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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Opening up his eye, Bucky stared up at the ceiling in the dark. Arranged carefully all around him were his foals, the little ones anyway, and he was grateful. He had been moved into his family’s quarters in the early evening, and there had been a tearful reunion. He shifted his body, trying to get comfortable, and then winced as the place where he had been branded sent a jolt of pain shooting through his leg.

It wasn’t the worst pain he had endured.

He took a deep shuddering breath in the dark and tried not to cry. It was finally over. Bucky hoped that the worst was behind him. The wolves. Facing the darkness under the mountain. Seeing the end of his own house and the ruination of his own bloodline. The trial where nobility itself was held accountable and he had become the whipping colt for an entire nation.

It was finally over.

He listened to the sounds of his foals breathing, a sound most dear to him. He shifted his stump on the pillow it was propped up on. He could feel a dull stabbing ache in the end where the flesh was healing over the bone. No more hoof. No more manipulation shoe to perform minor tasks. No more fetlock to wrap around things and grasp them in the most simple and primitive way that ponies had to interact with the world. Pinching something in your fetlock was crude, but it had been the first big step in pony evolution most biologists argued. The hoof was basically a big toe or a thumb and folding it back against the leg allowed for simple grasping.

Bucky would never hold anything ever again in his left fetlock. He would never feel anything ever again with his left frog. But Bucky did not intend to leave himself with a useless stump. As always in times of trouble, Bucky began to plan.

 

 

“Bucky?”

Hearing Bon Bon’s voice, Bucky opened his eye. He was alone in the bed. He wasn’t sure were everypony was. He yawned attempted to stretch, his body barely capable of the feeble effort it produced.

“It is time for you to take some pills Bucky… and I wanted to talk to you,” Bon Bon said as she climbed up into the bed with Bucky. She set down a cup on the small table by the bedside, poured in the contents of a cold bottle of orange juice, and then opened up several bottles of pills, shaking out what was needed.

“I forgive you,” Bucky grumbled in a dry voice. He heard the catch in Bon Bon’s breathing when he said the words and he wanted to pull her close to him and squeeze her.

Saying nothing, Bon Bon slipped a straw into the cup full of orange juice so Bucky could take a sip. When he was done, she lifted the small paper cup holding all of the pills up to his lips and tipped it into his mouth. She then lifted up the orange juice again so he could swallow the dozen or so pills he needed to take.

“I said awful things about Lyra,” Bucky whispered after he had swallowed. After speaking, he took the straw in his lips and took another drink.

“I don’t know how I should feel,” Bon Bon murmured. “You lied. You lied. After everything I tried to teach you about the importance of honesty. I understand why you did it. I’ve read this morning’s paper. I understand why all of this had to be done. I don’t know why Bucky… it doesn’t make sense to me… I am fine with you and Lyra resorting to dark magic. I am okay with Lyra using necromancy. I am not overly bothered that you created a bomb that causes rape. But it is eating up my insides that you lied in court. Even though I know why you did it.”

“I knew you would take this badly,” Bucky said. “I was more afraid of your reaction than just about anything else.”

“I don’t know how to make peace with this. And I don’t hate you. I love you. My problem is with the situation, not with you. It bothers me that the new system, whatever is going to replace everything being torn down, it troubles me that the catalyst was a lie,” Bon Bon said.

“But I was born with the right that my word is divine. I had the power of life and death. I had the right to kill other ponies for what I felt was just reasons. Just because I was born with it. How could I lie?” Bucky said with a wry grin.

“I know Bucky. And it clearly wasn’t fair,” Bon Bon said.

“Shining Armor told me that the last time that law was invoked it was when Equestria was founded. Princess Platinum used it to hand authority over to Princess Celestia and Princess Luna. A unicorn named Sombra seconded the transfer of power. The law was printed in one book, and apparently the book was kept hidden away in an archive. The modern nobles never knew it existed. Otherwise things might have been much worse,” Bucky explained.

Bon Bon pressed her lips together and groaned.

“Keep me honest Bon Bon,” Bucky said, turning his head slightly to bring Bon Bon into sharp focus. “I love you.”

“I know,” Bon Bon said as she began to fluff Bucky’s pillows that he was propped up on. “And I love you back…”

 

 

There were four sets of eyes focused on Bucky, and four concerned faces with bittersweet smiles. Four sets of ears perked and waiting for a response. Two sets of wings with slightly ruffled feathers that fluttered at nervous sides.

“We wanted to thank you for what you did for us,” Loch Skimmer said.

“You are my foals… I could do no less,” Bucky said in reply.

“It was very difficult to hear those words,” Rising Star said.

“It was very painful,” Sparkler agreed.

“Even though I was lying, I had to make it a believable lie,” Bucky said in a strained voice. “With every word I spoke I wanted to die.”

“We know,” Sparkler said.

“None of us hate you for anything you said,” Ripple stated.

“In happier news, there are no laws prohibiting our marriage,” Rising Star said. “Princess Luna spoke with us, she said our marriage will be legally recognised and that we have nothing to worry about. She also said my parents were going to be brought to Canterlot.”

“Our noble titles are being preserved as well, recognised as foreign nobles for the time being. Shining Armor spoke with us… there is going to be a new nobility, but there will no longer be inherited titles. The new nobles will be those who have done extraordinary things for the empire and recognised for their actions. We’re going to be recognised for our efforts in the Shetlands and then our titles will be Equestrian titles,” Sparkler said.

“I am still recognised as a Dragoon. That is all that matters to me,” Ripple stated.

“The newspaper I just read said you were the greatest liar who has ever lived,” Loch Skimmer announced, smiling sweetly as she did so. “The most important lie ever told.”

“Oh moon and stars, Bon Bon is not going to be happy about that,” Bucky grumbled.

“The earth ponies are demanding that you have your knighthood restored. They want somepony to protect them from the dark things that now roam Equestria at night. There are hundreds of letters to the editors in the newspapers,” Rising Star said.

“They are saying this is the golden era of journalism. Princess Celestia forcibly took over the newspapers… all of them, and then determined which papers were owned by which houses. Now, all newspapers are free to tell the whole truth, not just a few small independent papers. The nobles can no longer censor the big important newspapers. Every paper company is under protection by Princess Celestia herself and any attempt to interfere with the distribution of the news will be seen as an act of war against the Princesses,” Sparkler announced.

 

 

“Twilight, there are griffons scaring my little ponies. The Shetland Isles, the isles that Buckminster worked so hard to secure, are worried about griffon raiders. The Sea of Grass is having regular terror raids. This cannot stand,” Celestia said as she paced back and forth in her room in front of a set of shelves holding a collection of plaster hoof prints.

“The zebras have long been the common prey of griffons,” Twilight said. She looked down the ledger she was standing over and made a few corrections.

“It ends now. There are no longer laws holding back my influence on certain foreign matters for fear of how it might affect the importing and exporting businesses the nobles had. I have grown weary of the predatory actions of the griffons. I see a chance to bring about long lasting peace. A small chance. And it is a gambit I am willing to take sides on,” Celestia explained to her former student. The alicorn smiled and looked hopeful.

“What are you planning?” Twilight asked as she scribbled down a few notes.

“When Buckminster has recovered, it is my intention to send both you and him overseas to visit the griffons as diplomats. I want you to do what you do best. Work as a friendship ambassador. Spread a message of goodwill. Give them an example of unity. I want you to take your friends. Win the trust of the griffons and try to get them to come together,” Celestia replied.

“And what of Buckminster?” Twilight inquired. She looked up at Celestia and scowled, clearly not liking how this was starting to sound. Her brows furrowed and her ears perked forward. There was an annoying warbling sound coming from Philomena’s room and Twilight was in no mood for distractions.

“Buckminster will be there to protect you and your friends. To keep all of you safe. He will be there for my peace of mind. And, if your efforts fail, Buckminster will be my trump card,” Celestia said as she shuddered and shivered violently. “If the negotiations fail, Buckminster can be counted upon to do what he was born to do. When the griffons have suffered enough ruin, they will come to me and grovel at my hooves, as they did once long ago when Sombra nearly brought them to extinction.”

“Is this wise?” Twilight queried. She heard Philomena trilling and wished the phoenix would be quiet. As a species, phoenixes were incredibly annoying and Twilight rather disliked them.

“It is probably a rash thing to do,” Celestia admitted. “The griffons are no longer afraid of us. Our old enemies are testing their limits. We are surrounded on all sides by those who would devour us. We need to make a show of strength. Preserve your image Twilight. If things go badly, let Buckminster do what he does best. Let the griffons see you as the reasonable one. The good one. Let them live in fear of Buckminster so they will want to deal with you. If left to his own devices, Buckminster will make the griffons beg to deal with you.”

Both alicorns paused in their discussion, now aware of a soft cooing sound mingled with raucous squawking. It had started off as a faint noise, but was now impossible to ignore. Celestia cocked her head and tilted her ear towards the sound, trying to discern its cause.

“Philomena?” Celestia said in puzzlement.

The large alicorn moved swiftly towards the balcony, the smaller alicorn just behind her.

“Philomena, how did you get out of your cage?” Celestia asked as she started to pull open the balcony doors. After pulling the doors open, she stepped out onto the balcony.

Celestia froze, and Twilight gasped in embarassed shock.

“Philomena! You brazen harlot! How could you! You cradle robber!” Celestia shouted in disgust.

“Is that Freezerburn?” Twilight said as her mouth fell open.

The pair watched the copulating birds for a moment and then Celestia stepped back inside, pulling Twilight Sparkle with her. She slammed the doors in anger and closed her eyes, squeezing them shut, trying to unsee what she had saw.

“Wow, they really looked like they were enjoying it. You’d think that something hot and something cold wouldn’t be attracted to one another. It was really quite fascinating actually. Would you please open the door so that I might observe? I’d really like it if-”

“Twilight…”

“Yes Celestia?”

“Not another word. Not one more word.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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