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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“Minion… this is to be delivered to Zecora the zebra. You will return with the package. It will be needed for the trip to Mustangia.” Bucky held up a scroll that was sealed with the stamp of the Lunar Court.

“Master, I shall go at once.” Sunset Shimmer bowed her head.

“How are you coming along with your studies?” Bucky asked.

“Master, I am having trouble with some of the advanced concepts of transmutation, but I have not given up. Trixie has been helping me sort them out.”

“Trixie?” Bucky’s jaw fell open.

“She and I were just as surprised as you are, Master.” Sunset Shimmer looked Bucky in the eye. “She started reading some of my research notes and then checked the source material. She was confused by it. She went and got some help from Twilight Sparkle—”

“The creator of the orangephibian…”

Sunset Shimmer grinned for a moment and recovered her serious mein. “Turns out Twilight Sparkle was no help at all. Twilight Sparkle accidentally turned herself into a purple house cat. Trixie went to Canterlot, visited Celestia’s school, spoke to a few teachers who broke down the advanced concepts into manageable bits of information, and then as Trixie said, it was like somepony flicked a light switch. She came home and was able to sort through my notes, see where I went wrong, and set me straight. I am now making progress.”

“And how are your enchantment projects?” Bucky asked.

“The shadow circlet is coming along. I was able to tap into the shadow web for the first time the other night. It gave me a staggering headache. I could see dreams… it was wonderful, Master.” Sunset Shimmer frowned. “Master… about Mustangia…”

“Minion, we must do what must be done. We all have a part to play, even if we do not like our role. Sacrifices are in order. No matter how unpleasant a task might be, sometimes we must see it through.”

Sunset Shimmer bowed her head once more. “Yes… of course Master. I shall wear my cloak of office when I go and visit Zecora and I will retrieve what is needed.”

 

 

“I need some help.”

Sentinel nodded. “That much is obvious.”

Cloudstreaker flipped through her book. “My brother, Rumble, is no help at all.”

“To be fair, Rumble isn’t gifted in this area. If you asked him about other things, he would be able to help you.” Sentinel’s voice was patient and his tone was instructive.

“I can’t fail my introduction to civics.” Cloudstreaker’s face filled with worry wrinkles. “How am I supposed to change the world for the better and be part of the government if I fail civics?”

“Calm down,” Sentinel said, keeping his feelings of annoyance out of his voice. “You messed up some of your essays and reports. You can’t fix those. So…” Sentinel puffed out his cheeks and demanded a few ideas from his brain.

There was no reply.

“Flitter and Cloudchaser are going to ground me…”

“Be quiet.”

“I’m a dead foal. Do you know what my daddy threatened to to do me if I failed a class?”

“Hush, I’m thinking.”

“I should go pick out my own coffin—”

“SHUSH!”

Several heads turned to look at Sentinel.

“Here is what we are going to do. You are going to pass by getting the extra credit. You are going to attend some town hall meetings—”

“But those are boring!”

The corner of Sentinel’s eye began to twitch. “You want to go into government work… you want to get into politics… you hope to serve on the town council… but town hall meetings are… boring?” Sentinel’s left nostril quivered and one ear spasmed.

“Um…” Cloudstreaker gave Sentinel a sheepish smile.

“Is everything okay?” Looking up from her desk, the teacher narrowed her eyes at Sentinel and Cloudstreaker.

“Everything is fine, Mrs. Ebonwood.” Sentinel, still twitching, focused his dreadful gaze upon Cloudstreaker for a moment and then at his teacher. “I am so happy that you asked me to help Cloudstreaker, Mrs. Ebonwood.”

“Such a good colt… I shall give your father a good word.” Mrs. Ebonwood looked down at her desk and went back to work.

“You are going to pass this class…” Sentinel’s final word was a hiss.

 

 

“Sir, a Miss Dreary is here to see you.” Violet stood by the door.

“Send her in.” Bucky did not look up from his work.

“Hello… Princess Celestia told me to come and speak to you…”

Looking up from his work, Bucky saw a donkey in his study. She was young, greyish brown, and she looked nervous. Bucky lifted his head. “Please, have a seat. Make yourself comfortable. Violet, some tea.”

“I have been writing letters to Rising Star. He wrote to me after reading about my efforts in the newspaper. He told me to take my problem to Princess Celestia… I did… and she has sent me to you.” Dreary the donkey settled into her chair and made herself comfortable.

“And what is it that you do?” Bucky asked, already knowing full well what Dreary did.

“I help disabled ponies… and donkeys.” Dreary’s face was serious and somewhat wrinkled. “There is too little help to be had. Especially for the donkeys.”

“I am aware of the problem.” Bucky flexed his talons. “So, what can I do for you?”

“I know of a pretty little donkey… she’s young, almost a mare, but not quite.” Dreary eyed Bucky’s talons. “She had one of her hind legs torn off by a timberwolf.”

“Yeouch.” Bucky watched as Violet returned with a tray.

A teacup with a straw was set down on the table beside Dreary. Another cup was set by Bucky. Violet bowed her head, scooted out of the way, and resumed her work at the table.

“The state of prosthetics is abysmal. Especially for donkeys.”

“Dreary, you must understand. Donkeys have no inherent magic. It is why you can’t use manipulation shoes. A magical prosthesis needs something to draw power from.” Bucky cleared his throat.

“A pegleg isn’t good enough. Wheels are bulky and too many public buildings do nothing to accommodate them. And magical devices can be powered by magical batteries!” Dreary leaned forward in her chair and focused her stare upon Bucky.

“It is more than that. I could make a powered leg… but how would she control it? It would just kick and fidget with no means of control. She would have no connection to it, no means of making it serve her.” Bucky lifted up his teacup and blew into it. “My own talons draw upon my natural magic reserves as well as a ley line connection for a steady trickle of power. But without a connection to my mind, they would be useless.”

“Then find a way to make the leg work without a connection to the mind.” Dreary’s ears pitched forward, almost an accusatory point.

Bucky took a sip of tea and something in the back of his mind clicked. “Violet, I need musicians… please, send word to Written Sound. Also make a reminder for me to talk to Lyra when she comes home.”

“Sir, you have to go pick up your outfit for tomorrow… you could speak to Lyra while you are in town.” Violet’s pen began to scratch over paper.

“Brilliant.” Bucky smiled. “Miss Dreary, I make no promises, but I think I might be able to help you. I have an idea. I don’t know if it will work, but if it does, it will be, shall we say, poetry in motion.” Bucky paused and took a sip of tea. “So, tell me about your work, what you do, and let me see if there are any other ways that I might help you.”

 

 

“My name is Stargarden.” The dark blue unicorn adjusted her reading glasses and blew her grey mane out of her eyes. “All of you are here in my class because you can do something special.”

Dinky looked up from her desk. There were only a few students in this classroom. She knew all of them but the pegasus.

“Each and every one of you has shown a gift for powerful mental magic. The ability to know the thoughts of others, to take control of minds, and to do so without enchantment or divination. Welcome to Psychic Inquiry… here, I shall try to teach you the mental arts. I must say, I am most pleased to see not one, but two little earth ponies in my class. And a little pegasus.” Her eyes narrowed at the pegasus. “You little precogs are nothing but trouble.”

After looking scary serious for a moment, Stargarden burst out laughing.

“Rainy Feather, your face was priceless,” Stargarden said to the pegasus.

The pegasus filly wiggled in her seat.

“Almost all pegasi have some level of precognition. It is how they fly through dangerous skies. Little Rainy here, she is special. All of you are special.” Stargarden looked at her class. “Larch, you have a spooky ability to talk to the dead. Dinky, you’ve shown signs of telepathy and mental connections with hive minds… advanced stuff! Piña Colada… Princess Celestia tells me that you absorbed a spirit of knowledge.” Stargarden became serious and peered through her glasses. “All of you have exceptional gifts. As such, you all exceptional responsibilities. You must be good stewards of your talents and you must never, ever use them for evil.”

Rainy raised her hoof. She waited, patient, and then smiled a nervous smile when Stargarden nodded at her. Sitting up straight, she said, “I don’t understand how I have magic. I’m not a unicorn.”

Stargarden began to pace in front of her class. “Class, our talents don’t come from a horn. I am a unicorn, this is true, but I am a type one unicorn. I have very little magic. I’m considered stunted, even by type one standards. My power comes from within my mind and it is not channeled through my horn, which is mostly there for decoration.”

Larch raised his hoof.

“Yes Larch?”

“I heard this is the first class of its kind,” Larch said.

Stargarden nodded. “Here in Equestria, yes. Magical regulation made a real mess of trying to teach these talents. Where I come from, the Sea of Grass, in the city of Tradewinds, these classes are a bit more common. I was asked to come here and make history. How could I refuse?”

“Are there zebra psychics?” Piña asked.

Stargarden nodded. “There are many zebra psychics. The zebras have many powerful mentalists. My teacher was a zebra. He was very kind to me and taught me how to tune all of the voices out of my head.”

“Could there be griffon psychics?” Dinky asked.

“I hope there are!” Stargarden smiled, showing teeth. “We know that griffons have some of the same precognitive abilities as pegasi… it makes them capable warriors… fast and deadly. But I would love to meet a griffon with advanced abilities.”

Stargarden began to walk around the room, studying each of her students, looking them in the eye, trying to get a feel for what they could do, their potential, their strength. She lingered near the little pegasus filly for a long moment, her eyes closed, and then moved on.

Each of her students watched her.

“There is so much potential in this classroom… potential that could change the world.” Stargarden looked at her students. “I have so much hope for all of you. I know you will do well.”

 

 

Staring out the window, Cadance scowled in concentration. There were things outside the window. Familiar things. Things she used to know, but now had trouble remembering. Images, words, sounds, smells, all of these things teased at her mind, but the moment she tried to form them into thoughts, they vanished, becoming elusive and intangible.

She knew how to fly, Cadance remembered that, a hazy distant memory that was more like a dream. But now, now she could not figure out how her wings worked. She placed one hoof against the window and looked up at the sky.

There were vague memories of having control over her body… something she did not have now. Being in a wet diaper was distressing, but no matter how hard she tried, she could not hold back.

There was a time she could protect others. The urge, the need to protect was so strong. But Cadance could do nothing. She was little, she was helpless, and no matter how hard she tried, she could not even help herself.

Opening her mouth, Cadance let out a mournful cry as she stared skywards. The cry, meant to be words, meant to be a call for help, meant to be a means to communicate that she was upset and unhappy, came out as a wordless foalish sound.

“Poor little Cadance. Are you being sad again? Missing daddy while he is gone to town?”

Turning, Cadance saw Berry. She held out her forelegs. She watched as Berry sat down and then Cadance felt herself swept up in the earth pony mare’s embrace. Cadance felt herself crushed against Berry’s barrel and bulging stomach.

And then, everything was okay. Closing her eyes, Cadance clung to Berry, feeling better. She smacked her lips… what she had wanted to say was that she was hungry, that she needed food, and that she needed comforting, but all that came out was a lip smack. But in Berry’s embrace, Cadance couldn’t get upset over her lack of communication.

“Here… how about we lay down together in the window sunshine… are you hungry?”

Cadance smacked her lips again, the summary of everything she wanted to say. She felt two lips press against her own, and the lingering feeling of hurt faded away.

“Mama?” Cadance watched as Berry pulled away from the kiss and then laid down.

“What do you want, Cadance?”

“Love… mama… want love.”

 

 

 

 

 

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