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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“Berry, I wish you’d stop crying,” Bucky said as he gave Berry Punch a reassuring squeeze. Leaning his head down, he kissed her softly upon the ear. “Really hard to enjoy this new eye with you crying.”

Still sobbing, Berry Punch buried her face into Bucky’s neck. “You have two eyes again... you finally have back what I took from you...”

Wrapping one foreleg around the back of Berry’s neck, Bucky found that he could squeeze a little more. “We’ve talked about this, that was not your fault.”

Nearby, Luna quietly cuddled with Erebus and Cadance, watching with one raised eyebrow as Bucky and Berry Punch embraced. Luna knew full well the sorts of dreams that Berry Punch had. Berry Punch carried with her an entire lifetime’s worth of guilt for one rash action. There was little Luna could do to help Berry Punch, it was something she was going to have to let go of.

Still sobbing, Berry Punch managed to mumble, “You were maimed because I had a bad temper.”

“Berry Punch, if you don’t shut up, I’m going to screw the self pity out of you,” Bucky said, recalling something that Berry had once said to him. He felt the mare he was holding shudder, he could feel as well as hear her sniffling, and then he felt her grip on him tighten to the point where it was nearly painful, so much so that it was difficult to breathe.

 

 

Berry Punch was asleep and Bucky paced in the now darkened room. This was Tartarus and time passed differently here. The waiting was growing annoying. Looking over at Luna, and able to see her in the near darkness, Bucky asked, “How much longer?”

Shrugging Luna replied, “I do not know. I know Celestia is here. They are still waiting on many. Some will not attend because they slumber. We will be called when the time comes. I do wonder what Celestia is off doing though.”

The door opened and a soft purple muzzle poked into the room. A moment later, Twilight’s whole head was visible. “Hello?”

Suppressing a need to growl at the intrusion, Luna settled herself over Cadance and Erebus a little more before inviting Twilight Sparkle in. “Do come in. The lights are off.”

Twilight’s horn flared with a faint light and the alicorn entered the room with Spike on her back. The little dragon was asleep. Twilight slowly approached the bed were Luna was, lifted Spike with her magic, and gently set him upon the bed.

“I don’t understand why Spike was summoned,” Twilight Sparkle said in a small voice that was remarkably foalish and full of fear.

“Sit down Twilight.” Luna’s voice was calm. Motherly. She waited for Twilight to take a seat, and, much to Luna’s surprise, Twilight climbed up onto the bed and lay down beside Spike. Clearing her throat softly, Luna looked down at Spike. “There is much you do not yet know Twilight. Your eyes are slowly being opened to the world around you, but there is still much that you are unaware of. Spike is one of those things.”

Letting out a worried sounding sigh, Twilight responded, “I don’t understand.”

In the corner, Bucky eased himself into a chair.

Deciding to be blunt about it, Luna took a deep breath and prepared herself. “Twilight Sparkle, the egg that you hatched for your entrance exam was a false egg.”

“What?”

Another deep breath. There was too much stress lately and Luna’s patience was thin. “The egg was false. It was not real. It was meant to be a test to determine how you deal with failure. After Sunset Shimmer, the tests were revised. Celestia wanted a student that could be humble and graciously accept defeat. You were supposed to fail and then be judged on how you dealt with the failure of your entrance exam. You were too powerful… Celestia knew of your potential. She had to make sure that she wasn’t dealing with another student like Sunset Shimmer.”

Twilight began to stammer wordlessly and then was cut off by Luna.

“The egg was fake. False. Do you think my sister would steal a dragon egg for use in the school? If that was really the means of admission, where are all of the other baby dragons running around? Use your head Twilight… Spike exists because you willed him into existence. You believed him to be real and your magic made him. Celestia believes he is connected to the rainboom where you and your friends all came together. Celestia calls Spike Harmony’s Herald,” Luna said.

“I made Spike…”

There was a gurgle from Twilight’s stomach.

“You okay Twilight?” Bucky asked after hearing the gurgle.

“No, I’m gonna throw up!”

Twilight lunged off of the bed, nearly falling, and then vomited upon the floor. Before the mess even happened, the floor opened in a yawning chasm, the vomit vanished, and the floor closed. Now laying on the floor, Twilight Sparkle tried to catch her breath.

“You created Spike through force of will,” Luna said in a low whisper as she pulled Spike closer to her. The dragon cuddled around Erebus, snorted, and fell back into deep slumber.

Silence filled the room, the only sound was the chuffing sounds of Twilight’s heavy breathing. Her horn had gone dim and the only light in the room was Bucky’s Tainted eye, which glowed softly, and the luminescent purple vapour that wafted from it offered a little light as well.

Twilight, her brain in a highly agitated state, realised that she was in Tartarus on Nightmare Night with Nightmare Moon and the boogeypony. This realisation was too much to bear. She threw up again, causing the floor beneath her to open once more.

 

 

Entering into a dark room, Celestia looked around. In the darkness, she saw a glowing eye, crimson and a sickly shade of green. There was a faintly glowing purple mist drifting away from it.

Celestia shivered. She ignited her horn and shone a faint light into the room.

Beneath a black cloak, she saw the bleached bones of a pony and one glowing Taint filled eye. She sucked in her breath, bit down on her lip to keep from crying out, and dimmed her horn. Celestia certainly did not want to see that.

“You are acting strangely.”

Bucky’s voice was a low rumbling baritone in the dark. There was something commanding about it, but also something terrifying.

Or maybe Celestia was simply spooked and acting like a little filly that was afraid of the dark. She made her way through the room in the dim light, her eyes still adjusting to the dark. Luna was on the bed asleep. Bucky was sitting in a chair. Berry Punch was on the bed near Bucky.

Twilight was on the floor…

Lifting Twilight, who was sound asleep, Celestia carefully placed her in the bed with Luna.

Realising a confession was in order, Celestia turned to look at Bucky. “You nearly scared the meadow muffins right out of me.”

“I know… I can smell it.”

Nope, Celestia thought to herself. Nothing creepy about Bucky’s ability to smell fear.

Lowing her voice to a hushed whisper, Celestia said, “I am glad you are on our side.”

“There are no sides. There is only those I consider family and tribe, and those who are not.”

Celestia felt every single hair on her back stand up.

“I spend my every waking hour trying to think of new ways to keep them safe. To keep you safe. I also think of ways to make their lives better. Unfortunately, to keep them safe, this means I must think of which way to best dispose of my enemies.”

Clearing her throat softly as her stomach muscles clenched, Celestia tried to stop feeling like a spooked filly. She hated being here in this place. It weakened ponies… except for Bucky. Somehow, Bucky had come away stronger and his many long years of endless agony only fueled his dark magic, making it even more effective. She slipped off her shoes, her regalia, and her crown, placing them on the table beside the bed. She took mental note of the word ‘dispose’ and realised that Bucky did not say the word ‘defeat.’ There was something chilling about his confidence. He had always been so shy… so meek. So small and so quiet.

Slipping into bed beside Berry Punch, Celestia heaved a sigh as she settled into the mattress. The earth pony beside her snorted and the disturbance of the bed caused her to release one long squealing blast from her backside.

In the darkness, Celestia heard Bucky sniggering. She waited a moment for Bucky to fall silent, and when the sounds of his mirth finally ended, Celestia said, “Word has it that you have two eyes again. There is a lot of talk going around.”

She heard the soft sound of Bucky inhaling and then she heard him say, “It is true.”

The earth pony beside Celestia rolled over on her side and cuddled up against Celestia.

“Watch out, she’s a sleep snuggler, even by pegasus standards.”

Bucky’s whispered warning somehow seemed ominous in the dark room. Celestia still felt all of the hairs on her back standing up. She hated this place. She settled against the much smaller earth pony beside her and then covered Berry Punch with her wing. “Bucky… are you making it spooky in here?”

“No. Not intentionally.”

Right then. Not intentionally, Celestia thought to herself. This is what she got for sharing a room with the boogeypony in the depths of Tartarus. She looked over at the glowing eye in the corner of the room. “Are you going to get some sleep?”

“I do not trust this place. Rest. I will watch over you.”

Yawning, Celestia could certainly feel the siren call of slumber. She lay her head down upon a pillow, and, using her magic, pulled a blanket over her and Berry both.

 

 

“How long is this going to take?” Bucky asked. He was growing more and more impatient. Sitting in a comfortable chair, he glanced around the small private dining area. There were a few beings that he did not know. Some were eating, some were drinking tea, others were playing cards.

“Soon I think. More have arrived. I overheard Scorch a while ago, very soon they will call the meeting to order.” Luna held her teacup up to her muzzle and took a sniff. She let out a little moan, her eyes closing, and she visibly relaxed in her chair.

Spike, who had a marshmallow impaled upon each claw, carefully toasted each of them, burning them slightly for char, but not burning them too much. He giggled to himself and then slurped the marshmallows off of each claw, smacking his lips loudly.

Twilight gave an annoyed grunt but said nothing.

“You know, for all of your power, for your control over the cosmos, you two don’t seem very high up in the food chain here,” Bucky said.

Luna gave an angry snort and glared at Bucky over her teacup.

Celestia, favouring a somewhat more diplomatic approach, also glared at Bucky but chose to educate him as well. “Buckminster, dear, Luna and I are considered young… foals at best by many here. Many feel that we lack the experience that comes with age. We have only lived for what amounts to a blink of an eye. Well, in these bodies anyway.”

“Just how old are some of these… these… whatever they are,” Berry Punch said.

Setting down her teacup, Celestia looked over at Berry Punch. “Odin, the nice griffon who gave your husband an eye, Odin is close to ten thousand years of age.”

Berry Punch nearly dropped her teacup from her hooves, causing tea to splash over the tablecloth. “Oh my gosh.”

Smiling serenely, Celestia learned forward as she heard Twilight Sparkle begin coughing and sputtering from shock. “Odin is considered a cub… Beings like Scorch have been around for billions of years.”

Berry’s teacup fell from her trembling hooves, trailing tea as it plummeted to the floor. Before it could hit, it vanished in a flash of light and then reappeared upon the table, sitting on its tea saucer, full of tea as if nothing had happened.

Luna gave Twilight Sparkle a hearty slap on the back to help the alicorn with her choking. Twilight coughed, horked, and finally spat out a partially chewed bite of cucumber and daisy sandwich she had been trying to eat.

“And what of the Fates?” Bucky asked.

“They have been here since the first souls formed,” Celestia replied.

 

 

 

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