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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Lyra Heartstrings watched the two massive garbage eating golems prowling around the floor of city hall. The last line of defense if the worst came. Her ears quivering, she heard no squeaks. Hopeful that she had created a rat proof barrier, Lyra took a deep breath and looked at the clock. It was almost midnight.

The last wave, a few rats had managed to break through her defenses. This time, Lyra was far more confident. She thought of Harper and hoped that her foal was okay. She did not let it distract her, right now she had hundreds of foals depending upon her to be at the top of her game.

She watched the Cakes as they moved through the crowd, offering up treats, trying to give some measure of comfort to the gathered foals.

“Bon Bon, you okay?” Berry asked.

“I’m fine… I’m just worried… about…”

“I know.” Berry Punch sat down next to Bon Bon.

Both mares had bloody hooves.

“Sounds quiet outside. I think we’re in between waves,” Thistle said.

 

 

Feeling a weariness that went bone deep, Sentinel wondered how they were going to make it through the night. There had been deaths already. The deaths, as terrible as they were, did nothing to demoralise the defenders… if anything, anger gave the makeshift army new purpose, lighting a fire within them.

Sentinel was not certain that fire would be enough.

Overhead, there was a rush of wings. Sentinel looked up. He saw… lights. Could help be arriving? The colt waited, trying to see, his legs burning from the many bites he had endured.

“Need some help?”

The voice was… familiar. Sentinel knew that voice… that voice was…

“King Tannis!” Sentinel felt his spirits lifted. Overhead, a flock of griffons moved in, maybe a hundred in number, along with some lunar pegasi.

“Princess Luna called in Myrmidons to help defend Canterlot… she sent us to reinforce you. For some reason, I am not surprised to see you here, Sentinel,” King Tannis said.

Sentinel watched as a few more familiar figures landed. Grimglammer, Furious, and Shadowguard. Grimglammer and Shadowguard were wearing their Myrmidon armor.

“Somepony did a good job setting up defenses here,” Grimglammer said as she began to study the situation.

“That was Sentinel,” Thunderlane said, looking over the new arrivals. “He is in charge.”

“Somepony made some hard choices… maximised the protection of valuable assets while expending some acceptable losses… always a tough choice.” Shadowguard began pacing around and looking at the remaining defenders.

“Squire Cornet Sentinel, permission to join your ranks,” Grimglammer said, snapping to attention.

“You’re a Myrmidon… you outrank me.”

“Never hurts to ask… and I’m retired.” Grimglammer whipped a wing out in salute.

“Show the new griffons what to do,” Sentinel commanded in a clarion voice. “How much lamp oil do we have left?”

“None,” a griffon replied.

“None?” Sentinel blinked and gasped in shock. Right away, he began to think of alternatives. One hoof tapping, Sentinel wracked his brain. “Griffons… go to Barley O’Blivion’s brewery… there are casks of whiskey there. Fetch them!”

 

 

Rising Star paced back and forth, watching, waiting, his magic ready. He was glad for his fey stamina. Where others were getting weary, Rising Star was getting his fourth wind. He was confident that they were winning. They would live to see the dawn.

“Rising… I gotta go.”

Raising his eyebrow, Rising Star looked at Sparkler. “I could use a bathroom break myself.”

“No… Rising Star, I gotta go. We might be holding up here, I don’t know how they are holding up in Ponyville, but I am sure they are okay… but what about the Apples? They’re like us… far away from town and secluded. Loki went there… if the rats are attacking them, they might already be dead by now.”

Rising Star felt a sinking feeling.

“Ripple is sick with worry. One of her Raptors is missing. She is doing her job, but I can see it in her eyes. With each passing wave, she grows more and more frantic,” Sparkler said in a low voice.

“Go… go Sparkler. Do what you can. I would tell you to stay safe, but we both know that’s not necessary,” Rising Star replied. Leaning over, he kissed Sparkler, pressing his lips against hers.

“I love you.” Sparkler looked up at her husband for a moment, her eyes glimmering in the firelight. After staring into his eyes and finding her strength, she turned and galloped off, becoming stone as she cleared the outer defensive perimeter.

Her hooves thundered upon the earth as she departed.

 

 

Loki’s blades scissored through rats. He moved with what appeared to be tireless swiftness, dancing among the swarming vermin, slicing, stabbing, cutting, slashing, and flinging rats away from him. As he moved, he also sheared rats off of Big Mac’s legs.

Blood geysered from the severed bodies that Loki flung aside. It splattered the walls, covered the ceiling, the entire room was crimson and the various shades of gore.

On the table, Apple Bloom brought her skillet down upon a rat, crushing it, and a moment later, Granny Smith did the same. Cheerilee kicked and smashed any rats that came in reach. There was a metallic gong sound as Granny Smith crushed yet another rat. Her skillet was slick with guts, blood, and black hairs.

Loki, stabbing his blades into the endless hordes of vermin all around him, was thankful for his training, his conditioning. If he lived through this, he planned to thank Lugus. Lugus had made this possible.

For Loki, there was no doubt that the Apples were one of us.

There was a squeal from Apple Bloom as a rat savaged her hind leg.

 

 

“Careful with those whiskey bombs!” King Tannis pointed and made a gesture. A flock of griffons moved the casks, mindful of their explosive payload.

“The last wave wasn’t as bad as the one previous,” Sentinel said.

“Or we could be doing better at holding them off. We weren’t prepared for them but we still did pretty good,” Thunderlane said.

“Now we are prepared.” King Tannis watched as the whiskey bombs were placed in strategic locations, and with a command, could be dropped on the incoming invaders.

King Tannis’ griffons all wore tabards over their armor with Princess Celestia’s cutie mark. The little griffons took up positions on roof tops, on overhangs, on ledges, and on balconies, all of them waiting and ready to rain fire on anything down below.

“The outer guard reports seeing red eyes!” a pegasus cried.

“Make ready! We have another wave!” King Tannis flapped his wings and drew his sword. “Make them pay for every bloody inch of ground they gain! BURN THEM!”

 

 

“I think we’re in trouble,” Loki said as he flung a very large rat from his stiletto. The griffon began to consider the possibility of fleeing with Apple Bloom. He stabbed outwards with the now freed blade and sliced open a rat that was clinging to Big Mac.

The big red earth pony stomped down, crushing several rats that swarmed beneath his hooves. He jumped into the air and came down stiff legged, crushing more rats into jelly.

Loki knew he was getting weaker from loss of blood. If this kept up, he would not be able to fly away with Apple Bloom. A decision was going to have to be made, and soon. If not, the decision would be made for him.

“I’m startin’... to feel… a little… pooped,” Granny Smith said, panting with each word. “I ain’t… as young… as I… once was.” She slammed her skillet down on a writhing mass of rats scurrying over the table and then reversing her stroke, swept several of them away.

The door slammed open, sweeping aside rats on the floor and crushing them against the wall. A pony entered, grey, featureless, and then it slammed the door shut behind it. Scowling, the stony pony stared down at the rats and a whole mass of them turned to stone.

“Stone Mother!” For a moment, Loki thought he might cry from relief. New strength flooded through his burning limbs.

In moments, Sparkler put an end to the invaders. The kitchen was filled with stoned rats. She looked around, waiting, listening for squeaking.

“Loki? You okay?” Sparkler asked, her voice like gravel.

“I think I’m dying,” Loki replied, being honest. “Gonna be a slow death.”

“Hmm, Big Mac too… how are the rest of you?” Sparkler asked.

“Apple Bloom has been bit a few times,” Cheerilee said.

“This ground can’t be held. Come on, we’re leaving,” Sparkler said. Closing her eyes for a moment, Sparkler flexed her will. It took a little effort, but she levitated each Apple and one very bloodied griffon in her telekinesis.

Opening the door, Sparkler began stuffing the Apple’s through it one at a time, holding them up high, out of reach of the swarming vermin. Outside the door… thousands upon thousands of red eyes burned in the darkness. It was only then did Loki realise the futility of his actions.

The little griffon let go a maniacal laugh.

Sparkler stomped through them, her stone hooves squishing the rodent invaders. Impervious to their assaults, she allowed them to swarm over her. Conserving her magic, she did nothing to attack them, but went galloping off into the night, the Apples held high above her, returning home with the weary defenders.

 

 

A massive explosion rocked through one of the narrow streets of Ponyville as one of the whiskey bombs struck the ground and detonated. The fiery blast shattered windows and sent flaming rats hurtling through the night, soaring through the air like little burning meteors.

Still, the swarm came, moving like a river of black death.

Another whiskey bomb detonated.

In another area, as the rats surged forward, the snow was melted in the blink of an eye, flooding the area, soaking the rats, and Thunderlane released another powerful static discharge, electrocuting thousands of rats all at once.

Grimglammer charged forward, pushing a snow plow, shoving her way through the endless tide of vermin, dividing them, splitting them up into more manageable groups.

Shadowguard was doing the same, but pushing up a different street.

“PUSH THEM BACK!” Sentinel commanded. “PROTECT OUR UNICORNS!”

Spells flew, arcing, fireballs, lightning bolts, and icicles filled the air. Telekinetic blasts shoved writhing balls of vermin backwards.

“Rats, Hondo… rats everywhere!”

“I know Cookie… keep shooting! Our little Sweetie Belle is inside the town hall!”

“Diamond Tiara too! Look out Hondo!”

“I have your back! Don’t worry Hondo!”

“Thanks Galaxy Guide!”

“Should we survive this, we should get together… maybe play bridge, what do you say, Shining Star?”

Amidst the chaos, a lone green unicorn entered the fray. Her eyes glowed white and her horn blazed like the sun. An aura of raw power crackled around her. She rose, released from gravity, and a her forelegs raised, pointing skywards. A fierce golden orb of light formed above her horn.

Every pony, every griffon, every being in Ponyville went deaf, save the rats, who retained their perfect hearing. All sound ceased to function. The defenders, confused, tried to figure out what was going wrong.

Lyra Heartstrings let go of one of the most devastating spells she would ever create.

The effect, while not heard by ponies nor griffons, was felt. Bones vibrated. Every single pane of glass, every single mirror, every single teacup, every drinking glass, anything and everything fragile shattered for miles around. Eyeballs buzzed and watered over. Full bladders were let go.

The rats, who still had their hearing, bore the full brunt of Lyra’s spell. Little heads exploded, sending fragments of brain and skull spewing everywhere. Hundreds of thousands of rats, many still lurking in the shadows, all suffered concussive, explosive headaches, their heads popping like swollen, feverish boils.

Ponies blinked as they realised the battle was over. Griffons hovered, waiting, watching.

Hearing returned to the citizens of Ponyville.

“KINDLE NOT A MOTHER’S FURY!”

Lyra’s voice could be heard all over town. The defenders looked up at the floating unicorn, mouths and beaks open. In the distance, the Ponyville town clock’s bell rang four times.

 

 

 

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