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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Pushing open the bedroom door, Sparkler entered, carrying a tray loaded down with food. Her legs trembled, not from nervous anticipation, but from her disease. The moment that Sparkler entered, Violet was examining the absorbent cover placed over the bed for Derpy and Berry—the latter it seemed had been bleeding. Sparkler paused in the doorway, feeling concerned, worried even, hoping that Berry would be okay. Doctor Gotland, the old navy sawbones, had just left while Sparkler had been in the kitchen.

To Sparkler’s eyes, Berry looked weak and tired, laying there limp and listless. Sparkler pushed the worrisome thoughts she was getting from her mind and continued forwards, smiling, and trying to look as cheerful as possible.

“I brought you breakfast,” Sparkler announced in a chipper voice. “A special breakfast, cooked by special ponies, both of them sisters. Loch Skimmer and Ripple fixed you pancakes.” Sparkler saw her mother Derpy lick her lips.

Reaching the bedside, Sparkler put the heavy tray down on the table by the bedside. She watched as Violet helped Berry sit up, propping the plum coloured mare up with a few pillows behind her. To Sparkler’s eyes, Berry seemed… almost helpless. Berry was clearly not her usual self and had trouble even holding her head up.

“Daddy’s somehow surviving out in the sun. Bittersweet is out there holding a parasol over him like she always does. They’re really sweet together, you know? They’ve become so close,” Sparkler said, trying to engage in a bit of idle chit-chat.

“I’m starving.” Derpy glanced at the tray full of food. “That’s a lot of food… but…”

“Don’t worry, Mom. That’s your tray. Rising Star will be coming in a moment with Berry’s tray. Berry is getting a special smoothie that is supposed to help her recover.” Sparkler looked at the earth pony, who had her eyes closed and whose breathing seemed shallow. “You okay, Mom Two?”

“Brandy tore me a new one… no, I’m not okay. I’m gonna ground her,” Berry replied.

“It’s not so bad, it’s only a second degree vaginal tear.” Violet, who looked weary, sat down in a chair beside the bed. “Everything stitched up well and the slight tear to the anal sphincter muscle is expected to be just fine.”

Hearing this, Sparkler felt her nethers clench. Both of her hind legs pulled together and she felt her pucker puckering from just thinking about it. She heard the bedroom door open, turned, and saw Rising Star. Just behind him were two worried faces, Loch Skimmer and Ripple.

“Mama!” Loch Skimmer darted forwards, her folded wings flapping once at her sides. The charcoal grey pegasus ran to Berry’s side and moving with smooth grace, climbed into the bed beside her. She began kissing the side of Berry’s face and hugging the earth pony’s neck. She paused in her kissing only just long enough to say, “We fixed you a beet smoothie, it’s supposed to help you after your blood loss.”

“Where are the foals?” Ripple asked in a loud, excited voice as she looked around.

“In the nursery, sleeping, so their mothers can have a much needed break. Keep it down,” Violet replied in a firm, but gentle, quiet voice.

Ripple, the other charcoal coloured pegasus, moved to the bed. She had a commanding presence, she moved with fluid grace, and as she approached Derpy and Berry, she bowed her head while giving both mares a smile. “I’ve been learning how to cook. I hope everything is edible. My skills with a spatula went from blah to awesome when I started to think of it as a weapon to attack food.”

“She got a pancake stuck to the ceiling. Semillon muttered something bad in Fancy. I dunno what she said, but she looked a little peeved,” Rising Star said while smiling. He looked down at the tray that he had set down on the other side of the bed, on the bedside table for a moment and then looked at Loch Skimmer, who was hugging an almost unresponsive Berry. “Loch, darling, I think that Berry will need your help with eating breakfast and drinking her smoothie.”

“Oh, I can do that. Mama, we need to get you better. I can’t stand to see you like this.” Loch Skimmer pressed her snoot against Berry’s cheek, just below her ear, and planted a few kisses. “I need practice feeding another pony. I’m going to be a mama myself sooner rather than later. I tried sitting Ripple down in a chair and tying a bib on her, but she slap boxed my ears and threatened to stick the spoon I had up my nose, after coming in through the back entrance.”

Clutching her stomach, Berry Punch let out a weak laugh, but didn’t lift her head from her pillow. She chuckled, let out a groan of pain, and one of her hind legs gave a feeble kick. She lifted one front hoof and waved it. “No more… no more… hurts to laugh. Brandywine ripped me a new one.”

“It’s nice to see all of you getting along and acting like a family now.” Derpy looked at her older foals. “All of you have grown up a bit. You make me proud.”

“Aw, Mom… let’s get some food in ya.” Sparkler looked at her mother, smiled, and then leaned her head down to give her mother a kiss.

 

 

“Master, you look well.” Sunset Shimmer sat down beside Bucky, lifted her head, and felt the warm sunshine on her face. It was a glorious feeling; she was happy. Foals had been born. Bucky was getting better. She had suffered a troubled sleep after the events of the day before, but felt much better about everything now.

“Minion… do you remember when you assisted me when I grafted my artificial talons onto my front leg?” Bucky asked of his apprentice. He kept his eyes shut and tried to ignore the feeling of his skin, which felt as though it was being seared.

“Yes, yes I do remember that,” Sunset replied.

“You may begin diaper duty now.” Bucky let out a wheezing cackle that turned into a rasping cough.

“How… how did you even remember that?” Sunset asked. She shook her head as she tried to recall what she had even said to earn diaper duty. She felt Bucky’s talons close around her leg and she looked down. Bucky’s touch reminded her of Bartleby’s. Sweet little Bartleby, who was kind, attentive, and kept her entire life on track. Bartleby, who kept her happy. Bartleby, who brushed her mane, her tail, and her pelt. Bartleby, who had once again rode Trixie into battle when the farm had been attacked.

“I’m not a smart pony,” Bucky replied. He coughed and then sucked in a deep breath. “But I have a decent memory… I kinda wish that I could forget stuff. It’d make a lot of things in life a lot easier. Like waking up on that altar next to you.”

“Master… Bucky… I wish I knew how to help you.” Sunset eased herself down and lied down in the grass beside Bucky. She glanced up at Bittersweet, smiled at the donkey, and then prodded Bucky on the neck. “That was a bad moment… but there have been good moments for us.”

“I remember you almost being killed… your horn was—” Bucky let out a pained, raspy gasp. “You’ve been in so much danger because of me. I’m so sorry. Everypony is in danger because of me. Sometimes, I think it would have been better if I had died at some point. There were so many times that I was close to it. I feel bad for even thinking about it. I want to live… I want to be with my family. I want to be with you. But I don’t know if I can live with myself with those I love getting into danger because of their connection to me.”

“Twilight Sparkle feels the same way that you do. Her friends have been placed into extraordinary danger because of her. She feels guilty sometimes. You should talk with her.” Sunset Shimmer thought of happier times with Bucky. The trips. The long nights of study. Her continuing magical education. She was becoming a fearsome transmuter and a powerful enchanter in her own right. She watched as a bumblebee went about its errands, collecting pollen from a patch of clover. “Bucky, I’ve grown as a pony since becoming your student. I’ve learned amazing magic. You shoved me, kicking and screaming I might add, into the light. I’m a paladin now. I have Celestia’s trust. I’ve earned my redemption. I no longer fear my own shadow and the things I’ve done in the past. There is a young colt that Princess Celestia wants me to start spending time with. He’s a student in her school. He beats up bullies and he spends a lot of time being angry at how unfair the world is. She thinks that he might make for a good paladin.”

Leaning her head over, Sunset nosed Bucky’s neck, and as she did so, she noticed all of the new silver hairs in his mane. He was almost at the point of being salt and pepper now. Not only did Bucky look frail and skinny, but something about him seemed older now. Seeing it made Sunset feel sad, and her nose lingered against Bucky’s neck for a long time.

“I’m never going to be able to fill your shoes,” Sunset said to Bucky, speaking into his ear. “But I promise to try. I’ll do everything I can. I’ll look after your students, I give you my word. I’m learning how to use the shadow web so I can see into dreams. I’m trying to be a mentor. I know that you need somepony that you can trust to look after all of this when you are gone. I hope that I can be that pony.”

“Sunset, there is one final thing that I must ask you to do.”

“Anything, Bucky, just ask.”

“Dizzy and little Barley are going to need a good teacher. I’m not going to be around long enough to watch them grow up and see their magical skills mature. Lyra will do a good job of teaching them what she knows, and what she knows is considerable, but I need… I need for you to do what I can’t.”

“Yes, Master, I will do as you ask.” Sunset felt a catch in her throat and she squeezed her eyes shut as the hot sting of tears overtook her.

“I could not ask for a finer Minion…”

 

 

Far away, on the other side of Ponyville, a tall white figure stood at the door of a humble cottage and knocked. After a moment, the door opened, and a sunny yellow no-longer-a-pegasus greeted the white figure with a fierce hug around her neck. The tall white figure was then yanked inside and the door to the cottage slammed shut.

Inside the cottage, Princess Celestia looked down on the floor at two chubby foals laying together on a quilt. She immediately dropped down, forgetting her princessly poise, and began to make silly faces at the two foals.

Lunacy, grumpy, rolled over and ignored the white alicorn while hugging her own fluffy blue tail, but Tranquility was enchanted by Celestia’s silly faces. She batted at Celestia with her paw as her lion’s tail twitched.

“Wait, Tranquility, wasn’t your paw on your right leg the last I saw you?” Celestia pressed her nose into the foal and heard a giggle. “Are you already playing tricks on ponies?”

“Oh, it moves,” Fluttershy said to Celestia as she shrugged. “Sometimes it shows up on her hind legs. I’ve learned to stop worrying about it.”

“Lunacy, you get over here.” Celestia pulled the dark blue earth pony closer and gave her a kiss on her cheek. Celestia’s ears perked when Lunacy snorted and then the foal started kicking while sucking wind while threatening to cry. “Oh… somepony is a cranky-puss!”

“She’s adorable. I love her to pieces,” Discord said to Celestia as he stood nearby.

Celestia lifted her head and looked at Discord, who was looking rather proud at the moment as he looked down upon his offspring. She thought about everything that had taken place, and she felt a sincere feeling of appreciation for the draconequus. “Discord, I wanted to tell you thank you.”

“For what?” Discord squinted one eye and looked at the white alicorn sprawled on the floor. “What did I do?”

Clearing her throat, Celestia smiled. “Fluttershy once said that I have others who can help me now. Sunset Shimmer used that spell that you helped me and my sisters create. It worked as planned. I could not have done it without you. You helped two ponies get a second chance and start over. Your magic did some real good in the world. You helped me save two ponies from a terrible fate, and once more, you have my thanks.”

“Well…” Discord squirmed, his tail lashing from side to side, and he glanced at Fluttershy. “I have an interest in saving this world. I have two little foals now. I assure you, I did what I did purely for selfish reasons.” Discord tilted his head back and snorted as he folded his forelegs over his chest. His long ears waggled when he heard Fluttershy tittering.

“Are you heading over to the farmhouse?” Fluttershy asked.

“Yes, I had planned on it,” Celestia replied.

“I’ll come with you.” Fluttershy glanced at Discord and knew that her mate would follow along. “I was supposed to give Bucky a lesson in meditation today. I wonder how his new foals are… I’m dying to see them.”

“I felt a major shift in reality last night.” Discord, now looking quite serious, looked Celestia in her eye. “Something happened. Something big. You wouldn’t happen to know anything about that, would you?”

The white alicorn blinked. “Clotho is there with Bucky now. She kept her end of the bargain. Berry Punch lived to see the dawn—”

“I knew it!” Discord’s body rose up into the air and he fell into a relaxed hover. “For a time there, I had this feeling that something really bad was going to happen and that the whole world was about to be destroyed. Made the backside of my eyeballs itch. Sort of like when Bucky took that little trip down to Pinto Creek to become the Harbinger of Doom.”

“He’s not allowed to become the Harbinger of Doom. That is why I am teaching him how to meditate, so he will be calm. He can be the harbinger of something else, like the Harbinger of Really Bad Hangovers… or something.” Flustered, Fluttershy flapped her mismatched wings. “I need to go and make sure he’s okay. Between Cadance and I, I’m positive that we can keep him from becoming the harbinger of something unpleasant.”

“Fluttershy, I owe you a debt of thanks for everything you have done.” Celestia looked up at Fluttershy, giving her a grateful look. “You and Discord both. I do not know what I would do without the two of you.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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