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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The Night Princess stood in front of the doorway, looking distressed and out of sorts. Bucky stared up at her, concern on his face, his ears splayed out sideways as he tried to read her body language and facial expressions for clues so he could figure out what was wrong. She was covered in mud, dirt, and bits of forest debris.

“Been out for a walk?” Bucky inquired in a low voice.

“I was in the Everfree, enjoying a leisurely stroll,” Luna responded.

“I see,” Bucky stated, feeling a bit more worried now.

“I encountered a most curious sight… there was an owlbear with bald buttocks… he mooned me,” the night blue alicorn remarked as her ears perked forward.

“Bald?” Bucky questioned in a quizzical tone.

“I had a fight with my sister,” Luna blurted out, her lip now quivering. “I require lodgings. I will not be returning home.”

“Wait, what?” Bucky asked, now looking very confused.

“I do believe I shall take up residence here. I can no longer bear to live in the same domicile as my overbearing and wretched sister. I think I will stay here and be happy with Barley,” Luna announced. She gave herself a shake, shedding bits of debris down to the floor in front of the door. “I’ll need to send for Tibbles.”

“You had a spat with your sister and now you are running away from home like a spoiled foal?” Bucky inquired, looking up at Luna in disbelief.

“Quiet thine wagging tongue, knave,” Luna commanded, peering down at Bucky, her eyes narrowing and glittering with barely repressed rage.

“You’re welcome to stay of course. Barley is up in his bed. The foals are asleep. Sentinel just went to bed. The house is quiet. Take a little time and calm down,” Bucky offered. “I just woke up a little while ago.”

“I am lonely, are there no foals to play with?” Luna asked in a pleading voice.

“It is past midnight. Well past. Everypony and everybirdy is asleep,” Bucky stated in reply, still looking at Luna in concern. “Want something to eat?”

“I do not desire food,” Luna answered brusquely. “Merely companionship.”

Feeling a creeping sense of dread crawling through his belly, Bucky began to wonder what had just happened and why Luna was now here in his home, demanding to stay. He had a thousand questions, but seeing her state of agitation, he chose to remain quiet. He hoped that Luna would calm and perhaps tell him what had happened.

“How is Harper?” Luna inquired in a strained voice.

“Harper has a bit of colic, she just fell asleep a little while ago after wearing herself out from crying,” Bucky answered, shaking his head. “Poor thing. She’s miserable. She’s learning how to eat some solid foods and they’re not sitting well.”

“Colic?” Luna asked, raising her eyebrow.

“You know… gas… foal farts. Butt trumpets. I had to spend almost half an hour rubbing her belly and working the gas bubbles out just to get her to stop screaming,” Bucky explained as he made rubbing gestures with his stump.

“You are a patient and devoted father,” Luna stated, her teal eyes wide as she peered at Bucky. “To soothe a foal and sit in the eye of the storm. Many stallions would demand that their wives take care of such an unpleasant task.”

“Um, thank you,” Bucky remarked, feeling even more confused and unsettled. “When she gets like that, she wants her daddy more than anypony else. She needs me.”

“I know how it feels to want your father,” Luna responded in a raspy voice. She peered around the entryway and then began to move into the kitchen, pushing past Bucky. “To hear his soothing voice and know that everything okay. To have comfort in the dark when you are having a nightmare and you are frightened.”

Bucky, following Luna, pondered the meaning of her words. Luna had become a nightmare, she had been lost in the dark, and her father had stopped speaking to her. He watched the tall alicorn sit down in a wooden chair at the small kitchen table and rest her forelegs upon the table’s edge. He watched Luna’s barrel hitch several times, heard the big mare snort, and then the night blue alicorn began to make a strangled gurgling sound.

It took Bucky several moments to figure out that she was weeping.

Bucky had no idea what to do about the Princess of the Night who was wailing while sitting at his kitchen table. He froze, his muscles unable to move, and he found it difficult to breathe as concerned sympathetic panic began to creep through his body. He willed himself to move and approached her side, hobbling on three legs.

“Luna?” Bucky asked as he gently touched Luna on the side with his stump.

“Do not touch me!” Luna demanded, turning to glare at Bucky. “Leave me. I require solitude,” she said as she turned her eyes away from Bucky, squirming away from his soft caress. She lay her head down on her folded forelegs and buried her face as she sobbed.

“No,” Bucky whispered. “I’m not leaving you alone, not when you are suffering like-” He paused as the world around him shimmered and warped. He suddenly found himself standing out on the lawn. “-this,” he finished, now feeling just a little peeved. He glared at the house and the kitchen window, and for a brief moment, he thought about going in and giving Luna a good lecturing. He weighed the risks and pondered where else she might teleport him if provoked. Growling, he hobbled towards the house, grumbling and gnashing his teeth together.

He lept up the front steps, wobbling on three legs, two of which didn’t work very well at all. He pulled the door open and went inside. He stared into the kitchen, debating if he wanted to push the issue, if he wanted to say something, and as he stood there watching, he watched as Luna’s barrel rose and fell, her soft sobs were audible, the only other sound was the crackling of the fire in the living room. Scowling, Bucky decided to push the issue and entered the kitchen, sitting down beside Luna.

“I told you to leave me alone,” Luna whimpered, not bothering to look at Bucky.

Bucky said nothing, but sat there in his chair and waited to be teleported away. As he was sitting there, he began to prepare tea, flexing his magic and making the kitchen around him come to life in a whirlwind of activity. Semillon kept the kitchen well organised and the organisation was done with unicorns in mind, with things that commonly went together all clustered in one central location. There were soft clinks and clatters behind him, the sound of running water, and as everything came together, two mismatched teacups were placed upon the kitchen table. One was bone white china and covered in yellow roses, the other was heavier, made of clay, and had intricate designs carved into the sides.

“When I’m sad I like mine with extra sugar,” Luna sniffled, wiping her eyes with her foreleg. “I thought I told you I required solitude.”

Remaining silent, Bucky wondered if Luna was even aware of the contradiction in her statement, clearly wanting tea with extra sugar but still wanting to be left alone. He heated the teapot with his magic while boiling the water in the tea kettle. He heated the cups as well and levitated the sugar bowl over to the kitchen table.

“My sister is cruel and heartless,” Luna said in a pained whisper. “Always so bossy and secure in the fact that she must be correct in everything because our creator still talks to her. I wonder if he has cut her off as he’s done with me… she won’t be so smug after a few hundred years of not hearing his voice. It hurts so much… it leaves you feeling empty. I was trapped in a nightmare… alone in the dark and he left me. There was no comfort to be had… none at all. One thousand years of nothing.”

“I’m sorry,” Bucky offered as he poured the boiling water into the teapot.

“Why are you sorry?” Luna asked as she wiped her nose with her foreleg.

“Because… your father was rotten to you and I understand. Believe me, I do,” Bucky responded, looking pointedly at Luna and daring her to challenge him. “Maybe not on the immortal scale of things, but I understand bad parents. When I deal with my foals, I try to think about the exact opposite of what my parents might have done.”

“You rubbed the farts out of your foal’s belly… you are a good father,” Luna mumbled as she pulled the teacup with yellow roses close to her. She looked down at the roses, sniffled a few times, and then looked at Bucky with an expression of pain so terrible that there were no words to describe it. How does one explain one thousand years of solitude with no comfort to be had, no loving voice of a caring parent trying to reassure the troubled foal that the punishment was nearly over? Luna certainly could not.

“I’ve met him… her. It. Whatever it is. When I hovered near death after the defeating the crystal lich. He explained my purpose and what was going on. What I was meant to do and how your sister was forced to hold the cosmos together all by herself during your absence,” Bucky said, feeling rather shocked that the words came out so easily and with no embarrassing utterances of nonsensical words.

Luna glanced up at Bucky for a moment, her teal eyes glittering, and then her gaze fell back down to look at her teacup. She heaved a shuddering sigh and her ears drooped down to the sides of her face.

“I learned that the alicorn of war was to be the end of all things. He doesn’t want to save any of this, he wants to wipe it away, destroy it, put an end to all things, and he wants me to be the one to do his dirty work,” Bucky said, feeling relieved that he could finally get this out.

“I have begun to figure as much,” Luna admitted, huddled over the table and looking miserable. She watched at Bucky poured the milk into her cup and then the tea. He added several sugarcubes, dropping them into her cup with a splash, and when he tossed in one more extra, Luna found herself feeling just a little bit better.

“I know you just had a spat with your sister, but you have three other sisters that love you,” Bucky said in a soft whisper as he prepared his own tea.

“Do not bring them up, not now,” Luna begged, shaking her head. “I cannot bear it.”

“They worry for you… they love you… and they are at war with your father. We need allies,” Bucky breathed in a voice of almost pure relief, feeling so much better now that he could talk about this.

“So… you have picked sides?” Luna asked, looking at Bucky.

“Of course I have. It is why I will not ascend. Life must go on. Your father has become a threat. He whispers into Celestia’s ear, he uses her love and devotion for him to coerce her into doing monsterous things, and he manipulates everything all around us to bring about the end,” Bucky whispered as he stirred his tea.

“I know… about his manipulations I mean. I sometimes wonder if he caused my fall to punish my sister and make her suffer,” Luna mused. “To force her into being submissive and meek.”

“What do you mean?” Bucky asked.

“There was a disagreement… I did not agree with him. I encouraged my sister to disobey. Celestia did… she did disobey at my behest. She and Sombra… well, our father did not approve. It was my words that made my sister disobey. I turned Celestia against him. He was furious with me. Not long after, Princess Platinum died, Sombra began his descent into madness, and Celestia was tortured by watching him suffer. I cannot help but wonder if he killed Platinum to begin this dreadful process. He wanted Celestia to kill Sombra, to put an end to him…he wanted her to kill what she loved to break her willfulness. Celestia refused, once again at my urging. I spoke words of reason to my sister, telling her that Sombra might still be saved. Our father gave commands and I moved my sister to rebel against him constantly. We made a mess of things. Had Sombra been killed, so much suffering might have been avoided. But the war raged on and it was no longer quite so easy to correct our mistake. Sombra could no longer just be killed. The love between them died… Celestia finally saw how much Sombra hated her now, how he loathed her, and it broke her heart. We finally cut him down, but at a terrible cost. Our father… he gloated. He did not say ‘I told you so,’ at least not specifically, but he made it clear that we were wrong, that he had known all along what had been best for both of us, and Celestia grew angry with him. She tried to submit, to listen, to do as he said, but she had moments of being willful. Of course, I did not help. I urged my sister to do things our way… and I believe at some point, he grew tired of me leading my sister astray. I had a moment of weakness, I fell into darkness, and then I faced exile. I was gone for a thousand years and now she is, or was, submissive and mindful of his every command. I do not know what has happened to be honest, I can only speculate,” Luna explained, letting everything within her heart out in one long pained confession, staring down into her teacup, tears sliding down her muzzle and splashing upon the table.

“Oh stars that’s horrible,” Bucky grumbled, scarcely able to take in everything he had just heard. “That is the most heinous and abusive thing I’ve heard in a while.”

“I just did it again… I told my sister to get laid… to embrace another pony that she loves, but he has wives… I have not learned from my past mistakes… I fear that our father is going to send me away again… I’m so scared,” Luna confessed. “I feel as though the past is repeating itself once again.”

Bucky, lost in thought and distracted, failed to catch the implications of what Luna had said and instead began to worry about what might happen if Luna fell once again, pushed into darkness by a being he had no chance to protect her from.

 

 

 

 

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