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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11. 11

The sun was just starting to settle over the horizon, the sky now shades of purple, orange, and blue, and two little sleepy foals were upstairs, in a bathtub full of bubbles, under the attentive care of Sparkler, who loved them both. Dinky and Piña Colada could barely keep their eyes open and the hot bathwater did nothing to help.

Downstairs, a plum coloured earth pony, a tan unicorn, and a grey pegasus were sitting around a slightly battered kitchen table, drinking beverages of a slightly more adult nature, taking drinks, talking, and enjoying the remains of the day.

“I wanted to thank you for inviting me,” Bucky stated, staring down at the bottle caps on the table. “I had a grand time.”

“I think everypony had a grand time,” Berry Punch added, smiling, and taking a long pull from her bottle. “You know Bucky, this ain’t bad. I’m glad you went home and fetched a sample.”

“I like it,” Derpy agreed.

“It was one of my better attempts at a Hoofeweizen,” Bucky admitted.

“Attempt nothing, this is good, even if it is oddly coloured. I’d like to know what you did to it though,” Berry said, after swallowing the liquid she was swishing in her mouth. “You know, my mother would have loved this. She was more of a beer drinker.”

“Would is never a good word,” replied Bucky. “Past tense.”

“My mother, Pinot Noir, was standing a bit too close to a still when it decided to let go of a little pressure. The copper line busted. She didn’t feel a thing,” explained Berry. “Same still claimed daddy too. I had the whole thing scrapped and melted down. Upgraded to slightly more modern equipment with the life insurance money. Feel a lot safer.”

“Ugh,” grunted Bucky.

“So what is that unusual flavour and makes it as pink as a blushing filly?” Berry asked.

“Raspberry essence,” replied Bucky. “I decided to go with raspberry essence on a whim with this batch. The usual Hoofeweizen flavours, a bit of banana and some citrusy lemon, and healthy dollop of raspberry.”

“It’s good,” Derpy said, licking her lips and setting down her now empty bottle. With a well-practiced gesture, she cracked off a cap from another bottle. “Banana nut muffin beer,” she said, reading the scrawl on the label, winking one eye closed and staring at it with her good eye. “Oh, I like this one already,” she said excitedly.

“More banana than nut,” Bucky commented and then he took a swig.

“Not a problem for most mares,” Berry deadpanned.

Bucky nearly spewed beer all over the table and struggled to keep everything in.

“Berry, you are something else,” giggled Derpy.

“I am not the one who did a full blown preening display in front of her foals,” replied Berry, causing Derpy’s mouth to drop open in horror.

“Oh… I did that, didn’t I?” Derpy asked quietly.

Berry Punch nodded, taking another swig, and swishing it around her mouth.

Derpy slumped down in her chair, her ears drooping, one foreleg resting on the table. The grey mare took a deep breath, held it in for a few moments, and then blew it out with a loud raspberry noise as her lips flapped together.

“Don’t worry Derpy, you’re still a good mother,” Berry Punch said in soothing tones.

“And Bucky didn’t even notice it,” Derpy said sadly, taking a long pull from her bottle when she was done speaking.

“But I sure did,” Berry said, raising an eyebrow.

“I wouldn’t mind seeing it,” Bucky said in a hushed voice.

“So about us, what are we going to do about us?” Derpy asked, blushing slightly.

“We become drinking buddies and do whatever comes unnaturally,” replied Berry, her smile wide and rather lewd. “And you, you and I need to talk about a little partnership,” she added, looking at Bucky.

“Friends?” asked Bucky, looking at the two mares.

“Yeah,” replied Derpy.

“Ayup,” agreed Berry.

“Seriously though Bucky, you and I really do need to talk about becoming partners. I have equipment. Stills. A brewery. You have a talent that I want to exploit,” chuckled Berry.

“So are we chasing one another?” asked Derpy, her eyes darting to her two companions.

“I don’t see any reason why we can’t,” replied Berry.

“I need to try new things,” nodded Bucky.

“If you want me to chase you though, I demand another plumage display,” said Berry, taking a long drink and killing off the contents of her bottle. She belched loudly, causing Bucky to flinch in disgust.

“Excuse me,” mumbled Berry, suddenly remembering unicorn sensibilities.

“I have to know, how does an earth pony know so much about unicorns and pegasi?” Bucky said, setting his bottle down and turning his gaze upon Berry Punch, causing her to blush slightly as she realised she was being studied.

“Well, funny that,” Berry began, “my mother was a unicorn, my father was a pegasus, my twin sister Berry Shine is a pegasus, and my whole family is mixed up as a cocktail. Beer goggles does a pony good. We all get sloshed off our plots and breed with anything we can catch, or that catches us,” she explained. “And in a family that is as mixed as we are, communication is very important. Clan Pickled can’t brag about much, but we make darn fine diplomats and consummate gamblers if the situation demands.”

“I can’t beat her when we play cards,” Derpy said sourly.

“You have too many tells,” replied Berry.

“I remember Clan Pickled from my heraldry classes,” Bucky mentioned. “Unicorns, at least to start, real rough sorts, exiled out to Shetland Isles up off the east coast in the north. Because of breeding practices.”

“Ayup,” agreed Berry. “Some unicorn thought it would be a great idea to marry an earth pony. Love story of its age.”

“What happened?” asked Derpy, looking interested.

“Set off a bloody civil war, caused thousands to die. The survivors and the still married couple were exiled to the islands. All we had were peat bogs. We used those to make booze,” exclaimed Berry.

“You know Berry, we can’t be friends…” Bucky deadpanned.

“Why not?” replied Berry, looking concerned.

“I am a Scion of the Platinum Lineage,” replied Bucky casually, staring at Berry.

Berry blanched and her ears drooped. She began to look very worried.

“Gotcha,” Bucky said, raising his bottle in salute, smiling, and trying to look friendly again, briefly feeling bad for making Berry worry.

“I don’t understand,” said Derpy, looking worried.

Berry heaved a sigh of relief, casting a cautious glance at Bucky.

“Clan Pickled went to war against the House of Avarice during that little civil war. House Avarice being the royal family of Princess Platinum,” Berry explained, raising a bottle and looking at Bucky. “No hard feelings?” Berry said, looking Bucky in the eye.

“None at all. I don’t care what was done back then. That’s silly,” replied Bucky, crinkling his nose. “Lots of silly ponies that would though,” he muttered. “Like my parents.”

“Ouch,” Berry grunted, taking a long drink.

“My family doesn’t talk to me anymore, not after what happened with Dinky,” Derpy said, looking incredibly sad for a moment, and taking a long drink.

“Pegasi and their military codes and their love of lineage, almost as bad as unicorns. Too many pegasi try and show a bloodline back to Hurricane and Pansy,” Berry said in disgust.

“For some, lineage is all that matters. My parents tried to arrange a marriage for me. I told them no. Things deteriorated rapidly between us. I was still a colt when they sent me a letter while I was still in school, informing me that they had found the filly that I was going to marry,” Bucky said, clutching his bottle between his hooves and looking pensive. “One of the many reasons why my parents and I no longer acknowledge one another.  She had good breeding and a fantastic bloodline. My parents were furious when I told them no.”

“I don’t understand how unicorns do that,” Derpy said. “I could never force Sparkler to marry somepony. That would be wrong,” Derpy looked upset, her eyes darkening, her ears drooping. She scowled, her nostrils flaring deeply, and her wings fluttered in an agitated manner.

“Woah mama bird,” Berry said, her eyes wide. “Now Bucky, did you see that? That was a pegasi responding badly and gearing up to kick plot. You will notice that there are no enemies in the room, but her body was preparing to kick somepony anyway. You don’t mess with a mama bird’s chicks.”

Bucky nodded, taking note of the display.

“Most of a pegasus’ communication is nonverbal,” Berry said, belching lightly into her hoof, her own ears folding back. “Body language is everything.”

“What was that plumage display from earlier saying?” Bucky asked, his eyes widening.

“That she’d make it real easy for you to catch her if you chased her,” Berry said with a wicked grin.

Derpy blushed fiercely, biting down on her bottom lip and closing her eyes. “Yeah,” she admitted, letting go of her own lip.

“So what do earth ponies do to communicate those kinds of thoughts?” Bucky asked, figuring the direct approach wouldn’t hurt.

“Well, depends on the earth pony, but for most of us, we take the simple and direct approach of lifting our tails and extending a verbal invitation of some sort, except there isn’t much running or chasing involved. Pegasi value speed more than we do.”

“Oh gross! Oh gross gross gross!”

Berry Punch turned to look at Sparkler, who stood in the kitchen doorway.

“Little Dinky and Piña are in bed together, sound asleep,” Sparkler said sheepishly, still looking disgusted. She shuddered, causing her mane to whip around. “I totally didn’t need to hear that coming into the kitchen to get a rootbeer.”

“I need to say that I am sorry Sparkler,” said Derpy.

“For what?” Sparkler said, kissing her mother as she passed and taking a moment to press her muzzle into her mother’s mane.

“About my display earlier today. My plumage display,” Derpy said sheepishly. “I wasn’t paying attention. I uh, was strutting my stuff.”

“Oh, that?” Sparkler said, getting a cold bottle of rootbeer out of the icebox. “Mom, you have a right to strut your stuff. And trust me, you have stuff to strut.” Sparkler said, shuddering once again. “I can’t believe I just said that to make my mother feel better,” she murmured.

Derpy turned a dark shade of purple, her ears falling down to the sides of her face, her muzzle once again scrunching up, and finally she hid her face behind her wings.

Sparkler sat down at the table and cracked open her rootbeer, looking at Bucky directly. “Next time my mother puts on a display, you’d better pay attention,” she demanded, and then took a long drink from her bottle.

Sparkler let go a thunderous belch, her mouth opening wide to get maximum resonance. Her lips flapped from the force of her gastric utterance and her tongue lolled out of her mouth. “I’m hawt,” she muttered, giggling faintly.

Berry tittered when she saw Bucky cringe, his face crinkled with disgust.

“Bucky my uptight friend,” quipped Berry, looking at the still disgusted unicorn, “what do you know about pegasi table manners?”

“Nothing, why?” replied Bucky, looking confused.

“Oh my, are we in for some fun,” replied Berry, looking around the table at Derpy and Sparkler, her grin going wide.

Derpy’s eyes went wide and she looked mortified.

Bucky, seeing Derpy’s reaction, looked very confused.

Berry, seeing both of their reactions, looked very amused.

Sparkler took another long drink and belched again, this time crossing her eyes and pronouncing all known vowel sounds as she burped.

Bucky looked at Sparkler, now confused and disgusted.

Derpy looked at Bucky, horrified and distraught.

Berry looked at everypony and threw her head back and laughed.

“What?” asked Sparkler, finally sensing there was something wrong, her eyes traveling around the table.

Berry Punch fell from her chair, clutching her sides and laughing. She landed on the floor with a thump and a loud snort.

Derpy gave an embarrassed grin. “Sparkler honey, I think you might be disturbing our guest,” said Derpy in low worried tones.

“But mom, my manners are perfect.” Sparkler whined, looking a little confused.

“I think I understand,” Bucky said in a low embarrassed voice. “When in Pegasopolis, do as the pegasi.” Bucky threw his head back, cleared his throat, and let out a tiny halfhearted belch, looking completely mortified the moment he did so. He slumped in his chair, looking defeated.

“Needs work,” Sparkler grunted. “I could give you lessons like I do for Dinky.”

“Okay.” Bucky replied, unable to meet Sparkler’s gaze, his ears completely flat against the sides of his face.

Berry Punch was howling now, rolling back and forth on the floor, clutching her barrel.

“Bucky, you are so very sweet. I don’t know what to do with you,” said Derpy, rubbing her hooves together nervously.

“So,” said Sparkler, looking around the room, “when are you kids going to go on your first date? I can look after Dinky and Piña, those little brutes aren’t too much trouble.”

Berry suddenly fell silent and went still, Derpy froze, unmoving, also silent, and Bucky seemed to check out.

“Whatta bunch of foals,” replied Sparkler, throwing back her head and belching again, causing the bottle caps on the table to rattle and clatter.

 

 

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