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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At last, the newborns had quieted down. They were no longer quite newborns, but the name had stuck, for whatever reason. Derpy yawned, feeling sleepy, ready for the morning lull. Dizzy and Ditzy hadn’t slept through the night very well, and little Barley had awoke in the hours before dawn in the mood to be fussy. After a good feeding, the foals were now sleeping together in a pile, with Brandywine forming the foundation for her siblings.

Crisis was off somewhere, having scampered off out of the nursery with Harper and Peekaboo. Bell Heather was eating a bit of breakfast in the kitchen with Thistle. Derpy did not know where Cadance was, and Sukari was in the kitchen with her mother, Thistle. The grey pegasus yawned again, fluffed out a bit, and wished the rest of her foals and her family were at home. This was hard on her, and it was growing harder by the day.

After a somewhat guilty glance at the newborns, Derpy Hooves stood up, stretched, and escaped the nursery, off to find something to do to alleviate her boredom. She was lonesome, missing her mates, she felt restless and unsettled. She pulled a blanket over the sleeping pile of fuzzy wuzzies, thinking that there would be diaper changes far too soon, and then, heaving a maternal sigh, slipped out the door.

She walked down the hall, careful not to make too much noise, and heard the soft swishing hum of the washing machine. She heard the clink of plates in the kitchen. She heard laughter from the living room. Ears perking, she headed for the laughter, moving down the hall, her eyes bright with joyful expectation.

Sticking her head through the arch into the living room, she saw Yew Wood, who had Brennus wrapped up in a shawl hanging from her neck, Broom, Harper, Peekaboo, Cadance, Crisis, and Lugus, who was scooted into a corner, sitting on his haunches, and trying not to take up too much room.

“Harper has learned a magic trick,” Yew Wood said to Derpy.

“Yes, it’s adorable,” Broom added, her head bobbing. “Hey, you, show your mama your magic trick.”

Harper, giggling, looked over at Derpy for a moment, a mischievous look upon her face, a look that Derpy knew all too well from raising Dinky. The grey pegasus, standing in the entryway, focused her good eye upon Harper and waited. A hush fell upon the living room.

Crisis, who seemed to like being the center of attention, stood still as Harper approached. The curious little foal’s green eyes flashed with a peculiar inner light and her lips curled upwards into a gleeful grin.

Derpy watched as Harper approached Crisis, sat down in front of her, and extended her hoof. She heard Harper say the word “Presto!” as Harper’s outstretched hoof touched Crisis’ nose in an affectionate boop. As Derpy stood watching, a change came over Crisis. Starting where Harper’s hoof had touched her, Crisis’ snow white pelt turned indigo, matching Harper’s distinctive purple-blue pelt. The colour traveled in rippling waves, over her face, down her neck, along her barrel, down her back, right to her tail.

“Tada!” Harper said in a triumphant voice when no trace of white could be found on Crisis. Extending both forelegs, Harper pulled her smaller sibling in for a squeezy hug and a slobbery kiss.

Crisis, who loved any sort of affection, threw herself into Harper’s embrace and the pair sat on the floor together, with Harper holding Crisis in much the same way that she would hold a stuffy, kissing Crisis on the ears. A ripple of darker indigo flashed over Crisis’ pelt and then the colour began fading, becoming white again.

“Somepony needs to get the camera,” Yew Wood suggested.

“Yeah, the moving picture camera.” Lugus, who had very long legs, reached out, snatched up Peekaboo, and then squeezed the yearling filly to his chest. “Come here, you.” He glanced at his mate, his crest rising. “No, not you, Yew.”

Smiling, Yew looked at her mate as Brennus began peeping, hearing the sound of his father’s voice. “We should get Peekaboo’s hunting lessons on film… those would be great to watch.”

“Home movies… memories that we can watch over and over again.” Derpy sat down on the floor as Cadance approached her. She thought about Bucky and suffered a terrible thought. One day, home movies might be all she had of him.

Feeling a case of the sniffles coming on, she scooped up Cadance, who Derpy considered Bucky’s most meaningful accomplishment in his life, his greatest victory, and she gave the little pink alicorn a squeeze.

 

 

“Buckminster, relax… your beloved Sparkler is a big filly. Now sit still.” Luna gave Bucky, who was sitting beside her, a stern glance. “This is just a training exercise to see how far Sparkler has progressed with her… unusual talent.”

Below, down in the training yard, a golem created by Princess Celestia herself began to animate, coming to life in the most alarming sort of way. Sparkler, already in her stone form, watched as the golem twitched, an animated monstrosity made of scrap metal.

“I don’t like this,” Bucky said in protest as his talons clenched into a fist.

Ripple, sitting not too far away, leaned over the rail, grinned, and shouted, “Kick its arse, Sparky!” The pegasus filly began hooting and stomping her hind legs. “Show ‘em how we deal with threats in this herd! It’s just a tin can!”

“Go Sparky!” Rising Star shouted, letting his mane down and getting into the fun. The session had let out early today, as tensions were high, the assembly ended at noon. Rising Star was determined to enjoy the rest of his day.

“Woot!” Loch Skimmer bounced up and stood up in a bipedal stance beside her sister Ripple, balancing on the rail while stomping her hind hooves up and down.

The golem lurched forwards, an amalgamation of metal, clanking and clinking. It raised one arm and took a swipe at Sparkler, who sidestepped it with ease. Sparkler, laughing, appeared to be having the time of her life, while Bucky, who was watching, appeared to be having a paternal crisis.

Princess Celestia, sitting on the other side of the training yard, on a platform atop the wall, had a look of intense concentration upon her face. The golem was a construction of will, more telekinesis than motivation and come to life spells. She controlled its actions, it was her puppet, and she made it move with ruthless speed and efficiency.

Sparkler continued to dodge blows, moving with surprising speed and grace in her stone form, but the golem was only getting warmed up. It caught Sparkler a solid blow and sent her flying. The stony pony flew almost fifty feet and smashed into the hay bales lining the walls of the training yard. There was a terrific thump of impact and a worried cry slipped from Bucky’s lips.

Already, the golem was moving in, stomping forward, moving to engage Sparkler while she was down. Sparkler got to her hooves with shocking speed for being so bulky and heavy, and the expression on her stone face was not a pleasant one.

“Oh, so that’s how you want to play… fine, we do this the hard way!” Sparkler roared in a voice that sounded like a landslide of gravel. She stomped her hooves into the ground and a sound like cannon fire filled the training yard, an almost deafening sound.

A dreadful change came over Bucky, a terrible, cruel expression was on his face, and his body twisted, contorting with rage. “Kill, Sparkler… KILL!” As he spoke, spittle flew from his lips and his talons clawed the stone, digging in and leaving deep gouges.

Luna, sitting beside Bucky, became quite alarmed.

As the golem approached, Sparkler’s stone horn flashed and she transformed. Starting at her hooves, she turned a strangely metallic looking grey. It crept up her legs and she took off running, the change still creeping over her body, she was becoming shinier, more metallic, and her footfalls became heavier sounding, she clanked more than thumped.

The most profound change was her eyes, which gleamed like pink diamonds. Sparkler no longer appeared to be stone at all, but something else entirely. She gleamed with a silver finish and sparkled in the sun.

“YEAH!” Rising Star screamed. “Just like we practiced! Wreck that metal motherplucker!” Lost in the moment, Rising Star only had eyes for Sparky, forgetting that other ponies were around, the guards, the princesses, Bucky, his eagerness had given him tunnel vision.

“Amazing,” Luna said as Sparkler began to circle the golem. “She’s turned herself into some kind of metal.” Luna, worried for Bucky, reached over with a foreleg, wrapped it over his shoulders, and pulled him close. She found that he had a disturbing amount of strength for being so weak and frail looking. It took effort and force to pull him closer, and she pulled him into a tight embrace so that she could soothe him, calling upon her innate magic that allowed her to calm all lunar creatures.

“Mecha-Sparky! Kick arse!” Loch Skimmer bounced up and down beside her sister Ripple, her stomach jiggling, her tail swishing from side to side.

Sparkler needed no prompting. Her transformation complete, she launched herself at the junk golem, her forelegs moving like pistons as she came in punching. She smashed into the golem with terrific force, and using her impact momentum, she began punching away bits and pieces. Each blow rang out like a bell, Sparkler’s metallic body was a wellspring of strength and power. The golem, now on the defensive, grabbed Sparkler in an improvised hand that had three fingers and hurled her away again.

The metallic filly tumbled end over end as she flew threw the air, launched the entire length of the training yard, and Sparkler once more smashed into the hay bales that lined the walls. She recovered right away, getting up on her hooves, and she moved to attack the golem once more.

“I’m gonna feck you up, BAD!” Sparkler bellowed in a voice that sounded like an industrial metal grinder designed to swallow whole airships and turn them into scrap. As she ran, her metallic hooves smashed and cracked the stones of the training yard. She lurched ahead, a titan of equinity, a neigh indestructible living lump of titanium.

Metal, after all, was just a more refined form of stone. Many hours had been spent with Rising Star, communing, connecting, melding minds, and merging their magic. Sparkler had reached the peak of her powers, developing the ultimate in defensive forms.

The golem, a creation of steel, scrap metal, and magic, braced itself for Sparkler’s charge. The filly, almost a mare, hurled herself through the air and slammed into the golem again. The sound of the impact was deafening. Sparkler had used defensive augmentations to make herself heavier, giving herself amazing density and weight. The sound of metal slamming into metal caused fleshy ears to twitch in pain.

Each blow was like a pneumatic hammer, bits and plates of steel crumpled like tinfoil under Sparkler’s relentless assault. The bystanders, witnessing this historic beatdown, realised that if Sparkler had launched herself against most airship hulls, she’d be able to pound her way right through them. A three inch thick plate of scrap steel that made up the golem’s chest shattered like glass as Sparkler’s hoof rammed through it and kept going.

Princess Luna looked at her sister and saw Celestia offer a faint nod. Luna, still holding Bucky, could feel him thrashing and twitching against her. It took a lot of effort to hold on to him and her tranquility magic for lunar creatures wasn’t working as well as she had hoped, which made her worry.

Without warning, the golem buckled, the magic animating its body going away. Sparkler tumbled down into the pile of scrap and began stomping the pieces, her fury not yet vented. An almost unseen smile was on Princess Celestia’s face.

As Sparkler continued to mature, there would no doubt be more surprises, more abilities, and she would master her unique magic. Ripple lept from the wall and landed down in the training yard, her own pelt sleek and shiny with sweat.

Sparkler lifted her head high and let out a terrifying roar, a horrendous metallic sound that made spines shiver and puckers clench. She began to kick the junk around her, getting in a few last blows, and then she went still.

The shine of her body grew dull, and then the metal began to take on a pink tint as she began the process of turning herself back into a flesh and blood pony once more. Ripple, who had taken to the air, was flying in a circle over Sparkler’s head, air boxing with her front hooves, a fierce toothy grin plastered over her muzzle.

Violence had left Ripple in quite an aroused state, and she planned to ambush Bittersweet when she went inside. Bittersweet, not one for violence, was visiting with Belisama, Bon Bon, Lyra, Sentinel, Diamond Tiara, Boadicea, Piña, and Dinky.

“She’s gonna need lots of food,” Rising Star said, turning to look at Luna, who was still struggling to hold on to Bucky. “This always takes a lot out of her… hey… is he gonna be okay?” The fey unicorn gave Luna a worried look.

Luna, who stroked Bucky’s neck with her wing, nodded. “He’ll be fine, once he regains his senses.” Looking down, Luna noticed that the white of Bucky’s eye had taken on a curious yellow tinge and the grey had a touch of scarlet. She lowered her head and made a cooing sound in his ear, the ancient lullabye of night, and she felt his thudding heart begin to slow.

“Daddy?” Loch Skimmer turned around, her expression one of worry. She took a step forward, but stopped when Princess Luna gave her a look of warning. The pegasus’ wings fluttered at her sides, and her eyes glistened with concern. “What’s wrong with Daddy?”

“Nothing that a little quiet time cannot fix.”

The sudden sound of Princess Celestia’s voice so close startled Loch Skimmer, and she lept away sideways, her wings extended, not at all expecting the big white alicorn to be so close all of a sudden.

“Buckminster, can you hear me?” Celestia crept forwards, her head low, and with her wing, she waved back Rising Star, who had also taken a step towards Bucky. She had her ears pinned back and she moved with an easy, submissive grace, not wanting to further arouse Bucky’s ire. It pained her to see him in this state. He looked almost feral and foam flecked his lips.

“We should get him inside, into the dark and away from things that might further excite him,” Luna suggested. “Perhaps a little time with Erebus and Tourmaline is in order.”

“Do you think that’s safe?” Loch Skimmer asked.

“Of course it is… it is the one thing about your father that I trust more than anything else,” Luna replied, thinking about all of the mental conditioning she had done. No matter how his mind fractured, no matter how he broke, the mental conditioning she had given him to protect little ones above all else always held. Luna considered it one of her defining achievements. She recalled their meeting just outside of Las Pegasus, when Bucky had rescued Tourmaline and Glass Slipper, the moment when Luna had realised that she might have done a little too good of a job on Bucky. He had threatened her, and had done so fearlessly.

Rising Star, who looked grim and serious, glanced over at Loch. “Go get Sparky and Ripple… let’s go inside, but don’t tell Sparkler about Bucky just yet… she can’t see him up here and she doesn’t need to know.”

Nodding, Loch Skimmer took to the air and went flying over the rail to do as she was asked.

 

 

 

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