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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Trudging through the snow, Moonbow thought about the feeling of Sentinel upon her back. It was something she had wanted for quite some time. He hadn’t given her a case of the shivers, but that was okay. Stuff like that would come later, with time and practice.

Thinking of Sentinel caused the dreadful chill in the air to go away. Someday, soon, she would be able to be with him. They could play together. She could pounce him. He was getting bigger, but so was she, and she still dwarfed him. Soon, she would be as large as an adult solar mare, and then, after that, much, much larger.

Moonbow sniffed, taking in the scent of the wind. The stench of decay was faint but noticeable. There were dead things about. The scent of bad magic, something that Moonbow was learning how to smell, was noticeable even to Moonbow’s as of yet untrained nose. Necromancy lingered in the wind.

Nothing could be done about it, they had to continue to wherever it was they were going. At some point, the dead things around them would attack. Or maybe not. Perhaps Sombra wanted them to come. Maybe the way would be cleared for them, a thought that unsettled Moonbow a great deal. She didn’t mind being in danger, it was her place to be in danger, but she didn’t want anything to harm her companions.

Piña was setting a good pace; swift but steady, a pace that Moonbow knew would carry the companions for hours. When the sun started to go down and the dark came, they would need to stop, create a shelter, and hide inside. Somepony was going to have to keep guard. If the things around them even now decided to attack, it would probably be at night, when it was dark and they were the strongest.

That was the nice thing about being a shadow creature; when it was dark, she too, was at her strongest. Moonbow was certain she could handle a few zombies if it came down to it, but she’d need Dinky or Sweetie Belle to set their remains on fire. If it was something worse than zombies, and there were worse things than zombies, Moonbow might have to get creative.

Between her and Sentinel, the others would stay safe. Mistress was trusting her with so much already and she wasn’t even tested yet. To be given the protection of a Princess of Equestria was a great honour, a privilege, and Moonbow was determined to make good on the trust she had been given.

Head high, Moonbow was determined to see this through, and at the end, she would know glory.

 

 

Applejack only ever talked about the fun stuff on her adventures and now, Apple Bloom was beginning to suspect that there were a lot of moments of hard work, like this one. Piña was doing a good job of setting the pace and Diamond Tiara was also doing well at pulling, but Apple Bloom, the closest to the sleigh, was doing most of the hard pulling. She didn’t mind, years of chores and heavy labour at Sweet Apple Acres prepared her for this. Princess or no, Apple Bloom was ready to do a little hard work. She understood her place on this adventure.

Her hooves crunched with each step on the ice encrusted snow. The heavy exertion was helping to keep her warm and the icy air she breathed into her lungs kept her from getting too warm. She leaned into her harness, glad to give a little more of herself.

Diamond Tiara wasn’t much good for hard work, but she would be. A summer at Sweet Apple Acres would be good for her. Apple Bloom looked forward to the coming summer. There would be an awful lot of hard work, but there would be fun, too. Camping. Swimming. The fair would come to town, maybe, if this summer was better than the last. Equestria was getting better, or so Applejack kept saying. Cheerilee had her foal and Apple Bloom looked forward to playing with little Cheery Apple, so named for having the happiest demeanour ever seen in a foal. The little colt never seemed to be unhappy about anything. Where most foals began crying after being born, Cheery had giggled instead.

Apple Bloom had to survive this and make it home; she had to spoil little Cheery and do all the things she had so longed to do as a big sister, even if she wasn’t quite Cheery’s big sister, she was close enough. Plus, if Piña and Dinky were any indication, there were moments where the lines were blurred when it came to sisters, brothers, and siblings.

She hoped that Sweetie Belle, Dinky, Scootaloo, and Boadicea were warm enough in the sleigh. They weren’t working, or moving much, so they weren’t generating a lot of heat. All they had to keep warm was each other. Apple Bloom was hopeful that it was enough. They were all bundled up in protective clothing, tucked away in a well insulated nest, and covered over with a thick, heavy, dark green woollen blanket that would allow the wind to blow over them rather than on to them.

Ahead was the unknown and Apple Bloom would face it with her friends.

 

 

Being in what felt like a warm nest with other warm bodies under a thick blanket that trapped the heat, Scootaloo was overcome with drowsiness. There was nothing to do and so it was easy to just slip away, lapsing off into little naps.

The oatmeal she had eaten this morning was a brick in her stomach, which did nothing to help her sluggishness, both mental and physical. She was pressed up against Sweetie Belle and Dinky Doo, with Boadicea completing the sandwich on the other side of Dinky Doo.

Pffrt!

Scootaloo sighed. The teeny, tiny, harmless little pegasus poots made everything feel even warmer. She was certain they didn’t stink, at least she didn’t smell anything. This is what pegasi did when piled in a nest with other pegasi, or other ponies. At least, this is what Rainbow Dash and Flash Sentry did… perhaps Twilight as well, but Twilight was shy about these things, thus causing her to try and hide it.

Flash Sentry was cool and casual about it, he would yawn, stretch his wings, stretch his legs, he would arch his back, and when something slipped out, and something would slip out, because he would keep stretching until something did, he would blame it on his stretching, leaving Twilight frustrated because a pony couldn’t be blamed for accidents—a house rule.

Rainbow Dash on the other hoof, she did nothing to hide it, made no effort to mask it, and made no attempt to be subtle. Rainbow Dash always had excuses, her best one being her pregnancy. She would drop a bed bomb and then look Twilight right in the eye, waiting for Twilight to complain. Then, as Twilight was complaining, Rainbow would fan the air with her wings, explaining to Twilight that this was how pegasi marked their territory and protected their nests, keeping dragons away from their young.

Which was pretty funny, given how many times Spike was in the bed with them, during moments of family time. Spike was no innocent when it came to casual, covert crepitation, but he had one major failing when he tried to blame his sulfurous emissions upon Rainbow Dash—when Spike farted, there was almost always a telltale curl of smoke, which almost always prompted Twilight Sparkle to talk about writing some novel or another called ‘The Telltale Fart,’ a story about a baby dragon that killed his parents, suffocating them all in their bed.

So focused on family and the good times they all had together, Scootaloo was unaware of the danger ahead, the mortal peril that they would all soon encounter, together.

 

 

Tucked away in the sleigh, Sweetie Belle sighed, almost napping. The smell around her was so bad that Sweetie Belle missed the overpowering, nose tickling, sneezy smell of her big sister Rarity’s perfume collection. Later, when it was safe to breathe and Sweetie Belle was no longer forced to hold her breath, she planned to call the stinky little pegasus that was her best friend ‘Pootaloo.’ As if that wasn’t bad enough, Dinky was every bit as bad and Boadicea had disgusting fishy breath from eating a tin of smoked fish for breakfast. The resulting eye watering stench under the blanket was appalling, to say the very least.

Was this what Rarity had to endure as the Element of Generousity when she went off with her friends? Sweetie Belle thought of her sister Rarity’s stories in a new light now. Being trapped on a train with her friends, traveling, eating strange new food, being exposed to new cultures, no wonder Rarity went right for the spa when she came home—Sweetie Belle, who was now almost feeling like she was Sweaty Belle, planned to ask her sister to go to the spa… that was assuming of course that her mom, her dad, her sister, and Coco didn’t all take turns killing her upon her arrival. But Rarity would understand about Parfume le Pegasus. Oh yes, Rarity would understand. Sweetie Belle now understood why her sister would run around and sniff herself after arriving at home, Rarity wasn’t crazy at all.

So this is what it meant to be an adventurer. For now, Sweetie Belle was baggage, luggage, something to be hauled about in the sleigh until such a point that she became useful, she would then be used in a useful manner, and then, afterwards, she would be stowed away, back within the soul withering stench of the nest of nastiness in the sleigh.

Sweetie Belle wanted to talk, but she was told to save her energy. To try and sleep if she could. She was supposed to just lay here and do nothing, nothing at all. At least things would be exciting if they were attacked by zombies. Or abominable snowponies. Coco had once told a scary story about abominable snowponies in front of a crackling fire while drinking cups of hot cocoa. At the end of the story, Rarity had burst in, wearing a snowpony mask. Sweetie Belle had no memory what happened afterward, apparently she had fainted, much to the amusement of her friends.

Sweetie Belle hoped that she wouldn’t faint if Sombra showed up. Her friends were counting on her and she needed to come through for them.

 

 

Tucked away, warm and secure against the bitter cold, Boadicea was taking stock of her assets. Following Rarity’s advice on how to be a fashionable young lady, Boadicea had taken to carrying a purse. She also had her body harness with a few assorted pouches. Boadicea felt that she was well prepared, she worked very hard to live up to Loki’s standards of preparation.

She had raided the armory before leaving, pilfering as much as she could. She didn’t like to think about it as stealing—it was appropriating goods for an unknown crisis. She had gathered up quite a collection before slipping away to join Sentinel.

She had multiple incendiary orbs, the little glass spheres that Bucky, Rising Star, and Sunset Shimmer all made. She was almost certain that these firebombs were made by Rising Star. The glass was warm to the touch and the fires within burned with an unnatural intensity. Seventeen orbs in total, seven in one pouch, three in her purse, two in another small pouch, and five in a satchel. If zombies or undead were encountered, Boadicea would be ready.

She had her beloved piano wire garrote. Nothing said “I hate you!” quite like slipping a length of piano wire around the neck and then strangling your foe or slitting their throat with a well practiced movement of the wire.

A collection of darts and poisons, some paralytic, others lethal. Boadicea had grabbed them just in case they ran into cultists. A hurled dart was silent and deadly, much like the farts that Scootaloo kept letting go. Pegasus ponies!

Three smoke grenades, useful for making a quick escape or laying down cover. Boadicea had been practicing holding her breath with Loki, she could hold her breath for a little over two minutes now, which allowed her to work inside of the cloud of choking smoke, and with her fine tuned senses, she could keep her eyes closed, thus negating the harmful effects of the smoke grenades. Smoke was the best friend of the assassin, and no mistake, Boadicea fancied herself as Loki’s most apt pupil. Even in the most peaceful, civilised world, there was always going to be the need for polite, discrete killers. Boadicea was going to be the most politest, discretiest, nicest killer for hire that she could be. Bucky had promised that if she stuck to her lessons that he would make for her a cloak that would make her all but invisible, some kind of special magic called aversion or something.

Tucked into her purse was the most important weapon in Boadicea’s personal, private arsenal. A ‘borrowed’ ten millimetre revolver. She had ammo for it as well, incendiary ammo a-plenty, some regular ammo, and a dozen high explosive rounds that she had no doubt would turn a zombie into a fine red mist that would blow away in the howling wind. The others could rely on magic, or muscle, or the hokey magic of friendship—Boadicea found that she prefered firepower, guile, and treachery. The magic of friendship was nothing compared to the reassuring heft and life affirming firepower of a heavy revolver.

If Boadicea got the chance, she planned to put a bullet right between Sombra’s eyes.

 

 

 

 

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