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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Making herself comfortable on the largest couch in Bucky’s living room, Celestia pulled up her legs, folded them beneath her, and then shifted her body to lay upon her belly. She looked at Bucky first, who stared back, and then at Twilight, who guiltily looked away. The regal monarch cleared her throat and then looked back over at Bucky.

“I am bothered by what you have done, but I understand why you did it,” Celestia began as she continued to get herself comfortable. “I do believe that things will work out for the best. As it turns out, Luna and I have also been banished from the Crystal Empire. Shining Armor politely explained why, and I understood.”

“Because you are tainted by dark magic,” Twilight stated.

“Yes, but it is more than that actually,” Celestia remarked as she looked over at Twilight, who immediately looked away. “Shining Armor is still discovering the full purpose of the Crystal Empire. The past few days, he has been healing the minds of the residents and driving away the dark shadow from those who suffered terribly under Sombra. He is restoring them, making them whole, making them happy and sound of mind. He is restoring their individuality and freeing them from their slave mentality. He is fully repairing the damage done by being sealed away for a thousand years and used to sustain Sombra’s lifeforce. The Crystal Empire has been weakened by the dark magic that tainted it. Now, the mere the presence of one who has used dark magic is enough to disrupt the harmonic flow of the Crystal Collective. Our banishment is regrettable but necessary.”

“What Shining Armor is doing must require a remarkable amount of power,” Bucky said in a low whisper.

“Shining Armor is now immensely powerful,” Celestia responded as she once again looked at Bucky. “The Crystal Empire is one big crystal latticework. Shining Armor is currently powering it up. But to do so, he has to drive away all of the darkness left behind by Sombra’s rule. Shining Armor tells me that the Crystal Empire is intended to be some kind of magical defense system, but he does not yet know what it is or what it does, but it will not function until he repairs it. He claims it also works to detect threats to Equestria. Star Swirl put a lot of himself into the crystalline matrices it seems. The two brothers worked on the city in equal parts... it seems their secrets know no end. Shining Armor reports that the city is growing already under his now established rule. New buildings are springing up, the Crystal Spire has grown larger, and he claims that the city is gearing up for growth. He reports that estrus cycles have already begun.”

“I wish I had a way to study all of this,” said Twilight in a voice filled with regret.

“So the Crystal Empire is a defensive battery,” Bucky stated as his eye closed and a thoughtful expression overtook his face. “Shining Armor’s magic was uniquely suited for the job I suppose. It sounds as though the city is already thriving under his rule.”

“Indeed,” Celestia replied as she turned her head and stared into the fireplace. “We’ll know more in time. The city was badly damaged by the corruption. Shining Armor will know more as he repairs the broken matrices.”

 

 

Just as Rarity was getting ready to close Carousel Boutique for the day, the door opened and a charcoal grey pegasus filly walked in, accompanied by a light grey donkey that was dappled with brown spots.

“Ripple! Bittersweet! Darlings… do come in!” Rarity said, carefully speaking so Bittersweet could read her lips. She smiled warmly at both of them. “What can I do for you?”

Ripple stood there awkwardly, looking around the shop, her eyes wide with an almost fearful look. She gulped a few times and then finally looked Rarity in the eye. “I need a gown. I want to look… I want to look pretty. And so does Bittersweet.”

“Oh this is wonderful. You are such a pretty thing already,” Rarity replied as she began to use her well practiced eye to take in Ripple and Bittersweet, her mind already thinking of styles, colours, and well matched designs for the both of them.

“I don’t want anything too frilly or girly… I want it simple and not complicated,” Ripple said as she nervously shifted her weight. She said nothing, but she was suddenly very self conscious about the cut under her left eye and the still healing scabs all along her side along with the staples.

“So what is the special occasion?” Rarity asked, already having a pretty good idea of what the special occasion was. She beamed as she began to walk in a circle around Ripple and Bittersweet.

“Bittersweet is marrying into our herd. I think Loch Skimmer and Sparkler will be by for gowns as well. I feel really funny about this… I refused to even wear a gown for my father’s coronation. I wanted to wear armor or something… I feel awkward about it now. But I finally want to look pretty for the ones I love,” Ripple said in a strangled sounding voice. “I want Sparkler to have a happy memory about Bittersweet joining our herd… I want to be beautiful for Sparkler and Bittersweet… I want to be feminine and soft and inviting for once.”

“Relax darling,” Rarity soothed. The white unicorn whipped out a measuring tape and went to work quietly, humming to herself as she worked.

“I finally scrubbed away the last of the lingering stink off of Sweetie Belle… just what are they teaching in that school anyway?” Coco Pommel muttered as she came down the stairs. When she saw that she and Rarity had guests, she paused at the bottom of the stairs. “Oh hello both of you… it is always nice to see the two of you,” she said. She then hurried over to give a more affectionate greeting the pair.

Blushing, Bittersweet accepted a kiss on each cheek from Coco, and then Ripple held still while she too was kissed twice. Unable to help herself, Coco gave Rarity a goose as the unicorn was working.

“Oh my goodness darling!” Rarity exclaimed as she jumped away from the giggling Coco, her mouth hanging open in shock. Rarity tittered as she backed away from Coco and then looked at Ripple and Bittersweet, both of whom were smiling.

 

 

“...Shining Armor does send his apologies… he feels very bad about what he said to you Bucky, he feels guilty, but he was feeling an immense amount of pressure from the Crystal Collective make you go. He was overwhelmed by everything happening at once… he did not mean to be to be so abrupt. He is literally the spirit and the will of the city now… he said the need to repair the city is now an overwhelming compulsion. He told me he regained a little more of himself after the two of you left and he felt mortified about his behaviour,” Celestia explained as she looked at Bucky with concern.

“I am not upset and I understand completely. He has an obligation to cleanse the city and perform his duties, I totally understand that,” Bucky replied in a soft calm voice. “I know what I am. I have the Taint. I am a walking battery of dark mana. I am a creature that is connected to hatred, death, and destruction. I would have done the same in Shining Armor’s position.”

“With the new shield around the city, all those who have used dark magic are blocked... prevented entry. For the matrices to function properly, there can be no corruption or dark energy present,” Celestia said in a tired sounding voice. The white alicorn yawned. “It has been a very long day. Luna will be by later.”

“How is Luna? How was her visit to Trottingham?” Twilight asked as she looked curiously at Celestia.

“She came home with a foal. It is a long story. But Luna is embracing motherhood. Beware. She’s moody, she’s aggressive, and she has a newborn that she has made herself responsible for,” Celestia responded as she looked at Twilight. “You have been warned, look out for Nightmare Mommy.”

“What?!” Twilight exclaimed in fright.

“Like I said… it is a long story. Just approach her cautiously and slowly. She’s… rather moody. She very nearly scared the maids to death,” Celestia warned. “I think she’s had a bad reaction to the hormonal influx caused by getting her milk flowing.”

 

 

Looking at a photograph upon the wall, Ripple squinted to see it better. After a moment of studying the picture, she pointed. “I like this yellow dress a whole lot.”

“Oh that,” Rarity replied, looking a little pensive as she did so. “I made that for Twilight. There is a bit of a story behind it.”

“I like it,” Ripple said as she continued to look at the photo in the ornate frame. “I like the simplicity of it.”

Sighing, rolling her eyes dramatically, Rarity nodded. “So did Twilight.”

Ripple stepped aside as Bittersweet pushed her way closer to the photo to have a look. The donkey smiled when she saw the photo, then she looked at Ripple, gave her a nudge with her nose, and then looked back at the photo.

“Bittersweet likes it too,” Ripple stated.

Pressing a swatch of yellow fabric against Ripple’s side, Rarity nodded. “Yellow is a pleasant colour on you. Perhaps with a nice sapphire trim to match your mane and tail.”

After setting a bowl of popcorn upon the table, Coco looked over at Rarity, Ripple, and Bittersweet. “Blue is nice but red would provide a nice contrast.”

Nodding, curious, Rarity fetched a red swatch with her magic and then held it up to the yellow one. “Hmm… indeed it would. Ripple has such a lovely coat colour to work with. It makes the lighter brighter colours like yellow and red seem so much more vibrant.”

“Stop… I’m not that pretty… you’re embarrassing me,” Ripple mumbled as she looked down at the floor. Staring at her own front hooves, she sighed heavily and swished her tail.

“Oh shush darling,” Rarity chided as she prodded Ripple with a hoof. “In my experience, every mare… every filly, they all have some distinguishing feature that makes them beautiful. The key to beauty, grace, and elegance is figure out what look compliments that and then making that look happen.”

Moving over to stand beside Rarity, Coco made sure that Bittersweet could see her lips. “Bittersweet is going to be a knockout in yellow,” she said, carefully speaking the words.

The donkey’s long ears drooped and Bittersweet gave a sheepish grin to Coco.

 

 

Squinting with one eye, Barley looked down at the foal and then up at Luna. His lip curled back slightly as he peered at Luna. “I knew this would happen.”

“Knew what would happen?” Luna asked in confusion as she stared curiously at Barley.

“This,” Barley huffed as he once again looked down at the newborn foal.

“Barley, what are you talking about?” Luna demanded in a somewhat impatient voice.

“You… you went off and left me for some young colt,” Barley remarked as he turned and took off, his tail swishing around as he departed.

Shaking her head in confusion, Luna stomped one hoof gently into the floor and bared her teeth. “Get back here you-”

“Gotcha,” Barley teased as he turned back to look at Luna. He grinned. Turning his body about, he returned to have a closer look at the foal.

You,” Luna hissed at Barley.

Chuckling, Bucky looked over from his chair where he was holding Cadance, who was fussy and cried the moment she was put down.

You cad…” Luna growled.

“Aye… I am,” Barley agreed. “So am I to be a daddy then?”

Lifting her head high, Luna gave a snort of derision. “I do not want my foal to have a cad for a father,” she sneered. She glared at Barley fiercely, her teal eyes glittering with anger.

Chuckling, Barley settled into his chair by the fire, never once taking his eyes off of Luna. “The mommy hormones have turned ye into a feisty mare…  I like that. Give me a scolding, ye feisty mare.”

Cadance, now whimpering, began to squirm. Bucky tried to soothe her, fearing she would begin to cry once more. He cradled her in his forelegs and began to rock her back and forth. She quieted for a moment, but it was only to catch her breath.

Cadance let out an ear piercing wail which nearly made Luna jump out of her skin. A moment later, Erebus also began to cry, which made Luna fretful. The night blue alicorn retreated to the couch, lifted the foal in her magic, and placed him near her. She immediately began to try and shush him.

“Unhappy fussy foals… poor things,” Barley grumbled as he looked first at Cadance and then at Erebus. “Luna, I’m happy that ye found a sweet young thing to love.”

“Hush Barley. Now is not the time to sass your princess,” Luna grumbled as she continued to try and calm the wailing Erebus.

Folding one front fetlock over the other, Barley rubbed his swollen right joint. “Damnable cold weather,” he grumbled. Looking over at Luna, who was on the couch beside his chair, he gave her a pained smile. “I’m happy for ye, sweet lass. When the time comes for me to go into the beyond, having him around will soften the blow.”

Flinching, Luna shut her eyes for a moment and an agonised expression overtook her face. “Shut up Barley. I cannot bear to think about such a thing right now. Please, can we just have a quiet moment as a family together?”

“With the way these two are squalling? There’ll be no quiet e’er again... feisty mare,” Barley responded.

“I really hope that this is not a sign of things to come,” Bucky grumbled as Cadance continued to shriek. “For the past few nights, Cadance has been fussy after the sun had gone down. I really hope that this is not a sign of things to come.”

“Raising an alicorn foal can be trying I suppose. Scorch could tell you stories about Celestia. She was a real test of his patience. I of course was a perfectly well behaved foal,” Luna said as she rubbed Erebus with her cheek.

A sleepy looking grey pegasus entered into the living room, looked around for a moment, her ears splayed out sideways, and she yawned drowsily. Derpy gave a weary smile, walked over beside Bucky, and then laid down on the floor.

“Give her to me,” Derpy whispered in a soft voice. “She might be hungry.”

Using his magic, Bucky lowered Cadance down to the floor with Derpy so she could feed. Not interested, Cadance continued to cry as Derpy patiently tried to console her.

“She’ll feed once she cries a bit more,” Derpy said knowingly. “Piña was a late night crier… she’d cry and cry and cry… then Berry gave her a bottle and she’d go right to sleep.”

“Erebus cries if he is exposed to daylight. But most lunar pegasi foals do,” Luna said as Erebus’ cries began to ease off a bit.

“Want me to feed him?” Derpy offered as she looked over at Luna.

Luna shook her head. “He chews while nursing and suckles on blood. I do not recommend the experience,” she replied.

“Yeouch… I still would do it though if he needed to be fed,” Derpy answered as her ears pinned back against her skull from hearing Luna’s words. “Foals must feed.”

“Aye… that’s cause yer a good mare,” Barley remarked as he sat with his eyes closed and an expression of pain upon his face. “I wonder how my wee twins are doing… both pairs.”

“I want all of you to be Erebus’ godparents… you were gracious enough to make me the godmother of your foals… I wish to return the favour,” Luna said in a voice that was barely audible over Cadance’s shrieking.

“We’d be honoured,” Derpy said as she tried to calm Cadance. “She sure does have a powerful set of lungs.”

 

 

 

 

 

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