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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“Master?”

Sunset Shimmer, worried, reached out and touched Bucky. He seemed to be having some kind of dream, she was fearful that he was having a nightmare. He was muttering strange words and his whole body twitched. She heard him mention something about choosing between Sombras, that his inheritance was his to decide upon and that he would take up the mantle of his own choosing.

Her own ordeal had been quite simple; a contest of wills. The hat refused to be worn at first and had come at her, trying to shame her, trying to show her every horrible thing that she had done. Her betrayal of Princess Celestia. The acts of murder she had committed. Her abuse of her fellow students in both worlds. Sunset Shimmer had seen herself at her worst, when she was a rampaging she-demon. Somehow, Sunset had endured all of this and had kept a clear line of thought. She was worthy because she had lived through these things, grown stronger, learned from her mistakes, and had become wiser, a wisdom learned through misery.

As she watched, the blood red crystal on the front of the crown that Bucky had placed upon his head began to change colour as Bucky snarled and growled. His now gauntleted talons clawed at the floor. The red crystal became a dazzling blue-green, the colour of Bucky’s magic. The hideous, dangerous looking shape of the crown changed. The horrible looking spikes became leaf shaped ear guards. The featureless, bleak, stark metal also changed, it began to look like vines or shoots, Sunset Shimmer could not tell. On either side of the now blue-green gemstone, what appeared to be two hops appeared, holding the crystal in place.

“I will not have my foals fearful of their inheritance!” Bucky roared.

Frightened, backing away, Sunset Shimmer watched as Bucky’s eyes opened. His grey eye was clear, Sunset could see it focusing upon her. “Master, are you okay?”

Bucky inhaled, Sunset Shimmer heard a faint wheezing sound as he did so. She watched as he brought himself to his full height, which wasn’t much. His face was now calm, and Bucky had his usual quiet sense of dignity. She saw him blink and she could hear him breathing. She shivered as she waited for some kind of reply, wanting to hear his voice. Not his angry voice, but his calm voice, that voice that let everypony know that everything was okay.

“Sunset, I am fine.” Bucky cleared his throat. “Come, we have much to do.”

There it was. The voice that Sunset Shimmer longed to hear. She heaved a sigh of relief. That sonorous, commanding voice that cut through fear, dispelled confusion, that voice that she could not help but obey. The voice that spoke to the deepest parts of her and wanted her to be a better pony. The voice that inspired her to seek forgiveness and earn redemption.

For Sunset, it was the voice of a king.

“What do we do now, Master?” Sunset asked.

“We open this door. It will open for us now, if we request it,” Bucky replied.

 

 

“Oh, Master… I hate you so much right now,” Sunset Shimmer said to Bucky as she peered at the staircase that led down into the depths of the mountain. It was straight and featureless. Just stairs, leading down into the darkness. “I am tempted to toss you down the stairs, but I suppose some horrible slavering demon would rise up to protect you from the egregious architecture and would punish me for my transgressions.”

“This staircase is beautiful,” Bucky mumbled as he looked down. “Look how perfect each step is. Each one is an exact duplicate of the one previous. To look upon it is to know perfection… look at the sharp edges, the perfect right angles. Beautiful order… such a lovely creation—”

“Oh, shut up… Master.” Sunset Shimmer threw her head back and snorted. “What is it with you and stairs, anyway?”

“You wouldn’t understand.” Bucky scooted sideways, brushing up against Sunset Shimmer. “No, you wouldn’t understand at all.”

“I understand that you’re a loony.” Sunset Shimmer rolled her eyes and then started down the stairs. Her hoof passed through nothing and she almost pitched forwards. She would have fallen if Bucky had not caught her, pulled her back, and righted her.

“Wait,” Bucky said as he began to examine the stairs. “Be still, Minion, or these stairs will be your death.” As Bucky cast a spell, the stairs shimmered for a moment, vanished, and cruel spikes could be seen beneath.

Shivering, Sunset Shimmer realised that Bucky wasn’t joking. These stairs were lethal.

“We must go together. We must both be touching the stairs for them to be solid. Minion, move with me, and mind your hooves.” Bucky looked at Sunset, whose barrel was heaving, and then gave her a gentle prod to calm her.

“How did ponies get in and out of this tower?” Sunset asked.

“These stairs aren’t always like this. This place was sealed,” Bucky replied.

Standing beside Bucky, Sunset Shimmer extended her hoof as Bucky did, and both of them touched the top stair together. It was solid. It was awkward moving together, but the pair of them managed it. After going about five steps down, Bucky looked over at Sunset.

“I don’t think we’ll be able to teleport away… I am confident that these stairs are warded,” Bucky said, giving Sunset a warning. “Ready yourself for an ordeal.”

 

 

“Bucky, we’ve crossed this landing five times now,” Sunset Shimmer said as they stood on the small landing that was just big enough for two ponies to crowd together. “This is the same landing. See, I plucked out a tail hair and left it behind. There it is.”

“Oh bugger.” Bucky, looking down at the crimson hair, sighed.

“We’ve been doing this for hours. These stairs literally go on forever.” Sunset Shimmer shook her head. “So help me, if you do this at home and I can’t reach my room, you and I are going to scuffle and I’ll get Luna to help me.”

“Let’s try going up the stairs,” Bucky suggested.

“Oh, that sounds splendid… we can walk up the stairs forever!” Sunset Shimmer gritted her teeth for a moment. “Let’s get this over with. We’ll be right back on this landing in just a few minutes.”

 

 

“Not one word, Minion.” Bucky, standing on the landing, gave Sunset Shimmer a sour look. Her hat had changed completely and Bucky wondered if Sunset was aware of the changes. It was more like a floppy brimmed sunhat, a sensible thing, not so ridiculous as a wizard’s floppy conical hat. He also wondered if he should be distracted by a hat. He kicked the stone floor of the landing and then began to look around, trying to see if there was something he had missed.

On the landing, there were two lights on the walls, glass globes that contained light spells. Bucky hadn’t paid much attention to them before, but he paid attention to them now. There was one on each side, located on either wall.

Looking closer, Bucky saw a ‘+’ sign on one side, located just beneath the glass globe. Craning his head, Bucky squinted at the other light. It had a ‘-’ sign beneath the globe. Bucky, seeing the signs, had an idea.

“Minion, I know what to do,” Bucky said to Sunset. “I think… you cast regular magic on that one—” Bucky pointed at the light with the ‘+’ sign. “—and I’ll cast dark magic on this other one.”

“Worth a shot I suppose.” Sunset’s horn ignited as she spoke.

Black flames burst from Bucky’s horn and Taint mist wafted from his grey eye. It was still so easy. The dark magic was like drinking too much icy water after a walk through the desert, both a blessing and a curse. The pain was comforting in an odd way.

From somewhere, a horn blared and the whole staircase shuddered. The stairs vanished and the light globes disappeared as well. On either side of the landing there was a mirror. One mirror showed Sunset Shimmer, but not Bucky, and the other mirror showed Bucky, but not Sunset Shimmer.

Curious, Sunset Shimmer raised her hoof to touch the reflective surface. It was like touching a liquid, and her touch caused the surface of the mirror to ripple. She pulled away and then turned her head to face Bucky.

“I guess we step through the mirrors… I wonder what will happen?” Sunset Shimmer touched the mirror again. “I’m scared, Bucky.”

“Sunset, you’ll need to deal with your fear. I suspect we are about to be tested. I don’t know what failure will do to us, but I assume that it will be nothing good,” Bucky said to his apprentice.

“You’re my favourite teacher,” Sunset Shimmer said as she stepped through the mirror and vanished, leaving Bucky all alone on the landing.

Turning his head, Bucky looked at his own mirror and stepped through.

 

 

Sunset Shimmer found herself back in Canterlot High. The school was dark and everything seemed off somehow. The doors were not quite square and everything was all crooked angles. A sense of growing unease filled Sunset Shimmer’s mind and she rubbed her stomach with her human hands.

There were banners and streamers everywhere, but when she tried to read the banners, the letters blurred. The streamers lacked vibrant colours, everything looked dull and greyed out. Not knowing what to expect, a whimper escaped Sunset Shimmer’s lips. She wished that Twilight was here, or Bucky. If there was something dangerous here, Bucky would save her. That was what Bucky did. When the mirror traveler had tried to kill her, it was Bucky that had saved her.

There was a painful moment of realisation and Sunset Shimmer gasped. Twilight had saved her too. Sunset Shimmer’s friends had saved her. Sunset had trouble remembering when she had actually saved herself. Was that all that she was? A damsel in distress? Sunset shoved the thoughts from her mind. She had saved Bucky. Sunset squeezed her eyes shut as she wondered if she was capable of saving herself.

“No,” she snapped, shaking her head. “Bucky would never keep me as his apprentice if I was worthless. No… no… no!” Sunset Shimmer slapped her own cheek. The stinging pain cleared her head. She opened her eyes and looked around her. In the distance, she heard footsteps. Hoofsteps? She didn’t know. She wasn’t alone, something was out there, and given how the sound grew louder, it was approaching.

“I can hear you whimpering,” a voice hissed. “Are you contemplating how worthless you are? How meaningless your existence is?”

“I have worth!” Sunset shouted. She shook her head. “And I am not worthless!”

“You could have been something greater, but you gave up your dreams… you settled when you found you lacked the strength to take what could have been yours.”

Sunset’s hands balled up into fists and her whole body trembled. Anger bubbled up from deep within her. The words stung, there was a tiny part of her that believed that. Sunset hated that part of herself and wished that she could silence it forever. It was something that could only hurt her if she let it, and she frequently let it, much to her own shame.

Sunset Shimmer watched in horror as she saw herself coming around the corner. The hideous she demon. The moment of Sunset Shimmer’s worst failure, what she had become when she had hit bottom. All of the very worst parts of herself made manifest. She hated what she saw. The winged figure raised her clawed hands and Sunset Shimmer could see the terrible glow of dark magic.

As she rolled away, the locker that Sunset Shimmer had been standing in front of exploded into shards of metal. The shards bit deep into Sunset’s skin and she bit down on her lip to keep from screaming. She had no magic of her own in this form, no means to fight back, there was nothing she could do.

The next blast hit her directly, and Sunset Shimmer writhed upon the floor, kicking, thrashing, and screaming as the pain consumed her body. Black lightning coursed up and down her limbs. Sunset could feel her flesh cooking as the dark magic seared her. She tried rolling away, but her strength was already fading. She was pathetic and weak, but still determined to get away. She clawed at the floor with her fingers, and one of her fingernails caught between the tiles. It tore away, filling Sunset with blinding pain in her left hand.

The endless rage that Sunset Shimmer held inside of her escaped and came up to the surface. She rolled over and faced her tormentor, her eyes narrowing. She found strength that she didn’t know that she had. Somehow, she sat up, and then, she was up on her feet somehow, wobbling around as the dark magic continued to blast her.

Sunset Shimmer launched herself at her she demon form. She curled her right hand into a fist and punched the she demon in the jaw. It was a clumsy attack, but effective. The she demon staggered backwards, her wings flapping. She brought her claws around and raked Sunset’s face, tearing open her cheek.

“Bitch!” Sunset shouted.

“Cunt!” the she demon retorted.

Sunset lunged forwards again, punching and kicking as her cheek streamed blood down upon the hallway floor. She brought her knee up into the she demon’s groin, once, twice, thrice, and then a fourth time. The she demon shrieked in pain and Sunset Shimmer, who had learned a few terrible lessons from Bucky, pressed her advantage. Reaching out, she grabbed the she demon by her nipple and gave it a fierce, cruel twist.

“OH YOU FUCKING COCK TEASE!” the she demon screamed as she had her titty twisted.

In reply, Sunset Shimmer rammed her fist into the she demon’s stomach and then grabbed the she demon by her hair. She dragged the she demon into the bathroom, kicked open a stall door, punched her enemy a few times in the kidney to subdue her, and then Sunset Shimmer slammed the she demon’s head down into the toilet.

Sunset Shimmer flushed twice.

“YOU STUPID PIECE OF SHIT!” Sunset lifted the she demon from the toilet, hefted her into the air, and then smashed her face first into the edge of the toilet bowl. She did it again, and again, and on the third time, there was a sickening crunch. Blood dribbled everywhere. She dropped the she demon upon the floor.

While the demoness was down, Sunset Shimmer stomped on the she demon’s tender, already twisted titty with her heavy boot. She stomped down again, this time on the demoness’ head.

“I know what you are!” Sunset shouted at the she demon. “I know what you are and I know that you can’t hurt me unless I let you!” Lifting her heavy boot once more, Sunset Shimmer delivered a pelvis shattering kick to the she demon’s groin. “NOW HAVE A GOOD AND PROPER FUCK OFF, YA CUNT!”

 

 

It felt good to be home. Bucky looked around, not quite remembering how he had gotten here. He took another look around and realised that something didn’t seem quite right. All of the angles here were wrong. Thanks to the many lessons with Luna, Bucky realised almost right away that this was a dream.

A dream that he could not wake up from.

Standing in the empty kitchen, Bucky’s ears perked, listening for some kind of sound. He heard crying. He heard… Piña crying. That alarmed him, even though he knew that this was a dream.

“No no no, hit her harder… teach her to fear us! Make that mud pony cry!”

Bucky’s blood ran cold. He knew that voice. It was difficult to make his legs work, but he forced them to move and he headed towards the living room. That voice. Bucky’s skin crawled with revulsion and he felt as though he was going to be sick. He heard a meaty sounding thump, as though something was striking something else.

And then, Bucky heard Dinky giggling.

He rushed forwards, not liking what he was hearing, at all. As he walked through the living room arch, he saw Primrose Propers. His mother loomed over Dinky, smiling her terrible smile, and Dinky had a heavy wooden paddle held in her magic.

Piña lay on the floor in a heap and as Bucky watched, Dinky brought the paddle down again. The pink foal gibbered. This is only a dream, Bucky reminded himself. He looked his mother in the eye. “I sent you to Tartarus. You’re not real. And there is no way that Dinky would ever hurt Piña like this.” Bucky felt his muscles spasming as rage began to overtake him. “All of this is just a cheap ploy to make me lose control… a means to hurt me.”

“My little colt… so quick to use dark magic… I think you like to hurt yourself,” Primrose said. The mare let out an obscene titter. Her horn began to glow and Taint mist began to creep from her eyes.

“This is a dream… the rules here are different. You brought this on yourself,” Bucky said as he closed his eyes and concentrated. “There are better females in my life now. Let me show you.” When he opened his eyes, he was no longer alone. He grinned a wolfish grin.

Beside him, Derpy’s wings flared out. He heard the sharp scrape of Belisama’s claws upon the floor. He could hear Berry Punch’s heavy breathing. He smelled the strong scent of ozone as Lyra began charging her magic. He almost laughed as Bon Bon pulled him back, shoving him behind her for safety.

Dinky and Piña began writhing around, their bodies warping, becoming distorted, becoming all wrong in the worst sorts of ways. Dinky’s mouth yawned open wide and then, much to Bucky’s horror, a rat crawled out. Piña’s eyeball fell out as a rat broke free of Piña’s skull.

Both foals burst open and rats began to spill out. Endless numbers of rats. Bucky, who had been in perfect control up to this point, began shrieking, his control slipping away.

“No, Bucky, look into my eyes.”

Derpy’s muzzle was pressed against his own and all he could see was Derpy’s amber eyes. He felt her forelegs wrapping around him. He closed his eyes and went limp into Derpy’s embrace, letting himself go completely, and trusting in the grey pegasus.

“I’m gonna enjoy beating you to death,” Berry Punch said, cracking her front fetlocks.

“Vermin!” Belisama hissed.

“You give unicorns a bad name… you… you… you horrible bitch! Lyra shouted.

The last thing that Bucky heard was a stream of profanity so vile slipping from Bon Bon’s lips that his brain boggled and began to reject this reality. He smelled burning hair and could hear pained squeals. He squeezed his eyes shut even tighter, not wanting at all to see what was happening to the rats. He couldn’t bear to look. His ears rang from the stinging vulgarities that Bon Bon had spewed.

“Bucky, the rats are gone… just sit over here and I’ll be right back… I have to go get my hooves dirty,” Derpy said and then pressed her lips to Bucky’s cheek. Derpy tittered. “Doo Hooves…”

With the exception of the rats, Bucky was beginning to enjoy this dream.

 

 

 

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