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 stood on the edge of the deck of The Scorned Mare, looked around for anypony that might be below in the early morning hour, lifted his hind leg, and pissed off the side of the ship. Where once this had been an act of fear, embarrassment, neurosis, and shame, he now took an entirely too casual attitude about the whole thing.

Watching the stallion she so loved relieving himself, Berry Punch laughed. “We need to upgrade to modern indoor plumbing as soon as possible,” she commented.

“I don’t think I could pee off the side, it doesn’t look safe,” Thistle said. “Oh how I wish somepony had thought of a bucket!”

“Meh,” Berry Punch muttered. She walked to the edge of the ship, stood up on her hind legs, pinched a part of her anatomy in a certain way, and then while standing, pissed over the side. “I can write my name in the snow,” she bragged as she sent a stream of urine out in an arc.

“Oh… oooh my… mmm mmm mmmph! There is just something about earth ponies,” Bucky gasped as he watched Berry with unabashed lust upon his face, still pissing over the side.

“Bucky will hold you in his magic Thistle, and then you can just hang your backside over the edge,” Derpy said as she patted Thistle.

“What about you?” Thistle asked.

“Me? I’m a pegasus. I plan to make it rain,” Derpy said with a smile.

 

 

Bucky stood in the foundry looking at the designs on the wall. Rising Star stood beside him, looking a bit roughed up but overall none the worse for wear. Rising Star rubbed at lump on the side of his head, a gift from Sparkler.

“We’re really going to do this,” Rising Star said in a voice filled with awe.

“Yes,” Bucky replied.

Crush nodded.

“First, we need a couple of test pieces. Simple steel sheets, semi-finished, slightly enchanted, and treated with the... uh, liquid from yonder orb,” Bucky stated.

“And Bucky, tell me, how do you plan to do battle in this suit of armor?” Rising Star inquired.

“What do you mean?” Bucky answered.

“Well, combat training,” Rising Star replied.

“I have Sombra’s memories… and I planned to figure it out as I went,” Bucky said in a flat monotone.

Rising Star rubbed his face with his hoof and looked disturbed. “Look, I just spent a couple of days of having my plot kicked all over the place and with each lump added to my skull, I understand just how little I know of fighting.”

“The armor will be powered. It’ll make me strong. Plus, I’ll have my magic, how hard could it be?” Bucky said with a disdainful sniff.

“How hard was it the first night you went out on patrol?” Rising Star questioned in reply as respectfully as possible.

Bucky scowled. “It isn’t the same thing at all. I’ll be protected.”

“Mama Berry was worried that you’d pull something boneheaded like this,” Rising Star groaned. He turned his head and did his best to give Bucky a withering glare, trying to mimic what Berry had shown as an example.

Crush prodded Bucky gently, which nearly toppled Bucky over and then patted Rising Star affectionately. He smiled and pointed at Rising Star enthusiastically.

“Oh sure, take his side,” Bucky grumbled as he recovered.

“I need some assistance… oh, Knight Captain Buckminster.”

The trio all turned to look at whomever it was that had spoken. There was a very large griffon standing in the doorway, and Crush’s assistants all scattered, suddenly finding business elsewhere.

“Hi Lugus, where is your little pegasus filly?” Rising Star asked.

“She is safe with your matriarch, who I fear may be spoiling her,” Lugus replied. “There is this pegasus affection ritual involving the hiding and the showing of the face. I do not understand it,” he grumbled.

“So what brings you here?” Rising Star inquired. “Crush can’t talk,” he explained.

“I am in need of a weapon. There are vermin on these Isles. I do not like vermin. Vermin that kill the young, prey upon the old and weak, and are barely even worthy foes. I want to hunt them. I understand that there is steel to be found here. I would like a hook-axe if such a thing could be made,” Lugus asked.

Crush nodded.

“I have nothing to offer in payment but my own body. I will join you if you will have me,” Lugus offered to Bucky.

“What’s a hook-axe?” Rising Star asked.

“A griffon weapon. Axe blade on one side, a long hook on the other, a shaft about as long as a griffon body. A strong griffon can use the hook to snag foes up from off of the ground. And the axe is self explanatory,” Lugus replied.

“So, are you a warrior?” Rising Star inquired politely.

“In my home country, I was a knight. I was disgraced. I fled,” Lugus answered with brutal honesty.

“How were you disgraced?” Rising Star asked rather sheepishly.

“I refused my king. He wanted me to kill his son,” Lugus replied in a cold dead voice.

“I don’t think that disgraces you,” Rising Star said in a soft voice. “Say, you have combat training… did you wear heavy armor?”

Lugus nodded.

“Bucky here needs training… we’re about to make a suit of heavy plate. I need for you to beat my dad into shape,” Rising Star stated with a cunning grin.

The griffon raised his claw and scratched his head. “I can do that,” he answered. “But how is he even going to move in heavy plate?”

“Magical motivators and actuators,” Bucky said in half-hearted explanation as he glared at Rising Star. Bucky’s glower was far worse that Berry’s withering stare.

“See that he is whipped into shape and I will even talk him into enchanting your weapon,” Rising Star said shrewdly as he cringed away from Bucky.

Lugus’ feathered crest rose and he drummed his claws upon the stone floor as he stood there. “Give me a week and he might stand up to a stiff breeze,” Lugus replied in an amused sounding voice.

“But you are helping us work the forge,” Bucky interjected.

“I can do that,” Lugus offered. “But your matriarch must provide care for my ward.”

“Done,” Bucky stated.

“Yeah,” Rising Star added.

Crush flapped his lips, which made a flatulent sound, and then gently prodded Bucky once again, which almost tipped the little stallion over.

“The wind wouldn’t knock me over,” Bucky said sulkily as he regained his hoofing. He glared upward at Crush and something in his neck cricked. “Ow… not fair… some ponies hogged all of the tall when they were born,” he grumbled as he reached up to rub his neck.

“I have no idea how he understands Crush,” Rising Star said to Lugus.

“I took lessons from Berry. Crush speaks a smattering of pegasus and earth pony non-verbal communicators. He’s actually really easy to understand if you pay attention,” Bucky said as he levitated a charcoal stick to Lugus. “Now draw me a hook-axe so I know exactly what I need to do here,” he instructed.

 

 

Dinky sighed as she settled her body in the water. She didn’t feel the bugs anymore, but she did feel itchy all over. Her mind felt unsettled and she poked the water with her forehoof so she could watch the ripples as they spread. She turned and looked at her mother on shore. Her mama looked so very happy, and that made Dinky feel a little better. The little pegasus filly her mother was playing peekaboo with was giggling.

Thistle was swimming out in deeper water and Dinky watched her for a while. Thistle looked happy and Dinky understood why. She had heard Lyra and Bon Bon talking with her in low voices this morning about being a mare within the herd. Turning her head, she looked over at Loch Skimmer, who was beginning to whistle to Harper, sweet little Harper who was being held by Berry Punch who lay on her back.

She wished Ripple was here, but Ripple was off learning how to box.

“Piña, do you think what I did makes me a bad pony?” Dinky asked her best friend and confidant.

“No,” Piña replied without a second’s hesitation. “Do you think daddy is a bad pony for taking Thistle as his wife even though Thistle is Sparkler’s age?”

“Well, no…” Dinky said after several moments of thought.

“Why?” Piña asked.

“Because I understand why he did it,” Dinky responded.

“Well, a lot of ponies probably won’t understand, but we do,” Piña stated. “And daddy is a good pony. We know this to be true.”

Dinky nodded. “Thank you Piña,” she whispered. “I don’t know what I would do without you. You take all of the complicated things in my head and make them simple.”

Piña shrugged and watched as Thistle swam around in the water. “Mama Thistle looks happy,” she said as she gently stroked Dinky.

“Yeah she does,” Dinky agreed.

“I’m probably never going to be that happy. I know too much. I’ve become aware of too many things. I dunno how to put some of them into words yet, and that troubles me, it is like being just big enough to peer over the counter at Sugarcube Corner and see a treat you want, but not yet tall enough to reach it,” Piña said in a flat despondent voice.

“I know what you mean Piña,” Dinky replied. “I know what I want in life… I still want power. I want to understand things… but not at the cost of having bugs crawling under my skin or having nightmares about wolves burning… I wanted them to hurt, but I can’t bear to actually see them in pain in my dreams Piña, and I don’t know how to talk to the adults about it,”she explained.

“We’ve both become aware,” Piña agreed sadly. “We can’t go back to how we were.”

“No,” Dinky answered as she began to sniffle slightly. “I don’t want to cry anymore… nuts and gum. I don’t even understand what I am aware of.”

“Feck,” Piña swore. She felt a heady rush of heat flood over her cheeks.

“Piña!” Dinky gasped, looking in wide eyed horror at her sibling.

“That felt really good,” Piña confessed.

“My mama will wash your mouth out with soap if she can find some,” Dinky warned.

“Arse,” Piña muttered, savouring the word in her mouth. She had said it before, but never quite so forcefully or with so much meaning.

Dinky’s face turned a bright maroon. “Stop Piña, they will hear you!” Dinky begged.

“Shite,” Piña announced.

“No Piña, not the big ‘s’ word…” Dinky cried as she looked around. She stared at her mother, then at Berry, and finally out at Thistle.

Buggery,” Piña grumbled, which caused Dinky to cover her ears with her front hooves. “You know Dinky, if I can figure out how to say these things without suddenly feeling ashamed or embarrassed, then I will no longer be a fecking foal,” she explained.

“Piña!” Dinky squealed.

Piña shrugged. “They are only words. The only meaning or power they have is what we give them.”

“If you really believe that, then I quintuple dog blind dare you to walk up to Berry Punch or my mother and say those words,” Dinky challenged.

“Okay,” Piña agreed as she rose to her hooves and waded out of the water.

 

 

“Lord Bitters, you have some ponies needing to speak to you,” the guard reported.

Bucky scowled, hating the sound of those words. He wondered why Sentinel had not prevented this. He looked around the forge. He was covered in soot and sweat. “I guess I will step outside to see them,” he growled.

Bucky stomped outside and saw three ponies. Correction. Two ponies and one zebra. He couldn’t remember a zebra being on the list of shipwreck survivors. He stared at the zebra, and she shimmered and warped. Bucky had the most troubling sensation that his gaze belonged elsewhere and his brain suggested that he was looking at an earth pony.

He looked around and the guard was gone. He peered at the three ponies and his horn ignited. “What is the meaning of this? If you don’t stop using that aversion spell, I am going to get snippy,” Bucky growled.

“There is no need for that,” the unicorn replied.

“Other ponies might be upset if they saw a zebra,” the earth pony explained.

“And don’t you dare talk to us about “snippy” Buckminster Bitters, son of Buckminster Bitters and Primrose Propers, distant son of Platinum, Founder of Equestria, and blood heir of Sombra, the Lord of Winter,” the zebra warned.

“Yes, “snippy” is a delicate subject for us,” the unicorn said with an equine derisive snort.

“What do you want?” Bucky demanded. He felt a rising panic deep within him and there was a troubling understanding coming up into his memories that these were not ponies at all.

“Sombra’s memories are surfacing,” the earth pony muttered.

“We’ve been discovered,” the zebra announced.

“But does he know our names?” the unicorn questioned.

“That would be needlessly cruel if he did, hopefully Sombra isn’t the horse’s ass in death that he was in life,” the zebra said as she scratched her barrel with a hoof stained a greenish brown.

“I liked Sombra… he shared his seed with me,” the earth pony said.

“What is going on here?” Bucky demanded.

“We came with an offer of unicorn cleverness,” the unicorn said with a wink.

“Just get to the point,” Bucky commanded.

“We wish to make a deal,” the earth pony offered.

“We want you to make us a promise,” the zebra said.

“Just one simple promise and we will give you something you will value in return, but we cannot tell you directly what it is, only that you will know the nature of your reward once you have it,” the unicorn explained.

“I am listening,” Bucky growled.

“We want your solemn oath that you will never become the alicorn of war,” the three ponies all said in unison.

“How do you know about that?” Bucky snarled.

“Never mind how we know!” the unicorn bellowed.

Bucky felt cold fear course through his body and his legs buckled. He nearly fell and he felt the fuzzy fizzy tingle of magic holding up his body. “I don’t want that future,” he admitted in a fearful foalish voice. “I just want to be a father… have lots of hot drunken nookie.”

“That is wise beyond your years Buckminster!” the zebra praised.

“It will not be an arduous promise then, just say the words,” the earth pony coaxed.

“Yes, just say the words, spit on your hoof, and then touch hooves with us… as an extra added bonus, we will make you an offer you can’t refuse,” the unicorn promised in sweet motherly tones as she tried to comfort Bucky, who looked quite afraid.

“You can’t tell me the nature of my reward, only that I will know it once it happens, but you can make me an offer?” Bucky asked in a confused voice as he wobbled on his hooves.

“We cannot tell you the exact nature of your reward for making the oath, that would be breaking certain rules. But we can tell you about our little extra incentive. We just want you to say such simple little words, and you don’t want to do it anyway, what is there to lose?” the zebra said in gentle warm tones that made Bucky feel sleepy.

“Well, what is the incentive?” Bucky questioned.

“Make the oath and we can tell you that. Plus, we give you the reward that you so richly deserve,” the earth pony promised.

Bucky licked his lips nervously and he peered at the three equines that were not really equines. He had a nagging suspicion that if he thought about it hard enough, he would know their names.

But knowing their names was folly.

Bucky spat on his hoof and extended it. “I give you my solemn oath that I will never become the alicorn of war,” Bucky vowed.

The three mares each touched his hoof in turn, and Bucky felt an odd warmth in his body. His aches and pains soothed a bit. He felt the presence of deep magic and primal magic all around him. He felt a sense of peace enter his mind.

“As for the nature of our deal, you will never lose a mare in foal birth and your mares will never fail to carry a foal to term,” the earth pony promised.

“That’s… that’s comforting,” Bucky said.

“We also take comfort in your oath,” the three mares said in unison.

“And we must be going, we have other deals to make and other fates to break,” the zebra muttered. She leaned in close to Bucky and kissed him softly just below his eye. “Brandywine, Barley Bitters, Ditzy Doo, Dizzy Doo… remember these names,” she whispered.

 

 

Bucky blinked in the bright daylight. He didn’t remember coming outside. He stood just outside of the blacksmithy looking around and wondering why he was outside rather than inside working. He supposed that he had been deep in thought and had simply stepped outside for some cool fresh air.

He turned towards the door. Standing around wasn’t getting work done and there was so much to do in such little time.

 

 

Author's Note:

So... who has been reading The Catch?

If you haven't you have no one but yourselves to blame if you don't know what is going on here.

 
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