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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“...and so I just wanted to make sure that you knew I loved you Harper, which is the point of all of these messages in glass orbs I am leaving you. One day you are going to be an exceptional mare. You are the foal of my heart, but make no mistake, you are my foal. I wish I could watch you as you grow older and do all of the great things that you are doing to do. I wish I could watch you as you raise your own foals and know the struggles and joys of being a mother. I wish I could be there to give you advice… the best that I can do is leave you these orbs filled with my words and my thoughts. It is my hope that after I pass that you remember me as a good father. Not much else matters to me. The world has so many expectations of me… I just want to be remembered as a good father.”

Falling silent, Bucky’s horn dimmed as he continued to stare at the glass orb held in his talons. He breathed in slowly, closing his eye as he did so, hoping that he had said all of the right things. His eye opened slowly as he exhaled.

For the past week, since the running of the leaves, he had been spending the long nights in his office, recording future messages for his foals in between working on projects, and his thoughts continued to linger upon the long conversation he had with his colt, where Bucky had shared his own hopes for Sentinel.

His horn igniting, he levitated the orb held in his talons to a large wooden trunk marked “Harper” in ornate sterling silver letters. He carefully secured the orb upon a velvet lined tray within the trunk and then he closed the lid.

With the orb put away, he turned his attention to something else. His work was never finished. Reaching over his desk with his talons, he lifted the crossbow that had been left sitting upon the front right corner. It was made of some sort of beautiful wood, highly polished, and all of the metallic parts were made of brass or blue steel. Along one side was a lever that almost ran the full length of the stock. Pulling back the lever three times would cock the crossbow for a quick firing, six pulls would give you distance or more penetration. It was a finely made object filled with clockwork cogs and springs. It was no gun, but it was practical. Holding it carefully, he turned it over. Along the bottom of the stock the name “Belisama” had been carved into the wood in flowing ornamental letters.

“Rising Star… you do such exceptional work,” Bucky whispered to himself.

Using his magic, Bucky lifted a spell jar up from a wooden holder upon a shelf behind him. The small glass globe shifted, changing size, becoming almost bullet shaped. He pulled out a quarrel from the quiver left on his desk, examined it closely, and then he fused the spell jar to the end of the quarrel. It glowed with a golden glow.

“Live fire!” Bucky shouted in warning, sending a mass of small golems scurrying for hiding places, most of them emitting beeps and bloops of panic.

Holding the crossbow by the grip with his talons, Bucky pulled back the lever three times with his magic. He aimed at the big black scorch mark upon the wall where he had discharged his thaumakinetic eldritch lightning and a few other test spells. Squeezing with one talon, Bucky pulled the trigger and let the quarrel fly.

It struck the wall and the spell jar tip shattered, releasing a pulse of lightning, which crackled and arced along the wall. The quarrel clattered to the floor; it was now charred and blackened along its length.

Feeling pleased by the results, Bucky smiled. A helpful spider golem darted out from beneath his desk, grabbed the quarrel in four legs, and then brought it back to Bucky, scurrying along on its four remaining legs.

“There is much to do before dawn,” Bucky announced to nopony in particular. “I should get Minion to help me.” He set down the crossbow upon his desk, returning it to the right front corner. He tossed the charred quarrel into a bin so it could be recycled into something else.

A lone spider golem beeped in agreement.

“You… yes you, yes you that just beeped. Good work on the Canterlot test. The first Morsel Code stations will be built before Hearth’s Warming,” Bucky said to the glass creation.

It emitted a string of bleeps, bloops, and then it jumped.

“Of course I can tell you apart… now keep working upon the shadow web. I want results,” Bucky commanded as he rose up out of his chair and moved away from his desk.

He walked slowly to his door, stood upon the landing, heaved a contented sigh of satisfaction, and then he began to go down the stairs towards Sunset’s room, which was just below his office. He moved carefully, his demon-steel talons clicking upon the stone, and his long tail trailed over the steps behind him as he descended.

He saw a light coming from the crack below Sunset Shimmer’s door and felt pleased. She was clearly awake, which meant she was available. He had no qualms about waking her, but having her awake spared him the trouble of waking her and then waiting for her to get herself together.

He banged upon the door with a hoof and waited. Inside, he heard nothing. Nothing at all. He suspected that the room had been soundproofed. He banged upon the door again.

“One moment Master!”

Rolling his eye, Bucky waited, now feeling a little impatient. He pushed the door open, no longer feeling like waiting. Pausing in the doorway, he sniffed, smelling something with his now entirely too sensitive nose. He sniffed again and looked around the room. Candles were lit and some kind of smoky incense was burning, filling the room with a perfumed fragrance that did not hide another scent that lingered upon the air, a scent that Bucky knew all too well.

Bucky glanced around the room, noticing that the top bunk was empty and Bartleby’s hammock was vacant as well. Sunset Shimmer was in the bed, grinning at him sheepishly, the blankets pulled up to her chin, both front hooves visible as she held the blanket up over her.

“What is going on?” Bucky asked, knowing full well what had been going on.

“Um…” Sunset mumbled as she blinked rapidly in panic.

His eye falling upon the large magically shaped stone closet, Bucky heard a muffled thump from within. One talon tip began to tap upon the floor. “Trixie, please come out of the closet.”

“No! Trixie will not come out of the closet. Trixie will stay inside of the closet if you please,” said a voice from within the closet.

“Um… Master, I… uh…” Sunset fell silent, unable to finish.

“Look… I know what has been going on here. I can smell it. Trixie, please come out of the closet,” Bucky said as he tried to coax the mare out. “You don’t need to hide in the closet, I’m not here to judge you.”

“Trixie will remain inside of the closet for now. Trixie is not ready to come out of the closet,” the hidden mare replied.

With a tug of his magic, Bucky pulled the closet door open and Trixie spilled out. She was flustered looking, red faced, sweaty, and her muzzle was both slick and sticky with moisture. Bucky watched as Trixie licked her lips and hung her head.

“Where is poor Bartleby? Please, please tell me that you didn’t toss him outside into the cold dark night and expect him find somewhere else to sleep while you two were getting busy,” Bucky said in a low soft voice.

“Majesty, I am here,” a muffled voice said from beneath Sunset Shimmer’s blanket. “I assure you my Liege, I am quite warm and comfortable. I do appreciate your concern.”

“Master I can explain everything… I’m sorry… I know that I shouldn’t have been doing what I’ve been doing and I take full responsibility for everything and I am begging you, begging you not to punish Trixie or Bartleby over this,” Sunset Shimmer pleaded in a frightened voice.

“Look, as your Master, I decide what you are supposed to be doing and not supposed to be doing. I have never forbidden you from finding love. Trying to hide it from me was wrong. There will be words about this… later. But I am not angry. I want you happy. All of you. Are you happy?” Bucky questioned, looking first at Trixie and then at Sunset Shimmer.

“Trixie has never done much of anything with another pony before. I am not well liked. I was curious. I was lonely,” Trixie confessed, unable to look at Bucky. “And when you knocked, I was ashamed of what I had done so I hid in the closet.”

“Why do you feel ashamed?” Bucky asked, glancing once again at Trixie and then at Sunset Shimmer. He noted a worried look upon Sunset’s face.

“I don’t know. I just do,” confessed Trixie in a dejected manner. “Trixie was always told that it was only proper to like males and that this is a love that you dared not speak of.”

“Well that’s a load of horseapples. You like whomever makes you feel good. Does Sunset make you happy?” Bucky responded, now worried for Trixie.

“Sunset made me feel curious, then courageous and brave. She made me feel important. She told me I was pretty and that I should smile more. She and Bartleby have been getting closer for a while… and then tonight Sunset Shimmer called me to her bed again… I could not refuse,” Trixie explained, stammering a few times as she spoke and she blushed furiously the entire time she was talking.

“Go back to bed. I apologise for disturbing you. In the future, so I do not intrude upon your private moments, we need to have a means to communicate the times which you do not wish to be disturbed and I will leave you in peace. Do try to keep in mind that work does need to get done occasionally. Good night, both of you,” Bucky said as he backed away towards the door.

“I don’t know what to say,” Sunset Shimmer stated in a low voice.

“Try telling Trixie that you love her. She’s insecure and she hurts inside. She’s just like the rest of us, trying to recover from the mess her life became. Be good to one another. Bartleby, see that they are made to feel special. I’m gone,” Bucky said as he backed out the door and pulled it shut behind him.

 

 

Strolling around the school, Bucky was enjoying the chilly night air. It was the wee hours of morning, probably some time between three and four in the morning, Bucky was not sure nor did he care. It had been a good night.

Overhead, he heard the flutter of wings and he craned his head skywards.

“Lord of Winter,” Grimglammer said as she dropped to the ground.

“Grimglammer,” Bucky greeted, looking at the massive lunar pegasus mare. “Where are your mates? What brings you here?”

Folding in her wings and letting out a pleased whinny, Grimglammer lowered her head and nosed Bucky upon the cheek. “Furious is spending time with Shining Armor and Shadowguard is off learning her craft of being a dream healer.”

“How is Shining Armor?” Bucky asked as his ears splayed out sideways.

“He is grieving and having to fight to keep his position. He is unhappy and unwell,” Grimglammer reported in reply. The big mare nosed Bucky again. “How are your mates?”

“Thistle is practically bed bound… she can swim just fine but on land she is miserable. Derpy and Berry are well. Belisama is becoming curious about politics and has been studying alchemy. Bon Bon and Lyra have been busy,” Bucky replied as he looked up at Grimglammer.

“While I am here… I feel I should tell you… things are not going well in Minos. The capital has fallen. The insurgents have taken over the city of Labyrinthia. They are rounding up the remains of the resistance and placing them into death camps where they are being executed. The first of the escaped refugees from Minos are expected upon our shores shortly. The Sea of Grass is sending them by ocean vessel because there are so many of them. A large army of minotaurs and diamond dogs are gathering in Labyrinthia. The old world city states along with the Sea of Grass is petitioning Princess Celestia to intervene to stop the bloodshed and the death. I strongly suspect that you are going to be asked to pay a visit to Labyrinthia before Nightmare Night… or maybe shortly after,” Grimglammer said in a soft voice to Bucky.

“Thank you for telling me,” Bucky graciously replied.

“The Lunar Court is already preparing for invasion. Mistress is almost beside herself. Mistress has been itching for a good fight for a while. They are recalling a few of the large heavy cruisers to Canterlot. I suspect that they will be dispatched to Minos and that you will be going with them,” Grimglammer continued.

“Say, would you like to come inside for tea? It has to be nearly four… tea time,” Bucky invited in a hopeful voice.

“Oh I’d like that a great deal. Thank you, Lord of Winter,” Grimglammer replied as she gave Bucky another affectionate nose bump.

 

 

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