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 wouldn’t be too much longer before dinner, and Bucky was in the dining hall drinking with several other ponies that he considered his friends. It was an odd situation for Bucky, realising that he had friends that he deeply cared about and felt concern for, ponies that were not his family members, and the odd thoughts about the situation lingered in the back of his mind. He thought of Thunderlane and wondered if he and Thunderlane were friends. Thunderlane had abducted him before the wedding. Thunderlane had walked with him as Bucky accepted his fate and the pegasus had moved him along. Bucky realised that he missed Thunderlane. While Bucky had developed a fine appreciation for earth ponies, he realised that he treasured the loyalty of the pegasi that he knew.

Keg Smasher was a motivated drinker, the big pegasus spared not a drop trying to kill his own pain. Things had changed between Keg Smasher and Bucky. Over the course of the past few days, the two seemed to have become as close as brothers, which felt odd for Bucky, because Bucky had no siblings and he had no idea what being brothers meant.

Wrecker had joined them at the table, drinking slowly and saying very little. Bucky had no doubt that Wrecker was doing what he had always done in these situations. Take notes. Alcohol loosened lips.

Deadspin and Sour Mash leaned on one another as they drank. Both of them looked fatigued but happy. Deadspin had his wing protectively around Sour Mash and the earth pony’s eyes darted back and forth as she drank, surveying the dining hall.

“I still cannae believe that you threatened to kill me,” Keg Smasher grumbled to Deadspin. “Threatening your Laird. Saying you’d end me… you should be drawn and quartered.”

Deadspin looked down guiltily into his own drink and his body posture became rather meek and submissive as he leaned even closer to Sour Mash. “A thousand pardons sir… but you did just threaten Sour-”

“You flea ridden featherbrained oaf, of course I threatened her! I wanted to see how you’d react! And how she’d react! Yer not the yellowest bit o’ corn in the turd Deadspin! I worry about you sometimes,” Keg Smasher snarled.

Bucky nearly spewed out his beer that he was drinking when Keg Smasher made his comment. He struggled to swallow slowly, taking down little amounts of what was his in mouth, unable to take it all down at once lest he choke.

Berry Punch emerged through the doors and then joined the group, sitting down beside Bucky. She eyed Bucky’s beer but did not steal it, instead, she stared forlornly at the mug and looked sad as she rubbed her stomach.

“Sour Mash and I are cousins,” Berry announced, still stroking her stomach.

Sour Mash nodded and lifted a mug, her hoof jammed through the loop on the side.

“What?” Bucky asked.

“We both come from a pony named Rye Mash, the infamous sky pirate and notorious shotgun rapist,” Berry replied.

This time, Bucky did choke, and Berry had to clap him on the back to get him breathing again. Berry pounded several times until Bucky finally drew in a heaving strangled gasp.

“Rye Mash had a thing about teleporting a shotgun full of nails behind his enemies and letting them have it,” Berry Punch said proudly.

Keg Smasher looked a bit queasy from hearing Berry Punch’s words and he lifted his mug slowly in his remaining wing. “That’s awful,” he grumbled before taking a drink.

“Shotgun rapist,” Wrecker muttered. He winced and shuddered.

“Berry Punch and I had a chance to talk for a bit, it is good to meet family members and get to know them,” Sour Mash said as she pulled Deadspin a little closer to her.

“But I never did find out how you managed to learn how to fight…” Berry said open endedly as she gave a pointed look at Sour Mash.

“Funny story… my best friend Bunny and I, she’s also an earth pony, we were talking about losing our husbands and how rotten life was. We were feeling sorry for ourselves and complaining that we had no futures. So I said to Bunny that the only future we have is the one we make for ourselves, and Bunny argued that the only future we have is the one our future husbands offer us… and then we sort of fell into one of those awkward silences that friends can have,” Sour Mash said as she waved her mug around for emphasis.

Deadspin scowled a bit “I hope I am not that sort of husband,” he muttered.

“Aw, yer sweet,” Sour Mash replied as she nudged Deadspin. “So anyways, we were sitting in this terrible silence and finally I says to Bunny, “I want you to buck me as hard as you can,” and she just sort of looks at me funny, so I slap her around a bit, goading her on, and finally I told her that she was called Bunny because all she was good for was squirting out foals, and so she clobbers me right in the mouth and knocks out my tooth. We had ourselves a scuffle. Turns out, the scuffle both made us feel better, and we spent several days nursing each other back to health. We really messed each other up. But we realised we could fight, and we learned that we were really good friends,” she explained.

“Friendship is hooficuffs,” Bucky said as he took a drink of beer.

“Damn straight it is,” Sour Mash replied. “So we went out and we started making more friends. We took broken battered mares and we punched and pounded on them like the blacksmith does iron until all that was left was hard gristle and a womb. Our ranks grew. And we had our little secret club with one another. We made a few rules. We decided we were going to make our own future and take what we wanted from life and that nopony was going to stop us.”

“Lad, you done messed up,” Keg Smasher grumbled to Deadspin.

“I like my mares… feisty and combative. It makes certain activities… more enjoyable,” Lord Wrecker interjected. “Sour Mash seems like a rare prize.”

“Aw, thanks your lordship,” Sour Mash said as she blushed.

“I have to ask… but did you jump my sweet little Ripple into your club?” Bucky inquired.

“We tried… yer sweet little Ripple took apart one of our biggest bruisers, but yeah, she’s one of us,” Sour Mash replied. She eyed Bucky carefully and then took a long drink.

“Oh stars, Derpy is gonna… I dunno if she is going to be proud and start strutting or if she is going to be out for your blood,” Berry said in a worried voice.

“If any of you ladies want a real scuffle, ask Buckminster’s matriarch to give you a punch to the face,” Keg Smasher grunted. “Never in my life have I been hit so hard. And I’ve been clobbered by bears and once picked a fight with a manticore.”

“I’m going to make history… I am going to take alehouse brawlers and give them actual military training. And then I’ll have my troops learn alehouse brawling. And I am going to have tough little foals,” Deadspin muttered mostly to himself. He turned his head and focused the eye that was not swollen shut on Sour Mash, giving her a longing lusty look. “Mmm, makin’ foals,” he moaned.

“Later, I am gonna make you submit to me again,” Sour Mash promised, giving Deadspin a kiss on the cheek.

“Look at you both… you just beat the stuffing out of each other and now you are in love,” Bucky said as he pulled Berry Punch close to him.

“I think there’s some love in the ranks too,” Deadspin reported.

“Oh and Lord Bitters, I do believe we can bring in four times our number. I’ve put out a call,” Sour Mash said to Bucky. “So you’d better get ready to be our patron.”

“I’m looking forward to it,” Bucky said.

 

 

Lyra buried her face into Bucky’s neck and continued to cry as she clutched him. She could feel Bon Bon pressed up against her back, and Bon Bon had her strong forelegs around both Lyra and Bucky.

It was late, approaching midnight, and the others were now asleep.

As Lyra continued to let out her grief, Bucky thought about the events of the day. Mostly, he just felt numb inside. Earlier, before she had gone to bed, Bucky had held Dinky, who had tearfully confessed that she never wanted to use dark magic ever again and had complained that her mind felt dirty now. Dinky had been a twitching neurotic mess, complaining that she could feel bugs under her skin crawling around and it had been Derpy that had actually given the filly a jigger of whiskey to calm her down and make her settle. Dinky’s constant twitching had been unbearable to watch.

There were no other sedatives upon the isles.

The fight had started now in earnest, and there had been casualties. Bucky wondered how far he would have to go to win this. He thought of his earlier musings about going at it alone and cursed his foolishness. He began to wonder about acceptable losses and then the dreadful thought came into his mind. Was Dinky an acceptable loss? Bucky didn’t know. As Lyra continued to soak his pelt with tears, Bucky quietly seethed with inner fury.

This was another night of lost efforts, with everypony too tuckered out to make more spell jars. His carefully made plans were falling behind. Bucky could feel his control over the situation slipping. He gently lifted Lyra in his embrace, pulling her head up closer to his. He gently kissed her on both cheeks and then pulled her head down to his shoulder. He could taste the salt on his lips. A moment later, he felt Bon Bon kiss him from his blind side on the corner of his mouth, where he still had some sensation left.

“It feels nice to be held by a male and not have to worry about his expectations,” Lyra said in a shuddering strained voice. “Something about how you smell is comforting,” she admitted.

“I would never hurt you Lyra,” Bucky promised.

“I know that now,” Lyra replied in a halting whisper. “I like how you smell…”

Bon Bon stroked Lyra’s mane softly as she smiled sadly. “Silly Lyra,” she murmured.

“You smell like smoke and fire… and maybe a bit of beer. There is a sweaty smell. It is a very masculine smell and part of me says I should be terrified by it, but right now, I just feel safe,” Lyra explained as her tears flowed but her sobs subsided.

“These wretched isles don’t have much in the way of perfume or scented soaps. The soap we had in the trunk is already almost gone. I suppose we all smell a bit more… earthy,” Bon Bon whispered into Lyra’s ear.

“We smell like ponies… not softly scented lies,” Lyra replied to Bon Bon.

“I bet the isles smell a bit more like piss after what we did today,” Bucky stated bluntly. “I mean, between the ponies watching us and the wolves getting that wake up call, I bet there was a lot of failed bladders.”

“Bucky, you are terrible… and I think I love you because of it,” Lyra responded.

“I give up,” Bon Bon grumbled in exasperation.

“Huh?” Bucky grunted.

“You and Lyra both… your jokes… with everything going on,” Bon Bon whispered. “Both of you are awful. You deserve each other.” The earth pony squirmed and her face contorted in annoyance. “I don’t even want to think what your foals are going to be like, it just disturbs me to think about it,” she groused.

“I’d like to have a little colt I think. And I hope he’ll be like Bucky,” Lyra said as she snuggled closer.

“That might be nice,” Bon Bon said.

Bucky thought about the dark things he had been doing lately, and he wasn’t sure he agreed with Lyra. He said nothing though, and continued to hold the unicorn close to him. Tears were still falling, but her uncontrollable sobs seemed to be gone.

“We’ve all been pushed to our very limits,” Bon Bon said in a low pained voice. “I don’t know what to make of it. I used to know what was right and wrong. There was a very clear line drawn and I knew which side of that line I stood on. Now? I am not even sure if there is a line and if there was, I don’t know which side I would be on. I’ve sat back and done nothing as I’ve allowed terrible things to go on around me, because I reached a point where I actually believed they were necessary. Today, I watched a foal use dark magic and I didn’t know how to feel. Nothing makes sense anymore,” the earth pony lamented. “I am sorry for letting all of this out all of a sudden… I couldn’t hold it in anymore.”

Bucky took a deep breath and let it out slowly. As much as it might be needed, tonight there would be very little sleep for him.

 

 

 

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