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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“Buckminster… I had no way of knowing… Tourmaline told me… I am so sorry…”

When Bucky lifted his head, nausea overcame him. Sharp shooting pains lanced through his eyes and his head. He let his head drop and fought back the overpowering urge to throw up.

“I love you so much… I would never want to cause you harm…”

His guts twisting into knots, Bucky curled up into a fetal position and then held very still, hoping the feeling would pass. He clutched his head, wishing the pain would go away.

“Mama, the pain is too much. He’s gonna be sick.”

Bucky could feel the cool smooth fabric of the sheet against his face; it was growing warmer as he lay upon it. He kicked his body around, thrashing about, moving until he felt a new cool spot for him to press his face against.

At least he hadn’t woken up cold.

Feeling feverish, unable to get comfortable, Bucky rolled over. He felt the bed shift as somepony climbed up beside him. A soft smaller body lay down beside him, it was Thistle, he could smell her unique floral scent, the flowers that grew in her mane.

“We had no way of knowing that Celestia’s magic would burn him like that. At least he’s not drained and weak like he usually is after these dreams. So that’s good, right?”

Hearing Berry Punch’s words, Bucky let out a whimper, not sure how to feel. She hadn’t just been burned alive in a dream. There was nothing good about any of this.

“At least I know how to fix this now. I have an idea that should help Bucky. I need something small, something simple and practical for enchantment. I do not know if it will block out Sombra’s influence entirely, but it should block out the worst of it.”

“Snowflake.” Bucky’s words came out in a dry mumble.

“That is an excellent idea… it is already enchanted, but I might be able to work around that… Bucky, what about the wolf head torque? That has a very simple enchantment on it, I know I can work around that without my magic erasing anything important or interfering.”

Bucky felt as though his tongue was about to crack open. Unable to speak, he nodded. A moment later, he felt something being tugged from his neck. After a few yanks, it was pulled free.

“I know this is awful, but we are fortunate that it happened and that I was able to witness it. I know the means of delivery, so to speak. It will take me some time, but I should have something finished by this evening. I hope that it will help. I will need to borrow Cadance. I think I will be able to draw out some of her essence and focus it into the charm. If this works out half as well as I hope it will, it should block out a good portion of Sombra’s destructive influence on Bucky’s psyche.”

Drawing in a deep breath, Bucky heard Celestia’s words and felt a glimmer of hope. Celestia was also clever; her magic was powerful. Tourmaline’s glasses were proof of that. Celestia was to defense what Luna was to offense. The only pony whose abjurations exceeded those of Celestia’s were some of Twilight Sparkle’s experimental efforts.

“So this is like a bandage then, until we can take care of the cause of the problem?” Berry asked in a low voice.

“Yes… very much like a bandage. Something to cover over the wound and stop Sombra from picking at the scab. He might still get to Bucky, but from here on out, we’re going to make him work for it. It will be exhausting. No more easy access,” Celestia replied.

A leg wrapped around Bucky’s body, causing his muscles to tense. He felt Thistle pull up against his back. Her body, soft as always, was a comfort against him. His nerves, screaming in agony from being burned, had started to calm somewhat, and Thistle’s gentle touch was soothing. He felt his muscles relax and he took a deep calming breath.

“I think he’s feeling a little better,” Tourmaline said as she darted out from beneath her mother. She approached the bed, confident that Bucky was no longer going to throw up, and came closer to have a better look at Bucky. After a moment of internal debate, she jumped up into the bed and then flopped down near Bucky, hoping to bring some measure of comfort.

“I should get to work. I will need to work undisturbed, if possible. Can you watch Tourmaline?” Celestia watched as Tourmaline snuggled closer to Bucky and Thistle.

“Nopony needs to watch me… I’ll be watching Bucky,” Tourmaline said in a very serious sounding voice. She clambered over Bucky, careful not to step on him, and situated herself between in the tight crevice that existed between Bucky and Thistle.

“I hope that whatever you have planned works,” Berry Punch said as she watched Celestia heading for the door.

 

 

Hunched over a small wooden table in her cabin, Celestia went to work. She set the wolf headed torque down upon the table, took a deep breath, and then looked around the cabin.

“I know you are here. Come out, the Sun needs you.”

There was a long stream of beeps and boops as a tiny spider golem crawled out from beneath the bed. It scuttled across the floor, ran towards Celestia, and waited, waving some of its legs around.

Celestia scooped it up in her magic and set it out upon the table.

The spider golem, glad to see its beloved sun goddess, bowed in the sort of way that only a spider golem could bow and then babbled at Celestia in Morsel code.

“No… look… for the last time, I am not made of oranges. Now stop asking!”

The golem appeared to cringe as it ran away to the corner of the table and cowered.

“I need something you have. You have a piece of Buckminster’s soul within you… some of the essence of his dreams. You are connected to him in intimate ways and I need some of that. May I please draw out a tiny amount of that from you? I promise you, it will not hurt you or diminish you in any way.”

The golem bounced in place once and then began tapping one leg upon the table. It angled itself, appearing to stare up at Celestia, as much as a glass orb with eight legs could stare, and then let out a stream of garbled gibberish that sounded an awful lot like a question.

Confused, Celestia shook her head. “Slow down please… do you mind repeating that?”

The golem let out the same stream of garbled gibberish, this time slower.

“Yes… yes I am working to save your creator… I am not sure I understand the other half of what you are saying.” Celestia lowered her head, drawing closer to the tiny spider golem.

The golem beeped something out in a very deliberate manner.

Lifting her head, Celestia felt baffled by the metaphysical question posed by the golem. “You want to know if your creator loves you? What an odd question.”

The golem, silent for a moment, made a shrugging gesture and then scuttled closer to Celestia. It stood near her hoof, touching her with one leg. He then let out another series of slow methodical beeps, boops, and bloops.

“I… well… I suppose you have a point.” Celestia fell silent. Did her creator love her? At one point, Celestia thought she knew. Now, all she could detect was malice. Her creator, her parent, he… she… it… whatever her creator was, it wanted to kill her and end all life. “I suppose you have to look at the actions of your creator.” Celestia thought about the meaning of her words even as she said them.

The golem beeped a few times and then appeared to be waiting for an answer.

“Bucky created you. He gave you life, of a sort. He gave you a measure of free will. He gave you the ability to make decisions… choices for yourself. And when you chose something different than all of your fellow golems, Bucky did not melt you down, or disassemble you, or wipe you from existence. Bucky let you go so you could live your own life and be happy. You are happy, are you not, as Tourmaline’s companion?”

The golem, frozen, did not move. After a long time, a short string of beeps came forth.

“Is this not evidence of compassion, if not love?” Celestia asked. She thought about the creator of this world, the world she lived in, and felt bitter resentment welling up inside of her.

The golem beeped and booped, one leg tapping on Celestia’s hoof.

Celestia nodded. “Yes, love can feel warm at times. Depends upon the love.”

After a pause, the golem asked another question, beeping in Morsel code.

“Yes, the sun is also warm. So yes, love and the sun both feel warm.” In her whole long life, debating metaphysics with a golem was perhaps the strangest thing Celestia had ever done.

The golem rubbed itself against Celestia’s fetlock and beeped.

Feeling exasperated, Celestia took a deep breath and summoned her patience. “No! Love is not made of oranges and neither am I! Leave it to Bucky to create the most frustrating life form this planet has ever seen! Just because the sun looks like an orange does not mean that it is an orange… ugh! And just because I have skin and I am filled with juice inside does not mean I am an orange!”

The golem beeped a few times, paused, and then beeped a few more times.

Celestia began to snicker, unable to stop herself after the golem’s comment. “Yes. We must help those who serve the dark sky cheese. No, I will not take anything from you by force. If you tell me no, I will find another way to do accomplish what I need to do.”

The golem darted over to the wolf headed torque and kicked it. It beeped.

“Good. Thank you so much for helping me. Your service is appreciated.”

The golem appeared to bow and it flashed a series of different coloured lights. it let out another series of beeps, communicating in golem gibberish.

“Yes, perhaps that is a sign of a loving creator. They let you choose your own gods without resentment.” Pondering her own words, Celestia began to think about her own position in the bigger scheme of things.

 

 

Exhausted, Celestia looked down at the wolf headed torque. She was sweating from exertion. Her horn ached. There were scorch marks upon the table. Her neck ached from being hunched over.

The golem, glowing with a new radiance, now held a smidgen of sun essence, something Celestia felt was a fair trade for what she had taken. Now all she had to do was deal with the golem running around boasting that it was filled with orange essence.

And then it hit Celestia. The golem now existed as a link between her and Bucky; their magics had been merged, a little piece of themselves had been mashed together and now served to give the golem life.

Something about that notion made Celestia happy, but she could not explain why.

The wolf headed torque was now warm to the touch, much warmer than it had been. It also glowed with a faint golden light. The metal thrummed with power. The torque had absorbed a great deal of Bucky’s own shadow essence, a fortunate circumstance, and Celestia had been able to fine tune her own solar magic to strike out against shadows, but not against Bucky’s own unique shadow magical signature.

Lifting her hoof, Celestia examined her frog where she had sliced herself open. The incision, though tiny, was in a delicate place. It stung. All it had taken was a little blood to seal the magic, to grant it permanence, to give it power. A little droplet of scarlet beaded up where the skin had been sundered.

The golem stopped mid-prance. It beeped at Celestia.

The alicorn nodded. “Yes, you came to the rescue of your creator.”

Dropping all eight legs down upon the table, the golem stood there, now still and unmoving. It spewed out a long stream of golem garble.

Celestia rubbed her neck with her good hoof. “No no no… it is not about debt. You do not owe Bucky anything because he created you. If you do anything, you do it because you want to, not because you feel obligated. It does not work that way. Bucky made you and set you free. He never wanted slaves… he never wanted his creations beholden to him. And no, I do not know why you are different than the others, but that is okay. It is okay to be different.”

The golem raised up three legs and made a confused looking gesture, something only those who studied golem body language might notice or know about. Three legs, an odd number, represented a lack of evenness. It beeped, a series of low solemn sounding beeps.

Celestia let out a weary sigh. “If you want to worship Tourmaline as well as the sun that is your business. And no, Tourmaline is not made of black licorice and hard candy.” Celestia wiped her brow. “Bucky, I will never forgive you for creating golems with the ingrained need to find worthy gods, but I suppose it reflects your inner nature…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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