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 courtyard, Princess Celestia looked at the mare that had once been her student. The white alicorn watched, her eyes almost unblinking, remembering each precious moment with Twilight as she grew, as she matured, with each little victory, and now, Twilight was all grown up. She was married, married into a herd no less, and the curious little bookworm had discovered the blessing of family. Looking at Twilight made Celestia feel both happy and sad.

Twilight was down in the courtyard with her friends—Celestia paused to correct her thinking. That was no mere collection of friends down in the courtyard. At some point, it had changed. They had become an extended family of their own. They had laughed together, cried together. They had fretted, laboured, and celebrated together. They had survived Griffonholm together. The boundaries of family had always been a blurry concept for Celestia and she thought about her own life. She thought of happier times, harder times, worse times. She had been friends with Princess Platinum and Sombra, the Lord of Winter. But she had been so much more… to both of them. Perhaps when this was over she might go and pay two old friends a visit.

“Each day she becomes a little more like us.”

Princess Celestia turned and looked at her sister. Luna had crept up on her unawares and Luna was holding Erebus in her magic. Celestia blinked, her deep thinking interrupted, but she was not upset. She was glad to see Luna.

“It seems as though Twilight becomes more like us with each passing day,” Luna said in a low voice as she looked up at her sister, “and I cannot help but wonder… are we part of some great harmonic ideal… perhaps of beauty…”

“What do you mean, Luna?” Celestia asked, knowing there had to be more to Luna’s thoughts. Her brows furrowed and she waited, patient, hoping that Luna would continue to share whatever it was she was thinking.

“As Twilight grows in power, she becomes more like us. Look at her, she is tall, getting longer in the leg, her body has lengthened, so has her neck, her muzzle has grown a little longer, a little more delicate. She is becoming like us.” Luna drew in a deep breath, her sides expanding. “Then there is dearest Buckminster… each day that passes, he mutates a just a bit more, losing more of himself. He’s become twisted, misshapen, gnarled, it is almost as if he moved away from the great harmonious ideal and has become something else. Each day he becomes a little more like Discord.”

Lips pressing into a straight line, Princess Celestia thought of Fluttershy. She looked at her sister, could see the twinkle in Luna’s eye, and knew that Luna was also deep in thought on this momentous day. “Sister, what of Fluttershy? She has changed, of this there could be no doubt, yet she is still beautiful.”

“Oh, I do agree,” Luna replied, lifting her head, “she has somehow managed to turn chaos towards the harmonious ideal, has she not? She has retained her beauty even with all of the changes she has endured.” Luna looked down into the courtyard where Fluttershy was. “She is still beautiful… but think of Buckminster. Scaly. Mishapen. He too, has grown longer in body, his spine has become longer, his limbs have become gnarled, life has not been kind to him.”

“There might be something to what you say, Luna.” Celestia made her reluctant admission and shook her head, feeling bad for acknowledging it, and feeling just a tiny bit envious of Luna’s insight into other ponies. “I do not get it, Luna… if Bucky were to follow the harmonious ideal, all life as we know it would end. If he were to fulfill his destiny, as the alicorn of war he would destroy us all. Would that make him beautiful once more?”

Shrugging, her wings fluttering at her sides, Luna replied, “Perhaps.” Luna put Erebus down upon the floor and allowed him to wobble around, rubbing up against her legs. “All things must come to an end. The day ends and succumbs to the night. The phantom night is chased away by the optimistic dawn. Winter comes and so begins the season of death… yet come spring, life returns anew. Perhaps the end I have seen is only symbolic—the end of all I know. Perhaps Buckminster is meant to do what Twilight is doing right now… be rid of all of the accumulated badness so that the new can start fresh. Perhaps you and I, along with all of the others who resist and fight against our creator are doing irreparable harm against the cosmos by preventing the old to be washed away so that the new might take hold.”

“But we are fixing what is wrong… progress has been made… we are undoing the harm done!” Celestia felt her jaw clench, she hated the grain of truth in Luna’s words. She felt bitterness and anger welling up inside of her.

“Maybe we are… or maybe we are applying fertiliser to maintain life in a field that should be allowed to go fallow.” Luna’s eyes closed for a moment and she shook her head. Her horn blazed and she plugged Erebus’ ears with magic, preventing him from hearing. “I have been giving this a lot of thought, dear sister. Thanatos and Clotho both seek replacements. They have grown tired, weary, they seek a way to pass on their duties. Many of the other immortals have grown weary. Some of them seek an end. We are young, you and I, so hold your tongue. I know that you are about to say something about them just giving up.”

“We are but thousands of years old. Think of Scorch. Think of Odin—”

“Yes, Odin, who faces renewal, who has been revitalised, who has found new purpose, who now grows younger!” Celestia said to her sister.

“Odin, who is an exception.” Luna looked sad, her expression knowing and wise. “Sister, he is tens of thousands of years old. Surely those many years of his weigh upon him… I am not saying that I want everything to end, I am merely saying that I understand transition. I was wrong to try and make the night last forever.”

“Are you saying that we are making a mistake by unnaturally extending the period of life upon this planet?” Celestia asked, her voice an emotional, breathy, frightened whisper.

“The night must give way to the day…”

 

 

This was going to be one of those moments where everything changed. Twilight stood, the wind blowing through her mane and tail, gathering her strength. Her strength came not from within, but from around her. She glanced around at her friends, grateful for them, thankful, glad to have them.

Blinking, feeling the gust of wind against her eyelashes, Twilight watched as Discord nudged Pinkie Pie’s bulging stomach and laughed while looking at Cheese Sandwich. Rarity and Fluttershy were chatting together. Applejack and Rainbow Dash were both discussing all of the different ways that they were going to punish Scootaloo and Apple Bloom. Twilight sighed, turned her head, and looked at Spike. He was off in the distance, sitting on the ground, playing with Glass Slipper.

It was time. Twilight had studied this spell and she felt ready. It was complex, difficult, it would be the ultimate test of her abilities. It was an entirely new field of magic, at least to her. It seemed that others had been studying it for quite some time. It was the deep magic of immortals and gods. It was how new universes were made, how new cosmoses were birthed, with it, one could create an entirely new reality.

Drawing in a deep breath, Twilight prepared to call her friends together.

 

 

Gritting her teeth, Twilight struggled to tap into a source of magic that was almost alien to her. She could tap into ley lines, that had long ago stopped being difficult, but Twilight was trying to tap into the Weave, the ley lines that transcended this reality and flowed through each and every universe. Every reality, every when and where, this was a magical constant that allowed certain magics to exist anywhere. Twilight theorised that the Weave is what she had tapped into with her human friends on the other side of the mirror. Some magic was universal, it existed anywhere and everywhere.

Gasping, Twilight felt strange as something inside of her changed. Unknown to her, she was now out of phase, out of focus, and almost looked as though there were several copies of herself, each of them overlapping with the other. She felt it now, it was like standing in the shallow water and waiting for a big wave to come and knock you over. She let the magic flow through her, she felt joy, happiness, a rush of warmth. Extending her mind, she touched each one of her friends; she was their connection to the Weave. A crackling web of magic formed, beams of magic extended from Twilight’s horn and connected to each one of her friends. When Discord was connected with, the magic ceased to crackle, sputter, and pop. It became smooth, it hummed with a beautiful sound that could not be described.

Twilight felt gravity release her, that sweet moment of weightlessness let her know that everything was working. She was in a controlled surge now, she was in a contradictory state of controlled chaos. She rose higher into the air, her friends now moving around her in orbit.

The ground rumbled and the entire Canterhorn Peak shuddered. The city of Canterlot shook. Glass windows rattled. Canterlot Castle trembled. Twilight began to hear voices, but she could not make them out. She felt pain, but it was not her pain. Betrayal, fear, doubt, loathing, anger, and pain, so much pain. She felt it now, it threatened to overwhelm her. The voices became more distinct, angry shouts, terrified screams, grief filled wails. Mental images began to flicker through Twilight’s mind. She began to see all of the horrible things done behind closed doors in Canterlot. She saw the very worst of what had been done, she saw whole families plotting to kill one another, there was an endless stream of the many betrayals.

Twilight had to endure it and she thought of her friends as she watched Canterlot’s dark history playing inside of her mind, almost as if it was a movie. She saw wives conspiring to kill the foals of other wives, she saw sisters plotting to kill one another, husbands who spoke with poisoned words, turning his wives against one another, and everypony betraying everypony else in a mad scramble to gain power. Canterlot was a monument to equine suffering.

And always at the top, House Avarice, the masterminds that perpetuated this endless cycle of misery, the puppet masters that kept the other houses fighting and so mistrustful of one another that they stood no chance of ever ousting House Avarice from the top of the heap. Twilight’s mind flooded with knowledge, seeing how everything was connected. House Avarice had connections to every house, they had created an army of bastards and created shackles through marriage. House Avarice had learned to manipulate the very stars themselves, unicorns that had once controlled the sun now sought to master the stars instead, hoping to release Nightmare Moon… and things that were worse.

Twilight’s body shimmered, warping with magic, her horn lengthened, her legs grew a little longer, her wings grew ever more majestic. The life in her belly was also touched by the powerful magic. Twilight was channeling the Weave, the ultimate in ley lines.

Canterhorn Peak trembled and shook, the temblor could be felt all the way down in Ponyville. A roar filled the air, but Twilight couldn’t hear it. Brilliant flashes of light filled the air, explosions of light, not just around Twilight, but around the entirety of the Canterhorn, top to bottom.

The very rock of the Canterhorn had been corrupted, the whole mountain was rotten. Everything that lived up here felt the effects. Twilight came to an understanding—the mountain had to go. Even more magic welled up from inside of her, flowing through her, changing her, altering her form to allow for even greater magical output.

With her mind, Twilight reached down, deep into the heart of the ground below the Canterhorn, touching the uncorrupted earth, a heart made of crystal, still untouched by miners and those who had dug into the ground. She infused it with magic, causing it to grow, and the crystal, now brought to life, rose upwards in a swell. The entire Canterhorn Peak swayed from side to side in a most terrifying way, and those who felt it insisted that the mountain would topple over.

The old began to crumble away as the new rose up to replace it. Twilight held it all together as the blue-white crystal rose up out of the ground. The pieces of granite and basalt that fell away were crushed to dust and scattered on the wind. Twilight guided the growth, controlled chaos, making a new mountain to replace the old, a sparkling blue-white spire made of crystal. Canterlot would have a new foundation, untouched, uncorrupted, unblemished.

Twilight’s terraformation spell was forever altering the view from Ponyville. Canterlot would be perched atop a gleaming spire of crystal, a thing of beauty, a vision of hope and radiance. No longer would it be viewed with so much fear, anger, and mistrust. The old was being done away with, taking with it a thousand years of misery, the accumulated emotional residue that had poisoned the very land itself and those who lived upon it.

The city gave a final shudder as the crystal spire grew beneath it, embracing it, offering a foundation for the city to rest upon. The ground ceased shaking and everything grew still. Not one window was broken, nor had the city been damaged.

The very last thought that went through Twilight’s mind as the magic began to overwhelm her was that the crystal ponies of the Crystal Empire would need to come to Canterlot to tend the new crystal foundation of the city. Canterlot, like the Crystal Empire, was now a transmitter meant to broadcast positive emotion.

Smiling, triumphant, but exhausted, Twilight Sparkle, who had forever altered the landscape of the Canterlot and Ponyville region, knew no more.

 

 

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