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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Letting out a little squeal, Tourmaline carefully placed her forelegs around Sunset Shimmer’s neck and squeezed gently, glad to see her friend. She closed her eyes for a moment and allowed herself to become completely lost in the moment, caught up in the hug to end all hugs.

“I wanted to have Pinkie Pie throw you a get well party, but mama says that I have to keep my secret safe,” Tourmaline confessed as she squeezed. “I did bring you a cake from Pinkie Pie and Cheese Sandwich and the Cake family though. Strawberry Woozy Doozy.”

“Thank you,” Sunset Shimmer replied as she balanced on her haunches and squeezed the small changeling foal. “Thank you for everything.”

Pulling her head away, Tourmaline looked up at Sunset. “I don’t sense any pain, but I do sense worry… how is your eye?”

“Not much has changed… it has gotten a little better, but I can’t see too much out of it. Shapes, some colours, everything looks like a blurry painting,” Sunset Shimmer admitted in a low voice as she became aware of Trixie and Bartleby staring at her.

“Thank you Tourmaline, Trixie thanks you from the bottom of Trixie’s heart,” Trixie said as she drew near. “You gave me back something very dear to me.”

Letting go of Sunset, Tourmaline launched herself at Trixie and latched on, hanging on and squeezing. For a moment, Trixie stood frozen, then she thawed, lifted her foreleg, and gave Tourmaline a squeeze back. Not wanting to be left out, Bartleby threw himself at both the foal and the mare, grabbing on and squeezing them both.

 

 

Her nose crinkling, Luna detected the smell of sulphur, which made her think of Rising Star. Beside her, Asp loomed large and terrifying, and the pair walked through the narrow corridor together, locked in step with one another.

Eventually, they came to a door and stopped. The sulphur smell was strong now.

Sighing, Luna pulled open the door. Inside, a pegasus that was not quite a pegasus lounged upon a thin cot. He looked up at the stern looking Night Princess and offered a sheepish smile. Bat winged, two small horns just behind his ears, and a fairly large build.

“Ah yes… the cambion. The mutant offspring of a fey demon and a lunar pegasus… the contract killer that we picked up in Las Pegasus during the collapse. How has life in prison been treating you? Let’s see… Asm-”

“Please! Don’t say my name!” the not quite a pegasus begged, interrupting Luna. “Names have power… look, I’ve been good… I’ve cooperated. I’ve been very well behaved.”

Smiling a sly smile, Luna nodded. “So you have, Deus. I have to call you something you understand. I could just call you ‘Smelly’ but at least Deus is respectful, wouldn’t you agree?”

“Yes, your Majesty,” the cambion replied with a bow of his head.

“You have skills I find myself in need of. How would you like a chance to earn your freedom and gain a valued place in our society?” Luna questioned.

“What do I have to do? Does your Majesty need something killed?” Deus asked in reply.

Looking at Asp for a moment, Luna nodded. “Indeed. I do. It is my intention to change you. Alter you. Place you under a geas, until you show that you can be trusted, and have you use your talents for the Crown working overseas as a spy and an agent. You will receive more details if you agree and simply say ‘yes’ to what little information I have offered you. If I walk away from this door, the offer is retracted and will not be repeated.”

“Yes!” Deus blurted out.

“Very good. Welcome to the Shadowbolts Deus. I regret to inform you that the pony, the contract killer that we apprehended in Las Pegasus, has suffered a terrible mishap in prison and was killed by a fellow inmate during recreational exercise time. There will be a lovely forty word obituary in the paper, funded by the Crown. That will be the beginning of your debt and you will work to pay it off. In time, once trust is earned, you will no longer operate under a debt, but will be paid handsomely for your work. Am I clear?” Luna said in a very businesslike manner.

“As crystal,” Deus replied as he slipped from the bed. “Look, I’ll do anything you ask at this point… a pony isn’t meant to be isolated like this…”

“I know,” Luna said with a trace of actual sympathy in her voice. “Come on. We shall talk more over breakfast and then I must retire for the day.”

 

 

Grinning hugely, Dinky passed her photos to Cheerilee and then waited for Cheerilee to have a look. Somehow, her grin grew ever wider, and her face beamed with happiness.

“Please, take a seat Dinky,” Cheerilee urged.

Feeling a little miffed, Dinky went and sat down in her desk, flouncing into her seat with a huff. Heaving a sigh, Dinky resolved to be patient. She knew her photos would get her the recognition that she deserved.

She watched as other students turned in their stacks of photos, and a couple of students turned in borrowed cameras to finish their projects, something that would have never of been possible in the old schoolhouse. After getting everything together, Cheerilee turned on an arcano-tech projector that turned photographs into images that were displayed upon the wall and busied herself with preparing the presentation.

Unable to help herself, Dinky squirmed in her seat, wiggling around, unable to wait.

The first image displayed was the Ponyville clock tower. The second was the Ponyville train depot, one of the oldest in Equestria, built shortly after Canterlot’s, and the second stop in the line. The third picture was Ponyville’s town hall and a filly let out an excited squeal when her photo was shown.

The fourth picture caused the class to fall silent. It was the old schoolhouse.

“It was founded within just a few years of Ponyville being founded,” Apple Bloom said in a low voice. “It was a proud moment for Ponyville, having that school made them more than a farming settlement, having that school qualified them for township status. Having that school allowed them to have a Crown funded post office. Eventually, having that school allowed for Ponyville’s first library, which was burned to the ground by a lightning strike. A long time ago, a tornado came ripping out of the Everfree and caught the weather pegasi off guard. That schoolhouse, already over one hundred years old at that point, sheltered many of the townsponies that ran there hoping for safety. Half of the town was leveled, but the schoolhouse stood. It took some damage and all of the windows broke, but the building stood firm and did not fall down in the wind like so many others. That schoolhouse is the most historic thing I could think of.”

“Thank you… thank you, Apple Bloom,” Cheerilee said as she began to get a little misty.

Looking around the classroom, Dinky clapped her front hooves together, slowly at first, hesitantly, waiting to see if anypony else would clap, and then others began to join in and follow her lead.

Eventually, the classroom was flooded with the sounds of applause.

 

 

Nervously clearing his throat, Written Sound looked out at his classroom. “Um, thank you for coming class… my name is Written Sound, I write music, and I am talented at musical theory. I had one of the musical numbers I wrote played by Octavia,” the nervous green pegasus said shyly as he looked at his students. “Some of you have cutie marks that indicate you have musical talents, so that should make things easier.”

Drawing in a deep nervous breath, Written Sound let it out slowly, his cheeks puffing out as he did so. He smiled a worried smile. “One of you is a dragon and one of you is a diamond dog, this is wonderful. Being together like this is good… while a horn section sounds good, mixing those horns with strings makes the music sound better… and adding a few drums can’t hurt anything… music is made better with variety, class… I want you to keep that in mind,” he said, punctuating his words with a snort.

“I really want to learn how to play the trumpet,” Spike announced with a toothy smile. “But the last time I tried, I hiccuped because of incoming mail and the trumpet melted. Noteworthy was kinda angry with me.”

“Oh my,” Written Sound gasped.

“I’m no longer a mailbox… except in emergencies,” Spike explained, trying to ease his teacher’s sudden panic.

“We got our cutie marks in music stuff together,” Singsong and Brass Note said in harmonic unison, the little unicorn colt and the pegasus filly both beamed with pride. “We have sibling magic,” they added, once more in harmony with one another.

“I’m going to have a very special class,” Written Sound stated as he looked around the classroom and began to relax a little.

 

 

The snow white pegasus in golden armor was solemn as he approached Twilight Sparkle and bowed his head low when he drew near. He paused, cleared his throat, and then looked Twilight in the eye.

“What is it?” Twilight asked.

“Majesty… Princess Twilight Sparkle, I come from Princess Celestia bearing bad news,” the guard said in a low voice.

“What is it?” Twilight responded as she lifted her head high.

“Majesty, we have received word from the Sea of Grass, the king and queen of the Shire Isles has been assassinated. An army of assassins descended upon Trottingham and Liverypool… diamond dogs and minotaurs mostly, with a few griffons. The entire royal family was wiped out, and most of the noble families were exterminated… the assassins used guns of some strange new design that sprayed bullets… something never before seen. The details are sketchy but the Sea of Grass is working to learn more,” the guard reported in a solemn voice.

“What?” Twilight asked in a raspy whisper, her face falling from shock.

The guard stood silent, unsure of what to say or if he should repeat himself.

“H-h-how many died?” Twilight stammered.

“We do not know the exact number yet, but so far, over two hundred have been counted. As I previously stated, the assassins, few in number, used a new gun design that sprayed out bullets. The royal guards were quite helpless… had they had a few unicorns, they might have stood a better chance, but I am sure you know how Trottingham feels about unicorns. The entire royal family was wiped out by less than a dozen attackers, and the other noble houses suffered heavy losses… the assassins were finally brought down when they ran out of ammunition. I do not know the full details yet, but they did not allow themselves to be taken alive,” the guard said.

Stumbling backwards, Twilight Sparkle made her way to a small sofa and sat down, her body now much too large for such a small piece of furniture. “How is this possible? I saw the guns in Griffonholm… they had to be reloaded… the lever took time to operate… they did not spray bullets out… I am not familiar with their workings... how is this possible?”

“Majesty, I do not know,” the guard replied apologetically.

“I want one of those guns brought here at once… these need to be examined… studied, more must be known about the design,” Twilight said in a halting frightened voice. She began to look around the library nervously and then looked at the guard pleadingly. “I can’t imagine something killing my foals,” she whimpered.

“Some of the guns are already being secured and sent. The Sea of Grass is sending them so that more might be known about the new design. Princess Celestia told me to remind you not to panic,” the guard said slowly.

“Has Bucky been informed?” Twilight asked.

“No, the Lord of Winter does not yet know. I will be telling him once I am done here,” the guard answered. “Would you like a group of guards to secure your residence?” he offered.

“No… no… I’ll be fine… if something comes near my herd I’ll incinerate them. Go back to Canterlot. I’ll tell Bucky myself. We’ll need to talk about this anyway. Tell Princess Celestia that the Phoenix will secure Ponyville and that the Windigo has been informed,” Twilight commanded as she began to regain her control and her confidence. “Thank you for telling me.”

 

 

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