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


619. 619


“Yes? What do you want, Minion?”

Sunset Shimmer lowered her head. “Master, I am concerned about the Mustangia trip.”

“I know.” Bucky’s eyes narrowed. “I told you to remain focused upon your task and not to worry about it. You’ve been worrying… bad Minion.”

Steam rose from Sunset Shimmer’s nostrils. She felt her heart begin to pound in her barrel. “Trixie… Trixie told me what it was like… I’ve learned all I need to know. She showed… she showed me. We touched minds. We communed. It was tricky, but I managed.”

“Minion, I have faith in you.” Bucky pulled his hood back from his head and moonlight shone down upon his face. “How was your day with Twilight?”

“She is so happy from her vacation. She has so many stories to tell… she told me stories about visiting the Sea of Grass and the United Isles. I got to tell her about the night of the rats.” Sunset’s lips turned up into a quivering smile.

“I have said my goodbyes… and I must be going.” Bucky looked up at Sunset Shimmer, who was a little taller than he was. “Stay focused.”

“Master… don’t go… don’t do this—”

“Not another word. Remember everything that must be done. Obey my instructions.”

Sunset Shimmer bowed her head. “Master, I will obey. Forgive me for my doubt.”

Bucky smiled, revealing teeth. “A Master could ask for no better Minion…”



The Scorned Mare headed south, moving at a brisk pace with the wind giving it a push. Mustangia was less than twenty four hours away. Exhausted, Bucky sat in the dining hall eating a meal prepared by griffons and looking at Twilight Sparkle, who had already eaten and was sitting on a sofa, talking to a couple of griffons.

There was something different about Twilight, but Bucky could not put a talon on what it was. He lifted his fork and stuffed a bite of fish and rice into his mouth.

Hidden Hollow Fortress awaited. The shadow generator, now finished, was undergoing the first testing trials with lab rats. Luna had the project in hoof.

Still staring at Twilight, Bucky watched as her mane spilled into her eyes as she laughed. She was radiant. Her eyes had a merry twinkle that he had not seen since Griffonholm. Twilight Sparkle was jubilant.

“... and so we were all sitting in the hot springs together when Discord cut one. It makes this glorp sound and Fluttershy starts giggling and Pinkie and Cheese were laughing…”

Another bite of fish and rice. Keeping Twilight Sparkle safe was his mission priority. Secure the portal device, deal with the mirror travelers that Shining Armor had been spying on, and then destroy the portal device.

“...well, Celestia is making this face and I can’t tell if she is really angry or putting Discord on. Discord won’t stop giggling and Glass Slipper and Tourmaline are holding on to one another while they’re laughing…”

Except… Bucky didn’t want to destroy the portal control rod. It would be useful. So very useful. With something like that, he could make incursions into the mirror traveler’s home turf. Maybe liberate a few earth ponies. Maybe send a swarm of golems through.

“...the stench that came from Celestia’s bubbles…”

The griffons were laughing now. They adored Sun Mother and held a great deal of light hearted reverence for her. Bucky poured more wine into his glass, drank it down with greedy abandon, and then poured even more. It was nice to see Twilight Sparkle so happy.

“...and it sounded like whale song…”

They had all returned so happy. Rarity and Coco were preparing to be parents after Barley had agreed to be the father. Cheese Sandwich and Pinkie Pie had stopped by the farm to say hello, and had done so at the perfect moment. Their visit had cheered Loch Skimmer up just a little bit. Applejack and Silver Shill had visited to thank Loki and Sparkler. Fluttershy and Discord had actually stayed for several days after their return and somehow, Discord of all beings had become friends with Sukari, leaving poor Fluttershy in a near state of jealous rage because the zebra foal fled from her.

Everyone was happy, except Bucky was not. Bucky had left his apprentice with an unpleasant and horrible task. Bucky was going on what he knew was going to be bloody business. And for all the peace that seemed to be spreading in the world, Bucky was about to populate the world with a few near perfect assassins.

It was confusing at best and depressing at worst.

“ wasn’t all fun and games though. We stopped in Fancy on the way to the United Isles. It was dangerous to go there, we all knew it, but we did it anyway. We visited a couple of hospitals. We thanked the soldiers for the work they were doing. Fancy was so thankful for our visit and they knew we put our lives at risk to make them happy…”

Twilight Sparkle must not be put at risk. Twilight was an answer, and a far better one for the world than Bucky was. Bucky had been in a heated argument with Celestia about Twilight going, but Celestia suspected a small portal was located somewhere around Mustangia. Twilight and her divination magics would have a good chance of finding it. Twilight was so well attuned to magical disturbances.

Also there was Twilight Sparkle’s hunches. An alicorn’s intuition.

Swallowing his last bite, Bucky pushed his plate away.



The land below was almost all flat. There were mines around Mustangia, holes dug straight down into the earth. Bucky peered over the rail at the ground below. It was warmer here, but still somewhat chilly. There was no snow, but the plains were dead brown grass.

“So when we get to Mustangia, we go and we meet with our contacts at the Rusty Hinge tavern. Then we begin casing the mine and seeing what sort of trouble we might run into.”

Bucky continued to stare down at the ground passing by beneath them.

“Bucky… are you hearing me?”

“Yes, sorry Twilight.” Bucky lifted his head and turned to look at Twilight.

“This is just like those private investigator novels Spike likes to read.” Twilight watched the clouds going by. “Speaking of spies—”

“Twilight, I know you have some reservations about the Shadowbolts.”

Nodding, Twilight turned and looked at Bucky. “I have changed my mind. After visiting Fancy and seeing the burned out remains of Fromme du Lac, I no longer have any reservations about the Shadowbolts.”

“Good.” Bucky narrowed one eye. “And on a matter closer to home, how do you really feel about Scootaloo joining the Raptors?”

Twilight’s eyes flew open wide and she hissed as she drew in air through her teeth.

“Come on Twilight, it isn’t that bad.”

“I’m still making peace with it.” Twilight took a few steps then began to pace upon the deck. “Going on vacation with Princess Celestia… she can really let her mane down, can’t she?”

“Perverted songs?” Bucky asked.

Her cheeks turning a rosy red, Twilight nodded as she paced.

“Hard to imagine… she’s just like us.” Bucky felt one corner of his mouth tug into a smirk as the scarred side of his face tightened. “She has all the same foibles that we do.”

“I had a bad dream… Celestia came into our cabin and shoved her way into our bed. She slept with us.” Twilight’s ears pinned back against her skull.

“You get bad dreams too?” Bucky asked. He shook his head. “I don’t mean like regular nightmares, I mean… like… prophetic dreams.”

“I met an draconequus version of myself in a dream. I was in a bar and it stretched on forever in both directions.” Twilight’s pacing stopped. “I saw a draconequus version of you too… we loved one another Bucky. She told me I could free you from your destiny.”

Twilight’s words left Bucky feeling as though something had kicked the wind out of him.

“The bartender said I was becoming aware of other realities. I’ve been to other realities, like the one beyond the mirror. He said as I became more aware, I’d start seeing glimpses of other possibilities, other versions of myself.” Twilight lowered her voice. “There is a whole city outside that bar, a planar nexus. The city is called Converge. It is populated by immortals and beings who have reached certain states of awareness.”

“And the bartender told you this?” Bucky asked.

Twilight shook her head. “No, Princess Celestia told me this. She and Star Swirl used to visit there. She warned me to never step through a door where I’ve seen another version of myself enter from the other side.”

“Feels funny… to think there is so much more out there than just what we know here. I wonder what Discord knows.” Bucky lifted his head and put his face forward into the wind.

“Princess Celestia told me about Good King Sombra and his world. Trixie is an alicorn of humility, Chrysalis is a powerful force of love, your beloved grey pegasus is a force of wisdom. Oh, and get this; Flim and Flam are two forces of justice and fairness.”

“Was Celestia maybe joking a little or pulling your leg?” Bucky asked.

Twilight shook her head and then replied, “No, I don’t think she was. She was crying when she told me about them. She was pretty upset. She misses him Bucky… she misses him bad and it hurts her.”

“I’m starving. I’m going inside for a bite to eat. All of this talk about multiple realities makes my head hurt.” Bucky shook his head. “I’m not the brightest pony Twilight. I don’t like all of this talk about multiverses and worlds beyond this one. I’d rather just pretend they don’t exist and keep things simple. You get one bad reality and you wind up with something like the mirror travelers. They are blocked from some realities, for whatever reason or logic exists, but allowed to run rampant in others. If I had my way, I’d find some means of severing the means to travel to any other reality outside of this one.”

“But Bucky… all that knowledge out there… the ability to learn—”

“Is that worth Fromme du Lac?” Bucky asked.

“I don’t know,” Twilight replied. Creases appeared on her forehead as the corners of her mouth were tugged down by a dreadful gravity that had no effect upon the rest of her body.

“Here’s something to think about… Scootaloo is joining the Raptors. At some point, she is going to end up fighting the mirror travelers. Tell me if it is worth it then.”



Mustangia. The halfway point between Equestria and Saddle Arabia. The city of the plains ponies. The city, while modern, was a massive sprawling affair made up of all sorts of buildings. Out where The Scorned Mare approached, most of the buildings were made of brick and adobe. Large squat buildings set down into the ground to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

It was cold, but not as cold as it was in Equestria.

The air smelled different here, as the air smelled different in every city.

Thinking of home, Bucky found he would rather be dealing with those problems than this one. Loch Skimmer still needed comforting. She had been following him around a lot lately, calling him ‘daddy’ and had been more affectionate than playful. Sukari was still learning to trust the world around her. Berry wanted to potty train Cadance even though it was still a little early. Bell Heather was starting to show signs of being a real talker.

Bucky worried that he would miss Bandua’s eyes opening. The thought pained him. Of course, if this went as bad as he feared, he would miss a lot more than just Bandua’s eyes opening. Bucky took a deep breath and tried not to think of that.

Dinky had been a little too well behaved as of late. She had buried herself into the research project for Apple Bloom’s science experiment. All signs of mischievousness had vanished as Dinky had become hyper-focused on getting results. Her every waking hour was dedicated to school work or gaining ground in her research under Apple Bloom’s direction.

Piña too, had fallen under Apple Bloom’s command, and worked hard to help Apple Bloom with her vision. Bucky wasn’t quite sure what they were up to, but there was some weird stuff going on.

And there was Apple Bloom herself. She was becoming a leader. She was organised, she was focused, and she was driven. Apple Bloom now headed an army, willing friends and accomplices that aided her great work. The gregarious little earth pony had even impressed Bucky with her charms, and he found himself offering more and more help each day.

The little filly was juggling a staggering amount of time and resources.

“Bucky, you ready to fly down and find the Rusty Hinge tavern?”

Snapped from his reverie, Bucky blinked, collected his thoughts, and nodded. Saying nothing, he shifted form, becoming an axe beaked griffon.




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