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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Four ponies gathered around the table in the farmhouse kitchen, each of them settling into their chairs and making themselves comfortable at the table. Rainbow Dash leaned forward on the table, propping herself up on her front legs, and a bottle of apple soda was set in front of her, the bottle still frosty being chilled. Beside Rainbow Dash sat Twilight Sparkle who also leaned over the table. She had a bottle of grape soda that was already half empty. The third pony at the table was Bucky, who had sprawled back in his chair and was slumped over. He looked exhausted but happy. The fourth and final pony at the table was Surprise, who had a bottle of cherry soda clamped in her fetlock and was taking sips. She was animated, laughing, happy, and kept looking at Rainbow Dash with wide excited eyes.

“So you wanted to see me?” Rainbow Dash questioned as she looked over at Surprise.

“Yes,” Surprise answered. “I am here on official Wonderbolts business. I am to give you this bit of documentation,” she explained as she slid a paper envelope over the table with her wing and placed it front of Rainbow Dash. “And this goes to you… but you can read it later, when Rainbow Dash gets done,” she added as she pushed a second envelope over towards Bucky.

“What’s this?” Rainbow Dash asked as she picked up the paper envelope. She stuck it to her hoof, carefully tore open one end of the envelope with her teeth, blew into the envelope to force it to open, and then slid the letter that was inside of the envelope out onto the table. Her brows furrowing with curiousity, Rainbow Dash picked up the later, unfolded it, and began reading.

Twilight, who was now watching Rainbow Dash reading, suddenly felt her muscles tense, especially the ones in her long slender neck. Everything felt too tight. She felt her wings tensing up as well. “Well?” Twilight impatiently inquired as she began to squirm in her chair.

“Did either of you have anything to do with this?” Rainbow Dash demanded as she looked at Twilight and then at Bucky. “I don’t want any favouritism-”

“I assure you, they had nothing to do with this,” Surprise interrupted, her smile becoming a little broader as she spoke. “We haven’t even announced to Bucky what we are planning, he just got the letter just now.”

“What is it?” Twilight questioned in an anxious near whine.

“This is a Wonderbolts pre-acceptance letter Twilight,” Rainbow Dash said in a low stunned voice as she set the letter down upon the table. “But there are conditions.”

Surprise nodded vigorously. “There are always conditions. Look at me, I’m a flight instructor. I give flight lessons. Your personality was carefully profiled. After your time in the Wonderbolts Academy, the fact that you focused on safety and teamwork rather than personal gain, and how you handled Lightning Dust, all of that influenced our decision. We felt that this is what you would do well, and we wish to test you.”

“Test?” Twilight Sparkle asked as she nearly floated on the edge of her seat. “We can deal with tests… I can help you study.”

“No Twi… different sort of test,” Rainbow Dash interjected as she looked at Twilight.

“The Wonderbolts want a flight camp here at the Founder’s Forge. Well, we didn’t know the name until just today, but we knew this was coming. We want the best of the best. This will be a Wonderbolts flight camp for foals. We want you to teach basic safety, basic flight, advanced safety, advanced flight, and for those students that are exceptional, we want you to make them Wonderbolt junior cadets… so they’ll have a fast track to military service or a better shot at the Wonderbolts. We want you to find us new talent, new fliers, and to train the next generation of greats. We want you to spend one year doing this. One year of running flight camp. Afterwards, depending upon your performance review, which I am positive you will pass with flying colours, you will become a Wonderbolt,” Surprise explained as she bounced up and down in her chair.

“I don’t know what to say,” Rainbow Dash whispered.

“Say you’ll do it?” Surprise suggested.

“This is my life’s dream… I thought I would spend my whole life chasing it… but it is right here… right here in front of me. I can practically see the finish line from here,” Rainbow Dash murmured in a low almost inaudible voice as she stared down at the letter on the table with wide eyes and splayed out ears.

“Rainbow Dash… I can’t take this anticipation any longer… say you’ll do it,” Twilight demanded in a whisper as she prodded her mate with one front hoof.

“I get to work with foals and be an awesome big sister,” Rainbow Dash mumbled.

Surprise nodded enthusiastically as she continued to bob in her chair. “Yeppers peppers!” she exclaimed in a chirpy voice.

“I like the idea of a flight camp but I might have some stipulations,” Bucky said, finally saying something. He leaned forward on the table and peered at Rainbow Dash. “This will be a good thing for you.”

Nervously rubbing her cheek vigorously with her fetlock, Rainbow nodded. “I know… I accept… how could I not do this? I get to help foals become as awesome as I am!” she said in a raspy squeak.

“Oh my gosh I’m so happy!” Twilight Sparkle gushed as she patted Rainbow Dash upon the back with her hoof. “Nothing feels better than realising your life’s dream.”

Taking a swig of her soda, Surprise gulped it down and then looked at Bucky. “Stipulations?” she asked as she raised one eyebrow.

“Nothing major. If there is to be a flight camp associated with my school, then I want a few griffons there as instructors. I want to establish trust and-”

“Oh we already planned on that… we were counting on it you silly billy!” Surprise cut in.

“Well, that is the only concern I had,” Bucky stated.

“I’m actually gonna be a Wonderbolt,” Rainbow Dash whispered. She shook her head slowly. “I had plans to become a mother... I thought there would be more time… I thought I’d use all of time spent waiting in the reserves to have a foal so I could move on to other things in my life… to get ahead… to go on to greatness.”

“Hey!” Surprise squeaked. “Hey hey! You can do both. There is nothing stopping you. Not all that long ago I squirted a lunar pegasus foal out of my backside and I’m still a Wonderbolt!” Surprise looked wounded for a moment, her muzzle scrunching in pain. “Still not sure I’ve forgiven my husband though. Ouchie.”

Rainbow Dash’s expression brightening, like the rising sun coming over the dark horizon. She nodded and then began to bounce in her chair. “I can have both!”

 

 

Alone in his office at the top of his tower, Bucky sighed, thankful to have some much needed time alone. Being an introvert and dealing with the crowds had been difficult. The pressure had been extraordinary. It had been a long eventful day and now the day was winding down. Tomorrow would be another long day… more students would arrive and they would need to be shown around.

From his chair behind his desk, he looked over at the shadow web, which was still taking shape. Threads of phased shadowstuff infused glass were carefully being spun into a massive web held between a series of shadowstuff infused glass rods, seven of them in total.

The first rod glowed orange, it throbbed with a faint orange light. The second rod was lit with a soft pink luminescence that flickered faintly. The third rod was blue, it pulsed four times quickly, went dim for a long moment, brightened, and then pulsed four times again, over and over in a repeating pattern. The fourth rod was a deep rich violet in colour, the light was steady and did not waver. The fifth rod was red, it didn’t glow as much as it burned; red flames flickered on the inside and it gave off a warm crimson glow. The sixth rod was magenta but changed colours. It would pulse orange, then pink, then blue, then violet, and then finally, red. The glass kept its shadowy smoky magenta colour as it flared the other colours. The seventh rod glowed black, giving off a strange black luminescence that flowed through the fine strands of the web.

Rising out of his chair, Bucky moved to stand next to the shadow web, looking over its progress. Some of his life had been poured into this creation and hundreds of spells had been cast upon it. Before its completion, he expected several hundred more. Finally, standing near the shadow web, Bucky extended his shadow essence, sending tendrils of pure raw shadow into the crystals, the seven crystals all became a little brighter and a strange glittery glow formed over the thin strands of the web.

A tapping at the door interrupted Bucky. He withdrew his shadow essence. His horn glowed for a moment and the glass dome above his office allowed the sun to shine in once more, leaving his office well lit and inviting. “Do come in.”

The door opened and Shining Armor poked his head through. “So many stairs,” Shining Armor gasped as he stumbled into the office. He staggered through the room and collapsed into a chair.

“Sorry… I had the stairs set to be difficult to discourage visitors… I was taking a little time to myself,” Bucky explained.

“I apologise if I disturbed you,” Shining Armor offered.

Moving back to his chair, Bucky slowly crossed the room, his eye on Shining Armor the entire time. “I’m glad you are here actually. Have you given thought to my offer?”

With a slow somber nod, Shining Armor made a silent acknowledgement.

“Good. Our own needs matter very little in the long run. We must always think of what we can do for others. So… what is your decision?” Bucky questioned as he settled into his chair.

Rubbing his temple, Shining Armor closed his eyes. “I will serve. I know in my heart what needs to be done. For a moment, I lost track of that. I will take whatever chance I have, no matter how slim, at being with her again. I am ready to return to the Crystal Empire. I will do my duty.”

“Twilight and I have everything planned. We’ll travel by chariot, pulled by Twilight. She says that she can get us up there in just a few hours, but we’ll be moving at supersonic speeds. I’m told it is bumpy and stressful upon the body, so be prepared for a rough trip,” Bucky said in reply.

“You speak as though you are planning on leaving soon,” Shining Armor said.

“Sooner the better,” Bucky replied. “Celestia’s royal yacht just departed from the empire. Which means she is heading back to Canterlot now. Ideally, we should get this done while she is in the air, before she returns to Canterlot.”

“Wait, you’re talking about departing… like right now?” Shining Armor sputtered.

“Well yes Shining Armor… we are very busy ponies your sister and I. If we leave before nightfall, we should be able to get up there in a few hours, perform the spell, have a short rest, and then if all goes right, return and be in Ponyville at some point tomorrow morning. Hopefully in time for me to attend to my duties as headmaster,” Bucky answered as he peered at Shining Armor.

“You’re mad,” Shining Armor muttered.

“PONIES KEEP SAYING THAT AS IF SOMEHOW I WAS UNAWARE OF THIS FACT!” Bucky shouted in annoyance. He made a dismissive gesture, waving his talons around and snorting in disgust. “Look… are you ready to do what needs to be done or not?”

“I am,” Shining Armor replied in a subdued whisper as he realised he was in a room with a madpony… a madpony that he was about to collaborate with, a madpony that he was about to perform questionable magic with, magic that Princess Celestia would never approve of.

A madpony that apparently his sister worked together with, and this thought unnerved Shining Armor a great deal. “I’d like a chance to say goodbye to Cadance one final time.”

“Of course,” Bucky replied. “Hang on, I will teleport us down to the yard. You are going to experience a brief freezing sensation… I’m told it is quite chilly… be ready… Twilight Sparkle is in the kitchen, or was, with Rainbow Dash. I imagine she is itching to go.”

Shining Armor opened up his mouth to reply, but was silenced by the sudden crushing sensation of cold pressing into his flesh from all sides…

 

 

 

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