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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As Violet Velvet dumped down a load of paperwork on the table, she gave Bucky a worried look. Since returning home, he had been quiet and it was obvious that he was in pain. He had come home different in the most literal sense of the word, with two new legs and a somewhat altered body.

Letting out a sigh, Violet sat down in a chair, looked at Bucky, and shook her head. “You need to grieve—”

“Violet, I’m not in the mood to be told what to do. There is a lot to be done and Gossamer is coming soon.” Bucky didn’t look up from the binder he was reading, but remained focused upon his work.

“Look, Belisama told me everything that happened and I know that you had feelings for Chrysalis. You can’t just turn them off or ignore them, it isn’t healthy.” Violet leaned forwards in her chair and a worried frown caused her face to become wrinkled. The corners of her eyes crinkled in concern as she continued to stare at Bucky.

“Violet, please, I’m very busy. There is so much to do… there is a community in the south petitioning the crown for help against some very aggressive pests. Gossamer is coming. I don’t have time for distractions—”

“Damn you, this isn’t a distraction!” Violet snapped. “You lost somepony that you clearly loved. We can all see it, why can’t you just admit to it?”

There was a loud thud as Bucky slammed the binder he was reading down upon the table. “Because I don’t want to! I don’t want to deal with it! I don’t want to think about it! I just want the ache to go away and this all feels wrong… I’m pining away for somepony that wasn’t my wife but I had strong feelings for and it feels so very wrong!”

“Bucky, she was the mother to one of your foals. Your wives understand… they can’t stand to see you in pain. All of them are worried… you’ve been home now for what, five days? You don’t want to talk about it, you don’t want to let it out, you just keep bottling it up and we’re all worried about you… please… give yourself some time to grieve—”

“NO!” Bucky roared.

There was a burst of cold and an explosion of snowflakes. Violet found herself alone in the farmhouse library. She slumped in her chair, feeling hurt, and she felt the unwanted sting of tears welling up in her eyes. Part of her was angry; she wanted to go and give Bucky a piece of her mind. But that was a small part that was easy to dismiss. The rest of her could only feel sympathy. He was suffering and she hated it when he suffered.

The door to the farmhouse library opened and Violet heard the soft sound of hooves tapping on the hardwood floor. She turned and saw Derpy. The grey pegasus looked a bit angry, a bit sad, and her brows had thick creases from being furrowed.

“We’ve lost a herd member,” Derpy said in a low, husky voice. “I’ve come to terms with it, so have the others, as weird as it might be, she was one of us. She was Crisis’ mother and Crisis is one of my foals. I am Crisis’ mother as well. If Chrysalis could share Crisis with me, then I can share Bucky with her memory.”

“You know, for a pegasus who says she has trouble with words, sometimes you say the most meaningful things,” Violet replied as she stared at the grey pegasus mare.

“I speak from my heart. Sometimes what I have to say is meaningful, I suppose.” Derpy shook her head and then let out a worried snort. “But that’s not important right now. If we don’t figure out a way to help Bucky, he’s either going to implode or explode. He’s hurting and I don’t know how to fix him.”

“I don’t either,” Violet admitted. “If he collapses inwards, he’ll have another nervous breakdown… like when Sentinel left. And if the floodgates open outwards…” Violet’s words trailed off into a breathy exhale and her cheeks puffed out.

Sticking her head in the door, Berry Punch looked around the library. “Bucky meeting?”

“Yup.” Derpy nodded her head.

“He’s getting kinda scary, isn’t he?” Berry’s voice was low, worried sounding, and soft. “Not that I’m scared of him, don’t get the wrong idea, but I am scared for him. He’s becoming disconnected. When did he sleep last?”

Shrugging, Derpy looked at Berry Punch and blinked, not knowing how to answer.

A second later, Belisama strolled into the library, rubbing up against Berry’s legs as she entered, her tail curling around Berry’s leg as she passed. She sat down in front of Berry’s forehooves and looked up at Derpy, her crest rising in concern.

“We need to figure out a way to uncork Bucky and get him to let all of this poison out before something awful happens.” Berry Punch looked down at the griffoness sitting at her hooves, lowered her head down, and kissed Belisama on the top if her feathered head, which caused the griffoness to fluff out. “Where is Thistle? Off working? I can never remember her schedule.”

“She’s off dealing with the reservoir behind the Ponyville dam,” Violet replied, “she has a plan to use fresh water clams and mussels to help clean up the water. She says it will solve two problems at once… it will filter the water and provide food for the griffons.”

“Clever filly,” Derpy said, distracted from her worries for a moment. “I always knew that Thistle had the potential for greatness in her. She’s gonna be an amazing mare.”

“When going on?” Harper asked as she stuck her head into the open library doors.

“Hi.” Berry Punch looked down at the filly standing beside her hind legs. “Did you have a nice nap, Harper?”

The frizzy maned filly shook her head. “No. Tummy hurts. Harpy no feel good.”

“Oh, you poor dear,” Belisama said as she raised her forelegs and gestured for Harper to come closer. The griffoness was almost bowled over when Harper plowed into her and Belisama gave the filly a much needed hug.

“Maybe we can get Celestia to talk some sense into him.” Violet reached up and rubbed her chin. “He won’t run from her. Maybe. Actually, I don’t know. He might. Maybe Luna can help him? I don’t know, I’m out of ideas.”

“Crisis is a silly pony,” Harper said to Belisama and anypony listening.

“Why is Crisis a silly pony?” Belisama asked as Violet continued to ponder the problem at hoof.

“She gobbled up her rabbit stuffy. Gulp! No more Missus Bunny Bun.” Harper melted against Belisama and closed her eyes as Belisama rubbed her stomach.

“Oh stars, she’ll be pooping buttons again,” Berry Punch muttered.

“How is it that she can digest metal if she eats it, but she can’t digest plastic?” Derpy asked. The grey mare shook her head and let out a confused snort. “It doesn’t make sense to me. I love Crisis, don’t get me wrong, but she’s a little weirdo.”

“Yep,” Harper said in agreement while Belisama continued to rub her belly. “Crisis weird. Silly filly.” Harper flopped over onto her back and kicked out all four of her legs to fully expose her stomach to Belisama.

Belisama looked up at Berry. “I suspect that Harper is backed up with gas again. It’s going to cause her to be constipated.”

“Aw nuts,” Berry grumbled, sounding Berry frustrated. “Those enzyme pills are supposed to be helping. How much longer until they have this figured out?”

“Come on, Harpy. Let’s go for a walk. That usually shakes everything in your tummy loose.” Derpy smiled down at the filly flopped out on the floor. “A nice walk always makes you feel better.”

“Okay,” Harper replied in a cheerful, chirpy voice. “Harpy likes walks.”

 

 

Sitting in his office at the top of his tower, Bucky raised his eyebrow as he heard somepony coming up the stairs. The stairs he had set to a ‘do not disturb’ mode. He scowled with annoyance and realised that the stairs still needed some adjustment.

He was quite surprised by the figure that entered into his office. He stared through narrowed eyes, now understanding how his stairs had been defeated. He wasn’t dealing with a common visitor.

“Those stairs,” Scorch huffed, “Are pure evil. We could use you in Tartarus. Ugh, those stairs are awful!” The primordial fire elemental staggered into Bucky’s office, made it a few feet, and then fell over into a chair strategically placed near the door for just such an entrance. Sitting down, he groaned. “You… bastard... this chair… it is hard and unyielding… in my long existence, I can’t recall ever sitting on anything more uncomfortable.”

A grim smile appeared upon Bucky’s muzzle for a moment and then vanished. He watched as Scorch squirmed on the chair, squinting at his guest. “So… what is it that you want, Scorch? What brings you here to my office?”

“You’d make a fine Lord of Tartarus,” Scorch replied, a low chuckle escaping him as he spoke. Scorch rose up out of the chair, shifted form into that of an alicorn pony, and approached Bucky’s desk. “Which is what brings me here, actually.”

“What?” Bucky leaned over his desk a little, his ears perking. His horn ignited and a brown glass bottle of rum lifted, tipped over, and poured into a rocks glass. Bucky lifted the glass in his talons, set the bottle down upon his desk, and eyed Scorch.

“Bucky, I’ll be straight with you. I need your help. There is something that needs to be done and you are the pony to do it.” Scorch stood in front of Bucky’s desk, lowered his head down to Bucky’s eye level, and looked Bucky in the eye.

After taking a sip of rum and having a quick think, Bucky shook his head. “I don’t know if I want to get involved in the politics of Tartarus. Sorry Scorch. Look, I’m very busy.”

“Buckminster, I have reason to believe that Princess Celestia is in danger.”

There was a thunk as Bucky set down his rocks glass upon his desk and his lip curled back from his teeth. One tooth in particular had changed a good bit, one fang was now serrated. Bucky’s talons clenched into a fist.

There was a pop of magic and a wooden chest appeared on Bucky’s desk. Scorch leaned forwards a little more, narrowed his eyes, and said to Bucky, “We need to discuss making a deal. There are rules that need to be followed, as you know. I am bound by those rules. I need your help, Avatar of War.”

Slumping down in his chair, Bucky looked up at the flaming alicorn before him. He unclenched his talons and began drumming his claws upon his desk. He glanced at the wooden chest for a moment and then returned his gaze to Scorch. “I’m listening.”

“I have reason to believe that Princess Celestia is in danger. Lord Hades conspires against her, or so I have reason to believe. I’m not going to give him a chance to do so. I’ve grown tired of his plotting, I am sick of his rule”—Scorch paused and looked Bucky directly in the eye—“and I believe it is time for his rule to end.”

Bucky blinked and tried to recall what he knew of the pantheon of Tartarus. He didn’t know very much about Lord Hades, but knew that killing the immortal ruler of Tartarus was no simple task. One simply did not just walk up and kill the Lord of Tartarus.

“How do you expect me to kill him?” Bucky asked.

“With this,” Scorch replied as he opened the wooden chest. “Heifer Aestus and I made this quite some time ago.”

Tilting his head, Bucky looked into the chest and saw a sword. An odd weapon for a pony to use, to be sure. It was strange looking, with an oddly curved blade. A white blade. Bucky stared at it but did not know what it was.

“Lord Hades is bound to the fabric of reality of Tartarus itself. The only entity able to end his reign is himself. He was bound there as punishment. I am not allowed to say what he did.” Scorch looked down into the wooden chest. “Quite a long time ago, a band of powerful demon lords rebelled against Hades and sought to put an end to him. Hades’ body was destroyed, ripped apart, and this is one of his ribs. I was able to secure it before it dissolved and was absorbed into Tartarus. I put a powerful permanency spell upon it so that it would stay real. Heifer and I crafted it into a weapon. Being a part of Hades’ body, it can hurt him like nothing else.”

Bucky gestured at the phial of glowing liquid in the case. “And that?”

“Some of Lord Hades’ own blood. The Fates worked some of their most powerful alchemy and used the blood to create a poison that will erode Lord Hades’ string of destiny. Some of Discord’s chaos was added, and some of your blood as well.” Scorch took a step back from Bucky and allowed Bucky to examine the contents of the box.

“Will it kill him?” Bucky asked.

“You are the nascent Alicorn of War. Every weapon ever created will bend to your will. Magical weapons become strengthened by your presence. If I was to use this weapon, it might not work… the Fates have a hard time seeing the outcome. But if you were to use this weapon…” Scorch’s words trailed off.

Staring at the weird rib sword, Bucky knew that it would work for him. This was, in fact, Lord Hades’ weakness. His undoing. All of his grief, all of his sorrow, everything melted away from his mind and he focused upon the sword. It was a weapon and he was the wielder that would grant it perfection and allow it to fulfil its grand purpose.

“So… what is the deal? What is expected from me?” Bucky asked.

Scorch shifted forms, becoming a tall bipedal figure. He shrugged, waved his hands around, and then smiled. “You stab Hades with this, he dies, and you become the new Lord of Tartarus just long enough to make me the new Lord of Tartarus. You pass along the title and everything that comes along with it to me. I start changing things. I start changing how things are done down there.”

Bucky nodded and cleared his throat. “And what is in it for me?”

“Ah, payment.” Scorch smiled, took a step forwards, and closed the wooden chest with one massive hand. “You make me the Lord of Tartarus and I will make you a promise that three ponies that you love will be spared from further torment, pain, and suffering.”

“Three ponies?” Bucky asked, his eyes narrowing. “I can think of Sombra and Platinum, but who else?”

Scorch clapped his hands together, producing an almost deafening sound. “A recent arrival. Her name is Posey. She played a fine game, but she lost. She made a lot of immortals angry. She has a long, long time to serve to work off her debts, but you can make them all go away with a stroke of a pen if you make a deal.” Scorch paused and tented his fingers together, then continued, “She loves you, you know. It is the only reason why she is being given any mercy at all. You loved her, and she loved you. She had dreams, Bucky… she had hopes and dreams and she loved you.”

Falling back in his chair, Bucky closed his eyes and swallowed a sob before it could escape. Eyes still closed, he grabbed his glass of rum, lifted it in his talons, and took a long drink, finishing it off.

“She followed you because she loved you,” Scorch said in a low voice. “And some very callous beings used that opportunity to snare her soul so that she might be tortured for her many crimes against them. She cheated a lot of the powers that be. Death most of all. That’s how the powers that be work Bucky… that is why they are in charge. They cheat. And Lord Hades is chief among them.”

Setting down his now empty glass, Bucky’s talons clenched into a fist as he grimaced.

“If you’re interested, I just so happen to have a contract ready.” Scorch snapped his fingers and a contract popped into existence upon Bucky’s desk. A large ornate quill popped into reality a moment later. “Fairly standard contract, no small print, has to be signed in blood. You kill Hades, you become the new Lord of Tartarus, you pass along the power to me, and I, as the new Lord of Tartarus, waive all punishments and torments of those you love in the afterlife. Platinum, Sombra, and Posey will only know comfort while they wait for you. Do we have a deal?”

His gritted teeth bared, Bucky lifted up the quill with his magic, stabbed it into his neck to draw blood, wetted the end of the quill, and then signed his name upon the contract. He couldn’t save Chrysalis in life, but he had the means to save her from suffering in the afterlife.

Buckminster Beauregard Bitters, Lord of Winter.

Glancing up at Scorch, his scowl intensifying, he then said, “Leave me. I wish to be alone. Thank you for giving me a chance to keep Celestia safe and look after those I love.”

Scorch bowed, the contract and the quill vanished, and then the primordial fire elemental vanished as well, leaving behind the stench of brimstone. The wooden case was left upon Bucky’s desk.

Staring at the wooden case, Bucky poured another glass of rum as a ribbon of scarlet trickled down his neck and down on to his chest. Saying nothing, sitting alone in the silence save for his many golems, Bucky sipped his glass of rum and thought about his own future in Tartarus.

He hoped that Scorch would be merciful.

 

 

Author's Note:

Tricky creatures, the fey.

 

“Oh, you shouldn’t trust me. Only a moron would trust me. But I am friends with Celestia. We play chess together. And she’s part of my bridge club. And you can trust her. Hold on kiddo,” Scorch replied nervously. “Oh the big dove is gonna be pissed…”

 

Scorch the Usurper, chapter 249

 
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