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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Derpy felt especially protective as she wandered through the meadow, leading a little parade behind her. Dinky and Piña walked together side by side, and little Wheatberry walked just behind them. On Derpy's back was Peekaboo. They walked near the next hulk being restored and ponies waved as they went by. Buildings were being built by what ponies were now calling the shipyard. The shipwreck survivors had manipulation shoes and the unicorns had magic. The new buildings were going up quickly, were well made and quite modern looking. She knew that Berry was around here somewhere, putting her skills as a carpenter to work.

Near the castle, ground was being broken on a new schoolhouse, a dedicated schoolhouse. Keg Smasher had promised a title to Gardenia if she stayed and became the Royal Education Supervisor for the isle. Now, Lady Gardenia had something she never had in Equestria. Respect along with willing eager students.

So much had changed Derpy realised. Hope was taking over. She looked over her shoulder to make sure her charges were following along and continued her march around the meadow.

 

 

“I could never keep up with that sort of magical output for any real length of time,” Bucky said as he wobbled around inside of the smithy. He looked at the armor. “It needs more work than I thought. I need to do something about the voice. It is too menacing. It needs sound dampening. And I need a means to take in energy without taking my armor off, because it takes a lot of effort to do so. I am going to have to spend most of my time walking around in low power mode, which is going to be slow but will only have a minimal drain upon my mana reserves.”

“Strap a keg on to your armor and then use your magic to conjure up a drink of high test whiskey when you start to feel your legs wobble. The close range won’t take much of a magical drain to get a drink. You should make a net gain with each gulp. We take the keg and place it right over the spot where the tail connects for balance.” Rising Star suggested.

Bucky fell silent, staring at his colt. After several moments of moving his mouth, some words finally fell out. “That’s brilliant Rising Star… We could easily fit a five gallon keg back there. I could craft one from steel. No tubes or hoses. I was planning on using whiskey to keep me going anyway, but I thought I’d have to return to the ship to get it. I will still need to refill, but this should keep me out in the field longer.”

Rising Star beamed. “Hanging around the forge has taught me how to be practical. I’ve learned so much here in so little time,” he said.

“There is still the matter of learning how to move in the armor and heavy combat,” Lugus stated.

“The run today taught me quite a bit. Running and walking are easy. My body doesn’t feel like my body though in the armor. Everything is big and weird and nothing moves the way it should. You’re right, I will need time to learn how to move inside of the armor,” Bucky admitted.

“As much as your wives might protest, we might do well to go out on a nighttime excursion. You, on the ground and I, in the air offering support. Then we can see if maybe we can engage a few of them while their numbers seem to be slowly building. You should listen to your wives though, they are wise,” Lugus said as he scratched his shoulder.

“I kinda wish I could go out… hey Bucky, don’t stare at me like that, it’s creepy,” Rising Star said. “You used to stare at me like that when I would get a little too friendly with Sparkler.”

“I am okay with you doing things with my daughter now. I am glad you are in a dedicated and loving relationship. But if you ever step a hoof outside this castle after sundown, the wolves will be the least of your worries, I assure you,” Bucky promised.

Rising Star gulped. “I understand Bucky… look, I just wished I could go out. I want to hurt the wolves too. I have my own issues,” he said with a slight stammer. “I keep thinking about the Isle of Wheat and what happened. The pony I was a few moments too late to save. And when I see what happened in my minds eye… I want to burn things!

“Rising Star, I understand. And while you might be somewhat protected in your flaming form, the wolves would still bite you even if it burned them. They tried biting Sparkler in her stone form. If even a few slipped through somehow and got to you, you’d either end up dead or looking like me,” Bucky gently replied.

“Looking like Bucky isn’t such a bad thing… but you should listen young Rising Star,” Lugus interjected. “Bucky should listen more too. He is thick headed.”

Bucky shot Lugus a sour look and his scowl only intensified over time.

“I talk to your wives when I leave my foal in their care. They make me promise things! Like to not let you overwork yourself. The grey mare could be a nanny to dragon young. She has a fierce presence,” Lugus said in his own defense. “And the little dark grey daughter you have… the one with the blue mane, she learns the fierce arts of broodery from your matriarch.”

“Ripple,” Rising said with a smile. “My sweet precious Ripple. I love that filly,” he muttered with a dopey grin plastered across his muzzle. “And Loch Skimmer, her sister. And Sparkler. Uh, I gotta go. I, er, uh, something tells me my wives need me... my boner sense is tingling,” he stammered. Rising Star took off at a gallop out of the smithy.

Crush snorted as he watching Rising Star leave, and then went back to hammering out some iron horseshoes on his anvil as he shook his head.

“Hm, I wonder if my wives need me,” Bucky mused. “I’m feeling a bit empty after the magical expenditure I just had. I think I am going to go find food. And maybe spend some time talking with my wives.”

“You have clever wives. A clever wife is worth more than a thousand well sharpened swords,” Lugus stated. “I am beginning to wonder if I should perhaps hunt myself a clever wife down to help me raise my ward. Peekaboo continues to mystify me.”

“Have one of the griffonesses from the shipwreck in mind?” Bucky asked.

“No… Peekaboo needs a pony mother. Tell me Bucky, tell me about your pony courtship rituals. Beyond offering to regurgitate a hot meal, I am completely lost,” Lugus replied. “Among my caste, we do not woo. We simply take. If a female does not wish to be taken, she must be willing to defend herself and insure her own safety.”

 

 

Sentinel continued about his task, even though he had been excused. While Lyra and Bon Bon slumbered, Sentinel moved among the refugees along with Thrasher, Keg Smasher’s personal assistant. He took requests, he answered questions to the best of his ability, and he worked as his master’s squire as well as his father’s son.

He could not help but notice that most of the ponies were not friendly or receptive to him. Not all ponies were as quick to love him, like him, or even accept him as readily as his family had. Some even refused to speak to him, speaking to Thrasher instead.

A couple had even said the horrible words… bat pony.

Which had not improved the quality of his day. While breakfast had been lovely and his victory satisfying, his ear was throbbing and he was in a lot of pain. His mother Lyra had been a gibbering mess when he had departed. He did his task with as much dignity as he could muster and remained quite civil, even to those who Thrasher said needed a good thrashing, because apparently, that is what Thrasher did. Thrasher was good at beating things into a bloody pulp.

Some of the rudest ponies Sentinel had met where his own fellow pegasi, which confused him. He couldn’t understand why this was. His mother was a solar pegasus, and his father had been a lunar pegasus. They had loved one another, or so Sentinel hoped, he couldn’t remember them very well. His mother had died and then his father had gone mad with grief, Sentinel could remember that, his father going insane and then rushing off into the night howling like a savage beast. His father had deserted his post.

As he walked, Sentinel shuddered. He had only the barest idea of what Bucky, his father now, was capable of, but Sentinel couldn’t bear the thought of what Bucky might do if something was to kill one of his mothers. His father’s rage might be catastrophic.

“You look troubled Squire Sentinel,” Thrasher observed. “Ear bothering you?” he inquired.

“No Sir Thrasher. I am unsettled by a number of things. The rudeness of the pegasi. Some of the mainlanders. And I am worried about my father,” Sentinel replied.

“Your master, His Grace, Lord Bitters. You are on duty Squire Sentinel. You would do well to remember that. As for the mainlanders and the pegasi, they are unmitigated unwashed arseholes. Well, some of them. I do not like them. Not at all. They might be useful, but they are rude. They have no concept of chivalry or graciousness. They are barbarians,” Thrasher stated.

“Indeed,” Sentinel agreed.

“Lord Bitters, he understands chivalry. He understands sacrifice. He truly understands what it means to have your back broken by the yoke of power placed upon it. Which is why my father, my master His Grace, Laird Keg Smasher, chose Bucky to look after the isles if something happened. You are a very lucky pony Squire Sentinel, you must never forget that. As for these arseholes and their self importance? Service would break most of them. They lack our strength. It takes power and guts to bend your knee and serve,” Thrasher said in a regal voice.

“Sir Thrasher, might I ask a very personal question?” Sentinel inquired.

“You may, good squire,” Thrasher responded.

“Did it bother you handing over authority to Lord Bitters rather than taking your father’s place as his son?” Sentinel asked, hoping that his question was not insulting.

“Not at all. I strongly suspect that my father was testing me to see how I would react and if I would obey his wishes. To see if I would do what was needed for the greater good rather than my own desires or wishes. He was most proud of me,” Thrasher replied, a broad smile upon his face. “It was most satisfying to earn his pride, to know that I deserved it.”

“It does feel good to have that sort of pride,” Sentinel agreed.

 

 

Derpy carefully drew her lips over her feathers as Wheatberry watched and tried to imitate her actions. The yearling wasn’t very good, but she was trying. Peekaboo was too little to even try and she was content to be snuggled by Piña and Dinky who fawned over her.

“No, stick out your lips Wheatberry, pretend you have a duck bill,” Derpy instructed cheerfully and then demonstrated once again.

The foal did her best and tried mimic the larger pegasus’ well practiced movements. She slobbered all over her wing, leaving it rather damp, and little trails of drool dribbled down from her chin.

“Mama, what does a little pegasus do if it is born to parents with no wings and no special pegasus slobber?” Dinky asked.

Derpy broke down and looked quite distressed for a moment. “I would hope that a friendly pegasus would take it upon themselves to preen the foal on a regular basis. I hope the parents would understand the importance,” she replied.

“You know mama, you spend a lot more time preening your wings now than you used to. They stay so shiny and perfect,” Dinky observed.

“I suppose I do,” Derpy admitted.

“Is it because you found daddy?” Dinky asked.

“Yes,” Derpy replied to her foal in a rather bashful voice. “I want to look good for him.”

“Are you disappointed that I am not a pegasus?” Dinky inquired bluntly.

“No,” Derpy answered without a moment of hesitation. “Are you disappointed I am not a unicorn?”

 

 

 

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