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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As the fellowship made its way north, Sentinel gave a lot of thought about the two of his fathers. Both of them. Bucky and… much to his chagrin, Sentinel realised that he couldn’t remember his real father’s name. Blood… Blood something… Bloodweather? The memory of his father was now so old that he had trouble remembering it. Bloodweather, so named for the perfect time to hunt, when the air was moist and the light breeze carried scents.

As his hooves crunched through the snow, his nose sniffed the wind and his mind thought of times that almost seemed more like dreams than memories. His father had been an enormous brute, at least by solar pegasus standards. Sentinel thought of his mother… it took him time to coax her name from his memory. Her name was Rain Tricker. Sentinel’s father had loved her a great deal, or so Sentinel’s memories told him. He had only been a yearling, he had been very, very small when they were both still alive. He had confusing, awkward memories of hearing their lovemaking while he was curled up in the pile of straw with both of them. He had vague memories of his father sprawled over his mother’s back and he could still hear her soft, mewling cries in his ears as the old memories resurfaced, bringing with them a feeling of pain and loss. Ponies always talked about how good his father was to his mother, how much he loved her… even worshipped her. He had fallen in love with a feather wing, the small, weak pegasi of the day.

And when she had died, Bloodweather had gone mad with rage and grief.

Sentinel almost stumbled in the snow. He recovered and tried to ignore the spike of agony going through his barrel, the shaft of ice that had skewered through his heart. The freezing wind tore at his tear filled eyes and burned his nostrils.

Rain Tricker clearly meant more to Bloodweather—Sentinel… who at the time didn’t even have a name, Sentinel hadn’t been worth living for. The howling wind picked up and Sentinel felt it tearing at his cloak. The wind found its way through his coat and his down filled vest.

At least Bucky, for all of his faults, of which there were many, Sentinel knew that he was loved. Sentinel knew that he was worth living for. Bucky believed in him, had high hopes for him, Bucky was carving out an empire, a future worth having, Bucky, being a good father, was making certain that something worthwhile was left behind for all of his foals. Bucky had given him a name.

Alas, having Bucky as a father had also given Sentinel a nemesis: Sombra. So much hate and rage bubbled in Sentinel’s tender breast, a loathing that went far beyond Sentinel’s foalish age. Much like either of his fathers, Bloodweather or Bucky, Sentinel had gone off in search of revenge, never once thinking about the consequences, the danger, or the fact that such an action might be the end of him.

As Sentinel trudged through the snow, he promised himself that he would learn from this, with the hope of never making the same mistake twice. He had things he wanted to live for; Moonbow, Diamond Tiara, Boadicea… his siblings… his family. He had hurt them. Sentinel’s desire for revenge had caused pain to those he loved.

He resolved to do better.

 

 

This was it. This was her time of proving. This was Dinky’s chance to prove to herself if she really had it in her to be the wizard that she believed that she could be. She was huddled under a pile of blankets with several other ponies and a griffon—which did nothing to keep away the biting cold.

All those hours spent in study, all those nights reading books by horn light, the lessons from Princess Luna, the lessons from Princess Twilight Sparkle, the lessons from her father, the hours spent in study with Sunset Shimmer, the lesson in telekinesis from Rarity, the lessons from Princess Celestia, all of her schoolwork, it all came down to this. She had invested much of the last year of her life improving herself. She was a type three with unlimited potential. She was a gifted mentalist. She was learning the art of astral projection from Princess Celestia, but needed Piña and Piña’s gift of mysticism to be her guide. She was considered gifted with enchantments and was showing signs of being talented with transmutation, no doubt because her father was patient and explained to her the vast mysteries of his chosen craft.

Bucky might just be the greatest enchanter and transmuter who had ever lived, and Dinky intended to be his equal, if given the chance. She could already create golems with simple walking patterns that could perform basic tasks… like fetching her pencil off of her desk. She had enchanted her schoolbooks to read their texts out loud for her, so she could focus on other tasks, like taking notes or study diagrams.

Dinky had ideas, hopes, and dreams. While she knew that Princess Celestia had hopes of retaining her as a wizard, Dinky wanted to serve Princess Apple Bloom. Dinky wanted to be part of Princess Apple Bloom’s vision of the future. Dinky understood that Princess Celestia had some notions about using Dinky’s talent to deal with the changelings, and while Dinky wasn’t entirely against that, she didn’t want to use her gifts for destructive purposes or for conflict. She wanted to build things, she wanted to make things, she wanted to make things grow, she wanted to secure the future.

But if she had to battle bugs to protect Apple Bloom’s vision of the future, she would.

If she had to put on a black cloak to protect her fellow ponies, she would.

And she knew that Piña would be right there with her, by her side. They had special magic together; Princess Twilight called it gestalt thaumaturgy, an organised magical whole that was greater than the sum of its parts. Together, their potential was infinite, Twilight had said so, and Dinky didn’t believe that Twilight would lie about something this important or just say something to make both her and Piña feel good.

When Dinky went home, if she survived this, she knew that she would be going home as a proven wizard, she would finally have the credibility, the respect, and the recognition that she craved. It meant everything to her.

 

 

Pulling the sleigh wasn’t as hard she thought it would be and Piña found that she was rather enjoying this trip so far. She was the pacesetter, the pony up front, and she felt that she had set a steady pace.

Bundled up beneath multiple layers of protective clothing, Piña’s unseen face was smiling. She supposed that she should be afraid, but she was in too good of a mood. There was a time not all that long ago where she would have been terrified. She recalled how the howling wolves of the Shetlands had caused her several embarrassing accidents.

Knowledge removed fear, Piña was starting to understand that now. Being possessed by a spirit of knowledge had its perks. Piña knew stuff. And knowing stuff made it hard to be afraid of it. Sombra’s shadow was a grumpy old spook with a broken heart. Piña wasn’t quite certain how to deal with him just yet, but she suspected that her spirit of knowledge would have a few suggestions at some point. Some brilliant idea would just pop into Piña’s mind and Piña would know just what to do to make the situation better somehow.

That grumpy old spook was afraid of her, and Piña knew it. The creepy old shadow feared the knowledge that Piña carried with her; knowledge brought self illumination, and a well lighted self made it difficult for shadows to find purchase upon your soul. Piña didn’t know how she knew this, it was just there. Shades fed on ignorance, stupidity, and negative emotions. They needed hate and stupidity to function. They gathered under beds, hid in closets, and from there, they would make their way into ponies’ dreams. They would whisper terrible suggestions into the ears of sleepers to make them weaker. Hate those different than you. The shades loved the idea of division by tribe. Together, the tribes were unbeatable, unbreakable, together, the tribes had the ultimate weapon to combat the shades, the shadows, the scurrying dark that lingered in the places where the light did not shine.

A pony separated by tribe, a pony cut off from the herd, that was a pony who was easy prey. Little by little, the predatory shadows would continue to stalk them, weakening them, making them less likable, less loveable, breaking down all bonds and connections with their fellow ponies until at last, the fell shadows, the darklings that hid in the true dark, The Other Other, could swoop in and devour whatever was left.

The tiniest bit of ignorance and the shades would have their claws in you. Hating a pony for their horn, or their wings, or hating because they had neither horn nor wings, it made you a target, it left you weak, and Piña knew this. Piña was beginning to detest this weakness and she wanted to do something about it, but she didn’t know what. Perhaps Dinky would know, or figure it out. Or maybe Piña would just do whatever and hope that everything would work out for the best. As Piña was learning from Discord, a harmonious system had to have a little chaos, so perhaps leaving this to chance was for the best.

Discord. Piña huffed out a sigh as she thought of him. Not long ago, he had offered to turn her into a unicorn. Piña was supposed to be a unicorn, she should have been born that way. Her astral projection had a horn, but her physical body was that of an earth pony. Discord could not figure why Piña was content to remain an earth pony when she could be a unicorn… and not just any unicorn, a powerful unicorn. Piña had no interest in being a silly unicorn, it was far more interesting being an earth pony with strong magic.

It was a lot more fun being the earth pony that gave Sombra nightmares.

 

 

Harnessed just behind Piña, Diamond Tiara found that she enjoyed pulling her weight, so to speak. The hard physical work was somehow pleasing for her body, and her thoughts became so clear. Trudging through the snow, she was thinking far more clearly than she had, perhaps in her entire life. Things that had confused her before made sense now.

There were no longer any doubts, concerns, or worries about Sentinel. She loved him. There was a clear vision of the future now, now that she was free to think. She was going to become a lawyer, there was no doubting it now, she was going to become a lawyer and she was going to do battle with the injustices of the world in the same way that Sentinel, Boadicea, and Moonbow might do battle with horrible monsters with giant fangs. She was going to work with Apple Bloom and make a better future.

It all seemed so obvious now. So clear. Everything made perfect sense. Moonbow, Sentinel, Boadicea, they were all savages, but good savages. They were going to need somepony to keep them together. There was bound to be a lot of snarling, hissing, and growling in this relationship. There were bound to be spats. And spats among predators could be bloody, terrible things. Which was part of the reason why Diamond Tiara had to become a lawyer. Somepony in this family of vicious butt chomping, entrail eating, neck snapping, intestine slurping, gut gobbling, throat ripping apex predators had to be a fearless mediator that would present the facts as they were, rather than how the heat of the moment might make them out to be. Somepony was going to have to keep the peace, and being the non predator, being the earth pony, the lone grass eater in this group of bloodthirsty savages, Diamond Tiara knew that the task fell upon her back. She was going to have to keep them in line. She was going to have to keep the peace, she would have to be the one to settle disputes, she would have to be the one that kept things fair.

She would not allow the law of the jungle to take over her future herd. Moonbow was going to make a good alpha, Diamond Tiara did not doubt that for a second, but Moonbow’s strong leadership and aggressive personality would need to be tempered with gentle wisdom and kind words.

And Diamond Tiara knew that she could do that.

When teeth were being bared, when lips were curled back, when razor sharp talons were being waved around, somepony was going to have to wade into the middle of all those sharp teeth and dangerous pokey bits to keep the peace.

Diamond Tiara trusted her companions and her future herdmates to never bring her to harm. She had to; she was the most vulnerable of them all. She was no lunar pegasus, a creature of mythical nigh indestructibility. She was no griffon, a creature made of cunning, claws, and one razor sharp beak. Diamond Tiara was a pink earth pony, a soft, fuzzy creature who had a body made for snuggles and hard work. As delicious as she might be, and Diamond Tiara in her most secret moments fantasised about just how delicious the pinkest parts of her could be, she was not on the menu.

Well, maybe for nibbling, or perhaps just a little taste—Diamond Tiara bit her lip as she thought about this. She had to trust that her companions could control themselves and would not devour a helpless pink morsel. Trust was perhaps the most important asset of their relationship as a whole. Doctor Mawu said that their trust would bring them together and make them strong.

Diamond Tiara hoped so.

 

 

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