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


179. 179

“How are we to give him sustenance in this state?” Lugus inquired, sitting close to the edge of the bed. He moved slowly, all too aware that Derpy was eyeing him. They were on friendly terms, but Lugus understood instincts, being a creature that lived by them himself.

“Berry was desperate and wanted to get some sign of life from him. She rubbed her teats in his face. When some milk dribbled over his nose, he started to suckle on the air. So she stuck a teat in his mouth,” Derpy said as she fluffed out her feathers and tried to relax, knowing that Lugus was not a threat.

“Ponies are celebrating. They are cheering. Dancing. Breeding for sport. We remain here in the dark being sorrowful,” Lugus mused.

“We’re alive and we are together,” Derpy responded. She nickered faintly and looked down at Bucky. She shoved her snoot into the back of Bucky’s head and nosed around in his mane. She snorted and waited for some kind of response, and then looked heartbroken when there was none. A soft wordless whimper came from the back of her throat and she continued her long vigil.



Ripple sat preening her feathers, all too aware that Rising Star was watching her every move. It made her feel funny and a little self conscious as she carefully put everything in order. She heard Rising Star clearing his throat and she raised her head.

“You saved me. You came waltzing in and you kicked and you crushed and you killed to keep me safe. You called me your mate,” Rising Star said in a soft low voice. “You were so amazing… mostly, I just feel inadequate. I wasn’t able to do much.”

Ripple had a bit of down clinging to her nostril and it made her sneeze. She recovered and looked at Rising Star sheepishly. “You are my mate. One day, I might give you a foal. I think I am starting to love you, just like Bon Bon and Lyra love Bucky. If something tries to hurt you, I will kill them.”

“Well, we’ve established that you will in fact do just that,” Rising Star said. “You were amazing. You were like some super hero in a comic book. You’ll have to read about them when we get home.”

The filly smiled and wiped her nose with her leg. She then gave a halfhearted scratch at one of her many bandages before going back to her preening. She heard hoofsteps coming closer, and she raised her head. When she did so, she bumped snoot first into Rising Star, who kissed her softly but warmly on the lips. She felt a leg snaking around her neck and pulling her closer, and Ripple allowed herself to be drawn in, not feeling threatened or scared by the kiss.



Dinky lay on the wooden planks of the deck and tried to make her stomach stop heaving. She had already puked over the edge a few times, hoping that there was nopony below. The Scorned Mare was tethered to the castle now, and the past day had been one of recovery and celebration. But not for Dinky. She was sick with worry.

She felt two forelegs slipping around her, one of them working its way under her, slipping between her body and the wooden deck. She was pulled up into an embrace by Sentinel, who was sitting on his haunches. She felt her mane being brushed out of her eyes and her head cradled.

“You feel too warm.”

“I don’t feel good Sentinel.”

“Let me help you inside. Lay down with mama bird and father.”

“Okay. I just hope I don’t throw up again.”



“Look, Ripple is kissing him back,” Loch Skimmer said, pointing down to the pair below them on the lower deck. She was sitting on the upper deck above the cabin with Sparkler. “I don’t know how I feel about my little sister kissing, but I think I am okay with it.”

“She’s happy Loch. She’s alive and she’s figuring out her place in the world,” Sparkler replied in a low voice. “She was amazing in battle. Sour Mash says she killed dozens of wolves. Sour Mash couldn’t keep count of all the kills.”

“My cutie mark is for music, I can’t believe my baby sister got a mark for killing,” Loch said, her voice sounding somewhat bittersweet.

Sparkler stared down at her trembling jerking foreleg and said nothing. She watched the muscles twitch and spasm, wishing they would stop. It kept happening, and it worried her.

“Happening again I see,” Loch said, watching Sparkler.

“I can’t stop shaking Loch. It keeps happening. Just when I think it is over, the shakes return. Deadspin says I have battle nerves. It is my body’s way of dealing with all of the killing I did. But Ripple is just fine and I don’t understand,” Sparkler said in a quavering voice.

“I am sure that Ripple is having her own troubles,” Loch said. “But she’s a hard little cuss. With her mark, she’s made for killing. I am not so sure that you’re cut out for it though.”

“I don’t want to kill ever again,” Sparkler said, the tears finally welling up. “The sounds Loch, I keep hearing the sounds. Like when father had to rip open that filly. Or the sounds of me walking through a lake of my own father’s blood. It is all I can hear Loch.”

The pair embraced one another and fell silent, and Loch Skimmer held on to Sparkler while the tears worked their way free.



Moonbow settled herself onto a soft cushion in the corner and watched the grey pegasus named Derpy from a distance. The big griffon and the pegasus were worried about Bucky, and rightfully so. She snatched up the little pegasus foal named Peekaboo from up off the floor and pulled her close, cradling the filly in her forelegs. Moonbow lowered her head and gently sniffed the foal she was holding, breathing in her scent, trying to bond with her new colony.

“Can I sit with you?”

Moonbow looked at the pink earth pony that was called Piña Colada. She blinked a few times and studied the very pink filly.

“I don’t want to be alone,” Piña said.

“Sit with me, little one,” Moonbow said, scooting over on her cushion and raising her wing. As she watched, Piña was on the cushion in a hot moment and settling against her side. She lowered her wing over Piña and pulled the foal closer.

Piña heard a few echolocation sounds from Moonbow and wondered what they meant. She had heard Sentinel make them too. They made her feel safer, so she didn't mind them. “You turned into a very scary pony in that room.”

“Something was threatening you and the others. Nothing threatens foals and lives. Unacceptable,” Moonbow said.

“Seems like all pegasi are real fierce about defending foals,” Piña said.

“It is what we do,” Moonbow said. She paused, hearing the door open, and she saw Sentinel entering the room. She smiled, her fangs visible.  Behind Sentinel was Dinky.

“Dinky isn’t feeling good, I brought her in,” Sentinel reported, snapping off a salute to Lugus.

Moonbow watched as the big griffon lifted Dinky in his talons, and she felt her muscles tense. She had to remind herself that the griffon was not a threat. She watched as Dinky was gently placed on the corner of the bed and stroked a few times. “Sentinel is an interesting pony,” Moonbow observed.

“He’s my brother,” Piña said as she cuddled even closer against Moonbow. “Please be good to him. I love him so much.”



Berry Punch, on the ground and done checking up on a few ponies she was worried about, was stopped by three ponies who asked for her attention. One was a unicorn, the other was an earth pony, and the third was also an earth pony but looking at her made Berry Punch feel weird. The third also had a brown hoof.

“We worry for Buckminster,” the unicorn said.

“We desire to help him,” the earth pony said.

“To this end we have made a potion to ease his wound,” the earth pony with a brown hoof said in a low melodic voice that made Berry Punch feel a little sleepy when she heard it.

Berry Punch shook her head. “That’s very nice and all, but I am not about to give my husband some strange potion from ponies I don’t know,” she said in a reserved but friendly voice.

“We mean no harm,” the unicorn said.

“He is dying, this is very important,” the brown hoofed earth pony said.

“I am very sorry, but no. And I need to go,” Berry said, sounding worried.

Stop,” the unicorn demanded.

Berry Punch froze in place, her eyes wide, not moving at all.

“Buckminster is dying and that goes against our plan. He was struck with a necromantic death spell, it is mind boggling to all of usthat he did not die immediately. You will take this potion and you will pour it over the wound in his side to close the hole in his lung and to stop what is devouring him from within. We need him around to collect his future reward,” the unicorn said in a hypnotic voice.

“Yes, when the one called Cadance meets with her fate, she will need a powerful guardian, and so much of our plans now depend on Buckminster,” the earth pony with a brown hoof said as she shimmered and became a zebra with a brown hoof.

“And there is the matter of punishment… he still needs to deal with his horrendous house, he is the only one who can,” the earth pony said. “He is the only being who can give them the punishment they truly deserve.”

“So you will do what we tell you to do, Berry Punch, mother of Brandywine, mother of Barley Bitters, mother of Juniper Berry, and mother of Berry Mash. We need your foals and for them to be useful, they require the guidance of their father. So you will do as we command,” the unicorn whispered into Berry’s ear.

Spellbound, Berry Punch gave a vacant nod. “I will do as you ask,” she said in a dull voice.

“Just pour this into the wound. All of it. Do as we ask and you will never know the mother’s pain of having to bury your own children,” the earth pony said in a warm gentle voice.

“We give you this as a compensation for doing us this favour,” the zebra said.

“A fair exchange by any account,” the unicorn stated.



Berry Punch snapped to attention, realising that she must have zoned out. Stress did funny things to a pony. She blinked a few times and rubbed her head with her hoof, and, as she did so, looked down at the tiny phial hanging from a cord around her neck.

The three ponies had given this as a gift to Bucky, to help him after he had done so much to help others. She moved off at a trot, off to get a lift from one of the many pegasi standing guard around The Scorned Mare.

She peered off towards the setting sun, knowing that the isles no longer had to fear the night. All around her were happy ponies, still reveling in their victory. Berry wished that Bucky was awake to join them.



Derpy watched as Berry approached the bed and slipped a small blue glass bottle from off of her neck with a hoof. She pulled out the tiny stopper on the blue glass bottle using her teeth, and then carefully approached Bucky.

“What are you doing?” Derpy asked. “What is that?”

Berry did not respond, but had a blank look on her face. As Derpy watched, Berry carefully pulled away the bandage and then tipped the glass bottle over and poured out a white syrupy liquid into the wound on Bucky’s side. A terrible smell filled the room and Bucky’s flesh sizzled when the liquid made contact.

“What is that terrible smell?” Lugus said, waving one wing. The big griffon looked concerned and he craned his head to get a better look.

Derpy leaned her head down and looked at the wound. It was bubbling, like pouring peroxide over a cut. Something black dribbled out of the wound, it moved, wriggled, and writhed. Once upon the surface of Bucky’s flesh, it hardened and solidified into something resembling black dried out clay. Derpy’s nose crinkled.

“That is a very strange infection,” Lugus said.

“It would have killed him,” Berry said in a soft dull voice.

“This is miraculous,” Lugus said. “The wound, I can see the flesh closing around it, the ribs are no longer visible.”

“There is still an ugly gash, but you can’t stare down into Bucky’s insides any more,” Derpy said in an awed voice as she continued to watch the wound closing, slowly but surely. Already, the process seemed to be slowing down.

Lugus carefully picked up the black bits and placed them into a cool damp rag that had been used to clean Bucky off. He folded the rag and set it down, planning to dispose of it into a fire later. He felt a powerful sense of relief when there was no longer a wet sucking wheeze coming from Bucky. The sucking chest wound had closed.

Berry blinked a few times and the bottle she held in hoof vanished in a flash of blue light. She looked down at Bucky, whose breathing now sounded much better. She watched his barrel rise and fall. The terrible wound on his side was mostly healed. All that was left was a laceration, a surface wound that should heal up in time. The flesh looked healthy and pink.

“Those were some nice ponies. If I see them again, I hope I remember to tell them thank you,” Berry murmured. “Hey, where is Thistle?”

“She is with Lyra and Bon Bon. All of the stress has made her feel poorly,” Derpy answered.

“It is finally over. Well, this is. There is still the matter of making repairs to the hull and going home,” Berry said, laying down beside Derpy. “Think Bucky needs another feeding?”

“I shall leave for that. Moonbow, do you mind looking after my foal?” Lugus inquired.

Moonbow looked up from her corner. “I don’t mind. I like looking after foals.”

“I am going to spend some time with Yew,” Lugus announced.

“But you’ve already been spending time with us,” Berry said with a faint smile.

Lugus fluffed out and his tufted tail twitched. He stared at Berry, saying nothing.

“Lugus, go spend some time with your pegasus. Just be gentle. She’s injured. I just got done talking to her in the barracks. They had to cauterise the bite on her leg because it kept trickling blood. She’s fine though,” Berry Punch said. Berry Punch pulled the sleeping form of Dinky close to her and made the foal comfortable.

“I feel conflicted. I should have been there with her,” Lugus said. “But I could not leave Bucky’s side in the condition he was in.”

“Look, she understands you big honour bound lug. Now go tell her that Bucky is recovering and ease her mind. Frankly, I do believe she would have been angry with you from shirking your duties and leaving Bucky’s side while he was so close to death…” Berry said, pausing and looking thoughtful for a moment after she spoke.

Lugus, still fluffed out and looking apprehensive, quietly departed, easing his large bulk out the door.






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