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


765. 765

Mouth hanging open agape, Sunset Shimmer shook her head and tried to process what it was that she was seeing. The letter, written over one thousand years ago, had just been delivered by a pegasus courier, a courier that had no idea what it was that he had been carrying. The scroll was made from actual vellum, calf skin, something that Sunset knew about from her time as Princess Celestia’s personal student. A faint magical aura lingered about the vellum scroll, a powerful magical aura. She had read the scroll three times now, and could not tell if it was real or some practical joke.



Dearest Descendant, Sunset Glimmer,

I hope this communication finds you well. Greetings from your distant ancestor. This message would have originally gone to Twilight Shimmer the Scholar, but if my calculations are correct and the stars were not lying to me, she should be several months pregnant, give or take a month or two, so she is unfit to aid in this task of utmost importance.

Times are becoming more dangerous and desperate again. Equestria has enemies. Tumultuous times have befallen the entirety of the world. You should just be finishing up a major war and your Master, Buckminster Belmont Bitters the Knight, should be coming home soon.

It is time for both of you to go to work. Aided by my brother Sombra, I have peered ahead as far as I could, and we have tried to prepare for this eventuality, along with many, many others. The invaders from the world that has gone dark should be causing you a lot of trouble right now, if my calculations are correct, although there is the high probability that the humans from beyond the mirror in the world next door to ours might be invading instead.

Either way, Equestria will be facing dire times, beset by powerful invaders.

My brother Sombra and I sealed off our mutual place of research, the Tower of the New Moon. We buried it under aversion spells, wards, and too many other protections to list. The doors can only be opened by mine and Sombra’s blood and it will take at least two ponies to disengage the locks. Speak to Princess Celestia about its location, or speak to Princess Luna if she is back from her exile on the moon. She should have returned at this point, a powerful group of nobles known as House Avarice and House Evening Star should have meddled with the stars enough by now to have triggered her return, thinking that Nightmare Moon will aid them. Hopefully the Elements of Harmony have set Princess Luna straight, but if they have not, you will probably not receive this letter. What a pity.

Once inside the Tower of the New Moon, you will need to reactivate the laboratory, you will need to gain access to the research archives, and you will need to open the armory. Buckminster will find the Heart of the Golem, a most useful artifact, and it should help him rebuild an army. The archives will be of great use to Twilight. The Scholar and the Knight are Equestria’s best hope for surviving what is to come.

Sunset Glimmer… there is no shame in being an apprentice to a great Master. I would not be the pony that I am without Clover the Clever. Every great thing I accomplished, I did it because of her. Tell Clover I said hello, she should be resting someplace under Canterlot at the moment, trapped inside of crystal. Poor Sombra… he doesn’t even see his own madness coming, and there is nothing I can do to help my brother. Alas, all of these things must come to pass. I have worked too hard to restore the damaged timeline from when I tried to save him. I was able to bring my brother back from the madness that seized his mind, but doing so completely destroyed your future, caused your sun to go dark, the moon crumbled, and life as you know it ended when the dark world invaders arrived (or perhaps the humans) and there was no Twilight Shimmer or Buckminster Belmont Bitters to fight them. The timeline is still fractured from my efforts. I can’t stop the future that is coming, and I fear I have made things worse by trying to fix them.

Tell Clover that I am sorry, tell Princess Luna to behave herself, and tell Princess Celestia that her pride will be her undoing. I would send them a message too, but I fear the energy it took to send this one message into the future has been fatal. I didn’t have much left in me, but there is still so much to do and so much to prepare for. I have given my life trying to fix my mistakes. I hope that my efforts have not been in vain.

Love, your distant relative, Star Swirl of the Great and Powerful Beard.


Sunset Shimmer rolled up the scroll. It had to be some kind of joke. A prank. But the magic radiating from the scroll was no prank. It was powerful. It made her horn burn just to connect with it. She stuffed it down inside the thousand year old scroll tube made of ornate wood.

There was no one to talk to about this. Princess Celestia, Princess Luna, both gone. Princess Twilight Sparkle, gone. There was nothing that Sunset Shimmer could do but wait, and she didn’t feel like waiting. She needed answers now.

Sure, the names were a little off, but the rest of the letter… something about it rang true to Sunset Shimmer, even though part of her mind wanted to believe that it was a prank. It would be easier to believe it was a prank. Sunset had heard stories of just how powerful Star Swirl was, but this, this was ridiculous.

Rising from her seat, Sunset Shimmer began to pace the floor.



Standing in place, Princess Celestia cleared her throat, took a deep breath, which caused her sides to expand, and then said, “Over five thousand unicorns and maybe ten to fifteen thousand enemy pegasi almost destroyed us. Out of the fifty thousand or so troops we have mustered for this war, less than twenty thousand are going home. We cannot take these sorts of losses.”

“War is their bread and butter. No offense, but most of you lot are soft. You mainland sorts don’t have to fight for anything. We Shetlanders took the fewest losses, Myrmidons excluded.” Keg Smasher’s eyes narrowed and the big pegasus shook his head. “We got hammered.”

“The long and the short of it is, we would have lost this war without the Lord of Winter and his golems,” Wrecker said, glancing at Keg Smasher, who sat beside him. “We got lucky… lucky that those golems got into their underground base and killed a majority of them. Had that not happened, we’d be in retreat right now.”

“We don’t know that for certain, Wrecker,” Keg Smasher said to his companion.

The grizzled pegasus scowled at Keg Smasher, and Wrecker shook his head. “I know that for certain, and that’s all that matters to me. We got lucky. Those golems won the war for us.”

“I dunno, I think the Shadowbolts showed promise.” Keg Smasher looked around at the ponies and griffons gathered around the table. “Not one of them died and each one of their engagements was an exercise in long odds. A few against many. They took on hundreds at a time, picking them off, hunting them, damn good tactics.”

“I agree, the Shadowbolts were our strongest fighters, even more so than the Myrmidons, at least when it comes down to fighting the enemy unicorns.” Princess Celestia turned her head and looked at the various creatures gathered around the table. “They hardly even used their meagre healing supplies, they came back with almost everything they were sent out with, using fear to heal themselves. I would say that the Shadowbolts have proven to be a wildly successful experiment.”

“And potentially the savours of the lunar pegasi,” Charassare said in a gruff voice. “We need more of them. Our bloodlines have grown thin. We need an infusion of lunar blood to restore our numbers. We took some losses in this war, losses I worry if we can recover from.”

“You are not the only ones who took losses.” Lugus’ talons clenched into a fist. “We griffons are too few as it is. We approach extinction. As it is, there are probably more lunar pegasi in the world than there are griffons.”

“My apologies Lugus, I did not mean to diminish your circumstances,” Charassare replied, speaking in a gruff, but soft voice to the griffon. “The griffons were noble and brave to have even fought in this war. Equestria owes them a debt of gratitude.”

Lugus, his feathers fluffing out, closed his eyes. “My anger is not directed at you. Or at anyone else at this table. I am just pained by our losses, and I am not dealing well with my grief. My apologies for being unbearable.”

“Lugus, there is nothing to apologise for.” Charassare smiled at his friend, a horrible lopsided smile that threw the scar tissue that was his face off balance. “When we are done here, let us go and drink so that we might remember those who fell.”

“I think it is safe to say that at this point, all bets are off and we do whatever is needed to survive. I am bothered by what I am about to say, but I feel that it needs to be said. We need to give Bucky free reign to come up with new weapons, no matter how terrible, and even if we do not personally agree with his demented imagination, we need to acknowledge the fact that as the nascent alicorn of war, he is our best hope for survival.” Twilight’s voice quavered and it was clear that she was nervous about speaking her mind. She paced around, moving beside Princess Celestia, her face filled with worry and sorrow. Taking a deep breath, she continued:

“Commander Wrecker said we got lucky. I disagree. Attributing Bucky’s efforts to superstition is bad form. He sacrificed something very dear to him to give us the advantage we needed. He sacrificed his own creations, sapient creations I might add, creatures with free will, creatures who were intelligent and asked questions, creatures that pondered their own existence. Good creatures. Creatures with the ability to reason and they understood what needed to be done. Not a one of them came back. Not a single one. All we found while exploring the ruins of the base were dead, broken golems. These golems were imbued with the spirit of their creator, and they gave their lives for us. I just want all of us to think about everything I’ve just said the next time we call into question Bucky’s experiments.”

“Thank you, Twilight.” Bucky bowed his head, his gaze lingering on Twilight.

Twilight gave Bucky a nod and then lifted her head high. “We need to make our own luck. We no longer have the luxury of playing nice, or being fair. Our enemies will not do the same. We will be offered no mercy if we are captured. The best that we would hope for would be slavery, and none of us want that.”

“Well said.” Wrecker held his head a little higher and his remaining eye blinked. The old, battered pegasus sat there in his chair for a moment, looking proud, and then he slumped over, leaning over the table, his open mouth gasping as he struggled for air.

“Wrecker?” Keg Smasher looked alarmed, scared even, fear was a rare emotion to see on his face.

Wrecker lifted his head, his surviving eye was narrow, fierce looking. He looked at Bucky, his nostrils flaring as he struggled to breathe. “You… forge the chains that will drag them into Tartarus. You saved the isles… my home… thank you.”

Letting out a gasp, Wrecker fell over with a thump and did not move.

Taking charge, Princess Celestia barked out a command. “Quick, we need to get—”

“There’s no point, lass… he’s gone,” Keg Smasher said as he looked over at Celestia, whose grief was visible upon her face. He could see her choking on her own words. The big pegasus reached over and patted his friend upon the back. “That’s a good lad. You did good. You were useful right up to the end, just like you wanted. No lingering, no time bedridden.” Keg Smasher fell silent and hung his head.

Shaking her head, Princess Luna closed her eyes and said, “So it ends.”





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