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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Dinky Doo Hooves sat upon her mother’s back and waited for the sun to settle below the horizon. Her stomach was full of butterflies. She was absolutely terrified, but then so was everypony else, and she could sense it. The deck was full of ponies, mostly pegasi and a fair number of earth ponies were there as guards. Dinky and her mother stood in the center where it would be well lit, along with Berry Punch, Bon Bon, and Lyra. Secured in a protective magical bubble was Harper, magically tethered close to Lyra’s side. Lugus and Yew Wood stood near Derpy, and Lugus had his axe strapped across his back. Rising Star, Sparkler, and Ripple stood off in a small cluster together, and her father paced the deck wearing his terrifying black armor. Deadspin and Sour Mash stood near the front of the deck together, both were wearing simple armor.

“We’ll not be fighting over the Isle of Groats tonight. Instead, we are departing for the outer isles. Our purpose tonight is to let ponies see us, a shining light in the night sky. If we do encounter anything, we will engage. Everybody knows the plan. Pegasi push the craft through the sky, the others form protective ranks around Knight Captain Bitter’s family and keep them safe should we be boarded. Everypony does what needs to be done and we should all live through this and have stories to tell our foals,” Deadspin said, giving a fine speech to motivate his troops.

“Ladies, do me proud. I ain’t one for speeches. We got something to prove, so no fecking up. We’ve been given a chance that even the mares back in mainland Equestria don’t have, so let’s prove to everypony that we can fight just like the big stallions and we ain’t helpless little whiny milksop fillies. We have foals on board, and most of us know what losing one feels like, so lets make sure we put a stop to it,” Sour Mash said to her mares and fillies.

There were a few cheers and a couple of bellows. The mood was festive, and the multicoloured sunstones shining along the deck and along the rails added to the mood. Brightly lit glass globes that shone with warm sunny yellow light covered the rails and were secured along the underside of the gasbag. The deck of the ship would be as bright as day, and any shadow wolf teleporting aboard would be forced to materialise along the deck railing.

“No one is to leave the deck of this ship under any circumstance,” Bucky instructed. “I will be the only pony on the ground. I will act as bait to draw them into the open. If my hunch is right, they will not be able to help themselves. The wolves for all of their apparent cunning, are still mindless creatures. They will sense that I am a unicorn and I am their prefered target. I do believe they will come for me even though they will no longer have the means to be able to hurt me,” he explained in a cold mechanical voice through his helmet. “When the opportunity presents itself, I will send up a flare as an indicator that somepony to drop ordinance upon my location. Do not worry about harming me, I am well protected from the magical bursts contained in the spell jars. Rising Star, if I send up a series of five flares, you are to stand along the edge and rain down fire upon my location. We’ve tested this, so have no fear of harming me.”

“Yes sir,” Rising Star replied.

Bucky removed the tether and secured it into a nook designed to hold it. He looked around, his armor glowing with a blue-green field and his visor glowing with a pale green light. “We depart.”

 

 

“This is boring,” Dinky said as she stifled a yawn. She shifted on her mother’s back. She expected a lot more excitement. So far, all they had done was soared through the night. It was nice to see stars again though, Dinky realised.

“Such is the nature of battle young master Dinky Doo. Long periods of boredom interspersed by soiling yourself in terror,” Deadspin said dryly in reply.

“I still want to know how daddy plans to get down to the ground from up here. He may have made his armor light, but it still has mass, and teleporting that much mass is going to burn through his mana reserves,” Dinky said in a low quiet voice. She could feel her mother shrugging beneath her.

“I don’t know Dinks,” Derpy said.

“Look, the moon!” Dinky cried, seeing the moon slowly rising over the horizon. “Been so long since I have seen it through anything other than a window.”

“Sure is pretty,” Berry remarked. “Poor Sentinel. I bet he’d love to be out here. If we were boarded by wolves though and the lights reacted, they’d burn him.”

“He is safe in the cabin with Thistle, Loch Skimmer, and the others. I am sure that he is being a dutiful guardian for Peekaboo,” Rising Star said as he shifted his weight from his right hooves to his left hooves.

“I am still not detecting any shadow creatures out and about,” Lyra reported. “I only have two signatures. One is on the deck with us and the other is in the cabin. Feels weird to detect them.”

“We will be passing over Isle Fishhead soon,” Deadspin announced.

“I was born there,” Bon Bon said wistfully.

“Wait, are we over the ocean right now?” Dinky asked.

“Yes young master Dinky Doo,” Deadspin replied.

“Over the deep water?” Dinky said, her voice sounding a bit panicked.

“We’ll be fine Dinky, don’t be afraid,” Derpy said soothingly.

“I… I am not afraid for myself… just Thistle. If something were to happen, the sea water would kill her,” Dinky said in a pained voice.

“Nothing will happen Stinky Dinks. Father made this ship to protect his valuables, and Thistle is very dear to him, just like you are and the rest of us,” Sparkler said, trying to comfort her sister.

 

 

There was a suggestion of dawn just over the horizon, and a large heavily wooded isle was beneath them. There was a series of freshwater lochs and the map suggested that there may be some rather feral kelpies living way out here, but it was not known for certain. There were so few left.

Bucky looked down at the map and then raised his head to look at the horizon. “The pegasi have to be getting tired even with alternating shifts. We’ll find a spot to tether around here. Once the sun properly rises, we will relax our guard a bit, have a bit of rest and relaxation upon the ground, and I think I might send Thistle after some fish for me. And then it is back to the ship to sleep. We’ll keep a guard posted, everybody knows their shifts. We will begin again once the sun begins to settle. There are four isles very close together, and Pine Isle is the largest of them all. There are a few ponies living out this way, including a logging camp and a pitch processing camp. We will ask them what they know about the area and if they have heard howls.”

“We covered far more territory in one night than I thought we would,” Deadspin stated. “I thought it would take two nights for certain to get out this far with a ship this size.”

“We had a good tail wind,” a pegasus reported.

“And the ship really is light. It requires no effort to move it. I think one pegasus could probably push it around, but it would be slow,” another pegasus chimed in.

“I have slain the dragon of boredom,” Sour Mash muttered as she prodded her cousin Berry Punch.

“I’ve been wondering for the past few hours if we could just strap a few pegasi to the back and feed them oatmeal until they were ready to burst. We could be the first ship powered by pegasus farts,” Berry Punch said to Sour Mash. The two earth ponies began to laugh riotously with one another and there were several chortles from all around them on deck.

Derpy giggled and she felt Dinky squirming on her back. The foal had stayed awake all night, and had been surprisingly alert.

“I want to get down,” Dinky begged.

“Okay Dinky, it’s dawning,” Derpy consented.

Dinky slid off of her mother’s back and landed on the deck with a thud. She stretched her legs and walked around in a circle, and several earth pony mares closed ranks around her. She was thankful for the mares, their need to protect her, and she smiled up at them as she walked the kinks out of her legs.

 

 

Derpy settled in next to her husband, ready to sleep the day away. She wrapped her forelegs around his neck, hauled him in for a sloppy kiss, and then pulled away with a wet sounding smack, leaving the unicorn stallion with a wet slobbery smile.

He tasted of fish and a faint hint of whiskey.

As she watched, he was pulled in for another kiss, this time by Berry Punch, whose lips lingered over his for just a little longer. She didn’t pull away immediately, but rather gave a tug to his bottom lip and then let go only when it slid free of her puckered lips.

Derpy smiled. She wanted Bucky happy.

Thistle moved in for another kiss, her third or fourth this morning from what Derpy had seen. Derpy did not begrudge her, for fetching his breakfast, Thistle deserved those kisses.

“I feel like the foals should be in bed with us,” Berry stated in an uncertain voice.

“They are safe and secure in their rooms,” Derpy stated.

“Room. You know that Dinky and Piña are together and eventually they will move in on Sentinel’s little cubby to take it over,” Berry said in a soft somewhat sad sounding voice.

“The foals will be fine,” Bon Bon said after she planted gentle kiss on Bucky’s cheek. The earth pony pulled Bucky’s head down and she began to rub the sides of his neck with her hooves, which caused the unicorn to relax somewhat. She watched as Bucky kicked out his withered hind legs and she knew that he was making himself comfortable. She hoped that he would sleep.

“Oh he is never going to get to sleep now,” Lyra moaned as she watched Berry Punch wrestle Thistle down to the bed and the two ponies began to make out aggressively, each trying to gain some sort of dominance over the other somehow.

“Eh, leave them be. I like watching,” Bucky grumbled as Bon Bon continued to rub his neck and tried to get the knots out of his muscles.

“I kinda like watching too… there is someth-”

“Lyra!” Bon Bon scolded.

“I dunno, it is kinda nice to watch them making out… I wonder what it would be like seeing you and Lyra have a go at one another,” Derpy remarked to Bon Bon.

Bon Bon felt a hot blush rising through her neck and then it blossomed in her cheeks. “That might be kind of fun,” she said in a heated whisper. “When we get home maybe if Lyra agrees,” the earth pony added in a slightly jumbled gasp.

 

 

 

 

Determination.

I have been thinking about this word. And others. Resolve. Willpower. Integrity. As I think about what it means to be my master’s squire and my father’s son, I keep focused on the example given to me by how my father has lived his life.

When I first met him, he was a wealthless noble in exile. He had nothing. From what I have gathered, he has been cut off from his family and all he had was his name and his titles. He came to these isles with nothing. In the short time he has been here, his family has grown and he has carved himself out a life through force of will. He has gone from having nothing to prowling around on the deck of his own warship outfitted in magic armor. He has gained a group of followers who believe in him. He has founded his own tribe, and the numbers grow daily. I know that Keg Smasher now counts himself among our numbers, the Founder’s Foals.

As his squire, I can do no less. If he can start from nothing, then I can as well. I will become a knight and I will follow in his hoofsteps. My mother Lyra says that knights, real knights, are relics of the past in Equestria and most of the modern world, a meaningless title that nopony cares about. She also says that Equestria needs knights again. More than just becoming a knight, I feel the need to make ponies believe in knights again, to believe they are needed.

I have learned one important thing about my father’s rise to the guardian he has become. The world needs heroes. Ponies want heroes. I’ve read about the Elements of Harmony, Twilight Sparkle and her friends, and the hope they have brought to the world.

As soon as I can earn my knighthood, I plan to start my own order, the Knights of Harmony. I’ve been talking to Ripple, trying to fill her head with ideas, and I hope that she will join me. There is the little detail that she needs to become a squire first, but I have a plan to fix that, I just need to talk to Sir Lugus the Knight and try to convince him that he needs a squire. I need to make a well reasoned plea for my sister. I’ve asked my father about female knights and he cannot remember any in his history lessons, but he also told me that they could have existed at some point, he just cannot remember.

I need to end this. My sisters have invaded my bed and they are glaring at me angrily as I try to write. They are tired and wish to sleep. And to be truthful, I need to sleep as well. It has been a long night of thinking and worry.

I hope I prove worthy as my father’s son.

 

Squire Sentinel, son of Buckminster Bitters.  

 

 

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