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 entire cavern shook with an explosion and chunks of the ceiling came crumbling down. Bucky cocked his head, looked upwards, and then raised a shield. He gave Sunset a glance and then looked down at Chrysalis’ body. With a flash of his horn, her body vanished, transmuted into nothingness. The drones around him continued with their assigned task as if nothing had happened.

But something had happened. Bucky could feel a slight mental protrusion in his mind, almost as if he was communing with his fellow unicorns or trying to help Dinky with her mental exercises. Something else exploded and the cavern suffered a violent tremblor.

“We need to get out of here and soon. Something horrible is going on upstairs.” As Bucky spoke, almost as if events conspired to drive home his words, something exploded and big chunks of the ceiling came raining down.

“I do believe the parasprites have been released,” Sunset said as she stared upwards. “OKAY, EVERYPONY GET A MOVE ON!” Sunset’s magically amplified voice boomed through the chambers all around them, echoing, and it sounded as if hundreds of her had spoken.

There was no more army pouring in, but there were a huge number of changeling drones moving slumbering earth ponies out. Bucky remembered something that Chrysalis had said back during their meeting—“Do I look like I’m made out of bits?” Bucky remembered her sarcastic snort and felt a twinge of pain in his heart. “This is what I get for allowing some of you drones to retain a little personality. Chocolate chips. Pfah!” Bucky realised that Queen Chrysalis really had tried to make a few changes. These drones had some personality. Some independent thought. He could sense it somehow, even though he did not understand how. They had not been completely wiped during whatever process they had undergone that made them drones. He felt a painful pressure behind his eyes and he shoved his feelings deep down inside, knowing that now was not a good time to be emotional.

But the feeling would not go away.

Bucky watched as the last group of changelings moved out the final few hundred earth ponies. These caverns were empty. Something exploded again and more of the ceiling overhead crumbled down, including a chunk of stone that had to weigh several tons.

“Minion, it is time to go,” Bucky announced, “we’ll be the last ones through.”

“I wouldn’t have it any other way, Master.” Sunset refocused her shield so nopony would get hurt by falling debris.

Waiting, patient, Bucky watched as the last of the group filed through the portal, each changeling carrying three to five comatose earth ponies. It wouldn’t be long now. He began to move closer to the portal and as he did so, Sunset Shimmer had one final look around with a magic eye spell that allowed her to check over the entire area in mere seconds. Bucky saw her give a nod.

“We’re done here, Master.” Sunset, who looked resplendent in her golden hued radiant steel armor, watched as the last few changelings stepped through the portal. As she and Bucky stood watching, the portal flickered.

“I bet Twilight is getting tired,” Bucky said as he stood on the threshold. “Come, my apprentice, let us make our away.” Bucky watched as Sunset stepped through the glowing rift and then he joined her.

Right away, he knew that something was wrong. Something felt off. There was too much pressure, it was almost crushing, and he heard Sunset cry out. He found that he couldn’t move, he was rooted to the spot as the rift between worlds began to turn an odd shade of purple all around him. Ahead, the glowing slash in reality was growing narrower. The portal was closing—he and Sunset were stuck.

He tried teleporting, but nothing happened. He was having trouble making his magic work. There was something in the magic around him that made him feel… crazy. It was pouring in like a flood. He heard Sunset screech in pain and he knew that something had to be done.

“Minion… I love you.” Saying nothing else, Bucky slammed Sunset Shimmer with a powerful telekinetic slap, the only magic he could muster. It sent her flying through the crushing magic all around them, and she slipped through the narrowing rift.

As Bucky felt his mind going, the rift faded from view and Bucky was left in a strange purple void that almost appeared to be plaid.

 

 

“NO!” Twilight shrieked as the rift fizzled into nothingness. “NO! NO! NO!” She stomped her foot and watched as Sunset’s body tumbled into the sand. Something had messed with her portal rift and now, Bucky was gone. Twilight felt tears welling up in her eyes and she suffered a moment of absolute hatred for pregnancy hormones that threatened to cloud her thinking.

“We have to get him back!” Twilight shouted as Discord hovered over to where the rift had been. She watched as he began to sniff the air where the rift had been projected, and the wily draconequus squinted with one eye. “Discord, what do you know? What can you tell me?”

Discord did not reply and Twilight felt a growing sense of fury. She rushed over to Sunset’s side, worried for her friend, and she picked Sunset’s head up. With a flick of her magic, she jerked Sunset’s helmet away and tossed it down into the sand.

“He threw me out,” Sunset gasped, “he said he loved me… he loves me.”

Gnashing her teeth, Twilight fell down into the sand, held Sunset’s head in her forelegs, and hugged her close. She felt Sunset Shudder and she looked over at Discord, hoping that Discord knew something.

“He’s in the Warp,” Discord said.

“The Warp?” Twilight asked.

“The Warp… the place where I draw most of my magic from. Pure chaos,” Discord replied.

“Well, go get him!” Twilight demanded.

“Twilight… he’s in the Warp.

“I DON’T CARE!” Twilight snapped.

“Twilight, it’s been almost four minutes already. Whatever I bring back will not be Bucky and you wouldn’t like—”

“I don’t care!” Twilight said again as a powerful shudder shook her body. She felt herself sobbing and could do nothing to make it stop. “Bring him back! Bring him back! We owe it to him! Go and get him!”

“Okay, Twilight, I will.” Discord bowed his head, frowned, and then extended his lion’s paw. He made a swift swipe at the air, ripped open reality, and tore a bright, glowing purple gash into the night that oozed a strange plaid coloured mist.

Discord took a deep breath, almost as if he was diving into the water, and then he slithered through the tear in the very fabric of reality. In a fraction of a second, he was gone and a strange keening sound filled the night, almost like when somepony ran a violin bow over the back edge of a saw.

Clinging to Sunset, Twilight wept, fearful, not knowing how this might end. She felt Sunset’s armored forelegs wrap around her and the two mares clung to one another as they lay in the sand together. Myrmidons gathered around and Belisama flew down, landing near Twilight.

Fluttershy appeared, popping into existence near the rift, a worried expression upon her face. She hovered near the gash in reality, her eyes wide and fearful. She fanned away some of the odd purple mist with her batlike wing and her worried frown intensified.

A moment later, Discord’s head popped out of the rift, his eyes glowing with manic energy. Grunting, Discord heaved his body through the rift, dragging another with him. The night was shattered by the sounds of maniacal laughter, dreadful, horrible maniacal laughter. Bucky cackled with frenzied glee, clutching at his own body. His eyes were crimson and yellow.

Twilight let go of Sunset, wiggled free from Sunset’s grasp, got up from the sand, and went over to where Discord and Bucky were. She watched as Discord set Bucky down in the sand and she noted how gentle Discord was.

The draconequus snapped his talons, a zipper appeared on the rift, and with a smooth motion, Discord zipped up the rift, closing it as Twilight drew closer. Fluttershy was now down on the ground with Bucky, trying to quiet him.

Twilight’s mouth fell open. The Warp, whatever it was, had not been kind to Bucky. His right rear leg was now most certainly that of a goat. His body had lengthened, becoming longer, and his neck had extended. His right front leg was no longer equine at all, but was now a black chitinous mass that looked very much like a changeling appendage.

“That’s enough of that, Mister,” Fluttershy said as she booped Bucky’s nose and as she did so, the cackling ceased. Bucky went still and silent, his eyes rolling back into his head as Fluttershy pulled her sloth like foreleg away.

“Well, I must say, I am surprised,” Discord said in a low voice. “Then again, he did drink the distilled essence of chaos that was prepared for him. All things considered, he came out of there in rather good shape. I was expecting something more amorphous and with a lot more tentacles.”

Twilight lowered her head and placed her ear on Bucky’s chest. After a moment, she heard a soft heartbeat that seemed to be slowing. Bucky’s body was relaxing. Fluttershy had knocked him right out.

“He’ll be okay,” Twilight said in a scratchy voice. “He’ll recover. He always does. We get him with his family and he’ll be fine. He’ll be fine and everything will be okay and we can all laugh about this someday.”

As Twilight spoke, Belisama crept closer to her husband, her eyes wet with worry, and she let out a mournful peep. The griffoness was swept into a hug by Discord, who squeezed her tight as the horrendous manic glow began to fade from his eyes.

“It’s crazy in there… I almost forgot that I loved Fluttershy and that I had friends,” Discord whispered, “I wanted to stay in there forever… it was awful!” Discord shuddered and gave Belisama another squeeze. “Had I stayed in there, I would have forgot about all of you and there would be no more Harper to cheer me up.”

“He’ll be okay,” Twilight repeated, as if saying it over and over would make it true.

“We still have work to do,” Sunset said as she stood up. “There are earth ponies to look after and get to shelter before the sun comes up. I think Chrysalis’ medical drones are doing their job.” Sunset shook her head, blinked away tears, and then sniffled. “Master will be very upset if the task is not completed. He is trusting us to get everything done. I will not fail him.” The orange mare lifted up her helmet from the sand, sniffled again, and took off at a brisk trot to do what needed to be done.

Twilight rubbed her cheek against Bucky’s pelt, which was now damp with her tears. “We should get him inside. Get him comfortable. If necessary, medicate him or lay him low if he wakes up violent or dangerous. I want somepony with him at all times. Sunset is right, we need to finish our job here.”

“I’ll look after him,” Fluttershy said in a low voice.

“I can help you,” a voice said.

Twilight lifted her head and saw a changeling that looked a little nervous. The drone stood several feet away and she spoke with a feminine sounding voice. As Twilight watched, the drone took a hesitant step forward.

“I am a pheromone factory,” the drone said as she came closer. “I am a special medical drone, a modified template made from the one you call ‘Cadance.’ I can do more than make a pony feel amorous, I can do much to alter moods and mental states. I was made to calm and pacify. My Queen used me to assist those who had suffered trauma. Many in Guano Grotto require my services. There is much cruelty in the world.”

“Do you have a name?” Twilight asked.

“A name? Why would I need a name? I am a thought. When my Queen needed me, she thought of me and I answered.” The drone paused for a moment and then looked at Bucky. “I sense that my Queen is no more, but he is marked with her pheromones and he has been altered. I now serve him. He will know the thought that summons me.”

“How peculiar,” Discord said as he let go of Belisama. “Do you think you can restore his mind? Can you fix crazy?”

The changeling studied Bucky, her small, delicate head cocking to one side. “Sometimes, when my Queen would jump from one body to the next, the spells that facilitate her transference would sometimes go wrong and leave her in a damaged mental state. That was part of the function of our creation and one of the primary reasons she acquired Cadance’s unusual biological distinctiveness. If we can reset our Queen, I see no reason why his mind cannot be restored if it is damaged.”

Twilight nodded. “Go with Fluttershy and do whatever you can to help.”

The changeling drone bowed her head. “I will restore him. It is part of my conditioned imperatives. You have no need to worry.”

“Thank you,” Twilight replied. “Okay, everypony, we have a lot to do. Time to pony up.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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