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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Bucky could feel the sun setting. It was strong now, so much stronger, he had been exposed to so much shadow energy during the experiments at Hidden Hollow Fortress. His thin, weak, frail seeming body no longer felt thin, weak, or frail once the sun went down.

With a gentle touch, he rubbed his face where the first few scales had grown in, having broken the skin and become visible. It had scabbed over a bit, but it was healing. The scales were black, just like the scales that covered his talons and half of his left front leg. Scales were growing into other places as well, and Bucky suspected that one day very soon, all of the scarred places would be covered over in smooth, shimmering, supple scales.

His body was healing, improving, becoming stronger and more fit. Exposure to the shadow generator was having a profound effect upon him. Lean wiry muscle could now be found under his shaggy pelt.

With a slurp, Bucky sucked copious amounts of drool back into his mouth. He had been staring at Thistle and Berry, who were curled up together on the couch while listening to a record on the phonograph. A hungry looking lupine grin cracked Bucky’s muzzle.

Bucky.

Bucky’s tufted ears perked.

Bucky, meet me in front of your tower. We need to talk. It’s me, Shining Armor.

There was an explosion of snowflakes as Bucky vanished.

 

 

“Bucky, we have incoming. I wasn’t able to detect him at first, because he had shielded himself, but Twilight found him. She’s coming to you right now to talk to you.” Shining Armor’s projection looked emotional; frantic even. His usual calm demeanour was gone. “Bucky, you can’t let her go. Do anything you have to do to stop her.”

A toothy scowl appeared upon Bucky’s face.

“Bucky, please… Twily is pregnant. I can’t lose her, not after losing Cadance and her foals. We’re very short on time—”

“Does Celestia know?” Bucky asked, cutting Shining Armor off.

“No… no, Bucky, she’s too dangerous. Right now, she is emotional and Celestia is not in a perfect state of control. If she was to engage this possible alicorn in a fight, there would be all kinds of rampant destruction if something happened… or worse, they might have a means to hurt Celestia. We don’t know. Scorpan and I made the decision to keep her out of this. Twilight knows because she’s the one that finally saw through the shield of non-detection with her best divination magics. But you can’t let her go and fight. Here she comes!” Shining Armor vanished.

Overhead, Bucky heard wings. He watched as Twilight came streaking in for a landing. He said nothing and waited for Twilight to speak.

“Oh good, I’m glad I caught you before you went into your office to work for the night,” Twilight said in a somewhat breathless voice as she trotted up to Bucky. “Bucky, we have an emergency. I’m going to deal with it, but Shining Armor insisted that I come and tell you about it, and I promised that I would… but I think we have an enemy alicorn inbound. Well, he might be an alicorn, I don’t know. Anyway, if things look bad, I’ll break off and get help, so if you can, get Sunset Shimmer, Witching Hour, Tiddlywinks, and Lyra together—”

“Twilight…”

“Yes Bucky?” Twilight replied, looking somewhat nervous and a little annoyed that Bucky had interrupted her.

“Do you trust me?” Bucky asked.

“Well of course I do… what…”

Black tendrils of shadow flowed from Bucky’s body and over Twilight’s. They went into her ears, flowed into her eyes, wriggled up her nostrils, and crept inside of her mouth. Her eyes rolled back into her head and Twilight Sparkle fell down into the snow with a thump.

Shining Armor reappeared, looking worried. “Sorry Twily… I hope you’ll forgive me.”

“Sleep well Twilight,” Bucky said as he lifted her up. He carried her inside of his tower, laid her down upon a small sofa, and then turned to look at Shining Armor, who had followed him inside.

“He is in the lowlands that exist between Manehatten and Fillydelphia, heading towards Canterlot. You need to hurry. He’s not moving fast, he’s saving his energy,” Shining Armor said.

“Got it.” Bucky’s horn flashed and his black cloak appeared, draped around his body.

 

 

Flying at the speed of dark, Bucky hurtled towards his target, guided by Shining Armor. He wasn’t flying so much as he was shadow winking several hundred yards forward at a time. He didn’t need wings.

You are Equestria’s sword and I am its shield… I will do all that I can to protect you.

A sense of grim resolve settled over Bucky as he steeled himself for a fight. He hoped that Twilight would forgive him. He winked forwards, almost a thousand feet at a time, surging through the darkening sky faster than most pegasi. He was insubstantial, a shadow drifting from one pocket of dark to another, and he was ready for a fight.

You know Bucky, moving like this, you could cross the ocean in no time at all…

Ahead, Bucky saw lights. In the distance, the faint lights of Fillydelphia twinkled on the distant horizon. Each shadow wink brought Bucky closer. It was darker here on the east coast, and Bucky drank deep of the dark, feeling revitalised.

He’s close… hang on, I’ll ignite a flare around him.

Off to his left, Bucky saw the explosion of light. He cast multiple augmentations upon his body, powerful defensive enchantments to enhance himself. He moved in to engage his target.

 

 

Moving in, Bucky opened up with a beam of pure telekinetic fury, applying several hundred thousand tons of force into a tight, narrow beam. The beam struck the enemy pony’s shields, caused them to ripple, but did not pierce them. Bucky flew in a curve, winking in and out of existence, a shadow borne upon the wind. He avoided several beams aimed at him and began to cackle as the lust for battle overtook him. One shot did strike home, and Bucky saw a magenta coloured shield around him absorb the blast.

There were mountains off in the distance and the lowlands down below.

Billowing black wings made of shadowstuff formed at Bucky’s sides and he began a strafing run, firing off rapid shots of telekinetic force interspersed with barrier breaking spells. The enemy alicorn’s shields fizzled and popped, but held.

The night sky lit up almost as bright as day as the battle heated up. Electricity arced from the enemy alicorn’s horn and Bucky winked out of existence. When he reappeared, Bucky attacked from a different angle, coming up from below his foe.

The alicorn teleported away in flash of light. He reappeared a good distance away and a crackling globe of electrical energy appeared around his body. He launched several orbs of ball lightning at Bucky.

First casting a quick grounding spell, Bucky prepared his defenses for lightning based attacks and then he winked away once more. He tried a new approach and slipped into shadow, giving all of himself over.

The air filled with a terrible stench and the temperature plummeted. Now a lethal ball of gas, Bucky made his way for the alicorn, who tried to teleport away, Bucky winked to follow him. Bucky’s toxic mist form was blocked by the alicorn’s shields, so Bucky dropped away to try something else.

Overhead, a massive storm began to form, a swirling maelstrom. Lighting flashed and thunder roared. The enemy alicorn, now glowing with a silver light, charged towards Bucky.

When Bucky tried to shadow wink away, he found that he couldn’t. Almost panicking, Bucky threw everything he had into a shield breaching spell just as the alicorn was about to collide with him. Shining Armor’s shield bubble vanished, dissipating into crackling sparks.

Both Bucky and the enemy alicorn were defenseless for a moment as they impacted, slamming into each other with terrific force. The only thing that saved Bucky from grievous injury was the fact that he had augmented his body before battle. It still knocked the wind out of him though, and it hurt a great deal. Snarling, Bucky ignored his pain and lashed out with his talons as he veered away from the alicorn.

His claws raked over the back of the alicorn’s neck and down his withers, raking open gashes several inches deep, going right down to the bone in a few places. The alicorn screamed and teleported away.

Much to Bucky’s relief, his shadow magic began working again. Whatever spell had blocked it now seemed to be broken. He took a moment to catch his breath and tried to see where his foe had gone.

Bucky, this is draining me… the distance… I don’t know how much longer I can keep doing this.

The alicorn swooped down out of the thick stormclouds that now circled above, his horn blazing, a beam of pure destructive energy aimed at Bucky. It struck Bucky’s shield and raw thaumaturgic energy crackled all around him. It washed over him like a wave breaking on the beach. Below him, the earth was split in two by the force of the blast, which ripped open a canyon in the ground beneath the aerial combatants.

Trusting in Shining Armor’s shield, Bucky flew upwards, into the beam, right where his enemy couldn’t see him. Bucky struck out with dark magic, sending black agony coursing through his enemy.

The alicorn spasmed, his body contorted, and his head jerked about. The beam went lancing off towards the mountains. Bucky used this moment where the alicorn was stunned to grab the alicorn in his telekinesis and hurled him towards the mountains.

There was a dull thud as the alicorn broke the sound barrier. Bucky went streaking off after him. The alicorn slammed into one of the mountains, about a third of the way down from the peak, and the entire upper section of the mountain exploded from the force of the impact, the upper section shearing off and becoming rubble.

The alicorn rose up out of the rubble, silver flames writhed around his body, and his eyes glowed white. Bucky, held aloft by darkness, cloaked in shadow, stared down at his foe. Lightning crackled around the two combatants. Bucky took this moment to get the upper hoof. His body shimmered, warped, and turned into a dragon.

He dove, and as he did so, he breathed out a terrible cloud of ice breath. Ice formed over the enemy alicorn, whose movements slowed down. Bucky inhaled and let go of another blast. His enemy released a flurry of telekinetic bolts, but Bucky ignored those. This body was disposable.

Lunging forwards, he swiped at the alicorn with his dragon talons, but his enemy teleported away. Bucky breathed again, sending more icy death in the direction of his foe. Bucky was beginning to realise that his foe fought with brute force, but no finesse. It was all telekinetic force beams, shields, and a bit of storm magic, but no hallmarks of alicorn combat. No shapeshifting. Weak augmentation. Bucky had clawed right through it. His foe had immense power, but not the skill to use it. The alicorn made clumsy attacks.

Swooping through the air, Bucky snatched up a massive multi-ton boulder. He made a few feints, watched as the alicorn teleported a few times, and then hoping he would get lucky, he hurled his massive rock. The alicorn dove out of the way and returned fire, hammering Bucky’s armored body with painful telekinetic blasts.

The alicorn seemed to be tiring, and the cold attacks were having an effect upon him. Bucky didn’t let up, clawing, breathing, clawing, never giving his foe a moment to catch his breath. Bucky was relentless.

The alicorn teleported some distance away and as Bucky took off after him, the alicorn unleashed a massive torrent of telekinetic force at Bucky. It caught Bucky in the face and a moment’s later, his head was ripped free of his neck. The dragon’s body disintegrated as it died.

Some distance away, Bucky popped back into existence and dropped into shadow. He contemplated his next move. Bucky was starting to feel a little fatigued. He had also learned why real dragons were afraid of unicorns and alicorns. Decapitation was an unpleasant experience. Bucky added it to the list of horrors that he had experienced.

It was time to end this. Bucky fired off the worst spell he knew.

 

 

Bucky landed a short distance away from where the alicorn had fell. His foe could still be dangerous. He approached, shielded, ready for a confrontation, half in and half out of shadow. He approached the convulsing alicorn, who appeared to be shielded.

Overhead, the whirling maelstrom seemed to be dying out, the alicorn’s will now broken.

The alicorn lay on his side, his legs kicking, his barrel heaving. Bucky watched as the alicorn defecated, leaving him prone, helpless, and unable to defend himself. The alicorn’s horn flared and a weak bolt of energy was fired, which hit Bucky’s shields, but did not penetrate them.

“You’re no alicorn,” Bucky said in a low voice, a cold voice that was devoid of emotion. Looking down upon his helpless, diarrhea stricken foe, Bucky saw a thin spiral of silver studded with gemstones around the false alicorn’s horn.

Casting a breaching spell, Bucky got rid of the shields protecting his fallen foe. Reaching out his talons, he yanked the spiral from the horn of his enemy and watched as the wings vanished. He felt strong magic in the silver spiral. Powerful harmony magic, clean, pure, it radiated with a strong harmonic vibe.

“You remind me of a pony I know named Trixie,” Bucky said as the now unicorn shat himself, doubling over in pain and whimpering as everything inside of him squirted out. Bucky stood over his fallen foe and shook his head. “Power without discipline is useless. Trixie discovered that. She had a magic trinket that gave her the powers of an alicorn. She has since grown wiser. Too bad you will not.”

Reaching down, with one swift movement, Bucky opened the unicorn’s throat with his talons. He felt his claws go deep, scraping against bones in the back of the unicorn’s neck. With one swipe, Bucky had almost decapitated his enemy. He looked down at his bloody claws and then at the unicorn that looked so much like Trixie.

After a moment of quiet contemplation, Bucky’s thoughts were interrupted by Shining Armor’s projection.

“He might have had useful information,” Shining Armor said.

Shrugging, Bucky did not reply. He wiped his talons upon the grass and continued to stare at the unicorn he had killed. He shook his head and then he turned to look at Shining Armor. “I am glad that Trixie made better choices. I have grown fond of her. I am very, very fond of her. This could have been her. I wonder what she might say if she saw herself in the mirror.”

“Bucky… I don’t know what to say.”

“Thank you,” Bucky said as he teleported the dead body into nothingness. “I couldn’t have done this without you.”

“Cadance needs her protector… her father… and I needed to protect my friend,” Shining Armor replied. “I expect both of us are going to get lectured… the mother of all lectures by the mother of all ponies.”

“Oh yeah, we’re in deep, Shining Armor. Ever been wing slapped silly? Can you even feel pain in your current form?”

“I suspect that I will be soon finding out. What are you going to do with the amplifier?” Shining Armor asked.

“Take it home, study it, the design is unusual. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Bucky replied. “You should return to Canterlot and tell auntie that her ponies are safe. I’m heading home. If she comes for me, I’ll be waiting.”

“We made a good team, Bucky…”

 

 

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