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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Fey stamina was something to marvel at, something truly wondrous to behold. Working at the forge, studying for many hours, sexual activities, Rising Star found that it took an awful lot now before he felt fatigued. In the corner, a collection of stoves were stockpiled, small cast iron stoves that could burn coal or wood.

Burning wood might be a problem.

Getting enough fuel to get everypony through the winter in the little gourd houses was going to be a monumental task, getting coal seemed easier, getting wood would take a tremendous effort, and Rising Star wondered if any other pony had thought this problem through. Lifting a lump of molten iron, he made a bubble out of it, shaped it into the basic shape for a stove, fashioned a few openings for a stove pipe and a door, shaped four curved legs, and then he dumped it into an oil quench, to temper the metal and turn it black.

Alone, Rising Star found that he missed Scorch when the fire elemental left. Scorch had other responsibilities though, other duties to attend to, and Rising Star hoped that his mentor would return soon.

“Mmm mmm mmm,  there is something about you when you are all sooty and sweaty,” Sparkler announced as she came through the door. She immediately changed into her stone form to protect herself from the sweltering heat of the forge. “Coming in soon?”

“Maybe in a while,” Rising Star said as he turned an appreciative eye upon Sparkler.

“I could make it worth your while now,” Sparkler said in a seductive voice that sounded like a gravel pile collapsing.

“I have a lot on my mind… I realised something today Sparky,” Rising Star said as he looked around his forge. “Something important.”

“And what’s that, mister tall dark and handsome?” Sparkler inquired in reply.

“I am finally truly content with who and what I am… I like all of… this. Everything around me that I am doing. Not just the forge though. Being elected. Helping ponies. Serving. Bucky was right. I’m fighting a battle… I’m waging a war. The fighting is different, the enemy is different, but it is a battle nonetheless. And it isn’t just me… it is all of you. We all serve. You serve to protect our community. You command the city of Ponyville’s police force. Loch Skimmer works in emergency services. She’s getting a scholarship from the hospital to become an airborne paramedic and she earned it entirely on her own merits because of how well she does her job. Ripple… Ripple has dedicated her entire life to becoming a knight and protecting others,” Rising Star said proudly, his head held high and his ears erect.

“And what about Bittersweet?” Sparkler asked in a gravelly growl.

“What about her?” Rising Star questioned in reply.

“Rising, don’t be a dunce. Have you see how mooney eyed Ripple gets around her?” Sparkler inquired, looking up at her husband.

“Of course I have. Being a nanny is another form of service, and a noble one. Yew told me that being trusted enough to look after another creature’s young is a mark of the highest honour and trust. I like Bittersweet. I like her character, I like her dedication, and I like her sense of focus. Because she can’t hear, she watches over foals like a hawk. It is admirable,” Rising Star answered enthusiastically, making a gesture with his right front hoof.

“Every day you sound more and more like an actual adult… and it scares me,” Sparkler said in a soft voice that sounded like two rocks rubbing together.

 

 

“Ahh… Belisama… I see you checking out yer husband.”

Nearly jumping out of her skin, the griffoness turned her head completely backwards to look at Barley, her crest widening and her eyes going wide from fright.

“Ach, yer head turning all the way around like that, not natural,” Barley grumbled as he closed his eyes and shook his head in disgust.

“You scared me,” Belisama said in a rather hissy voice.

“Aye, I’m old, but I’m stealthy enough to sneak up on a griffoness while she is checking out her husband,” Barley said in an amicable voice. “So… what do you see in him that makes you stare at him so?”

“Contrast,” Belisama said as she swiveled her head around to look at Bucky again.

“Contrast you say? I dinnae understand what ya mean,” Barley stated as he settled down into a chair and gave a grunt. The old unicorn poured a cup of tea from the pot into his cup and then poured in a dollop of honey.

“I’ve watched him kill things. But I have also seen him play with his young, like he is doing right now. He is so gentle. Harper just zapped him and made every hair on his body stand on end. He never raised his voice, never became angry, he just patted her softly and told her he was proud of her for zapping him… he praised her for ‘making zap for mama’ as he calls it,” Belisama explained in a low voice. “How can anything with such a capacity for violence also be so sweet and gentle? I feel so confused when I look at him.”

“Aye… aye… I’ve often thought about it myself when I think of him. He’s patient with his wives, loving, gentle, kind, good with his foals, and a murderous psychopath when he’s pushed into it,” Barley responded, leaning forward on the table. “Never once though have I ever been worried for my sweet little Berry or Piña around him.”

Scratching herself gingerly with her talons, Belisama went after the itchy places on her neck where new feathers were growing in for the winter. “I understand now why Lugus likes to watch ponies and has an attraction to pony faces.”

“Lass, he ain’t got but half a face,” Barley chuckled softly.

“But the half he has left he uses well,” Belisama replied, looking over at Barley. “How is the tea? Did I make it too strong?”

“The tea is fine, I like for my spoon to stand up in it,” Barley muttered. “Strong drink, strong tea, strong coffee, a strong willing mare, these are the things that make my life bearable.”

“I’ve seen the way you look at Luna,” Belisama said in a low voice, her beak not moving as she spoke.

“Aye, I love her. And we’ve had ourselves a few romps together. A lot of pressure was placed upon us both to stop,” Barley said regretfully.

“Have you?” Belisama inquired, her crest rising a bit as she focused on Barley.

“I dunno,” Barley whispered. “We still get together. We’re close friends. We haven’t done anything for a while, but the accusations keep coming in, so we might as well be.”

“I don’t see why you can’t just love her,” Belisama said, now looking at Luna, who was helping Sentinel with his homework.

“It’s bloody complicated,” Barley said bitterly. “And we both feckin’ hate it. Alas, princesses, princes, kings and queens… they don’t own themselves. The public does. And sometimes, you have to put the good of the empire ahead of what you want.”

“I suspect I have a different view of royalty,” Belisama replied in a low pain filled voice, her crest falling and her wings drooping.

“The only view of royalty I like is the view of a big blue mare sittin’ on my dick and sticking her tongue out while she makes funny faces,” Barley growled. He took a big sip of tea and then smacked his lips together angrily.

 

 

“Mother, I have a question,” Sentinel stated, his gaze locked upon Berry Punch.

“I might have an answer,” Berry offered as she reached out and brushed Sentinel’s rust coloured mane out of his eyes.

“Somepony I know is seeing a psychiatrist. I’m worried about them. What can I do to help them?” Sentinel asked, his eyes blinking slowly as he became more thoughtful.

“Diamond Tiara,” Berry Punch sighed.

“You know?” Sentinel questioned, one eyebrow raising curiously.

“I’ve known for a while,” Berry Punch admitted.

“Oh,” Sentinel grunted, his ears splaying out sideways.

“Something like that is private. I’ve never felt the need to talk about it,” Berry explained, carefully maintaining eye contact with Sentinel.

“You took psychology classes,” Sentinel stated, looking pensive as he spoke.

“Yes I did, which is why I understand the need to keep these things private,” Berry Punch responded, a soft smile spreading across her face. “So you want to know how to help Diamond Tiara?”

“Yes please,” Sentinel said, his ears folding back against his skull.

“Be her friend through thick and thin,” Berry said, her face becoming quite serious. “Stick with her through the rough spots. She’ll remember that you were always there for her and she will appreciate you for it.”

“Anything else?” Sentinel asked, looking hopeful.

“If you ever get invited to go to a session, just go. Be a big colt and go. You’ll probably talk about coping mechanisms or triggers or supportive behaviours or what have you, but it means she trusts you enough to bare her soul in front of you… do not disappoint me,” Berry replied, placing emphasis upon her final instruction.

“Yes mother… I will obey,” Sentinel said, bowing his head slightly.

 

 

Having heard the command to enter, Bucky pushed the door open, levitating a tray in his magic. He hobbled into the room slowly, looked around, and saw Celestia reclining upon the bed with Sunset Shimmer curled up at her side. He bowed slightly and then set the tray upon the desk.

“Did you have a nice talk?” Bucky asked in a soft voice, the voice he usually reserved for speaking to troubled foals. He watched Sunset give a faint almost imperceptible nod and Celestia turned her gaze upon him.

“Thank you Buckminster,” Celestia said in a raspy emotional voice, the sort of voice one had after crying for a long time. “Soon, I think it will be time that you and I had a talk.”

“Twilight first,” Bucky said as he eased himself into a chair. “My own needs, desires, and wants are irrelevant in the long run.”

“You should not say that,” Celestia whispered in strained voice.

“Bah,” Bucky grunted.

“Buckminster, might I trouble you for a favour? I do not deserve it, but I feel the need to ask anyways,” Celestia questioned, her gaze dropping down to look at the blanket upon the bed. “I am not asking as a princess… but as a pony.”

“I am your dutiful servant,” Bucky responded.

“And I do not deserve such a faithful servant,” Celestia said, her nostrils flaring as she turned away. “Please… teach my former student control. You taught Dinky control and did such a marvelous job.”

“I let my magic get away from me… when I had my temper tantrum there were accidents,” Sunset Shimmer said, not bothering to lift her head from the bed. “I honestly didn’t mean to do what I did… I was so angry. I… let my rage get the better of me. I made a deal with something I shouldn’t have for power because Princess Celestia wouldn’t give it to me. It was a terrible mistake. I didn’t know it at the time, but when I banished it back to Tartarus, I didn’t do a very good job and part of its essence remained with me… and… and I really don’t know what happened. It just felt good to let the anger out. When the guards tried to stop me, I lost control. I’ve always had trouble with control.”

“This is why she was allowed to pass through the mirror and then banished to the other side,” Celestia said, offering an explanation. “I knew even then what it was that had taken her, I knew what she had done… but I did not want to believe she had done it. It had latched onto her soul like a parasite. Sadly, I knew I did not have the means to save her. Only the Elements of Harmony could purge something like that from her body… or she could have driven it out from sheer force of will. She was safe on the other side of the mirror… or at least I believed she would be. The Elements were still lost at that point. Nopony knew where they had gone.”

“Stealing Twilight’s crown gave what was inside of me just enough power to manifest… it was awful. I was aware of everything that was going on but I was powerless to stop it. I was trapped inside of my own body but I wasn’t in control. I was just a voice screaming inside of my own head while that… that… thing took over,” Sunset Shimmer said, shuddering and shivering as she spoke.

“So you’ve been purged,” Bucky said, looking at Sunset Shimmer.

“Yes and no,” Celestia said sadly.

“Oh bother,” Bucky grumbled.

“Just like with Luna, the presence has left a stain behind, a mark of its passing. I fear that Sunset Shimmer will always have to deal with rage issues, which is why I want you to teach her control. She might not be possessed as she once was, but she will always have this weakness,” Celestia explained, her tone regretful and sad.

“Power is useless without control,” Bucky stated.

“I know, and you Buckminster Bitters, you know how to hold back a raging torrent of darkness, hate, mistrust, and all of the horror you have endured that fuels your dark magic. Can you teach Sunset Shimmer?” Celestia responded.

“Only if she desires to learn,” Bucky said in return.

“Master… I want power, and that means learning control,” Sunset Shimmer said in a low voice as she wiped her nose with her foreleg.

“I am willing to teach,” Bucky offered.

 

 

 

 

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