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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Bon Bon looked at the sleeping form on the bed and felt a pang in her heart. Bucky was sleeping, something he desperately needed, and so did Bon Bon. After breakfast and some time spent with family, Bucky had gone to the bed rather than the smithy. The earth pony mare watched as his body jerked and twitched in his sleep. He did not look peacefully at rest this time. She eased her body down on to the bed and scooted close to Bucky, placing a hoof upon him. She felt his body relax slightly under her touch. She looked at Lyra, who was yawning, and with a nod of her head, encouraged Lyra to come to bed. Harper was sleeping soundly in the straw.

Bon Bon smiled as Lyra came to bed, and she pulled the other unicorn that she loved into a kiss, which quickly turned into something heated and needy. Lyra melted under her touch, and Bon Bon ran her hoof down Lyra’s belly, stroking her milk swollen teats and making little circles on her navel. The pair settled in next to Bucky, both of them kissing him softly, and then laid their heads down together, glad to finally go to sleep after a long night.

 

 

The cold snow swirled around Bucky and he realised he was not in his own body. He could feel himself consumed by grief, a grief so terrible that he could scarcely stand to feel it. He could not feel the cold, only pain, agonising emotional pain. Looking through another body’s eyes, he saw a pony bundled up in many layers of clothing, wearing a tall pointed hat covered in bells. A white beard was visible, poking out from a scarf wrapped over a muzzle.

“I worry about you brother,” the white unicorn said.

Bucky realised it was Star Swirl… which would put him in Sombra’s body.

“I know you grieve, but this is madness,” Star Swirl said in a worried voice.

“You hateful old hermit, what do you know of love, loss, or grief?” Sombra said.

Bucky could feel the pain in the words spoken, and he could feel a terrible sense of loss.

“There is exactly one pony that I have some shred of concern for,” Star Swirl argued. “And he is going mad. This tomb you have created at the top of the world to freeze and preserve her body, to keep it from rot… it is a wonder you haven’t frozen to death!”

“I no longer feel the cold,” Sombra said in a dead flat voice.

“I suppose you do not,” Star Swirl said.

“Sombra, please, talk to me. We are brothers, surely we can still talk,” Star Swirl begged.

“What is there to say? My own brother thinks I have gone mad,” Sombra growled.

“You keep coming here! To the top of the world! To this tomb where you placed her body! This is a place that would kill most ponies. All there is up here is ice and death! You made this endless storm of ice up here to keep her body preserved and safe! This violates the natural order!” Star Swirl said in a frantic voice.

“The top of the world was already covered in ice,” Sombra retorted.

“You made it worse!” Star Swirl accused. “This is a frozen version of Tartarus!”

“WHAT DO YOU KNOW OF LOVE?” Sombra screamed. “LEAVE ME BE! I CAME HERE TO BE WITH HER! I WANT TO CRAWL INTO THIS TOMB AND LAY DOWN BESIDE HER, NEVER TO MOVE AGAIN!”

“Brother, please, be reasonable. Come back with me. Let somepony comfort you. Feel warmth again. Sit by a fire, give in to strong drink like you once did,” Star Swirl pleaded.

“There is no comfort. There is only death. Once I am done here, I intend to take my legion and push our foes into the ocean along the eastern front,” Sombra replied in a flat monotone.

“The sisters worry about you my brother. Luna weeps for you and what you have become. She smashed down the door to my tower and gave me a royal command to bring you back to her so that she might talk some sense into you. No other pony could survive making this trip.” Star Swirl stated.

The wind picked up and became a banshee’s wail. Star Swirl shivered under all of his layers of clothing and he leaned into the wind. Bucky, seeing through Sombra’s eyes, could see the tomb. It was a tall spire of rock, beautifully shaped, and covered in writing that Bucky could not make out through the near white out conditions.

“My brother, I wish I knew how to reach you…”

 

 

Lugus squirmed, unsure of himself. He was afraid. He was a creature who was normally not afraid of anything, and because of this, he was not accustomed to coping with fear. He had killed a wyvern, hunted dangerous game, and had even done a nearly impossible task, flying over the ocean from one continent to another, flying to Equestria from Griffonholm. Even during that long voyage which many said was impossible, he had not felt fear. He did not fear death.

He was terrified of Yew Wood.

He was currently sitting atop a tower, staring down on to the training field, watching her as she trained in combat. He had no idea of how to approach her. His fascination with ponykind was taking over his life since he had found Peekaboo.

Living in Equestria had taught him much, and he his odd equine fixation had only grown as he watched them and observed them up close. He had even began to entertain notions of a sexual encounter with one, if one proved willing. To this end, he had endured a painful surgery removing his penile barbs, something many of the good griffons did when they came to Equestria, not wanting to hurt their mates, their griffonesses. It had been something of a fantasy, something he thought about but never thought he would act upon. He had even thought about securing the services of a willing prostitute, but that in the end, he had decided that such an act was beneath him.

Yew Wood was so small and delicate. He could probably completely wrap his talons around her body and touch his claw tips together. She was maybe a third of his size. And she completely terrified him.

“Perhaps this is a foolish venture,” he muttered to himself. “Like stays with like.”

He thought about their last encounter. How she had trembled at his touch. The smell of her fear. The way she had looked at him after he had touched her and told her that she was beautiful. She had approached him and she had clearly been terrified of him.

Lugus realised he was a coward and he clacked his beak together several times. She had been scared out of her mind to approach him but she had. He was scared to approach her… and he wasn’t sure if he could.

 

 

Bucky awoke, his dream entirely too fresh within his mind. He gently eased himself free of Bon Bon and Lyra, trying to not disturb them, and he slipped from the bed quietly. Harper was asleep in the straw, snuffling lowly in her slumber, and Bucky felt a strong pang of love for her. Once this was over and they were on their long voyage home, he intended to spoil her into rottenness since he would have nothing better to do on the ship.

After taking care of a bit of personal business, he departed from the room and made his way through the castle, thinking of all of the ways that love could go wrong. He thought of Sombra and his grief. Bucky felt a lump in his throat. He could see a lot of himself in Sombra. He suffered a very dark thought and wondered who might die first among his wives, and then he wondered if the rest would be enough to pull him away from the darkness. He hoped so. It would not be fair to them to slip so far into grief and despair, leaving them grieving for over the loss of a fellow-wife and their husband.

 

 

Rising Star brought the hammer down in slow measured strikes. He just wasn’t as skilled as Bucky was, shaping steel like clay, but he could keep it hot and pliable, and he was learning how to strike the steel just so from watching Crush work with iron. The arrowhead he was making actually looked like an arrowhead. The slow steady tapping of the hammer and the methodical approach to the work soothed his mind and made all of his many frustrations fade into the background.

Rising Star decided that there was no shame in combining magic with brute force, using both magic and blacksmithing tools to get the job done. He felt a sense of pride from Crush admiring his work.

More importantly, he knew he was learning a fine sense of control, which was something he lacked. Just how much force was necessary to place into each strike. His magic was all about brute force, and he knew that he needed to reign it in. On the deck of The Scorned Mare he was not going to be able to unleash a firestorm lest he set the whole ship on fire. Small controlled bursts. He didn’t want to burn his fellow ponies.

He carefully shaped the hollow concavity on the end of the arrow head that would be affixed to the shaft and thought about the new griffon archers that would be joining the guard. It was going to further change things around here, both griffons in the guard and archers. The pegasi and earth ponies would finally have a reliable means of range, and airborne archers were an undeniable asset.

He felt a twinge of frustration when he thought about the fact that Bucky would have flicked a gobbet of raw molten steel into an arrowhead in seconds, and he had been here banging away for a good ten minutes shaping the metal with tools. He drove the frustrating thought from his mind. Instead, he thought of how Crush might feel, watching unicorn effortlessly pound dense steel into submission and not requiring a body full of bulging muscles to do so.

The thought quickly humbled him and Rising Star felt guilty about even having thought about Bucky and his abilities.

Rising Star continued his work when he heard Bucky entering the forge, glad that he had pounded a bit of wisdom into himself as he had laboured.

 

 

Lugus steeled himself as he approached Yew Wood. She was currently on break, he knew this from his observations. She was still glistening with sweat from earlier and her muscles moved fluidly under her taut pelt. She was a beautiful creature, lithe and supple as the wood she was named after.

He froze when she looked at him. She was staring at him curiously with her remaining eye affixed upon him. Her posture suggested puzzlement, but he couldn’t be certain. Her wings were flared out slightly from her sides, allowing the breeze to flow above and below her wings, as well as along her ribs, allowing her to cool down.

Lugus did the same thing when he became too hot. Letting the cool breeze under his wings was one of the many simple pleasures he enjoyed in life.

“You’ve turned into a statue,” Yew stated.

Lugus realised he had been standing still and in place for a fair bit of time just staring at the pegasus. He forced his legs to move, shifting his body, and then sitting down. He couldn’t help but feel that this was a mistake as he loomed over the much smaller pegasus. Other ponies were starting to look at him. His tongue felt dry and clung to the inside of his beak.

“Look, I know why you are here,” Yew said in a soft voice.

Lugus went to say something, but all that came out was a squawk. His vocal cords were too tense to make the complex sounds for speech.

“Knight Captain Buckminster’s matriarch Derpy came and told Sour Mash to tell me to be expecting you,” Yew said in a hushed calm voice. “They’re watching you even now. My sisters in battle know why you are here.”

Lugus squawked again and felt like an idiot. He was a grown griffon but he was squawking like a fledgeling, which was shameful.

“Derpy came to warn us what to expect. After giving you her advice, she began to worry about how it might look to have a griffon chasing a pony, and she didn’t want the guard being sent out to destroy you for hunting me. She didn’t want any misunderstandings that might get both of us hurt. She is a remarkable mare and I am proud to serve her husband,” Yew explained.

Lugus nodded in understanding and felt a warm rush of gratitude. He owed the motherly mare his thanks and so much more. He wondered how he could make up his debt to her.

“Now… there is the matter at hoof. I do believe I am supposed to chase you while my sisters observe protocol and harass you while you flee,” Yew stated.

Lugus felt his muscles tense. Was this about to really happen?

“I don’t know what will become of us, but I am curious and more than a bit flattered that you say I am beautiful, and that goes a long way in my mind,” Yew said, looking Lugus directly in the eye. “And the fact that you must have humbled yourself trying to get advice on how to approach me, that touches me.”

Lugus made another squawk and his crest rose. This was immensely frustrating, being robbed of speech and being turned into a dumb beast.

“Now Lugus, this is the part where you run and we chase you… Sour Mash says it will be good exercise!”

 

 

 

 

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