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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Agave Flats. Bucky had a good long look at the town while the sun began to make the first rosy glow in the east. He felt his muscles clenching, he hated and feared the sun now. He huddled under his cloak and kept his hood pulled down over his face.

“What is this place?” Bucky asked.

“A little settlement. We changelings do a bit of trade with them. We buy their booze and their agave syrup for the ponies living with us. They’re not part of Equestria or Mustangia. They’re just a little independent settlement. Make really good tequila,” Chrysalis replied.

“And a mirror traveler lives here? Shining Armor should be able to detect him.” Bucky scowled within the black confines of his hood. Something about this felt wrong. He glanced at Chrysalis beside him. She had taken the form of a soft, sooty grey unicorn mare that had a brown bottle for a cutie mark.

“Okay, Bucky, time for a little information. The unicorn is named Sadwick. He sleeps during the day when he feels safe because the night scares the living shit out of him. He is scared of the dark… I mean he is really afraid of the dark. He cries and whimpers and freaks out all night long.”

“Good to know. He should be afraid of the dark.” Bucky’s lip curled away from his teeth and he shook his head. There were bad things in the dark. In Bucky’s experience, ponies with troubled minds feared the dark.

“So… are we going to torture him?” Chrysalis asked.

Bucky let out a hiss and then swiveled his head to look at the disguised changeling beside him. “No!” Bucky shook his head to make it clear. “No, no, no! We do not torture ponies. Even bad ones.”

“Well, you almost choked me to death!” Chrysalis snapped.

Snorting, Bucky looked away. “Are you even a pony?”

Looking wounded, Chrysalis turned away. She stared at the town in the distance. “I used to be. Once, a long time ago, I used to be pretty. I wanted to stay pretty. I saw old age and I feared it. Beyond old age, there was death. I didn’t want to face that. I couldn’t. I wasn’t always like this.” Chrysalis turned to glare at her companion. “So, any snide remarks about how ugly I am or what a disgusting bug I am?”

“No.” Bucky watched as ponies walked out of the town, heading off into the agave fields. The sun rose a little more, bathing the world around them in a soft, pinkish light.

“Why not, wolfchow?”

To Bucky’s ears, Chrysalis sounded confused and scared right now. He could feel her fear. He could feel her doubt and uncertainty. She had done more than just allow him to feel love and have a taste. Bucky could feel the entire emotional spectrum and sample it. Her doubt was bitter and he didn’t like it. He didn’t reply, just gave a shrug.

So this was what it was like to be an emovore. Bucky wasn’t certain that he liked it. He made a mental note to make certain that he inspired more positive feelings in the ponies around him, as doubt and uncertainty felt like it was giving him indigestion. Or maybe he was just hungry for real food and the alcohol had long since worn off.

“Is there a cafe in town?” Bucky asked.

“Oh crap, for all the times to be hungry.” Chrysalis rolled her eyes.

“I’ve been sick… been very difficult to eat. My body wants something… else. But I think I’m hungry. Did you do something to me?” Bucky peered up at his tall unicorn companion.

“I might have tweaked you a little bit,” Chrysalis admitted. “But I wasn’t helping you, wolfchow… this is me selfishly looking after my own interests.” The sooty grey unicorn looked at her companions, a few more unicorns, a pegasus or three, and a few earth ponies, all of them changelings in disguise. “Okay, change in plans. Who’s up for pancakes and agave syrup?”

One by one, each of the disguised changelings present raised their hooves while making sheepish expressions. One of the earth ponies, a dark brown stallion, gave Chrysalis a hopeful look and asked, “Can we get the chocolate chip pancakes?”

“Do I look like I’m made out of bits?” Chrysalis let out a snort. “This is what I get for allowing some of you drones to retain a little personality. Chocolate chips. Pfah!”

“Sometimes… sometimes my life really sucks. Sometimes, my life is the most abysmal thing I know of. Sometimes, I hate my life and I loathe my very existence.” Bucky paused and considered the changelings around him. “And then there are moments when my life becomes quite surreal and I find the strength to continue.”

“Let’s go… we’ll talk about this over breakfast,” Chrysalis said.

 

 

Stepping out of the cafe, Bucky belched. His stomach was full. He had eaten quite well and he didn’t feel like throwing up, which was pleasant. His body wanted food and the pancakes didn’t taste like disgusting ashes. The others joined him and Chrysalis looked quite annoyed because she had been stuck with the bill.

The town was a collection of brick buildings, adobe buildings, wooden buildings, and quite a number of crude shacks. Agave fields stretched out around the town in all directions and little cottages, huts, and shacks dotted the farmland. The agave also had cacti growing, edible cacti, like prickly pears. Many of the ponies had cacti related cutie marks.

“So where is our new best friend?” Bucky asked as he began to follow Chrysalis.

“A short ways out of town, there is an old topaz mine. He lives down at the bottom of the mine shaft, in a section of the mine turned into a forepony’s office that he converted into a place to live. There are no stairs down, no means to fly down the narrow shaft, and only unicorns can teleport down. He freaks out about the darkness down there and keeps the lights burning at all times. The entrance is booby trapped and he is well protected. While he slept, I had several drones come and study his defenses. I leaned a lot about him during my so called captivity.” Chrysalis gave Bucky a sticky, syrupy smile.

Nodding, Bucky began making mental notes. His number one priority, or so he felt, was capturing the communication device and giving it to Twilight Sparkle. It might save his head from rolling for this little fiasco. He was fully prepared to beg for forgiveness, but bearing gifts improved his chances.

“The mine shaft has mines. The explosive kind. The whole shaft is littered with mines. He has wards to keep teleporters out.” Chrysalis frowned. “He really hates the local earth ponies. I mean, he hates them. When he had me captive, I saw a few of his other victims. We’re dealing with a real sick pony, wolfchow. He can’t get his dick hard unless somepony screams. He likes whips and chains. He likes branding irons. He has a thing for pegasi too, keeps talking about how their day will come and unicorn superiority will be acknowledged.”

Feeling disgusted, Bucky snorted. Unicorn superiority. He felt his skin crawl as loathing filled him. It was something that he hated and wished that somehow, he could burn it away. He wished that he could erase it from the minds of unicorns around him.

“Sure you’re not up for a little torture?” Chrysalis asked.

“Don’t even start with me right now.” Bucky’s voice came out as a terrifying growl. “I mean it. Don’t… even… start.”

“I just don’t see the big deal.” Chrysalis sidestepped away from Bucky, putting some distance between herself and the unicorn beside her. “Not trying to pick a fight, I just don’t get it. He’s scum. I don’t see a compelling reason why we can’t make him screech. Make him pay for all the harm he’s done to me and to others.”

“Because it’s wrong,” Bucky replied.

“You do wrong things all the time.” Chrysalis snorted and shook her head.

“Why did you teleport all those ponies in Las Pegasus to safety before the bombs went off?” Bucky asked. “Don’t lie to me. I’ll know. If you lie, I swear, I’ll cut your head off myself.”

Sighing, Chrysalis rolled her eyes. “I did it because it was the right thing to do. Every now and then I get an annoying voice in the back of my head that tells me I’m about to do something horrible… sometimes I can ignore it and keep going… but… I… just… couldn’t let all those ponies die.”

“So you didn’t do it for selfish reasons just to endear yourself to me,” Bucky said.

“Well, that might have been a part of it, but that was not the driving motivation. At that moment, I truly did suffer a pang of conscience,” Chrysalis admitted.

“So you do know the difference between right and wrong.” Bucky gave a sidelong glance at his companion. “No more hurting ponies. No more killing. No more sucking ponies dry and turning them into husks. I mean it, Chrysalis. I will end you. I am your nightmares given flesh. I am a bad day waiting to happen. I am Mister Death. I kill stuff… I end things. It is what I do. And I’ve worked out the plan on how to end you… so no more torture. You listen to that little voice in the back of your head that tells you not to do bad things… or else you’re going to have to deal with me. I’ll do worse than kill you.”

“Okay, fine, I get it!” Chrysalis whined as she squeezed her eyes shut. “Just… don’t nag me about it. It’s bad enough that you’ve got me bent over a barrel and have left me with no choice in the matter. You know, before I met you, I’ve never felt helpless before. I hate you, just so you know.” She opened her eyes, squinting in the early morning sunshine, her lip curled back from her flat, square teeth, and she turned to give Bucky a hateful glare.

“Got something to say?” Bucky asked in a flat voice.

“Yeah… I was wrong about you. After picking through your mind that first time, I thought you’d roll right over for me and show your belly… you like being dominated by females. You’re so happy just to give in and be so annoyingly submissive. But beneath it all… you’re a tyrant. You’re an awful pony, wolfchow.”

“Let’s get something clear. You make my skin crawl. Being near you is unpleasant. I loathe you and I keep questioning myself right now. I consider you to be a major threat to Equestria, and every moment that I am with you I question my judgment more and more. There is a little voice in the back of my mind that is screaming at me to kill you, before you try to betray me later.” Bucky took a deep breath. “But there is also a little voice screaming to give you a chance because you still know the difference between right and wrong. I still might kill you at some point on general principles after I get what I need from you. You calling me a tyrant is not helping anything.”

Chrysalis, not knowing how to respond, fell silent and marched ahead, her face a sour sneer.

 

 

Working together in silence, Bucky and Chrysalis disarmed the defenses around the mine shaft, working together, being cautious, and trying to avoid eye contact. Chrysalis struggled to focus upon the task at hoof. Bucky, as she had discovered, was a terrifying creature, and she now understood why so many feared him and why so many loathed him. The idea that he might still kill her after getting what he needed unnerved her. She had no choice but to give him what he wanted. Even if somehow she killed him now, she would still have to deal with a very angry Celestia, Luna, and Twilight Sparkle, not to mention any backup contingencies that Bucky had.

It was painful having to admit that one had been horned so thoroughly. Bucky had screwed her over in the worst possible way, going in dry, and leaving her in a subdued, violated, submissive heap. At the moment, all feelings of amorousness she had for him were tainted by her feelings of absolute hatred for him. He had said it, she was his bitch. This knowledge galled her something awful.

For a moment, she thought about the white pony she had seen, wondering if it had really been a hallucination or something else. The fear she felt… it was as if death was close by and leering over her shoulder, taunting her that she would soon be food for worms.

The only way out of this mess was to allow herself to be exploited, be a good pony, and be on her best behaviour. She was out of options. This realisation caused her to seethe. It could be worse though. She would live through this. Maybe. Celestia was known for being kind. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad. Maybe all of this would work out for the best.

Beside the mine shaft, Bucky cleared his throat. Turning to look at him, she saw him give a nod. She nodded back, feeling ready, and began preparing herself to go back down into the dungeon where she had been tortured.

She hoped that the mirror traveler would make Bucky lose his temper. At least things would get interesting if that happened.

 

 

Tucked away in the shadows, Bucky watched as Chrysalis awoke the sleeping unicorn. He had already been subdued, left defenseless, and was quite helpless. Chrysalis, no longer disguised, prodded the unicorn with her hole-filled hoof.

“You!” Sadwick said as his eyes fluttered open.

“Me?” Chrysalis replied in a sarcastic, mocking tone. “Me. Me, me, me.” Chrysalis shook her head, smiling. “It isn’t always about me.” She lifted up her hoof, turned the mostly paralysed unicorn’s head, and made him look in the corner. “Him!” Chrysalis began laughing.

Sadwick screamed and shat the bed. He screamed and screamed and kept screaming. All around him, changelings snickered and made insectoid chittering sounds as Sadwick continued to scream himself hoarse.

“Greetings,” Bucky whispered. “I see you know who I am… I take it that you are very surprised to have visitors right now. Before we continue, there is something you should know.” Bucky paused and let out a chuckle. “Cutting off her head was only step one. For her, that’s foreplay. You have made a grievous error.”

Floating forward, Bucky, half in and half out of shadow, came and hovered beside Sadwick’s bed. Reaching down, he placed his talon fingers over the unicorn’s lips to silence him. “Shh… this will all be over soon.”

Hearing Bucky’s voice, Chrysalis shivered. He was creepy. No, scratch that, he was Mister Creepy. The growing puddle of urine and the turds in the bed were proof of that.

“You’re going to tell me everything. There will be no bravado, there will be no resisting, so don’t waste your breath.” Bucky’s talon finger lingered over the unicorn’s lips.

“I’ll tell you nothing,” Sadwick said, his voice a low murmur of fear. “I’ve been trained to resist torture. You’ll get nothing, spawn of nightmares.”

“Tsk, tsk, tsk.” Bucky shook his head and gave the unicorn an affectionate pat upon the cheek. “See, I don’t plan to torture you. Tortured ponies tend to say whatever will make the pain stop.” Bucky blinked and looked up at Chrysalis for a moment, and then back down at Sadwick. “Oh, don’t get me wrong, I could torture you, believe me, I could. And you would still tell me everything.” Bucky’s talons moved over the unicorn’s eye and then Sadwick’s eyelids were held open in a faint blue green glow. Bucky placed the sharp point of his claw a hair’s breadth away from Sadwick’s eyeball and the unicorn began shrieking.

“I lost an eye,” Bucky said in a soft conversational voice. “Out of the many things I’ve lost, I regret losing my eye. Of course, out of everything I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.” Twitching his talon, he touched his claw tip to the unicorn’s eyeball for a fraction of a second.

Sadwick gibbered with fear as a few more turds slipped out.

Suddenly, more than anything else in the whole wide world, Chrysalis wanted to flee this room, flee the desert, flee Equestria, flee this hemisphere, and she wanted to be as far away from Bucky as possible. Perhaps she could adapt to life on the southern ice shelf. For all of her evil, for all of her misdeeds, for all of the terrible things she had done during her long life, nothing scared her quite like this. Her insides felt like jelly and it took every ounce of her will to keep from shaking. Was Bucky doing this somehow? Some kind of magic? Whatever it was, it was horrible like nothing else.

Chrysalis understood something now. The boogeypony was real and he wasn’t found under the bed or in a closet. He was right there in front of her. Scared to even breathe, Chrysalis didn’t want to watch whatever was about to happen next, but she couldn’t turn away either. Something bad was going to happen. Something worse than torture.

Bucky’s horn ignited and black flames crept up its length. Taint mist began to leak from his eye. He shivered, feeling the old familiar pain of dark magic. He had turned his pain into power. Focusing his will, he pushed his way into the unicorn’s mind, destroying all barriers, and began stripping the unicorn bare. He made a few mental cuts, a few deep gashes, and in just a few moments, he absolutely destroyed the willful resistance of the unicorn. He still had more to do, but he would get to that later. The dark flames that bubbled along his horn went out and the Taint mist went away.

“Tell me your name,” Bucky commanded.

“My name is Sadwick,” the unicorn said in a meek, foalish voice. “Can you keep the dark away?”

“I can keep the dark away, but only if you are a good foal. You want to be a good foal, don’t you?” Bucky leaned down and brushed Sadwick’s mane back out of his face.

“Yes sir, just don’t leave me in the dark.” Sadwick gave a weak nod.

Horrified, Chrysalis tried to figure out what had just happened. Stunned, disturbed, she took a step back from the bed, her mouth hanging open. She had just witnessed something that shocked her to her very core. Cold fear crept along her spine.

“Sadwick, I want you to tell me about how you talk to your fellows back home,” Bucky said in a gentle voice, the same voice he used when he was putting his little ones to bed.

“I have a quantum connection radio,” Sadwick replied.

“Tell me more... how does it work?” Bucky asked.

“I don’t understand it very well, I only know the basics.” Sadwick looked scared. “Please don’t leave me in the dark just because I don’t know.”

Bucky sighed, a patient sound. “Just tell me what you know.”

Sadwick, looking hopeful, nodded. “Yes sir, I can do that. Inside the radio, there is a special atom. It’s kept in a containment field. This atom is connected to an atom inside of another radio back home. These two atoms are connected by something called spooky action. A scientist in one of the worlds we visited invented this tech. We stole it. Communication is made possible by using the spooky action connection as a carrier.”

“Very good Sadwick, this makes me happy. So you have a means to communicate with home.” Bucky reached down and patted the unicorn’s leg. “What is your purpose here?”

“My purpose is to gather intelligence, test various spells of non detection, and to kill Twilight Sparkle should I get the chance.” Sadwick began to tremble. “The Night Stallion said that I was allowed to have my way with her if I could subdue her somehow.”

“But you don’t want to do that now, do you?” Bucky asked.

“No sir, it’s wrong, sir. I feel very bad about what I’ve done.” Sadwick closed his eyes.

“I want you to apologise to Chrysalis.” Bucky gave the unicorn a nudge. “Come on, you can do it… if you don’t, I’ll turn the lights off.”

Shaking, Sadwick opened his eyes. He stared up at Bucky, his whole body starting to have violent spasms. “Please, no, not the dark!” Sadwick began to whimper and he struggled to turn his head to face Chrysalis. “I’m so sorry… what I did was wrong! I’m sorry!”

Revolted, sickened by what she was seeing, for a moment, Chrysalis worried that all of her pancakes were about to make a hasty exit. She made drones for obedience, but this was different. Her drones were made when there was no real mind to speak of, no memories, no real free will, her drones were made before any real brain development. Bucky had done something to the poor unicorn… something awful. Filled with revulsion, Chrysalis backed away a little more and began to rethink her life.

“There we go. A little confession is good for the soul. Don’t you feel better?” Bucky raised his eyebrow and smiled down at Sadwick. His voice was gentle and kind, almost loving.

“Yes sir, I do.” Sadwick gave a feeble nod.

“So… are there any current plans to attack Equestria directly?” Bucky asked.

Sadwick, whimpering, closed his eyes again and made a pained expression. “Yes sir, the Night Stallion is brokering a deal with several demons down in your Tartarus. They were locked away thousands of years ago by the white alicorn you call Celestia. If the Night Stallion has his way, soon, the Destroyer and his army will be released. It is hoped that you will perish in the conflict. Celestia defeated them once, but she is weaker now and does not have the Elements of Harmony or the Horn of Banishment.”

“Hmm.” Horn of Banishment. Bucky made a few mental notes. If it was gone, he wondered if he could make a replacement. It might be a worthy task for a grandmaster of enchantment. “Tell me, what is the Destroyer getting out of all of this?”

“Besides a chance to destroy Celestia, whom he hates, the Night Stallion has promised to open a portal to the world next door to this one, the one where the one you call Sunset Shimmer was banished. That world is weak and lacks powerful magic. The Destroyer could establish himself a new kingdom there and we could push the beings of this planet through a portal to him to feed him the souls he craves.”

That sounded bad. Bucky’s eyebrow raised and he gave careful thought to Sadwick’s words. This conflict was spilling over to other whens and wheres. How many humans did that world have? Millions? Billions? No real magic to speak of, just technology, an army of demons would obliterate them and turn the world to ashes in no time. Bucky felt a cold prickle along his spine. He didn’t like this at all. They would be defenseless. Demons were magic, from what little he understood. They didn’t need ley lines or access to ambient magical sources. Unicorns and alicorns casted magic, channeled magic, demons were magic, with the exception being Twilight Sparkle, who was the alicorn of magic. Being a source of magic is what allowed demons to grant necromantic powers. Bucky began to feel jittery, but he made no outward sign to show it.

Bucky needed to throw a wrench into the Night Stallion’s machinery somehow. He began to feel the pressure of needing to save lives, not just the lives on this world, but its sister world as well, the world next door. They were defenseless.

His horn igniting, Bucky pushed his way into Sadwick’s memories and began to poke around, being careful and gentle. “Tell me, Sadwick, have you been to the world next door?”

“Yes I have,” Sadwick replied. “I went there with the Night Stallion himself. It was very strange.”

Perfect. Bucky tried to home in on the memory. It didn’t take him long until he found what he was looking for. Sensing what he was wanting, he pushed his way in deeper, until he lost himself completely.

 

 

“Greetings, Doctor Caballeron. It is a pleasure to see you again.”

Bucky peered through Sadwick’s eyes, trying to get his bearings. He was bipedal and having trouble balancing. In front of him where two humans, both male. Both were wearing fancy clothes… business suits. There was some kind of wagon nearby… what had Sunset Shimmer called them? It was too disorienting to think in a clear and concise way.

“It is always a pleasure to see you again, Mister Night Watch. I was able to implement the, uh, technology you provided me. The quantum mirror is very interesting.”

“It is indeed,” Night Watch replied. “It shows us what we are in other whens and wheres.”

“Certainly better than the previous means of testing. More reliable. Easier. I’ve collected what you wanted.” Doctor Caballeron smiled. “Thousands of unicorns, ready to go. No one will miss them. I’ve combed through the undesirables that no one cares about. The vagrants, the prisons, the mental hospitals, and a whole boatload of illegal immigrants coming into our country that got caught. We’re going to deport them and the ship we’ll be deporting them on will have a most unfortunate accident.”

“How tragic.” Night Watch raised an eyebrow. “Please, send my condolences to any who might miss these pieces of garbage.”

Both humans started laughing, rowdy boisterous laughter. Bucky felt sickened. The hatred inside of him grew like a cancer, consuming his insides. Loathing filled him. He hated the Night Stallion more than ever.

Night Watch cleared his throat. “I have a fine selection of gifts for you. I think you will be pleased. We are approaching zero hour… soon, you will want to flee this wretched shit hole of a world and find a nicer place to live.”

Bucky noted a brief moment of sadness on Doctor Caballeron’s face, but it was gone in an instant, replaced by a cruel smile. “I have made plans. I look forward to continuing to do business with you. Get in touch with me if you need something, I have a knack for finding things… In that other world, the world you want, I can find anything. It’s amazing! It’s like magic! I just think about what I want and immediately I know where to find it.”

Both humans started laughing again.

“You have done well, Doctor Caballeron.”

“I’ll have your next shipment of unicorns ready in just a few months, as promised.”

“Wonderful.”

Seething, Bucky pulled himself out of this memory.

 

 

“It’s worse than I thought,” Bucky said as he came to his senses. “We are so horned. So very horned.” He fought to control his panic. He closed his eyes, focused his will, and opened up his personal dimensional pocket, a trick that he had finally been able to master, a bit of magic taught to him by Witching Hour.

“I’m sorry Sadwick, but what is inside of your head is far too valuable. We need to be able to study everything. You must forgive me.” Bucky reached into dimensional pocket, fished around, and then pulled out a glass orb. “It’s nothing personal, but the survival of not one, but two worlds is at stake. I feel bad for what I am about to do, but you made some awful choices to bring you to this point. You met me halfway.”

“Do whatever you must,” Sadwick replied, giving Bucky a nod.  

“Bucky, what are you about to do?” Chrysalis asked as Bucky’s horn glowed with black energy once more. “Bucky… what are you doing?”

Ignoring Chrysalis, Bucky touched the glass orb to the unicorn’s horn and then began to cast a simplified, corrected version of one of Sombra’s spells. He wasn’t putting a whole life into crystal to preserve it, but he was pulling out every bit of knowledge and memory. Sadwick moaned and his mouth fell open. His legs gave a feeble kick but he was still paralysed.

“It’s going dark,” Sadwick whimpered.

“I’m sorry, it will all be over soon,” Bucky said as he reached down and stroked Sadwick’s face. “This goes beyond you or me… this goes beyond both of us. Our lives don’t mean a single horseapple in the bigger picture of things. It will all be over soon.”

“I’m scared.” Sadwick trembled and closed his eyes. “I’m sorry for everything I done. I wish I could take it back.”

Looking down, Bucky could see a glow inside of the glass orb. It was filling with magic, with memory, with knowledge, it was filling with the contents of Sadwick’s mind. “Sorry doesn’t always make it so.”

“I… scared.” Sadwick’s voice was weird and distorted now. “Dark.”

“Almost over.” Bucky rubbed Sadwick’s face with his talons, trying to comfort him.

“Ur… durk… hum…” Sadwick’s eyes opened and then rolled back into his head.

“Yes, there is a hum in the dark,” Bucky said. “The glass will keep you safe. Nothing can hurt you in there. You will sleep. Shh, let everything go and be at peace. You’re being given a chance to save millions… maybe billions of lives.”

With a gasp, Sadwick went still and stared up at the ceiling. His chest rose and fell with slow regularity. One leg kicked.

“Oh by the stars, he’s still alive?” Chrysalis asked, her eyes wide with horror.

“Yes.” Bucky looked at Chrysalis. “His mind is a cleaned off slate. Everything is in here.” Bucky held up the glass orb. “This body will need to be cared for. In time, it will learn to walk, will learn new things, will learn to speak, and a new personality will bloom. This body will need a caretaker. Can I trust you?”

“Bucky, I… you… what you just did—”

“Can I trust you?” Bucky’s voice was a cold, chilling sound.

Chrysalis cottoned on quick. This was not a question one could say ‘no’ to. Chrysalis opened her mouth to reply, but the pancakes she had eaten came out instead. She threw up all over the floor, half digested wads of fried dough shooting out of her nostrils and gooey syrup clogged her sinuses.

Coughing, spitting, trying to clear her airway, Chrysalis nodded, hoping that a nod would be enough. She looked at Bucky and wiped her mouth with her foreleg. She tried to take a deep breath and discovered that she wasn’t done vomiting. It felt as though her various organs and chemical production centers inside were all trying to leap out of her throat so they could flee, get away from the bad unicorn on the other side of the bed and go someplace far, far away.

In the back of her mind, Chrysalis realised it was time to turn over a new leaf.

“I mean it, Chrysalis. I’ll have ways of knowing. I’ll drop in unannounced and check through his memories… and if I see anything that resembles abuse or cruelty… do I even need to say what happens next?” Bucky’s eyes narrowed.

Chrysalis wondered how Bucky would find her, but that was stupid thinking, that was the sort of thinking that would get one killed. Of course he would find her. There would be no safe place on this planet that she could hide. Somehow, she knew.

“I’ll see he’s treated like royalty... he’ll be fat and spoiled… he’ll want for nothing and have a happy, pleasant life,” Chrysalis gasped, still panting from throwing up.

“Good… good… you and I have much to discuss still. I still need an army. You want to keep living. You were just thinking about turning over a new leaf, and I would advise that you give that some serious thought. And whatever you do, do not think about toying with me.”

Cringing, Chrysalis nodded and tried to balance herself on wobbling knees.

“I must confess… I’ve stopped caring… I only have one goal now, one directive, one motive. I’ve got to give Celestia, Twilight, and Sunset Shimmer the future they need to make things right. I don’t care what I have to do. Truth be told, I stopped caring some time ago, even before Pinto Creek. All options are on the table for me. There is nothing I won’t do to give them time and to clear away their enemies. I will go to Tartarus in the manner of my own choosing.”

Chrysalis blinked, uncertain if she could continue to deal with the terror inside of her.

“Now, this is the last time I will ask you.” Bucky drew in a shallow breath. “Can I trust you?”

“Yes, yes you can trust me. I give you my word. I will do anything and everything you ask of me. I will give you the army you need. I will look after the earth ponies that you rescue and I will rehabilitate them. I will see that they are happy and cared for. I will do anything asked of me,” Chrysalis replied.

“Good… then I will go and speak to Celestia about giving you a future. She’ll be angry with me, but I suppose I’ll just have to charm her somehow, or find some means to convince her. I look forward to working with you. And do not forget… you have something very dear to me. I expect it returned, and soon. Am I clear?”

“As crystal!” Chrysalis could feel her knees knocking. Bucky was inside of her head. He knew about her thought about turning over a new leaf. Was he causing this fear? Was she held in his thrall right now? How much longer could her bladder hold out before critical failure?

“Wonderful!” Bucky smiled. “I can soften Celestia’s defenses by telling her that Cadance and Shining Armor can still have foals.”

 

 

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