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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Looking out over the crowd, Princess Celestia’s eyes fell upon Twilight. Her student had endured much in the last year. Radical changes. Social upheaval. Twilight had declared war and had broken off from Equestria to form her own empire in order to do what she had felt was right. Looking back on it, Celestia could see that Twilight had done the right thing. Twilight had grown, in more ways than one, both in size, strength, power, and maturity.

Twilight was now doing magic that Celestia could not even begin to comprehend, complex magic that was outside of Celestia’s scope and scale. Harmonics… magic powerful enough to change the fate of nations or even entire worlds. Twilight could shape the future. Twilight could make the entirety of the world a better place. Celestia knew that her student could fix everything that was broken.

Surrounded by a number of pegasi and a few unicorns, Twilight was chatting, smiling, being sociable. Celestia herself was surrounded as well, but she was ignoring most of what was being said while offering polite nods of acknowledgement. Most of the ponies around Princess Celestia were unicorns, Canterlot unicorns, and almost all of them were begging and pleading for a return to how things were. Canterlot should be the center of the world, the center of Equestria, the place where all of the important things happened. The ceremony that was about to take place should be held in Canterlot, not Ponyville.

Heaving a sigh, Celestia summoned her patience. Things would change, but it would take time. The change was only starting, there had been explosive change, but the important changes would take generations. The Equestria that would exist a hundred years from now would be very different from the current Equestria that existed.

And Twilight would be its architect. Already, Twilight’s aggressive social policies were taking hold. There was a real feeling of equality already taking hold. Not just for ponies, but for all species.

Feeling a little maudlin, Princess Celestia turned and looked at Buckminster. He had caused a great deal of change as well, in much the same way that a tornado or a natural disaster made things change. Bucky held no respect for the old institutions and simply tore them down if they dared to resist the change sweeping the nation. Bucky was surrounded by earth ponies and griffons. Beside him, Apple Bloom was chatting with a somewhat worried look upon her face, sometimes nudging Bucky.

He looked happy, which gave Celestia pause. He had never been one for crowds. He hated being in public. He was a private pony, a pony who loved home and hearth more than anything. But for whatever reason, he looked happy. Celestia nodded about how unicorns deserved special privileges by virtue of just being unicorns and ignored the speech she had heard a thousand times before. Bucky was enjoying himself, which seemed odd. What had Queen Chrysalis done to him? Was it the recent birth of his foals? Bucky seemed… at peace.

She watched him laughing at something that Apple Bloom had said and the earth ponies gathered around them laughed as well. After a moment, Apple Bloom herself laughed and stopped looking so nervous. There really was a profound change and for reasons that Celestia could not determine, it caused her to feel fear.

You see it as well? Luna said within Celestia’s mind.

Turning her head, Celestia looked at her sister. Luna was off with Barley and Erebus, having a quiet moment. Why does it scare me? Celestia thought at her sister. After a moment of no reply, Celestia felt a mental shrug from Luna.

Feeling insecure, Celestia thought of her own changes, her own failures, and her own successes. She had made quite a number of mistakes, she had allowed herself to be led astray—she stifled the thought and forced her mind to think of something else. She didn’t want to think about that. She was in control now. She had pushed him away. She didn’t need him, his input, his opinion, or his direction. She was in charge now. She had Luna to help hold up the heavens. She was no longer weak and backed into a corner.

She thought of how foolish she had been and how easily she had believed her father’s lies. How she believed that the Alicorn of War could be controlled, held back, used for the good of Equestria. She thought of her other sisters. Clotho was around here somewhere. She was staying on the farm and was currently in the crowd someplace. Her sisters had helped her to see the truth. There was still much to be done to repair their relationship, but things were better. Celestia had allies now. With allies came hope. With hope came courage. With courage, Celestia could continue forward with the many impossible changes that still lie ahead.

While Bucky was a random, destructive element, unpredictable at best, he was a good teacher. While Celestia knew that in the long run, while she could not rely upon Bucky and his methods, she could place all of her hopes in Sunset Shimmer, Bucky’s apprentice. While Celestia could question many of the things that Bucky had done, while she doubted his many plans, while she was fearful of what he may yet still do if he became desperate or his home was threatened, it could not be denied that Bucky had done a fantastic job of preparing his student for a bright future. Not just Sunset… Celestia gave some careful thought and realised that his whole school was going to provide a bright future as well. He simply did not care about rules, traditions, or institutions, Bucky did things his own way. Pursing her lips, she realised that Bucky was an iconoclast. His school flourished because Bucky had broken away from the old ways that had failed everypony.

While she couldn’t always trust Bucky and his plans, Celestia realised that she could trust in at least some of his destruction, if he was pointed in the right direction and then allowed to run rampant. He had caused the destruction of the entire city government of Vanhoover. While that had seemed catastrophic at the time, Vanhoover was now recovering from Bucky’s visit and the city was flourishing under new management. Las Pegasus had been blown up during Bucky’s last visit. Now, Las Pegasus was being rebuilt. Ponies lived there. Positive changes were being made. Everything that Bucky knocked down or destroyed…

Celestia looked at Twilight once more.

Everything that Bucky knocked down or destroyed, Twilight salvaged and made whole once more. Twilight didn’t have the heart to callously slash and burn everything around her. She didn’t have the heart to bring wreck and ruin, or cause a scene. But Twilight was good at cleaning up messes.

She glanced at Bucky once more.

Therein was the balance. Creation and destruction. Celestia reasoned that destruction was just as much of an integral part of life as creation. Perhaps she should engage in some destruction. She turned and looked at the pony nattering on about how the treasured, sacred institutions of the upper crust were in jeopardy because of all the social upheaval and the rise of all the new money.

A soft smile came to Princess Celestia’s lips. It was time to tear down the old to make way for the new. She took a deep breath, cleared her throat, and then said, “Excuse me, but I have something to say…”

 

 

There was a feeling that anything was possible. Apple Bloom, who was riding high on a wave of euphoria, let out a laugh. Beside her, Bucky was laughing too. All around her were earth ponies, happy earth ponies, and quite a number of griffons. Apple Bloom had no idea that griffons were farmers too, but they were. Many of them farmed bugs, which was icky, but Apple Bloom knew that it was necessary.

Not too far away, Applejack sat scratching her neck. “So… lemme get this straight. Y’all want to come out onto my farm and haul away some of my green waste, lawn clippings, rotten apples, and all the stuff I gotta worry about cleaning up, and you don’t want me to pay ya? I don’t reckon I understand.”

One of the griffons nearby nodded. “We need as much compost as possible for our bug farms We’ll come out to your farm, clean up everything, and haul away all of the waste. All we want is the waste, it is very, very valuable for us.”

“Shucks… I think as neighbors, we can help out,” Applejack replied.

“Once the bugs get done with it, we can even bring it back as exceptionally rich mulch. It will help your gardens grow,” the griffon said in a low voice. “We wish to provide this service to all of you. If our numbers are to grow, we will need more bugs as a food source. We could hunt or fish, but with as many of us living in this area as there are, we would strain the natural resources. Bugs are sustainable. We just need the green waste and we will give you the best mulch you have ever seen in return.”

Applejack’s freckled cheeks wrinkled somewhat as she smiled. “Something is buggin’ me though.” The orange mare chuckled at her own joke. “How will you make bits? How will you support yourselves? If’n I’m understanding right, y’all are communal… you share everything with one another, so you’re not selling your bugs… y’all need bits.”

“We have other ways to make bits. Winterworx belongs to all of us. We all have a share and we all get some of the profits being made by the business.” The griffon peered up at Applejack. “We just need to eat and food is a very pressing concern.”

Turning to look at Bucky, Applejack’s brows furrowed. “Yeah, I don’t understand that, but that’s real nice of Bucky to include all of y’all in the sharing of profits.” Applejack blinked and tried to comprehend the strange business concept of communal ownership and a fair split of the profits, even to those who didn’t work in the business directly. It was confusing, but it didn’t seem like such a bad thing. “I think we can do business though. I dunno about the rest of the farmers, but Sweet Apple Acres likes the idea of the best mulch that bits can buy.”

 

 

Feeling a little jittery, Bucky stood waiting to surrender the season to Dinky. Dinky was wearing a soft pastel green gown and a crown of flowers. Princess Celestia stood nearby, grinning a smug looking grin. There had been some kind of disturbance earlier involving Celestia and the unicorns around her. Bucky had no idea what had happened, but the unicorns had scattered like chickens while Celestia had chased them around.

Dinky looked as scared and nervous on the outside as Bucky felt on the inside. It was almost noon. The Maiden of Spring would get a kiss from the Lord of Winter and then another kiss from the Lady of Summer. After that, mead and cider would be served, weak mead and cider. No public debauchery like in the days of old.  

The ponyville clock tower showed the time to be ten minutes until twelve noon. The crowd was gathering and the band, led by Pinkie Pie and Cheese Sandwich, was playing polka music, heavy on the ‘oompah.’

Overhead, Rainbow Dash was zooming back and forth, being chased by Ripple, but staying just out of the filly’s reach, much to Ripple’s frustration. The rainbow maned pegasus was blowing raspberries and was making rude faces.

Twilight Sparkle and Flash Sentry were sitting together, enjoying a drink with one another, a refreshing glass of strawberry lemonade that they both shared. Glass Slipper kept tugging on Spike’s tail, trying and testing her brother’s patience. Scootaloo was nowhere to be found and neither was Sweetie Belle or Rumble. Only Apple Bloom could be accounted for, and that was because she was a princess now and had duties.

Eight minutes until noon. Bucky thought about moving the hands of the clock with his telekinesis. His senses were overwhelmed by the sheer amount of emotion coming from the crowd. He saw Tourmaline peering at him, a curious, quizzical expression upon her face. She was sitting beside Sentinel and Diamond Tiara.

Seven minutes until noon. A lone pony came running through the crowd, pushing and shoving forwards towards the stage. Bucky raised an eyebrow, wondering what was going on. Somepony appeared to be panicked.

“Caramel, what in tarnation is going on?” Applejack demanded as the stallion came to a skidding halt before her.

“Cheerilee… giving… birth!” Caramel panted.

“Oh shucks,” Applejack replied. “I need to get home, sorry y’all!”

“Hang on Applejack, I’ll get you—”

“Oh no Buckminster, you are not escaping yet another formal function!” Celestia said to Bucky. “You have to surrender the season to Dinky. You can’t just leave! I’m sick and tired of you wiggling out of your civic duties!”

Uh oh, Auntie was using contractions. Bucky knew that he’d be paying for this later. “Dinky, take control of the season and do whatever it is you’re supposed to do. Go and give Twist a smooch on the cheek or something. Have fun and be a good filly. Smile pretty for the cameras and whatever you do, don’t do anything stupid!” Bucky reached out with his magic, grabbed Applejack, Violet Velvet, and Silver Shill.

There was a deafening crackle as Bucky exploded into a cloud of snowflakes and vanished with three other ponies. The crowd stood staring and the music stopped as Pinkie Pie let out a shrill squeal.

“Cheerilee is having a foal!” Pinkie shouted and then took off in a pink blur that moved off at super-equine speeds, leaving behind a wake of streamers, confetti, and balloons.

Pronking once, Cheese Sandwich then took off, hot on Pinkie’s heels, darted back, grabbed his accordion, and then took off once more at speeds that made Rainbow Dash jealous.

“They left me behind!” Apple Bloom shouted as she stomped her hoof.

“Rainboom express!” Rainbow Dash swooped down and grabbed Apple Bloom, snatching her up and then zooming off towards Sweet Apple Acres.

Celestia watched them go and heaved a sigh. Nothing ever went as planned. Ever. She turned to look at Twilight, but Twilight was already up and moving. Celestia raised her eyebrow, but Twilight said nothing, she didn’t even offer an apologetic expression.

“Oh, this is so very gauche, just abandoning this lovely party like this,” Rarity said as she snatched up her saddlebags and her parasol. “Coming Coco?”

“Oh… yes.” Coco replied, hesitating for a moment. “Where did Discord and Fluttershy go? They were just here…”

“They left when Bucky gave them a fitting distraction,” Celestia said in a dry voice as she rolled her eyes. “I swear, I am going to give that unicorn a good talking to one of these days.” As she spoke, Twilight Sparkle flew away, carrying Glass Slipper, and Flash Sentry flew behind her, her watchful protector. She looked down at Dinky and sighed as she said:

“Happy spring, Dinky. You make for a very lovely maiden.”

 

 

 

 

 

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