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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Taking a deep breath and steeling her nerves, Applejack pushed open the door. She felt Silver Shill right behind her, gently nudging her along with his hoof. She needed him, Applejack wasn’t sure if she could face this alone. As the door opened, Applejack closed her eyes for a moment, swallowed, opened her eyes, and then stepped into the hospital room.

“Babs?” Applejack asked in a low voice. “Babs? I came as soon as I heard.”

The dark orange filly in the bed rolled over and blinked sleepily. “Applejack?”

The earth pony mare danced in place for one moment, unsure of what to do, and then she carefully threw herself into the bed with Babs, crawling in beside the filly and carefully pulling her close. “I’m so glad to see you.”

Standing quietly beside the bed, Silver Shill watched the mare he loved and the filly that he did not know except through stories, have a tearful moment of reunion. He turned away for a moment, looking out the window, feeling more than a little lachrymose, and then he turned his gaze back towards the pair. Blinking away a few tears of his own, he felt a quiet sense of relief. Applejack had been worried about this for a long time.

“Babs, what happened to Sunflower? Where is your big sister?” Applejack questioned in a strangled sobbing voice. When she felt Babs shudder, Applejack knew the answer and felt a feeling of tight constriction in her throat.

“A building fell on her when Tirek attacked,” Babs whimpered, pressing her face into Applejack’s neck and wrapping her forelegs around one of Applejack’s forelegs that was wrapped around her.

“I’m sorry Babs… I’m so sorry,” Applejack whispered and then kissed Babs softly.

“He hurt me Applejack,” Babs said in voice that was little more than an exhaled breath.

“I know Babs… the doctors and Twilight told me everything. You don’t have to talk about it. Twilight told me that Bucky took him away… he’s never gonna hurt another foal,” Applejack responded as she closed her eyes and squeezed.

“I tried to make it to Ponyville… he took me,” Babs whispered.

“I know, he took a lot of foals,” Applejack murmured, feeling a terrible pain in her heart. “Hush Babs, don’t talk about it.”

“I feel dirty Applejack… they gave me a bath but I still feel dirty. He hurt me… inside…”

 

 

Soundproofing the room, Twilight turned to look at Bucky, who seemed to be in a somewhat decent mood. The sound of the brewery hummed around her and she could smell the yeasty smell of beer. He was sitting at the table looking surprisingly relaxed given the current state of affairs.

“I suppose you scrambled his brains,” Twilight Sparkle said.

“Scramble implies I was cooking eggs,” Bucky replied, not looking at Twilight.

“I’m still very uncomfortable with what you’ve done,” Twilight stated.

Lifting his head, Bucky looked at the alicorn speaking to him. “Think about what he did to those earth pony foals before you say that.”

“I am thinking about it… it is all I can think about… I think I would have felt better about all of this if you had simply killed him,” Twilight responded, turning away from Bucky’s gaze and staring at a workplace safety poster upon the wall. “Being a parent changes you… I’ve been thinking about nothing but killing him. At one point in my life I wasn’t like this Bucky. But now I think about Scootaloo… or Glass Slipper being… hurt-”

The alicorn suddenly gagged, unable to finish, and Bucky looked at her with pity.

“At least Spike is more than capable of taking care of himself. I suppose it is a mercy having one less thing to worry about,” Bucky whispered in a soft voice, trying to comfort Twilight.

“WOULD KILLING HIM BE SO BAD?” Twilight shouted, her eyes clenched shut. Her whole body tensed and she gritted her teeth, sparks flew from her horn and flickers of flames manifested along her wings.

“Yes it would Twilight,” Bucky replied in a flat monotone.

“I don’t understand you at all, you know,” Twilight moaned, her eyes still squeezed shut from anguish. “I had to tell Applejack what was done to her cousin. I had to listen to the doctors describe to her in graphic detail what was done and how all of those earth pony foals are going to need reconstructive surgery. And you just sit there and tell me that killing is wrong.”

“So you start killing for vengeance. Where does it end? Why stop? There is a lot wrong with the world. Why stop at just one creature that hurt a few foals? Kill him and move on to the next one. Kill the next one too. Killing two isn’t enough to really make a difference though… if you want the world to change, you gotta take it upon your shoulders to kill all of them… and where does that leave you? Are you the alicorn of friendship or are you the alicorn of vengeance?” Bucky questioned in a soft voice.

“I’m being lectured about killing from the potential alicorn of war,” Twilight said dully, her eyes opening. “Oh by the stars what have I done? I’m sorry Bucky… I don’t know what came over me for a moment… thank you… I… I am at a loss for what to say.”

“Twilight Sparkle, I love you a great deal. Please don’t ever forget that,” said Bucky in a low voice, looking at Twilight with an expression of concern.

“I can’t stand how the world is sometimes,” Twilight whimpered.

“I was just thinking about that while I was doing a little work here,” Bucky said, now looking distracted. “I realised I had a way to fix everything that was wrong.”

“You do? How? I’d love to hear it,” Twilight Sparkle responded, moving towards the table and then sitting down in a chair beside Bucky.

“Purpose driven magic… enchantment. Making sapient creatures behave themselves. Do you really want to know?” Bucky questioned, looking over at the gloomy alicorn.

“Yes, I do,” Twilight Sparkle replied.

“It occurred to me that my anti-gunpowder golems could do so much more. I started thinking about how I had changed our prisoners. How easy it is to take away free will… and as I was going through stock lists, I realised, the world doesn’t need to keep fighting. I could make war and conflict end in no time. Release a flood of golems that carry enchantments worldwide that make sapient creatures have reactions of violent sickness when they think about hurting one another. Extreme nausea as a reaction to the very thought of committing violence. Mass dispersal of geas spells and compulsion spells. Spells that would make a creature forcibly go sit down or lay down somewhere and think about what they are doing before going off and doing unnatural things with a foal or some other creature’s young. I could put an end to all rapes. I could make the entire world stop fighting. The only things that would really have a chance to resist me would be the unicorns, but they could be worn down. I’m already seeing ways to make them submit. At some point, my golems would catch them and subdue them. As I checked off the inventory checksheet, I saw a future where all conflict was quelled. An entire planet pacified.”

Twilight Sparkle’s mouth dropped open and her eyes went wide.

“Just think Twilight. A diamond dog goes to enslave a pony and he immediately feels nausea. He continues, and the nausea becomes extreme vomiting. He falls to the ground, incapacitated, unable to continue and follow through with the act of violence. An entire world where it becomes impossible to bring harm to another. I could make it happen. And if things continued to resist… I could lobotomise them like I’ve done with our prisoners. Then they would submit and even be happy about it. Our prisoners love me Twilight. Not love like Cadance can produce, but love nonetheless. They were so happy to see me last night. They hugged me and chatted with me and it was like two foals glad to see daddy when he comes home. And they were our hardened enemies. I could easily make those who resist be just like them. The world would learn to behave itself,” Bucky explained, looking troubled as he spoke.

“What’s stopping you?” Twilight whispered, looking terrified.

“I will not live forever,” Bucky responded, shaking his head. “I came to the same conclusion that Princess Celestia and Princess Luna must have came to at some point. The world will face trouble. Conflict is where heroes are made. The strong are made stronger in the crucible of turmoil. Tartarus could spill open. The world could be invaded by things from other places, other whens. And a world full of pacified creatures that have never known conflict would have no chance of survival. The world needs conflict. It needs trouble. Bad things have to happen so ponies like you and I will come into our own and become the sorts of creatures that can protect the world from horrible things invading from other dimensions… or to stem the tide of horrors that might escape Tartarus. If I was to pacify them, I would potentially be killing them,” Bucky explained, his talons drumming on the table.

Rubbing her front hooves together as she propped herself up on her elbows, Twilight looked somewhat queasy as she sat in the chair. “I suppose you’re right, I wonder if Princess Celestia and Princess Luna ever thought about forcing the world to behave.”

“I’m sure they have. They have lived for a very long time. And I strongly suspect that they reached the same conclusion that I have. It would be a death sentence,” Bucky replied as he rubbed the side of his neck with his right front hoof.

“But all war would be ended. No more fighting. No more hurting. No more foals being abducted or molested. No more rapes. No more senseless anger… like… like I had just a few minutes ago,” Twilight Sparkle said in a defeated voice. She rubbed her eyes, scrubbing at them with her front fetlocks, leaving behind damp cheeks when she pulled her forelegs away.

“How is Glass Slipper?” Bucky asked, changing the subject.

“She adores Spike. She follows him around asking him a million questions an hour and driving him crazy. She likes to talk about turning five. She likes to pester Flash Sentry about if his wings tickle him when he has them folded in. I don’t know why she doesn’t ask Rainbow Dash or I about this. Or Scootaloo. She loves Scootaloo and wants to follow Scootaloo everywhere she goes, but Scootaloo is a lot older… and she’s Scootaloo. Which means getting into a lot of trouble. I don’t want Glass Slipper getting into that much trouble just yet. She has a knack for slipping into bed with sleeping ponies unnoticed and not waking them up. And I find myself falling in love with her a little more each day,” Twilight Sparkle answered, pouring her heart out as tears trickled down her darkened cheeks.

“Foals have a way of changing you Twilight,” Bucky stated, nodding his head knowingly.

 

 

Applejack lay on her back, gently stroking the foal laying over her barrel. Babs’ head was resting on Applejack’s chest, at the base of her neck. Applejack’s hat lay on the floor where it had fallen. The two earth ponies clung to one another, feeling each other’s grief quite keenly.

“We’re going to take you home,” Silver Shill said in a low voice, speaking to a foal he only knew from stories. “Once you get better you will come home. And you will have all of us to protect you and make you feel better. Granny Smith, Apple Bloom, me, Applejack, Big Mac, Cheerilee, we will all be there for you. We’ll get you through this somehow.”

Sighing, feeling the heavy warmth of Babs upon her barrel, Applejack thought about her parents for a moment as she felt more tears soak into her pelt. “It’s the earth pony way. When there is a hard job to do, we get a whole bunch of us and share the work. And there’s a whole bunch of us Apples. I’m glad you’re home Babs.”

“Earth ponies are dirt,” Babs muttered in a low broken voice, her eyes closed. “The earth pony way is the way of servitude. Good slaves get fed. Bad slaves get punished.”

Saying nothing, Applejack’s green eyes blazed furiously as she gazed at Silver Shill.

 

 

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