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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The dark curtain of slumber parted and Bucky saw distant light. Something had touched him. He felt wakefulness overtaking him, like the rising sun overtakes the land as it is shrouded in darkness. He yawned, not fully awake yet, his eyes blinked, and his vision began to focus.

He had an egg. It was a curious thing to think about as one awoke.

Lifting his head, Bucky focused on Bell Heather who squirmed beside him, and Thistle, who was examining his egg. He smacked his lips, his mouth dry, and his tongue felt as though it was covered in sand. “How long was I out?”

“You went to sleep a little before noon and it is now a little past six. Feel better?” Thistle nosed the egg and then nosed her husband. “It’s so strange. It’s rubbery and something is moving inside of it.”

“I don’t know what is inside of it exactly, other than her name is Crisis.” Bucky yawned again, the dryness in his mouth was almost painful. “You okay with this, Thistle?”

“Of course I am… you took in Bell Heather and made her your own, so why would I have a problem with Crisis?” Thistle turned and gave her husband a puzzled look.

“I dunno… before I fell asleep, I thought about everything… about Chrysalis… and now there is going to be another foal… I suppose she’ll be like Tourmaline, but I don’t know.” Bucky reached up and scratched the left side of his face with his talons, angling his sharp claws away from his skin.

“Are you worried that one of us will think of this as cheating?” Thistle asked.

“Maybe I am,” Bucky replied.

“Bucky, we’ve been over this. This wasn’t cheating. You gave Chrysalis a strand of hair so she could make the army that you need. Bucky… we all know that you wouldn’t cheat on us.” Thistle turned her head and placed her ear against the egg, her lake weed mane spilling down all around it.

“Daddoo?”

“Yes, Bell?” Bucky turned to look at his filly, who had tumbled over and was now lying on her back beside him. For a moment, he felt dizzy and lightheaded; just after waking up, things like love felt the strongest, overwhelming. Bell loved him, a simple uncomplicated love. Bucky had no means to identify what sort of love it was, but he liked to think it was adoration. Tourmaline might be able to tell him more, no doubt, she probably had a long list of different types of love and all the different ways she enjoyed each one.

Bell rolled over and wrapped her foreleg around Bucky’s foreleg. She was starting to get her own lake weed mane now, tender little buds were growing. She was chubby, well fed, and growing every day. She lay, drooling, and she stared up at Bucky.

“Bell is a good swimmer already. She’s amazing. She’s so wonderful…” Thistle lifted her head and looked over at her foal. “I’m going to take her with me when I go to inspect the Ponyville reservoir. It’ll be nice to be able to bring Bell with me on my job. I can’t believe I’m getting paid to do what I was born to do.”

“Thistle, honey, as a kelpie, you can only do good things for Ponyville’s water supply.” Bucky wiggled, yawned, and then started to climb out of the bed. “Speaking of water supply, I need to return some water to the source. Sorry Bell.”

 

 

In his office in the top of his tower, Bucky laboured. On his desk there was a makeshift blanket that served as a little nest for his egg. He looked at it while he worked. Tonight, there would be no preparations for war, he just wasn’t in the mood. Sunset, not far away, was quiet as she too, worked on one of Bucky’s many projects.

Sunset Shimmer, she of the flaming mane, was becoming a master glass maker, just like Bucky. It was becoming her preferred medium, and just like her Master, she did marvelous things. She was sitting near the shadow web, the arcano-tech machine that would allow the viewer to look into the dreams of the nearby students.

With his telekinesis, Bucky lifted up one of his tiny spider golems, a vast improvement from the previous models. He held it up to his nose. “What is your function?”

“To save lives,” the golem replied in a soft, gentle voice, a voice that offered comfort and reassurance. “I exist to save lives.”

“Yes.” Bucky nodded his head.

Not far away, Sunset Shimmer stopped what she was doing, lifted her head, and turned to look at Bucky, her horn still glowing. The corner of her mouth turned upwards and a lopsided smile graced her face.

“I exist to heal others. It makes me happy.” The little spider golem wiggled. It was nothing more than a tiny glass sphere with eight little legs.

“I made you to cheat death… don’t worry, I know him… I suppose you could say he’s a friend.” Bucky sighed, reached up, and rubbed his chin. “There is a big fight coming and a lot of ponies and other creatures are going to get hurt… you are going to be my greatest weapon on the battlefield. With you, I will change the theatre of war forever.”

As Bucky studied the golem, Buibui scurried over his desk, one of the first generation spider golems. Buibui had been upgraded a bit, changed, made better, smarter, and more capable. Buibui had sentimental value, and he treasured the little golem.

“Master, the Ponyville hospital is interested in a test run of the medic golems. The directors are curious about how well the golems can function as drug dispensers. They are willing to work with you.” Sunset Shimmer rotated her head around, causing her neck to crackle, and after one painful sounding pop, she reached up and rubbed her neck with her left front hoof.

“Wonderful. I would like for Winterworx to be remembered for the lives it has saved, not for the lives it has taken,” Bucky replied.

“Master, we make a lot of weapons. That is going to be tough to do.” Sunset Shimmer looked at Bucky and watched as he set down the tiny drug dispensing golem.

“We only make weapons because of necessity. I have been ordered to make weapons. One day, it is my hope that we can remove them entirely from our product lines and focus entirely on products that make lives better… like the helping hands golem for the kitchen.” Bucky slumped over his desk and stared at his egg.

All around him, things moved in his office. Not far from his desk, a group of specialised spider golems were constructing a chair out of resin that hardened on contact with the air, an experiment in manufacturing. The chair, nearing completion, looked comfortable and sturdy enough, but the chair was not the end goal, only a means to an end. Anything that could be made out of plastic could be constructed by a team of spider golems with a set of instructions.

Bucky had visions of entire armies of golems being shipped overseas to developing nations and making simple houses, furniture, the things needed to ease the transition from crude living and barbarity to civilisation. The golems, tireless, could do the heavy labour of changing the world for the better, giving everyone what they needed. Squabbling over resources and basic needs for life would end and maybe, just maybe, everybody would start getting along a little better. It was a foolish dream, but it was a dream worth having.

He paused, thinking of his own dreams, an army of golems made to destroy the world. Bucky frowned, not liking that dream at all. His talons clenched into a fist and he looked around his office, the birthplace of his many creations. He would not destroy the world, but would he would make it better.

“Minion…”

“Yes, Master?”

“We need a way to purify water and make it potable. I do believe that will be the next big project. Golems that will go into places where the water has been befouled… the lands around Griffonholm have a big problem with coal dust and dirty water. Start brainstorming now.”

“Master, if we are to fix the water, we must start at the source… the coal being burned is the real problem here,” Sunset Shimmer said to Bucky.

“I agree. Which is why Lyra’s generators are going to become important in the near future. No more poverty, no more want, no more need. Apple Bloom has fixed the food problem, there will be more food than anypony knows what to do with… now, we need to make sure that everybody else in the world has a fair distribution of resources. Power, clean water, and comfortable living.” Bucky folded his forelegs together in front of him on his desk and stared at his egg. “Sunset, we have to strike out at the reasons why we squabble and fight. I don’t know if the fighting will ever totally go away, but we can reduce the reasons why it happens.”

“A noble goal, Bucky… a noble goal.” Sunset Shimmer rose, stretched her legs, and began to approach Bucky’s desk. “I got a communication from Princess Celestia this afternoon Bucky—”

“Yes?” Bucky looked up from his egg and his gaze focused upon his pupil.

“As you know, Princess Celestia is kinda itchy about getting new paladins… there is a little colt in Canterlot that she thinks might be perfect… his name is Limelight and I’ll be meeting him soon.”

“Sunset, I am certain there is a point to this,” Bucky said, his talons tapping on his desk. “I would appreciate it if you made that point. There is something you don’t want to say to me, that much is clear, so spit it out.”

“Princess Celestia wants me to find out if Dinky would be interested in paladin training.”

Slumping down in his chair, Bucky scowled. He didn’t like the idea of his sweet little Dinky being in danger. His claws scraped over the desk, making a terrible screeching sound, and Sunset Shimmer retreated away from his desk as the air began to grow cold.

“Master, temper… remember your egg.” Sunset Shimmer gave Bucky a worried smile as she continued to back away.

“Minion… paladins are meant to go after the very worst of foes.” Bucky’s voice sounded wounded and he shook his head. “I’m not comfortable with you being a paladin. If something was to hurt you… I… I… I—”

“Yes Master, you would do unspeakable things and I know what you are capable of, you irritable old warlock.” Sunset Shimmer rolled her eyes and shook her head. Bucky’s overprotectiveness of her was sometimes a little annoying, but she still loved him. “Dinky is brave, courageous, bold, true of heart, has good morals, and loving parents that have instilled in her a strong sense of right and wrong. She could do the world some good… Master, there is still much evil in the world and there will always be necromancers and heresy.”

“Yes, yes, I suppose there will be. And somepony needs to stomp it out.” Bucky let out a defeated sigh and stared at his student. “This whole family has a terminal case of the stupids. It’s because Dinky went along with Sentinel on his little adventure, isn’t it? Dinky did something stupid and now it is being seen as bravery.”

Sunset Shimmer gave Bucky a wry smile. “I suspect that recent events might have influenced Princess Celestia’s decision, but to be honest, I sorta kinda mighta made a suggestion to Princess Celestia that Dinky might be a good—”

“BETRAYER!” Bucky roared, floating up from his desk, suspended half in and half out of shadow. “AAAAAAARGH!”

“Okay, fine, get it out of your system… I deserve it.” Sunset Shimmer sat down and waited for the theatrics to pass. She watched her teacher as he struggled with his anger and his obvious love for her. She was counting on his affectionate nature to save her.

“It is because of the diaper duty, isn’t it?” Bucky asked as he settled back down into his chair, glaring at his pupil, his talons clenching.

“No.” Sunset Shimmer watched as Bucky started to calm himself and she waited for him to become a little bit more reasonable. “Dinky is gifted… you know that. She is a skilled mentalist, a rare and elusive trait. She’s needed… Bucky, she can make the world a better place, but she is going to have to go into danger to do it.”

Reaching up, Bucky grabbed a talonful of his own mane and gave it a tug. He squirmed in his chair, feeling both pride and rage, knowing that Dinky had amazing gifts and they would be wasted if she remained someplace in safety.

“You do one stupid thing and then you get press ganged into an entire life of doing nothing but stupid things, one right after another.” Bucky rubbed his muzzle, closed his eyes, and then went limp in his chair, his head coming to rest upon his desk in front of him. “This isn’t the life I wanted, Sunset. I fell in love by accident and nothing has been right since. I had to push my magical limits… I cracked my horn and activated the old family curse… and now look at me… look at me! This is not the life I want for Dinky!”

“Bucky, what if this is the life that Dinky wants for herself?” Sunset Shimmer moved closer to Bucky’s desk, stepped around it, and stood beside Bucky in his chair. She nosed him, feeling bad for him, and then nosed him a second time. “Master, somepony has to fight the good fight. Not every little pony has it in them to do what needs to be done. Some of us have to go into danger so that others can live in safety. You know that better than any other pony I know. Like it or not, you have set a powerful example for your foals. They are going to want to grow up and be like you. They’re going to run towards danger, rather than away from it, and you, you are going to have to make peace with that.”

“Minion…”

“Master?”

“If Dinky wants to be a paladin, you must teach her as I have taught you… total obliteration… it is the only way she might be safe. She must learn to reduce her foes to ash… I cannot bear to think of her in danger… just as I cannot bear to think about you in danger. That is why I taught you the spells I did… Princess Celestia did not agree with me at the time, but I think she agrees with me now.”

“Princess Celestia said that as the first paladin, I am responsible for our traditions… I suppose destructive evocations are as good of a tradition as any.” Sunset Shimmer sighed and sat down on the floor beside Bucky’s chair.

“We should get back to work. There is much to do.”

“Yes, Master, of course.”

 

Author's Note:

This chapter is important, it looks beyond the immediate survival of the moment and we really get a chance to see what is being done for the long term. Plans are being made. Bucky has waged war on war itself, and he is going after the causes of war and conflict.

There is no guarantee of course of his plans working out, but it certainly can't hurt anything to try and make the world a better place.

 
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