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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Rubbing his head, Bucky closed his eye and let Twilight Sparkle’s words sink in. He settled back into his chair in the farmhouse library. He heard Violet Velvet clucking her tongue thoughtfully and the angry sounds of Twilight Sparkle’s breathing. Sitting in the corner, Sunset Shimmer stayed silent.

Still feeling the effects of the cannabis infused beer, this was almost too much.

“This shouldn’t be possible… the lever action design, while very effective, does not allow bullets to be sprayed out in a rapid fire fashion. Revolvers allow for a couple of rapid fire shots, but then have to be reloaded. Belisama’s revolvers hold eight shots each. That’s sixteen shots before you have to reload and then would likely be overwhelmed by pegasi or other guards. The revolvers take a long time to reload… this doesn’t make sense!” Bucky said in a frustrated voice.

“Sense or not, we now face a serious threat,” Twilight Sparkle stated. She gulped down a glass of rum that Bucky had provided for her, grimaced, and then huffed and puffed a few times.

“I’ve studied the book we recovered. Rye Mash and many others… guns take time to develop… designs have to be tested and made reliable over time. It takes a long time to go from a prototype to a working unit that is field worthy. These guns shouldn’t exist… spray bullets... these guns were reliable enough to allow a small group of assassins to take out a huge number of targets and they were only stopped because they ran out of ammo… this shouldn’t be possible,” Bucky insisted in a low frustrated growl.

“We’ll figure this out. For now, we must be patient. Shining Armor is watching over us, the garbage eating golems you’ve turned loose in Ponyville have emergency protocols to become enemy eating golems, and both you and I are more than capable of keeping ponies safe here. You’ve proven that,” Twilight Sparkle said reassuringly.

“Master, I have a guess,” Sunset Shimmer said in a low worried voice.

“Yes Minion?” Bucky responded as he looked at his apprentice.

“Back in the world beyond the mirror… there were lots of guns. You could see them all the time in movies and on the television. There were guns called machine guns that held a lot of bullets… and sub-machineguns. They sprayed bullets,” Sunset Shimmer explained.

“Yes Sunset, I remember watching a movie and being horrified by what I saw,” Twilight Sparkle said as her eyes narrowed. “I do remember something about a gun though. I had my eyes closed because of all the blood and my fingers in my ears. So weird having fingers.”

“So those exist in the other world beyond the mirror… terrifying,” Bucky muttered.

“We are dealing with mirror travelers. Who knows how many worlds they might have visited. What if it was them who gave the assassins guns from another reality?” Sunset questioned. “Guns are common in the world I where I was exiled. Cars. Trucks. Airplanes. The technology there was miles ahead of anything here. Some of the technology was every bit of good as magic… and you wouldn’t believe me if I told you about the nuclear bombs.”

The room fell silent.

“I’m not sure how we fight this,” Bucky whispered after several long painful minutes.

“Equestria is still mostly safe… Shining Armor can detect threats. How do we protect others?” Twilight questioned in a hushed voice.

“I’m not sure that we can,” Bucky replied, shaking his head sadly. “We have an obligation to try though. Somehow.”

“Star Swirl the Bearded realised this was going to become a problem one day. My brother was telling me this just the last time we talked not that long ago. He says that the Crystal Empire has the means to block portals being opened… part of the shield it can generate. But the range is limited and the function does not work right now. Shining Armor is still repairing everything that went wrong and powering the empire up,” Twilight Sparkle said in a low trembling voice.

“I keep thinking about something hurting Tourmaline just to hurt Princess Celestia and it makes me sick,” Sunset Shimmer admitted as she rose out of her chair and began to cross the room. She made it about halfway, turned, returned to her seat, and then sat down once more, looking annoyed and disturbed.

“So the invaders are potentially supplying our enemies with weapons from other realities,” Violet Velvet said as she looked first at Bucky and then at her cousin Twilight. “At least, that is the idea, as a working theory. The new weapons are powerful, dangerous, and lethal. They probably take a lot of magic to secure, and magic is a finite resource when you are living under siege like the mirror travelers are doing. You could keep opening up portals to steal more guns, but these guns will eventually be seized, taken, and the assassins using them will be killed. Seems like a heavy investment in energy and resources with very little returns to me. Unless of course, they have a stable portal opened to a fixed location, a mirror or other portal device… if that is the case then what I have to say makes little bearing.”

“Luna and I are taking steps to deal with mirror travelers overseas. The Shadowbolt Initiative has been started. Eventually we will have powerful agents to help root out problems and destroy any stable portals that might exist. I also have some other ideas,” Bucky said to the group.

“Like what?” Sunset Shimmer asked as she rubbed the side of her face that had been terribly burnt.

Looking at his apprentice, Bucky frowned. “Answering that in present company is bound to cause me all kinds of trouble.”

“Out with it Bucky,” Twilight softly demanded.

“I plan to venture to the Badlands to see if I can find Chrysalis and then I make her an offer she cannot afford to turn down,” Bucky admitted as his ears splayed out sideways.

“You can’t be serious,” Twilight groaned in response.

“Sure, she’s evil, creepy, hideously ugly, but she is also useful,” Bucky grumbled in a low sulky voice as he glared at Twilight. His scarred cheek jerked back with a spasm, causing his lips to twist into a scowl. “Beggars can’t choosers. We’re in a bad spot. We need allies.”

 

 

Feeling the autumn sun upon her pelt, Sweet Pea was so overcome with bliss that she giggled. She walked through dead and dying grass that she could not see, being herded along by her companion. The pair had been excused from classes so that Sweet Pea could have a chance to spend time outside, something that she did not get to do often.

Beside her, Growler could not stop his tail from wagging as he carefully walked beside the blind filly, offering gentle nudges as she moved along at a brisk trot to keep her on course. He watched for anything that might be a trip hazard, his sharp eyes darting about and hunting for anything that might be dangerous.

In the distance, Blitz watched the pair, his eyes were wide, his ears were perked, and he sat in the grass with a journal, writing something down occasionally as he watched. Pulling out a small brass pocket watch from his vest, he saw that he had a class in less than half an hour.

“Come here Growler,” Blitz instructed in a soft only slightly growly voice.

The big shepherd watched as Growler carefully herded the blind filly over and both of them sat down in the grass. Blitz smiled a canine smile down to Growler, and he reached out to affectionately pat the pup on the head.

“I want to tell you something Growler,” Blitz said as he carefully reached out and stroked the filly just between her ears. “As for you Sweet Pea, you have given Growler an opportunity, and I want to thank you.”

“What did I do?” Sweet Pea questioned in a squeaky voice as she blinked, staring sightlessly at nothing in particular.

“In a moment,” Blitz replied as he gave the filly’s ear a gentle tug. “Growler… you have seen my tail, have you not?”

“Yes Blitz,” Growler answered as he looked up at the much larger dog.

“Your tail is still a small thing. Very like the common dumb dog’s tail,” Blitz began as his own tail began to wag. “If you are fortunate, your tail will never change…” the shepherd paused, turned his head, and looked back at his own tail for a moment. “My tail has become a little bit club like and has some spikes. I have done some bad things, but I have made up for them. Growler, if you do well, you will never have a club-tail. I do not know why this is, but this is how it is for our kind. If we are bad, our tails change. If we are good, our tails remain harmless.”

“Nodoggy told me this,” Growler responded in a low whine.

“Most dogs do not care and never stop to observe or think,” Blitz replied as he turned back around to look at Growler. His smile faded and became something else, his brows furrowed, and his his jowls drooped, making him a rather sad looking dog. “It is good that the pony mare Cheerilee set you on this path. She is wise.”

“All of this sounds important,” Sweet Pea squeaked, her voice now somewhat shrill.

His ears perking straight up, Blitz looked down at the filly, reached out, and gently rested his large paw upon the back of her neck. “It is,” he replied in a soft raspy utterance. “When people speak of our dumb cousins, they speak of loyalty… of faithfulness… of a constant and true companion. We diamond dogs… we speak. We have minds. The same is not said of us as our dumb cousins. Something about the fact that the voiceless lesser dogs being thought of as the best of us bothers me a great deal. As dogs, when did we stop being loyal? Of being a tried and true companion? It is clear that something has gone wrong when your kind fears us.”

“I’m not afraid of you,” Sweet Pea whispered.

“I must go. I have students that need lessons. Growler… be mindful of your duties. I want for you to reflect upon the trust she is placing in you. Never betray that trust,” Blitz said as his gaze shifted to Growler.

“Yes sir, I will do what you say sir,” Growler replied as his face pulled tight from his ears pulling back and trying to perk. Growler’s ears were too long and too droopy however, and the whole effect made him look rather sad.

 

 

“You going to be okay?” Sentinel inquired in his usual quiet gentle voice.

Looking at Sentinel, Diamond Tiara nodded, her face drawn and rather pensive, one ear drooped while the other remained perked. She blinked slowly, then rapidly, and then she reached up and rubbed her face with the side of her foreleg. “I’m really nervous. I thought I was okay with this, but meeting Dirtbound… my brother… I feel anxious. Like I am about to throw up.”

“You don’t have to do this alone… I can come with you. I mean, I know my father will be there, but I can be there for you too,” Sentinel offered as he extended one wing and prodded Diamond Tiara with his central knuckle. His eyes narrowed as he looked at the pink earth pony filly and his tail twitched around his hind legs.

“You’d do that?” Diamond Tiara questioned as she looked at Sentinel with wide trembling eyes. Her drooping ear stood up a bit, making it about three quarters of the way up, and then it dropped once more, falling down to rest beside her face. “I’m having trouble coping but I don’t want to say anything because admitting my weakness makes me feel ashamed.”

“You’re my… filly friend,” Sentinel replied as his voice rose into a nearly ultrasonic squeal, a sound only audible to bats, diamond dogs, and creatures with supernatural hearing. Sucking in a deep breath, Sentinel wheezed a little as he let it out slowly.

“We’re both very neurotic,” Diamond Tiara stated as she cocked her head to one side to get her drooping ear to stand up. She leaned over, stretched out her neck, and planted a soft kiss on Sentinel’s cheek. “I’d like to go visit Moonbow again…”

 

Author's Note:

Just imagine if Twilight Sparkle popped through the mirror, visited a public library, and returned to Equestria with a book explaining how diesel engines worked. The consequences of having access to a far more technologically advanced society. I mean, she's smart... certainly she's thought about it, right?

 
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