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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Piña came to a halt and Dinky bumped into her backside. Sentinel had come to a stop as well, but was further ahead. Something wasn’t right, and Piña could feel the very wrongness of the city around her. She turned her head, looking around, and the path behind her was gone, there was only an impenetrable thicket once more. There was light in the sky, but no sign of the sun anywhere. It was as if the sun had been removed from the sky somehow.

Meanwhile, as Piña could feel that something was wrong, Sentinel could see that something was wrong. A shriveled looking pony stood by a water well, standing as still as a statue. Sentinel was unable to tell if it was male or female, its skin was stretched drum-tight over bones, with each rib visible, and the most disturbing feature of all—no eyes. Only the whites were visible and nothing else. Sentinel shuddered.

After bumping into Piña’s plush pink backside, Dinky recovered herself, stepping away, and having a look around. She used all of her available senses, her eyes, her ears, her nose, and her sense for magic as a unicorn. It didn’t take much to realise that she was in trouble.

A brilliant purple light flashed from Dinky’s horn as she said the incantation that she knew by heart. “Whenever I am all alone and I am too scared to think, whenever I need some help, I flash my light and blink!” A flare went shooting skyward, hit an invisible barrier, and fizzled out with a hissing pop.

That’s not good, Dinky thought to herself. Dinky, who had a quick mind, realised that she hadn’t broken the aversion spell protecting this place, she had been invited in. Thinking about this made cold chills run up and down her spine.

“We’re not alone,” Sentinel said, offering a warning to his two sisters, “I hear another heartbeat, it’s close, and something smells weird.” The colt looked around, looking at the houses around him, peering up at the roofs, eyeing the trees, trying to see what was stalking them. He let out a low growl and his hackles rose.

There were other ponies, also shriveled, boney, and standing still as statues, all of them missing eyes, only the whites of their eyes visible. A bird was perched on one of them and it pecked at the pony’s ears, nipping off pieces of dried out, leathery flesh. The pony made no response at all to the bird pecking away its ears. It just stood there, unmoving.

Unleashing a bolt of telekinesis, Dinky slapped the bird away and it flew off with a dried out strip of flesh in its beak. Dinky watched it go as she moved closer to Piña, the fear she had building up inside of her, the pressure rising like soda in a shook up bottle.

“We need to get out of here,” Sentinel said as he turned around.

“I don’t think we can,” Dinky replied, already knowing that the way out had been sealed off. They were stuck here, something had trapped them. “We just need to keep our wits about us and we’ll be fine. Everything will be fine if we just stay calm and use our heads.”

“We need to stick together and stay close.” Piña looked at Sentinel, then at Dinky, and she could sense something else, but had trouble with what it was. It wasn’t the badness all around her, it was something else. She tried to focus her senses, trying to figure out what it was, but she was too out of sorts to be able to concentrate well.

“Maybe we can still find Sand Piper. If we find her, we can take her with us when we leave, if we can figure out a way to leave.” Sentinel lowered his head to the ground and resumed sniffing.

Curious, Dinky wondered if she could teleport out. She thought about it, her ears twitching, and then decided that she wasn’t going to leave without Sentinel and Piña. She could get herself out of here, if she could teleport, but she wasn’t strong enough to take the others with her. Frustrated, angry, Dinky felt disappointed at her own lack of power. She felt a hot rush of anger and resented being a foal. She was stuck in a very adult situation and needed an adult level of power. Life just wasn’t fair, not at all.

Dinky began to think about everything she knew. Beam attacks for useful offense, the continuous application of force over and over on the same point, great for wearing something down, like a shield spell or armor. Pulse attacks had more force and hit harder, but also used more energy and took time to charge.

“Well, I must say, I did not expect to find somepony like you here… and two of you. Must be my lucky day. That useless little foal I lured here proved useful after all.”

Growling, Sentinel bared his teeth as both Piña and Dinky pressed closer together.

“Who are you?” Piña demanded. “Show yourself!”

“In due time,” the voice replied.

“You clearly don’t know who we are… I wouldn’t mess with us if I were you. We’re powerful and those who love us are far more dangerous than we are,” Dinky said in a strange voice of calm authority. Gone was the frightened foal. Dinky, taking after her mother, stood stiff legged, looking very much like a pegasus in the throes of defiance, ears erect, head high, muzzle angled down to protect the throat. Her horn glowed with a dangerous brilliance.

“Oh, but you are powerful,” the voice replied, “which is why I’m so happy to have found you. I’ve been in need for a new vessel for a long time. I have this problem, you see… I’ve grown very, very old. I’ve absorbed a great deal and the common pony just cannot hold me. The ponies you see around you are what I’ve had to work with. I lured that pathetic little unicorn here to be a new vessel and I had the most fortuitous luck having you show up. I’ll be able to jump between the two of you so one body can rest while I use the other. The two of you should last me for a very long time.”

Confused, Dinky didn’t know what the voice was talking about, but she didn’t like it, not one bit. She felt something lurking near the fringes of her mind, something dreadful was coming closer. Something awful.

“You even brought me a new lunar pegasus… they make good guards. The last one I had died centuries ago.”

A long ribbon of drool hung down from the corner of Sentinel’s mouth, his eyes were bloodshot with fury and the hairs all along his spine bristled upwards, giving him a long stripe running down his back. His legs quivered, his muscles twitching and jerking.

“My brother has a bad habit of ripping his enemies limb from limb. Give us Sand Piper and let us go.” Piña glanced around, trying to find the source of the voice.

“Our daddy loves us bunches. He’s known to get mean if something messes with his foals. You wouldn’t like him if he got mean,” Dinky said in a loud, clear voice, trying to sound as intimidating as possible.

“I don’t know who your father is, nor do I care,” the voice replied.

“You wouldn’t say that if you knew him.” Piña watched as more drool dribbled from her brother’s lips. She was worried, Sentinel was giving off a strange feeling, he was more animal than pony. He was dangerous.

Thoughts racing, Dinky battled to keep her fear in check. Sentinel was rapidly approaching a berserk state, or so she believed, she knew it was possible. Something felt wrong, something was pressing in on her thoughts, unwelcome, as if it were trying to gain entry. Overhead, one of the roofs on an old house nearby creaked, almost causing Dinky to jump out of her skin.

She knew they were in trouble. Whoever was here was a powerful mentalist and was probing Dinky’s defenses. Dinky wasn’t sure she could fight against something this powerful. She felt the cold prickles of fear radiating outwards from her nether regions, filling her guts with a chilly, sick feeling, and her stomach felt clammy from sweaty fear.

“I know who you are,” Piña said in a loud voice.

“Do you now?” the voice replied in a mocking tone.

“You… you’re the Hag!” Piña looked around, trying to keep her eyes open for danger.

“No one has dared uttered that name for a long time… no matter… soon, your insolence will no longer matter.”

Dinky sucked in a deep breath, almost choking as a pony came around the corner. She moved like a puppet, with jerky, stuttering steps, almost as if she was something that was stop motion animated. The withered, old unicorn wasn’t well. Her pelt was grey, lifeless looking, dried out, almost mummified looking. Bones stood out in high relief against the stretched tight skin. Patches of her pelt were missing.

But her eyes… her eyes... the eyes made Dinky’s blood run cold. While the frozen ponies all around them had blank white eyes, the monstrosity lurching towards them had black, dead eyes that glowed with a terrible dusky ambiance.

“I do so hate this body… these bodies. I’ve had to turn them into near liches just to keep them alive, to keep them preserved, just so they could hold me… and none of them can hold me very long… I’ve grown far too large for these bodies… it’ll be painful waiting for you to mature, but I’m a very patient pony.”

“You’ve already destroyed yourself.” Piña lifted up her head, looking defiant. “You’re already dead. Soon, no pony body will hold you, and you can’t jump into anything but ponies, can you? With no body that can hold you, you will die… you will turn to dust and blow away in the wind.”

“You know nothing,” the Hag spat. “There is always lichdom, as horrible as that might be. There is always the ways and means to escape. You know nothing, insignificant foal.”

Snarling, Sentinel lunged forwards, his mouth opened wide, his wings springing from his sides. He moved with blinding speed, his legs and wings pumping. He shot forward, a blur, moving towards the Hag as a streaking ball of fuzzy rage, long ribbons of drool streaming out from his muzzle.

Horn flashing, the Hag slapped Sentinel with a powerful telekinetic blast, sending him flying. Sentinel, flung backward with a grunt, smashed into the stone wall of a building, shattering it, and he kept going, vanishing from view.

“He’ll learn his place,” the Hag said as she turned her head, advancing upon Piña and Dinky. “I’ll wear down his mind and his will. Siblings, you say? He will work to guard his sisters’ bodies while I inhabit them. This works out well for me.”

With a roar, Sentinel reappeared, shooting out of the rubble, his wings flapping, moving with almost supernatural speed. The Hag, somehow faster, hit him again with magic. A sickening blast of greenish black magic flew from her horn and struck Sentinel in the face, knocking the colt from the air.

Sentinel landed in a heap, skidding to a halt in the dirt, the left side of his face melting like candle wax, his eye sliding out of his socket and dissolving in the puddle that was the left side of his face. So much of his face had sloughed off that his molars were visible, and more of his face continued to ooze away.

“Look what you made me do… well, you still have the other eye. That’ll have to do,” the Hag said as she looked down at the mess she had made of Sentinel.

Shrieking, Dinky reached deep inside of herself, willing up as much magic as she could muster, along with all of her rage, her anger, and her fury. Around her, the air came to life with a terrible droning sound.

A massive cloud of bees sprang into existence and headed right for the Hag as Piña darted forwards towards Sentinel’s side, tears streaming from her blue eyes and running down her cheeks.

Dinky’s swarm surged forwards and consumed the Hag, who screeched as the cloud of creeping doom made Dinky’s fury known. The Hag fell down, rolling about on the ground, trying to be rid of the stinging insects, but there was no stopping them.

Much to Dinky’s surprise, the Hag somehow teleported away, a move that Dinky did not expect, how could anypony teleport while being stung by bees, and then the Hag cast a fireball, burning her cloud of bees to ashes. Tears flooded Dinky’s eyes, she didn’t know what else to do.

And then, she felt it, the Hag trying to force her way in. Dinky screamed, understanding that if the Hag went deep enough into her mind, Dinky would lose herself forever. She heard Piña screaming and realised that the same thing was happening to Piña as well. One of them would break, and then the Hag would have her victory.

A black streak darted for the Hag, the sound of feathers slicing through the air could be heard, and then the loud shriek of avian fury. Distracted, trying to dominate Dinky and Piña, and still recovering from the insect swarm attack, the Hag could do nothing to stop Boadicea’s advance. The griffoness impacted into the Hag, almost knocking her over, and wrapped her piano wire garrote around the Hag’s neck.

With a tug, Boadicea cinched it, causing the Hag’s eyes to bulge. Boadicea’s beak, long, pointed, and razor sharp, slammed down against the top of the Hag’s head over and over again, rending flesh, tearing open her scalp, and sending jets of blood spurting.

As Dinky watched, still trying to shove the Hag out of her mind, Boadicea, sitting upon the Hag’s back, her hind claws digging into the Hag’s withered flesh, had her garrote now secured in her left talons, and was pulling out a wicked looking dagger with her right talons. The dagger went up, flashing from the brilliant light coming off of the Hag’s horn, and then arced down.

The blade bit deep into the base of the Hag’s neck and then was pulled out. Much to Dinky’s terror, the horrific wound began to heal almost right away. The wounds on the Hag’s scalp were also healing. The dagger was rammed in again, and again, Boadicea was stabbing the Hag over and over, each stroke coming down and striking with a wet sounding meaty splat.

The Hag’s presence was weakening in her mind, Dinky could feel it, and she felt her spirits lift. Perhaps the Hag could be defeated somehow. Staggering, Dinky made her way over to Piña, who was guarding Sentinel’s prone, helpless body.

Boadicea’s dagger continued to stab into the Hag’s flesh over and over as the garrote remained tight around the Hag’s neck, also cutting into the wrinkled, vulnerable flesh of the Hag’s throat. It was like some kind of horrorshow rodeo, with the Hag trying to buck Boadicea from her back and Boadicea refusing to let go. Blood and black feathers flew outwards from the pair locked in mortal combat.

Taking a deep breath, Dinky focused everything she had in her, trying to call up as much magic as possible. Dinky’s eyes went white as she entered a near surge-like state. She rose up into the air, her forelegs raised out to her sides, her horn crackling with dangerous amounts of energy.

Another swarm of creeping death appeared, a nightmare swarm of epic proportions. Bees, wasps, giant wasps, ants, scorpions, spiders, centipedes, all manner of stinging, pinching, biting, horrible creepy crawlies had come to do Dinky’s bidding. Dinky focused all of her hatred, all of her rage, she focused all of her emotion on the Hag, wishing to punish her.

The swarm moved, following Dinky’s will, and Boadicea, after getting in one final stab, jumped away from the Hag’s back, then flew away, her wings flapping, and she circled overhead.

The nightmarish horde of horrors laid into the Hag, an extension of Dinky’s will. They crawled over the Hag’s skin and into the wounds that had not closed yet, then crawled beneath the withered, drawn flesh of the Hag.

Screeching, being devoured alive, the Hag writhed, trying to save herself, her horn flashed a few times, but nothing happened. Strange lumps moved beneath her skin. One eye popped out, pushed out from a giant centipede making itself at home in her eye socket. The Hag let out a gurgling cry.

Dinky felt something spike through her mind, a psychic scream. It hurt in ways that there were no words to describe. It echoed, resonated, becoming more and more painful with each passing second. Boadicea seemed unaffected. Piña writhed on the ground beside Sentinel.

And one by one, the frozen, still ponies with white eyes dropped to the ground, unmoving, not breathing, dying as the Hag’s magic began to weaken and the psychic scream intensified.

Boadicea darted down, her dagger extended, and she flew past the Hag, slicing open her throat once more. This time, the wound did not close and more insects, more spiders, more horrible things crawled inside of the Hag’s body to worm beneath her skin.

“Just DIE you COONT!” Piña shrieked as she lay on the ground, kicking.

The Hag, unable to stand, fell over as she was being devoured, eaten alive by bugs. Her wrinkled, dessicated flesh was being stripped away, revealing glistening, bloody muscles and bits of yellow gristle below, all of which was swarming with flesh gnawing horrors.

Swooping down, Boadicea kicked the Hag over, mindful of the bugs, the spiders, and the many legged monstrousities eating the Hag. With a smooth, well practiced motion, she used her dagger to open up the Hag’s belly, slicing her from navel to groin. Intestines spilled out like gleaming, shiny pink ribbons. The creeping horde, ever hungry, fell upon the new banquet of flesh.

Inside of her mind, Dinky felt the Hag dying, growing weaker, with nowhere left to go, no body to jump into, no means of escape. It was over. There was another blinding flash of pain as a psychic scream echoed through Dinky’s head, and then something happened that was like a soap bubble popping.

Overhead, the sun came into view, shining down upon the city that time forgot. Blinking, Dinky realised that the spell was broken. The Hag was dead. They had killed her. Drained, weakened, Dinky once more reached down deep, surprised that she still had a little more to give.

“Whenever I am all alone and I am too scared to think, whenever I need some help, I flash my light and blink!” Dinky recited the words, knowing them by heart, and a brilliant flare shot upwards, this one rising up over the Everfree where it could be seen. It exploded and Dinky knew that help was coming.

The ground was rushing up to meet her and she felt somepony grab her. No, somebirdy. She felt feathers tickling up against her as she was gently lowered down to the ground. Reaching out, Dinky touched Piña, not just with her hoof, but also with her mind. Her head throbbed, she was having some trouble seeing. The last dying psychic scream of the Hag’s had been a doozy.

In the distance, there was a thunderous crack, a sound that Dinky knew all too well. That crack was the sound barrier being broken. Help was coming. Help would soon be here. Dinky’s stomach growled, she felt empty, weak, her horn ached something awful, and she had a horrible headache. She hoped that Sentinel could be saved somehow and Dinky’s final waking thought was of Sand Piper, wondering about the filly’s fate.





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