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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As the midnight hour approached, a lone figure roamed the streets of Ponyville. The night sky was clear, cloudless, and the air was crisp and cold. The night was filled with the smell of burning coal and wood. A few establishments were still open, even at this time of night. In some of the houses, lights were still on. In the Ponyville library tree, lights blazed from the windows.

The lone figure wore a black cloak that did not move in the faint breeze.

The solitary shadow slowly made its way to the edge of town, near where the railroad depot was, and then it traveled along the railroad tracks for a time, heading in the direction of Canterlot. The figure left the most peculiar tracks of any of the residents of Ponyville. Three hooves and one set of talons, three forward and one backwards, a set of tracks not natural for an equine.

When it reached a long straight set of tracks, it stopped and had itself a look about.

 

 

Lifting his cloak, Bucky opened his saddlebags to allow a small collection of golems to crawl out. Several spider golems jumped out to the ground and one rotocopter took to the air, buzzing around overhead and flashing its lights in an excited manner. Turning his head upward, Bucky shot the flying golem an annoyed look, which caused the blinking to become somewhat halfhearted.

“Okay… all of you should remember the plan. I need one of you to go along down the track, laying out a section of phased glass thread along the track. I need one of of you here with me. The rest of you will wait around in case something goes wrong and I need a backup golem,” Bucky instructed.

One of the golems began to make a series of beeps and bloops, while flashing its lights.

“What do you mean what if I am attacked out here in the dark scary night and there might be robbers in these woods you little noodlehead? Do you know who I am?” Bucky questioned, disgust evident in his voice.

The golem beeped, blooped, and flashed a few times more.

“What do you mean you’re afraid of the dark? You have a light! Use it!” Bucky snapped, becoming somewhat impatient. “Praise the sun indeed…”

Letting out a stream of beeps and bloops, the golem ran towards Bucky and cowered at Bucky’s right front hoof, four little legs drumming on Bucky’s fetlock.

“Fine… I won’t send you off alone into do the dark scary woods that might be full of robbers… even if you create it yourself, it is so hard to find good help,” Bucky said in exasperation. “One of you, get moving! Go on, about a mile down the track. You! Fly with him and then return to me once you are about a mile away. Lay down a long strand of phased glass as you go!” he commanded.

First, raising one leg in salute, one of the glass spider golems then jumped up onto the track and took off, streaming a thread of glass behind it. The glass wasn’t quite real and it sank into the railroad track as the glass spider went running away, the rotocopter hovering off after it.

With nothing else to do, Bucky sat down to wait. “I can’t believe you are afraid of the dark. I mean, you have a light. What is there to be afraid of?”

The dark fearing spider golem let out a few subdued beeps and bloops and then cowered at Bucky’s hoof, trying to pantomime how pathetic it was, acting as though it was terrified.

“What do you mean Minion read you a scary story with the lights off?” Bucky questioned, rolling his eye in disgust. He watched as several of the spider golems raised their little legs and waved them around.

The cowardly dark fearing golem let out another stream of golem speak.

“And the blue one made a big scary monster jump out of the closet?” Bucky asked, having trouble taking in everything he was hearing. “Look, that was an illusion. The blue one makes illusions. She’s good at it, it’s kinda her thing.”

 

 

The rotocopter returned and hovered around Bucky’s head. It was nothing more than a small glass orb with an arcano-tech propeller, but Bucky found them infinitely useful. Smiling, Bucky hoped that tonight’s experiment would be a success.

“Okay… I need one of you to jump up on the track and use one of your little legs to tap out a message on the track. Tell the other golem down the line that if it gets this message, to return home at once and relay the message. The message is ‘the moon is not made of cheese.’”

One of the spider golems lept up onto the track and began to tap out the message right away, one little leg moving so fast that it was a blur. When it was done, it waved at Bucky and lept off of the train track.

“Now we wait,” Bucky announced.

 

 

A very short time later, a lone spider golem came scurrying back to Bucky, running on eight spindly legs in a very excited manner. It ran to the Lord of Winter, stopped, saluted, and then began to chatter in golem speak.

 

.. / .... .- ...- . / .-. . - ..- .-. -. . -.. .-.-.- / - .... . / -- --- --- -. / .. ... / - --- --- / -- .- -.. . / --- ..- - / --- ..-. / -.-. .... . . ... . .-.-.- / -.-. .... . . ... . / .... .- ... / .... --- .-.. . ... .-.-.- / - .... . / -- --- --- -. / .... .- ... / .... --- .-.. . ... .-.-.- / - .... . .-. . ..-. --- .-. . / - .... . / -- --- --- -. / .. ... / -- .- -.. . / --- ..- - / --- ..-. / -.-. .... . . ... . .-.-.- / -- -.-- / .-.. --- --. .. -.-. / .. ... / .. -. ..-. .- .-.. .-.. .. -... .-.. . .-.-.- / -.-- --- ..- .-. / ..-. .-.. . ... .... -.-- / -... .-. .- .. -. / .. ... / -. --- / -- .- - -.-. .... / ..-. --- .-. / -- -.-- / ... .--. . .-.. .-.. / -- .- - .-. .. -.-. . ... / -... --- ..- -. -.. / .. -. / ... .. .-.. .. -.-. .- .-.-.- / -... --- .-- / -... . ..-. --- .-. . / -- -.-- / ... ..- .--. . .-. .. --- ..- .-. / .-.. --- --. .. -.-. .-.-.-

 

Nonplussed, Bucky shook his head. There was no point in arguing with an animate inanimate object. Feeling pleased about the results, Bucky allowed himself a moment to gloat, enjoying the smug feeling of his own superiourity. The phased glass allowed the railroad track to be used as a hiding place for the spider webbing. The next phase of testing would involve sending a message to Canterlot.

“You keep very strange company, Lord of Winter.”

“Hello Princess of the Night,” Bucky replied, not turning around. His whole body cringed as he realised that Luna had snuck up on him and had probably noticed something peculiar about his creations. He bit his lip nervously.

“That golem sounds remarkably… cognisant,” Luna stated.

This time, Bucky turned around and looked at Luna. He saw Luna and three figures he knew. “Grimglammer! Shadowguard! Furious! How are you?”

Glowering, Luna allowed the reunion to take place before having her say.

“We are well,” Furious replied.

“Our cave home is finished,” Grimglammer answered.

“And we have returned from a bit of a honeymoon, flying off to distant lands and killing those who oppose our Mistress,” Shadowguard responded.

“You won’t see us around much in the daytime. Mistress wants us to keep a low profile and not scare the locals,” Furious said, smiling a toothy fang filled grin.

“So… about this little science project,” Luna interjected, stepping forward. “Morsel code. What are you up to my clever student? And why is this golem trying to assert logic?”

“I have turned the railroad tracks into a communications device that we can send Morsel code through. My golem laid a strand of phased glass… it is substance I made, it isn’t quite real, it is partially extra dimensional in nature. It was laid down inside of the track and then one of my golems tapped out a message. A mile away, another golem was waiting and felt the spiderweb vibrating. It returned the message to me,” Bucky explained, sounding somewhat nervous.

Lifting up a golem, Luna began to examine it.

Worried, Bucky slowly approached, his face contorting with concern. “Please do not damage it… I have put so much work into them.”

“This is ingenious,” Luna stated, examining the golem closely, watching as it kicked its legs at her. “This has dream magic… why?”

Clearing his throat, Bucky looked up at Luna, who towered over him. “Anywhere they go, I am with them. I can see what they see. I am connected to them through the dream link. I am modifying my sunstone eye to act as a visual connection. I’m still working out some issues. I had to give them a touch of sapience so they could dream and I could connect them. I know what I have done is wrong but I do not regret doing it. They learn. They have very simple and basic feelings. One of them is terrified of the dark and keeps announcing to praise the sun. He is a little misguided but he is a good golem. The rest are unfailingly loyal to the Lunar Court.”

“This is fascinating,” Furious muttered as he took a step closer.

“Indeed,” Luna agreed as she carefully set the golem down upon the ground and then looked at Buckminster. “Based on what I’ve seen, I would hazard a guess that these are dangerous, or can be.”

“I can use them to take out dangerous rogue unicorns. I’ve already got a couple of prototypes. If they can crawl onto a unicorn and wrap their legs around the horn, no more magic. Others cause paralysis. These will also be the delivery agents for the anti-gunpowder spells. I should have an effective means of spying upon the whole world once I begin deploying these. They are capable of learning, so if they make mistakes they seldom make the same mistake twice,” Bucky explained, lifting his talons and making nervous gestures, his claws clicking together.

“You made a spell matrix routine for your mechanical talons that reacts when you get nervous?” Luna asked incredulously, staring down at Bucky’s flexing talons.

“Um… I wanted it lifelike?” Bucky replied sheepishly.

“You are a most curious little pony,” Luna stated, blinking down at Bucky.

“We’ll chat later. We’re going to leave you two alone,” Grimglammer said as she spread her wings and became airborne.

Shadowguard and Furious took off after her, leaving Luna and Bucky alone.

“While we are together, I was wondering if I might have a demonstration of your thaumakinetic energy discharge. Please? I have been curious. I am asking, not demanding, and for the time being, I am going to allow your work upon your golems to continue because they both amuse and fascinate me,” Luna said, looking hopeful.

“Very well, I can do that,” Bucky said, looking around for a worthwhile target. He spied a mossy boulder jutting up out of the ground and grinned a pleased looking grin. “This exhausts me… I will need a lift home.”

“I can do that,” Luna offered, her whole body twitching with excitement.

Concentrating, Bucky focused his energy, working up a feeling of pressure, not in his horn but in his left foreleg. “Stay back,” he warned. The air around him began to thrum.

The golems took off running, the lone rotocopter buzzing off after them.

There was a brilliant burst of light as eldritch lightning streamed from Bucky’s talon-tips and struck the boulder. A spray of chips shot off, gravel streamed down, and the boulder was generally not impressed by Bucky’s efforts to destroy it.

Gasping, Bucky lowered his talons to the ground and tried to make his head stop spinning. Smoke rose from his talons and the air smelled of scorched moss.

“I do not understand… the boulder should be obliterated. This is a force that could destroy alicorns. This is ignited raw liquid mana… this is most confusing,” Luna stammered and then looked at Bucky with a befuddled expression. After a moment, a look of understanding dawned upon her face as she watched Bucky’s exhausted body begin to droop.

“I need to eat something very soon,” Bucky moaned in a faint voice.

“For all of your power, you do not have enough raw liquid mana reserves in your body to power this weapon. You cannot feed it from the ley lines, thaumakinetic energy must be made with raw liquid mana from the body’s thaumaturgical systems. You have just about drained yourself dry from this demonstration,” Luna said, now understanding. “I feel stupid,” she added, a rare confession from Luna.

“You made such a big deal over it too,” Bucky grumbled weakly.

“I did. I was foolish. I am sorry… let me get you home,” Luna said, looking rather sheepish as she spoke. “Gather your golems and we shall depart.”

 

 

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