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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The field was full of chariots and sky wagons. Bucky walked slowly through them, looking around at the crystal pegasi, Berry following along close behind him. Some were still landing, circling overhead until a suitable landing location had been found. There were crates and boxes of all kinds secured to the vehicles.

And then, he saw her. A powerful jolt went through Bucky’s body, it was almost painful. Every muscle spasmed and seized and there was an odd thought that rushed through his mind that concerned him greatly. Destroy her, destroy the usurper who has taken what is yourssome voice within his mind commanded. Bucky blamed it on his latent neurosis and shoved the unwanted thought away.

As he drove the unwanted thoughts out of his mind, something else settled in to take their place, and he felt a strong sense of love for the pony he was looking at, and who was currently looking at him, her eyes wide in shock and horror, tears already welling in the corners.

“Buckminster?” Cadance whispered hoarsely.

“Princess Cadance, it is good to see you,” Bucky greeted, bowing his head slightly. He saw her wing extend and then he felt feathers brush the side of his neck, a gesture that he understood now as pegasus affection, something only done for those who were truly close. He felt confused, as he barely knew Princess Cadance, and struggled to understand why she would be so affectionate.

“Buckminster, what has happened to you? Your face…” Cadance murmured in shock.

“He was mauled by the damnable shadow wolves that haunt these isles,” Berry explained, now standing beside Bucky, looking at Cadance.

Shining Armor, who stood beside Cadance, gave his wife a glance and then continued to study Bucky.

There was a commotion in the crowd and a large burly pegasus was approaching the group. Keg Smasher parted the growing crowd all around him as he pressed forward, and, as he approached the group, he raised his wing in salute.

“Princess Cadance, Prince Shining Armor, welcome to Isle o’ Groats,” Keg Smasher greeted.

“Greetings Laird Keg Smasher,” Cadance returned.

“Glad to have finally met you,” Shining Armor replied.

“I am surprised to see you here, I understood you were sending payment, but this was unexpected,” Keg Smasher said.

“I came at my aunt’s request,” Cadance said, her voice easily carrying over the growing noise of the crowd. “Celestia wanted me to check up on the state of things here and to check on Buckminster here and see how he and his family are doing.”

Keg Smasher started to say something, his mouth opening, but then he fell silent. One wing twitched a bit, one ear quivered, and he flicked his tail nervously.

“The state of things here is intolerable,” Bucky said flatly.

Keg Smasher gave a grunt but remained silent.

“How could the princesses allow things to get so bad here?” Berry demanded, never one to hold her tongue.

Cadance said nothing, and Shining Armor looked down at his own hooves, his face contorted in what appeared to be shame. There were several grunts from the guard surrounding them.

“Look, I understand that Celestia can’t set a hoof on this isle because of whatever cockamamie reasons cooked up by the treaty, but how could she let things become so bad here?” Berry demanded.

“In time, there will be answers for that, but not now,” Cadance replied in a flat monotone.

“No time like the present. Somepony needs to be held accountable,” Berry insisted, her voice raising to a level that the sizable crowd could easily hear her.

“The time of accountability is already at hoof,” Shining said in a choked voice as he raised his head high. “You have no idea what is taking place.”

Bucky was startled as Ripple landed suddenly beside him on his blind side, and he had to crane his head to see her. He felt her nuzzle him briefly, and he began to feel a little calmer.

“Out of the way!” Sentinel’s voice demanded. The lunar pegasus foal was pushing his way through the crowd, a group of ponies behind him. “Make way for my master’s family,” he growled as he flapped his wings and tried to look very intimidating.

Cadance looked very confused for a moment, seeing the large group of ponies approaching. Clearly, a lot had taken place.

“Seems there is going to be a lot of explaining to do all around,” Keg Smasher commented.

Bucky felt his family members begin to crowd around him. All of them. He could see the startled look of surprise in Cadance’s eyes and took a secret glee in seeing her shock.

“Now, before anypony says anything and this all becomes confusing, we should give Cadance and Shining Armor some time to settle in and get some rest. There will be time for explanations later,” Keg Smasher stated, knowing a tense situation when he saw one.

Cadance nodded but said nothing in reply.

Berry grunted, realising that no answers seemed to be forthcoming.

 

 

“Did you have a nice meeting with Keg Smasher?” Bucky asked.

“Yes,” Cadance replied, sounding tired.

“So, any good reasons as to why the Princesses left these isles to rot?” Berry asked acerbically.

The afternoon sun was warm and shone upon all the ponies sitting in the meadow. Cadance and Shining Armor were sitting on a blanket together, and neither one replied to Berry. The group was surrounded by pegasus guards.

“There are reasons,” Cadance replied, her voice somewhat halting. “More will be made clear in time,” Cadance promised.

“I suppose I’ll have to be content with getting the runaround,” Berry snarked sourly, rubbing along Bucky’s spine with one hoof.

“An explanation would be nice,” Bucky added politely.

“Celestia was not made fully aware of just how bad things had become here until just recently,” Shining Armor stated. “She was lied to about a great many things. There are other factors as well. Trying to keep the peace. Political stability.”

Lyra Heartstrings gave a snort but said nothing.

“Before we left, there was no political stability,” Bon Bon muttered.

“How are things?” Bucky asked diplomatically, trying his best to not sound cynical and bitter. He felt that Cadance deserved that at least.

“Things are bad,” Cadance replied.

“There is currently no government,” Shining Armor added.

“Equestria’s financial system is in ruins. House Avarice was pretty much the governmental treasury and the bank of Equestria. The courts no longer exist. The accusations of scandal and corruption have made everything boil over. The truth about this place, and everything that has taken place here, it has all came out. House Avarice has holed up inside their most fortified compound in Canterlot, and they are currently under siege from several other houses. They are well defended, the compound was protected by some very powerful spells from the ancient days. They are waiting for what they call the ‘peasant revolt’ to be over,” Cadance explained.

“Most of the Canterlot unicorns are more about politics than practical spell casting. The siege hasn’t gone well,” Shining Armor mentioned. “There is a stalemate. Basically, House Avarice has become prisoners in their compound. Nopony can root them out, and they lack the means to break the siege.”

“Ponyville is pretty much the only place of peace and safety. The guard who were taken prisoner there have been training the local militia and turning them into a formidable fighting force. They keep the peace and keep Ponyville well defended. Luna is there as well, and she has become something of a symbol of hope. She finally has what she has always wanted, the love, respect, and admiration of her fellow ponies. Luna’s Marauders bring food, water, and supplies to the surrounding refugee camps that have formed outside of Ponyville. They also keep order. Desperate ponies sometimes do foolish things,” Cadance said as she tried to meet the eyes of all the ponies currently looking at her.

“Barley O’Blivion has become the representative of the refugees, he goes around to the various camps speaking to the leaders of the camps, and he acts as a liaison to my sister Twilight and Luna, things would have fallen apart a long time go without him I think. He is an amazing individual. He’s used his friendship with Luna as leverage to get ponies to behave themselves and listen to him, and to talk to him as well. He makes sure that things get done,” Shining Armor stated.

“Celestia hasn’t even been in Canterlot for a while now, she has been in Fillydelphia trying to restore order. The charges of scandal and corruption have hit there there hardest. Some of the better citizens have seized control of the government offices and are trying to save as much of the paperwork and documentation as possible before it was destroyed. Even with everything going wrong, really good ponies have been coming forward to do the right thing, it has been amazing and inspiring to watch as everything unfolds. Mister Rich has been feeding the refugees for example, using what remains of his wealth and resources after the financial collapse. It hit him pretty hard, but he took it all in stride,” Shining Armor continued to explain.

Bucky heaved a sigh and looked at his foals. Dinky, Piña, and Ripple were all in a pile together. Dinky and Piña both looked quite distressed, and Ripple was trying to comfort them. Sentinel sat a short distance away, watching Princess Cadance with some kind of moonstruck wonder, his eyes wide his face full of awe.

“I hope we have a home to return to,” Derpy said in a small voice. “But no matter what, we have each other, remember that,” she added, her voice becoming firm.

“So much more has happened,” Cadance continued. “But you will find out more when you come home. It seems a lot has happened for you as well. I feel so much love coming from all of you. Your family has grown! I cannot believe how many of you there are.”

“They are my strength,” Bucky stated.

“Sparkler got married. There were some troubling circumstances and she wanted to save her friend,” Berry stated, offering a half hearted explanation, still miffed that her concerns were not properly addressed to her satisfaction.

“Lyra and Bon Bon joined us after a long adventure to get here,” Derpy said.

“I am Buckminster’s squire,” Sentinel explained.

“And this is Thistle, whom I know you know about,” Bucky said, nodding his head in Thistle’s direction.

“This is Loch Skimmer and Ripple, my wives,” Rising Star said to the royal couple. “You already know Sparkler,” he mentioned.

“You are blessed with an extended family,” Cadance said, a broad but tired looking smile spreading across her features.

“We’re very sorry, but we need to go. Lyra and I need our sleep,” Bon Bon stated to the group.

“I am coming with you!” Sentinel quipped. “Once again I will guard you through the night.”

Cadance watched as the trio departed.

“Lyra’s music counteracts the magical fear and cold from the wolves,” Bucky explained.

“I know a little about the wolves,” Cadance said. “Look, I cannot tell you everything, but you are here for a reason Buckminster. You have a formidable task ahead of you. Our time is short here, and we must leave before the sun sets. I have aid for you… I have brought books. Spellbooks. Other books about what you face here. There is a trunk full of comfort from home. Foodstuffs and things you are probably missing. I wish I could tell you more, but Bucky, as a scion of of the Platinum bloodline, you… you are the only one who can put an end to what is happening here.”

“What?” Bucky gasped.

“Look, I can’t tell you much. There is a book in the trunk you need to read. More will be revealed in time. Celestia has faith that you will succeed where so many others have failed. You have always shown so much promise she said,” Cadance said to Bucky.

“Are you saying that Bucky was fated to come here?” Berry asked in a tone of disbelief.

“And probably to marry you as well,” Cadance replied. “You are just as much a part of this as he is.”

“What in Tartarus is going on?” Berry demanded.

“I honestly do not know,” Cadance confessed. “I only know a little. Celestia was tight lipped.”

Berry Punch grunted but said nothing in return.

“Bucky, you have something that others in your position did not have,” Cadance stated. “A family that truly loves you. Look around you. Celestia is confident that you will succeed. And when you have, Celestia promises to explain everything to all of you.”

“So Celestia knew that eventually all of this would land on my shoulders and I’d be here?” Bucky asked.

“Yes, and she tried to prepare you,” Cadance replied. “She had an inkling at first, and then knew for certain when you fended off all of Ponyville and cracked your horn. There is a lot of that in your bloodline.”

“Are you saying this is a curse?” Bucky queried.

“Yes, you could call it that,” Cadance answered.

“So she placed Bucky in our care hoping that we would bond?” Derpy asked, her muzzle scrunching in confusion.

“She was indeed hoping for that,” Cadance admitted.

“So I am cursed,” Bucky stated, still trying to grasp the situation.

“Or you could say you are destined for greatness,” Shining Armor offered.

Bucky did not reply.

“Stupid curse can’t have him,” Derpy growled. “He’s mine.”

“And mine,” Berry quipped.

“Ours,” Derpy corrected.

“And my foal needs a father,” Thistle added.

“Yeah it does,” Derpy added without thinking, causing Thistle to have a very hopeful look spread over her features.

“We look after our own,” Sparkler insisted.

“So fate has brought us together,” Bucky said thoughtfully.

“Twilight believes that fate is what brought her and her friends together, and she usually doesn’t believe in intangible things that she can’t see, feel, measure, or study,” Shining Armor said. “So take hope Buckminster. I personally do not feel that fate would bring all of you together only to have you fail.”

Bucky did not reply. The recent events all seemed so confusing, and everything felt jumbled. He tried to focus his mind, and then he thought about total honesty. He remembered his first reaction to seeing Cadance, and a question formed in his mind.

“Are you tied to this curse as well Cadance?” Bucky asked.

Cadance looked startled and her wings flapped. “How? How did you know?” Cadance asked.

“When I first saw you earlier I had thoughts in my head to destroy you. Something in my mind called you an usurper, that you took what is rightfully mine,” Bucky admitted. “I attributed it to my neurosis.”

“I am part of this indirectly,” Cadance confessed. “Our fates are linked.”

“This is distressing,” Berry said, her voice full of worry.

“What do you have that is mine?” Bucky asked.

Cadance squirmed and looked very uncomfortable.

“Look, some things can’t be answered right now, but answers are coming,” Shining Armor interjected.

“Stay strong in your love for one another,” Cadance insisted. “Our time grows ever shorter.” Cadance smiled sweetly, looking at both Derpy and Berry. “Besides Buckminster, I know another good reason why you must endure,” Cadance said in a faint teasing tone.

“And that is?” Bucky replied.

“You are going to be a father,” Cadance answered.

 

 

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