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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Drawing in a weary breath, Bucky eased himself down into a chair at the end of a long table and closed his eye. His brain ached and he felt nauseous. He heard the fluttering of wings and the clatter of fine porcelain being rattled around. There was a clink of metal and a faint sloshing sound.

When he opened his eye, there was a full service of tea laid out along with breakfast. He looked around and saw nobirdy. Having experienced this several times now, he wondered how the little griffons managed to move so quickly and so efficiently. He inhaled deeply, smelling the strong scent of some kind of black tea with a vague hint of something else… something like anise but not anise.

A powerful wave of nausea washed over him and Bucky was certain he was going to puke for a moment. He could deal with prolonged magic casting far better than most unicorns, he could keep casting as long he could keep eating and deal with the eventual sickness that came along from such activity. He could teleport a dozen times in a row and never once feel an ill effect from such an act. But a full night of using powerful shadow magic had left him strangely drained and oh so very queasy. This was like learning how to deal with the consequences of magic all over again as a foal.

This was miserable.

A part of him enjoyed it immensely.

After all of his time and study of magic, he associated feelings like these with the acquisition of power. And he had learned much during the long night, not only about dark magic, but gaining a new sense of appreciation for shadow magic as well. He began to prepare his tea, not even looking at what he was doing, he was slumped over his chair with his cloak wrapped around him, and the sounds of his stomach filled the room.

Looking bleary eyed, Princess Luna entered the room, she stared at Bucky for a moment, shivered when she saw a skeleton wrapped in a black cloak, blinked, made the image go away, and cursed Thanatos for giving Bucky his cloak. She stumbled wearily to the table, her steel shod hooves clomping over the tile floor with heavy metallic thuds.

“You do not look well,” Luna remarked.

“I’ve felt better,” Bucky said, lifting his teacup to his lips and inhaling deeply after he spoke, his nostrils flaring as he took in the fragrance of his tea. The fragrant steam soothed his fevered brain and seemed to calm his stomach just a little bit.

Fixing her own tea, Luna studied Bucky, taking in every detail. Half of his face was gone, ripped away by wolves, the four easily identifiable gashes of fangs biting into his skull were still visible, leaving behind four distinct furrows. The area around his eye had been completely torn away, leaving only the skin around his jawline and scalp line. Everything from ear to snoot had been torn away, leaving him perpetually smirking, the right corner of his mouth twisted around from the shrunken scar tissue. Thick sideburns had grown in and some of the withered flesh was hidden, but enough of it remained and what was left was still highly visible. Her eyes moved to the mechanical talons resting on the arm of the chair.

“Do I look so hideous?” Bucky questioned after swallowing a sip of tea.

“I do not think you look hideous… I was merely looking over what life has done to you,” Luna replied, shaking her head as a sad expression crept over her face. “If you could be healed somehow… made whole… would you?”

“No,” Bucky grunted.

“No?” Luna responded. “Pray tell, why not?”

“My suffering defines me. Makes me what I am. It powers my magic. Gives me strength. It is a small price to pay for power. The pain and the rage gives me focus, it is like using a magnifying glass or a prism to focus sunlight and set things on fire,” Bucky explained with slow carefully chosen words. “My magic defines me as who and what I am… my continued suffering is an extension of that.”

Her teal eyes going wide, Luna gave a sorrowful look at Bucky and rested both of her front hooves upon the table. “That’s terrible,” she whispered. She watched him sip his tea, her emotions feeling raw after a very long night. She had patrolled the dream realm and assisted Bucky in his interrogations, going into his mind while he acted as a bridge between her and the mirror travelers. She stared off vacantly, her eyes becoming dull and unfocused.

“I’ve experienced so many different types of pain,” Bucky mused, interrupting Luna’s thoughts and pulling the distracted alicorn back into reality.

“I know,” Luna said dryly, suppressing a shudder.

“I’ve endured an orgasmic pegasus crushing me… but nothing was quite as bad as sitting down upon my own balls and crushing them,” Bucky stated, wincing at the memory. “Stone floor… I sat down angrily, not carefully like I would normally do… You have to ease yourself down, allow your balls to settle upon whatever you are sitting on first, and then scoot backwards so the balls do not become crushed. I just threw myself down and cracked my own eggs. Mashed my own potatoes. I-”

“You are the very worst sort of pony,” Luna interrupted.

“I know,” Bucky said smugly, his voice full of terrible pride.

Glaring at the smarmy unicorn, Luna’s lip curled back in disgust for a moment and then she composed herself, becoming a regal princess once again. “You did very well in getting the information we needed.”

“We learned a great deal… their main base of operations for this continent has been blown up,” Bucky muttered in between sips of tea. He took a deep breath and slumped over a little more. “What I’ve learned has unsettled me. So many of the realities they’ve explored, you’ve been Nightmare Moon. Or the reality where the griffons took over the world. Or the reality where the zebra Bocors released a plague of zombies upon the world after a massive persecution of the witch doctors. Makes you glad we have our reality, don’t it?”

“I suppose so… I can see why our invaders want it as well. The main consequences of the horrors we see on the horizon have not happened yet in this reality,” Luna said, her eyes darting over and lingering upon the heavy drapes that hung over the windows.

“They found a dead world full of sand and bones. The remains of giant glass golems. Gave me chills seeing that in the unicorn’s memories,” Bucky confessed, his voice somewhat raspy with emotion.

“Do not talk about it,” Luna commanded.

“How can I not think about it?” Bucky snapped, shaking his head angrily and banging his talons upon the arm of the chair. “We both know what happened there!”

“We do not know it for certain!” Luna argued, turning her head to look at Bucky once more. “We do not know… any number of things could have happened!”

“It was exactly like the world in that dream back on the isles!” Bucky shouted. He blinked a few times, realising how angry he was. He took a deep breath, a pained expression creeping over his withered face, and he looked at Luna with one wide pleading eye. “Forgive me… seeing that… unsettled me.”

“Think nothing of it. I hold nothing against you. It disturbs me as well,” Luna said, her eyes lingering on Bucky as she wondered how much longer she could keep looking at him before feeling his pain once again. “You… love. Do not ever forget that. You love and you have family. You have reasons to keep going. I can no longer deny what you are now. My sister remains undecided I think, but I have made up my mind now for certain. Seeing… seeing the unicorn’s memories nearly unhinged me.”

“Good morning!”

The unicorn and the alicorn turned to look at Tannis, who entered the room with Agnetha just behind him. The discussion, which was becoming interesting, was certainly dead now. Bucky and Luna exchanged a final knowing glance with one another and then put on their best faces for Tannis and Agnetha.

“Bucky, you look weary… you must stop these late nights,” Agnetha scolded, shaking one extended talon finger at Bucky.

“How is married life?” Bucky questioned.

“Wonderful,” Tannis replied as he sat down beside the table.

 

 

Yawning, Twilight Sparkle tried to get enough of her brain awake to deal with the current strangeness in the library. Discord and Fluttershy had come by during the first moments of dawn. Both were wrapped in long rain cloaks, both looked frightened, and both looked confused. Discord was currently in his draconequus form, hunched over and struggling to stand. Twilight realised in some foggy barely awake part of her brain that she might need to change him back to pony form, something she struggled to do when she was wide awake.

“I need to be off to work,” Flash Sentry announced as he moved through the main room. He paused, stood in place, waved at Fluttershy as well as Discord, and then he continued, moving out the front door.

“Have a good day,” Twilight called out. “Do good things!”

Fluttershy opened her mouth to say something but only squeaked wordlessly.

“Can one of you tell me what is wrong?” Twilight asked. She had awoken with only one nerve left, and somehow, her visitors were standing on it. She wanted a morning where she could sleep in. She wanted to be in bed with Rainbow Dash. She wanted to be in bed. But having a warm body to cuddle against made the bed even better, more appealing.

“My dearest Fluttershy has been sick… she’s been puking her adorable little guts out. It’s especially bad during the mornings,” Discord said in a nervous wavering voice.

“Go to the hospital, get a pregnancy test,” Twilight grumbled. “Why come to me? I’m not a doctor… I’m a sleepy pony princess that wants to be in bed,” she whined.

“Twilight, I think we need your help,” Fluttershy said as she dropped her cloak. As she did so, Discord did the same. Fluttershy closed her eyes, began counting, and waited.

Fluttershy counted to four before the piercing shriek could be heard.

“DISCORD WHAT DID YOU DO?” Twilight Sparkle accused in a ragged scream after shrieking wordlessly.

“I didn’t do anything! Honest! I’m baffled too!” Discord protested. “Why is it when something goes wrong you just blame me?”

“Because right now you have one of Fluttershy’s legs!” Twilight shouted.

“And she has one of mine! She has my left goat leg! That’s my favourite leg!” Discord bellowed as he feebly waved his front legs in the air. “It’s filled with goaty goodness. Whole grain goats are part of an essential daily walk.”

“Fluttershy, your left hind leg is a goat leg!” Twilight screamed.

“I know,” Fluttershy squeaked, looking appalled by the whole situation.

“What is going on? Stop shouting, there are foals and and a lazy pegasus trying to sleep!” a muffled voice cried out from upstairs.

“Fluttershy… goat leg,” Twilight Sparkle whispered, covering her mouth with a hoof.

My goat leg,” Discord said in tiny squeaky voice.

“It is too early in the morning to deal with this,” Twilight Sparkle mumbled, shaking her head. She sucked in a deep breath, held it for a moment, just as Cadance had taught her to do, and then let it out slowly as she made a gesture with her front hoof. She stood there staring stupidly, unable to do anything else. She looked at Fluttershy, watching as the mare was slowly turning green.

“Fluttershy? Do you need to be sick?” Twilight Sparkle questioned. She began to yawn, overcome with weariness.

“Yes,” Fluttershy replied.

A moment later, Twilight Sparkle shrieked as something hot and chunky splattered up against her face and neck, and she shared what was sure to be an intimate and friendship building moment with Fluttershy, something neither one of them would ever talk about ever again, as long as both of them lived, and for Fluttershy, that was going to be a very long time.

Spitting, Twilight Sparkle tried to get the sour taste of partially digested oats out of her her mouth. “Ugh, strawberries,” she grunted, shaking vomit from her face.

 

 

 

 

 

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