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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Half awake, Bucky stumbled out of the bathroom and made his way down the hall towards the kitchen. He needed food something awful. He had an appetite again. He wanted food… he wanted something sweet. Something like the love around him, which he became aware of that he was feeling.

After almost tripping and falling on his face, Bucky recovered. He moved past the living room and saw Glass Slipper. His mind did not make the connection as he passed, he only saw Glass Slipper playing some hoof bumping game with Harper.

He stumbled into the kitchen, paused, and stared at Twilight Sparkle. She had a cup of tea. Violet was sitting with her. Semillon was standing near the stove preparing something for supper. Bucky let out a wordless grumble, blinked a few times, and then looked around for anything sweet. He would boil the oceans for something sweet right about now. Something like… agave syrup. Or maple syrup. Sugar. It was almost like an ache. His mouth went dry thinking about it. His fuzzy brain thought about the breakfast he had shared with Chrysalis.

The changelings had eaten a fair number of pancakes, but they had gone through whole bottles of agave syrup; they kept pouring it on, adding more, scraping it up with spoons, slurping down more and more of the syrup. Bucky’s eyes settled on half a chocolate cake sitting under a glass cover. He grabbed it with his magic and made his way to the table.

He gave Twilight a bleary stare as he sat down. He opened the fridge, pulled out the jug of milk, opened the cupboard, grabbed an enormous highball glass, and then pulled a bottle of chocolate syrup from out of the fridge. A spoon and a fork were summoned. Bucky began preparing a glass of chocolate milk and pulled the glass cover from the cake.

“Plan to share?” Violet asked, her tone teasing.

His lip curling back in a snarl, Bucky growled and narrowed his eyes at his secretary.

“Don’t be a bad dog… I’ll get my newspaper!” Violet narrowed her eyes right back.

“I think Chrysalis did something to me,” Bucky grumbled as he stirred his chocolate milk with his spoon.

“One of the many things we need to talk about.” Twilight turned her red, bloodshot eyes upon Bucky and blinked. “Bucky, I want you to remember, I am your friend.”

“So this is one of those sorts of talks,” Bucky replied. He slumped over in his chair, lifted his fork, and began to gobble down chocolate cake by the forkfull.

“Princess Celestia told me what you plan to do,” Twilight began. The alicorn began to tap her hoof upon the table and then she closed her eyes. Reaching up, she rubbed her nose and then, opening her eyes, she looked at Bucky. “I am supposed to publicly condemn your actions… but… I want you to know… right or wrong, I know why you are doing this. I want to give you my personal thanks. This can’t be easy for you.” Twilight watched as Bucky stuffed his face with dark chocolate cake. Almost half of it was already gone.

“For the record, I think you are doing the right thing,” Violet said. “At this point, we know that it is them or us. I’d rather it be them. There are going to be a lot of ponies that just won’t understand why you’ve made an alliance with the changelings.”

“Bucky, after the war, a lot of ponies in both Equestria and other countries started calling for your removal… they’re afraid of you. They want your title of ‘prince’ removed. They want you to abdicate your position as King of the Griffons. After word of this gets out, there is going to be a political firestorm.” Twilight Sparkle poured more tea into her cup and then, scowling, she shook her head.

“It’s mostly here in Equestria and the old world pony countries. The Sea of Grass, the zebras and the ponies who live there, they’re still your biggest supporters. They’re threatening to break the treaty with Equestria if you are stripped of power.” Violet looked at Bucky, then at Twilight, and then stared down into her own teacup.

“Why?” Bucky asked.

“Why what, exactly?” Violet replied.

“Why support me?” Bucky stuffed more cake into his mouth and licked his chocolate frosting covered lips.

“The Sea of Grass has a different set of values and ideals. They fought for too long and the sting of slavery is still too painful. They’re ready to forgive you almost anything you do. If you are treated poorly here, they are willing to give you asylum in the Sea of Grass, both you and your griffons. They’re building shrines over there dedicated to you… it’s crazy.” Twilight stirred a bit of sugar into her tea and then set her spoon down upon a saucer.

“So, am I to be treated poorly here? Am I to be kicked out of my own home?” Bucky asked. “Is this my reward for everything I’ve done?”

“No.” Twilight’s voice was a flat monotone. “But Princess Celestia might have to take drastic measures for damage control. With you being in close contact with the changelings, the issue if you can be trusted is bound to be brought up. The issue of Equestria’s military might being under your command as part of the Triumvirate, with Princess Luna and Prince Keg Smasher… it is bound to become a problem.”

“I see,” Bucky replied around a mouthful of cake. “Not a problem. I resigned.”

“Is that part of why you did this? To force the issue of your resignation? We need you. You can’t just resign. You can’t just quit now. Princess Celestia is scared out of her mind… you’ve put her in a bad spot. You have no idea how much trouble you’ve caused her. She’s trying to defend you, to shelter you from the whole world and you’ve gone and made everything worse… she needs you… depends on you…. she trusts you.” Twilight stared at Bucky, her eyes glittering with anger.

Instead of replying, Bucky stuffed his mouth full of cake, finishing it off. Half a chocolate cake was now little more than crumbs. He picked up the glass plate and began licking it, not caring. Once, a long, long, long time ago, he had been a Canterlot unicorn. He had impeccable manners. He had the best breeding, all questions of inbreeding and incest aside. He had been unicorn perfection.

Now, he had a face covered in chocolate frosting, his mane was uncombed, wild, and his bushy sideburns made him look like a lion. He dragged his orange tongue over the plate, making certain to cover every inch, trying to get every last crumb.

That was the greatest chocolate cake that Bucky had ever eaten, of that, there could be no doubt. His mouth opened and he belched. Violet turned away, rolling her eyes, and Twilight Sparkle looked disgusted.

Rising from his seat, Bucky walked around the table. He approached Twilight, who watched him, her eyes narrowed, a quizzical expression on her face. Before Twilight could react, Bucky kissed her, pressing lips against her cheek and planting a wet smooch that smeared chocolate all over Twilight’s cheek.

“I love you, Twilight.” Bucky smiled, turned, and walked away, heading back for his chair. He did not see Twilight’s stunned expression behind him as he moved away, nor did he see Violet’s smirk.

The wooden chair creaked as Bucky sat down. He looked at Twilight, who was blushing, looking both confused and furious. He picked up his glass of chocolate milk, raised it in salute, and then began to chug it down.

Taking an angry sip of her tea, Twilight sat there with chocolate smeared on her cheek. She drew in a deep breath, held it, and then let it out in a slow huff.

“I will continue my duties as a Black Cloak. I need a little excitement from time to time. But everything else, I don’t care about.” Bucky paused. “Wait, scratch that. If you try to take my griffons from me, I will bring ruination and destruction to everything around me. I will not let them be taken. They are mine.

“So that’s it then?” Twilight blinked in shock. She watched Bucky nod.

“Princess Celestia is going to need to hire a lot of ponies to help her find her missing marbles,” Violet said in a low voice as she stared down into her teacup. “As for the griffons… I suspect that there would be an armed insurrection if anypony tried to remove you as their king. I don’t even want to think about what might happen.”

“We’re not just a kingdom, we’re also a corporation. Winterworx, our designs are enchanting.” Bucky set down his glass and began to wonder if there was anything sweet in the kitchen that he could eat. He was still feeling peckish.

Twilight, still stunned, just stared at Bucky.

“There is still much to discuss… “ Violet looked at each of the ponies sitting at the table and knew her work was cut out for her. Twilight’s brain had broken and Bucky was in one of his moods. She sighed, thought about how much she was being paid, and then smiled.

 

 

“—look, Twilight, don’t ask me to explain it, I’ve told you what I know. Some kind of quantum connection through spooky action. The two atoms are connected. It’s called a radio.” Bucky frowned and waved his talons. “The mirror traveler didn’t know much about it either. It just works for him and he uses it to talk. He doesn’t need to understand the how or the why that it works.”

Annoyed, irritated, Twilight ground her teeth, certain that Bucky was leaving out some important detail or neglecting to mention something. It was time to change the subject. “Bucky, I’ve been studying the portal generation rod and I’ve been in contact with the Observers. I think I can make a clean portal without any chaotic destabilisation issues. Hex Libris had some books… I suppose I’d better get to work on making a portal for us to use.”

Glad that he was no longer being grilled over the radio issue, Bucky heaved a sigh. “I can help. We need a large portal, something that an army can pass through quickly.”

“We’ll need to pull the earth ponies out. They might not want to come with us willingly, poor things will be scared of us.” Twilight shook her head. “Seems wrong to force them, but we must do what is good for them.” She looked at Bucky. “Are you really going to trust Chrysalis to look after them?”

“Trust has to start somewhere. She knows what is at stake. She knows I can end her. I’ve explained my plan to you.” Bucky raised his eyebrow. “I can trust in her selfishness and her sense of survival.”

“I still don’t know how I feel about this. Turning to the changelings for help. Using an army of drones. Plague warfare. It feels as though we are losing the moral high ground.” Twilight set down her teacup and looked over at Violet, as if she was seeking Violet’s approval, but the mare said nothing. “Bucky, if we’re going to do this, there is no point in going halfway. I want as much destruction and devastation as possible. Hold nothing back. No disease is too horrible.”

“I’ll get in touch with the zebras and I’ll begin finding out what we can get,” Violet said.

“Find out what the zebras have as far as chemical and biological warfare options. Anything goes. Diseases, gas, I’ll have golems disperse it. Find diseases that specifically target unicorns. We need to hit the mirror travelers where it hurts the most. Those unicorns that they use as batteries, they’re sickly already… if we could wipe out their unicorn battery population, we could hurt them.”

“Ugh, that’s horrible… Bucky, those are slaves!” Twilight gave Bucky a pleading look.

“We can’t save them. They’re lost to us. We can save some of the earth ponies that they keep in the big cavern underground where they grow mushrooms. We must take away their ability to strike at us. Those unicorn batteries power their whole society. Keeps the air breathable, the water clean, powers up their defenses, their shields, their portals, those unicorns are the key to everything. So… we need to kill them.” Bucky’s eyes narrowed and took on a hard glint. “We cannot be merciful, not with so much at stake.”

“Has it really come to this?” Twilight asked.

“Yes, Twilight, I think so,” Violet replied.

“This feels so wrong.” Twilight sniffled and then reached up to rub her eyes.

“You tell me how wrong this is after your foals have grown up in a safe world and you live to be a ripe old age… oh wait… you can’t… I’ll be dead.” Bucky stared at Twilight, his nostrils quivering.

“Bucky, that’s not fair—”

“Twilight, nothing is fair.” Bucky’s expression softened and became sad. “One day, you’re going to be a grandmother and this war is going to be over, and you’re going to be happy and all of this will be a distant memory. When you’re old and you have some little foal calling you ‘Gramma’ I want you think back on this conversation and then I want you to think about ‘fair’ and how little you care about it at that point.”

Unable to reply, Twilight stared down at the table and said nothing.

 

 

 

 

 

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