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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“Tourmaline, don’t look so gloomy,” Dinky Doo said as she tried to cheer up her friend. The unicorn patted the other unicorn that was sitting beside her at the breakfast table and gave the pink maned filly a smile.

“I miss my aunties,” Tourmaline mumbled as she prodded her oatmeal with a her spoon.

“Princess Celestia had to go to the Crystal Empire to scold some ponies and Princess Luna had to go to Trottingham to deal with some problem,” Yew Wood said to Tourmaline. “Here. Have some chocolate milk. You’ll feel better.”

“Thank you,” Tourmaline said as her glass was refilled by the helpful and kindly pegasus.

“I don’t understand why the crystal ponies are being such jerks,” Piña said, smacking her lips as she spoke around a mouthful of oatmeal and fruit. “I mean, Glass Slipper is so kind… but what they’re doing to Shining Armor makes me angry… we still have our daddy because of Shining Armor.” Angrily shoveling food into her mouth, Piña scowled as she ate, her ears splayed out sideways, and her nostrils flared as her temper rose.

“Father says they are afraid. They live in fear of Sombra’s return. They want a powerful protector. Father says that fear can make even the most well behaved ponies act in the worst manner possible. Just think about what the shadow wolves did to the ponies of the Shetlands,” Sentinel said before eating a large bite of biscuit and jam. “It doesn’t excuse their actions, but it does give you some perspective,” he continued after he swallowed. Looking at Diamond Tiara, he nervously leaned over, hesitated for a moment, and then with his ears pinned back against his skull, he licked away a bit of oatmeal from the corner of her mouth.

Diamond Tiara froze in place and began to blush furiously.

Shaking her head, Dinky lifted up a spoonful of oatmeal. She rolled her eyes as some of her oatmeal slid off from her spoon and plopped back down into her bowl. “Diamond, stop being silly. Just a little face lick. Good pegasus manners.”

“I feel warm,” Diamond Tiara murmured as she blinked her eyes rapidly. “The heat is on too high in here. I feel light headed.”

 

 

Looking over her schedule book for the day, Belisama carefully took in everything. The book had been a gift from Violet Velvet, given to her yesterday after the meeting with the town council. Today there was a town planning meeting with the advisory board, the zoning regulatory commission, and the town’s housing regulation committee. And all of this was before noon. After lunch there were to be flight lessons along with a little chit chat with her subjects when the opportunity presented itself, so she could encourage them to bring a sense of order to the city’s government.

Lifting a pen, she checked off check schedule from her list of things to do.

“Belisama, whatcha doing?” Berry Punch inquired as she leaned forward over her breakfast and eyed the griffoness curiously.

“Getting organised,” Belisama replied  as she closed her day planner and slid the pen back into the convenient slot made to hold it. “My husband and my subjects need me. I must be a dutiful servant to them. No more napping in the kitchen window.”

“We all have our hobbies,” Berry Punch responded as she gave Belisama a pleased smile. “By the way, our loyal subjects are amazing… the new bottling machine still has a few kinks, but the output potential is staggering compared to the old contraption.”

“More bottles means more product, product has to be managed… any chance of creating a few jobs?” Belisama asked as she began to peck at her food.

“We need a new cooper actually… a team of them. The bottles aren’t what we’re worried about,” Berry Punch answered, now becoming quite animated as her business savvy was engaged. “But yes, for the bottles, we need labels printed out and we need some ponies to make the wooden crates with our logo that we load the bottles into for sale.”

“So… barrel makers and production staff… noted,” Belisama stated as she opened her book, pulled out her pen, and began to take notes.

“Also, we’re in the process of buying the building right next to the brewery… as soon as we have it free and clear, we’re turning it into a tap house and restaurant. The goal is an affordable eatery and a means to sell booze to thirsty ponies,” Berry Punch said as she dumped a crazy amount of sugar into her oatmeal.

“That building is huge,” Bucky grumbled, only half awake. He hunched over his coffee and inhaled the steam, his ears drooping over his face.

Adding butter to her oatmeal, Berry Punch nodded. “The safety inspector said the maximum occupancy is going to be around two hundred. Barley and I plan to get live music in there. We’re gonna need an army of service workers.”

The scratching of Belisama’s pen was audible over the sounds of breakfast being eaten as she continued to take notes. “I should tell you… the old movie theatre is going to be auctioned off. All of the seats were ripped out so they could house refugees there. The owner, an older stallion, died of heart complications recently. The city is hoping that somepony will purchase the building, restore it, and either turn it into a playhouse or a movie theatre.”

“There’s no movie industry right now,” Berry Punch grumbled, looking more than a little distraught as she stabbed her oatmeal with a spoon. She ate a big bite and oatmeal dribbled down her chin.

Bored by the talk of business at the breakfast table, Derpy prodded Bon Bon and gave the earth pony a wink. “Have a nice time last night?”

“Oh we had a lovely time,” Lyra announced in a low but excited voice, all too aware there were foals in the dining room just a short distance away.

Blushing slightly, Bon Bon nodded in agreement. “It was nice to be able to spend some time with Bucky. The experience was certainly… thrilling.”

“I’m glad to be me again,” Bucky mumbled as he continued to stare downwards into his coffee cup. He yawned, revealing a terrifying mouthful of jagged teeth.

Grinning, Lyra scooped up a bite of applesauce and held it out before her. “The combination to Bon Bon’s safe is tricky business and everything has to be done just right… Bucky just blew her locks off,” Lyra reported and then she shoved her spoon into her mouth.

Derpy gave a knowing nod to Bon Bon. “He licked that spot, didn’t he?”

Saying nothing, Bon Bon inhaled sharply once and then gave a knowing nod.

“I bet when you got up to take a pee later, you had another orgasm, didn’t you?” Derpy inquired in a very low voice, leaning over to talk to Bon Bon.

Again, the earth pony mare nodded, her ears twitching.

“I fell off of the toilet,” Lyra admitted sheepishly. “I thought something was wrong. I was tired, sore, sticky, I was about to keel over from exhaustion, I started to pee… and then suddenly I was hearing bells and shivering like somepony had just dumped a bucket of ice water over me.”

“Been there, done that,” Berry Punch remarked between bites of food.

Hunched over his coffee, the corner’s of Bucky’s lips curled back wickedly.

 

 

Feeling a sense of accomplishment, Galaxy Guide looked over the papers that finalised the adoption of Singsong and Brass Note. He and his wife, Shining Star, were now their permanent legal guardians. Singsong, the little pegasus filly, and Brass Note, the little unicorn colt, were now their own, totally and completely. No more headaches, no more hassle, no more waiting on paperwork to get from one place to another.

Looking up from the papers, he looked over at his wife, who was currently on the floor playing with the foals, building what appeared to be a large castle out of blocks. Feeling a little sentimental and perhaps just a little bit maudlin, he thought about Rising Star and how well Rising Star had turned out. Rising Star, who had gone off to be with the filly that he loved. Rising Star, who had gone to war against things that Galaxy Guide could scarcely comprehend. His colt had earned himself a noble title with peerage and backing. Rising Star had come home a changed colt, married, with wives. Galaxy Guide felt a stirring of pride as he reflected. His colt was becoming a famous smith and well known politician. Galaxy Guide couldn’t help but feel that he had done a pretty good job with his colt, and, as he looked down at Singsong and Brass Note, he wondered what sort of future the both of them might have in store for them.

 

 

Sitting in her high chair, Harper pondered the bits of partially frozen fruit on the tray before her. Looking up, she gave the most moribund expression she could muster to her mama mama, who did not seem at all concerned that Harper was faint with hunger.

Turning her dark purple eyes towards Derpy, Harper did her best to try get some sympathy, but none seemed coming. She felt a blueberry poke her in the snoot again and she looked down at it, going cross eyed as she tried to focus on the offending berry.

“You are going to eat this,” mama mama commanded.

Harper’s ears pinned back against her skull and she turned her pleading eyes upon mama mama. “Why?” she asked.

Mama mama seemed confused for a moment, which made Harper feel a little hopeful. Mama mama’s face scrunched up and Harper watched as mama mama pondered the question. The blueberry continued to float in front of her snoot.

“This is food. You eat food. This is a blueberry,” mama mama explained in reply.

Shaking her head in disagreement, Harper sucked in her lips for a moment and then exhaled, making flatulent noises with her lips and spraying slobber all over mama mama. Harper watched as mama mama sat there and dripped a bit. She felt a tickle along her ribs and her belly button and she opened her mouth to cry out in protest...

Only to have the blueberry sneak in and be placed upon her tongue. Moving with surprisingly quick reflexes, she spat the blueberry out before her mouth could be pinched shut. It flew out with a pop and bounced off of mama mama’s snoot. Harper giggled in triumph.

“Harper… you test my patience,” mama mama said in a low voice.

The foal nodded, feeling it was the right thing to do, even though she didn’t quite understand what was being said. She smiled and giggled again. “Love you.”

 

 

Pulling the door open, Berry Punch saw Shining Armor. The stallion looked haggard. Almost aged looking somehow. He looked weary and he had bags under his eyes. Berry Punch blinked at him a few times, trying to take in what she was seeing.

“I was told the door is always open,” Shining Armor said wearily.

“Do come in,” Berry Punch invited as she stepped aside.

Taking a deep breath, Shining Armor stepped through the door and came inside. “I couldn’t handle Canterlot anymore. I couldn't handle being in that Castle for one more minute. I felt like I was losing my mind. I came to Ponyville… I talked to Twilight… I spoke to my parents… and then I came here. I can’t go back to Canterlot. Princess Celestia is in the Crystal Empire right now fighting for a throne I am not even sure I want anymore.”

Feeling a pang of emotion, Berry Punch made a gesture for Shining Armor to follow her into the living room. “Take a seat. Get comfortable. You know you are welcome to stay here for as long as you need. We have rooms upstairs.”

“Is Cadance well?” Shining Armor asked as he settled into a chair by the window.

Nodding, Berry Punch scratched one foreleg with the other nervously. “She’s napping right now. She was just fed and she always goes right under after a feeding.”

“Don’t wake her… let her sleep,” Shining Armor responded in a heartbroken voice.

“I can help you, but there is a price to pay. A terrible price to pay.”

Lifting his head, Shining Armor looked at Buckminster, who stood in the archway where the living room opened into the entry hall. “Price?” Shining Armor asked as he watched Buckminster come into the room and sit down.

“I am unhappy to hear you say that you aren’t sure that you want your throne. Cadance needs you to look after her ponies for a while… you have duties Shining Armor. We both know the cost of servitude,” said Bucky in a low voice

“I know… but they don’t want me… I’m missing Cadance. Everything that had meaning in my life is gone it feels like… I just don’t know what-”

“Be quiet,” Bucky commanded, interrupting Shining Armor. “Be calm. How far will you go to have a chance at having Cadance back?” Bucky asked in a blunt manner.

“What… like have myself turned to stone and wait for her? I’ve thought about it,” Shining Armor admitted as he closed his eyes. “I hear you have dreams while you are asleep in the stone.”

“No!” Bucky barked angrily. “You have an obligation to look after the empire until she returns. What are you willing to do to have a chance at getting Cadance back and keeping your empire?”

“I… I would do almost anything,” Shining Armor confessed as he opened his eyes.

Bucky’s single eye narrowed. “Would you defy Celestia?”

Shining Armor bolted to attention and stared at Bucky. “What are you planning?”

“How far?” Bucky demanded in a harsh growl.

“Whatever is necessary! I just want to be with her again!” Shining Armor shouted in reply.

“I’m going to go look after stuff,” Berry Punch announced as she excused herself from the room. She hurried away, her tail swishing, stepping through the arch and into the hallway.

“We don’t know if Cadance will even be herself, but it is worth taking a chance. I have a means for you to be with her again, but it will require sacrifice. Celestia will certainly not agree with what I am planning, which is why we will not tell her what we are doing. I’ve already spoken with Twilight Sparkle… it took some convincing, but she is on our side. I can give you time to be with Cadance and I can give you power to protect the empire,” Bucky explained in a low voice.

“How?” Shining Armor breathed.

Flexing his talons as he looked thoughtfully at Shining Armor, Bucky carefully chose his words before speaking. “Sombra… before he went horribly wrong… Sombra found a means to prolong his life and greatly magnify his power. He bound himself you see… he had to give a little piece of himself… but he felt that the spell was a failure and Sombra had to find other means to make himself more powerful… he turned to dark magic and necromancy. But before he did that, he found the means to greatly extend his own life but it required sacrifice.”

“I’m listening,” Shining Armor responded in a low voice.

Clearing his throat, Bucky looked Shining Armor in the eye. “Sombra and Star Swirl crafted a spell that binds the recipient into an artifact of power. Not quite a phylactery… it’s complicated so I’ll just say what happened. Sombra bound himself to the Crystal Empire by placing a piece of himself inside of a crystal soulstone. You know this artifact as the crystal heart. The spell bonds the dutiful defender to a location or place… such as in Sombra’s case, the Crystal Empire. Through the crystal heart, he was also bound to the crystal ponies, who were also bonded to the crystal heart, but that was a different spell. Anyway… Once bonded, time slows down to a crawl. Minutes are like mere seconds. The spell should allow a pony to live for hundreds of years. A very long time. But you would be a prisoner… you would have to be near the crystal heart and the crystal tower. If you left, time would pass normally again and you would start to age once more. But this would buy you time… and give you power. Unimaginable power. You would become like Sombra… a living focal point for the magic of the crystal heart and the Crystal Empire. I’m guessing that you will become a very powerful type four.”

Shining Armor sat in stupefied silence and stared at Bucky.

“This would give you time Shining Armor. Time you would be wise to use well. Study magic. Make a sacrifice of yourself. Devote yourself to your duties. Give all that you have of yourself. Having that jump up in power puts you just a little closer to becoming an alicorn. There are ways to ascend, Shining Armor, both good and bad, but Cadance would never forgive you if you did something bad. If you allow this spell to be cast and you become the Dutiful Defender that the spell would turn you into, you could have her once more… maybe even forever, but I can’t imagine the sort of sacrifice you might have to make to do so. Shining Armor, live selflessly. Give everything of yourself. Hold nothing back,” Bucky said in a commanding voice.

“What do I have to do?” Shining Armor questioned.

“So does this mean you will do it?” Bucky inquired in reply.

“For her… anything... ”

 

 

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