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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Swaying from side to side, the train rocked back and forth as it traveled south. The train car was comfortable, well appointed, more like a rolling hotel room. There was a well stocked bar in this car, a long sofa, a hi-fi, and a mini-fridge filled with goodies. There was one peculiarity about this train car—it was daytime and the windows of this car, and of every car in the train, had been covered over with heavy black drapes, blocking out the sunlight.

In the lounge car, there were four ponies relaxing, but one was not like the other three. Sunny, vibrant, and orange, Sunset Shimmer lacked the slitted pupils of her companions. She was curled up on the end of the sofa, reading a book by horn light, a soft, amused smile upon her lips. Taking up most of the length of the sofa was Moonless Night, a pony that could be mistaken for a very, very large dog. The wolf-like abomination was snoring, sleeping, lost in pleasant dreams, perhaps dreams of chasing rabbits. Somepony had tied pretty pink bows into his mane and the hairy tufts that sprouted from the tips of his ears while he slept.

Sitting in a high backed recliner chair, Mask was reading a thick book entitled, ‘Method Acting and You: A Revival.’ Beside him was a tall glass tumbler filled with dark brown liquor. As Mask read, he became different ponies, changing between being a unicorn, a pegasus, and an earth pony.

Sprawled upon the floor, Bucky held something tiny up to his face to study it. It was no larger than a coin, had a spherical body the size of a pea, and eight tiny legs. It kicked and wiggled, protesting it’s current plight with faint beeps and whistles. Bucky, who had come to the realisation that bigger was not always better, was already working on the next generation of spider golems.

“Hold still,” Bucky said in a patient, faint whisper. “I’m trying to see if I made your leg hinges correctly… stop dancing, I know that telekinesis magic is tickly and tingly.”

The golem, beeping, made a rude gesture with one tiny leg, a leg as thin as a needle.

“Master?”

Sighing, Bucky set down the golem. It scurried away, running beneath the couch. “Yes, what is it, Minion?”

“What is the purpose of a golem so small?” Sunset asked.

“This model serves one purpose,” Bucky replied. “Injection. That one that I’m working on has a reservoir, extra-dimensional in nature, that is filled with the new synthetic healing compound copied from Tourmaline’s spit.”

“Teeny, tiny, itty bitty little medics?” Sunset Shimmer tilted her head and her ears perked forwards.

“Yes… I plan to give a bunch of them to Black Briar… if I can convince them to stay with him.” Bucky’s ears perked to the sound of beeping from beneath the couch. “The little ones are so sensitive to vibrations. I wonder if I can exploit that somehow.”

“Filling them with paralytic agents seems ideal for non lethal takedowns.” Returning to her book, Sunset Shimmer busied herself with more reading.

 

 

Pinto Creek had at one point been a mining town. After the mines gave up their wealth, the town almost died. The town had been revitalised after discovering that it had ideal soil for growing sweet yellow onions. The ground lacked a significant concentration of sulfur.

The town was almost dead again. Most of the residents had abandoned it. Only a few brave souls remained, determined to stick it out and see the town thrive again. When the train pulled into the train depot, hope came with it. The residents had been overjoyed to witness the arrival of the train.

The residents of Pinto Creek were so desperate for help that they didn’t seem to mind that there was a warlock on the train and a collection of abominations. Pinto Creek had trouble, real trouble, and friendly abominations were the best hope of ending said trouble.

The whole southern desert had been plagued with the undead, but Pinto Creek had been hard hit. Now, there were dried up dessicated bodies being found. Strange things lurked in the dark. There were reports of strange glows in the distance, down south, along Sidewinder Ridge.

A team of Myrmidons had been dispatched to this place; none of them had returned.

 

 

Wrapping his cloak around him, Bucky stepped down off of the train, and Sunset followed along behind him. Once he was on the ground, she moved to his side, walking with him as an equal. Bucky lifted his head high and looked at the only pony that had come out to greet them, a wrinkled, weatherworn stallion that had a soggy looking stogie hanging out of the corner of his mouth.

“Greetings,” Bucky said. “I am Bucky, of the Black Cloaks. This is Sunset Shimmer, my apprentice. We’re here to help.”

The old stallion squinted at Bucky, then at Sunset Shimmer. “We’re glad to see you. My name is Buckeye Owens. Most folk just call me ‘Eyeball’ cause I’m good at spotting danger.” The old stallion gave a nod at Bucky and Sunset. “The both of you are dangerous. Real dangerous. And I’m real happy to see that.” The stallion coughed and then spit out a wad of bloody green phlegm.

“If you need a doctor, we have one onboard the train,” Sunset Shimmer said in a low, concerned voice.

“Last night there was another attack,” Eyeball said, ignoring Sunset’s words. “We saw the flames, but none of us dared leave our houses. We went out there this morning though. One body found… the husband. The mother and the three foals are missing. The body is in the post office if you want to look. It’s dried out, like a big ol’ spider sucked it dry.”

“I’ll have Fever Cure have a look at that,” Bucky said.

“We’d all appreciate it.” Eyeball sighed and his body sagged. He looked tired. “Lumpy was a good pony. Hard worker. He was real good to his mare too, not a hitter, a biter, or a shouter. They scratched a living out of the dirt together. He deserved better.”

Bucky nodded. “A lot of ponies deserve better.”

“As mayor, I want you to take those sumbitches that did this and I want you to kill them dead. I have no plans to get in your way or make you follow some daggum regulations or behave all by the book. That’s all a load of happy crappy stick to your hooves horseshit at this point. Now is killing time.”

“Oh, I doubt we’ll be taking many prisoners,” Bucky whispered in reply. “Whatever it was that killed those Myrmidons are unlikely to surrender.”

“Those big armored fellas… they questioned everyone in the town. Came into our dreams… after that, they headed south, where you can sometimes see the glow.” Eyeball chewed on his stogie for a moment, coughed, and then spat out more bloody phlegm.

Hearing this made Bucky feel a little worried. Myrmidons were tough—tough enough to deal with almost anything, with the exception of strong magic users.

“There’s zombies out there… dead ponies, burros, steers, cows, and other critters. Be careful if you go out. During the daytime, you can see them and run, but at night, they’ll jump out and get ya.” Eyeball wheezed a bit, his eyes watering, coughed, and then shook his head. “I gotta get inside, outa this cold air before it kills me.”

“Oh, I’m not worried about zombies,” Sunset Shimmer said, offering Eyeball a sunny smile. “I’m an anathema to the undead. That’s why I’m here.”

“Firestarter,” Bucky added, making a gesture to suggest flames with his talons. “Lots of burning, fireballs, she’s great if you want to roast marshmallows, but don’t be anywhere near her if she sneezes or farts—”

“Master!”

“What?” Bucky reached up and rubbed the ear that Sunset had just shouted into.

Sunset Shimmer tossed her head back and let out an indignant sniff.

Eyeball, his eyes still watering, began to chortle, which caused him to start coughing once more. He hacked and wheezed, still laughing as he turned around to head inside.

 

 

“Just like the others,” Fever Cure said, shaking his head. “Sucked dry.” He stared at the body on the table. It was skin, desiccated meat, and bones. Everything was shriveled. He cleared his throat. “Bears an unmistakable signature, the touch of necromantic energy.” Fever Cure held up an orb of undead compulsion near the body and the orb glowed with a faint light. “Just like all the others.”

“Shite and buggery.” Bucky’s lip curled back into a snarl and he shook his head.

“Bite marks.” Sunset Shimmer looked over the dried out body, her muzzle crinkled in disgust. “Bite marks on the neck and the forelegs, down near the fetlocks. Puncture wounds.”

Fever Cure placed the orb of undead compulsion near the bite wounds and it flashed brighter as it was held near. The stallion made a clucking sound with his tongue. “I don’t like this. This is very much like what Bocor Oya described.”

Oya. The name rung a bell. Bucky tilted his head to the side as he tried to recall the name and its significance. Oya. He recalled the scent of oranges… and the need to sneeze. Oya, he had discussed nether creatures with Oya and they had danced together at a party. Oya believed in vampires.

“Bocor Oya?” Bucky asked.

“She and I have exchanged a few letters… she’s heard about our problem. She’s told me some things… that… I have had a hard time accepting,” Fever Cure replied.

“Let me guess… nether creatures… vampires.” Bucky’s voice was low. He watched as Fever Cure nodded. “Well, I suppose anything is possible. Treat this as a serious threat for now. I want this whole town locked down by sundown.” Bucky yawned. “I’d better get some sleep sometime if I’m going to be at the top of my game tonight.”

 

 

“Mommy, you’re very pretty.” Bucky looked up at the gleaming, almost metallic looking mare that was applying makeup in the mirror. He rubbed up against her leg and was rewarded with an affectionate nuzzle on top of his head.

“Why thank you, you darling colt.”

Bucky adored the sound of his mother’s voice. He looked up at her reflection, his eyes wide, an almost worshipful expression upon his face. “Will Daddy be joining us at the opera tonight?” Bucky’s eyes glanced at the photo of Daddy. A dark, smokey grey stallion stared back out of the picture frame, his long, unkempt mane spilling around his face and shoulders. His eyes were loving, gentle, and there was a smirking smile upon his face. Daddy had a lopsided grin and square, perfect teeth.

There was a tingle-tickle all around him as Bucky felt himself lifted. He was flying, soaring through the air, and then he was right in front of Mommy’s face. She was so pretty. Her shining silvery mane spilled down her neck. Dinner plate nums. Or something. Bucky could never quite remember. He felt two lips kiss his tummy and he giggled again, holding still so he wouldn’t mess up Mommy’s eye makeup.

“Daddy is very sorry,” Mommy said in a low voice.

Looking his Mommy in the eye, Bucky blinked as she reached up and booped his nose. Reaching out a foreleg, he touched his tiny hoof to her snoot, booping her back. “Why is Daddy sorry?” He could see that Mommy looked sad now. If she cried, her eye makeup would start running.

“Daddy is very, very sorry… for everything.

Oops. Mommy was starting to cry. A single tear rolled down out of the corner of her eye, making her blue-black makeup run. “I don’t understand.” He squirmed as he felt his mother pull him closer and kiss his belly again.

“I love you so much… you’ve been such a good colt. Never forget that Mommy loves you, no matter what happens.”

“What?” Bucky blinked, not understanding what was going on.

“Mommy loves you so much… tonight, at the opera, I fear that you are going to learn the truth… and that it is going to hurt you.”

Before his eyes, Mommy began to age, growing old and wrinkled. Her face sagged and her ears drooped. Her eyes yellowed and her gleaming dinner plate num mane started to fall out.

Letting out a shrill squeak of terror, Bucky fell down to the floor, watching as his mother aged. He cried out, again and again, but there was nothing he could do. As he let out a pained shriek, there was the sound of shattering glass.

Daddy jumped out of the picture frame. Only it was Not Daddy. He looked like Daddy, but was different. Sharp teeth. Horrible red and green eyes. A glowing red horn. Something bad had happened to Daddy.

As Mommy fell over, collapsing, dying of old age, Not Daddy lept down and pinned Bucky to the floor. Screaming, helpless, there was nothing the foal could do as Not Daddy’s muzzle opened wide and then clamped down. Sharp teeth pierced Bucky’s throat, and then, he was unable to scream.

He felt himself growing cold. He felt a rough tongue lapping at the wound in his neck.

The world went black.

 

 

“Bucky, wake up… everything is freezing over!” Not knowing what else to do, Sunset Shimmer gave Bucky a gentle slap across the muzzle with a hoof. She heard a muffled confused cry and then he was all over her, clinging to her neck, panicking, she could feel his talons clutching her mane. “It’s okay… shh, I have you.”

She could feel his heart thudding in his chest. His whole body was cold. He was twitching, spasming, everything about him was violent jerks and twitches. She pulled him closer, rubbing him, trying to warm him. His body was like ice. The train car all around them was coated in hoarfrost.

Hearing a soft muffled sound, Sunset Shimmer looked up. She saw Black Briar standing close by, his pelt thick with accumulated frost. The earth pony came closer, his hooves and prosthetic leg almost silent as he moved. He placed one front hoof on Bucky’s back and Sunset felt Bucky calm a little.

“He feels like he’s almost dead,” Blackbriar said in a low whisper.

“Shut up!” Sunset snapped.

“I didn’t mean anything by it.” The earth pony’s face became apologetic. “I’m scared.”

Sunset closed her eyes. “I’m sorry… I’m scared too.”

“Gin,” Bucky gasped.

Reaching out with her mind, Sunset Shimmer grabbed the gin out of the liquor cabinet. She almost got a glass as well, but she realised that a glass wasn’t needed. She twisted off the cap as the bottle zoomed through the air and then held it up to Bucky’s lips.

She watched as the bottle of naval strength gin was sucked down Bucky’s throat, feeling a little amazed by what she was seeing. This stuff was horrid, strong stuff, a vile liquid. Just being close to the open bottle made her eyes water and her sinuses burn.

“You mad bastard, you just guzzled two quarts of gin!” Fever Cure, looking bleary eyed, stood in the doorway. Fever Cure frowned as he listened to Bucky wheezing. “I don’t suppose drinking that much would kill you… but if it was anypony else, I’d be inducing vomiting right about now.”

 

 

Feeling unsettled, Bucky leaned back against the couch cushions. He was wrapped in a blanket, cold, unable to feel his legs. The gin had warmed his belly, but nothing else. He didn’t even feel drunk, which unnerved him. He hadn’t cast any spells to burn the alcohol from his blood. That much gin should have done something.

Next to him, Sunset Shimmer continued to worry. He had sent everypony else out of the room, wanting to be alone, but Sunset had refused to leave. Closing his eyes, Bucky could see vivid images from his dream. He shivered as he saw Platinum aging, shrivelling up.

He had dreamed that she was his mother. For a moment, he could almost feel the soft, warm touch of the nuzzle she had given him in the dream. The affection. The little kisses she had placed upon his belly. He had felt loved. His bones ached as the cold in his body seemed to turn his limbs to lead.

As much as he tried not to, he thought of Berry and her soft, tender, milk swollen teats. How warm they were. How full of life they were. The sweet, creamy, life sustaining richness of the milk she produced. A terrible hunger gnawed at Bucky’s insides, not just in his stomach, but in his heart, it permeated through every fibre of his being.

Or Derpy… He could almost feel her velvety thigh against his cheek. The soft, moist smell of her feminine places. The heat from those places. Warmth. The soft gurgles of her stomach in his ear while he suckled, while he fed. It always made the cold go away. It always brought life back to his limbs and appeased his strange hunger.

Thistle, whose milk tasted of fish and sweetness. She liked it when he fed, liked the feeling of closeness. She liked to rub his ears. Her soothing touch would sometimes put him to sleep. Thistle understood his needs. She was a good pony and was becoming a good wife.

The cold became an unbearable ache. He reached out his talons, extending them towards Sunset Shimmer, his whole body shaking, and he wrapped his talon fingers around her leg. “It hurts so much…”

The cold was agonising. Sunset Shimmer hissed as the cold sank into her foreleg like a knife. In moments, her foreleg had gone numb and she could feel the cold spreading. It hurt… it hurt so much, but Sunset had nothing to reference this sort of pain, This was different. Her teeth began to chatter and she felt a cold ache in her heart.

Torn, wanting to comfort Bucky, but unable to bear his frigid touch, Sunset pulled her foreleg away. Right away, she could feel warmth returning to her limb. She rubbed herself as she said, “Bucky, you’re like ice… it’s hurting me.”

“I’m sorry Sunset… I’m so cold. And you… you’re so warm.

Sunset Shimmer felt her blood run cold for a moment, a cold chill shot down her spine, and her whole body shivered. She threw a thick woollen blanket over Bucky, then another, and then, wondering if it was safe, she leaned over against him, fearful of the cold that he seemed to radiate.

 

 

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