for the door leading belowdecks.

“You… you’re the... pickle barrel kumquats,” Twilight said, the last three words blurted out loudly. Shaking her head, Twilight Sparkle tried again. “You three are the three sisters, also known as... when I was a foal I was afraid the toilet would eat me.” Twilight froze in horror and covered her mouth with her hoof, feeling absolutely mortified when she heard her friends giggling.

“I thought you were smart,” the zebra whispered to Twilight. “By all means, keep trying. This is quite amusing.”

“I know who you are,” Twilight grumbled, narrowing her eyes at the zebra and the unicorn and glaring at them.

“They’re my sisters,” Bucky said in a smug voice.

“And I know who owns that cloak,” Twilight said in a low voice, peering at the unicorn sister who had the same sort of smug grin that Bucky usually had, the grin of the insufferably smug who knew they were completely unassailable in their fortress of unbearable smugness.

“Figured that out did you?” the zebra asked, winking at Twilight.

With a painful moment of clarity, Twilight Sparkle realised that if she tried to say anything, anything at all, more nonsense would come spewing out of her mouth. Gritting her teeth together in frustration, Twilight remained silent and quietly began to hate the Fates.

“I’ve brought you something as well Bucky… don’t worry, this is safe for you to drink, it will not cause any unwanted side effects… like wings,” the unicorn said as she lowered her head down to Bucky to kiss him softly. “Black is a very becoming colour upon you,” she stated after giving Bucky a sisterly kiss. “Keep this cloak with you always my dear brother.”

“This elixir won’t cure you completely, but it should close the wound a little and reduce the swelling,” the zebra said, now ignoring Twilight and eyeing Bucky in concern.

“Thank you so much for providing healing for everypony and everybirdy,” Bucky said graciously, looking up at the unicorn who stood near him.

“Yes, thank you,” Twilight added, forcibly evicting the words from her lips, the words refusing to leave upon their own peaceably.

“We’ll need some helpers passing all of this out,” the zebra said in a loud voice. “One purple phial and one green phial each. I must warn you, the green phial will taste terrible, but it is important that you drink every last drop.”

“Yes, the griffons on the other ship will also need this medicine,” the unicorn said, looking around at the crowd.

“I’ll be happy to help,” Rarity offered.

“And I can fly,” Fluttershy squeaked nervously, having trouble with the crowd.

“I’ll do my part,” Twilight offered.

 

 

 

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