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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The forest was both quiet and full of sound. There was a stark beauty here, something that Ripple appreciated. They had found a path, almost a roadway of sorts, and it led out of Ponyville and through the Everfree. Twilight Sparkle had done much to improve the path but the forest was still incredibly dangerous.

“I read in a book that the Everfree is an extradimensional forest. It is much, much larger on the inside of the forest than it appears to be from the outside. Pegasi flying overhead have mapped the area and the Everfree really isn’t all that big as far as forests go. But once you get inside, you can walk for days through some parts of it. Plus, there is Hoofington, the city that time forgot,” Piña announced in her best scholarly voice, which was slightly squeaky and high pitched.

“Hoofington?” Ripple inquired as she glanced around.

“There was once a city named Hoofington near the Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters. Almost a thousand years ago, it was the capital city of Equestria. When Princess Luna began her fight with Princess Celestia, Princess Luna made the whole city vanish to intimidate her sister. Every now and then, a pony wanders out of the Everfree. They talk funny and they say they are from Hoofington. The last one was just a few years ago… he came out and some ponies from Ponyville found him. They took him to Celestia and she remembered him from one thousand years ago. He was alive and from what I read, a bit touched in the head. He couldn’t remember what happened,” replied Piña in her usual long winded fashion.

“Trixie claimed to have saved Hoofington from an ursa major,” Dinky remarked.

“Well… a city lost in time… that’s not creepy at all. A dark and spooky wood with extradimensional pockets and a lost city. How did I let a numbskull and a snob talk me into this?” Ripple muttered as she walked, her ears now perked forward.

Giggling, Piña gave Ripple a nudge. “Quiet brute.”

“You little fart sniffer! If I wasn’t wearing my shoes I’d give you such a noogie!” Ripple retorted as she gave Piña a body bump. Reaching out with her wing, she gave Piña a tickle.

Ahead of them was the fork in the road that they knew to look for. The right path led off to Zecora’s hut, the left path led off to the Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters. The group headed left.

 

 

The Ponyville Historical Society had done a little bit of work to restore the Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters and Princess Twilight Sparkle visited regularly. The area around the castle had been cleared and a sign had been placed stating that this was now a historically protected site.

A second sign thanked ponies for not littering.

Lifting the camera, Dinky snapped a picture and then began to walk towards the castle. She paused near the gate, snapped a photo, and then continued. Taking off at a brisk trot, Ripple moved to catch up with Dinky, and Piña followed closely behind.

Several Raptors took wing and flew after Dinky as well as the filly entered the castle.

 

 

Inside the ruined hall, Dinky stopped to take several pictures. The group looked around, noticing the damage, the blackened scorch marks, the melted stone. Moving around in silence, the group looked around the room where their godmother had fallen into darkness.

Only one throne remained, it was blackened, partially melted, and it was impossible to know if it was the Solar throne or the Lunar throne. The place where the other throne had existed was now a rippled blob of misshapen melted rock.

“I can feel the pain here,” Piña whimpered.

“Pain?” asked Dinky in a voice of concern.

“In the stone… I can feel the pain. I can feel them fighting… so much anger went into the magic… so much rage… I feel sick,” Piña stammered in reply as she began to breathe heavily.

“Piña?” Ripple said in concern.

“Get her hooves off of the floor! Now!” Dinky cried out in panic.

Moving swiftly, Ripple flipped Piña upwards and caught the filly on her back. Piña groaned, closed her eyes, and went still. Ripple turned her head around to look at Piña and her brows wrinkled slightly in concern.

“Bad magic still lingers here,” Piña murmured softly.

“Even I can feel it just a little bit… we’ll have to be mindful of where Piña steps in the future,” Dinky said as she kept her eye on Piña, worried about her sister. “I can feel bad magic through my horn… Piña can really feel it through her hooves.” Pulling a notepad from her saddlebags, Dinky pulled out a pencil and began to take notes about everything that had just happened.

Wiggling free from Ripple’s back, Piña landed on the floor with a thump. “I want to feel it… I want to feel what happened,” Piña whispered as she was once again overtaken with emotion. The earth pony approached the throne with an almost drunken wobble.

Ripple moved just behind her.

The room filled with the sound of a terrible cackle, a horrible awful cackle that was even worse than when daddy cackled, or so Dinky thought. Ripple spooked, her feathers on her wings fluffing out and her legs went stiff. Dinky’s horn ignited reflexively, but she knew that she was hearing echoes from the past. The cackle echoed from the walls, down the halls, and filled the hall with terrible sound, and as suddenly as it began, it began to fade, dying down, a memory tied to bad magic, a phantom recollection.

“Nothing to be afraid of, just a bit of old residual magic,” Dinky announced as she struggled to keep her teeth from chattering.

Shuddering, Piña Colada gagged a few times as she stood near the throne. “I can feel her pain… she didn’t want to do this… a part of her was trapped… she was locked away inside of herself and forced to watch… she tried to fight.”

“Piña?” Dinky said as she went to her sister’s side.

“She had sad sickness… she was forced to remember her previous life when she was in Tartarus and getting the Elements of Harmony. She remembers being Princess Evening Star… she remembers what was done… she remembers not being able to save her sister Princess Dawn Star... I can’t see, but I can feel the hurt… she is remembering all of that hurt and something is feeding on it…”

“Pain makes dark magic stronger,” Dinky said as Piña continued to channel the experience. She watched as Piña’s eyes went white and she could smell ozone. “Piña?”

“I can’t see what happened, but I can feel the pain… only some of it… I can feel Evening Star’s pain… I can hear the promise that power would be given to punish the wicked world for what it did to her and her sister,” Piña whimpered. “No Luna… don’t do it… no... no… no… it feels just like the fear that the wolves made.”

Worried, frightened, fearing for Piña, Dinky reached out with her will, seeking to touch Piña’s mind. Piña wasn’t a bug, but Dinky knew that she was gifted with extraordinary telepathy. She had never done anything quite like this before. Dinky reached out and she pushed. It was like shoving on a stuck door.

Nothing happened.

“We should get her out of here,” Ripple whispered to Dinky.

“Piña is using her magic finally… we shouldn’t take this chance away from her,” Dinky responded in a frightened voice. “As bad as it is, this is Piña’s moment to shine. We must be brave.”

“It lied to her… it lied to her and Luna was violated again… just like she was when she was still Princess Evening Star… oh it hurts,” Piña whimpered as she shook her head. “I can feel it inside of me… twisting my guts around.”

“We should go,” Ripple insisted.

“No,” Dinky protested as she moved to Piña’s side. She stood near her sister and pressed up against her. Looking down, she could see that Piña’s hooves were glowing brightly. Piña’s eyes were white, and her body was clearly flooded with mana.

Leaning her head over, Dinky touched Piña with her horn.

The world went white as pain flared through her body, Piña’s pain, the pain that Piña felt that came from Luna long ago and then the pain vanished. Around them, the throne room vanished. Dinky felt warmth, she felt safe and secure, like she did when her mama wrapped her up in a blanket to get her warm and then give her a hug.

 

 

“I was not expecting visitors.”

Now the world was grey. Dinky blinked and tried to get her vision back. She heard Piña gasp beside her. She shook her head and tried to clear her senses.

“Sisters have a special magic all their own… sometimes, this is metaphorical, at other times, it is far more literal. You two share a powerful bond. I expected something like this, but I did not expect it so soon.”

Dinky knew that voice and she blinked as she tried to get her eyes to work again. The grey was no so overpowering now. She saw a tall figure standing before her.

“Princess Celestia,” Piña gasped.

“I was wondering when somepony would clean up that old mess. I do so love when I discover my little ponies have useful hidden talents. I knew there was a reason why I had you press your hooves into plaster,” Princess Celestia said as she lowered her head to look at Dinky and Piña at eye level.

“What happened?” Dinky asked.

“Oh… something quite extraordinary,” Princess Celestia said warmly.

“Are you going to be cryptic?” Piña questioned as she looked up at Celestia.

Smiling and nodding slightly, Celestia snoot bumped Piña. “Only if I can get away with it.”

“I’d like to know what happened,” Piña requested in a soft squeak.

Clearing her throat, Princess Celestia laid down on what appeared to be soft fluffy clouds and then looked at Dinky and Piña with a warm expression full of love and affection. “Dinky is a powerful mentalist. She can sense things… touch minds. It is how she can communicate with bugs. But Dinky can only reach out and touch the minds of living things,” Princess Celestia patiently explained. “Piña is a very special little earth pony. Her magic allows her to connect to living things… but also to nonliving things. Piña was feeling all of the negative emotions left behind in the stone. There is a pesky pocket of bad magic there… or there was. Piña was channeling it through her hooves… near as I can tell. And then you, Dinky Doo, you touched Piña I do believe. You felt the bad magic, bad mental magic left in the stone. You surged and I sensed that.”

“So the bad magic is gone?” Piña asked.

“Oh yes… Dinky could not affect it directly, but I do believe she used you as a conduit. The bad magic passed through you, Dinky felt it, her mind recoiled, produced a defensive surge, and that I do believe was channeled through your body, down through your hooves, and into the rock, which is now freed from that ever so pesky and rather annoying pocket of bad magic that has been spooking ponies for about one thousand years. Behold, the magic of sisterhood,” Princess Celestia explained in a warm gentle voice.

“Where are we now?” Dinky asked.

Looking Dinky in the eye, Celestia smiled. “This is the astral plane. With your magic, I do believe you will be showing up here quite often, and probably talking my ear off. Not that I mind.”

“I bet Ripple is worried,” Piña whimpered.

“Not even a fraction of a second has passed,” Celestia said soothingly. “Your minds are here, not your bodies. But there is something I must take from you.”

“Whassat?” Dinky asked as she peered at Celestia curiously.

Offering a matronly smile, Celestia reached out one hoof and booped Dinky on the nose. “Something bad. Something that will hurt sweet little Piña if it is left to fester,” Celestia answered as her horn ignited with a golden glow.

Unable to help herself, Piña began to giggle as the golden glow engulfed her body and she was lifted. Her hooves glowed as bright as the sun for a moment, and for a brief second, a phantom horn appeared on Piña Colada’s forehead.

Dinky gasped.

As Piña continued to giggle and kick her legs, a long strand of blackness was pulled from her body. Celestia pulled it towards herself, and as it drew near her, it ignited, was consumed by pink flames, and burned away into nothingness.

“You have been touched by spirits now Piña… I do not know the mechanism, but earth ponies touched by spirits have strange magic… the Pie family is among those who carry spirits. I have removed the dark taint, but I cannot remove the spirit itself… it is a spirit of knowledge… of truth… it sprang into existence as the bad magic simmered away in the stone. Perhaps it is the truth that my sister Luna rejected, given life and made manifest. There is still much we do not know about magic and this is one of those great mysteries… I will be by to speak with you in pony soon,” Celestia said, offering Piña some explanation as to what had happened. When she was done speaking, she leaned her head forward and kissed Piña Colada on the nose.

“Are you going to send us back now?” Piña questioned.

“Yes Piña, my new vessel of knowledge. I am going to return you,” Celestia answered. She gave a solemn look to both the unicorn and the earth pony fillies before her. “Stay together. Work together. The two of you together will be a powerful force of magic. Take what you have learned this day, take this lesson to heart and face the world together as sisters. Always love your sister,” she commanded.

“Okay,” Dinky squeaked.

“We can do that,” Piña replied.

The world went white once more…

 

 

 

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