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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The two stallions looked at one another, neither of them quite sure what to say. It was an awkward moment, filled with an uncomfortable silence, and Keg Smasher kept clearing his throat. Finally, taking control of the moment, Keg Smasher sat down upon the floor by the bed and leaned in closer to Bucky.

“It is a right shame they can’t heal you and make you whole. I… I thought I’d never fly or run again and it damn near killed me. You deserve a better fate,” Keg Smasher said in a strained voice that clung in his throat. “I can’t thank you enough for what you have done.”

“Are you leaving?” Derpy asked.

“Aye. I am. Celestia is sending me home. And two modern airships are coming home with me, loaded down with all manner of terrible weapons. Fully crewed as well. Celestia said she plans to build a military academy out on my isles. She is using the seized assets and wealth of House Avarice to do it too. I didn’t know what to say to the big dame,” Keg Smasher replied.

“If you ever need help for any reason, contact me,” Bucky said, turning his head to look at his friend. “If you need me, I will come. I mean that. I… I want to come back to the isles and see that they are doing well.”

“Aye… I do need ya. But so does Equestria. So I am leaving you and Berry Punch here as the official representatives of Clan Pickled. No, I am not joking, stop looking at me like that. You both are here to represent our better interests for now. You know our struggle. I am trusting your judgement. Celestia and Luna both, the big dame and the little dame, they are going to come to you when they have questions or need advice about what to do on the isles. I’m trusting you,” Keg Smasher said in a low voice.

“If you need us, we will come to help,” Derpy said as she wiped her eye with her foreleg.

“My ship leaves at noon. I’ve said my goodbyes to Thistle. Last I saw, she was in the bathroom crying her eyes out. Look after her,” Keg Smasher said. “Said my goodbye to Sentinel too. He seems unwell. And I know why.”

“I hope we see each other again sooner rather than later,” Bucky said.

“I’ll be sending Wheatberry to stay with all of you when she gets a little older. I want her to get to know you and call you her chief, just like I do Buckminster… keep your idea about being a tribe alive. Don’t let it die. Now is a perfect time to spread those ideas of yours,” Keg Smasher said, leaning closer to the bed. He placed his hoof onto Bucky’s remaining front hoof.

“Goodbye Keg Smasher. Have a good journey,” Bucky said in a voice choked with emotion.

 

 

Pacing nervously, Thistle crossed the room yet again. She was miserable. There was no place to swim. No place to fish. She wasn’t nearly as omnivorous as Sentinel or Bucky, and some of the foods she had tried had left her feeling just awful. She enjoyed sweets, but now she had digestion issues. There was fish provided for her, but it was cooked and it wasn’t the same. She was starting to hate these rooms. She liked being outside. First it was being trapped on the airship with no place to swim, and now here. Soaking in the tub was nice, but it wasn’t big enough for her to really stretch her tail out. Some of the bubble bath soap irritated her skin and some didn’t, and she didn’t understand why. She was getting tired of being a pony. She was a merpony. She needed water. She needed to swim.

She needed to be out catching fresh live fish. She felt hungry and irritated, and she wasn’t sure she was getting enough food.

“I need to be outside!” Thistle shouted suddenly, startling her herdmates.

 

 

Princess Luna softly stroked the lunar pegasus she was looking after as her time permitted. Moonbow was now awake, still a bit groggy, but drinking water and recovering. Luna was fiercely proud of the recently rebirthed foal, even though she did not show it.

“You could have made it end at any time by simply asking for it to stop,” Luna said, her wings fluttering at her sides. She stood waiting and Moonbow did not reply. Instead, the filly laid her head down in the straw and truth be told, Luna wanted to settle down into the straw with her. “You have endured your first ordeal. Many fail this first test. Most cry out in the first half of an hour and beg for release. You have done well my foal.”

“Yes Mistress,” Moonbow replied.

“No… for now, I am your mother. When you are injured, when you are hurt, I am your mother. When you are fit, when you are well, I am your Mistress. Do you understand?” Luna said, correcting the filly for her mistake.

“Yes mother,” Moonbow answered, her eyelids fluttering slightly.

“If you are ever terribly injured, you cry out for your mother,” Luna instructed.

“Yes mother,” Moonbow replied, her voice still somewhat raspy and her throat still sore.

“Why are you here filly?” Luna inquired, her voice warm and soothing.

“For Sentinel. My future mate,” Moonbow answered.

“And what is it that you want from life? What do you want to be best at? If you do not know yet, you do not have to answer me… how can I have you trained to prepare for life?” Luna said as she lowered her head and came nose to nose with Moonbow.

“I want to be a mother… I want to start a new colony and protect my new tribe,” Moonbow replied in a wavering voice.

“It is very difficult to serve your Mistress if you are fat with foal,” Luna said in a low voice.

“I plan to serve my Mistress by being fat with foals. I will birth the strongest young and they will serve Equestria,” Moonbow said, daring to look Luna in the eyes.

“So you want to be trained for motherhood?” Luna inquired.

“Yes!” Moonbow gasped, her voice pleading. “It isn’t enough to simply be a mother… I want to protect my tribe and teach my foals the ways of war… I want to be a Myrmidon who births future Myrmidons!”

“You are ambitious…” Luna whispered.

As Luna watched, Moonbow’s eyes fluttered shut. She opened them a moment later, looking up in worry, but her heavy eyelids began to shut once again. Luna smiled. She watched as her foal drifted off into slumber.

Princess Luna liked Moonbow’s sense of vision.

 

 

Wincing, Bucky gritted his teeth and hissed a bit when the doctor peeled away the bandage covering the gash in his left side just behind his shoulder. The sudden feeling of air on the wound stung. He heard the clink of metal and then felt a cold feeling on the wound. Something wet was dribbled into the laceration and it burned like fire on contact, making Bucky growl.

“Sorry about that,” the doctor said. “Your lung is healing nicely, the wound is closing, and you are healing much faster than expected. Most ponies would die from such a wound. Your lab work is coming back and you have shown a remarkable improvement. You need more iron in your diet I think, but the anemia is getting better. Your breathing sounds much better. You’ve suffered profound physiological changes during your… uh… transformation. Your digestive tract can barely be recognised as equine now. We’re not quite sure what it is. We’re equine doctors, equine digestive tracts are all we know.”

Bucky nodded but said nothing as the doctor continued to work.

“Your thaumaturgical glands have been greatly enlarged. We don’t know the full effects of this yet. To be honest, there is a lot about you that we don’t know. We don’t have a comparison. We’ve studied other extremely magical beings, certain high magic equines, we, uh, cannot name names, but you seem to be entirely unique in a number of ways. Such as, your, um, Taint. There is also the fulgurite horn you have created for yourself… it has fused most of your skull with highly magical glass which has encased your brain. We don’t know the full effects of this yet, or even if it is beneficial or harmful,” the doctor continued.

“Any useful observations?” Bucky inquired.

“Well, the magically infused glass that has bonded with your skull has made your skull almost unbreakable we think. You will be very resistant to head injuries. Get hit in the head hard enough and your brain will still bounce around though. We are finding traces of the fulgurite magically infused glass all over your body actually… in your bones. Places not your head. A colleague of mine theorised that every time you wink, you distribute a little bit of the magically infused glass throughout your bone structure. You have a lot of excess material in your horn. Your body might be redistributing it. We don’t know,” the doctor answered.

“What about my hind legs?” Bucky asked.

“Still learning about those,” the doctor answered. “But the damage was extensive. Your tendons and ligaments suffered some damage when your legs were injured. Princess Luna will be speaking to you on ways to deal with the problem.”

“There is a way to fix it?” Bucky questioned.

“Well, I only know a little bit,” the doctor replied. “Practical augmentation. Powerful enchantment magic. Princess Luna will know more. Sorry Buckminster, big stick…”

Snarling, Bucky felt something pierce his side and go deep inside of his body. He could feel the cold and the stabbing pain left him feeling breathless. He could feel something sliding around deep within his insides.

“I am drawing off fluid from around your heart, a procedure called a pericardial tap, or pericardiocentesis. Yes, I am aware it hurts, even with the local anesthetic,” the doctor said in his most professional voice. “You are suffering from cardiac tamponade, or a severe buildup of fluid around the heart. It has weakened your heart’s pumping ability. It is one of the reasons why you are as weak as newborn foal right now.”

“Oh that is unpleasant!” Bucky growled.

“Yes it is,” the doctor replied. “Most ponies scream when the procedure is being done. The good news is, in a few hours, you will feel a lot stronger. In fact, if I was a betting pony, I’d place a wager on you getting up on your hooves for a while tomorrow.”

“I can feel a sucking feeling inside of me,” Bucky groaned. “Ugh, I feel nauseous.”

“Almost done,” the doctor announced. “Try to take a few deep breaths. Breathing should be much easier now.”

Bucky did as he was told, breathing in and breathing out slowly. It was much easier to breathe and the pain in his barrel was getting better. “OooooooOOOOH FECK!” Bucky swore as he felt a sudden sharp stabbing pain go tearing through his heart. “What was that?” he demanded.

“You might experience a few more big spikes of pain like that. The fluid is now gone and your body needs to adjust and allow your organs to return to their original positions. Everything was being pushed away from your heart, creating incredible strain on your insides,” the doctor explained as he finished up his work.

“I heard shouting!” Derpy shouted as she came bursting through the door. “You okay Bucky?” she asked, her voice full of worry.

“I’m fine,” Bucky said.

“You be gentle,” Derpy warned as she scowled at the unicorn doctor.

“I am done ma’am,” the doctor said. “Just wrapping up. Putting on a fresh bandage. In a few hours, your husband is going to feel a lot better. Try to have him move around in the bed just a little bit. Not too much. Make him eat as much of this special ice cream as he can stomach. A little light exercise is in order. Nothing strenuous though. Get his heart beating.”

“Oh… I know how to get his heart beating,” Derpy said with a smile.

 

 

 

 

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