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 now several hours after midnight, and Bucky had returned to the room his family now called home. Rising Star was collapsed in the bed, exhausted, and sleeping soundly, his mares piled around him. Sentinel was still working on his writing, tireless in his efforts to improve.

As Bucky watched, the foal yawned. He kissed her softly and then he rested his head down beside her. Bon Bon was stroking his back in slow lazy circles and Lyra was helping Sentinel master fine print.

And Bucky could not help but feel that everything was perfect.

“You look tired, you should go to bed for a little while,” Bon Bon suggested.

“I plan to,” Bucky responded. “Going to be a long day today. And tonight is going to be even longer,” he added.

“How did Rising Star do?” Bon Bon asked in a low whisper full of concern.

“Splendidly,” Bucky answered, thinking of Rising Star’s newfound interest in learning the magical arts. He yawned and his muscles softened under Bon Bon’s touch.

“Her neck is getting stronger. She can hold up her head already. I think tomorrow she’ll take her first steps,” Bon Bon whispered in a prideful voice.

Bucky eyed the foal. Having larger brains had radically changed the equine physiology. Some of the more primitive equines could walk after birth. Pony kind took a little longer. Early development was still rapid though and Bucky was eager for just one thing. “I want to hear her talk,” Bucky said as the foal squirmed up beside his cheek.

“Give her time,” Bon Bon replied. “That will happen soon enough.”

“Not soon enough for me,” Bucky muttered.

“Bucky, be patient. Every father wants to hear their foal talk,” Bon Bon whispered soothingly into Bucky’s ear, her breath causing his ear to fidget. “You take so readily to fatherhood. So many stallions will have nothing to do with a foal not their own,” she said silkily, still making Bucky’s ear twitch with every word.

The foal was making burbling noises, and then blew a slobbery raspberry, her little orange tongue sticking out as she did so.

“There is something wrong with her Bon Bon,” Bucky stated.

“Bucky, that foal is perfect. There is nothing wrong with her,” Bon Bon replied.

“But there is Bonnie… her mane ignores the effect of gravity. I think it has gotten worse. Look at her. It just sticks out in all directions,” Bucky whispered.

Bon Bon let out a wry chuckle and poked Bucky with her hoof. “Don’t you say another word about our foal,” she warned.

“I am going to go to bed before my mouth gets me into trouble,” Bucky announced.

“That would be wise,” Bon Bon agreed.

 

 

There would be no school today, the teachers now busy with other tasks. Four unicorns assembled in the field where the The Scorned Mare was being slowly resurrected, brought back to life through love, care, and patience.

Bucky, full of fish, whiskey, and ambition, readied himself for the task ahead. Sparkler looked calm and steady, dependable and reliable as always. Rising Star was twitchy and nervous. The young colt had changed in the past few days. He had discovered ambition and now dared to dream. Dinky, the smallest of them all, awaited the moment with a hungry look in her eyes and impatiently tapped one forehoof against the other. She had scarcely been able to eat breakfast and was behaving like a foal during Hearth’s Warming Eve.

“We begin,” Bucky announced as his horn began to glow. He settled into the grass and extended his now well focused will. He took Dinky first, the foal was eager and slipped into his mental grasp with no resistance. He could feel her mind. While she looked outwardly agitated, her mind was calm and her thoughts placid. Wearing her out had been a good thing and now, she was well prepared. He took Sparkler next. Sparkler, calm on the outside, was full of fear on the inside, and Bucky could feel it. Fear of the coming conflict. Fear over somepony in her family getting hurt. Fear of failure. Behind the fear was resolve and a determination to protect and defend. Bucky made mental notes to take time to hone Sparkler’s defensive nature. The fear would need to go if she wanted to be truly resolute and become a protector. Slipping into Rising Star’s thoughts was like stepping into a fire. Bucky could feel the colt’s anger. Here there was aggression. Passion. The troubling events of the other day and their battle with the undead had changed Rising Star a great deal. There was also focus, which surprised Bucky somewhat. Rising Star had always been sort of aimless and directionless before. Now, his thoughts mirrored Bucky’s own feelings. Protect other ponies at any cost. Bucky now had a kindred spirit, and he felt a wash of gratitude come over him.

The exchange of information began, and Bucky tried to give them as much of his experiences as possible. The knowledge of the spells was passed along easily enough, but the nuance and exacting nature of the spells could not be passed along so easily. Still, it was years worth of study transferred in mere moments. True to her nature, Sparkler took in the enduring aspects of the permanency spell the easiest out of the three, and it was the most complicated part of the entire task.

Long after the information had been exchanged, Bucky continued to hold his foals in his mind. This was a private moment of closeness. He let them feel the love that he had for them, what they meant to him, and how proud he was of them for their efforts.

 

 

Berry Punch lay in the grass with the newborn foal huddled against her belly. She watched the unicorns working not too far away and basked in the warm sun.

“Motherhood suits you,” Derpy said.

“It is like looking after Piña all over again,” Berry replied wistfully. “Well, I never teat fed Piña, but you get the idea.”

Piña, hearing her name, looked over at her sister. She had been stroking the foal and sitting quietly in the grass. She said nothing, but continued to enjoy her time with the adults in silence.

“She’s really enjoying some time out in the sun,” Thistle said as she watched the foal. She lay on her side and her tail twitched occasionally. “Ugh, my back is killing me, I can’t seem to get comfortable no matter how I lay,” she muttered.

“I am glad my nausea from earlier is gone,” Derpy said.

“I feel so emotional. I keep thinking about how all of us are pregnant and we are experiencing this magical moment all together, and it makes me want to cry,” Berry blurted out.

“So cry, let it out,” Piña said softly to her sister.

“I kinda wish I could,” Berry replied.

Thistle rolled over on to her back and the shift in pressure caused a blaring blast to come trumpeting out of her backside. “Aaaaah that feels better,” the kelpie said as she sighed in relief.

“That’s one way to let it all out,” Piña said as she fell over backwards into grass.

“There is just something about Bucky,” Derpy said as she watched the unicorn working.

“What do you mean?” Berry asked.

“Well, when we met him, I found him so handsome. Sure, he was a bit scrawny, but his tan hide and his black mane… he had classical good looks. His looks have changed a bit, but I still find him appealing. Now, he looks dangerous and rough, and that makes my heart flutter,” Derpy explained.

“I see,” Berry responded.

“What do you see in him Berry?” Derpy asked.

“I dunno if I see much of anything… I found him handsome, and there is still something about how he looks that I like, but to be honest, with him, it was never about how he looked. He had something that the other stallions I’ve had in my life never had. I’ve been with a number of good looking fellas. Bucky is my mental match. Nopony has ever challenged me quite like he does. I’m attracted to his grim determination and his tenacity,” Berry confessed. “Maybe it is an earth pony thing, but he is just as stubborn as one of us. Plus, I like how he applies his unstoppable force against my immovable object,” she added coquettishly with a titter.

Piña listened to all of this, and her young mind struggled to take in everything she was hearing. She wanted to say something, to ask questions, but she chose to stay silent.

“Thistle?” Derpy inquired.

“I feel safe,” Thistle stated. “I spent so much of my life being scared. Scared of everything. Scared of what I had to do, scared of my kind becoming extinct, scared of being alone, and scared of just having to settle into some horrible life because of my obligations. I’m not afraid anymore. Now I am free to be myself and I am not even sure who I am,” Thistle said. “I never bothered trying to figure myself out. I never thought it was important. When we lay in the bed, and I feel his head resting on my back, or just having him near, I start to dream,” the kelpie confessed.

“What do you dream about Thistle?” Berry asked.

“I’ve listened to Dinky talk about painting… I want to learn how to do that. I want to fly on that ship over there. I want to hear a musical concert. I want to watch a play. I’ve heard about all of these things talked about… and I want to see what they are,” Thistle replied.

“All of those things are possible,” Derpy said to Thistle. “We all see something different in Bucky. That makes me feel good,” she added.

“I think a better question is, what do we see in each other…” Berry quipped.

 

 

The enchantment process was going well. Rising Star wasn’t terribly skilled, but that was expected. Sparkler took to certain aspects quite well. And Dinky… Dinky took to the task with a ferocious tenacity that seemed impossible for her age. Her eye for detail rivaled his own. On her own, without his prompting, Dinky had begun using detect magic spells to make sure that her castings overlapped and provided good coverage.

It made Bucky proud.

Even with having to teach as they worked, progress was far ahead of what Bucky estimated it to be. The work needed some touch up and correction, and it was easy enough for him to clean up the messy spots.

Somewhere, in the middle of all of this, Bucky found his groove as an educator. He was gentle, he was supportive, and he remained patient, all of which noticed by his students. There was no fear of making mistakes or causing disappointment, which made the work much easier.

At the rate they were going, it would only take a few more days Bucky reasoned.

 

 

“Oh, this is very difficult,” Thistle said shyly as she laid on her back. She stroked Piña gently, the little earth pony foal had her head resting on Thistle’s belly and was waiting for the foal in Thistle’s belly to kick.

“Look, we know that Derpy gets you going,” Berry said in a berry straightforward manner.

“She does,” Thistle squeaked.

“So tell us, because we have ways of making you talk,” Berry warned in teasing tones.

“It is the same thing as Bucky… I feel safe. She’s a pegasus and she is all muscle and protection,” Thistle admitted, covering her face with her forehooves. “When she is holding me I know that nothing can reach me. Nothing can touch me. I’m safe and I can let down my guard.”

“D’aw,” Derpy said, suddenly feeling more than a little bashful.

“And what about me? Do I make you feel safe?” Berry asked.

“Not exactly… sometimes you scare me just a little bit and I like it because it makes my heart race and then other times you scare me a lot and I don’t like that at all, but I keep wanting to you to just scare me a little bit so I can feel my heart beating and in those moments, I find you very desirable,” Thistle explained.

“I see,” Berry Punch replied. “So I need to work on dialing it back a little bit,” she said as she thought back something Thistle had said previously about being nervous. “You need to tell me when I am crossing a line. A good time is only a good time if everypony is having fun.”

“Am I attractive? I mean, I have pointy teeth and I don’t have a long pretty mane, and I am not like either of you,” Thistle said nervously.

“I think you’re pretty,” Piña announced.

“Why thank you Piña,” Thistle said warmly.

“Thistle, your talent is undoubtedly sex appeal. It is very hard not to find you attractive,” Berry said as she patted the newborn foal laying on her belly. She could feel it wiggling towards her teats, hungry yet again. She supposed that little unicorn foals had little unicorn appetites as their magical systems developed, because Berry had never heard of such a hungry foal.

“You never shy away from touching, that goes a long way for me,” Derpy said.

“Am I pretty?” Piña asked suddenly of the adult females around her. “I am a boring little earth pony… I wonder sometimes.”

“I am an earth pony and Bucky can’t resist me,” Berry said with entirely too much self confidence. She began to giggle as she felt two little lips tugging on one of her teats.

“Pink is  a very pretty colour,” Thistle said. “So I think you’re pretty.”

“When you grow up you will have a lot to offer to the right pony,” Derpy said gently. “You are smart and you are pretty. Just like Berry Punch.”

“So Derpy, what do you find irresistible about me?” Berry asked in a berry curious tone of voice. Berry stroked the foal on her belly and shivered as tingles rippled through her body.

“You were there,” Derpy replied in a morose voice.

“What?” Berry questioned, not understanding.

“You were there,” Derpy repeated. “I was alone. My friends all abandoned me. I couldn’t exactly go out and have a good time with them anymore. My parents shut me out. I lost everything. The love of my young life ditched me. I was alone. And you came along and you were… well, you were you. Same as you are right now. Hard on me when I needed it, soft on me when I was broken, and you were just there. Just like you’ve always been there. You were there when Dinky was born. You took care of me, Dinky, and Piña when I was sick from the infection and my pelvis had to mend after being broken so Dinky could get out. It was just you and Amethyst Star, Sparkler’s mother,” she explained.

“I am your friend, what else could I do?” Berry Punch replied.

“Most of your friends abandoned you… you stopped going out with them. You lost so much,” Derpy said in a sorrowful reply.

“Feck them, they weren’t my friends. They ditched me. I’m better off without them,” Berry grumbled.

“This is why I love you,” Derpy said to Berry in an emotionally charged voice. “And this is why I wanted to help you Thistle. Somepony was there for me when I needed them most, I can never pay Berry back for everything she has done for me, but I am in a position where I can help somepony else now, and I want to help you,” she explained to Thistle.

Piña, silent and humbled, realised she was in one of those moments. The adults were all quiet. There were no words. But there was so much emotion. She felt a strange sensation. She could feel it inside of her head, in her hooves, and deep inside of her barrel. She became hyper aware of everything, and she could feel it all. Every green plant in Thistle’s mane and tail. Every blade of grass around her. Every bit of clover. All of the living things in the dirt. She even became aware of the lives around her that she could not possibly see or even know about. There were two such lives in her sister’s belly. There were two more in Derpy’s belly. And the life in Thistle’s belly was so strong and so well connected that Piña could hear, no, she could feel its heart beating inside of her head, inside of her skull, where it thudded against the inner portions of her skull.

It was all too much and it overpowered her. Her senses shut down and Piña felt herself slipping away. To feel the world around her so completely and unfiltered was overwhelming. She went down smiling.

 

 

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