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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“Buckminster… Buckminster, there has been a slight change and you should know about it,” Princess Luna said in a low voice, hoping not to startle Bucky, who was busy studying research notes.

“Change?” Bucky asked.

Luna nodded. “Buckminster… you know we research changelings here in Hidden Hollow. The one that replaced Bill Neigh has been so helpful… anyhow, our researches have found a way to include a little changeling magic into the transmutation process. It will give the Shadowbolts a touch of illusion, not very much I am afraid, but perhaps enough to be useful.” Luna’s ears splayed out sideways and she grinned. “It will also allow them to feed upon the emotion of fear.”

Bucky stepped back and raised an eyebrow.

“It will allow them to heal from minor injuries in the field. It will replenish their strength. Unicorns will have a bit of their mana restored. Nothing too serious,” Luna said in a soft patient voice. “Twilight Sparkle assured me that this would be good idea, I spoke to her about it at length and she did some of the arcano engineering herself.”

“And you’re just now telling me the same night as we're about to try it. Were you planning on telling them?” Bucky asked, narrowing one eye at Luna.

“Oh stars no… Buckminster… this is your baby. Buckminster, billions of bits have been spent on what has been the most expensive war time investment in the long history of Equestria. This project is yours. This is your foal… you are… you are the Shadowbolts’ daddy. And if you want them to know, it is your responsibility to tell them.” Luna lifted her head and gave Bucky a warm smile that expressed her pride far better than any words. Luna levitated a informational packet over to Bucky.

Snatching it out of the air, Bucky flipped through the pages and then looked back up at Luna. “Mistress, there are times when you are insufferably bitchy and I felt the need to say that.”

Laughing, Luna nodded. She prodded Bucky with a hoof. “Go… go and tell them. We have work to do, the night is young but it will not stay that way forever.”

“Yes, Bitchy Mistress… I will do as I am bid…”

 

 

That went well, Bucky though to himself as he stepped out into the hallway and shut the door behind him. They cheered… not sure how I should feel about that. Bucky scowled and felt a nagging sense of worry.

The door opened.

“Sir, a moment,” Black Briar said in a low voice.

“Yes?” Bucky asked.

“I was curious, Princess Luna—”

“Mistress,” Bucky corrected.

“Yes… Mistress told me to ask you about prosthetics.”

“Already being planned. Your new hind leg will be a pharmaceutical cabinet. A means to store supplies.” Bucky looked Black Briar in the eye. “I would expect for it to be dispelled upon occasion. I’ll have to re-enchant it often I suspect.”

“Oh…” Black Briar blinked.

“Anything else?” Bucky asked.

“No sir, I think I’m good.”

 

 

Bucky, feeling somewhat antagonistic, decided to push his luck. He looked up at Luna, narrowed his eyes in the most disrespectful manner he could muster, and said, “You know, this has to be working out rather well for you. I mean, you are finally getting ponies that worship your night. While the lunar pegasi have always been there for you, they’re not exactly ponies and they’re dying off a little more each day. I bet seeing Bandua with her little bat wings was a joyous moment for you.”

Luna, who was drinking a glass of water, halted mid drink, turned her head, and glared at Bucky. Her ears perked straight up and then pitched forward.

“Yeah… that’s right… you heard me. When I was getting the crap kicked out of me by mirror travelers a little something might have broken… when I realised that I might not be coming home from this one, something in the back of my mind just… let go. And there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it. All these ponies that are about to change… they’re going to leave behind a legacy of lunar ponies and you’ll finally have your kingdom. You’ll finally have something that is yours and yours alone that you don’t have to share with your snotty little sister that is more popular than you are!”

The glass of water in Luna’s telekinesis dropped to the floor and shattered. Luna stood there for a moment, her eyes turned white as her body flooded with mana, her horn crackled, and then, with a snort, Luna’s rage turned to laughter. Booming laughter.

It took Bucky a moment, but he realised his tirade did not work out as planned. He blinked and stood there as Luna fell apart with laughter. He lifted the shattered bits of glass, repaired them, and refilled it with water.

“What’s so funny?” Twilight Sparkle asked, stepping through the door.

“Buckminster! That’s what’s so funny! He grew a pair of testicles when I wasn’t looking!” Having replied, Luna collapsed with laughter.

Twilight, unsure of what she had just walked in on, looked at Bucky, and then shrugged.

 

 

“Fever Cure was selected to go first. As a medical doctor, he is uniquely gifted to monitor the changes he will go through. He will be able to tell us what he is feeling in a scientific language that will be useful to our efforts. He will be able to assist me in my observations of the others after they go through the change,” Twilight Sparkle said in a low voice. She gestured at the viewing window where the future Shadowbolts were gathered. “We don’t know what will happen. Each of them is bound to have a different reaction, but it never hurts to be prepared.”

“Fever Cure, are you ready?” Luna asked.

“Yes I am, Mistress,” Fever Cure replied. The unicorn lifted his head high. “Will this be painful?”

“Excruciating,” Luna replied.

Fever Cure gulped.

“Don’t worry, I will be here with you,” Bucky said in a soft whisper. “And don’t listen to Bitchy Mistress, she is just being a bitch.

Princess Luna flicked her tail and laughed. “Twilight, be ready. Bucky, are you ready?”

“I think so.” Bucky looked at the unicorn standing beside him. “You ready?”

Fever Cure nodded.

Feeling the need for one last inspection, Luna stepped forward, examined the ring and the conduit hanging from Bucky’s horn, checked her own connections to the system, stepped back, and then looked at Twilight, who was standing inside of a well shielded control booth.

“Hit it,” Luna commanded.

Inside of her booth, Twilight flipped over a lever.

The room went dark. After a few minutes, a low mechanical thrum filled the air. Crystals in the room began to glow. Bucky and Luna’s horns glowed with a faint silver light.

Twilight Sparkle’s voice came on the intercom. “The chaos magic I suggested be added to the system is smoothing out the surges and fluctuations… everything looks good in here. Buckminster, you’re showing a staggering level of power output. These… these are much higher than your previous test readings, hold on, going to need to compensate!”

There was a faint buzz from some of the machinery in the room.

“Twilight?” Luna asked in a somewhat worried voice.

“Bucky is giving off chaos magic of his own… I don’t know how he is doing it, it isn’t much, more like a trickle, but it is making the system excitable!” Twilight replied in a frantic voice.

“Keep going!” Luna commanded.

Now awash in a strange black glow, Fever Cure stood there, his eyes were closed, and his mane stood on end from the energy spiking through his body. His face was peaceful and he almost looked as though he was asleep.

“I have the system compensating, but a lot more shadow energy is being dumped into Fever Cure than we anticipated… along with Bucky’s chaotic fluctuations… hang on everypony, things are going to get interesting!” Twilight cried over the intercom.

Fever Cure opened his eyes and revealed slitted pupils. His mouth opened and already, his teeth were distorting, changing, fangs were growing. The unicorn with a slight and slender build became a little more bulky.

“Hang on, we’re spiking!” Twilight warned over the intercom.

Black lightning arced over Fever Cure’s body. An almost orgasmic cry came from Fever Cure’s lips and his eyes rolled back into his head. Black tendrils of shadow crept over his body. His hooves, a pale shade of brown, turned black.

“Woah, the energy levels are unreadable! The system is spiking!” Twilight banged on the glass inside of the booth.

After one very long moment where it seemed as though everything around them would explode, Princess Luna raised her hoof.

“Cut the power,” she commanded.

Twilight threw the emergency switch to kill everything and the room went dark once more.

 

 

Fever Cure bounced in place “I feel great!”

“Subject seems to be okay,” Twilight Sparkle said as she took notes. “Subject has undergone considerable changes. His eyes are now slitted in the manner of most lunar creatures. His hooves have changed. He now has a mouthful of impressive fangs. No doubt more changes will come in time, like growing tufts of hair off of his ears.”

“Twilight.” Princess Luna lifted her hoof and pointed.

“Subject’s cutie mark has changed… this was unexpected. His cutie mark, a magnifying glass with a colony of bacteria beneath it, is gone. Fever Cure now has a biohazard symbol as his cutie mark. This outcome is fascinating…”

“His horn is a little longer… and you can feel the magic radiating off of him. This one is strong,” Luna said as she stepped closer to Fever Cure to have a better look. “I wonder if his thaumaturgical glands will grow like Buckminster’s have done.”

“Now we wait a week and we observe him.” Twilight’s lips pressed into a straight line.

“I’m hungry… I feel kinda weird, but in a good way. I am really hungry though,” Fever Cure said.

“Fever Cure, I am going to have an assistant take you to the mess hall, and you are going to have a lovely dinner date with some cans of sardines. Trust me, you are going to love them,” Bucky said.

“Yuck!” Fever Cure’s eyes closed and his tongue hung out of his mouth.

 

 

“So Bucky, you wanted a little meeting of the minds after we wrapped up?” Twilight Sparkle asked.

Bucky nodded.

“Well, here we are.” Twilight gave Bucky a curious glance.

Waving her hoof, Luna heaved an impatient sigh. “Out with it Buckminster, I can tell by the look on your face that this is going to be good.”

“I had an idea… the Night Stallion’s magic makes strong things weak. I think I know how to exploit that,” Bucky said as he glanced at Twilight and then Luna. “I got to thinking… I was thinking about the rats actually and they gave me an idea.”

“And?” Twilight asked.

“I have a project in mind. Project Shadowsprite. We need to collect some parasprites and bring them here. We infuse them with shadow, alter them a bit, and then we send them through a portal to harass the mirror travelers on their own turf. The mirror travelers all have terrible sciophobia. We make the shadowsprites as harmless as possible, but we also make them difficult to kill. They’ll eat the mirror traveler’s food, fly around, harass them, and scare them to death. Every mirror traveler I’ve interrogated has a fear of the dark and a fear of shadows.”

“We have to leave night lights on in the nursery,” Luna said, looking thoughtful. “If we don’t leave a light on for them, they will all cry like scared foals and beg the guards for a little light.”

“Luna, please tell me that you do not abuse them… I am trusting you—”

“Buckminster, I do not abuse them, I swear. Sometimes the guard aren’t as… considerate as they should be. I give you my word that I am kind to them. I was not always so warm to them, but after being around them, I pity them. Sometimes I read to them.” Luna looked Bucky in the eye. “If you ask them, they will tell you the same.”

“I approve of this research project,” Twilight said in a low, slow voice. “Princess Celestia has the final say of course. We need to start hitting them at home somehow. I say we let Bucky play pranks on them.”

“Twilight Sparkle, have you no mercy?” Luna asked, her face serious.

Twilight shrugged. “No, not really. I thought they were going to kill Bucky when I saw him being led off. Any mercy I had died that day. Now there is only a cold clinical need for extermination. Should I meet any of them the future, my first action will be to disincorporate their molecular structure. Slowly.”

 

 

 

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