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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Raven clearly worried too much, and Celestia knew this. Her assistant was beside herself with worry, saying that there was an angry mob here to have some words. They didn’t wish to address her in an orderly fashion one at a time in her throne room. No, they wanted to keep their angry mob status and make demands as a group.

It was something Celestia was okay with. In fact, she desired it a great deal. They were angry foals who were now rebelling against their parents. Celestia hoped that some gentle words would help them find their way and guide them as they took their first foal steps towards a little bit of self rule.

The guard threw open the massive doors as she approached and Celestia saw hundreds of ponies gathered in the central courtyard. They looked shocked to see her in the doorway, most had been staring up at the balcony where she usually addressed her subjects. She moved into their midst and many fell down and bowed. A few dropped their heads. Some held their heads high in defiance, and Celestia was just a little bit proud of those that did.

“My subjects, you wanted to see me?” Celestia said as she looked all around her. The guards looked concerned.

“Give us what we want or we will riot!” a pony bravely shouted. The voice came from behind Celestia and she couldn’t see who it was. She smiled gently, cleared her throat, and then lifted her head up high.

“Riot is such an ugly word,” Celestia said in a calm voice. “I find that when the word “riot” is used in the newspapers, it is because somepony has an agenda, or the writer responsible did not know how to spell “demonstration.” Angry ponies riot. Reasonable ponies demonstrate. What sort of ponies am I dealing with today?” she inquired of the crowd.

The crowd began to murmur and the sounds of worried voices could be heard all around her. Celestia waited patiently. She stood with the breeze upon her face and the sounds of her beloved little ponies in her ears.

“We have some requests to make of you. If you fail to give us what we ask for, we will hold a demonstration!” a pony shouted. “A very well behaved demonstration. Because we are reasonable ponies…”

“I like reasonable ponies,” Celestia said. She beamed and looked all around her. Most of the crowd was sitting down now, almost all of them looking at her inquisitively. “Reasonable ponies will be listened to. And might even get what they have asked for, provided it is in my power to give.”

“We have a few requests,” a stallion said.

“I would like to hear them,” Celestia responded. “Might I have your name first?”

“My name is Silver Shill, and I came here on behalf of the Farmer’s Union of Ponyville,” Silver Shill answered.

“Well then, Silver Shill, I would like to hear your reasonable requests,” Celestia said in a soft voice that somehow carried over the sound of the crowd.

“The trial was a sham… we all understand that. Keg Smasher, Laird of the Shetland Isles, gave a detailed account of everything that took place there. We feel that Buckminster Bitters was treated poorly. We understand why it had to be done, so the system could be struck down, but we request that Buckminster Bitters be reinstated as a knight. There are bad things roaming Equestria now. With the destruction that took place in the Hollow Shades and the Foal Mountains, many monsters were displaced from their lairs. We need a pony that knows how to fight monsters and win,” Silver Shill said in a loud clear voice.

An earth pony mare nervously approached Celestia, bowed her head slightly, and then sat down. She looked at the crowd all around her, blinked a few times, and then focused her gaze upon Celestia.

“We the ponies would like a say in this issue,” the mare announced. “My name is Cherry Berry and I head the Airborne Watch Union of Ponyville.”

“This is turning out to be quite interesting.”

Celestia turned her head upwards at the sound of Luna’s voice. Her sister was up on the balcony, looking down upon the crowd. Celestia felt the first feeling of actual worry. Her little ponies were still scared of Luna, and rightfully so after what happened over Canterlot. The papers were still calling her “the electric alicorn of death” and other horrible terms which made her out as a monster.

“So you want Buckminster Bitters reinstated as a knight, even though I am sure all of you know what he has done?” Luna asked of the crowd.

There was a nervous murmur but the crowd stayed calm. A few now watched Luna warily, hoping the temperamental blue alicorn would not unleash electric death once again. Vast sections of Canterlot were now bare of buildings.

“We know what he did,” Silver Shill said, daring to look up at Luna and raise his voice just a little bit. “We also know that if you truly believed that he was a bad pony who had a desire to hurt others, you would have never placed him back into society where he might do us harm. We have asylums for the truly dangerous. You sentenced him to life with his family, so he could be happy. We humbly request that his talents for death, destruction, and mayhem be put to good use, keeping all of us safe. We know of his vow to never bring harm to another pony. Keg Smasher spoke a great deal about it in the interview.”

“He is well experienced in killing monsters. And there are reports of undead in the badlands and Los Pegasus,” Cherry Berry interjected. “We need an experienced undead slayer. What are your pegasus guards going to do exactly? Keg Smasher spoke at length about his battle with the undead and the horror of trying to take them down. They don’t die!”

There was a sudden rush of noise from the crowd and Celestia could feel the panic in the air. As a group, the entire crowd scooted inwards a bit, packing in a little tighter and a little closer all around her. She could see ponies shivering with fear in the warm late summer sun.

“Please give us what we want. We’re tired. There has been a lot of fighting and scary times. I think all of us are tired of living in fear. Please don’t make us go through the trouble of having to organise a demonstration,” a pegasus begged.

“We want his knighthood restored!” a mare shouted.

“And maybe just a little promotion?” a stallion added.

“And what should we promote him to?” Luna inquired, her loud booming voice falling out over the crowd.

“A corporal?” somepony suggested.

A lone guard standing near the double doors shook his head sadly but said nothing, he resumed standing attention and went still as a statue.

“Making him a corporal is not a promotion,” Luna said, raising her eyebrow slightly.

“My little ponies, if you want self rule, you will be required to educate yourself on these sorts of issues so you can have a say in them. How can you have an informed opinion of what to ask for if you do not know anything about what it is that you are requesting?” Celestia inquired in a soft gentle voice.

“Maybe we’re not ready for self rule just yet,” Cherry Berry said. “But we can learn as we go. We’ll just have to take control of little things that we do know about and trust that you will give us more authority over ourselves after we learn.”

“Yeah, like us farmers! We farmers know what is best for us farmers! Which is why Princess Twilight Sparkle demanded that we form the Farmers Union so we could look after our own needs and stay out of her mane. What do Canterlot Unicorns know about growing apples or carrots?” Silver Shill announced. “We’re going to need somepony to look after us and protect us while we make mistakes so we can learn!”

Smiling a delighted smile, Celestia felt a burning sense of pride for her little ponies.

“What about a sergeant?” somepony asked, suggesting a rank.

Again, the lone guard shook his head and the crowd began to watch his reaction.

“Most of us are farmers and we know nothing about the guard and their ranks,” a mare shouted. “This is a problem. If we voted on an issue, would we be doing more harm than good?”

There was a loud murmur that went through the crowd as the ponies began to chat amicably with the pony sitting next to them, trying to find some consensus. Several ponies gathered around Silver Shill and there were some loud voices who tried to speak over the crowd. Finally, some sort of agreement seemed to be reached, because the crowd quieted down.

Clearing his throat, Silver Shill looked Princess Celestia in the eye. “We the ponies request that Buckminster Bitters be given a promotion to one step above whatever he was previously. We admit our ignorance in this issue and we beg that you will forgive us. We will strive to better ourselves if we can.”

“A major,” Luna announced. “Knight Major Bitters. Is this what you want?”

The lone guard nodded his head while making a gesture of encouragement and the crowd quickly began to agree, all of them shouting.

“Very well then. Let us all take a step in the right direction together, shall we?” Celestia said in a proud but gentle voice. “I would like to see a show of hooves then. How many ponies would like a restoration of Buckminster Bitter’s knighthood and a promotion?” she inquired.

The crowd raised their hooves, looking somewhat confused and befuddled. A few ponies were smart enough to realise that history was being made this day in the courtyard. Sadly, there was no reporters to record this momentous event.

“Well, that looks to be unanimous,” Luna announced. “Your Night Princess would like to make a suggestion. The griffon known as Lugus, he is Buckminster’s personal griffon at arms. In his homeland, he was a knight. Shall we restore a second knighthood this day to celebrate this momentous occasion?”

“Yes?” Cherry Berry said, her voice echoing from the courtyard walls. The crowd roared after she spoke and she grinned sheepishly.

“Well then, my good quiet ponies,” Celestia said, which shushed the crowd, all of them instantly fell silent for her. “How about a show of hooves?”

Again the crowd raised their hooves.

“Once more, I think that was everypony saying yes,” Luna announced. “Now, there is another issue to discuss… being a knight is a full time job. Monster slaying takes a lot of a body. They do not have a lot of time to work for gainful employment. If they did, they would not be warriors. You do not send a farmer to fight a monster, and you do not send a warrior to plow a field. How will Lugus provide for his family? He has a wife, a pegasus named Yew Wood, and pegasus foal that he rescued named Peekaboo.”

“I will talk to the Farmer’s Union about donating a portion of food to Lugus and his family to help them. Once the financial institutions are using money again, I will personally ask each and every farmer for dues so we can provide Lugus a salary, provided that the crown matches us bit for bit,” Silver Shill offered.

“Done,” Celestia said briskly.

Silver Shill blinked, looking surprised. “Okay,” he said nervously. “I’m gonna have a lot to tell Applejack when I get home,” the stallion whispered to himself.

“So are there any other polite and well worded requests that we can deal with today?” Celestia questioned as she looked around the crowd, her wings fluttering slightly.

“Well yes actually… my name is Chocolate Morsel, and I have a solution to the communication problem we seem to have since the mail system fell apart. I’ve figured out a way to send electric pulses over wires with a simple machine that even earth ponies and pegasi can use. It makes little clicks and beeps and I call the beeps and boops Morsel code after myself. You can talk with another pony instantly at any distance without having to use magic or wait on a letter to arrive,” an  brown earth pony stallion said.

“I am intrigued,” Celestia responded.

 

 

 

 

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