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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“We need to talk,” Derpy said in a low voice to Bon Bon and Lyra, her amber eyes narrowed and a serious expression upon her face. The pegasus looked at the two mares, her features stern but calm, and her ears were splayed out sideways.

“I agree that we need to talk, but we shouldn’t talk without Lugus,” Bon Bon stated, looking Derpy in the eyes, her own ears perking forward.

“Why does Lugus need to attend our mare meeting?” Derpy inquired, raising her eyebrow slightly.

“So he can help you understand everything that has happened and everything that led to this outcome. Bucky’s ownership of Belisama wasn’t something he could just refuse, he tried, and the Sea of Grass demanded that the marriage take place-”

“Okay,” Derpy said, interrupting Bon Bon. “I’ll talk with Lugus. We’ll all talk to Lugus. And I will give you a fair chance to help me understand how and why all of this happened without my decision or input. I know a little bit, but I’d like to know more,” the grey mare added. “I’ve learned some hard lessons about making judgments before I understand everything… I don’t want to repeat those mistakes.”

“You’re taking this much better than we all thought you would,” Lyra squeaked nervously, her ears pinned back against her skull.

“Oh this isn’t over… not by a long shot. I'm giving you all a chance before I do anything stupid, but don’t think this is over,” Derpy stated, her eyes narrowing almost to slits.

“Let’s go find Lugus,” Bon Bon suggested.

“What about Belisama?” Lyra asked, looking worried.

“We’ll bring her in later, after Lugus has had his say,” Derpy responded, exhaling sharply to blow her straw coloured mane out of her eyes.

“Be gentle with her Derpy… she’s put on a brave face, but she’s still grieving for her sister, who was killed in the worst way you could imagine right in front of her as she was forced to watch. Bucky saved her from a fate worse than death,” Bon Bon said, already hard at work to smooth the situation over.

Her expression softening, Derpy took a deep breath and her ears perked forward. “I’m willing to listen,” the grey mare replied in a soft voice. “I just need your help in making me understand.”

 

 

“Hello again Raven,” Twilight Sparkle said warmly, the two mares hugging for one brief moment. “How are you?”

“Fine,” Raven replied, stepping away to look up at the now much taller Twilight Sparkle. “How is married life?”

“I’m very happy,” Twilight admitted, a half smile appearing upon her muzzle.

“And you Buckminster? How are you?” Raven questioned, looking at Bucky in concern and approaching him slowly. “How is your new wife getting along with Derpy?”

“I’m good… I don’t know how Belisama is getting along with Derpy. I’ve left them to sort things out between one another,” Bucky replied, cocking his head so he could get a better look at Raven. “Derpy is a good mare. She’s hot tempered, but also good hearted and compassionate. I’m certain that things will be okay… in time.”

“I have been tasked with allowing both of you to see Clover,” Raven said in a low calm voice. “I have recently had to remove the portrait of Princess Platinum that usually resides down in the vault.”

“Oh dear,” Bucky murmured, cringing somewhat as he spoke.

“Clover knows you are coming and she is very excited. She has been wanting to meet with both of you for quite some time,” Raven stated in a matter of fact voice. “Follow me please, and I will lead you to the Solar Archival Vaults.”

 

 

Taking in a deep breath and holding it for several moments, Derpy slowly let it out as she closed her eyes and tried to calm herself. After a few moments of attempting to restore her calm, she opened her eyes again and looked at Lugus.

“Bucky killed her sister’s murderers and rap-”

“No, please, I can’t bear to hear any more about that,” Derpy begged, suddenly feeling queasy. She wondered how much of it was distress and how much was pregnancy hormones. “Bucky did the right thing,” the pegasus said. “Let’s leave it at that. You’ve told me what happened. So Belisama felt as though she has a debt?”

“More than that… she is like so many others in her caste. She gave herself as property out of gratitude for what Bucky did… when he did the right thing. But as a servant, she wanted to be with a master who would protect and care for her,” Lugus explained carefully, his breathing slow as his side ached.

“I’m having trouble with this servant thing,” Derpy confessed, shaking her head.

“It is troubling,” Bon Bon agreed.

“I suppose I understand it, but I’m having trouble understanding the need for a master,” Derpy said, trying to put her thoughts into words, her brows furrowing. “Why don’t they want to be free?”

“Because freedom scares them Derpy,” Lyra answered. “Slavery and servitude is what they know… but they can choose a master. Belisama chose Bucky… it’s probably the first time she’s ever tried to assert a need for her own freedom. They want to work and do what they do, but they need their sense of purpose… they like serving, but the idea of being totally responsible for themselves scares them to death. They need a provider and something that gives them a sense of validation. Something that appreciates their work and gives them a sense of pride,” Lyra explained in a soft voice, a growing sense of concern building in her mind as she watched Derpy’s face take on a deeply troubled look.

“Are they all that broken down?” Derpy asked in a low pained voice that was husky with emotion.

“Derpy, this whole generation is lost. Servitude is all they will know. The best that can be done for them is to teach the next generation how to be free,” Lugus said in steady measured voice. “This was discussed at length in the Sea of Grass and Bucky got a crash course in slave mentality from those who are quite knowledgeable.”

“Oh my… and Bucky is a slave,” Derpy said, closing her eyes as her ears drooped down to the sides of her face.

“Bon Bon and I both explained to them everything that happened and why it happened, and that Bucky chose slavery to put an end to the era of the noble houses,” Lyra said, responding to Derpy’s words.

 

 

The crystal spire was tall, imposing, and radiated strong magic. It glowed with a soft silvery-blue light that flooded the room and floating in the clear crystal was a ghostly figure who had an eager expression upon her face.

“Hello… both of you… I have waited so long for this moment,” Clover greeted.

Freezing in place, Twilight Sparkle was unable to deal with the notion that she was speaking to one of the ponies she had long called one of her heroes. Next to her, Bucky craned his head to look up at Clover, his eye narrowing so he could study her.

“Hello Clover,” Bucky said, looking up at the phantom mare trapped in crystal.

“Celestia speaks so often of both of you… I feel as though I know you,” Clover said in a soft voice that filled the room, seeming to come from everywhere and every direction. “Especially you Twilight Sparkle… she has loved you for so long, watching you grow up and become the mare that Celestia always believed that you could be.”

Blushing, Twilight Sparkle’s hind legs buckled and she sat down upon her haunches with a muffled thump.

“And you Buckminster… when she knew that you were going to be the one, she did everything she could to prepare you and rig the game in your favour. It broke her heart when you came home in the shape that you did. She stayed here with me and mourned for so long, blaming herself for not preparing you better,” Clover stated, her expression sad, her eyes wide as she looked down upon the two ponies before her.

“It feels funny to hear you say that,” Twilight Sparkle said, finally speaking, her voice raspy and low. The alicorn lifted her head up high and looked up at Clover, watching her spectral form flicker inside of the crystal.

“Ponies forget that Celestia is also a pony. She has hopes and dreams, fears and worries, and her heart breaks just as easily as any other,” Clover said sagely. “She doesn’t have the luxury of taking time for herself healing when her heart breaks… like when she lost Sombra for the second time. Buckminster, I fear what losing you will do to her.”

“I… I… I don’t know what to say,” Bucky stammered.

“She really loved the Sombra on the other side of the mirror,” Twilight said in a small pained voice. “I can’t believe I am talking to Clover the Clever!”

“More like Clover the Cheater,” Bucky interjected.

Scowling, Clover stared down at Bucky. “Word has it you’re clever as well,” Clover said, her voice dripping with molten sarcasm. Her scowl broke into a wide grin and she floated up near the edge of the crystal.

 

 

Heaving a sigh of defeat, Derpy rubbed her head with her folded fetlock knuckle. Try as she might, she couldn’t stay angry. She still felt cheated out of having a say in the decision process, she was frustrated about the situation as a whole, but she couldn't bear to bring her anger against Bucky, Belisama, or anypony or anybirdy else involved. All that could be done now was pick up the pieces and move on.

“I want to be angry,” Derpy admitted.

“Well, we both figured you’d be angry,” Bon Bon stated.

“I think I’ve finally grown up as a pony,” Derpy said in a low voice. “Kinda scares me… thinking about that. Realising that Bucky has obligations to the whole wide world.”

“I’m guessing that getting to know Thistle has made you wiser,” Bon Bon said in a low voice, her ears splayed out sideways as she spoke, her eyes on Derpy.

“I really love Thistle… more than I can put into words… this whole time I keep wondering… what if Bucky has brought home a best friend that I just don’t know yet?” Derpy asked as she rubbed her own belly.

“Belisama is sound asleep,” Yew reported, sticking her head in to the room to make her announcement. “I did not wake her.”

“There will be plenty of time to talk later,” Derpy replied. “Thanks Yew.”

“Don’t mention it,” Yew said as she backed out of the door.

A three way glance was exchanged between Bon Bon, Lyra, and Derpy, each mare taking a moment to look at one another, an unspoken agreement taking place between them.

 

 

“So how do we reach her?” Bucky questioned, his tone one of barely contained frustration. “Cause the way I see it, this has become a threat to Equestria. This… this outside influence is affecting her decision making abilities and preying upon her need for approval.”

“Every filly wants to please her father… if he can be called a father in this instance,” Clover said, shaking her head sadly. “I only know a little bit about him. Her. It. I just know what Celestia constantly frets over doing what is right.”

“I can’t believe that… that… he completely cut off Luna and refuses to speak to her now,” Twilight said in astonishment. “I suppose I can understand Celestia’s fear of going against his will. Once again, Celestia is the one left bearing the guilt and the blame for what happened to Luna.”

“Oh it is much worse than that, Twilight,” Clover remarked. “He blamed Celestia for not giving her sister enough attention and seeing that there was a problem. Celestia told me that he went silent for one hundred years… it was right after Luna’s banishment, when Celestia was the most vulnerable and in pain. When she needed a sympathetic ear. It was right when a filly needs her father the most… and he cut her off to punish her.”

“Was it punishment?” Twilight inquired curiously.

“What else could it be?” Clover snapped in reply.

“So do you think she is talking to him right now?” Twilight questioned.

“I don’t know,” Clover responded.

“I don’t even know how to fight something like this… he created me to end all life in this little pocket of the cosmos and then told me that I have a choice… wasn’t much of a choice. The Fates tell me that he’s largely lost interest in trying to fix anything, he just wants to sweep it all away so he can start over at yet another attempt at perfection,” Bucky said, his lip curling back in a snarl.

“He talks to Celestia less and less these days… it leaves her frantic. The last time he went silent was during the Sunset Shimmer Crisis… Celestia was so certain she was making the right decision upon her own… after everything that went wrong, she promised herself she would never make another major decision without his guidance ever again,” Clover said, revealing a bit of information about recent history.

“And if he is losing interest and speaking to her less and less… and she is hesitant to make decisions on her own…” Twilight muttered. “...this leaves us in a really bad situation.”

“I am really starting to hate this creep,” Bucky growled. “To me, it sounds like he is systematically breaking down Celestia’s ability to make decisions for herself, for Equestria at large, and the world by extension. Leaving her emotionally insecure and uncertain of herself… I don’t like it.”

“I think you’re right Bucky,” Twilight agreed, her voice fearful and husky.

 

 

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