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


62. 62

When the afternoon of politics was finally over, Bucky did not find his herd where he left them. He trotted back to the room where they were staying, hopeful to catch a nap so he would be fit to serve this evening. Sentinel was beside him, his head held high as he went down the halls.

“Sentinel, I want you to look after my foals while I am way this night,” Bucky said.

“Shouldn’t I be with you, sir?” the colt replied.

“No. I need to have somepony I can trust looking after my foals if I am going to leave tonight. And I know you will keep to your word,” Bucky answered.

“Yes sir, of course sir. I will keep them safe and comfort them to the best of my ability. What do I do about the grey mare sir?” Sentinel asked.

“Derpy? Humour her. Keep a brave face on and allow yourself to fall prey to her maternal whims. I am sure it isn’t so bad,” Bucky replied.

“It is very nice actually sir,” Sentinel said with a yawn. “But she needs to understand that I am your squire and not your foal,” he added.

The unicorn smiled broadly but said nothing.

“This is what I wanted. A life with meaning and purpose. I had hoped to become a member of Luna’s guard, but this is better. Serving a knight and being a squire. That is a lot better than just being a guard and standing around doing nothing. For my kind, this is a high honour. Well, what little bit I know about my kind. Honour is all we have really, my kind, or at least that is what I know from speaking with others like me that live here on these Isles. I am content to spend the rest of my life serving you and watching over everything you hold valuable,” Sentinel said, his voice wavering with barely contained emotion.

Bucky’s smile died and he stopped mid-stride.

“Do you mean that?” Bucky asked, looking down at the lunar pegasus colt.

“Yes sir, I wouldn’t say it unless I meant it. I am not thick headed and stupid. I am already aware that the grey mare that heads your herd wishes to keep me as her foal. And while that would make me very happy, I am not content to simply be her foal. Like all of my kind, I desire meaningful service. I am defined by my function and my ability to serve,” Sentinel replied.

“I understand, Squire Sentinel,” Bucky replied, looking the colt in the eye. “I accept your service. In a meaningful way. One that does not simply humour you. I took you as my squire with the intention that I would claim you as my own once we left these Isles. I did not understand the importance of this to you. I ask that you forgive me. Now, I shall accept you as my squire and I shall keep you as my squire, and give you all of the respect due for your service.”

“Sir, thank you, sir,” Sentinel answered solemnly. “It is all I have ever wanted, sir. We live to serve.”

Bucky once again took off at a trot, Sentinel at his side.




He pushed open the door and peered inside. There was no sign of Thistle. Several ponies peered at him curiously as he stood in the door. It was silent. Uncomfortably silent. Bucky was getting sick of uncomfortable silence.

“Damn these uncomfortable silences,” said Bucky while stomping his hoof.

Berry Punch began to giggle.

“Where is Thistle?” Bucky asked.

“We reached an understanding. And she left,” Derpy replied.

“Well?” Bucky asked.

“Well what?” Derpy answered.

“What is the understanding?” Bucky queried.

“None of your beeswax,” Derpy said dismissively.

Bucky heaved a sigh.

“She didn’t tell me either, and I am a mare. You’d think I’d be privy to mares only business,” Berry interjected, looking Berry annoyed.

“Look, I need a nap. I am going on patrol tonight to do something about the wolves. I don’t want to be lectured. I don’t want protests. Not one word. Not after what I saw today. One word, and I do mean one word of protest, and I will drag the lot of you to a funeral so you can see why I am doing this. Do I make myself clear?” Bucky stated, looking around the room.

There were several nods, except from Derpy.

“Come over here and lay with me, so I can hold you,” Derpy invited. “I need you.”

Bucky, saying nothing, walked over to the bed and flopped out beside the grey pegasus mare, who promptly began to snuggle him, rubbing her face up and down the side of his neck. A moment later, Berry was on the bed with both of them, holding them both close.

Soon, Bucky was completely buried under a pile. He felt warm and smothered. He realised that he would have to leave all of these ponies that he loved later, and he hoped that he would be able return to them by morning. It was a thought that frightened him as he slipped off into slumber, Pina’s nose pressed tightly against his own.



Buckminster Bitters prepared himself for his grim task. He had eaten as much food as he could during dinner, trying to make sure he had the raw energy reserves he would need for long night full of the potential for spell casting.

He had kissed his family goodbye, each and every one of them, and had left final orders for Squire Sentinel that Dinky and Piña were to remain within wing-reach at all times during his absence.

He now sat in the gatehouse, waiting on the others who would be in the patrol this evening. He took a deep breath and calmed himself. The memory of the partially devoured foal was still fresh in his mind, and Bucky wondered what had caused the body to turn grey.

In the distance, a wolf howled.

Bucky had never fought shadow creatures. He knew only a little bit about them. He was well versed in magical theory, and creative applications of magical force, but actual combat magic, while he knew it in theory, was not something he was particularly skilled at. He hoped that what he did know would be of use.

More importantly, he hoped that he did not die.

He worried faintly about his problem with his horn, the smoking and arcing was a bad sign, he was channeling far too much power when he had to bring his full strength to bear. He didn’t know what was wrong, but it worried him to no end. Having a split or cracked horn here on the Isles would be fatal, and he knew it.

He took another deep breath and heard the sound of a large group of ponies approaching. He looked up and saw Keg Smasher and ten other ponies, all pegasi.

“Och, damnit, shown up by my own armiger, who just had to be here early. You’re a right bastard you filthy git,” Keg Smasher grumbled.

Bucky raised an eyebrow and stared at Keg Smasher.

“I have some of my best ponies here with me. All of them hard. All tried and true veterans, and not at all spell shy. Every one of them has a least a dozen kills owed to their name. Wolves, wyverns, those hideous things that crawl out of bogs and devour flesh, these ponies have faced it all, you can trust them Buckminster,” Keg Smasher promised.

“Just keep in mind that I can’t fly,” said Bucky, looking around at the battle hardened pegasi. “I know a wing spell, but I don’t have much practice with it.”

“We need to get you practiced then your Lordship,” one of the pegasi replied.

Bucky winced.

“Alright lads, we move. Stay together, we’ll make a long patrol around the loch, around the distant farms and fisherpony cabins where most of the trouble seems to be taking place. We need to help those that feel the most threatened and neglected,” Keg Smasher instructed. “Keep a tight formation around Buckminster. We keep him alive, and I think he’ll keep us alive.”

“WE SERVE!” the patrol pegasi shouted in unison.



All around them was howling.

The patrol has moved together in formation around the loch and had encountered nothing. Farmers and fishers peeked out their doors at the passing patrol, looking relieved. Some saluted. It was just as important to be visible as it was to keep the wolves away. Ponies had to see that something was being done.

The pegasi moved with a pace that Bucky was unaccustomed to and he struggled to keep up. Keg Smasher seemed tireless, the giant pegasus moving ever forward and bellowing in his loud baritone voice, announcing their presence. Keg Smasher had no visible signs of fear. He walked with his head high, his wings folded confidently to his sides, and his ears straight up and erect.

The night was full of howling. All around them it could be heard, a terrible cry that carried with it magical fear that worked best upon the weak willed and simple minded. Bucky could feel the magical compulsion from each howl.

The wolves were feeding even now, gaining strength as they fed upon the fear all around them. Bucky thought of Piña, the feeling of her wet backside, and a low boiling rage filled his barrel. The idea of something feeding off of or feeding on one of his foals made him murderous.

“We’ll be back to the castle by midnight,” Keg Smasher announced. “And when we do, we will begin again on this route for another patrol. Double duty this night.”



All around them, the night was alive with sounds. Growls could be heard. Howls. Low cries. The patrol had halted and stood in formation, looking for black shadows against the dark of night, eyes straining and peering.

Bucky had his horn ignited, but the light seemed dim somehow. It illuminated only a scant circle all around him and little else. He could feel the fear within him, panic, terrible panic, was back again. He struggled to deal with the surge of emotions.

Now was not a good time for a panic attack.

Keg Smasher growled, it was a terrible sound that would make Cerberus, the Guardian of the Gates of Tartarus, tuck his tails between his legs and cower.

Bucky struggled to make more light. Shadows needed darkness to be strong.

There was a gurgling cry as one of the pegasi suddenly had his throat torn open by a swift moving shadow, a dark nightmarish blur that seemed more shadow than substance. Keg Smasher gave a cry and the patrol braced for combat.

The wolves came in large numbers.

They were only vulnerable for a brief moment as they became solid enough to do physical harm and then slipped back into shadow as they retreated.

Much to Bucky’s horror, his first volley of spellfire shot right through the shadowy shapes and did nothing. The wolves, sensing a much greater threat, moved to eliminate it, winking in and out of the darkness, slipping past the protective circle of pegasi all around Bucky.

When savage teeth clamped down upon Bucky’s haunches just below his cutie mark, he could feel the life being drained from him, and his light began to falter. Much to his horror, Bucky now understood why the foal had turned grey.

A pegasus stomped Bucky’s attacker, causing a large chunk of flesh to be torn free as the wolf was ripped violently away. Bucky staggered and tried to summon more light, a cry of pain escaping his lips.

“Damn you all!” Keg Smasher growled, locked in combat with several wolves, hammering them while they gnawed upon his flesh.

Another set of teeth locked onto Bucky’s other hind leg, and then a set of jaws clamped down on one of his forelegs. He could feel himself being pulled down. He angled his head and shot a fiery blast downward. The wolf winked out and was gone, only to reappear a moment later and deliver another savage bite.

Another set of jaws locked onto the tender flesh just past his ribs on his left side.

Bucky felt himself being pulled down. He kicked and struggled, refusing to go down, and then the side of his face exploded with pain as a wolf clamped down upon his skull.

The fangs tore through his flesh and into his right eye, blinding him. Bucky felt the flesh being torn away from his skull as the wolf worried him, shaking him back and forth, trying to break Bucky’s neck.

Very much against his will, Bucky felt himself being pulled down. More jaws clamped down into his flesh. Each of his legs were being pulled in a different direction. All around him was the sound of terrible violence.

The wolves were many and had been prepared.

Bucky realised in some part of his fading mind that something was chewing on him, not even waiting for him to die. He felt something on his hind leg being torn free. Something was eating him. Bucky realised that a part of his body was now inside of another creature, lost forever. It was a terrible realisation that he had no means to deal with, no method to cope with.

Something deep inside of him broke.

There are light spells, and then there are the light spells cast by surging type four unicorns with faulty wiring. A massive burst of ultraviolet radiation exploded from Bucky’s horn, turning the night as bright as day, instantly giving every pony around him a terrible sunburn under their thick shaggy pelts, including Bucky’s own skin, and causing many of the wolves to burst into flames, light being their only real weakness.

Bucky stood on wobbling legs, his own blood pooling beneath him, his horn now a small miniature sun. All around him, wolves burned. Some ran. Others writhed. Some tried to escape.

They were not allowed to escape.

Bucky snatched them in his levitation, pulling them back. Some, he grabbed by each end and pulled until they were physically torn in half. Others, he simply crushed with unimaginable amounts of force.

The pegasi around him, those still living, went to work killing those that Bucky had not dealt with.

Yelps and whimpers filled the night, the sounds of lupine pain.

Dozens of dead wolves lay all around them, and of the ten ponies that had gone on patrol, three remained, looking battered and battle weary.

Finally, Bucky collapsed, his light fading.

“We need to get back!” Keg Smasher said. “Before more come!”

Spreading his bloody and tattered wings, he took to the air, hovered, snatched up Bucky’s fallen body, and took off for home.



“Get some irons in the fire!” Keg Smasher shouted as he dropped Bucky’s body onto a long wooden table in the dining room. “Damnit, somepony do something! Get bandages!”

Bucky lay on the table, unable to see anything from the right side. He was only vaguely aware that Keg Smasher was standing on the table above him. He could feel his own life ebbing out as his blood poured over the table and puddled onto the floor.

“Get those irons HOT!” Keg Smasher barked. “And find something clean to scoop the remains of his eye out with!”

Bucky groaned. More than anything, he wanted to see his family one last time.

“Lad, this is gonna hurt something awful,” Keg Smasher whispered into Bucky’s twitching ear. “I won’t lie, this is going to be worse than the wolves. This is gonna be the worst moments in your entire life, but if we can stop the blood gushing out you will probably live. Think of your foals lad. Think of your mares.”

Bucky nodded. He wanted to live.

“Get rope!” Keg Smasher shouted.

Bucky drifted in and out of reality, hearing shouts and cries all around him. He wasn’t quite sure what was going on, or why rope was needed, he wasn’t sure of anything really. He mostly felt sleepy.

He felt something rough brush up against him and a tight painful tugging. It hurt. Bucky just wanted the pain to stop.

“Feck us all if he decides to kill us for what we are about to do. I hope he’s out of magic,” Keg Smasher warned.

Bucky came to the groggy conclusion that he was being tied down to the table. He couldn’t figure out why. Nothing made sense right now. He tried to vomit, and found that he couldn’t. His ripped open side spasmed painfully as his belly contracted.

“Whashappening?” Bucky mumbled.

“Shush lad, this will be all over soon enough. Bite down on this,” Keg Smasher said, jamming the frayed end of a rope into Bucky’s mouth.

Bucky gagged and tried to spit the rope out. He couldn’t. He felt his whole body tense when he saw Keg Smasher holding a white hot length of iron with his wing which was getting closer to his face. Bucky tried to shake his head no, tried to scream, tried to squirm away, a surprising amount of vitality suddenly coming back into his body.

And then, Keg Smasher vanished into Bucky’s blind spot.

A second later there was exquisite agony in the side of Bucky’s face as the white hot iron was pressed into the ragged gash, cauterising the wound and searing his flesh. Bucky felt himself gag once again, which caused a terrible pain in his side. A moment later the iron was pressed into his neck, sending another jolting pain throughout his whole body. He kicked and squirmed against the ropes to no avail. He tried to summon his magic and failed.

The smell of burning flesh and hair filled the room. Screams filled the dining hall. Not just from Bucky, but from others with extensive injuries as well.

Bucky kicked and struggled against his bonds as he felt something pressing into his eye socket and begin to extract the remains of his eye. A gagging cry exited from around the rope. He could feel the hot irons being pressed into his legs again and again.

The hot iron being pressed into his side, just behind his ribs, was the worst of them all. The pain was too much and finally, Bucky slipped into a peaceful void, his torment over. Each bite was carefully cauterised, to end the bleeding and to prevent infection.

Keg Smasher’s torment was only beginning. He was still bloodied from hoof to ear, his own wounds needing to be attended to, many of them needing to be burned shut as well, and he had the grim task ahead of letting Bucky’s family know what had taken place.

Keg Smasher felt as though he would rather face the wolves once again, genuinely afraid of the pegasus mare’s wrath. While the wolves had not killed him, there was a chance that the stormy little pegasus might.

“Feck me!” he cried in frustration, hating how everything had gone wrong.


Author's Note:

Medieval medicine was a helluva thing folks.

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