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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“Any word on Bucky?” Derpy closed her bad eye so she could focus upon Berry Punch. The grey mare wasn’t quite laying on her back, but she wasn’t quite laying on her side, either. She had pillows wedged under her spine, propping her up at an angle. She was, for the moment, comfortable.

“There’s a picture of him on the back of an elephant. They built a platform on the elephant’s back so a whole bunch of ponies and griffons and diamond dogs and minotaurs could sit up there. The unicorns will work together to make a shield and the whole thing will work together as a makeshift tank.” Berry Punch pulled herself up into the bed, lay down, and got comfortable.

“I’m so scared… Berry, I want him home.” Stretching out her wing, Derpy brushed her mane from her face. “What else is in the paper?”

“Le Pain has been liberated. A group of ghosts infiltrated the city and began killing the mirror travelers, or ponies thought there were ghosts. Turns out the phantoms were shadow ponies… witnesses describe a large wolf like pony that savaged the enemy ranks, ripping them limb from limb. Another shadow pony was described as being ram like. He broke down the fortifications where the enemy had holed up. A really large pegasus laid waste to a group of unicorns, or so witnesses say. After an intense battle, an earth pony and a very kind hippogriff arrived, bringing with them medicine and comfort. The many wounded were helped and the hippogriff sang songs and made music that helped drive away the horrors of the abuse the town had suffered, lifting their spirits. Nopony heard a single name being said, but the group called itself the Shadowbolts. The paper is going nuts trying to figure out who the new heroes are.”

Closing her good eye, Derpy laid her head down on a pillow, strained to draw in a deep breath, and wished that Bucky was here with her right now. She felt like crying, but held her tears in. If she started crying, then Cadance would start crying, and Cadance had powerful alicorn lungs.

“Ripple still wants to join the Shadowbolts.” Berry sighed, reached out, and pulled Bell Heather closer. “Where is Thistle?”

“I dunno,” Derpy replied.

The door leading out into the hallway opened and Lyra Heartstrings stepped into the bedroom. She was smiling and her golden eyes had a merry twinkle. She was wearing a coat with a fluffy collar.

“Okay, time to load both of you into a wagon,” Lyra announced.

“What?” Derpy opened her eyes and looked at Lyra.

“Both of you are going into the wagon sleigh thingy. We need to get you into Ponyville—”

“Do I have a doctor’s appointment that I don’t remember?” Derpy asked.

“No.” Lyra began to approach the bed. “Sentinel got paid a substantial chunk of change for an essay on nationalism he submitted. He used some of that money to purchase a day at the spa for both of you. The spa is all yours. Just the two of you. Well, I’ll be there to help move you around. No other ponies will disturb you, Sentinel sprang for Aloe and Lotus’ exclusive service.”

Berry Punch, having trouble believing what she was hearing, shook her head, causing her ears to flop around. “Sentinel did what?”

“Sentinel got paid… oh never mind. Standing here talking isn’t getting you into the wagon. Alpha mare goes first!”

 

 

 

 

Stargarden insists that magic springs from our consciousness, from a place that is beyond our bodies. Travelling to the astral plane leaves the body behind, separating the spirit from the flesh. Magic continues to function during these times of separation.

Our teacher, Stargarden, wants us to do experiments that highlight this separation of body and mind. I have given this a lot of thought, and Piña and I have come up with a great idea for an experiment. With Piña’s help, I intend to find out if unicorns can perform conscious magic while they are sleeping.

My idea is to levitate something small, a piece of paper or something, holding it above my head and then go to sleep. A sufficiently focused state of will should allow me to continue levitating the paper. I talked with Princess Luna about lucid dreaming, which means that the will continues to function, even during sleep. Controlling a dream or levitating a piece of paper shouldn’t be that different. Piña is eager to begin the experiments.

I suspect that the hardest part will be putting myself to sleep.

 

 

 

“Mommy has control of the moon again.” Luna, now a good bit larger, cradled Erebus in her forelegs. “Mommy can now do her part to maintain balance and keep this world alive. Mommy can now relieve some of the stresses placed upon your auntie Celery.”

“Celery!” Erebus cried.

“Yes, Celery.” Luna dove down, soaring through the air with relative ease.

Banking, Luna sliced through the air, the chill wind stinging her eyes. She was starting to feel like herself again. She was once again Luna, the Princess of the Night, but she was not the same. She could not put a hoof upon what had changed, but Luna knew that she had changed a great deal. This body, this incarnation, this new mind, it was unlike her previous forms. She thought about her guilt, her self doubt, she thought about her long ponderings if she deserved her crown.

As she picked up speed, her doubt began to peel away. Like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, Luna began to work her new self free from her old self. Flying, Luna’s body was growing with each beat of her wings. Magic flowed through her as she touched not only the moon, but the stars and the planets as well. Her horn grew in length as she circled over the farmhouse. She clutched Erebus to her barrel, and his gleeful giggling was music in Luna’s ears. She placed a protective bubble around Erebus and prepared to test her new limits, just to see what this new body could do.

Laughing, Princess Luna flexed her new muscles, physical, mental, and magical.

 

 

“Ooh… hot!” Derpy’s muscles quivered as a hot rock was pressed into her flesh. Aloe rubbed the rock in little circles over Derpy’s aching lower back and her croup. Derpy’s ears wiggled and her eyes closed as she melted into a state of bliss. She was slathered down in some kind of sweet oil that allowed the rock to slide over her pelt with effortless ease. As the rock trailed over the base of her dock, one hind leg kicked a little upon the padded table.

Beside Derpy, Berry was also lost, drifting upon a sea of near euphoria. Lotus was stacking hot rocks upon Berry’s back, which caused Berry Punch to let out little happy grunts. A wide, dopey grin was plastered upon Berry Punch’s face and the earth pony lay limp upon the padded table, her face pressed into a large padded donut shaped cushion.

“Happiness is measured in ear wiggles, yes?” Aloe asked as she began to stack hot rocks upon Derpy’s back. “Lotus, dear sister, I do believe my pegasus is happy. Look at her ears!”

“Bah, happiness is measured in grunts and snorts,” Lotus replied to her sister. She waved one hoof in a dismissive manner. She lifted up a ladle of hot oil and began to drizzle it over Berry Punch’s lower back, causing Berry Punch to hiss and wiggle, and then she began to knead Berry’s lower half, using two hot rocks held in her hooves.

“We have a special mud pack for nursing mothers… medicated minty mud that has a wonderful cooling sensation…  when we get done with the hot rock massage, we shall flip you over and go to work upon your underside. We guarantee that the experience is quite pleasurable,” Aloe said to Derpy as she pressed kinks and cricks out of Derpy’s spine with two hot rocks. “Also, we have a special moisturisers for pegasus wings that will have you feeling like a million bits, but I warn you, it must be applied hot. Some don’t like it.”

“Even the twins feel relaxed… it’s like they’ve gone into a coma,” Berry Punch said in a low, muffled voice. “You know, at this point, I would let Sentinel get away with just about anything.”

“Yeah…” Derpy gasped in agreement. “Sentinel gets a free pass, whaddaya say, Berry?”

“Free pass…”

 

 

Umbral sanguisuge. Violet Velvet shivered. There could be no doubt as to what had caused the dessicated husks. Already, she was making preparations to deal with this issue, even though she was at a loss for what to do. Fever Cure and Mask were back in Canterlot to explain the situation to Shining Armor. The mare’s skin crawled as she settled back into her chair.

“Miss Velvet?”

“What is it, Cobalt?” Violet was glad to see the earth pony. Cobalt was a good sort, trusted, efficient, and something about his competence made Violet feel calm. He and Dirtbound both were shaping up to be excellent couriers and assistants.

“You don’t look well… is there anything I can get you?” Cobalt asked. The earth pony’s face was kind and full of concern. His ears splayed out sideways as he studied Violet Velvet, trying to read her mood.

“No thank you, Cobalt,” Violet replied. “How is Tuli?”

“Oh, she is well.” Cobalt lifted his head. “I left you a stack of messages in the in box. A package arrived, and it is under the desk down on the floor. There is a scroll tube that arrived from Shining Armor, I placed that in the usual secure location. I also signed for the compressed tea bricks that arrived from Trottingham.”

“Wonderful Cobalt, it sounds as though everything went smoothly during my absence.”

“I tried, Miss Velvet.” Cobalt’s face now had a nervous smile. “Apple Bloom is requesting a meeting with you as soon as possible.”

“She’s in class right now, isn’t she?” Violet asked.

“Yes, yes she is.”

“Hmm. I’ll track her down later. Cobalt, I need you to go to the Ponyville library and see if there are any books about a condition known as Umbral sanguisuge. If not, send word to Canterlot to the royal research archives, and have them send any books they might have. Make it a high priority.”

“Yes ma’am, right away.” Cobalt bowed his head, backed out of the small room that Violet used as her office, and was gone.

Violet’s desk, a stark affair, was austere and uncluttered. Feeling anxious, Violet began to tap one front hoof upon the wood. Something dangerous and predatory was feeding upon Equestrian ponies and it left Violet feeling unsettled.

She pulled open the protected drawer that few could see. Only those who needed to know of its existence could see past the powerful aversion spell placed upon it. Inside of the drawer was an ornate wooden scroll tube. She lifted the scroll tube in her telekinesis, popped off a wooden cap from one end, and then peered inside.

Using her magic, she pulled out a scroll. It was covered in a fine script written in flowing, ornate letters. Beautiful letters in a script that was similar to Twilight Sparkle’s.

Dear Servant of the Windigo:

By the express command of the Phoenix, the unicorn known as Sparkler Doo Hooves is now an auxiliary member of the Black Cloaks, to be called upon in times of crisis. See that she is told of her position and that she receives an information packet.

Thank you, Emperor of the North, Shining Armor, Steward of Equestria.

After rolling up the scroll, Violet Velvet stuffed it back inside the scroll tube. Sparkler would make a good addition to the Black Cloaks. Sparkler was growing up to be a good sort, a tireless labourer for the greater good with a powerful sense of civic obligation.

Sighing, Violet Velvet began to work on her inbox…

 

 

 

 

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