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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“What’s this?” Bucky eyed the rose coloured glass phial that Clotho had set upon the table in front of him. It gave off a faint glow, a lurid, almost labial shade of pink. He glanced up at Clotho, who looked a little worn out.

“A cure,” Clotho replied in a low, husky whisper. “I had help on this. I had to make a deal.” Clotho’s eyebrow raised and she leaned forwards, closer to Bucky.

“Queen Chrysalis?” Bucky asked, his eyebrow also raising.

“No.” Clotho shook her head and her ears leaned forwards.

“Oh.” Bucky’s face showed surprise and he hunched over to have a better look at the phial. He tapped it with his claw and the glass phial sparked at his touch, producing bright purple sparks.

“Discord.” Clotho’s eyes narrowed. “Fluttershy as well. As you know, Fluttershy suffered from a sort of vampirism for a while. She still technically has it, but her emerging draconequus nature is repressing it and making it manifest as something else. The chaos within her repurposes the magic that seeks to dominate her and take her over.”

Under Bucky’s claws, the phial vibrated and pulsated. The glow grew brighter at his touch. He looked into Clotho’s eyes, trying to understand what she was up to.

“The other cure I had planned would have destroyed your shadow nature entirely. It might have even killed you, or taken years off of your life. It would have robbed you of what makes you strong, your ability to draw strength from darkness and generate fear in others, your natural aura of horror.” Clotho’s ears drooped and she shook her head. “I could not bring myself to do that to you. I’ve done enough wrong to you… more than you will ever know.”

“All is forgiven,” Bucky whispered as he picked up the phial in his claws. It tingled as he held it in his talon fingers.

“You say that, but you don’t know what I’ve done to you. How I’ve manipulated you. How I’ve goaded you along.” Clotho blinked a few times and then heaved a sigh. “I honestly think that if my sisters and I had just told you a few things from the beginning, you might have gone along with us willingly, no manipulation required.”

“Again, all is forgiven,” Bucky repeated.

“Hearing you say that makes me feel worse.” Clotho slumped down in her chair and looked Bucky in the eye. “The elixir is bound to have side effects. It is distilled chaos mixed with a curative restoration draught. Discord is almost certain that it won’t hurt you, but he doesn’t know how it will affect you. He does believe that the chaos infusion will completely squash your vampiric nature though, but you might get a craving for something else, like chocolate milk or banana smoothies.”

“Better than thirsting for souls.” Bucky broke the wax seal with his thumb talon and yanked out the cork with his telekinesis. The room filled with a weird smell, almost like a mix of pickles, crayons, pencil shavings, and the smell that came from the hamster habitats back when he was in school. Purple-pink smoke wafted from the phial and Bucky eyed the goopy looking liquid.

 

“Bucky… I… you…” Clotho swallowed before more words could spill out, battled for control of her feelings, and then let go a pained sigh. “You don’t have to do this, Bucky. You could fight and keep control of your nature. I can’t see how this ends.”

“Probably the chaos,” Bucky said as he lifted the phial to his lips. “Cheers!”

Her breath catching in her throat, Clotho watched as Bucky gulped down the contents of the phial. She felt a dreadful sense of fear, not knowing, the unknown gnawing upon her resolve. The phial slipped from Bucky’s talons and clattered upon the table. Clotho almost panicked, her heart leaping up into her throat.

She watched as Bucky clutched his throat, grimacing, and her heart slammed against her ribs in the most mortal distressing way. She watched as Bucky’s grey eye turned yellow and red. Little motes of light danced around him as he writhed in his chair.

When Bucky clutched at his head and fell over, Clotho, unable to do anything else, screamed in terror. As she sat there, screaming, the room filled with the most maniacal cackling she had ever heard, the laughter of the damned, a terrible sound that threatened to rend her very soul.

Sucking in wind, Clotho screamed again.

 

 

Feeling more than a little strange, Bucky hiccuped, which caused a puff of fire to exit his mouth. He licked his now dry lips, took a deep breath, and wished that Princess Celestia and the guard would give him some much needed space. If he had a real fit of the hiccups, he might set them on fire.

“I cannot believe that she would just vanish like that.” Celestia’s eyes narrowed and the alicorn looked very, very cross.

Bucky, without knowing how he knew, knew that Celestia had just said Clotho’s name but the word ‘she’ had come out of Celestia’s mouth instead. He fought the urge to hiccup again and rubbed his throat.

“She probably just panicked. She probably didn’t want to be lectured by you,” Bucky said, hoping that his words would not earn him a lecture. He felt so very peculiar at the moment, light headed, and a bit itchy all over.

“Such a reckless, boneheaded thing to do!” Celestia snapped as she stomped one hoof. “Drinking distilled essence of chaos! What were you thinking? Do you ever even stop to think before you go off and pull the sorts of stunts you pull? And to think that Sentinel takes after you—”

“Hey,” Bucky cut in, feeling wounded. He gave the white alicorn a reproachful look. “You can talk about me all you want, but you leave poor little Sentinel alone. He was probably just trying to impress a certain filly or a griffoness—”

“Oh, that makes everything even worse!” Flames poured from Celestia’s eyes like tears and she focused her burning stare upon Bucky. “Nephew, you have antlers.

“Tiny ones,” Bucky said as he reached up and touched one with his talons. Antler buds, only about an inch or so long, were now protruding from next to each of his ears. One was a bit more horn like, curved, the other was a tiny three pronged fork. “I don’t think I’m all vampy now—”

“RAAAARGH!” Celestia’s mane and tale ignited, as did her wings. The room became unbearably hot. The flaming alicorn gritted her teeth together. “YOU LITTLE FOOL! WHAT ON MY GREEN EARTH PROMPTED YOU TO DRINK A STRANGE LIQUID OFFERED TO YOU BY HER OF ALL PONIES, A DRAUGHT MADE FROM THE DISTILLED ESSENCE OF DRACONEQUUS SPAWN?”

Still rubbing an antler bud, Bucky shrugged. He scratched his ear for a moment, looking up at his aunt, and then he reached out with his talons. He stretched out his foreleg, talons extended, and extending one talon finger, booped Celestia on the nose, extending his entropic cold essence.

The flames extinguished with a woosh and Celestia was left standing there, fuming, as tendrils of frost crept over her body. After a moment, her mane and tail reappeared and began wafting around, blown on unseen currents. Her eyes crossed and she focused upon Bucky’s talon fingertip, which was still resting upon her snoot.

“Did you just extinguish me?” she asked in a low, surprised voice.

“Well, it was either that or put you in time out… you were starting to have a temper tantrum—”

Before Bucky could finish speaking, something popped.

 

 

Blinking, Bucky looked around the room he now found himself in, a Celestia free room, and not the room that he had just been in. His foreleg and his talon finger were still extended, booping a nose that was no longer there. He dropped his foreleg and looked at Belisama, who was giving him a curious look, her head tilted off to one side in avian curiousity.

“I’m having one of those sorts of days,” Bucky said to the wide-eyed, staring griffoness.

The griffoness closed her alchemy book, her head tilting off to the other side, she lept down out of the chair she was sitting in, and came over to where Bucky was sitting in a chair. She hopped up into the chair, squeezing in, it was a chair meant for one pony but Bucky was thin and she was lithe. Together, they could squeeze into almost anything.

Bucky said nothing about his antlers. They were mostly hidden in his mane. Instead, he pulled Belisama close, kissed her on top of her feathered head, and began stroking her back, for which he was rewarded with a purr.

“I might have done something stupid,” Bucky admitted in a low voice.

“Oh, that’s okay, you do a lot of stupid things.” Belisama rested her head against Bucky and began to rub his chest scruffle with her talons, combing through the thick, shaggy hair with her claws. She also adjusted his torque and the snowflake pendant around his neck.

“Is it hard to love a pony that does stupid things?” Bucky asked.

“Sometimes,” Belisama admitted as she continued to try and tame Bucky’s chest scruffle. “But I have done some stupid stuff too… I followed you into a warzone with a rifle.”

Bucky laughed, hiccupped, sent out a stream of fire, and then belched. Something sulphurous filled the air. He realised that she had followed him into a warzone more than once. He gave her a squeeze, glad to have a moment alone with her. He slid his foreleg down her back, lifted her, and was preparing to put the moves on her when he heard the door open.

There were giggles from the door and Bucky heaved a sigh of dismay. He looked over and saw Dinky and Piña, both of whom were staring at him and Belisama.

“Applejack and Silver Shill left to go back to Sweet Apple Acres.” Dinky covered her mouth with her foreleg and tried to stifle her giggles. “Diamond Tiara is still here, she’s supposed to catch a ride back with us when we go home.”

Bucky, still holding Belisama, refused to let the griffoness go. The situation could still be salvaged, there was still hope, things could still happen. He eyed his fillies, took a deep breath, and held it.

“Princess Celestia went stomping down the hall covered in melting ice and dripping everywhere. She seems like she’s in a really bad mood.” Piña came all the way into the room and hopped up onto the sofa.

Bucky’s held breath escaped in a huff.

“Some of the guards were snickering,” Dinky said. The filly followed after Piña and hopped up onto the sofa to be with her sister and best friend. “I had to use the word ‘snicker’ in my most recent school assignment. It was my vocabulary word. I like it, it’s a fun word.”

Still holding Belisama, Bucky felt his arousal dying. He tried not to think about the two little antler nubs and hoped that the fillies wouldn’t notice anything out of place. He began to rub Belisama’s neck in an absent minded sort of way.

“How is Sentinel?” Belisama asked.

“The doctor is looking him over and checking his ear and stuff. The doctor said there was no sign of rejection and Sentinel’s face is all itchy, which is a good sign. They’re taking the bandages off for good.” Piña’s face broke into a bright, cheerful grin.

“And you, Piña, how did your discussion with the psychiatrist go?” Belisama’s head craned around almost to the point of being backwards so she could look at the pink earth pony filly.

“I’m good. He doesn’t think I’m crazy, well, no crazier than any other filly my age. I’m still hearing voices, but they’re not crazy voices, so I just need to learn how to cope.” Piña’s smile faded a bit and her ears drooped. “The doctor is worried that I might develop something called ‘post traumatic stress disorder.’ He wants me to keep seeing Doctor Mawu when I go home and tell her if I start having trouble sleeping at night or remembering something awful in my head over and over and if I am unable to stop thinking about it.”

“Me too,” Dinky mumbled.

Bucky blinked. That was normal for him. He had poor sleeping habits and relived horrible moments over and over again, cringing sometimes when it became too much to bear. He self medicated with alcohol and shagging.

Dinky lifted her head and and looked at her father, her smile had vanished, leaving behind no trace of her previous merriment. “Diamond Tiara told me that Sentinel wet the bed last night. He woke up, soaked and shivering, and he was crying.”

“I know,” Bucky replied, already aware of what had taken place. He squeezed Belisama a little tighter, needing her now more than ever, and he could feel her heart beating against his ribs.

“Is Sentinel going to be okay?” Piña asked.

“He’ll have to learn how to deal with everything. I’m sure that all of you will. With the way that things seem to be working out, none of you will have an easy time of life. Sacrifices have to be made. Things are going to be tough for you.” Belisama reached out with her talons, grabbed a hank of Bucky’s silver streaked mane, and gave it a gentle tug. “Sentinel will get through this, but he is going to need your help.”

Piña nodded, looking solemn, and Dinky let out a soulful huff as she leaned over on Piña. Piña wrapped her forelegs around Dinky, kissed the unicorn on the cheek, and then closed her eyes.

Bucky, still clinging to Belisama for dear life, looked over at the two fillies on the couch, his heart swelling with the love and affection he had for the pair of them. “Don’t worry girls, we’ll get through this together…”

 

 

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