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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15. 15

Two little foals snuggled together in a bed. One of them awake, the other still asleep in the pre-dawn, birds beginning to chirp outside, the sky visible through the window a delightful shade of faint pink tinted with orange. Dinky was awake, and clung to her best friend, Piña Colada. Dinky was frightened, worried, still scared. She had awoke this way. She still had no memory of what had taken place yesterday, she just remembered Piña crying and then everything went white. But she had done something awful yesterday, something so bad that Princess Celestia herself had come to Ponyville, and Dinky lay terrified, worried, worried that she would be sent away and she would lose her mommy.

Dinky buried her face against Piña and tried not to cry, determined to be brave and face this with all of the courage her pegasus mother had taught her.

Dinky’s bad behaviour had hurt a lot of ponies, and she knew this. Bucky had fallen ill, she understood that she had hurt Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon quite badly, and poor Dinky realised that her mother was probably sick with worry.

As she lay there, feeling all of these conflicting emotions, her horn began to tingle strangely and she could feel an odd vibration along the front of her skull.

 

 

Filthy Rich paced the floor of the hospital room. It had been a long night. The dawn approached. He was exhausted, physically and mentally, drained from his bedside vigil.

At some point during his long night, an unsettling truth settled into his mind, an unpleasant truth that he did not wish to acknowledge, yet it had settled there and stayed, an unwelcome visitor, a guest that would not leave.

His filly was a monster.

For the longest time, he had convinced himself that it was merely sour grapes, talk, gossip, common ponies trying to drag his filly down, all of this talk of her being bad, being a bully, all of this troubling talk from Cheerilee about how his filly was heading down a bad path and needed help.

And he had been told the same thing by Princess Celestia herself, and Celestia’s words had been blunt and brutal. Celestia had spared no comfort and had not minced words. She offered nothing candy coated, only the bitter medicine of truth.

This had happened yesterday, and nopony had stepped in to make it stop. Nopony had tried to save her. Filthy Rich suffered a painful realisation that he had failed. He hadn’t tried to save her either. Had he listened, had he done something rather than refuse to believe there was a problem, this whole incident might not have happened.

He took a deep breath and sighed. In an agonising moment of clarity, he resolved to make this situation right somehow, but he had no idea what to do or how to do it. He supposed that he needed a lesson in humility just as much as Diamond Tiara did.

His brain full of thoughts impossible to ignore, Filthy Rich settled into a chair and watched the coming dawn, thinking of Celestia’s harsh words. He felt a faint rush of hope, hearing the song of the morning birds, and took a brief moment of solace in knowing that things could still be made right somehow.

 

 

“Thunderlane, I need to know what happened, I’ve heard some disturbing things!”

Thunderlane focused his eyes on Rainbow Dash, establishing eye contact. She stood on a cloud before him, looking agitated, her wings halfway unfurled in the cool rosy light of dawn. Cloudbusting had begun early today.

“Disturbing things took place,” confessed Thunderlane, sitting back upon his haunches, settling in and awaiting what may come from his flockmate. All around them birds were chirping, the dawn brigade had worked up an impressive number this morning. It was a hopeful sound. After the events of yesterday, Ponyville needed hope. The pegasi responsible for the orchestration of dawn had certainly done their best this morning. How ponies woke up shaped the sort of day they had, and all aspects of life had to be managed. The dawn was especially important, and getting the birds to sing just the right songs could make or break a day. It was a solemn duty that the pegasi took very seriously, and Fluttershy had outdone herself this morning, getting the birds to announce that it was a fresh new day, full of hope. There were many ponies that needed hope this morning, Thunderlane among them.

“You were there, I want you to tell me what happened,” commanded Rainbow Dash, her tail twitching from agitation, her ears pointed forward aggressively, her body posture one of dominance.

She was much higher up in the pecking order than Thunderlane, and she was taking every opportunity to rub that in, much to Thunderlane’s annoyance. She was a strutting bird out on a fabulous display, and Thunderlane was surprised that she had not yet begun to preen.

“It started off like it usually does. Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon were being bullies,” started Thunderlane, his lip curled back in annoyance as Rainbow Dash continued to diminish him. “Only things went badly for them. Dinky Doo started floating and the air filled with electricity, and I’ve seen just enough magic to know a wild surge when I see one,” he continued. He spread his own wings a bit, just enough to tweak Rainbow Dash’s nose, letting her know that he wasn’t going to take this lying down. He flared a nostril defiantly at her display, causing her to snort in annoyance. “When I saw Dinky rising up into the air, I sent a nearby pegasus off to find one of Filthy Rich’s runners and tell him that Diamond Tiara had been hurt in school. I sent another pegasus off to the hospital to fetch help, and I told both of them to hurry, spare no speed, priority dispatch.”

“Okay, so far, so good, so you mobilised help before it started then,” said Rainbow, summarising everything, trying to make sense of the events. “And then what happened?”

“I sat back, I waited, and I watched,” Thunderlane replied.

There was a blinding flash of blue followed by a sharp pain in Thunderlane’s nose. He blinked several times in surprise, his ears falling back against his skull. There was another blurry flash of blue and another blow landed on his tender snoot.

“You dunderhead, you sat back and did nothing? How could you?” demanded Rainbow Dash, her hoof still raised to deliver more blows.

Thunderlane felt mildly annoyed by the swats. They stung, but he supposed that he might deserve them. He knew consequences were coming. He glared at Rainbow Dash defiantly. “When the bees came exploding out I did not feel a pressing need to rescue those spoiled brats. While I don’t know anything about magic, I do know about Dinky, and I didn’t think that Dinky would kill them. So I sat back and watched, waiting, knowing that help would arrive soon,” he said.

There was a flurry of blows rained down upon his face, knocking him backwards, many of them borderlining between a swat and a punch, causing Thunderlane to cry out in surprise.

“YOU MORON!” shouted Rainbow Dash. “Dinky had a wild surge. She didn’t have any control! This could have been fatal! Fatal!”

“Those brats needed a comeuppance,” muttered Thunderlane, rubbing his muzzle. “I figured that Dinky was still in there somewhere. Dinky is a good foal…”

Rainbow Dash launched one punch, which connected solidly with Thunderlane’s cheek, knocking him sideways and leaving him lying prone on the cloud, his words knocked out of his mouth. “Our job is to keep the peace, not make moral judgments!” she shouted, standing over Thunderlane as he rubbed his cheek, his face already beginning to swell. “The flock looks after its own! You’ve screwed Dinky over! She’s probably going to be taken from Derpy because of this! Do you know what that will do?” Rainbow screamed, leaning down snoot to snoot with Thunderlane. “Do you know what that will do to our flockmate? And Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon, while they are horrible little snots, nopony deserved what happened to them. I’ve heard stories Thunderlane, really bad stories!”

Thunderlane nodded, his eyes wide with fear, knowing that he deserved whatever was coming, however bad it might be. “Celestia said there would be consequences for me after I gave her my report!” he blurted. “She was angry too, but she said we would talk again once the situation cooled off…”

Thunderlane could feel a molar had been worked loose, it wiggled slightly. He’d need to see a dentist. He poked at it with his tongue, causing his cheek to bulge.

“You… you… you dimwitted featherbrained nincompoop!” Rainbow sputtered, grabbing Thunderlane and squeezing him violently to let him know that they were still flockmates. After a moment, Thunderlane squeezed back, feeling a conflicting flood of emotions, glad to still have a friend. “You ever pull anything like this ever again and I will break your jaw,” promised Rainbow, still squeezing, the time for punishment over and the time for reestablishing trust beginning.

“I never claimed I was smart,” Thunderlane mumbled, glad this dressing down was over.

“Whatever Celestia decides to do to you, we’ll be there with you,” promised Rainbow, slowly letting go and looking Thunderlane in the eye. “The flock looks after its own.”

 

 

Derpy awoke to birdsong, as she usually did, feeling oddly hopeful. Her bed was warm and full of Berry Punch, as it had often been in the past. It was difficult to deal with loneliness and it was nice having a close friend. Derpy’s thoughts turned to Bucky, whom she had carried home last night, as he was in no condition to walk. Berry had stayed because Piña had stayed, and neither Derpy nor Berry had the heart to pull Piña away from the distraught Dinky Doo.

As Derpy yawned, she realised there was another occupant in the bed. Sparkler. She didn’t remember Sparkler crawling into the bed last night, but she had, poor Sparkler was taking all of this terribly. Sometimes, all you could do was form a pony pile with those you love and wait the bad times out.

Derpy realised with the knowledge that she had learned yesterday that Sparkler was a type two. It was a strange unsettling thought, almost an unwelcome knowledge. She would be a lot more comfortable if her foals had no magic at all. She felt a pang of confusion and resentment, followed by a rush of gratitude. Bucky would help. And would probably be here soon. Derpy felt a brief moment of joy knowing that she would see him before going to work.

Derpy raised her head, only to see that Berry had her forelegs around Sparkler and was holding her close, Berry’s face blissful and lost in sleep. Berry and Sparkler had been close for a long, long time and it warmed her heart to see them like this.

The dawn brigade certainly seemed busy this morning…

Derpy slid out of bed to go take a shower and get cleaned up, knowing that she had to make breakfast soon. She stumbled through the room, her legs not yet awake, opened the door, stumbled out into the hall, and saw Dinky, standing there, looking at her.

“Hiya Dinks,” Derpy said, yawning.

“Can I ever go back to school?” Dinky asked in a hushed whisper.

Derpy deflated, her wings sagging. “Uh, I don’t know Dinky. We’re still trying to sort everything out. Bucky is going to be by soon, he is going to become your tutor and help you become a good student,” explained Derpy. She snatched her foal up in a hug and made it extra squeezy, causing Dinky to squeal. “And you are going to listen to every word that Bucky says and you are going to try extra hard to do your best, right?” asked Derpy, still squeezing.

Dinky nodded silently, her cheek rubbing against her mother’s.

“Your friends from school can still stop by,” Derpy said, her voice full of warmth. “You are not in trouble.”

Dinky began to cry in relief, she had been waiting since she had woken up to hear those words, and the wait had been impossibly long and painful.

“Come on Dinks, we’ll go take a shower together and get the hot water before anypony else does, like your sister, the shower stealer,” Derpy invited, setting Dinky down and scooting her along the hallway.

 

Author's Note:

And there we go.

A bit of world building, the pegasi managing the dawn to determine what sort of day ponies might have. Some insights. Some perspectives. Some clear mistakes, a few realisations, and yet, there is still more to do to clean up this mess.

 
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