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


163. 163

Lugus the griffon found himself in the odd situation of fleeing from food. His brain screamed at him that this was wrong. He didn’t need to retreat from anything quite so harmless as what was behind him. With no real effort at all he could turn around and lay waste to everything in pursuit of him.

Another part of his mind exhilarated in the chase, and told him to ignore the other parts of his brain, because it was stupid. Yew was much faster than he was, but she had no depth perception with just one eye. Several mares were flying in formation with her, keeping her safe and on target. Others flew around him, mocking him good naturedly.

There were also several stallions who were in on the razzing, letting him know exactly what would happen if he harmed their sister in battle, which may or may not have been good natured threats. Lugus didn’t mind, he would have done the same in their position. If anything, he appreciated their vigilance, threatening a super predator his size took guts.

Lugus soared over the ground as there appeared to be some rules to this game that he did not understand. There were earth ponies chasing him as well. Flying away from them seemed rude somehow. This was a social ritual, something clearly invented by herd animals. Griffons did nothing like this… well, there was chasing, but that was hunting, and it had very different outcomes.

“Get him girls!”

Sour Mash didn’t even seem to be breathing hard Lugus realised. He marveled at the earth pony’s endurance. He was beginning to appreciate the different types of ponies he encountered, both here and during his time in Equestria.

“He’s got stamina, that’s important!” a mare shouted as she rolled crazily through the air, streaking past Lugus and the others and then performing a loop to fall back in beside Lugus mid air.

“I don’t have anything nasty to say to you and I am sorry… you said Yew was beautiful and that was sweet,” another mare said as she flew past.

Lugus felt puzzled. In Equestria, most of the ponies had nothing to do with him. He was feared more than anything, or ignored if he was lucky. Here, some of the ponies seemed genuinely friendly, but there were those who had experienced bad encounters with griffons in the past and held bad memories. He bore them no ill will.

Quite without warning, Lugus reversed his wing strokes and landed, coming down solidly, his bulk landing on the earth with an audible thump, his claws digging into the earth. He turned, his crest rising, as the pegasi circled around him overhead. “My turn,” he said in a low growl.

Squealing wildly, the pegasi took off in a tightly clustered flock.



“No sign of Lugus, where is he?” Bucky inquired outloud.

“No clue,” Rising Star replied as he carefully tapped away with a large hammer.

Bucky rubbed his head with his folded fetlock. “He’s allowed some time to himself. You know what, so are you Rising. Just because I am here doesn’t mean you have to be. Once you finish whatever it is you are crafting, go take a break,” Bucky instructed.

“But work needs to be done,” Rising Star argued.

“Yes, but you don’t need to slave away all day. You are young. Go do something nice,” Bucky returned as he rubbed his head.

“You know Bucky, a smithy is the last place you should be if you have a headache. You haven’t been sleeping enough. You look pretty worn down Bucky,” Rising Star said in a voice full of concern.

“I’m fine,” Bucky muttered.

Rising Star looked over at Crush and gave a faint nod.

Bucky suddenly found himself being shoved out of the smithy by the big earth pony, and in the doorway, a large hoof was planted squarely into his backside, giving him a big push outside. He nearly went sprawling into the courtyard.

“Oh come on!” Bucky shouted.

“Don’t worry Crush, as a noble, I give whatever formal pass you need to not get in trouble for tossing Bucky out the door,” Rising Star said with a wry smile. “I don’t know all of the right words, but I have your back.”

“Rising Star…” Bucky grumbled.

“If you can’t sleep, at least go do something restful. You look awful Bucky,” Rising Star pleaded.

From the doorway, Crush nodded and made a grunting sound.

Rising Star heard Bucky snarl wordlessly and then the gnarled unicorn exploded, leaving behind a layer of frost over everything and snowflakes swirling through the air.

“Is he back in the forge?” Rising Star asked.

Crush turned around and checked the smithy, and then turned back to Rising Star, shaking his head “no” as he did so. The big earth pony looked relieved.

“Don’t let him back in for today… wait, is the orb in there?” Rising Star asked.

Crush shook his head again and Rising Star took a deep breath of relief.

“Well, that’s good then. I am going to mess around for a bit, maybe watch Ripple do her thing for a while, and then I’ll be back to hammer out some more arrowheads because I find it is really relaxing,” Rising Star stated.



As Bucky walked, he sulked. His mind was full of all kinds of thoughts that were to jumbled up to deal with. He was a bit peeved about being tossed out and told to go and rest. He cleared the gatehouse and emerged into the meadow just outside the castle, and the small town spread about the walls.

The air was filled with laughter and pegasi, which were flying in a tight knit formation. Behind them was something large. Bucky wasn’t sure what it was, and he peered, trying to see in the bright daylight. It clearly wasn’t threatening, but he couldn't make out what it was.

And then, he realised it was Lugus. Bucky watched as the flock of pegasi whooshed past and then the giant griffon whizzed by. The giggling gaggle of pegasi mares and the lone griffon were being chased by a sizeable herd of earth ponies, led by Sour Mash.

The earth ponies came to a skidding halt, quickly formed ranks, and then stood at attention when they saw Bucky. Sour Mash raised her hoof to her eye in a salute.

“Knight Captain Bitters,” Sour Mash said with a smile.

“Buck Sergeant Sour Mash,” Bucky said in reply. He slowly raised his foreleg up into a salute in return, and then sat down in the grass. “What is going on here?”

“A chase sir. The griffon is chasing after a mare named Yew Wood,” Sour Mash reported.

“Oh my,” Bucky sighed.

“Your matriarch Derpy told us to indulge in this activity,” Sour Mash explained.

“I see,” Bucky said.

“Wanted to make sure there were no misunderstandings that might get somepony or a griffon hurt,” Sour Mash continued.

“She really is everypony’s mother,” Bucky said.

“Well, I’d be proud to call her my mama,” Sour Mash stated. “If you will forgive me for being so blunt sir.”

“Sir?” a mare asked.

“Yes?” Bucky answered.

“My name is Bunny. If she is everypony’s mother, what does that make you?” Bunny inquired in a soft sweet voice.

Bucky jerked his head back in surprise and looked at Bunny, causing a murmur to travel through the crowd. “I am just a pony. I am here to defend you and try and do what is right for you,” he answered slowly, hoping that his reply was fitting.

“Sounds like something a father would say,” a mare interjected.

“Mmm hmm,” another mare agreed.

Bucky didn’t like where this was going. Father, prince, alicorn, all of these not so subtle hints and nudges about some great responsibility. Feeling bad for doing it, he teleported himself away to another location, unable to face any further reminders of some greater destiny, leaving behind frost and snowflakes in a wide area around his point of departure.



Lugus smoothed out his feathers in his beak and watched as Yew Wood did the same a short distance away. He was aware that she was looking back at him. The flock of pegasi had departed, all except for one mare who sat a fair distance away, watching. Lugus supposed it was probably military protocol to not leave a fellow soldier alone.

He thought briefly about Peekaboo, but knew that she was safe and secure.

Lugus felt his breath quicken as Yew approached him, she drew closer timidly, until she was quite close. Her head low and her posture radiating submission, her ears back and her own wings drooping, she cautiously extended her head and gently drew his wingtip into her lips, where she began to shyly tend to one of the central primary feathers.

Lugus had always wondered how pegasi preened their feathers with those soft smooshy lips of theirs. He was intrigued. And somewhat aroused. He could feel little tingles coursing through his wing and up and down his spine from the unexpected touch. Aware of the fact that he had only recently honed his beak to a razor’s edge, he carefully took a feather of hers into his beak, wrapped his tongue around it, and pulled it straight and clean, starting out at the downy barbs, sliding over the afterfeathers, and then sliding along the siffer barbs that extended from the rachis. Her feathers were flawless, immaculate, perfect. There was no debris to remove from the barbs.

The mutual preening continued and Lugus began to see that they weren’t so different.

It wasn’t long before they were sitting close enough to be touching, and Lugus realised that they were alone, the lone watcher now gone.

“What is griffon courtship like?” Yew asked as she lifted her head. Her lips were waxy and glistened with moisture from her efforts.

“Among my caste, we do things by contract with the bigger more powerful females. Breeding gives them wealth, power, and bodyguards. A male griffon wanting young purchases a contract from a willing female, and she sells him a few years of her life. The details are discussed and terms are agreed upon. Once everything is settled, they breed. Depending on the terms, she may or may not provide care for the cub. If she has twins, the father may have to pay a ransom for the second cub. Very wealthy males might pay for a lifetime contract,” Lugus replied.

“That seems different…” Yew responded.

“Not all griffons are this way, just the ones I come from. There are griffons who believe in more traditional marriage, but they are seen as weak and spineless,” Lugus said in a low voice.

“What do you believe?” Yew inquired.

“I am no longer sure what I believe in anymore. I used to know. And then everything in my life felt wrong. I do not know what to feel or what to do think anymore,” Lugus admitted.

“I am willing to discuss a contract with you,” Yew offered.

“But we are just getting to know each other,” Lugus replied.

“The day I married my first husband was also the first time I had met him,” Yew patiently answered. “I was traded for a plow and a few sacks of dried peas.”

“Surely you were worth much more than that,” Lugus said in an indignant reply.

“What would you give for me?” Yew asked in a very blunt fashion.

“I am a pauper,” Lugus replied. “But I do not deny that you are desirable. I would go to war for you, claim plunder-”

“Ssh, that’s enough of that,” Yew interrupted. “I have but a few demands if we were to create a contract. I want a loving husband this time. One who is affectionate and kind. One who is an active and involved father. Like how you are with Peekaboo. And I want for you to show me the same type of affection that you give Peekaboo. In exchange, I am willing to give you foals. Cubs. Whatever they will be. I understand that they will be crossbreeds. I can accept that.”

“This is very sudden and forward,” Lugus stated.

“Life is short and ends suddenly,” Yew said in reply. “How about we spend the next few days just doing what we are doing now and see what happens? I want some kind of future to hope for. Soon, very soon, there is going to be a battle and I need something to fight for. I need a reason to see my way through all of this fear. So before that battle starts, hopefully we can come to an understanding.”

Lugus, feeling bold, pulled the pegasus close to him and closed his wing around her, as he had watched some of the pegasi around him do. “I am glad that I have came to these isles. I have met some of the most important beings in my life here,” he said as he felt the small mare lean up against him.






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