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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“So… tell me Scorch… what do you know about the black market down in Tartarus?”

Standing in the pale grey of the freezing dawn, Bucky looked at the fire elemental, whom he had caught before Scorch had reached the foundry for the day to light the furnaces.

Scorch, an amorphous bipedal shape, folded his arms over his chest. “Now why would a nice pony like you know about the black market?”

Bucky thought of his dream with draconequus Twilight Sparkle and himself. She had mentioned it. Bucky did not mention this to Scorch. “I thought it was common knowledge… I’ve trafficked with demons. Anyway, I need to get there. And that’s kind of a problem. Think you could help me for all of the good I’ve done?”

Shifting, blazing brightly, Scorch became a massive earth pony. “I guess you have some business to look after. When you need to get home, say my name.”

There was a poof and a flash of fire, and then Bucky found himself in a very different sort of place.

 

 

“Damned souls for sale… we have damned souls! Get them while they’re hot!”

“Fresh arrivals in need of punishment! Get them while you can! The freshest of fresh arrivals, you will find none fresher! These arrivals don’t know the pain of the lash or the meaning of fear… and you can be the first to teach them!”

This was a very different sort of place indeed.

“Irredeemables! We have irredeemables! Few in number, high in value! Get your eternal slaves to torment for all eternity!”

The black market was filled with all types of beings… but not the mortal sort of beings. Bucky looked at a bored looking demon sitting in a small wooden stall. The demon looked like some kind of ape, mixed with a warthog, a bear, a lion, and a termite.

“Say, I’m looking for a place where I might find some information…”

The demon, who looked eternally bored, yawned and then looked at Bucky.

“I need information… like… finding out who did something so I can find them.”

“Lord of Winter, what are you doing here in the black market? While the rules here are very strict, most of the crowd here are your sworn enemies. Are you stupid or something?”

Bucky blinked. “Well, yes… actually I am.”

The demon sighed; it was the sound of ten thousand years of ennui escaping his body.

“I need some info… give me what I want or I start breaking the rules.”

The demon now looked alarmed, his sense of boredom gone.

“You know who I am… I’m colder than a windigo’s arsehole… I’ll make this place freeze over… just try me.

“Now now, there is no need to make threats, we are all businessdemons here. You want to talk to a demon named Eustace. Keep in mind, he is not actually evil, nor is he good. He’s just trying to do his job, just like most of us. He is inside the big building that looks like a burning titan laying on her back, the door to his office is right in the crack of her cunt.”

Bucky bowed his head. “Thank you. Now, what’s a titan?”

 

 

Not bothering to knock, Bucky opened the door and stepped through the forty foot tall cunt crack. There was one very vaginal looking hallway, pinkish, and Bucky felt a bit like a dick as he entered, perhaps for how he had treated the demon earlier.

Just inside the door, there was an imp picking away at one of his seven nostrils with one gnarled and hooked finger.

“YOU!” the imp cried. It jumped down from the bench by the door and its feet let out a flatulent squish. “You sonovabitch!”

“What did I do?” Bucky asked.

“You flooded us with incoming souls! Minotaurs mostly. So many souls came down at once that the stock market crashed. Cow futures went out the feckin’ window!”

“Bullshit,” Bucky replied. “I ain’t taking the rap for that. I had help.”

“You sonovabitch!”

“That’s Mister Sonovabitch, you little cumstain…”

“Hmm, maybe, I have met your mother.” The imp looked up at Bucky. “May I please have your autograph?” From out of nowhere, the imp produced a small ledger and a pen. He held them out to Bucky.

Confused, Bucky looked at the pen and the book. “If you try to trick me into signing away something, I will be the death of you.”

“I am a junior demonscout. I am trying to get my merit badge for honesty. Scout’s honour, no trickery. I am actually a big fan…. puhweeeze?”

“Get lost kid… I ain’t giving you nothing until I get something or some kind of sane assurance that you’re not trying to trick me. So feck off, you little cumstain.”

“You’re not very nice.” The imp now had a pouty expression. Four of its eyes blinked while the other five stayed open.

“I need to talk to Eustace.” Reaching out with his magic, Bucky lifted the imp into the air, holding him up at eye level. “How about I burn my name into whatever passes as your soul?”

“You’re scarier than a penile varicose vein…”

“You have no idea… are you gonna talk, or am I going to have to use my imagination to sort you out?” Bucky asked.

“Please, there is no need to mangle my errand boy. He’s really quite harmless. Do have some measure of courtesy.”

A tall demon strode forward. From the waist up, it was a minotaur. From the waist down, it  was a giant spider. Eight legs propelled him forwards.

“My name is Eustace and I am one of the Bureaucratic Overlords of the Abyss. Why are you here, Lord of Winter?”

“I need information. One of my wives… a mare I love a great deal, had a run in with some rough types. Rapists. Cultists. Demon worshippers. World ender types. I need to find them.”

“And then, I suspect, that you are going to enact some horrible revenge?” Eustace extended his arm and began to study his fingernails. “How do you expect to pay for this information?

“Well, considering I am about to kill a whole bunch of deserving types, I give you their souls directly. Straight from the source. Just like milk from a teat.” Bucky smiled.

Eustace looked up from his perfect fingernails and narrowed his eyes at Bucky. “Those are some juicy souls… souls most deserving of punishment… souls untouched and fresh… I could live out my harsh headmaster fantasy with those souls… I’d have a whole classroom to molest.”

“It’s not my place to judge,” Bucky said as he took a step back. “We’re all entitled to our own kinks. But you ever come up aboveground and molest anything young and innocent… I will find some means of destroying you.”

“Trust me, Lord of Winter, my dicks only get hard for those deserving of the worst punishment. Innocence causes me to go flaccid.” Eustace shuddered with disgust.

“Then we can work out a deal. You tell me what I need to know, point me in the right direction, and I will fill up your personal, private classroom with the blackest of souls in need of a good buggering. Very simple, we both get what we want and we walk away from this, each of us smugly thinking that we managed to cheat the other by getting a better deal.” Bucky’s talons began to drum upon the floor and he set the imp down.

The imp scurried off, his flatulent feet squishing with each step.

“You, Lord of Winter, are practically a demon. You know, you could become one. You’re not far off. Your soul has been stained so very black. We don’t punish the worst of souls when they come here… we welcome them as one of our own.”

“I’m flattered. How about we just stick to our deal for right now?” Bucky raised an eyebrow as he spoke.

“I am feeling generous… and rather randy. Since I am in the mood to shake off this dry spell, I will teleport you to their location… so you can… harvest them. Scare them… please, trust me when I say, a soul that dies in fear is so much better than a soul that just dies… so… for the sake of my flaccid dicks… please, scare them to death?”

“Deal.” Bucky grinned.

“Wonderful. I am so glad that we could reach an agreement. It is a pleasure doing with you, Lord of Winter…”

 

 

Bucky appeared next to one very surprised unicorn who was eating a bowl of cornflakes. It was not the sort of thing that Bucky would expect a cultist to eat, but here he was, here was the cultist, and there was the bowl of cornflakes.

Reaching out, Bucky grabbed the cultist by the snoot with his telekinesis, got a good grip, and peeled the cultist’s face off with a swift ripping motion. It was like peeling an orange.

“Remember Lyra?” Bucky bellowed.

There was no point in stealth. Bucky wanted them to know that he was here. He looked the screaming cultist in the eye; the cultist had no eyelids to blink with.

It was possible to kill a pony with fear. Forcing his essence into this pony’s mind, Bucky dug deep into his brain, looking for nightmares, looking for what made this pony afraid. It was like a thirsty pony walking through a desert. When Bucky found this pony’s fear, he drank deep.

The cultist’s pelt faded, becoming grey, his cutie mark, a paintbrush, went dull. The colour drained from his eyes as he watched the horror unfold in front of eyes that could no longer blink.

It took several minutes before his heart stopped and then his head dropped down into his bowl of cornflakes, splashing milk and cereal everywhere.

Darkness descended upon the cultist’s lair.

 

 

The world enders were nihilists, believing that the end of the world was inevitable. They were also hedonists, believing that they should enjoy every carnal pleasure available before they die. They also believed in moral ambiguity, that there was no right or wrong, only what felt good.

And so it was, with irony, that Bucky moved among them, doing what felt good, and ending their world. Screams filled the compound, low moans, and shadow moved from room to room, spreading like a cancer among their ranks. Tentacles came out of dimensional rifts. Ponies melted and turned into puddles as others were forced to watch.

Those watching were forced to drink the liquified bodies of their former companions; after being force fed a what-used-to-be-a-pony slurry, they too would began to melt, being dissolved from the inside a little at a time.

It was the very worst of dark magic and they were powerless to stop it. Dark magic born of such rage and pain was irresistible, unstoppable, there was no defense.

No amount of necromancy could save them.

Indeed, it seemed that the demons were ignoring their pleas for powerful magic.

 

 

As Bucky began to move deeper into the heart of the infection, he felt something powerful; something threatening. There was something here, something dangerous, something that felt very wrong.

Had Bucky been in a somewhat more sane state of mind, he would have known this foe was beyond him. But Bucky was no longer in a sane state of mind. He cackled, laughing maniacally as he brought ruin to those that had brought harm to Lyra. His Lyra.

All of Bucky’s worst traits were manifested now and his possessive nature was in full control. No one and no thing took what was his.

Now a beast made of darkness and shadow, Bucky moved through the halls, floating, his mouth open to an impossible width and filled with far too many teeth, consumed by rage and hatred.

His enemies died of fright from just looking at him.

Bucky reveled in his power. No more weakness… no more feeling helpless… no more sitting back as bad things happened in the world and then no one suffered punishment for doing them.

And then, something rose out of the depths to challenge him…

 

 

The looming horror was a creature made out of disgusting, putrid rolls of flesh, covered in hundreds of blinking red and yellow eyeballs, some of which protruded on eyestalks. One long tentacle dangled down.

The abyssal creature was the blackest sort of thing one could could conjure from Tartarus. It floated, not bound by gravity, and with a single blast, it put an end to Bucky’s rampage.

Bucky, stunned, fell to the floor, now in body, paralysed, unable to move. There was no magic available to him, only a feeling of numb deadness. He watched in horror as the abyssal horror loomed over him. He felt himself being rolled over onto his back.

He watched the tentacle whip outwards, and then, only then, did Bucky realise what had happened to Lyra, what had impaled her. Powerless, unable to stop what was about to happen, Bucky was forced to watch, just as he had forced others to watch. His eyelids failed to work.

The tentacle would skewer him just as it had done to Lyra. A cold terrifying sanity crept back into Bucky’s brain as he began to realise that he was going to live through this.

Digging deep, Bucky dove into his sense of will, trying to force his body to move. The cold, slimy tentacle flopped over his belly; it was like being touched by a jellyfish. Agonising pain flared through Bucky’s guts, through his groin, and he felt the tentacle sliding over his belly, down near his balls, and he knew it would go lower, down to his clenched pucker.

There was no stopping this.

Afraid, now the one to feel terror, Bucky dredged down into the deepest magic he had, the part of himself he was always afraid to tap into. The tentacle slithered over his balls, wrapping around them, and Bucky felt pressure as it began to squeeze.

“NO!”

Bucky’s horn flared to life, he felt magic returning. A beam of energy arced out, striking the abyssal creature. It let out a gurgling cry of pain. Bucky felt new strength in his body. The weakness in his legs melted away. Magic rushed through him. Power… sweet power.

He felt light headed.

Bucky got to his hooves, snarled, and with a thunderous crack, his wings unfurled. Wide, broad wings, powerful beyond measure, the feathers matched his tan pelt and had black tips.

With a flick of his new power, Bucky reduced the creature to ash.

Throwing back his head, he began to cackle, the madness returning.

And then, Bucky realised, he had wings. Wings that he never wanted. Halfway between madness and sanity, Bucky let out a wail of anguish as he realised what he had just done. He felt a tugging on his body… a painful jerking. Something summoned him and he could not deny the call. With a flash of blackness, Bucky vanished.

 

 

Tartarus. Somehow, Bucky could sense it. He saw a pale pony with a wilted petunia cutie mark. Beside him, three alicorns stood, all of them bearing a ball of twine upon their hips. It was black all around, and only the four figures were visible.

The pale pony lifted his hoof and pointed.

Turning his head, Bucky looked and saw a small grey cradle. He felt compelled to walk towards it. His legs betrayed him and he felt himself moving, very much against his will, his wings fluttered at his sides. He knew what he would find in the cradle.

There was a gibbering whimper from the now ascended alicorn of war.

Bucky tried everything he could to stop himself from moving forward. One leg moved in front of the other. He no longer had talons, but now four hooves. His body was perfect.

Except for the legs that betrayed him.

Unable to breathe, Bucky peered into the cradle. He saw a flash of pink. Something that Bucky loved so very much was in the cradle, now sleeping, and would never wake up.

“No…”

Cadance, on her back with her forelegs folded over her barrel, lay still. She did not move. Her eyes were closed and would never open them again. Her wings were limp and had fallen away from her sides.

“Look what you did,” the Fates said together in one voice.

Turning, Bucky looked at them, but no words came out.

The pale pony turned away in disgust.

“You killed me…”

Bucky looked down in the cradle. Cadance’s eyes were open.

“You killed me… you ascended… not even to fulfill your purpose, but for revenge!”

“I’m sorry, I—”

“You killed me!” Cadance screeched.

“It was an accident… I lost control… I was in danger and I—”

“I HATE YOU!”

It was a terrible thing being told that you were hated by the now departed alicorn of love.

Moving in an most unnatural way, Cadance began to crawl out of her crib. Her body jerked and spasmed. Her eyes bulged as she crept forth. Hissing, she advanced on Bucky. Feathers dropped from her wings, landing on the ground, beautiful graceful feathers fell like snowflakes.

One of Cadance’s eyes fell out of her head as it wobbled on the end of her neck. It hit the floor with a wet -plop- and rolled away, trailing slime.

Maggots poured out of Cadance’s eyehole.

As Bucky watched, Cadance was covered in crawling maggots, which began to devour her flesh. She screeched and squealed; there was nothing he could do. In no time at all, her flesh was gone, all that was left was a pitiful looking pile of bones.

“You are free to go.” The voices of the Fates were one. “Bring about the end of all things.”

“No… no… I made a mistake…”

Reaching out with his telekinesis, Bucky grabbed his own wings… and began tearing them off. The pain caused him to begin to giggle like a madpony. Ripping, pulling, tearing, he tore them off, snapping tendons, rending flesh, peeling them away a little at a time.

“It wasn’t worth it… it wasn’t worth losing her!”

With a yank, one wing was torn free, and with a wet rip, the other was severed. Bucky tossed them down the ground.

Already, new wings were growing.

The sounds of hooves were heard in the darkness. The darkness parted, like a curtain, and a tall regal figure stepped forward. She was terrible and beautiful, her eyes were full of fury.

“My beloved pupil, remember all of this, ” Princess Luna said as she approached Bucky.

Falling down, bowing, scraping, laying on his belly, Bucky gasped, unable to reply.

“I tried to warn you… when I appeared to you as Eustace, I hinted that what you were doing would lead you to a terrible end and where this would take you.”

Unable to move, Bucky closed his eyes and felt his wings growing back.

“You, Lord of Winter, are practically a demon. You know, you could become one. You’re not far off. Your soul has been stained so very black. We don’t punish the worst of souls when they come here… we welcome them as one of our own.” Luna spoke once more in Eustace’s voice, looking down at Bucky, her eyes filled with a seething fury.

“Give me Cadance back… I’ll do anything,” Bucky begged, finding his voice.

 

 

Sweating, shivering, whimpering, Bucky reached out and grasped the warm body beside him. Around him was movement, others were waking up. He had grabbed Lyra, he could tell by the smell. He pressed his face into her neck and inhaled, glad to be holding her.

“Bucky, you okay?” Bon Bon asked.

“Another nightmare?” Thistle’s voice was soft in the darkness.

Rolling over, Derpy wrapped herself around both Bucky and Lyra, pulling them both to her. She began to nuzzle Bucky’s neck with her cheek.

In the darkness, surrounded by those he loved, Bucky wept.

 

 

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