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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Shining Armor stared at the ledger that his sister had presented to him earlier. It was full of damning evidence. He struggled to take in what little bit he had read, an overwhelming feeling of panic beginning to overtake him. He felt his sister hug him, trying to comfort him, but she said no words, and she was every bit as distraught at her brother.

Celestia had seen the ledger as well, and now sat watching the two siblings trying to comfort one another. Spike sat beside her on her pillow, sharing it with her, leaning on her and looking glum.

Twilight Velvet and Night Light leaned on one another, unable to offer any words.

“The whole truth… the entire truth coming out like this, it is going to destroy everything we know, isn’t it?” Twilight Velvet asked, finally breaking the long silence, trying to understand the circumstances she had never been prepared to face.

“Yes mother,” Shining Armor replied.

“Does this mean the end of the noble houses?” Night Light asked.

“Once this war has been settled and if ponies want to do the right thing, then yes, this means the end of everything we know,” Shining Armor replied. “We must first settle the war, and then, I don’t even know. The noble houses are the court system. How do we try the courts? What court do we appeal to?” Shining Armor asked.

“We never made a provision for this,” Celestia admitted. “I had some small knowledge of some of these things, I mean, I understood that there were a few questionable things going on, but I had no idea of the scope or the true level of corruption. I have failed. I did nothing in order to preserve the long standing peace and to keep what I had been led to believe was stability.”

“You didn’t fail Princess Celestia, we all failed. The noble houses I mean. We let House Avarice gain entirely too much power over all of us, and even your house, the House of Two Lights, has fallen into debt and therefore under control of House Avarice. You were used,” Night Light said, expressing his opinion of the situation.

“I let myself be used believing I could rise above it,” Celestia admitted gloomily. “I knew that when I made that deal with Princess Platinum that there would be long term consequences. I had no idea that House Avarice had this much control going on the background. I thought the houses that strained against one another would balance one another out, but I was wrong, and many lives have been affected.”

“House Avarice has political power, but not martial power. They really do not even have that many powerful wizards to be honest. They have the raw ability, but a vast majority of House Avarice spent their lives studying politics and law, not magic and practical spell casting. They are dangerous political foes, but that is being undone slowly. They have no standing army. There is little they can do as far as actual warfare goes,” Shining Armor explained. “Buckminster is probably the most dangerous spell caster they had, and he is no longer loyal to them. He never took to politics from what I have gathered.”

“No, Buckminster never held any interest in politics. His love was study of magic and magical application, just like another little pony I know,” Celestia said. “And yes, the other members of House Avarice that have attended my school never bothered learning magic beyond the very basics, focusing instead on the social arts, political arts, and legal studies.”

“So House Avarice has diminishing political power, no standing army, a pile of coins they think they can control the world with, and no real means to back up their threats?” Twilight Velvet asked.

“Correct,” Celestia answered. “Clan Pickled has a standing army of over one thousand troops, well seasoned, well trained, who deal with monsters and other hazards on a regular basis, and could call up another few thousand conscripts. Keg Smasher very politely informed me of this, but made it clear that he did not intend it as a threat. He wanted House Avarice to stay away from the Isles, or there would be trouble if they came looking for it. He did offer to lend me his troops to use if order fell apart in Canterlot, he told me they were well trained and disciplined, and could be relied upon to restore and keep order if the situation demanded.”

“Well, that was pleasant of him,” Shining Armor said. “We may need those troops. We have the guard, but let’s face it, most of the guard is not seasoned,” Shining said shamefully.

“Celestia, if things fall apart, if things go badly I want you to know that the flock looks after its own. If you need Ponyville, we willbe here for you, declared state of war or no,” Twilight offered. “But I do ask that the noble houses be dissolved. It is time for the old ways to be set aside and new ways to be discovered.”

Celestia’s eyes watered, and she began to sniffle. She tried to speak, stammered, stuttered, and then said nothing, but nodded her appreciation.

“You know Twilight, you never did properly declare a state of war,” Shining said in a low voice. “You seized control of Ponyville and raised an army, but you haven’t actually declared a state of war, at least not in the current legal sense.”

Twilight’s gaze dropped to the floor. Her barrel heaved as she took a deep breath. Her breathing ragged, she rose to all fours and crossed the room, stiff legged. She stood before Celestia and raised her hoof. “I am sorry, but this must happen for all of these changes to take place,” Twilight apologised.

Celestia, her gaze darting to Twilight’s raised hoof, nodded faintly.

Twilight brought her hoof to Celestia’s cheek and stroked gently with her fetlock, wiping away a tear that was rolling down. “When this ends, let us not be enemies,” Twilight offered, looking Celestia in the eye. “I believe this settles the requirement of “a hoof across the muzzle” for me to properly declare?” Twilight asked.

Shining Armor said nothing, but nodded, and Twilight Sparkle’s parents sat there, looking proud, all of them leaking liquid pride.

Celestia reached out with one foreleg and pulled Twilight in for a hug, crushing the smaller alicorn to her barrel. “I am proud of you,” whispered Celestia, her voice husky with emotion. Spike clung to them both, sobbing a bit himself.

 

 

Derpy sat on the couch, surrounded by her foals, Piña Colada now among their number in a very real sense. Berry Punch sat on a cushion on a floor, sitting near the couch, and Bucky reclined in the overstuffed chair, watching his mares play with his foals, even Sparkler now among their number.

Bucky found that he suddenly felt very possessive of his herd. It was all he had. All that mattered. His new emotions were overwhelming and overpowering. If his old family tried anything foolish, Bucky no longer had any doubts. He would obliterate them and leave his foalhood home a smoking ruin. He knew he had that power within him. He could feel it now.

He twitched slightly, feeling angry, and a curl of smoke rolled up and away from his horn, unnoticed by the other ponies in the room. His emotions were raw, unchecked, and powerful. Love was powerful and dangerous, unpredictable, and gave strength.

Bucky watched as Sparkler hugged Berry Punch and whispered something in her ear, which caused Berry’s ear to twitch in the most appealing way. Bucky felt a stirring, not in his loins, but in his heart, watching Berry’s ear twitch.

“Father? Are you alright?”

Bucky did not respond, still not conditioned to those words. He continued to stare blankly ahead, watching everything he loved and held dear.

“Father?” Sparkler repeated, louder this time.

Bucky started, his body twitching as he snapped out of his stupor. “What? I’m sorry, I was thinking, I guess I am still not used to that word just yet,” Bucky explained, feeling slightly guilty. He rubbed his head, his fetlock traveling over the dead area that he no longer had any feeling in.

“You looked a little troubled,” Sparkler said.

“I was just thinking,” Bucky replied. “I was a little troubled I guess. I am having very odd feelings about wanting to protect all of you.”

“Love makes us realise what is important in life,” Berry said absentmindedly.

“Each day I understand a little more about why you did what you did,” Bucky said in a low voice. “These new feelings, I must be honest, I am not sure if I can deal with them.”

“Then don’t try to deal with them by yourself, trust us with them, remember what Bon Bon said. Be open, be honest, and hold nothing back no matter how worried you might be about how we might feel about what you said,” Berry reminded.

“We love you, you can tell us anything,” Derpy offered.

“I was just thinking about how easy it would be to scatter the molecules of my family members into the wind if they harmed any of you,” Bucky confessed. “It would be just like teleporting something, only I wouldn’t put it back together after I zapped it.”

The room fell silent, and Bucky began to worry if perhaps he had made a mistake in being honest. He could feel the tension building.

“You can do that?” Berry asked.

“I can do that,” Bucky answered.

“If we are ever in a situation where I cannot keep us safe, you do that and you don’t hesitate,” Derpy instructed.

“I’ve been learning a few defensive and offensive spells from the library,” Sparkler announced. “I can’t channel a lot of raw energy, but I seem to have a knack for summoning electricity. We were sparring a bit and I gave Rising Star quite a zap. He had to lay down and think about how much he appreciated me as a filly.”

Derpy sniggered and covered her muzzle with a fetlock.

“I can teach you how to focus what energy you do have into a well focused blast of raw telekinetic force. Several hundred pounds of force focused into an area the size of a bit is more than enough to blow a hole through most ponies,” Bucky said, his eyes going from Derpy to Berry to gauge their reactions to his words. “I can summon several thousand pounds of force, but you don’t need to summon that much. Even a hundred pounds of force focused into a spot the size of a cookie is all you need.”

Dinky had gone completely still and was now paying rapt attention.

“You listen carefully Dinky,” Derpy said slowly.

“One of the first spells a unicorn learns is how to boil water. If you are ever in a crisis, remember this one thing. A pony’s body is mostly made of water,” Bucky instructed. “And it will boil if you concentrate hard enough.”

Berry Punch gulped audibly. Sparkler gave a slow nod of understanding, looking slightly horrified. Derpy’s face remained expressionless. Dinky hugged Piña, who hugged back. All of them stared wide eyed at the unicorn in the overstuffed chair.

“If somepony ever comes and tries to make you go with them against your will, you fight back. I am going to trust that you are good ponies, and I am going to teach you things. Terrible things. And you are never going to use this knowledge unless it is absolutely necessary, do you understand?” Bucky said, finishing his words with a question.

“Yes father,” Sparkler answered.

“Yes daddy, “ Dinky replied with a nod.

“Most importantly, allow me to keep you safe. I’d rather not have you have to live with the memories of hurting somepony. I’d rather it be me,” Bucky said.

“Can Rising learn a few spells?”  Sparkler asked, blushing. “He has this foolish notion of wanting to protect me.’

“I can teach if he is willing to learn,” Bucky offered. “We live in strange times. A little self defense is prudent.”

The conversation was interrupted by a rapping on the door.

 

Author's Note:

Well, lots to discuss in this chapter.

Let me know if I made any glaring errors. Have a pleasant read. In depth discussion is highly encouraged.

And yeah, Bucky is becoming a tiny bit scary. Just a wee bit. Don't worry, he's still a nice pony. He's just feeling a little over-protective, that's all.

 
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