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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The Rusty Hinge was a large tavern made of grey stone and adobe that was made in an odd heptagonal shape. Inside were mostly earth ponies. It was dark, dim, and filled with smoke. The scent of cooking onions and garlic filled the air, a reminder that Mustangia produced more onions than any other place on the continent.

The two black cloaked figures sat in a corner, waiting, their faces hidden in shadow. One was drinking a beer and something glowed beneath his hood. The other was sipping tea from a chipped mug that had seen better days, perhaps around the time of Nightmare Moon’s rebellion.

“It is almost midnight… no sign of our contacts… and this place is lively. These ponies love the night,” Bucky said to Twilight in a low whisper.

“Bucky, in the mines, there is no night and day. The next shift begins at one in the morning. These ponies are probably having breakfast,” Twilight replied.

“Twilight?”

“Yes Bucky?”

“Do you love me?”

“I’ll have to think about it…”

“Ouch… you wound me.”

“You know I do Bucky, what kind of silly question was that?”

“Do you trust me?”

“I’m still not certain on that one.”

“Fair enough. I should not be trusted. I’m a bad pony… whatever happens though, I need you to trust me.”

Twilight Sparkle let out a nicker of concern and then took a sip of tea. The sweet scent of wood smoke tickled her nostrils and the warmth of the tavern was making her feel lightheaded. The tea was bitter and the water the tea had been made with was rich with sulphur.

A pegasus colt approached the table, a fearful expression upon his face. He stopped a few feet away, reached into a saddlebag, pulled out a scroll case with his teeth, stepped forward, placed the scroll case upon the table, and then he took off running, saying nothing.

With a faint magenta glow, Twilight lifted the scroll case, popped off one end, pulled out the scroll, and began reading.

Bucky could hear her breathing as it grew heavier.

“Bucky, we have a problem. Our contacts are dead. This message states that we are to go to a location a few blocks from here and meet with our old dear friends.” Twilight snorted in disgust and then kept reading. “They say they want to talk… and that there are twelve very small and very helpless little lives depending upon our good behaviour… Bucky, what do we do?”

Anticipating this, Bucky took a drink of beer. He smacked his foam covered lips, wiped them with his foreleg, and looked at Twilight. “We go and talk to them of course. It seems we were expected. Seems like somepony was counting on our visit and made plans to welcome us upon our arrival.”

“Hostages Bucky… what do we do?” Twilight’s voice grew frantic.

“Whatever they ask of us, Twilight… whatever they ask of us,” Bucky replied.

 

 

The two black cloaked figures moved down the foggy street, one tall, one short. They moved side by side. The tall one moved with a jerky gait that showed nervousness, the short one moved with a fluidity that made it appear that he wasn’t walking at all, but floating.

“That’s far enough,” a voice said.

The pair paused and stood together.

A unicorn stepped out of the doorway, holding a small brown filly in front of him. Around her neck a telekinetic band of energy glowed. Her barrel heaved and she looked terrified.

“Any sudden moves and her head comes off,” the unicorn said in a low voice.

Bucky took note that the unicorn’s horn wasn’t glowing, so it was probably somepony else that had the filly by the throat. He heard angry breathing coming from Twilight Sparkle. “Remember to trust me,” Bucky whispered.

“We’re here. What do you want?” Twilight Sparkle asked, getting to the point.

As she spoke, more and more ponies stepped into the street, coming out of doors from darkened houses. Twelve foals, each of them with a telekinetic noose around their necks were levitated in view of Twilight and Bucky.

“I know what you want,” Bucky said, stepping forward. “You have the portal control rod. You’re having trouble making it work. Not only are the crystals faulty, but you need somepony of the right bloodline.” Bucky hoped that nopony was checking for lies right now.

“How very astute,” one of the unicorns replied.

“And we all know how much you so love these little ones… even the worthless little mud foals,” a pegasus said in a guttural growl. “So we’re proposing a trade.”

Nearby, a colt let out a squeal that turned into a gurgle. His eyes bulged and turned red. His face began turning purple. One hind leg began to convulse and twitch.

“There is no need for that,” Bucky said, pulling his hood away from his face.

“Bucky… no… what are you doing?” Twilight prodded Bucky’s ribs.

“What is necessary,” Bucky replied as he removed his cloak and began to fold it.

“And if he gives himself over, you’ll just let me go?” Twilight asked.

“Oh don’t worry… we’ll be coming for you later… but the Night Stallion has decided to let you go for now. Once we have himsecured…” the pegasus speaking pointed at Bucky. “Once he knows his place, we figure you’ll be far more receptive to our demands. The Night Stallion might even use you as his broodmare… maybe make a few more alicorns.”

Twilight, infuriated, watched as Bucky removed his torque and a snowflake on a silver chain. He placed them on his folded cloak and passed the bundle to her. Saying nothing, Twilight accepted them and stuffed them into a saddlebag beneath her cloak.

“Bucky… no… don’t do this.” Twilight watched as Bucky stepped forward. Standing there, feeling helpless, she watched as a telekinetic noose appeared around his neck. A pegasus stepped forward and clamped something around Bucky’s horn.

There was a faint thrum of magic and the foals were released. Reaching out her mind, Twilight grabbed them, pulling them close to her, and she raised a shield, one of her brother’s shields around her.

“Twilight…”

Twilight could hear the strain in Bucky’s voice. He was already being strangled a bit.

“Go home Twilight.”

Her eyes burning with tears, her throat hot and dry, Twilight contemplated burning everything around her to cinders. “You knew this was going to happen, didn’t you!”

“Of course. I suspected the ship was left right where I would find it,” Bucky replied, his voice a strained gargle.

“Time to go,” a unicorn said in a cold dead sounding voice.

As Twilight Sparkle stood there, helpless, unable to do anything but keep the foals around her shielded, she watched as Bucky was blindfolded and gagged. She could hear crying and sniffling all around her.

“I’m coming back with an army,” Twilight promised as she began to back away.

“We’ll be waiting… we have him. We no longer fear your army. You will do nothing stupid,” a unicorn replied.

The mirror travelers began to laugh.

“This was too easy. The Night Stallion didn’t believe this would actually work… but here we are, and here he is.”

Spreading her wings, Twilight Sparkle rose up into the air, taking the foals with her, trying to think of what to do, how to fix this, how to make this situation better, how to stop Bucky from sacrificing himself.

Having no other options, Twilight Sparkle flew off into the foggy night.

 

 

“Hmm, these look dangerous.”

Bucky felt a peculiar sensation as his talons went dead, their magic departing. Only a tiny spark of magic remained in them. Unable to see, unable to talk, Bucky stood there, not knowing what was going to happen next.

So far, everything had gone according to plan.

Now, if he was lucky, they would take him back to their actual base of operations, not the many decoys that dotted the countryside.

“You’ve caused us a lot of trouble,” a voice said.

“So much trouble,” another voice added.

“We’ve been waiting a long time to meet you.”

“The Night Stallion said you’d be proud… we have a way of fixing ponies that are proud—”

Something smashed into Bucky’s ribs with explosive force. He felt them shatter and his body slammed into a wall. Gasping, unable to breathe, he slid down to the floor. He heard hoofsteps coming nearer. Something connected to the side of his face and slammed his head into the wall. And then, the kicks became too many count.

In a daze, Bucky could not keep track of what was happening. Starbursts floated in front of his eyes, lighting up the blackness under the blindfold. Blow after blow rained down upon his prone and defenseless body.

And then, as suddenly as it had started, it was over.

“That oughta keep the fight out of him. But just in case he still thinks he has some chance…”

There was guttural laughter as something slammed down onto Bucky’s right hind leg. He felt the bones splinter. There was a second kick, and then Bucky felt the remains of his leg being ground and twisted beneath a steel shod hoof. There was a sickening tearing sound.

“He won’t need legs with what he’ll be doing.”

There was one final kick and this one caught Bucky in the groin. Choking on his own gag, his mouth filled with his own blood, his guts writhing with fiery agony, Bucky fought back against the darkness and lost.

 

 

Entering into the police station, hoping to find some means of help, some kind of assistance, and hoping to get help for the foals, Twilight Sparkle prepared to explain everything going on.

A sickening stench struck her nose. She froze in the doorway. Hunched over the desk was a dead pegasus. On the floor was an earth pony. Blood pooled around his misshapen skull. Another earth pony had been torn in half. There was nothing left alive in the police station. There were only cold lifeless bodies.

There was no help to be had here. She backed out of the doorway, not knowing what to do. She shut the door and looked down at the sobbing foals flocked around her.

Spreading her wings, Twilight Sparkle took flight, off to look for a hospital.

 

 

Bucky awoke to the sensation of the tattered remains of his shattered leg being torn free, severed just below the hock. Still blindfolded, still gagged, and still helpless, there was nothing he could do. It was difficult to breathe and the air in his lungs felt soupy. He could hear the wet raspiness of his own laboured breathing. His groin ached with a new pain that was unlike any other.

A moment later, the smell of burning flesh and hair filled the air, and sizzling could be heard as the stump of his leg was burned shut so he wouldn’t bleed out. This was a familiar pain, something Bucky knew all too well. It was so familiar that it was almost comforting.

All Bucky heard was the sounds of laughter as once more, he slipped into darkness.

 

 

Sitting in the hospital, Twilight Sparkle could not stop the tears from falling. She had failed. She was going to have to return to The Scorned Mare and dispatch an emergency rotocopter golem. A golem that would fly home and tell Princess Celestia that she had failed.

Twilight Sparkle could no longer feel Bucky’s magical signature at all. He was gone from her. He might not even be in this reality any longer. Filled with bleak despair, Twilight choked upon her own sobs, causing a nurse to come over and offer her a gentle pat.

She was going to have to go home and explain this to Bucky’s family. Somehow, she was going to have to explain to his wives and his offspring that she had just let Bucky go and taken by his most hated enemies.

“The foals are all okay… take heart… just a few bruises and bumps. No real harm done,” the nurse said.

The ponies in the police station weren’t going to be okay. They had families too… and somepony was going to have to explain to them that mother or father or sister or brother was never coming home again.

The thought made Twilight Sparkle wail with anguish and her cries were heard all over the hospital.

 

 

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