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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“...anyhow, Rarity and Coco brought up a lot of good points and I wanted to know your feelings about everything,” Bucky said as he sat in a feverishly pink chair in Dinky and Piña’s room beside Diamond Tiara’s bed, speaking to the foal about the current situation.

“You mean they want me?” Diamond Tiara squeaked.

“Yes love. They want you. Is that so hard to believe?” Bucky said, making a gentle inquiry. “I want you as well, but I understand the complications of keeping you. Do you understand the troubles we all might face?”

“Yes,” Diamond Tiara replied, offering a faint nod. For a moment, she looked troubled, her pupils dilated, and her gaze became unfocused. “Do you think I have the behavioural issues I do because I am a filly raised by a stallion? Would being around two mares fix some of what is wrong?”

Feeling troubled by Diamond Tiara’s words, Bucky lowered his head and closed his eye. Trying to flog his brain into action, he attempted to think of something wise to say. He failed. Stymied, he tried to dissect the foal’s statement to break it down into more manageable parts. He called upon every bit of fatherly wisdom he had accumulated and came up with exactly nothing to say.

“Dinky painted me my favourite sort of butterfly. Look how real it looks,” Diamond Tiara said, pointing up at the wall beside her bed.

“Dinky’s skill as a painter is certainly becoming impressive,” Bucky responded as he opened his eye and then looked at the butterfly painting. Not only was the butterfly accurate and easy to identify, but the milkweed plant was a dead on representation.

“I want to get up and walk around a bit,” Diamond Tiara requested, turning her head slowly to look at Bucky, who was sitting in the screamingly pink chair.

“Okay,” Bucky agreed as he pulled himself out of the chair. “You sure you’re up for this? You seem a little out of it. Just go slowly and don’t rush yourself. You know getting up too fast causes your blood pressure to drop.”

 

 

Pinkie Pie stood on her hind hooves beside the counter, whisking a mixture in a large mixing bowl. Beside her, Cheese Sandwich was squirting frosting through a star shaped nozzle onto a batch of cupcakes. Mister and Mrs. Cake were also working in the kitchen, with Mister Cake occasionally eyeing the register. In the corner, the twins played in their playpen.

“So I had myself a thought,” Mrs. Cake announced.

“What’s that shnookums?” Mister Cake questioned as he carefully added sprinkles to a frosted batch of cupcakes.

Mrs. Cake lifted her head and looked around the kitchen. “Are we a herd?”

Mister Cake began to panic. “I’ve never once thought of Pinkie in that way,” he said, looking at Pinkie Pie, who was now giggling, and then back at his wife.

“Herds can be extended family. Look at the Lord of Winter. He has four almost adults living within his herd. That’s what I’ve seen in the paper. And Pinkie Pie is practically my foal. I love her as though she was my own,” Mrs. Cake patiently explained to her rapidly reddening husband.

“You really feel that way about me?” Pinkie Pie gushed, dropping her whisk with a plop into the mixing bowl.

“Of course Pinkie. You were such a young filly when you left home. You were barely a teenager. Something bad might have happened to a filly that age. Which is why we had to take you in. Besides, when you showed up, you were a little half baked. I had to keep you until you were finished,” Mrs. Cake responded as she smoothed out her apron with one front hoof.

“I feel like I am being tickled all over,” Pinkie said as she wrapped her forelegs around her barrel and gave herself a hug. “I like feeling happy.”

“Pinkie Pie, I would like it very much if you and Cheese continued to stay with us. As a family. One big family. We could raise our foals together. What I’m trying to say is, I’m worried that you are going to leave us… and I really want for you to stay,” Mrs. Cake said, looking hopeful.

“Oh don’t worry Cup Cake, you’ll never get rid of me!” Pinkie Pie promised.

“And what about you Carrot Cake? How do you feel?” Cheese Sandwich questioned.

“I am very fond of Pinkie Pie and I want for her to be happy. And so far, you seem to be making her happy. I certainly don’t want for either of you to go. We all work so well together. Have you had enough of wandering?” Mister Cake replied, looking over at Cheese Sandwich.

“I’ve finally found the one party I never want to leave,” Cheese stated.

“Oh good, it’s settled then. Because I’ve already changed the business stationary when I placed an order and I’ve added Cheese Sandwich,” Mrs. Cake said with a sheepish grin.

 

 

Feeling fretful in a way she had never felt before, Rainbow Dash looked at her friend Applejack and felt her friend’s pain. Applejack looked older somehow, her eyes were bloodshot and had bags under them, and parts of her mane had slipped free from her pony tail.

“Applejack, you look awful,” Rainbow Dash said as she set down a plate of cheese and crackers. “You look like the time that you didn’t sleep for like a week and tried to help everypony.”

“I feel like it too,” Applejack said as she took off her hat and then rubbed her eyes.

“How is Babs?” Rainbow Dash asked in an apprehensive voice. She had been having nightmares about Scootaloo, Spike, and Glass Slipper all being in a hospital and not being able to see them. The bad dreams were destroying her own ability to sleep.

“Babs is healing up nicely. Whatever it was that the Royal Pony Sisters provided, it sure did help. It didn’t fix everything all up perfect, but it did enough. She… uh… well, uh, I don’t know a lot about this medical mumbo jumbo stuff so I really can’t tell you what is going on,” Applejack said, feeling dangerously close to a lie. She felt her own pulse quicken and could feel the blood throbbing in her neck. “She was left in a bad state for so long. You know how it is… during the collapse everything sort of fell apart… including hospital services.”

“Oh, I know. When I was an active member of the Ponyville Militia I had to fly that foal to Canterlot because of a really bad spider bite, remember? And I got sniped at by those jerk unicorns that tried to shoot me out of the sky,” Rainbow Dash angrily recalled, her eyes narrowing.

“I remember. Everything got real bad there for a while,” Applejack said, glad to change the subject. “Ponyville’s hospital didn’t have the anti-venon.”

“Those jerks shot at me. Me. I’m awesome and I’m a hero… and those jerks thought they could shoot me down when I was flying a mission of mercy. They burned off part of my tail!” Rainbow Dash shouted as she banged her hoof into the table.

“Truffle still talks about the time he got to fly with Rainbow Dash,” Applejack said, staring down at the plate of cheese and crackers but not eating any. “Only he tells it with a lot more explosions.”

“Applejack, stuff was exploding. They were shooting at me. I had a fireball go off right in front of me and I was only able to veer away at the last second. How do you think my tail caught on fire?” Rainbow Dash said in a low voice as she looked at her friend.

“Gosh… I guess I was thinking it was just the usual blasts… like Twilight used on the changelings. I didn’t know… I didn’t put two and two together,” Applejack said dully.

“Motherhood is a lot like that moment. All I could think about was protecting poor little Truffle as stuff kept exploding all around me. I was so scared that I was going to fail. Now all I can do is think about keeping my own safe. Things have changed between Scootaloo and I and I don’t know why. She does dangerous stuff all the time and it never bothered me before. But yesterday, yesterday she did something boneheaded and I started to lecture her, and then she starts crying… and I feel just awful because I made her cry, and then she starts shouting at me that I’m a stunt flier and it isn’t right that I’m lecturing her, and then Flash started to scold her for shouting inside, and then I felt really awful because I made Scootaloo shout and get lectured and then I-”

“Oh my gosh Dashie, you’ve become responsible,” Applejack interrupted, her voice a flat monotone. The earth pony mare studied her friend, realising on some level that they both had changed.

“And last night, Glass Slipper stood a little too high and leaned a little too far over on the stepladder stool… I saw it tipping and I actually screamed. I nearly rainboomed inside of the library trying to reach her before she tipped over. I caught her before she hit the floor and then I held her and I wanted to cry for some reason. I don’t like this Applejack, I don’t like this one bit,” Rainbow Dash said, sounding huffy. The pegasus slumped into a pout, her wings now standing straight out as her body heat rose from the feeling of panic caused by just the memory.

“I feel your pain Rainbow… now you know how I feel when Apple Bloom slips off into the Everfree. You used to laugh at me for being overprotective,” Applejack mumbled through a half-smile.

“If Scootaloo goes anywhere near the Everfree, she is grounded for life!”

 

 

“Bucky, we need to start organising whatever relief efforts we can now,” Twilight Sparkle said as she laid a sheaf of paper down upon the table in front of Bucky. “A wild storm is approaching Horseshoe Bay and Baltimare. An autumn hurricane. I don’t know what Ponyville can do to help, but we need to get organised now if we are going send aid.”

Lifting the paper, Bucky stared at the map. “This can’t be right.”

Pursing her lips, Twilight Sparkle nodded regretfully. “Oh it’s right. Pegasi storm scouts have been studying it as it approaches the shore.”

“This is over a thousand miles wide,” Bucky stated, tearing his gaze away from the paper to look at Twilight Sparkle. “Sustained winds of one hundred and seventy miles per hour and gusts over two hundred.”

Saying nothing, Twilight nodded.

“And the zebras think I did this?” Bucky gasped, recoiling in horror as he read over the paper he was holding in his magic.

“The Storm of Centuries raging over Griffonholm is having an effect upon the weather. It is spawning wild storms. They don’t think that you did this, per say, just that this might be an unintended consequence,” Twilight explained as Bucky slumped over, looking defeated.

“We have to stop it. The Royal Pony Sisters can stop it. Princess Celestia and Princess Luna have to use their magic to stop it,” Bucky said. With a flare of magic, he called his cloak to himself, wrapping himself in the black cloak he drew so much comfort from.

“The outer edges of the storm are already hitting the coast. Bucky, there is no stopping this,” Twilight said softly.

“NO! You don’t say that. WE DO IMPOSSIBLE THINGS!” Bucky protested. He pulled his cloak tightly around his body and began to manifest his shadow magic. His panic, anger, and desperation gave him strength. The hood settled over his head, his face vanishing completely from view.

With an explosion of shadowstuff, Bucky was gone, leaving behind a very surprised Twilight Sparkle. She stood in Bucky’s kitchen, blinking, and then she detected Bucky’s very unique magical signature in Canterlot a moment later. Smiling a bittersweet smile, she realised that Bucky was now part of a very special group of long range teleporters.

 

 

Exploding into existence next to a very surprised guard, Bucky came out of shadow space with a scream, his whole body being ran through by invisible spears of pure agony. He fell to the ground, writhing, all four legs pulled up against his body as he tried to forcibly will the pain to go away.

A cry of alarm was raised and the guard began to gather, forming a protective circle over the fallen Lord of Winter. Bucky’s screams filled the dimly lit hall. With a bright flare of magic, Celestia sprang into existence, looking terrified.

When she saw Bucky, her eyes flashed with panic, and the big alicorn moved to his side, kneeling down beside him and trying to soothe his hurts, cooing at him softly. It took several minutes, but the screams of anguish finally died down to become sobs of suffering and torment.

 

 

“We have to stop it,” Bucky pleaded, looking at Celestia.

Gently shaking her head, Celestia blinked at Bucky. “The power to stop a hurricane of that size is also the power to cause a hurricane of that size. We cannot have the world fear us. Buckminster… Bucky… I am sorry, but sometimes we have to allow things to happen.”

“But I caused this!” Bucky cried, his eye darting around frantically.

“No. You did not. You did the right thing in healing the land and restoring Griffonholm. This is nature resetting itself. Making corrections. Restoring some sense of equilibrium. Trying to restore some sense of balance. Bucky, if we tried to make this stop, do you not see that nature might further try to reset itself in some other way?” Celestia responded in a gentle voice, reaching out and stroking the manic unicorn with her wing as she spoke.

“EXCUSES! FINE THEN! STAY HERE IN YOUR IVORY TOWER! DAMN YOU ALL!”

As Celestia watched, Bucky pulled his cloak tightly around himself and then exploded away in a cloud of shadowstuff. She sighed, feeling some sting from Bucky’s words, but knowing that she was right. She hoped that Bucky wouldn’t do anything foolish.

 

 

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