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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“Hmm, why yes, I do believe he is coming around. When he wakes up, I want all of you to try and stay quiet. I am sorry, but I must insist. My Mistress has been working on his mind, he will be fragile and easy to overwhelm,” Grimglammer said, looking around the room at Bucky’s wives.

“He is going to want his foals,” Derpy said in a firm voice.

“I doubt he will even be able to talk,” Grimglammer said, looking Derpy in the eye.

“Doesn’t change the fact that he is going to want his foals,” Derpy retorted, sounding slightly annoyed and angry as she repeated herself.

“All I ask is that you give me a little time to work,” Grimglammer said gently. “The big griffon should be back soon and I intend to feed your husband a meal of blood while he is still awake. Do you want your foals seeing that?”

“No,” Derpy said in a sour angry voice. “Not sure if I want to see that.”

Looking anxious, Berry Punch wiggled a little closer to Bucky’s body and rested her head down on her crossed front legs. Her mane, now long and untrimmed for quite some time, spilled over onto her face. She looked rough, and her eyes were bloodshot from crying. She felt Thistle scoot up next to her and she could feel Thistle’s wide pregnant belly pressing into her ribs.

Hearing Harper beginning to fuss, Lyra tried to quiet the foal. She stroked her fetlock along Harper’s spine and nuzzled the foal with her snoot, but to no avail. Harper began to kick and whimper, which made Grimglammer stare at her.

“Bring that foal over here. Place it next to his head, close to his ear. Let us try something,” Grimglammer commanded, her voice gentle but insisting.

Her mouth pressed tight into a straight line, Lyra did as she was instructed, placing Harper down near Bucky’s neck. The foal squirmed and wiggled until she reached her father’s head, and, finally getting what she wanted, cuddled up against the side of her father’s face, took an ear into her mouth, and began to chew on it, slobbering copiously as she did so. “Mama,” Harper mumbled, her mouth full of ear.

“Hmm, curious,” Grimglammer muttered.

“What?” Thistle asked.

“Suddenly, I have the desire to have foals. Ugh!” Grimglammer grumbled.

“There is nothing wrong with that,” Thistle said.

“Yeah there is,” Grimglammer replied.

“And what could that be?” Berry Punch inquired.

“There is currently a wager between Shadowguard and I over who will crack first and give in to foal making desires. It can’t be me. She wins everything,” Grimglammer said as she watched the foal attempting to devour her father’s ear. Her face looked hopeful for a moment as Bucky twitched and the corner of his mouth moved.

“So after he wakes up and gets better, what do we do? What happens?” Thistle asked.

“Well, I stabilise him, and then we wait for the others to arrive. After that, we go home,” Grimglammer said, turning to look at the kelpie as she did so. “Which reminds me, Luna wants for me to give you a thorough examination if you will consent. May I do so later?”

“Okay,” Thistle squeaked nervously.

“I will be gentle,” Grimglammer promised.

“Most ponies when they see the doctor, the doctor is not covered in reinforced plate mail,” Berry Punch quipped, nosing Thistle and trying to comfort her.

A low groan came from Bucky and the whole room fell silent, save for Harper.

“Mama?” Harper burbled, letting go of Bucky’s ear as she did so.

“Prince Buckminster, can you hear me? I am Myrmidon Grimglammer, and I am here to help you. You probably can’t talk, but can you give me some kind of sign you understand what I am saying?” Grimglammer said in a clear voice, speaking her words slowly.

A leg twitched weakly and Bucky’s eyelid fluttered. After a few tries, it opened, and a foul purple mist emanated out from his corrupted orb. There were a couple of gasps from around the room as his eye became visible again.

“Is it safe for the foal to be around that?” Bon Bon asked in a frightened whisper.

“Mistress Luna will explain more about his condition when we return home. I do not know enough about it to comment. She did say that as bad as it might appear, it is perfectly safe for all of you to be around him, and told me it was simply excess dark mana burning off from his body. She explained that it was like a fire being extinguished but still smoking to me when I inquired several times about the nature of his condition, so that I might understand him better and help him,” Grimglammer answered.

“Hnnnngunnnnf, Tharferf,” Bucky moaned.

“Yes, very good. You made a noise. Good job my Prince. Soon, you will string several noises together in a coherent fashion and recover your ability for speech,” Grimglammer stated.

“Bucky, did you just say “Harper”... can you hear us?” Lyra gently urged.

“Tharferf,” Bucky mumbled somewhat incoherently.

Grimglammer went to work, looking over Bucky, prodding him to check his responses, looking into the his eye, and even pinching him gently upon the neck using her grasping digit and her central knuckle to get ahold of a bit of tender flesh. She looked extremely pleased when Bucky gave a faint yelp of pain. “Please forgive me my Prince, and I hope you do not request my head for what I have done to you,” she said in a contained but excited voice. She lifted a cool damp cloth and wiped Bucky’s face again, wiped away encrusted mucus from around his nose, and then gently wiped away more gunk from his eye.

“Bucky, can you hear me?” Derpy asked.

Every mare in the room fell silent as Bucky’s nostrils flared and a raspy wheezing sound came out from his lips. His barrel rose and fell, but no words came out. The stallion struggled to move his legs, but nothing really happened after the initial twitches.

“Mama?” Harper chirped, breaking the silence.

“Daddy,” Grimglammer corrected helpfully.

Harper turned her head to look up at the big mare, her eyes narrowed fiercely and a few sparks spewed from the tip of her horn. “Mama,” she insisted, before resting her head on her father’s ear.

“If you argue, she will zap you. She did it to Rising Star one night when he kept trying to get her to say “daddy” to Bucky. She burned off a patch of hair from his pelt,” Bon Bon warned.

“Oh my, she is one of those types of unicorns,” Grimglammer muttered.

“Hrrrflurghlarf,” Bucky stammered, his still purple tongue hanging out of his mouth.

Eyeing the glass near the bed, Grimglammer had an idea. “Somepony try giving him some water. Lady Heartstrings, I do believe that fine control is in order here.”

Lyra nodded, lifted the glass, conjured some water, and then held it in the air above Bucky, who responded by extending his lips towards the glass eagerly. Berry Punch was the first to respond, sitting up scooting over, sitting back upon her haunches, and then lifting Bucky’s head away, which make Harper protest angrily and beat her tiny front hooves against Berry’s belly.

The glass was lowered to Bucky’s lips and he drank greedily, spilling more water over his muzzle and his neck then went down his throat. Lyra conjured a bit more water and Bucky continued to drink, his movements barely coordinated enough to allow him to swallow.

Finally, his thirst slaked, Bucky ceased to drink and his eye looked up at Berry, giving her a pleading look. Berry continued to hold Bucky, stroking his neck and cradling his head.

“Now hopefully he is still awake and aware when Lugus returns,” Grimglammer said.

 

 

The griffon was all too aware of the eyes upon him when he hung the small mindless deer by the leg from a section of rope secured to the upper railing on the deck above the cabin. He worked near the edge of the rail, the deck was going to have to be scrubbed. He placed a large clean bucket under the deer, said a few silent words of thanks, and then using one of his claws, sliced the deer open. It was still warm. He slit the throat, allowing blood to go into the bucket, and then he sliced open the belly. Making a few well practiced cuts, he reached in a foreleg up to the elbow and pulled out the still warm and rather gooey heart. He set it down upon a clean cloth provided just for this purpose. He wrapped it carefully, picked it up, and then he went inside the cabin to deliver it to his chief.

 

 

“I can’t watch this,” Berry said.

“Neither can I,” Derpy admitted.

Most of the mares except Thistle and Grimglammer turned away. Thistle gave a faint nod to Lugus, her lips moving but no sounds came out. Grimglammer stared down at the now bloodstained cloth that was intended to be a bandage before it was repurposed.

Lifting it from the cloth, Lugus held the heart over Bucky’s maw. Berry Punch was holding him up again, as she had done before, but she had her head turned away. Lugus, holding the heart in his talons, allowed the blood to drip on Bucky’s lips, the thick purplish red heart blood oozing down in viscous droplets. Bucky began to lick the liquid from his lips eagerly and Lugus squeezed a bit more, causing a stream to to trickle directly into Bucky’s mouth.

“This is good, just what he needs,” Grimglammer said as she watched Bucky feed. “Iron, protein, all manner of nutrients, just what the doctor ordered.

The heart was squeezed carefully, slowly, a steady pressure applied to get the precious life giving liquid to come forth in a steady stream of nourishing sustenance. Finally, after what seemed like several minutes, the heart had nothing left to give. Bucky was still licking his lips and gurgling for more.

Using his beak, Lugus carefully snipped off a tiny morsel from the heart, pinched it between his other talons, and then stuffed it into Bucky’s mouth. After a moment, the tiny tidbit was swallowed whole. He snipped off another piece after getting a nod of approval from Grimglammer, and making sure his claws did not snag Bucky’s face or lips, slipped in another sliver of raw heart, which Bucky swallowed.

There were gagging sounds from around the room as the strong scent of blood clung to herbivorous nostrils.

Snipping off a rather large piece, Lugus offered a bite to Thistle, who hesitated a moment before accepting, allowing Lugus to stuff the meaty morsel into her mouth. She gnawed for a bit and her eyes closed, little happy noises came from the back of her throat as she chewed and then swallowed.

“That’ll be good for the mother to be,” Grimglammer said. “There is more deer outside. I think I’ll get some myself before I get some rack time and let Shadowguard take her shift.

 

 

“Buck Sergeant Sparkler, permission to check out your backside, ma’am.”

Sparkler rolled her eyes and then looked at her husband. “You know, you are not actually enlisted in the guard. You don’t have a rank. You don’t need to call me that,” she said.

“But if I was enlisted, you would outrank me. I’d be a private right?” Rising Star asked, a faint smile upon his lips.

Sparkler nodded.

“Want to inspect my private parts to see if they are fit for duty?” Rising Star inquired, somehow keeping a straight face as he asked his wife a very silly question.

Rolling her eyes again, Sparkler gave her husband a hard shove that tipped him over, causing him to fall over upon his side in the grass. When Rising tried to get up, she shoved him again, shaking her head in exasperation.

“Permission to stand at attention,” Rising Star said, trying hard not to smile.

“Oh you are impossible!” Sparkler groaned.

“Feeling any better yet?” Rising Star asked, this time his voice was completely serious.

“No,” Sparkler said. “Not at all.”

“If it is any consolation at all, it was amazing watching you work. The way you helped to hold the deck. You secured the bowels of the ship after the wolves got inside. They’re all saying that your actions, your defense, what you did saved so many lives,” Rising Star said. “How’s the shakes?”

“They come and go,” Sparkler replied. “How’s the anger?”

“I think I need some time burning things or working in the forge smashing stuff with a hammer,” Rising Star answered. “I just want to set everything on fire.” He paused, rubbed his ribs, and turned his head skywards. “You were a hero,” he stated.

“I did what needed to be done,” Sparkler said. “Dinky was the hero.”

“Dinky was awesome. Watching her and Derpy work together… I think Dinky might have scored more kills than you did Sparkler, and that’s not even counting her bombing run where she dropped dozens and dozens of spell jars on the wolves down below. It was unexpected watching them take to the air and really stick it to the wolves. They worked so well together. I couldn’t do much but stand around because of the danger of using extreme fire magic on a wooden ship,” Rising Star said, shaking his head sadly at his own final words.

“Rising, don’t sell yourself short, you played your role in the preparation. You helped make all of this possible. You helped my father make his armor. Your fires forged the tools of war,” Sparkler said reassuringly.

“Thanks Sparky, I think I needed to hear that,” Rising Star said as he looked up at his wife.

 

 

“You okay Dinks?”

Dinky shrugged, not sure how to reply.

“Please say something Dinky. You’ve been so quiet,” Piña begged.

“I feel better, but my mind doesn’t,” Dinky said as she rolled over in bed.

Piña placed both of her hooves on Dinky’s back and pressed down lightly. “Don’t turn away from me,” she requested. “I need my sister back, I am suffering too.”

“I’m sorry Piña,” Dinky said in a miserable voice. “Nothing makes sense right now. One moment I am really happy to be alive, and the next moment I just want to lay down, go to sleep, and not wake up for a long time, hoping that somehow, all of this will just be forgotten or something.”

The door opened and a shaggy head with long tufted ears poked through the door.

“You okay?”

“We need you Sentinel, Dinky is having one of her moments and I think I am too,” Piña said.

The colt entered the room, walked to the small bed, and hopped up. He settled in beside his siblings, yawned, and then prodded Dinky. “You should be outside. In the sun. It will make you feel better. Want to go to the lake or something?”

“I dunno,” Dinky said.

“I’m worried about daddy,” Piña said.

“He was awake for a while,” Sentinel said. “Not long though. He ate a little, they got some food in him, and the effort of eating wore him out. He sleeps again. He is going to live though.”

“I wish I could have been there while he was awake,” Piña whined.

“He is very, very sick Piña,” Sentinel said in a comforting voice. “And they fed him blood. Fresh blood.”

“Eeew yuck,” Piña said with a shudder.

“Gross,” Dinky said as she huddled into a tiny ball, pulling her legs into her belly.

“Did you eat some?” Piña asked.

“I ate some of the deer’s liver, it was actually quite good,” Sentinel said. “And yes, I drank blood. Lugus collected it in a big bucket. He is going to cook it in a kettle and make some kind of broth from it and a bunch of deer fat for father to drink during the moments he is awake.”

The earth pony clutched her sides. “That makes my liver hurt just thinking about it. I think. Where is my liver anyway? I hope nothing ever eats my liver, wherever it is.”

Sentinel smiled, revealing his fangs, and then he hugged Piña. “While I am around, nothing will ever eat your liver,” he said, trying to comfort his sibling.

“Promise?” Piña asked.

“I give you my word,” Sentinel replied.

The grateful earth pony foal threw her forelegs around her brother’s neck, squeezed tightly, and then kissed his cheek. “Sentinel?”

Hearing the question in Piña’s voice, Sentinel gave his sister a reassuring squeeze. “What?”

“You’ve been talking to those big guards… are you going to leave us when we go home? Are you going to become a guard?” Piña asked, her voice strained from barely contained emotion.

“No, sister,” Sentinel said, not hesitating for a single moment with an answer. “My place is here with you, Dinky, and Harper. You need a big brother. Things are going to be hard for you and Dinky for a while I think. I don’t want to be a guard, I want to be a knight, and that means staying by my father’s side and doing good deeds, and maybe fighting monsters if there are any.”

“What about Moonbow?” Dinky asked, squirming and rolling over to look at her siblings.

“I think she is quite taken by them. I think if they asked her, she would go,” Sentinel said, a trace of sadness in his voice that only his sisters would be able to detect.

“Still going to marry her?” Piña asked.

“Of course, I gave my word. If she leaves, I suppose we will have to get to know each other when we are older,” Sentinel replied. “She has a right to have dreams, to have desires, to wish for things that might be different than what I want.”

“You’re starting to get wordy, just like Piña,” Dinky quipped.

“How do we go home?” Piña asked.

Both of her siblings looked at her blankly, not understanding her question, but both saw the pain upon her face, her eyes filling with tears and her tiny nostrils flaring.

“How do we go home? We’re not going to be like the other foals… when we sit in school… when we try to talk to them, we’re going to be different from them. We are going to know things, feel things, we’ll have seen things they will not have seen. And I used to get teased for being too pink. What are they doing to do to Sentinel? What are they are going to say about us? Being in a herd? Our daddy, what he did… I am starting to realise and understand so many things, and I am so afraid,” Piña explained.

“You sound neurotic,” Dinky said.

“Maybe I am,” Piña whispered. “I have magic. Maybe I have the neurosis that comes with it too,” she added, looking thoughtful as the tears began to trickle down her cheeks. She felt two strong forelegs lock around her and nearly squeeze the air out of her lungs.

“We will have to protect Sentinel,” Dinky said. “It doesn’t mean we have to hurt other ponies, but I don’t have a problem scaring them just a little bit. I think I am turning out like father. I’ve seen the darkness and now life seems so much more important to me. I never want to hurt other ponies.”

“Do you think Ripple is still going to be part of our little gang or have we lost her to adulthood?” Piña asked, sniffling and struggling to breath as her small barrel hitched.

“She’s changed since she’s killed,” Sentinel said. “She’s stopped being afraid. She knows what she is capable of now.”

Dinky squirmed closer to her siblings and touched her brother’s side.  “Have you talked to Lugus yet about having him take her on as a squire?”

“When things calm down I plan to do that,” Sentinel replied, stroking Dinky with his wing as he held on to Piña, who was still crying.

“You are like the best big brother a filly could ask for,” Dinky said, looking up at Sentinel. “I am going to try and sleep again. Can you watch over me in case the bad dreams come again? I keep dreaming that I slip off of my mother’s back and fall down to my death.”

“I will watch over you Dinky, try to get some sleep,” Sentinel promised.

 

 

 

 

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