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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“Time to go home,” Lyra said to herself as she carefully maneuvered The Scorned Mare skyward, The Albatross in tow. Both ships were connected now with a powered tether, giving The Scorned Mare plenty of power. Lugnut and Spanner had fixed the power issue and had assumed their role as the Royal Mechanics.

They were going home with three hundred and five griffons and two zebra diplomats.

Several days of rest and recovery had passed, good days, pleasant days, long days that Rarity spent sightseeing around the city of Tradewinds, dragging Applejack everywhere she went. Twilight Sparkle spent most of the time with the Council of Bocors, ironing out tedious details and trying to engineer better trade agreements.

Lyra had spent one of those days careening around the city getting pilot lessons in a small personal airship and having the time of her life.

 

 

Bucky sat huddled in a chair upon the poop deck of The Scorned Mare, the chair secured in place with a sticky spell so it wouldn’t slide around the deck. He was wrapped in the black cloak that mystified Twilight, it was wrapped around his body and strangely, it did not flap or billow in the strong wind. He couldn’t move very much yet, but he was capable of sitting up on his own and he had control over his body again, at least in a limited capacity.

He raised the hood up over his head using his magic and watched as the entire world came into sharp focus, his vision clearing completely in the bright light, as though it was nighttime. He lowered the hood and watched as the world became blurry once again. He had been doing this for the past half an hour, observing the results. He felt stronger wrapped in the cloak, more alert, more focused, and the sunlight did not dazzle him so badly.

 

 

“Applejack, we need to make sure we get Twilight married before we return home,” Rarity said in a low calm voice. “There will be a political firestorm, Twilight will be swallowed up on controversy, Flash Sentry will go back to the Crystal Empire, and all of our efforts will be for naught.”

“Rarity, this is all we talked about when we was out sightseeing,” Applejack grumbled to her friend. “Look, I know how important this is. And I know this is probably our only shot. If she gets home unmarried, she’ll lock herself up in her library and make herself busy with work.”

“And everything will be ruined if that happens!” Rarity whined, the sound nasal and yet somehow well practiced, a refined fine whine. “Twilight will bury herself in work, Rainbow Dash will go chasing after her dream of the Wonderbolts, and Flash will be gone up north which will allow Twilight to fall back into the comfortable routine of nice safe letter writing with no messy social interaction.” The alabaster mare flopped over backwards upon her bed, covered her face with her hooves, then she heaved a frustrated dramatic sigh and gnawed upon her lip in frustration.

“Rarity, you are impossible,” Applejack said while rolling her wide green eyes.

 

 

Feeling concern for his friend, Spike carefully set down the tray of food he had carried to Sentinel’s cabin upon the desk. He saw Sentinel on the bed, the colt was disheveled and distraught looking, which pained Spike a great deal.

“I brought you some food,” Spike announced, his eyes glancing at the tray.

“Not hungry,” Sentinel grumbled and then closed his eyes.

“You gotta snap outta this,” Spike begged. “I’m having trouble too… I can’t deal with this alone and seeing you like this isn’t helping,” the dragon admitted, wringing his clawed hands together fitfully.

Grunting with effort as he rolled over, Sentinel looked at Spike, his expression sorrowful. “I’m sorry Spike… I just can’t seem to shake this.”

“Bon Bon told me to tell you that if you didn’t eat, she was going to have Lyra make you eat and this is your last chance,” Spike said, relaying the message Bon Bon gave him. “And Lyra promised that she wouldn’t be nice about it… at all.”

“Spike… every time I eat something… I… I keep thinking about the feel of that minotaur’s skull crunching as I bit down upon his muzzle… it hurts Spike… inside of my head,” Sentinel confessed, his red bleary eyes starting to tear up once again.

“I know,” Spike replied. “I used my fire to toast a marshmallow and I started crying and I couldn’t stop.” Reaching out, Spike grabbed a piece of fruit off of the tray. “Here… eat this. It is a gift from the zebras called a safou. They’re delicious,” the dragon said, offering the egg sized fruit to Sentinel.

Extending a wing, Sentinel accepted the fruit, brought to his mouth, stuffed it in whole, and began to chew. There was something crunchy inside, which bothered Sentinel a bit, but much to his surprise, he was hungry and the fruit was delicious. He turned to look at the tray and saw Spike offering him another piece of fruit, which he gratefully took. He slipped out of bed and sat down at his desk to eat.

“You and I… we’re not like them,” Spike murmured nervously as Sentinel began to gobble down his food. “We’re monsters… we have sharp teeth and both of us will be big hulking monsters when we grow up. We’re not like them at all.”

“No Spike… we’re not. We’re dangerous,” Sentinel replied around a mouthful of fruit.

“But we’re trusted,” Spike stated. “Twilight said she trusts me.”

Sentinel froze mid-bite, his jaws no longer chewing, and his ears folded back against his skull, Spike’s words lodging in his brain and shutting everything down. A bit of juice and drool dribbled from Sentinel’s chin and ran down his neck and chest.

“And Bucky… he trusts you Sentinel. He tells you to look after your little sisters. Bucky doesn’t strike me as the trusting type… we might be dangerous, but we’re trusted that we’re not dangerous to the ones we love… at least that is the conclusion I reached,” Spike stammered, his voice halting and hesitant.

Swallowing his mostly unchewed food, Sentinel gulped hard and then looked Spike in the eye. “Thanks Spike… everypony keeps trying to reassure me, but that puts things in perspective. And thanks for the food.”

Watching Sentinel stuff his face, Spike sat down on the floor, clutched his tail tightly, and was thankful he had somepony to talk to. “Twilight and I have been a lot closer. She’s been treating me differently. I’m going to start school and I’m really excited.”

“School will be nice I suppose,” Sentinel said around a mouthful of safou. “Ripple will be with us. She’s upset about it. She’ll be the oldest one in the school.”

“When Bucky’s school opens I get to go there. I’m excited about that,” Spike said, tugging on his tail nervously.

“Father wants to make his school a place where all species can come and learn to work together towards the greater good,” Sentinel said before he began to gnaw a wedge of cheese. He bit down savagely, eating it wax and all, just how he liked it, and he was thankful that somepony, probably Bon Bon, had left the wax on when she had cut the cheese.

“So I’ve heard… which is why I want to be there,” Spike responded, letting go of his tail and leaning back against the wall.

 

 

Her knitting needles clicking, Fluttershy blew her mane out of her eyes and looked over at Yew Wood, who was looking at Lugus with one wide eye. Lugus was recovering, but that did nothing to ease Fluttershy’s worry. Lugus was sprawled along the entire length of the long couch in the common room and Fluttershy had pulled up a chair to sit close to him as she knitted. Ripple sat nearby, knitting quietly, her griffon guard all around her on the floor, all of them taking some downtime together.

Fluttershy thought that Ripple’s griffon guard were adorable.

“Are you comfortable Lugus?” Fluttershy asked in her soft quiet voice, her concern evident in the wavering tone she spoke with.

“As comfortable as I can be given the situation,” Lugus said in a strained voice. “I hate guns,” he grumbled, his beak clacking together.

“That potion helped though, it closed the wound up, mostly everything looks better,” Yew said, reaching out and gently rubbing Lugus’ neck, ruffling his feathers with her front hoof. “It was very noble of you to shield Bucky’s body like that. The second shot might have killed him.”

His crest rising angrily, his talons clenching and flexing, Lugus looked at his mate with narrowed piercing eyes. “I could do no less… and don’t speak of such a thing. His death would have been my failure,” Lugus said in a rumbling growl that came from deep within his chest. “I can’t protect him from bullets… too fast… which is why I hate guns. There is no honour in killing something like a common treacherous assassin.” The big griffon, now worked up, let out an angry squawk of protest as his tail whipped around as though it had a mind of its own.

“Hush you big brute,” Yew commanded, taking her hoof from Lugus’ neck and tapping on his beak. “Don’t be grumpy,” she added, using the same voice she used when she was speaking to Peekaboo when Peekaboo was grumpy.

“This whole trip has gone poorly,” Fluttershy said during a soft exhale, her forelock slipping back into its usual place over her face. “I can’t wait to be home with Discord. Those nice sisters told me that I will be rewarded for what I’ve had to endure. They made me feel so much better. Such nice sisters… if only more ponies were like them… well, one is a zebra but that doesn’t matter to me, zebras are equines too. They were all so kind to me. When the unicorn mare kissed me on my cheek and told me I would never have to worry about losing Discord, all of the fear I had sort of just went away. I don’t know why.”

“The earth pony who healed me was creepy,” Lugus admitted in a low voice, peering around as he spoke. “Something about her was off.”

“Lugus! For shame! She healed you! Brought you medicine! Made you better!” Yew scolded, poking Lugus with her hoof as she spoke, her ears perking forward and her wings fluttering.

“The zebra was really nice and not creepy at all… she told me that I would know true happiness before winter and to trust my very life to my guard,” Ripple announced, looking up from her own knitting to look over her guard. “You hear that you little fuzzballs? I gotta trust you lot, you’d better earn it!”

There was a chorus of squawks in reply as each of her guard raised a wing in salute.

 

 

There was no denying it, wearing the cloak made Bucky feel as though it was nighttime. It was like wearing cool darkness. While others complained the cloak was cold, even uncomfortably cold, Bucky found the coolness it radiated soothing, it was like standing beneath the moonlight during a perfect night, where there was just enough chill in the air to feel revitalised after a hot day.

The strange material, whatever it was, stayed black. No hairs stuck to it. After all of the examining Twilight had done, all of the touching Bucky had done, and even Lyra looking it over, no fine pelt hairs stuck to the cloak’s voluminous expanse. It remained black, as black as a lightless void, and nothing stuck to it to cause flaw to the perfect expanse of black nothingness.

It was also a garment of perfect drama… of this there could be no doubt. There were black cloaks and then there were black cloaks. An entrance into a room wearing this would leave behind what was sure to be a lingering impression, and Bucky appreciated that on some deep level. Celestia had her sunshine, Luna had her moon, Cadance had her love and serenity she radiated, Twilight had her magic and her optimism, and Bucky had the feeling he would soon be known for the darkness he brought with him.

And he found he didn’t mind. He wanted ponies to choose Twilight Sparkle and her light, the darkness he brought with him would aid him to that end.

 

 

 

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