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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Derpy did not understand what was going on. What she did understand was that powerful magic was taking place. She could feel it thrumming in her bones and coursing over every hair on her body. She felt a mild bit of concern for her foals and Rising Star, all of whom who were held aloft in her husband’s magic. He was doing something to them, something called communing. Bucky’s horn arced and smoked as he held several unicorns aloft in the air. For a moment, Sparkler opened her eyes. They were blank and white. Bucky had explained that rather than explain he was going to allow them all direct access to his thoughts.

Derpy had trouble understanding the magic taking place or the dangers involved, but she did trust in her husband implicitly. Whatever it was he was doing, he had felt it was necessary and that the risks were worth it. As she watched, a shower of sparks poured from Dinky’s horn and the filly’s mane stood on end. Dinky’s lips were moving and unheard words were being murmured as Dinky endured whatever it was she was experiencing.

The earth all around them vibrated with raw unbridled power. Sparkler gave a faint cry and Derpy’s heart lept into her throat. Her breathing increased rapidly. But when she saw Sparkler, she calmed. Sparkler looked overwhelmed with joyful emotion, hugging her own barrel and her hind legs kicking the empty air as her horn glowed brightly.

“... ley lines… of course… I bet if I go where the ley lines cross…”

The words were cryptic and held no meaning for Derpy. She scowled. She didn’t like not knowing things. It was hard to watch over and protect from things she did not know. This is one aspect of being married to Bucky that bothered her. Her husband had mysterious moments where she felt completely shut out and she knew that no amount of explaining would ever make her understand what was going on here.

Derpy turned her gaze over to Thistle and Piña, watching and studying their interaction. Thistle seemed to genuinely enjoy foals and didn’t mind that there was an overly curious earth pony filly foal pressed against her belly. Derpy felt her muscles tense briefly as Thistle gently took Piña’s head and guided it to a different place on her stomach. Piña’s face was full of wonder, and the foal had completely forgot the magical spectacle going on right behind her. Derpy felt Berry nudge her and the two fellow-wives shared a glance with one another. It seemed Berry was also watching the interaction between Thistle and her sister.

A stream of bees shot out of Dinky’s horn and began to dance and form strange shapes and symbols in the air, things that almost looked like letters. Dinky wiggled and kicked as though she was being tickled, and the foal began to giggle while suspended mid-air. Something was clearly happening.

Sparkler’s horn flared, a painful flash of piercing near blinding light, and a shower of gemstones shot from her horn. Berry moved to scoop them up, the earth pony very concerned and curious. Type twos were not supposed to be able to manifest physical objects and this was puzzling. Over a dozen gems of different sorts littered the ground and Berry carefully collected them all.

Somehow, Sentinel napped through the entire thing, snoring away with his head turned and tucked under one wing.

“... making sunstones…” Bucky muttered cryptically. “... she could be a type three if I could just make her channel more magic…”

Rising Star let out a surprised cry and fiery globes shot from his horn. They flew through the air, tiny burning meteors, shooting stars, and landed in the grass some distance away, exploding on impact with a dull thud and an orange gout of flame.

“... if I could figure out how to change it… I wonder if I can fix it…”

Derpy shot a worried glance at Berry Punch.

“... I could fix what is wrong with me… what is holding me back…”

There was no way for Derpy to know that Bucky had tapped into a nearby ley line directly, something only a type four could do, and that the universe was speaking to him directly, filling his mind with infinite possibilities and whispers of all things probable.

Type threes occasionally tapped into ley lines and went stark raving mad on first contact with the higher planes of energy in the universe. It was a constant worrying problem and something all type threes were warned about in school. The average mortal mind had trouble seeing forever, understanding infinite possibilities and infinite probabilities.

“... this is what Princess Celestia did with Twilight Sparkle… removed the blockage and allowed her mind to expand to full potential…”

“He’s off somewhere, probably somewhere reserved for alicorns or something,” Berry Punch muttered in a Berry alarmed voice. “What is happening to our husband?”

“I don’t know, but it is starting to scare me. I want to slap him out of it, but I am scared what it might to do him and my foals,” Derpy admitted.

“... ascension…”

There was another ejaculation of gems from Sparkler and Berry rushed to pick those up as well. The whole area thrummed with magic. It made the eyes water and made every hair on the body stand out.

Dinky’s bees continued to form strange sigils and symbols, things almost like letters. Spiral shapes. Crosses. A sideways number eight. Dinky’s lips were moving rapidly now, she was babbling unheard words to herself. The bees suddenly vanished.

And then, it was over. The magic ceased. Dinky, Sparkler, and Rising Star tumbled to the ground, all of them blinking rapidly and trying to recover their senses while Bucky went limp on the blanket.

“Bucky?” inquired Derpy in a worried whisper.

The stallion was asleep, his breathing deep and steady.

“What happened?” Derpy asked.

“I don’t know, my mind is fuzzy and my horn feels itchy,” Sparkler replied.

“My brain feels like it is full of cotton and my horn feels hot,” Rising Star muttered.

“I feel fine, like I am being tickled all over,” Dinky reported, running over to Piña and joining her. “Hi Thistle,” Dinky said, leaning on Thistle’s belly with Piña.

“Nuts,” Derpy swore.

“You summoned a fortune in gems,” Berry said to Sparkler.

“Sunstones,” Sparkler said, rubbing her head. “Sunstones,” she repeated. “We need to hold on to those. Father needs them. I don’t understand how I summoned those. Father needs sunstones.”

“Berry, are you sure that mead was a good idea?” Derpy asked.

“Mead is ALWAYS a good idea,” Berry answered. “Besides, look at him now, he is comfortable and not in pain. Something happened.”

“My head is full of fuzzy thoughts that I can’t quite remember, like a dream or something,” Rising Star said, collapsing into the grass and rubbing his head with both front fetlocks. He rolled in the grass, feeling the cool fronds against his pelt.

“Bees know how to find and follow ley lines,” Dinky said. “I don’t know what it means, but I can remember daddy’s voice inside of my mind sorta. He was talking to us. We were all talking together inside of each other’s heads.”

“Yeah,” Sparkler agreed.

“I’m hungry. I hope lunch is soon,” Rising Star muttered. “Even if it is an awful lunch. I am too hungry to care. Food is food and a unicorn has gotta eat.”

“I hope Bucky is alright,” said Derpy, the worry in her mind making her scowl unpleasantly as she spoke. Derpy felt annoyed because she didn’t have a foal handy to mother. Both of them were with Thistle, trying to feel when her belly moved.

 

 

Lunch had left Bucky feeling uncomfortably full. His skin felt tight and feverish. He knew that he was rapidly approaching a deep state of intoxication as Berry Punch continued to bring him wine as well as mead to drink, and he didn’t care. His earlier magical efforts had purged most of the alcohol from his body.

It had almost ended. Last night, everything had almost ended. If he and Keg Smasher had died, it would have been all over. Keg Smasher was needed for these Isles. Bucky understood that. Bucky was also deeply concerned that his family might have lost him. He sighed and took another drink, the strong wine dulling his pain. The idea that everything had almost ended remained lodged in his brain.

His skin was too soft. He was going to need tougher skin. A plan was already forming, but he wasn’t sure that he had the raw skill or ability to pull it off just yet. He was going to need to find a way to protect himself from shadow creatures. He glanced at Sentinel, who lay napping, curled into a leathery cocoon made of his own wings on the corner of the bed. He was going to need some of Sentinel’s shadow essence somehow. He had the theory, just not the practice.

And then there was his assistants. He was going to need them. He wondered about the ethical and moral entanglements involved in elevating type twos into full fledged type threes. It seemed possible, in theory. He had made the leap from a type three, and a hazy understanding that he was truly a type four began to settle into his mind. He had tapped into the ley line and survived, which was all the proof he required.

What was holding him back was his horn. That needed to change somehow, but he did not know the means to do so. It was possible. Supposedly Sombra has ascended from humble beginnings and seized power the old fashioned way, through self experimentation and genius creativity that bordered on madness. He had destroyed his natural horn and replaced it with a focusing crystal.

It was a foolhardy thing to think about, and the thought would not go away. Even one simple error would be fatal in such an experiment. He would only get one try if he could even figure out how it could be done in the first place. Failure would mean his death, and his entire family would suffer for his mistake.

It bothered Bucky that the thought did not discourage him from his plans.

He heard a wet smack. He had to crane his head around to see, aiming his left eye to see what he had just heard. Berry and Derpy were kissing one another, more than just a friendly peck. Turning his head was agonising and caused the skin on his neck to pull painfully.

That was distracting.

Rising Star and Sparkler were gone, outside, exploring a little around the castle grounds while the sun still shone. Bucky trusted Sparkler’s safety with Rising Star. He was a good colt.

Thistle was in the room with them, talking to Dinky and Piña, answering a million questions as the foals continued to ask them. Thistle seemed good with foals, and that pleased Bucky. Derpy had warmed to him because he was good with foals.

It had to be the alcohol, but Bucky found Thistle attractive. He tried to push it from his mind, telling himself that she was far too young, but the thought persisted. Her wide pregnant belly confused him, sending messages to his brain about her status in his mind as an adult. Physically, he found her appealing and more than a little pretty. Mentally, he was repulsed by his own thoughts, desiring a filly Sparkler’s age was not within his acceptable morals. He cursed the wine he was drinking for weakening his resolve.  

He took a long drink from his cup and let loose a thunderous belch that startled everypony in the room, every eye turning to look at him. He belched again to give them all a good show, poured more wine, and kept drinking.

Sentinel kicked and whimpered in his sleep, but did not wake.

The gemstones would be useful for creating sunstones. He had no intention of using them to power beer brewing. He was going to need a means to produce powerful light. Bucky took the loss of his eye personally and he was going to reclaim his pound of flesh from the creatures that had maimed him.

Off to his right, he heard the sounds of Derpy and Berry kissing again. Injured or not, in pain or not, there was a part of him that wanted to celebrate this new sensation of life with a good shagging. He knew he wasn’t physically up for it and tried to dismiss the thought from his mind.

An odd struggle between elation and melancholy took place in his mind. On one hoof, he was glad to be alive. On the other hoof, he was missing  an eye and was now probably hideously scarred from his injuries and the branding.

Everything hurt. He was covered in what felt like a sunburn over most of the top of his body, and his cauterised wounds had shrunk from the burning, so everything was pinched and pulled tight all over. He wondered how long it would be before his skin stretched back out and he would feel normal again. The cauterised places felt like hard knots where the flesh had simply melted together in lumps.

Tapping the ley line inspired Bucky’s sense of potential. He had to see what he was capable of, fizzling horn or not.

“Sentinel!” Bucky shouted, causing the colt to awake with a snort.

“Mmm?” the colt mumbled sleepily, lifting his head.

“Go find Keg Smasher. Give him a message from me. I am going to help him with that tower construction project that there are some problems with,” Bucky said with a faint drunken slur. “I am going to need help getting there though. Tell him I will be up for it tomorrow. I’ll need to be well fed.”

“Yes sir, right away sir,” Sentinel replied, leaping from the bed and dashing out the door, his hooves clattering over the stones.

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Derpy asked.

“My body is a bit messed up, but my magic is fine, and my thinking feels so clear right now, even if my mind feels a bit fuzzy from the pain. And the booze. You can come along and keep an eye on me though,” Bucky replied. He slugged down more wine.

“So we are having a family outing,” said Berry after she licked away some waxy drool from her lip.

“Dinky needs a practical display of what real magic is capable of and how unicorns can better assist the world provided they hold to perfect control,” Bucky stated.

“So you are going to build a tower? That’s better than taking on wolves, I can’t really find any fault in that,” Derpy said. “You should be able to do that laying down.”

“I can’t wait to see this,” Thistle announced.

“I plan to give quite a show. It is time for those ponies to have hope again. The fear is making the wolves too strong. We need to limit their food source,” Bucky explained.

 

 

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