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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Bucky awoke to the sounds of giggling and low voices. He felt muddled and confused. At first, he thought the others were going to bed, but then his odd magical sense kicked in and he realised it was almost dawn. He had the odd urge to fall back to sleep and slumber until sunset.

He couldn’t believe that he had slept so long. He had missed dinner and slept through the night. His head was resting on Thistle’s back and he could feel her breathing beneath him, her body rising and falling.

There was a wet sensation upon Bucky’s withers, and he realised that Berry was using him as a pillow. The mare had been drooling. Again. He yawned and lifted his head. A moment later he was ambushed on his blind side with a waxy kiss.

“You finally got some sleep,” Derpy said after she pulled away, breaking the kiss.

“No bad dreams,” Bucky muttered before he yawned again.

“Well that’s good,” Derpy said amiably. “Big day today,” she whispered.

“What do you have planned?” Bucky inquired as he snoot-bumped his mate.

“Going to watch my foals get some combat training,” Derpy began. She took a deep breath, obviously somewhat unsettled by that. “And then I’m going to spend some time with Winter Wheat and Wheatberry and we’ll probably talk about mare stuff. After that, my day is open, so I thought I’d spend some time with Thistle and both of us will do our best to spoil Harper,” she continued.

“I need… I need a break,” Dinky interjected.

“Dinky?” Bucky asked of the foal tucked under her mother’s wing.

“The past few days… I’m worn out. I can’t think right. And Piña is upset. So if it is okay, today, I think we’re just going to be foals today. Maybe we’ll watch Ripple learn how to fight,” Dinky replied.

“Sounds like a good plan Dinky,” Bucky said approvingly. “Piña, are you alright?”

“I’m okay,” Piña answered in a muffled voice, still cuddled up against Dinky. “Yesterday… all those words… everything said… really bad things are going to happen…” she said haltingly.

“Yes Piña, some bad things must happen if we are to have good things,” Bucky replied as he pulled his forehoof free from beneath himself. Reaching around Thistle, he ran the edge of his fuzzy fetlock over a very delicate place.

“OooooOOOoooch!” Thistle squeaked as she awoke. She immediately began to squirm upon waking. “Uh oh, big pregnant pony needs to pee… move move move!” she begged as she wiggled about the bed, causing Berry to grunt.

She rose up on wobbling legs, fell over on Berry, who grunted again and smacked her lips, and then finally slid free from the bed, shambled across the room, and made her way to the bucket while Lyra and Bon Bon chuckled from the couch.

“You’re a bad pony,” Derpy said flatly to her mate beside her.

“Why do you touch each other back there like that?” Piña asked in low curious voice.

“Trust,” Berry muttered.

“Trust?” Piña inquired.

“Yes, trust. We trust each other to not hurt one another. Those are our most vulnerable places and the places where we could hurt one another the most. We trust each other to touch and to be touched in such a way that makes us feel good, and does not hurt us,” Berry explained.

“Oh,” Piña replied.

“By catching one another by surprise, those little gooses we give one another shows that even during our most relaxed moments, we have nothing to fear. So it allows us to relax even more. We let down our guard completely, knowing that we only want what is best for one another,” Berry said informatively.

“Oh… I see… maybe growing up and falling in love won’t be so bad,” Piña said wistfully. “Dinky, we need to catch us a colt we can trust.”

 

 

Sparkler stood nervously with Rising Star, all too aware that her mother was watching her. Ripple stood a short distance away, preening her wings, which were glossy and beautiful now that she was eating well, and there was a group of soldiers gathered around the dirt patch where training was to take place. She looked up at her mother, who was sitting comfortably on top of a thatched roof, Dinky and Piña sitting on either side of her.

There was also a group of hard looking mares who sat in a clustered group together, exchanging glances with the soldiers.

“I am here to try and whip all of you into shape. I have been asked to see if I can get you mares combat ready. Before we begin, there is something I want to say,” Deadspin announced.

Everypony in the crowd turned their heads to look at Deadspin and the pegasus began to strut back and forth, his legs stiff and his ears splayed out diagonally.

“I disagree with this. I think mares are far too valuable to risk losing in combat. Now before any of you get your feathers ruffled, I also don’t believe in hitting mares or treating them badly… I beat one of my own underlings into a bloody pulp for treating his wives like livestock. So this is going to be really awkward for me ‘cause I don’t want to hit any of you. You’ve all had hard enough lives,” Deadspin said in a clear clarion voice.

An earth pony mare moved forward out of her group. “You think we’re soft or something?” she asked in a hard flinty voice.

“Not soft, but you are smaller and therefore weaker. You were meant to be protected. We need foals to rebuild these isles, and I think this is a step backwards. Placing you in combat means potentially losing you,” Deadspin replied.

“You think I’m soft,” the mare growled. “Let me tell you what… I lost my husband to wolves and then two foals to disease. I birthed those foals. I don’t think you’d survive foal birth you pompous featherbrain… but I like the idea that you are for the gentle treatment of mares… my dead husband was like that and he got laughed at quite a bit, so you must be pretty damn brave to be that way around your fellow soldiers,” she bellowed.

Deadspin looked around him and heard sniggering. His cheeks turned red and his ears fell back against his skull.

“See, I’ve been thinking, I might be a resource, but you are too. Males are scarce. Now, you have some ideas that I don’t agree with, but I think I can fix those,” the earth pony said in a loud voice.

“Fix?” Deadspin inquired cluelessly.

“Let’s see who is stronger and who is weaker you twit,” the mare challenged.

“What?” Deadspin asked nervously.

“How about I beat you down into the dirt and if I do that, you marry me and give me foals. You beat me down into the dirt and you get to go on thinking that mares are weak and not fit to be your equals,” she offered.

“Oh no ma’am, I am a soldier. I do not even have a home, I live in the barracks. I’m not ready to start a family yet. I want a command position and I’d like to earn myself a title before settling down,” Deadspin said in polite but clipped tones.

The earth pony mare advanced, her nostrils flaring. “Coward,” she hissed.

“Ma’am, it is simple practical common sense… we stallions are bigger, you mares are smaller… it is so more of you can be fit into a homestead or a cottage, this is just common sense,” Deadspin said as he rose into the air, his wings flapping as he hovered.

There were angry grunts and gasps from the group of assembled mares.

“Look, I don’t want to hurt you… this was such a bad idea… can’t we just move past this and do what needs to be done?” Deadspin begged.

“You’d better get down here pretty birdy… or I will have one of my sisters in battle clip your wings,” the earth pony mare threatened. As she spoke, several pegasus mares unfurled their wings and readied themselves.

“I can’t marry you… and I don’t want to fight you… I don’t even know your name!” Deadspin retorted as he landed and folded his wings.

“My name is Sour Mash and your name is now mud!” the earth pony said as she lunged forward.

She collided with Deadspin and sent him flying. He tucked, rolled, recovered, and unsteadily rose to his hooves. He shook his head and tried to clear the stars from his vision.

“Ugh, she hits like a runaway wagon,” Deadspin muttered as he tried to get some distance between himself and the snorting mare.

“You’re a bit soft, I’m having second thoughts already!” Sour Mash shouted.

Deadspin growled and his ears perked forwards. “I’m not soft because I don’t want to hurt mares… just means I’m gentle,” he said in his own defense.

“I bet you get called soft a lot,” Sour Mash retorted.

“That’s enough! If you want to be a soldier you will fall into line right now!” Deadspin snapped.

Sour Mash launched herself again, and this time Deadspin sidestepped her as she soared through the air at him. One of Sour Mash’s hooves flew out and clipped the pegasus stallion on the chin, which sent him staggering. The blow was a glancing one, but Sour Mash was a natural born kicker.

She landed, skidded to a halt, and then whipped herself around. She was grinning a hard grin that revealed she was missing a top front tooth.

Deadspin could hear the laughter of his own troops and it burned him. Hot rage rose up inside of him. Hating himself for what he was about to do, it was time to put the mare into her place. He charged, reminding himself that the insubordinate mare had brought this on herself.

The pair collided with a thud and Deadspin wasn’t sure what happened next. He could feel his body pummeled with hooves, and then he was grappled into submission. The mare had him in an embrace, and she was standing on her hind legs. Somehow, she had managed to capture Deadspin in a bear hug, and both of her impossibly strong front legs were now crushing his barrel. He felt a rib pop and give way, followed by another.

The broken ribs hurt a great deal, but what came next hurt even more.

The mare flipped over backwards, still holding Deadspin, driving him headfirst into the dirt. The mare recovered first and was up on her hooves in a moment. She began to circle Deadspin as he struggled to stand up.

The other mares began cheering, hooting and calling out to Sour Mash, encouraging her to finish off the weakened stallion.

“Sorry about the ribs,” Sour Mash said breathlessly. “But I could’ve broke all of them.”

“I don’t want to hurt you, I’ll be flogged!” Deadspin protested.

Sour Mash kicked outwards and Deadspin darted out of the way. He kicked back with his hind legs, and Sour Mash jerked her head back to avoid the blow. As she did this, Deadspin swept out with his front legs and kicked all four legs out from beneath Sour Mash. She fell over and hit the ground hard, which made her grunt.

“I’m gonna make you teach me that move… and our foals!” Sour Mash shouted as she rolled over and rose to her hooves. She stood panting.

Deadspin steadied himself and tried not to pant. His ribs ached. He felt conflicted. He didn’t have long to think because Sour Mash lunged at him. He jumped out of the way, and as he lept, Sour Mash’s two hind hooves connected with his front left shoulder, just in front of his wing socket. The force of the blow sent him spinning through the air and then tumbling into the dirt.

He went still and just laid there. It was time for cunning…

Sour Mash approached cautiously, her head held high. She waited for Deadspin to move. His eyes were closed, and she worried that she might have actually hurt the pegasus. She came a little closer and prodded him with a hoof.

There was no response.

She ears folded back against her skull and she lowered her head. “Pretty birdy?” she asked in a worried voice.

Still no response.

“Well damn, I thought pretty birdy was made of sterner stu-oooooof!” Sour Mash grunted as two forelegs wrapped tightly around her neck. She felt her body whipped around, and then two hooves connected with her gut. It knocked the wind out of her, flipped her through the air, and she landed hard on her back a few feet away.

Deadspin took to his hooves and advanced, intending to end this. There were hoots and cheers from his own troops. Deadspin flung himself downward upon the prone mare, intending to wrestle her into submission.

“Oh, you want to get right to the foal making,” Sour Mash grunted as she grappled with Deadspin. She punched outwards with a forehoof, and it connected solidly with Deadspin’s eye. She laughed crazily as his head snapped back. “Don’t worry, I won’t punch you in the balls, I might need those,” she said kindly as she slammed a knee into Deadspin’s broken ribs.

The pair rolled around in the dirt, kicking, punching, both of them trying to dominate the other. Deadspin had given up on all pretext of being a gentlepony and he landed several solid blows upon the earth pony mare. Deadspin’s eye was swelling shut, and Sour Mash had a split lip.

“I beat my daddy near to death when he broke one of my mama’s wings to make her behave,” Sour Mash grunted as she pounded on Deadspin. “At least he put up a good fight… you fight like old ponies shag!”

“Oh you bitch!” Deadspin snarled as he headbutted the obnoxious mare. He heard a pained grunt and felt a rush of satisfaction.

“That was quite a love tap!” Sour Mash shouted as she grabbed Deadspin’s head between her forehooves. She slammed her own head into Deadspin’s, once, then twice, and then three times. Deadspin went limp and she dropped his head into the bloodied dirt.  

Sour Mash crawled onto Deadspin’s back, straddled him, grabbed his hind legs in her forelegs, and still straddling his withers, began to bend him in half. She folded him over, bending his hips and his spine to an almost unnatural angle, lifting his hind legs to her barrel.

“You! Your ladyship! I need you to marry us!” Sour Mash shouted.

Sparkler was completely baffled. “I can’t do that,” Sparkler said in a halting voice.

“Yer a noble, you can do it,” Sour Mash replied.

“But marriage should be about love!” Sparkler shouted.

“What does love have to do with anything?” Sour Mash retorted. “Love can come later once we settle our differences!”

“I can’t do this!” Sparkler shouted, leaning on Rising Star and hoping for reassurance. “And I can’t let you force him into marriage…”

“Hey horsefeathers, you think I’m weak now?” Sour Mash asked as she tightened her hold. “I could snap your spine right now or pop your legs from their sockets. Think I belong on a homestead?” she demanded.

Deadspin pounded the ground with his hoof but refused to beg for mercy.

“Every year males get fewer and fewer and more and more mares have to share a single stallion in a herd. Give us what we want… a chance to defend our homes, to stand as equals, and I want you to submit to me!” Sour Mash shouted.

“Never!” Deadspin groaned.

Sour Mash wrenched his hind legs up higher and there was a loud pop from his hips. Deadspin cried out, making a foalish whimpering sound of pain.

“Right now, I could end you. You ain’t so strong! How about I go out and do the fighting, and you stay home and do the foal raising!” Sour Mash grunted.

“A mare’s place is in the homestead!” Deadspin snarled. “They must be kept safe! They should be cherished and loved! They should be treasured and kept from the jaws of slavering beasts!”

“Oh that’s it!” Sour Mash snarled. She yanked upwards on Deadspin’s legs and leaned back, adding more compression on his spine. There was an ominous crackle.

There was total silence all around them. All of the mares and stallions gathered dared not make a sound.

Deadspin saw black stars in his vision and he pounded on the ground with both forehooves. He tried to roll over and couldn’t, and the mare kept bending him slowly. She was strong.

“Last chance!” Sour Mash warned.

“I submit! You’re stronger than I am… You’re the strongest pony I’ve ever fought! I give I give I give! I’ll give you whatever you want… I’ll give you foals and hope they are little fillies that grow up to be just like you!” Deadspin begged, his voice an agonised whine.

Sour Mash relaxed her grip and let Deadspin’s legs fall down to the dirt. She patted him gently upon his croup. She turned herself around, while she still straddled him, and then picked up his head between her forehooves. She kissed him softly upon the top of his head and then dropped his head back into the dirt.

“I do believe I have won my trial by combat,” Sour Mash said as she looked around her, her gaze meeting each stallion standing and staring at her. “If anypony treats me as anything other than their equal, I’ll kill ya,” she warned.

“WHAT IN TARTARUS IS GOING ON HERE?”

Everypony’s head turned and saw Keg Smasher, who stood unsteadily on three legs.

“I just beat this oaf into submission and now he has to marry me,” Sour Mash said fearlessly to Keg Smasher.

“Is this true?” Keg Smasher asked Deadspin.

The defeated stallion nodded but said nothing. He spat out some blood and gingerly touched his swelling face with a bloodied hoof.

“You look bad lad, this mare tore you apart,” Keg Smasher observed. “Do you want her flogged for the beating she has given you?”

Deadspin shook his head no and spat out more blood.

Sour Mash froze… now terrified of what might happen next. She had seen one flogging not long ago, and it had been horrible.

“I dunno lad, we have laws now, harsh as they might be, we can’t allow this kind of violence between one another,” Keg Smasher bellowed in a loud voice. “I think an example needs to be made… we can’t have stallions beating on mares and we can’t have mares beating on stallions,” he added.

“You touch one hair in her mane and I’ll kill you…” Deadspin growled. “I will end you!” he threatened.

Sour Mash sucked in her breath and held it, looking at Keg Smasher and then down at Deadspin, whom she was still sitting on. She felt her heart race a bit from the stallion’s words.

“Have a change of heart Deadspin?” Keg Smasher asked.

“I have… I have found my equal sir,” Deadspin wheezed. “Maybe my better…”

Sour Mash exhaled sharply and then let out a few pained and panicked wheezes. She had just found a good stallion, and getting flogged didn’t fit in with her plans.

“You there, lass, what is your name?” Keg Smasher demanded.

“Sour Mash… sir?” Sour Mash said hesitantly, not sure how to address her Laird now that she was a soldier. She was terrified of what Keg Smasher might order.

“You just took apart one of my most promising up and comers. Do you want that worthless lout as a husband?” Keg Smasher asked.

“He has potential,” Sour Mash replied. “Sir,” she added, still in fear of her Laird’s wrath.

“Damnable earth ponies…” Keg Smasher muttered. “They’ll be the death of us all!” he shouted as he surveyed the crowd all around him, trying to gauge their mood. “And earth pony mares are the worst of all! Upsetting the social order, breaking the rules, starting a damn war after almost a thousand years of peace!” he bellowed, looking at Derpy as he did so. “Those insufferable earth pony mares are going to run roughshod all over us,” he grumped. “All of you are as stubborn as stumps! YOU! Sour Mash, you now are now the buck sergeant of your brigade and it is your job now to get all of those lumps combat ready. And clean up your damn husband! He’s a mess!”

“We’re married?” Sour Mash asked.

“My word is law!” Keg Smasher bellowed.

Sour Mash sat, still straddling Deadspin, and she blinked a few times in surprise.

“And Deadspin…” Keg Smasher growled.

“Yes sir?” Deadspin whimpered as he wiped his bloodied lips.

“Do you think a captain’s wages would be helpful to start a family?” Keg Smasher inquired.

“That would be very generous sir,” Deadspin replied. “But I do not deserve it. I was wrong, and I have been humbled sir,” he added.

“I was hoping to hear you say that Captain Deadspin. And I hope everypony else heard him! Mares deserve to suffer just as much as we do. If they want to choose this life, let them! But no special consideration will be offered just because they are mares. They will tow the line or they will be drummed out!” Keg Smasher decreed.

“My Laird!” a pegasus mare cried out.

“Yes lass?” Keg Smasher replied.

The pegasus mare pointed at another pegasus guard. “He’s handsome! If I pound him into the dirt, may I have him?” she asked.

The pegasus in question looked panicked and didn’t wait for a reply. He took wing and deserted the field, flying away in a hurry.

Keg Smasher heaved a sigh. The changes were coming faster than he knew how to deal with. He looked up at the departing pegasus and then at the pegasus mare with the crazy smile.

“I want my trial by combat!” she demanded.

“Oh bloody balls,” Keg Smasher muttered.

 

 

Bucky examined the chain he had created. The steel was strong. The high carbon content should prevent rust. It would still need to be greased. Crush seemed pleased with the work as well, and the big stallion nodded mutely in approval.

He had forged each link from a solid oval of steel, and then he had teleported them to connect to one another, leaving behind no weak point. He had learned a great deal about the shaping of metal from working with the chain links. He had also made a few steel objects. A few bowls, a drinking mug, a couple of plates, and an experimental set of war shoes with leg guards. He planned to enchant them later as an experiment, something that would magnify kinetic energy during a kick, delivering several tons of force on impact, while protecting the kicker from the impact.

If they were successful, he would add an improved version to his armor.

He smiled at his work and felt satisfied. He had more to do, but it was time for lunch.

 

 

 

Author's Note:

And yes, Sour Mash comes from Rye Mash. She is Berry Punch's cousin.

 
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