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


573. 573

“I came back with two little ones, think we could make them work in the galley?” Standing in the doorway of the common room, Bucky looked at the crowd. He looked up at Celestia. “I found a dwarf pony—”

“An ariegeois pony! I haven’t seen one of your kind in ages!” The white alicorn rushed forward.

“Oh my gosh! It really is Princess Celestia! The old goat wasn’t lying!”

Looking away, Bucky wondered how he was going to live this down. He took a deep breath as the common room began to flood with the sounds of excited talking. Pursing his lips, Bucky whistled to get attention.

Now having the attention of everypony in the room, Bucky spoke: “The ship these two were on was raided. Celestia, have you heard of something called ‘Star Swirl’s Rod of Portal Control’ or something like that?”

Celestia’s eyes went wide with shock, terror, Bucky could see the fear in her face. He could see Celestia’s barrel begin to expand and contract in a rapid manner. Her nostrils flared, first going wide from fright, and then closing up, perhaps from an emotion that Bucky could not guess.

The white alicorn bolted. Her hooves thudding on the wooden floor, she took off at full speed, bowling Bucky out of the way, shooting through the door, down the hall, and up the stairs.

Recovering, Bucky went after her. He could hear shouting behind him, the common room was filled with fear now, whatever had spooked Celestia had spread to everypony as well as everybirdy else.

The big white alicorn took the stairs in leaps, her hooves scrabbling, and Bucky worried that she would turn a fetlock in a bad way. She was whimpering now, gibbering with fear, Bucky heard Celestia’s wordless sounds of fear… perhaps terror.

She hit the door to the deck full force, bounced off, and then jerked the door open. She took off, her wings unfurling, and Bucky was just behind her, turning into an axe beaked griffon once more.



When Celestia came to a skidding halt, Bucky landed on the deck beside her, his claws finding easy purchase on the wooden planks. He looked up, Celestia was frozen now, her barrel heaving, her mouth hung open, and somehow, the white alicorn looked pale.

“I’ll show you,” Bucky offered, approaching the door and gesturing for Celestia to come closer. “There is a big pile of bodies down below in the hold. It smells pretty bad down there.”

“Captain of the Solar Shadow… Frost Armor…”

Confused, Bucky did not know what Celestia was saying. “What?”

“Even the sun casts a shadow… I sent Captain Frost Armor and his crew to retrieve the control rod… there was word that it had been found.” Celestia shook her head. “Star Swirl made it, it was designed to stabilise an unstable portal. He did not know what he was doing at the time, the rod helped to keep his portals open so we could cross from one reality to the next and still get back home. The rod did not work very well.”

After a moment of gritting his teeth, Bucky said what he felt needed to be said. “If this is so important, why didn’t you send me or Twilight to retrieve it? This Frost fellow… he was, what, a type two? Maybe a type three? And you sent him off to collect a device, an artifact of unimaginable power… some kind of rift control device—”

“At the time, you were already showing signs of breaking down. Twilight was busy with other things. The Solar Shadow has dealt with dangerous situations before.” Celestia stepped through the door, her horn flaring with golden light. “You needed some time to heal. You needed rest, even then. This was before your trip to Vanhoover.”

Bucky followed as Celestia went down the short hall and then down the stairs.

“The rod does not function very well. It needs a special type of crystal to focus the rod’s energy and after a time, the crystals shatter. When it was created, Sombra made the crystal that focused the energy, correcting the rod’s flaws, and the rod functioned perfectly for a time. When Sombra died, the crystal cracked.”

Shifting mid stride, Bucky became a unicorn. “Straight down the hall, mind the bodies.”

Reaching the end of the hall, Celestia stopped. She gagged, looked down the stairs, and then began to descend. Bucky, dutiful as always, followed at her heels. He watched as she approached the pile of bodies, and he could feel her grief.


Celestia’s soft utterance was so full of pain that it made Bucky’s soul ache. She had paused at the edge of the pile and was standing there in slack jawed shock.

“There isn’t much we can do here,” Bucky said in a soft voice that he hoped brought comfort. “I think it would be best if we scuttled the ship and sent it down to the ocean below.”

Her cheeks now glistening with tears, Celestia nodded.

“I wish I knew what to say to make you feel better,” Bucky said in a low soft whisper.

“Buckminster… I…” Celestia cleared her throat. “Buckminster, I want you to find the ponies that did this… I want you to find them, and I want you to do very bad things to them. I want for you to do the very worst sorts of things you can think of and I want for you to do them slowly.”

Bucky bowed his head. “Yes, of course. I will do as you ask.”

“I mean it Buckminster… I want you to dredge the horrid depths of your imagination and I want for you to dig down and I want you to do the absolute worst sorts of things you can think of.”

Swallowing, Bucky tried to make peace with the fact that Celestia was asking him to commit unspeakable atrocities. “We should be away. I bet the others are worried. We should be away and you should compose yourself so you don’t spook the others when we return.”

With a heavy heart, Bucky led Celestia away from the pile of corpses.



Sitting in the glass navigation cabin, Bucky targeted the derelict vessel. There was a faint hum as the lightning guns warmed up, the many antennae along the sides of the ship quivering. Three rows of nine each, for for twenty seven guns on each side. The Scorned Marewas armed to the teeth for a ship her size. A broadside volley at this range would be devastating.

And it was. The first volley ripped open the sides of the minotaur ship. The second volley shredded the gasbag. The third volley tore the ship in half and it plummeted downwards towards the ocean below.

Looking down at the gauge, Bucky saw that the power levels were now seventy nine percent, down from ninety two. A few passes through cloudbanks would set everything right.

Heaving a sigh, Bucky teleported himself down belowdecks.



Famished, Bucky dropped his fork and jammed his muzzle down into his plate. He gobbled down his food, not even caring what it was, trying to be rid of the empty ache in his belly. The fried corn, potatoes, and beans on his plate were sucked down and he went to work on the pickled eggs.

At another table a short distance away, Garnet and Rowanne were also stuffing their faces under the watchful eye of Violet and Raven. The cub and the teenaged foal were eating everything in reach and the little griffons kept bringing more.

In the corner, Celestia sat, holding Tourmaline close beside her. Several little griffons had circled around her, wringing their talons together and looking fretful.



“I wish I had been on deck to see the lightning cannons going off.” Berry Punch looked over at her husband and then back at Thistle.

“If you would have been on deck, the static discharge would have made every hair in your mane stand on end.” Thistle, laying on her side and nursing Bell Heather, dropped her head down upon a pillow and made herself comfortable.

Creeping up on Thistle, Sukari dove under the blanket that Thistle had pulled over herself and Bell Heather.

A moment later, Thistle let out a surprised squeal.

“What’s wrong?” Berry asked, reaching out to pat Thistle on the neck.

“She’s suckling… what do I do?” Thistle was frozen, unmoving, her eyes wide.

“Sukari?” Berry Punch was tempted to lift the blanket.

The kelpie nodded.

“Well… I…” Berry Punch looked down at the lumps by Thistle’s belly under the blanket. Two of them. “I suppose you let her keep doing what she’s doing. Poor thing is all ribs anyway. Is she pulling Bell away from her teat or anything?”

Her eyes narrowing, Thistle shook her head. “She’s being good. I think she’s holding Bell. Hard to tell. But I can feel little hooves on my belly. She’s a yearling… isn’t she a little old for this?”

The plum coloured earth pony shrugged. “Milk is milk. It is best when you get it from the source. Just ask Bucky.”

The kelpie looked over at Bucky, who was scarfing food down off of a fourth plate.

Moving about on four wobbly legs, Cadance came over and sat down with a plop. She almost fell over, her wings buzzing as she tried to balance upon her chubby little haunches, and she looked up at Berry with a scowl.

The alicorn foal smacked her lips and then looked over at the blanket.

“Oh.” Berry said, reaching out with her forelegs. She lifted Cadance, gave her a hug, and then set the foal back down.

Lifting the edge of the blanket caused a panicked cry to escape from beneath it and Berry Punch slid underneath. The frightened whimpers subsided. Berry pulled Cadance beneath the blanket and then dropped her head down to the pillow she now shared with Thistle.

“There are two new foals on board.”

“I know.” Thistle looked over at Berry and saw worry on Berry’s face.

“If Bucky wants to keep them, we’re going to have to kick some sense into him. It will be hard on us, but I have faith that we can do it. Just ignore the whimpers and the begging as you keep kicking.” Berry adjusted her body, trying to get comfortable as Cadance fed.

“I suppose that Sukari was different.” Thistle lifted her head and scooted it a little closer to Berry’s on the pillow.

“Well… yeah… Sukari entertained us with a delightful romp in the kitchen that left feces everywhere. She proved that she has what it takes to be one of us.” Berry grinned.

“What if those two entertain us and show that they have what it takes to be one of us?”

“Thistle, dear, then we are in trouble.”



In the small library onboard the ship, Bucky sat in a comfortable chair looking at his two guests, not sure what to do with them. The griffoness cub was preening herself, making her feathers look sleek and shiny. Both had showered and cleaned up.

Both seemed rather chipper for what they had endured.

“So… do you recall what colour of strange glow the diamond dogs and the griffons had in their eyes?” Bucky asked.

“Green. But it shimmered. Sometimes there was a purple sparkle.” Garnet replied as she rubbed her belly.

Bucky scribbled down this detail in  his notebook. “Mmm, thank you.”

“How does that help you?” Garnet asked.

“It tells me that these unicorns were amateurs when it comes to mind control spells,” Bucky replied as he watched the griffoness cub tug on one of her primaries. “It tells me that their control over their subjects was clumsy and tenuous at best. It tells me that should I encounter them, I can rip their minions away from them and turn their minions against them.”

“You’re one of those kinds of unicorns, aren’t you?” Garnet asked.

“Yes he is.”

Celestia stood in the door, her expression blank. Her eyes were red. She came into the small room and eased herself down upon the other couch, her large body taking up every inch of it. She folded her legs up beneath her, getting comfortable, and turned to look at the cub and the foal.

“What is going to happen to us? Please, please don’t separate us. She’s my sister.”

“Under current Equestrian law, there are provisions for a filly your age to have independence, but Rowanne is eight years old, or so you tell us. I do not know what to do, but a fourteen year old filly cannot be the guardian of an eight year old cub,” Celestia replied.

“But she’s my sister!” Garnet scooted closer to Rowanne.

Celestia looked over at Bucky, her eyes were glassy and her expression was still blank.

Bucky held out his talons and extended one of them. “Hey… Bell Heather has a zebra for a sister… don’t even look at me and hope for some kind of an answer or expect for me to say something that disproves them.”

Sighing, Celestia closed her eyes for a moment and one ear flickered with a nervous spasm. She opened her eyes and looked over at the foal and the cub.

“Garnet tells me that Rowanne is good with machines… both of them like to tinker. They both have a fascination with airships. They escaped from the orphanarium they were in and were trying to get to Equestria to start a new life.” Bucky scratched his chin with his talons and looked thoughtful. “You know, I bet Tuli would be willing to keep an eye on them if I enrolled them in school…”

“Tuli?” Celestia looked puzzled.

“Minotaur. She’s nice. One of my teachers. She teaches mechanical stuff. If I enrolled these two in school and made them wards, they could stay together—”

“School?” Garnet’s voice was a low whine.

“Well, the way I see it, you can stay together in school or you can be separated unless you somehow find a guardian that will look after the both of you.” Bucky gave the filly a meaningful look. “Besides, if you want to fix anything, you’ll need to learn how.”

“School…” Garnet sank down into the sofa cushions and did her best to look miserable.

“This is not your normal school,” Celestia said. “It is a peculiar place, full of weird things, oddities, and has students and teachers of every type imaginable. There is even a dragon that attends school."

Garnet’s eyes went wide. “What?”

“There is a dragon. There are also minotaurs, diamond dogs, griffons, zebras, I do believe there is going to be a naga attending soon, and if we are very lucky, one adorable little dwarf pony.” Celestia offered up a weary looking smile.

“Daylight Shadow will be happy to have some new faces around. We have several wards of the school… like Larch. He’s a gifted little earth pony that can talk to the dead.” Bucky closed his notebook.

Reaching out with her talons, Rowanne grabbed Garnet by the ear and yanked. Rowanne whispered into Garnet’s ear, a voice so soft that Bucky had trouble hearing any of it. The filly foal and the griffoness cub spoke to one another in hushed voices, trying to decide what to do.

“Rowanne says we should take your offer, but I have some demands.” Garnet worked her face into a very serious scowl.

“Demands?” Bucky raised his eyebrow.

Garnet folded her forelegs over her barrel. “We want to be in the same room together. Rowanne is very shy and she has trouble being away from me. We just don’t want to be separated.”

“I see.” Bucky nodded. “I can make that happen. There is a little blind filly named Sweet Pea and there is a diamond dog named Growler… I arranged to have some rules bent so the two of them could share a room together. Growler is her seeing eye dog, as he calls himself. Neon Blitz felt it would be for the best and he assured me that Growler would be on his best behaviour. Nothing but good has come from this arrangement. So anything is possible.”

“Thank you.” Garnet’s serious scowl broke into a sunny smile.

“You two are free to go. Please, feel free to hang out in the common room, just down the hall.” Bucky said, waving towards the door with his talons.

Celestia watched as the pair bounced off of the sofa, scrambled out the door, and vanished from view. When they were gone, Celestia closed the door, soundproofed the room, and then she looked at Bucky.

“We need to talk,” Celestia said. “Wait, I need to talk. And you need to listen. I am about to tell you things that very few other ponies know…”




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