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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Rolling over in his sleep, Bucky grunted. Once, not all that long ago, there had been some concern on who slept where in the bed, and everypony had a spot that had been theirs. That practice had long since been given up. Now, sleeping was just done in a pile with no real concern of who went where with the only pressing concern being not to squash Belisama, who was the smallest among them. There had once been a concern over blankets and pillows, a practice also abandoned, as with all the available bodies, there was more than enough heat and places to rest one’s head.

Now laying on his side, Bucky’s head slid along Berry Punch’s ribs until it reached the soft place between her ribs and her hips, his ear now pressed up against her rounded pregnant belly. He snorted in his sleep, his ear twitching against Berry’s stomach, and his dock twitched as he dreamed.

Lyra, who Derpy was using as a pillow, wiggled in her sleep, moving closer to Bon Bon, who had rolled away from her and was pressed up against Thistle’s side.

As his herd slept, Bucky continued to dream.

 

 

Ahead of Bucky stood a ruined city and behind him was a forest with trees that reached an impossible height. A crumbling bridge spanned a river bed that no longer had any water. The sky overhead was a strange colour, a very dark blue with a greenish tint, and the sun was smaller and more red than orange.

No clouds passed overhead.

The pull of the ground beneath Bucky was stronger and he suspected that it was only his alicorn strength that allowed him to keep walking. He was larger now, stronger than ever, in this form he was at least as large as Luna or Twilight Sparkle.

On the path beside him were bones, old bones, old bones that had become powdery with age. A unicorn skull grinned up at him, the hole in the forehead gaping where the horn and marrow used to be when the owner of said skull used to be among the living.

Nearby was a pile of bones that Bucky knew had once been a griffon.

This world was different than his own, some strange internal sense told him that the sun was fixed in place and that the planet orbited around the sun. Bucky did not know how he knew this, only that he knew. This was a strange place. On the horizon, a moon  was rising, and below the horizon, there were two more moons waiting. Bucky, not knowing how he knew, suspected it was some sort of alicorn sense.

The city ahead reminded Bucky of Manehatten or Baltimare. The ruins were rusting steel skeletons of what had once been skyscrapers and high rise buildings. Everything had long since been taken over by vines; the roads were broken bits of pavement and weeds.

Bucky had no clue why he was dreaming of this place.

Overhead was the flutter of wings. Bucky looked upwards, trying to spot whatever it was that was flying, he had seen no signs of life up to this point, not even bugs. This world, whatever it was, was dead. There was a dark spot in the sun and Bucky squinted to see what it was.

In the sky, approaching him, was another alicorn. Bucky readied himself, not feeling threatened or the least bit concerned, only curious about why he was here and why he was dreaming. He had reached the bridge and stood near the edge of it waiting.

The alicorn landed a short distance away and he folded his wings.

Large, tall, powerful, and a shade of blue that similar to Luna’s own shade of night time blue, the alicorn was an imposing figure. Bucky watched him bow his head down a bit, and Bucky returned the courtesy. There was no harm in being polite when facing the unknown.

“Greetings,” the strange alicorn said.

Bucky blinked. “Hello. I suppose all of the usual questions are in order. Who are you, where am I, why am I here, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.”

The alicorn lifted his head high and looked down upon Bucky. “Who I am is irrelevant. Who you are is of interest to me. You are here because you fascinate me.”

The first twinge of irritation manifested and Bucky’s wings twitched. “So yet another immortal sort that has moved beyond the need for a name and I am here as your plaything.”

The strange alicorn stood, impassive, and did not seem concerned by what Bucky said.

“You know, I grow weary of everything in the universe thinking I am their plaything,” Bucky said as his eyes narrowed.

The alicorn, now as still as a statue, stared at Bucky. “You fascinate me because you do nothing to fulfill your purpose.”

Bucky turned his head around to look at his cutie mark and then with a slow cautious motion, he turned to look at the strange alicorn. “Yeah… my purpose is to make beer so ponies can get drunk and screw. I’m starting to finally get around to doing that.”

The alicorn stood unblinking. “You were intended for a greater purpose. You reject it. You have set events into motion that you cannot even begin to comprehend.”

Now feeling very annoyed, Bucky could feel his sarcasm welling up. “And I suppose you’re not going to tell me because it would go against some greater plan, but you will gloat about it.”

“I have no intention of gloating, I have ascended beyond the need to feel emotion—”

“Wait, what… slow down there… you mean to tell me that you no longer feel anything? What about being fascinated by me and what I do?” Bucky asked, not caring that he was interrupting.

“Fascination is not an emotion, but a state of being. I still possess curiousity. I observe, it is what I do. I watch across multiple whens and wheres. I know for certain that you have met some of my agents, the Observers. If I do feel anything at all, it is a lingering sense of purpose.”

“So you no longer feel anything that makes you a pony is what you are saying,” Bucky said, his voice dripping acidic sarcasm. Something about this whole encounter rubbed him wrong and he felt his hackles rising. “You’ve grown beyond the need for simple feelings. I suppose you no longer care about getting your dick wet in a warm willing mare either?”

“Your attempts to rile my anger will do you no good. I no longer have any such feelings, they are at best distractions, and at worst, a poison to the self,” the alicorn replied.

Bucky’s eyes became narrowed slits that billowed Taint-mist, his own anger kicking in and his emotions were getting the better of him. “Well la-dee-feckin’-dah, aren’t you all high and mighty.”

“Once, a long time ago, I was a pegasus. Such things were of a concern to me then. I have since moved on. A sense of purpose motivated me. After my first ascension, I watched the world I called home slowly die, ravaged by invaders from another when and where. I ascended again as my purpose defined itself and I began to watch. Now, I am watching as your world is invaded by outsiders, and I wonder what you will do. I was there when Celestia nearly brought ruination to your world through her careless actions.”

“So you watch, but you do nothing,” Bucky said. He spat on the ground. “Figures. Once you go high and mighty you stop caring about the little things… like being a pony and getting your dick wet. How’s that working out for you?”

“Your attempts to rile me will do nothing,” the alicorn replied. He stood, unmoving, unblinking, a living statue. “I only become involved when I have to, there are rules at work here, as powerful as I am, there are those I answer to.”

“So there is a reason you sit back and do nothing… a justification for being a pompous ass.” Bucky was feeling outright hostile now, something about this was making all of the worst parts of himself react in the most horrible manner possible.

“There are many times I do get involved. Either myself directly or my Observers. You have spoken to quite some number of them, many of them you were not aware of. In this instance, I cannot get involved because the forces that invade your world were invited. There is little I can do.”

Bucky snarled and bared his teeth. “Let me guess… the pony responsible for inviting them would be the same self-righteous jackass that wants me to destroy the world.”

The alicorn nodded, the first movement in quite some time. “You are correct.”

Taking a deep breath, Bucky tried to calm himself. He couldn’t figure out why this was bringing the worst of him out, but his growing rage was frightening. “So you bring me here, to this place, this dead place that feels all wrong for a little chit chat. Why?”

“This world is dead and abandoned. A neutral place. The wars never ended here, eventually they resorted to arcano-biological warfare to bring new levels of misery upon one another. Everything has died here.” The alicorn paused and looked around, gazing off at the nearby city, and then he looked back at Bucky. “Your creator wasn’t always what he is now. At one time, a long time ago, he was an earth pony. And one day, he asked a question. That question was ‘why?’ and he was not content to accept an answer of ‘I don’t know.’ So he went off to find an answer. Over time, he ascended, still asking why. His quest for answers led him to where he is now, trying to find out why.”

“So he lived in another when and where, became philosophical, and now he is allowing us, his creations, to be miserable, just so he can find out why… meanwhile, we’re all asking the same damn thing, why. Why is our creator an insufferable arsehole that loves to torture us and has apparently invited the thrice damned mirror travelers into our world,” Bucky said in an acidic voice.

“It is a cycle that never ends. I daresay that in time, should you ever ascend, eventually you will reach a point where, you too, will ask why and move on to create your own pocket of reality where life will flourish and you will watch, hoping to have your questions answered,” the alicorn replied.

Bucky stomped one hoof hard enough to crack the crumble pavement beneath it. “No! Never… I am never ascending. I reject immortality. I like getting my dick wet on a regular basis and I am already enough of a jerk without immortality making it worse.”

“I brought you here to show you this place and where the path of endless war will eventually bring you,” the alicorn said, ignoring Bucky’s ranting outburst. “You have done well bringing peace to your world, which is odd, considering your purpose, but you still tread upon a dangerous path. There is little I can do to help you, but I did want you to know that I support what you are doing. The mirror travelers as you call them, are breaking all of the rules. I am doing what I can on other worlds where they go, stealing and taking what is not theirs to take. They are breaking down reality in several places where they regularly forage and those I answer to are taking steps to stop them.”

Snorting and then flapping his wings, Bucky whipped his head back to get his mane out of his eyes. “Well that is a relief I suppose. Shame you can’t do more… like, I dunno, lock them into their own reality and leave them to their fate.”

“You are fighting a war you cannot begin to comprehend. You have no idea of what your enemy is, but you are doing all of the right things to win, even if your deeds are questionable to achieve those goals. You have rejected your greater purpose and have chosen your own path. This has become of interest to those who Watch. I have one final warning if you are interested in hearing it,” the alicorn said.

“And that is?” Bucky asked.

“Other enemies have invaded your world. The mirror travelers and their intrusion have brought its own form of decay and already the first rips in the fabric of reality have begun to manifest. Beware of those who worship the world enders, the devourers of space and time. Your world was already vulnerable, the Chaos War and the decay of the cosmos has weakened your reality to the point where the devourers are now worming their way into your world and feeding. Usually, the presence of these creatures means the end draws near, but those who Watch believe that you may be able to fight them. You and the one named Twilight Sparkle possess the raw ability to deal with these creatures.”

Bucky lifted his head high. “Why are you telling me this?”

“Because… you fascinate me. You reject everything and you make your own way. You’ve made your own sense of purpose. You stubbornly cling to your own sense of purpose and because of this, you have thwarted the plans of many,” the alicorn replied.

“These world enders… what are they? How do I find them?” Bucky asked.

The alicorn’s eyes flashed for a moment, glittering with a spark of emotion. “Look for powerful necromancy, this is the gift they offer in exchange to those who worship them. The more decay a world has, the more necromancy it tends to have.”

“And in turn, more necromancy causes more decay because of what it releases into the world,” Bucky said, feeling his hackles rise once more.

The alicorn nodded. “You are correct.”

“I’m gonna make a guess that some of the necromantic cults that Equestria has actually worship these… whatever they are.” Once more, Bucky tried to calm himself, still finding the emotionless creature before him to be rather unnerving.

“I want you to succeed… it is my desire, if I were to even have desires, that your world keep on existing. I cannot become more involved than I already have. I was forbidden to come to you, so I brought you here. This world is dead and no rules govern it. I will probably be lectured for my actions, but I believe they were the right thing to do. This is more than a dream Buckminster Bitters.”

“I get it,” Bucky replied.

“I will be doing what I can to close off openings that your mirror travelers create, but I can do nothing if they go to places where they are welcomed,” the alicorn said. The alicorn took a step forwards towards Bucky. “Your creator asked why… there is little I can tell you, but you are one of the four answers that he seeks.”

“Answers?” Bucky asked. “All of this misery is about answers to the question why? Who else? What other answers are there?”

“You are the third, and two other answers have been presented before you. The fourth has not yet manifested,” the alicorn replied.

“I don’t understand,” Bucky said.

The alicorn’s horn glowed a bright fierce green. “Neither does your creator. Three answers have been made manifest so far and he remains oblivious to their existence. Immortality and godhood does not give you wisdom or make you all knowing.”

Bucky felt the warm tingle of magic all over his body and he could see he that a green glow was surrounding him. “Who are the others?”

“Alicorns of specific purpose. When we ask questions, sometimes we become the answers—”

Before Bucky could reply, before he could ask questions, the world around him vanished.

 

 

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