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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Sitting in the farmhouse library, Bucky closed his eyes. He flexed his magical will, thought about his tower, and when he opened his eyes, he was standing in the middle of his personal study. Everything was just as he left it. The shadow web glowed with a faint light. His various projects were just as he had left them. Sunset Shimmer had been in here several times, he could feel her magic. No doubt she had been working on her connection to the shadow web with the shadow circlet she had been constructing.

He dropped Buibui upon his desk and leaned back in his chair. “Now, where is this treasure you keep going on about?”

Buibui beeped a few times, and then let out a stream of golem garble.

“Yes… those tiny tunnels that a pony can’t fit through, those are a good place to find valuables,” Bucky said, not bothering to explain to the spider golem that those were probably sewer lines or old drainage pipes.

The spider golem lept from the desk, landed on the floor, scuttled over the floor, ran over to a cabinet, crawled behind the cabinet, and then emerged a moment later with something small and brown. The spider golem clutched his treasure with four legs, holding it over his body, and came running back to Bucky on his remaining four legs.

Bucky lifted the spider golem back up onto his desk and set him down. He lifted away the small brown object. Holding it up, he had a look. It was a small stuffed pony that had shiny button eyes. It was in remarkable condition, like new, brown, made of what appeared to be velvet, and its mane and tail were made out of soft, fuzzy green yarn.

It would have been easy to mistake for being a new toy, it was in perfect condition, but there was also powerful enchantment on it. Confused, even a little concerned about the magic he felt, Bucky gave the stuffy a little squeeze.

“Thou art worthy!”

Turning his head, Bucky looked at Buibui and then back at the stuffy. He squeezed again, not quite certain what to expect. His ears perked and his eyes narrowed into slits.

“Thou art the night’s most valiant protector!”

Reaching out, Bucky grabbed the stuffed doll in his talons, and gave it another thorough examination. It was weird. So very weird. It felt modern almost, it could very well be a toy sold in some store… except for the powerful feeling of the enchantment. He squeezed it in his talons.

“Striketh down thine enemies! Smite them! Smother thine foes in their own ruination!”

“How odd,” Bucky said as he stared at the doll. Unable to help himself, he squeezed again, curious as to what the doll might say next. He had a nagging suspicion who this doll belonged to.

“Thou art the Princess of the Night! HUZZAH!”

Bucky, unable to help himself, began to chortle. He looked down at Buibui. “You… stay safe. Do nothing to bring yourself to harm. I am returning to the house. Be a good spider golem… I shall make you more companions to play with very soon, I promise.”

And with that, Bucky vanished, leaving behind a dusting of frost.

 

 

“Princess Luna?” Bucky, grinning, approached Luna, who was having a good cuddle with Erebus. It was time to have a little laugh at Luna’s expense. Untouchable Luna, hard flinty Luna, Luna, who had a foalhood stuffy.

“Yes, what is it Buckminster… and why must you address me so formally?” Luna replied. She looked up from Erebus, saw Bucky’s grin, and right away, she felt panic. Bucky had the grin of a demon accountant come to collect debts and balance the books. She shivered.

“Where is Barley?” Bucky asked.

“Preparing the celebration that is to come later in the mead hall,” Luna replied, still very unnerved by Bucky’s lopsided manic rictus.

“Ah, very good.” Unable to help himself, Bucky began to snigger, his sides heaving with repressed laughter. “I have something you might want.”

“Do you now?” Luna peered at Bucky and the Alicorn of the Dark Sacred Night felt a prickle of fear. Whatever it was that Bucky had, Luna wasn’t certain that she wanted it. Bucky had become a little too good at the being creepy part of his nature.

“Know what this is?” Bucky asked as he pulled a small brown stuffy from beneath his cloak and held it out in front of Luna’s muzzle.

The reaction that Bucky hoped for didn’t happen. Right away, Luna’s eyes shimmered with tears and she jerked her head back with a pained cry. She stared at the toy, and Bucky wasn’t certain about Luna’s expression. Shock? Disbelief? Fear? He dropped the act right away and took a step backwards.

“How did you come by this?” Luna asked in a soft whisper. “I… threw this away… the night that… the night that I… the night that I tried to murder mine own sister… I threw aside the artifacts of mine foalhood.” The alicorn shook her head, blinked, and gave Erebus a squeeze. “I threw that down the sump hole.”

“It was found in the sewer beneath the Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters,” Bucky said. He lowered the stuffed pony down to the bed and set it down in front of Luna. “It is quite enchanted and it talks. I guess the enchantments preserved it and kept it in good condition.”

“Miss Cobblestone,” Luna said as she pulled it closer.

It was snatched by Erebus, who hugged it close to him, squeezing it to his barrel.

Luna looked down, watched for a moment as Erebus closed his eyes, enjoying the cuddle with the stuffy, and then, after a moment, she tore her gaze away so she could look once more upon Bucky.

“Clotho made that for me,” Luna said, her horn glowing and a faint blue glow had covered Erebus’ ears. “For the longest time, she was my best friend. My one true companion. When other foals had long since gone to bed, I was up, awake all night, unable to sleep. Miss Cobblestone kept me company. Clotho took pity upon me and she made me a toy unlike any other.”

Standing at the foot of Barley’s bed, Bucky felt as though as he was intruding something private, perhaps even sacred. His plans to tease Luna were now forgotten as he watched the tears streaming down her cheeks.

“Huzzah! Thou art loved!” the stuffy said as Erebus gave it a squeeze.

“When I was very, very young, Celestia would get jealous because I had the best toy. She would sometimes steal Miss Cobblestone and try to hide her. I learned to focus upon the magical signature to find her.” Luna blinked and shook her head. “Celestia onced tried to burn Miss Cobblestone… nothing happened, much to Celestia’s dismay. Scorch was very, very upset with her though for her attempted cruelty. He paddled her backside with a large wooden spoon and then gave her a lecture that lasted for hours.”

“Well, she has been returned to you,” Bucky said, bowing his head.

“I think she will make a good companion for Erebus. He tries to eat his toys. He will be unable to hurt her.” Luna looked up at Bucky. “Thank you… I know you came to me with the intent of teasing me. I probably had that coming. But I appreciate your gentleness.”

Backing away from the bed, Bucky nodded. “Think nothing of it… I shall be taking my leave now… you look like you could use some time alone with your thoughts. Call upon me if you need anything, Mistress.”

Watching Bucky go, Luna lifted her head. “Wait…”

“Yes?” Bucky paused, almost at the doorway.

“You called me ‘Mistress’ just now… was it said in the same way that you call Sunset Shimmer ‘Minion?’ Did you mean it as a moniker of affection?” Luna blinked away tears and watching as Bucky squirmed in the doorway. “All of your sarcasm and derision was absent.”

“Yes Mistress,” Bucky said as he bowed his head once more and then stepped back through the door, leaving Luna alone with Erebus and shutting the door as he departed.

 

 

“Cadance.” Sukari looked at the pink alicorn, her bright blue eyes glittering. “You go away.”

The pink alicorn nodded. “Daddy hurt.”

Sukari shook her head and her ears pinned back against her skull as her thin, corded tail flicked from side to side. “Save Baba?”

Cadance sat down and spread her stubby wings, extending them out as far as possible. “Flew. Saved Baba.”

“Still hurt?” Sukari asked.

“Happy now,” Cadance replied.

Sukari’s brows wrinkled as she struggled to make words inside of her head. Her ears stood up and her tiny little nostrils flared as she went through the effort of communication. “Thank you.”

Giggling, Cadance lunged forwards, wrapped her forelegs around Sukari’s neck, and gave the zebra foal a squeeze. Cadance, even though she was younger, was already larger than Sukari, with longer legs, a longer neck, and a longer body. Cadance planted a slobbery kiss on the zebra filly’s cheek.

Sukari, a quiet, shy type, allowed Cadance to hold her. After a moment, Sukari returned the embrace, wrapping one foreleg around Cadance’s neck, and clinging to the alicorn foal. “Was scared. Lost other Baba. Ate.”

“Sorry,” Cadance squeaked. The cotton candy pink foal kissed the zebra filly again.

Closing her eyes, her ears going limp, Sukari pressed her face into Cadance’s neck, let out a strangled sounding groan, and shuddered. “Still hurt.”

“Sorry,” Cadance repeated, a pained expression appearing on her face.

Harper, still in a bit of a snit, seeing that Sukari was upset, stopped playing with her blocks, abandoning them, and walked over to where Cadance and Sukari were sitting together. She sat down beside Sukari and then leaned up against the zebra foal, sandwiching her against Cadance.

“What cry?” Harper asked, her eyes barely visible under the wild mass of orange curls that was her mane.

“Miss Baba,” Sukari replied.

“Oh.” Harper slipped her legs around Sukari. “Gone one.”

Sukari nodded, her eyes still squeezed shut. A few tears worked their way out and ran down her cheeks. “Scared. Gone again.”

“Mama back,” Harper said, trying to be comforting. Harper’s dark purple eyes focused upon Cadance. “Still hurts Mama why gone.”

“Papa was gone,” Peekaboo said as she abandoned her sleeping mother. She lept down from the sofa where Yew Wood lay slumbering, yawned, stretched her wings, and then joined the three foals on the floor. “Papa gone again. Gone for food. Will come back. That’s what he do.”

The blue pegasus sat down a short distance away from the trio, sitting in an aggressive posture, her spine rigid, wings flared out from her sides, ears perked, eyes wide and alert. “Help Sukari… I watch,” Peekaboo said as she kept her eyes on the archway that was the entryway to the living room. “Protect flock.” Peekaboo sat up a little straighter, glanced at her sleeping mother, and then resumed her vigil.

“When a cookie?” Harper asked.

“Yes, want cookie,” Sukari said as she lifted up her head from Cadance’s neck. She opened her eyes, sniffling, looking hopeful for a cookie.

Harper looked at Yew, who was sleeping, and thought better of waking the sleeping pegasus. Yew could be cranky when she woke, and cranky didn’t help get cookies. Harper contemplated her cookie conundrum.

“We move,” Harper said to the others. “Find cookie giver.”

Peekaboo, rising from her sitting position, was the first to be ready to go. She stood up, gave herself a shake, flapped her wings, and then stood waiting for the others. Harper was the second to rise, she stood up, tossed her head around to try and see past her own curls, and then watched as Cadance and Sukari both got up.

Cadance, taller than her siblings, stood beside Sukari and placed a wing over Sukari’s back, keeping the zebra foal close to her. She gave Harper a nudge, moving Harper into a forward guard position just behind Peekaboo. The pegasus would be their forward advance, Harper would be the protective second.

Peekaboo, the pacesetter, took off at a light trot, her tail bouncing, and Harper fell into step just behind her. Cadance, still covering Sukari, fell into step behind Harper and Peekaboo, and Sukari kept pace at Cadance’s side.

Reaching the arch, Peekaboo looked around. She turned her head left, eyed the front door, then turned her head forwards, staring into the kitchen, and then turned her head right, looking down the hallway as well as the stairs.

Having an idea, Peekaboo went down the hallway, trotting a short distance, the others following her lead, and she stopped in front of a wooden door beneath the staircase. Peering around, Peekaboo knocked, stepped back, and waited.

A second later, there was a groan from inside the hidey hole beneath the stairs, followed by a grunt. The door opened on well oiled hinges and Sentinel’s sleepy looking face peered out from the darkness.

“Hi!” Harper said in a chirpy voice, which caused Sentinel’s ears to perk.

“I was napping.” Sentinel blinked at the fillies staring at him.

“Want cookies,” Cadance said in a firm voice, a voice of command. “Sukari sad. Need cookies.”

“Okay, okay, Empress, give me a minute, I’ll help you get cookies.” Sentinel shook his head, blinked a few times, then yawned, his long orange tongue slipping free of his maw. Reaching out his foreleg, he grabbed Peekaboo, who was closest to him, pulled her close, and gave her a kiss on the forehead.

“Okay, follow me to the kitchen,” Sentinel commanded as he emerged from his hidey hole. “Stay close together. There are draconequus lurking about and dangerous raspberry blowing monsters are everywhere.”

“Harpy zapper ready.”

 

 

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