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


568. 568

Celestia stood in the dark doorway, watching one glowing eye going back and forth in the dark in front of her. She could see it, crimson and a lurid shade of luminescent green. A faint hint of purple light from the glowing mist. She could hear the sound of metal tapping upon the wooden floorboards. Bucky was pacing. The room was alive with shadow, with darkness. She could feel it crawling over her skin.

Most ponies right now would be soiling themselves from fear. Celestia was not most ponies. She had been to the depths of Tartarus and had battled unspeakable eldritch horrors.

“Bucky, are you okay?” Celestia asked in soft voice, hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. He was so much like Sombra… endless pacing in the dark… back and forth.

“I just have a lot on my mind.”

The sonorous sound of Bucky’s voice slithered around Celestia’s ears like serpents. She shivered, feeling something cold run down her back. “Do you plan to keep her?”

“Here you come, acting like a concerned mother… I can hear it in your voice,” Bucky replied, his voice was sibilant and somewhat hissy.

“I was just asking a question… I was concerned.” Celestia ignited her horn with a soft light, banishing the living shadows in the room. In the darkness, things hissed. Those were Bucky’s things…. living extensions of himself. More shivers ricocheted up and down Celestia’s spine.

“So what if I do keep her?” Bucky asked. “Would it be so wrong? She is nice… she is sweet… she is warm…

Sighing, Celestia shook her head. “No Buckminster… but I do worry about you. How many is enough? How will you be able to give each of them the time they deserve from you? How many foals will you sire and take in before you are overrun by your obsessions? You cannot save them all.”

“I am doing what I feel is right.” Bucky paced, to and fro, back and forth, his talons clacking upon the wood.

“Bucky, are you doing what is right for her or are you just being selfish? Are you looking after her needs or your own?” Celestia asked, all to aware that the temperature in the room was dropping.

Reaching out with his talons, Bucky grabbed a table and hurled it. Celestia watched, marveling at the magically assisted strength of Bucky’s prosthesis, and then thought about how he had grabbed the zebra filly with those same talons earlier. She snatched the table out of the air, righted it, and set it down.


“I have a right to be selfish! By damn I will take comfort in anything I can! I am always thinking of others! ALWAYS! Always serving… always doing your bidding, Luna’s bidding, and I am forever at your mercy because of the deal I made. And I live with your contradictions and your hypocrisy, both you and your sister… Luna has me vanish ponies, making them disappear, erasing minds and memories and literally scrubbing a number of ponies out of existence, and then she chides me… scolds me for dangling a few ponies off of a roof in Vanhoover and scaring them into obedience… she tells me that I did wrong!” Bucky kicked a chair over. He stood there, his barrel heaving, and the sounds of his angry wheezing filled the room.


“I had to take this trip just because I was a little stressed out. I’ve had to kill a bit too much. I’ve been staring down into the abyss for a bit too long. I had to kill that dumb bastard that tried to murder my apprentice… he hurt her! He hurt her and I almost failed her and to save her I failed myself… I broke my oath… my oath… I made an oath to Cadance too… what if I mess up and break that? So much depends on me keeping my word… but I am forced to do Luna’s dirty work, her bidding… I do terrible things to ponies in Luna’s name… not even mirror travelers, but Equestrians who might disrupt what little bit of harmony we have or they cause problems and I make them vanish… I come for them in the night and they are never seen again. Mothers that no longer remember having their own colts. Fathers who no longer remember their fillies. Every memory of their existence is scrubbed away for the greater good… I hope its worth it… so if I ask for something, if I am selfish, if I have the audacity to ask for something that brings me a tiny bit of comfort, excuse me! Maybe I am doing as much as I can with what I have to work with so I don’t become the alicorn of war or even worse, some horrible draconequus that might even be worse!”

“Bucky, I…”

He was gone. Celestia blinked. She tried to tune in on his magical signature, but he was gone. She extended her will, and with growing horror, realised that Bucky was not on board this ship any longer. Gathering her focus, she locked on the wolf headed torque around Bucky’s neck.



The air was cold, a bitter bone chilling cold that threatened to freeze the blood. Celestia began radiating, generating light and heat as she flew after Bucky. Ahead of her, a massive brown and black dragon soared over the clouds. Above them, the moon shone down, a moonbow circling around it.

“Bucky, you cannot keep running away!” Celestia cried out, screaming to be heard over the rushing wind. She pumped her wings and pulled up alongside Bucky.

“Yes I can!” the dragon rumbled. “Try to stop me! I’ll wreck the universe before I stop… I’ve seen it!”

“Bucky, please stop… for me?” Celestia asked.

“No… there is no way I’m riding home on that ship with you. You called me a bad father!”

Celestia poured on more speed and flew near Bucky’s head, mindful of the mouth full of sharp teeth. “I did not!”

“Yes you did!” Bucky roared as he rolled and banked away.

Shaking her head, Celestia could not recall saying that Bucky was a bad father. She tried to recall their previous conversation, their exchange that had just happened minutes ago.

“I can forgive almost anything, but you called me a bad father! I am NOTHING LIKE MY FATHER!” The dragon picked up speed and took off.

And then Celestia realised what she had said. How will you be able to give each of them the time they deserve from you? Is this what had set Bucky off? Celestia didn’t know, but her heart ached. Bucky was a wonderful father… she thought of his actions earlier with the zebra filly. His moments with Cadance. The way he was with Harper, with Bell Heather, his slavish devotion to Bandua, who was little more than a lump who felt hunger and cold, according to Tourmaline.

Bucky’s own fear of putting an end to Cadance.

Cadance. Celestia reached out her mind, the ship was far behind them now. She touched Cadance. Wrapping her will around Cadance, she pulled the foal through the aether, trying to shield Cadance from the harmful effects of teleportation.

Cadance popped into existence in front of her and Celestia took Cadance into her magic, wrapping her in a warm protective bubble. Cadance, who sprung to wakefulness with alarming alacrity, spread her wings and flapped, trying to fly inside of Celestia’s telekinetic bubble. The foal watched the dragon with wide fear filled eyes.

Celestia flooded Cadance with every warm loving emotion she could think of. Her love of Bucky, her love of Twilight, her love of Luna. She thought of Tourmaline, or Erebus, and everything that meant something to her. She thought of Raven and Violet…

As Cadance’s horn began to glow with bright pink fire, Celestia pointed her at Bucky.

There was a flare of pink light. It struck the dragon. There was a loud crackle, a pop, and then the dragon vanished. In its place, Bucky appeared and he began to plummet towards the earth.

Cadance, still trapped in a bubble, pointed herself downwards and tried to take off after her father, her wings buzzing with as much effort as she could muster.

Celestia dove, hurtling towards the earth. She watched as Bucky dropped through the clouds and she lost sight of him. She did not panic. She had a lock on the wolf headed torque. Reaching out with her mind, she formed a protective barrier around Bucky’s limp form and halted his momentum, bending physics only a little, so that way his body wouldn’t be broken from the sudden stop.

Cadance vomited, unable to hold back her nausea from the teleportation sickness.

Banking, Celestia turned around and headed back towards The Scorned Mare. She was glowing as bright as the sun now, carrying two things that were very dear to her. Cadance had given up on any pretense of pretending to fly and was now a miserable limp lump wrapped in a telekinetic field.

Trailing flames behind her, Celestia went streaking back to return Bucky to his family.



Shushing Berry Punch and Thistle both, Celestia dropped Bucky in the bed. His tongue fell out of his mouth and he had a stupid looking drunken grin. She plopped Cadance into the bed beside him.

“I made a terrible mistake…” Celestia’s voice was a low pained whisper.

“You did?” Thistle asked as Berry yawned.

“I may have accidently said that Bucky was a bad father without trying to say it,” Celestia replied.

Berry Punch almost choked on her own yawn. She coughed and there was a worried peep from Belisama in the crib.

“What I said was, ‘how will you be able to give each of them the time they deserve from you?’ and I said it because I know that he wanted to keep the zebra filly… he’s like a dragon with hoarding sickness… I said something terrible and it set him off… I feel awful.”

“And you had to use Cadance to put him down?” Thistle asked.

Celestia nodded.

Recovering, Berry Punch sucked in a lungful of air. “You had better be glad that you’re sorry and more importantly, you had better be glad that you look sorry.” She turned away from Celestia and looked at Bucky.

Stepping towards the bed, Celestia saw Cadance look up at her. Cadance’s eyes were narrowed, her wings were flared, and Cadance looked more than a little cross. Her brow was wrinkled and her ears were pinned forwards.

Normally, when pegasi made these sorts of faces, wars happened.

It did not make Celestia feel better for what she had said. She took a step back and heard Cadance snort. She wanted to tell Cadance that she had made a mistake, but the words would not come out. She stood there, mute, getting a silent scolding from the alicorn of love.

Celestia hung her head, it felt like the only right thing to do.

“We’ve told him he can’t bring home every foal with a sad look… we would be overrun.” Berry climbed into the bed and sat down beside Bucky. “He was quite taken with Larch… the foal he brought home from Tall Tale. It is my worry that if we break down and allow him to take in this one, he will wear us down and beg for more. And then he’ll be off doing whatever it is he does when he is away from home and we’ll be stuck looking after an army of little orphans that he couldn’t leave be.”

“She’s not like other foals… she spooks easy. She’s been abused. And now she is half wild from being raised in a mob… she is going to need special parents—”

“Thistle, you aren’t making this any easier.” Berry raised her hoof and extended it at Thistle, trying to shush her.

“She is going to need special parents who are going to understand her needs… look at her, she’s been whipped into submission and branded. She cries when she is touched. When Bucky got her to say her name again in the bathtub she went hysterical and half crazy!”

“Keep your voice down!” Berry said. “There is nothing wrong with her that a whole lot of love and patience can’t fix.”

“So what do we do? Dump her into an orphanage when we get home?” Thistle stepped forwards, towards the bed and raised her head high. “Zecora still has some trouble being accepted… and you think a little zebra filly that is covered in scars and a brand is going to be adopted? The orphanages are overrun! You said it yourself… that’s why you bought all those toys and those hats and those scarves—”

“Thistle… I… you… we… united front… nuts… oh bother since when did you get so good at arguing?” Berry asked, stammering out her words.

“Since I had to grow up and see just how hard this world really can be. Derpy put her hoof down on my back and crushed me down into the ground and told me that she’d only ease off once I figured out how to stand up on my own and she made me stand up and hold myself responsible!”

“Why are we fighting?” Belisama asked, sitting up in the crib.

“We’re not fighting… we’re arguing enthusiastically. There’s a difference. And the argument is over because I lost so I’m gonna shut up now because Cadance is giving me the stinkeye and I don’t want to live with the wrath of the Empress.” Berry Punch grabbed Cadance, pulled her close, and gave her a squeeze.

“I should go. I have something important to do,” Celestia said.

“It is the middle middle of the night… past midnight but not dawn… what is so important? Just… go back to bed and we can all talk about this come morning.” Berry lay down and pulled Cadance even closer.

“I’m going to have Raven draw up adoption papers. I plan to sign the order myself. None of you have to blame yourselves for giving Bucky what he wants and potentially inviting disaster. The blame will rest entirely upon my back.” Celestia backed away to the bed and turned to look at a small crate in the corner. Inside were several cushions and a little zebra foal was wrapped up in a blanket. “One zebra foal. Age… less than one year in my best estimate. No known parents. Distinguishing characteristics, scars, and plenty of them. Name, Sukari. Because of the way that the law works, I have to write down the name of one mare as the mother. So congratulations Thistle, this one is yours.”

“Me? Why? What? Why did you… wait, me?” Thistle stumbled forward and looked up at Celestia.

“There are always consequences for standing up and doing the right thing. Bucky knows them all too well, and now you will too.” Celestia leaned her head down, kissed the foal, raised her head up, turned towards Thistle, and planted a soft kiss on Thistle’s cheek.

“What do I do?” Thistle, flummoxed, stood there looking stupefied.

“Good night. I will have those papers ready by breakfast.” And with that, Celestia left the room.




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