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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It was, perhaps, the perfect spring day, but Sentinel, try as he might, could not seem to enjoy it. There was a lot of fuss and commotion going on, a wedding was being planned and there was so much to do. He couldn’t seem to enjoy that either. He sat upon a stone situated on the edge of the small lake behind the house, staring into the wind-rippled water, and a little pink earth pony sat beside him.

The pink earth pony, who had plenty of chores back on Sweet Apple Acres, had told a little fiblet to get out of them, saying that she had a project to work on with Sentinel. There was no such project, no, she was worried about her friend, as Sentinel seemed to be having a terrible, no good, rotten day. But try as she might, she couldn’t get him to talk about it.

So now she sat beside him, rolling her eyes, her muzzle crinkled with frustration, wishing that he would just spill his guts. She was supposed to be working, and already, the guilt for her teeny, tiny little fiblet was gnawing at her earth pony insides. She kept doing bad things, and she knew she was doing bad things, and she knew that foals that did bad things and knew they were bad things grew up to become bad ponies, a fate she wanted to avoid at all costs. But life was complicated, yes, life was tricky, and sometimes, one had to twist the rules a little bit to make life bearable.

“I’ve made a mess of things,” Sentinel said in a breathy sigh as he stared down into the waters of the lake. “I’ve made a real mess of things. I was so caught up in trying to be an adult… to be grown up… to be the pony that everypony thinks I am, and I’ve made an awful mistake.”

“Sentinel, I don’t follow.”

“I’m not an adult. And I don’t want to be. After everything that’s happened… after… everything… losing my eye… almost dying… I want to be a foal again and not have to worry about so many adult things. I’ve blown it.” As he spoke, his ears drooped and his surviving eye narrowed, squinting in the sun, as he was not wearing his glasses.

“Sentinel, you haven’t been yourself lately.”

“I know, right? I don’t know who I am anymore. I don’t think I’ve ever known who I am. I’ve spent my whole short life trying to be what others thought I was. And now, I’m stuck. I am everything others wanted me to be.”

“But I thought that you wanted this?”

“I wanted this because this is what others wanted for me.”

“Sentinel—”

“I was so caught up in the sense of duty that has been pounded into my head since…. since I don’t know when. As long as I can remember. And now, I am stuck in a mess, a real mess, and I’m being treated like an adult now, and I’m expected to do adult things, and I can’t even be mad about it, because I did this to myself.”

Diamond Tiara did not know what to say. She thought about all of the things her therapist might say. She thought about what Rarity and Coco might say, voices of wisdom that she trusted. She thought about the earthy, common sense wisdom that Applejack might go on about. But none of that seemed to apply here.

Beside her, Sentinel lept off of the rock and with a loud squish, he landed in the mud on the edge of the lake. Diamond Tiara looked down at Sentinel and saw that he was scooping up mud with his hoof. He was scooping up mud with his hoof and he was—

“Sentinel, what are you doing?” Diamond Tiara demanded, fearful for her perfect pink pelt. “Sentinel, don’t you dare! Sentinel, act your age!” She felt her nethers clench in fear. It was the very worst sort of mud, filled with alicorns know what, it was scummy, slimy, and oh so very gross.

I am,” Sentinel replied as he hurled a blob of black, gooey mud, scooped up fresh from the mucky shore of the lake. “And you are about to act your age as well. This is for our own good, Diamond…”

“Sentinel! You fiend! You’ve fallen into evil!”

 

 

Hidden away in his office at the top of the tower, Bucky paced back and forth, knowing what he must do, but dreading that it must be done. There was work to be done, there was always work to be done, and as usual, it fell upon his withers to get it done. He had a plan, but it was one of those sorts of plans that Bucky knew that others would not understand, at least not until it was already in place and somewhat functional.

No one would allow him to do what it is he planned to do, not unless he could show them that it was practical, feasible, and a worthwhile idea. The real trick was not getting caught before he could implement it and get the foundation of said plan laid into place. This meant making sacrifices, painful sacrifices, which is why he paced back and forth through his office, knowing what must be done.

He would have but a short window once he set his plan in motion and he had to be quick. The only real crime he could commit any more was getting caught. He took a deep breath, prepared himself, checked to see if the door was locked, and then let go with a flurry of spells.

For this to work, he had to be rid of a troublesome part of his anatomy, the annoying little tattletale that quite literally kept an eye on him. He shrouded himself in nondetection magic, blocking as much as he could, hoping that it would be enough, and then he sealed the room around him, preventing entry. At least, he hoped that it would be prevented. There were a few that might punch through his defenses.

When he was satisfied that he was secure enough, Bucky went to work on his problem. Using his magic, he began to pull out his own eye, the Eye of Odin. The eye, being a sentient entity, resisted his efforts. The first thing it did was flood his skull with waves of agonising pain in a dedicated effort to make him stop what he was doing. Bucky hoped that the eye was unable to communicate with Odin right now, or he would be screwed. He hoped that his defenses held.

“Out you go!” Bucky snarled as he tugged upon the now unwelcomed organ.

It felt as though he was trying to pull out his own brain. Within seconds, the entirety of his pelt was soaked with sweat and his whole body trembled as he continued his battle of wills with the Eye of Odin. It was fused with his body, both physically and magically. Breaking those bonds would be difficult, if not outright impossible.

He bombarded the eye with as much dispelling magic as he could muster, hoping he could disrupt its defenses. He could feel something that was almost like the sensation of tentacles writhing through the inside of his head, as if the eye was trying to get a better grip. If worst came to worst, he had a weapon he could fall back upon…

A spoon.

Being the sort of well prepared individual that he was, he had enchanted a spoon just for this occasion, but he wasn’t sure what it would do to him. He hoped that he wouldn’t have to fall back upon such a barbaric, horrifying method. Even though it was awful to think about, Bucky had prepared for just such an occasion.

The battle with his eye, no, Odin’s eye, was already exhausting him far more than he expected. This needed to end and soon, so that he would have the strength he needed for the task still to come. Reaching out with his talons, Bucky grabbed the spoon from on top of his desk, got a good grip on the handle, and then, much to his shock and surprise, his eye popped out.

He caught it in his magic, his barrel heaving, and he had trouble focusing upon it. His vision blurred from pain and he waited for it to pass. The eye had to be contained, and quick. He stuffed it into a box he had prepared for this occasion, slammed the lid, and sealed the lock. It was only a matter of time now. Odin would soon realise that something was wrong and then, the gig would be up.

It was time for some final preparations.

 

 

Shrieking, Diamond Tiara splattered Sentinel with mud, hurling it at him with all of the fury of a muddied pink filly. The slick black goop sucked at her hooves, making it difficult to move, or even stand. It took real effort to pull her hoofsies free from the sludge. Sentinel was cheating and using his wings to fling mud at her.

But Diamond Tiara had ways and means. She was an earth pony and mud was her element, even if she refused to admit it. She lunged at Sentinel, launching her muddy body at him, and she slammed into him with terrific force. With a lewd sounding squelch, he slipped in the muck and she savoured her moment of triumph as she toppled him over into the black mud.

Squealing, she let Sentinel have it, and began feeding him hoof-fulls of hastily made mud pies. She climbed on top of him, forgetting completely that she was a filly, that he was a colt, and straddling him the way she was, it was something she needed to be mindful about. She was too caught up in the moment. The mud was cold, so very cold, but Sentinel was warm beneath her, the contrast between hot and cold was titillating to her.

Much to her surprise, Sentinel was laughing, big belly laughs, a rare sound if ever there was one. She scooped up a big blob of mud in her front hooves and hurled it down upon Sentinel, turning him black and gooey.

“Whatcha doin’?”

Hearing the somewhat squeaky voice, Diamond Tiara looked up and saw Harper. The little unicorn filly was standing on top of a stone, the breeze blowing her frizzy mane, and it was difficult to see her eyes.

“So much yuck.”

Sentinel squirmed beneath her and Diamond Tiara giggled as she gave him a snootful of mud, wiping her hoof over his mouth. Harper sat watching, looking disgusted, and the little yearling shook her head in disapproval.

“Harpy tellin’ Mom.” It was pretty much the worst threat Harper could say.

Extending a wing, Sentinel did the very worst thing a big brother could do in this situation. He flung mud at his baby sister. The blob of black algae laden goo struck Harper and almost bowled her off of the stone. She stumbled about, her hooves scrabbling over the stone as she tried to keep her balance.

Harper, who was nursery-mates with Peekaboo, a rough and tumble little pegasus, knew how to deal with such a terrible affront visited upon her. She gritted her teeth, fought to keep her balance, and with her ears perking up in aggression, her horn ignited as mud dribbled down her face and neck. The whites of her eyes stood out in sharp contrast against the black mud, which slicked down her frizzy, poofy orange mane.

“Sentinel, we’re in trouble,” Diamond Tiara managed to blurt out as Harper scooped up a scary amount of mud using her telekinesis. The pink fillies eyes widened in terror as a sizable portion of mud was slung at her.

The impact knocked her right off Sentinel and sent her rolling into the black slimy sludge. She couldn’t see anything, but she could hear Sentinel flapping and flopping in the mud near her. She felt more mud slam into her and Diamond Tiara felt a keen sensation of worry as she thought about how much time Bucky and Lyra spent trying to teach Harper how to focus her magic, despite her young age.

It felt as though a mud tsunami slammed into her and Diamond Tiara gasped, trying to breathe, which was hard to do while she was laughing so hard. Mud was everywhere, it clung to every inch of her body, and she could even feel it in her ears. She slung her head around, trying to clear her eyes, and she heard Harper squealing.

Opening one eye, Diamond Tiara could see that Harper was covered in mud, Sentinel had fought back somehow, but he was losing. Harper was tiny, but she had magic, and throwing mudballs wasn’t too different from throwing snowballs. And Bucky had taught Harper how to hurl snowballs. The Lord of Winter had an obligation to ensure that his offspring were well versed in the arts of winter warfare.

“What is going on here?”

Diamond Tiara froze. That was the voice of doom. Doom. That was the ultimate voice of authority. Princesses? Nope. Not nearly as intimidating. Diamond Tiara began to wonder if she could bury herself in the mud and perhaps save herself. If she dug down deep enough, she could be buried in the mud and become a fossil. It was all over now. End times. End of the world. All good things had now come to an end.

“All of this ruckus can be heard in the nursery! You woke up the little ones! What has gotten into you and why is Harper all covered in mud!” Derpy’s voice sounded furious. The frustrated grey pegasus flapped her wings and had one eye closed so that she could focus on the muddied foals.

And then, out of the corner of her eye, Diamond Tiara saw the end of all things. She saw Sentinel’s wing moving, and there was a considerable portion of mud slathered over the membranes. She whimpered, the soft cry of despair made by those who witness the end of all things. Sentinel had done a lot of stupid things as of late; he had stolen an airship, faced a hag, but nothing was as stupid as what he was about to do.

She cringed, knowing her own fate in all of this.

“Sentinel, so help me, don’t you dare!”

There was a terrible world-ending sound as the mud splattered against the grey mare.

 

 

 

 

 

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