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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Lugus settled his bulky haunches down to the ground and stared at Ripple. The filly was looking up at him, her expression one of fearless curiousity. She had an expressive face. One ear drooped off to the side, the other remained perked. Her wings were perfectly preened and her sleek body rippled with fine muscles.

“I suppose you know what I want from you,” Lugus said, cocking his head to one side, and then the other, getting a good visual lock upon Ripple.

“I do,” Ripple replied nonchalantly.

“I would like to take you on as my squire,” Lugus stated.

“And I would like to be your squire,” Ripple answered. She smiled broadly, holding nothing back. She was a creature of oft expressed emotion.

“I have a condition,” Lugus said, hunkering down and leaning closer to Ripple. His talons flexed and his claws sank into the lawn, pressing softly into the dirt.

“And that is?” Ripple questioned, her drooping ear standing straight now that her attention had been engaged.

Lugus’ crest rose and his feathers fluffed out. “You must not be such a stick in the mud as little Sentinel,” Lugus said in a quiet voice. “To have such an expressive face and then never use it to make silly faces… I cannot bear it.”

“That is your only condition?” Ripple asked, her face contorting into a quizzical expression.

“Yes, I am finding the expression upon your face right now quite enjoyable,” Lugus said, his head turning around completely until the underside of his beak was pointing skywards and his crest pointed towards the earth, his eyes never leaving Ripple.

“You are doing that creepy bird thing again. Heads shouldn’t twist that way, at least not without me twisting them around and making turn that way,” Ripple said. “I will be your squire. And I will make silly faces for you.”

“Thank you, my little squire pony,” Lugus responded. “We must work hard and find glory. Bucky and Sentinel are ahead of us. Bucky slew a god while it incubated in its womb. Somehow, our enemies must learn to live in fear of our very shadows.”

“I will need to find other masters… other teachers of the fine art of hooficuffs if I am to stand a chance of picking a fight with an emerging god and winning,” Ripple said, mostly to herself and looking thoughtful. “I know there are others out there who seek a worthy student. I hope you don’t mind me taking time to better myself and prepare myself for combat.”

“I am counting on it,” Lugus said. “Plus, I intend to teach you the way of the Cunning Claw, the martial arts of the griffons. You do not have claws, but the concept is the same. It is all about swift debilitating strikes that cripple your enemy, each blow visiting ruin upon their body.”

“Father could make me claws… they took away my shoes. I am still a bit angry about that,” Ripple said, her face darkening.

“They took Chieftain's Fury from me. I do not know if I will ever see it again,” Lugus said, his eyes narrowing.

“I’m looking forward to those combat lessons,” Ripple said, smiling up at the griffon as she spoke, her wings fluttering with barely contained excitement.

“Good, let us begin,” Lugus said as he launched himself at the filly with a loud squawk.

 

 

Sparkler watched Ripple and Lugus sparring. Quite a crowd had arrived, and guard pegasi were standing around the fighting pair watching with curiousity. Lugus had curled his talons into fists and he wasn’t pulling his punches to make them harmless blows. A couple of his strikes had connected solidly with Ripple, who took them quite well. She gave as good as she got, thumping Lugus soundly when she had the chance. The griffon was at least four times the size of Ripple but moved as an equal to her speed and grace.

Sparkler couldn’t help but notice that Ripple was beautiful. Her sweat streaked pelt glistened in the sun and droplets of moisture flew from her contours as she moved. She cried out with every blow, making guttural sounds that forced her to breathe and were intended to intimidate her enemies. Her light blue mane clung to her neck, the fine blue strands clumped together to form tendrils that wrapped along her graceful curves.

Ripple stood easily on two legs, either her hind legs or her front legs. She moved with a fluidity and grace that Sparkler envied. She could cartwheel and do standing flips. She was a young filly who was perfecting her physique.

And Sparkler found Ripple quite desirable to look at.

 

 

Yew Wood wasn’t quite sure what to make of her living situation. She knew she was a tribe member, a part of a tribe founded upon a new set of ideals, but she had trouble defining the relationship as a whole. She felt more like she was in an extended family. She was sitting on a couch waiting for Lugus’ return. Berry Punch was beside her, reading a newspaper, and Bon Bon was on the other side, leaving her tightly squished between the two of them. Bon Bon was watching Peekaboo and Harper nap together on the floor in a large patch of sunlight, occasionally making satisfied sighs.

Yew Wood wanted to learn how to read. In time, she would learn, but she couldn’t help but feel a little bored now as they all sat around in this large room doing nothing. Living like a princess wasn’t all that interesting. Yew wanted to be off doing other things. Anything really.

Berry Punch farted beside her, and Yew could feel the creeping warmth spreading through their pressed together flesh. Yew smiled. This is what it meant to be a well bonded herd. Her mind wandered a bit, she wasn’t married into this herd, but she was certainly a part of it. She had fought and bled for it. She had suffered for it. Her foal, and there was no mistaking that Peekaboo was her foal now, was cared for and looked after as one of the herd’s foals, and there was nothing singling Peekaboo out as an outsider. She heard the slurping sounds of Lyra sucking on a straw, her drink now empty.

“Ponyville democracy is spreading like wildfire,” Berry Punch commented. “It no longer has the nobles opposing it. The Ponyville town hall model of government is going to be adapted and expanded upon. Twilight Sparkle has officially surrendered Ponyville and has ended her war with Princess Celestia. As of noon today, Ponyville is going to be part of Equestria as a whole again. Vanhoover is in talks for reunification. This is fascinating stuff.”

“I don’t know enough about it to comment,” Yew said in reply, looking over Berry’s shoulder at a photo in the newspaper. “The pictures in the paper are so pretty. I wish I understood how they did that.”

Berry Punch tapped the paper with her hoof. “This picture is history. That’s Bucky, scaring the meadow muffins right out of his family. You know, with as terrifying as he looks, I honestly thought public opinion would be against him, demonising him. Instead, most opinion seems surprisingly positive and popular. This article here below the picture is a writer’s rant that we need stronger protective figures in these dark times. There are still roving gangs of bandits, hordes of monsters, and ponies keep talking about weird creepy cults running around and doing spooky stuff.”

“Ponies are scared right now,” Yew replied. “When ponies get spooked, they sometimes do bad things. Fear affects our judgment.”

“Even with everything that has happened, support for Princess Celestia and Princess Luna are at an all time high. Funny how the ponies lost faith in the noble houses, but not in the princesses,” Bon Bon said, leaning over a bit more on Yew to look at the newspaper.

“There is overwhelming support for the Stable of Representatives,” Berry said as she read another op-ed piece. “Wow, the newspapers are really good now. There is actual news in here, not fluff pieces and useless advice on how to remove stains from a cocktail dress.”

“The pegasi are causing a bit of a problem though. Cloudsdale is demanding that the only ponies who should be able to vote are those who have served in the guard,” Lyra remarked. “Back page story, bottom left corner.”

“Cloudsdale scares me sometimes. The old military clans are too focused on service and special privileges for those that have served,” Bon Bon said, shaking her head.

“Fascism is not something we need creeping into our new government like a weed in the garden,” Berry said as she made a sour face of distaste. “Military this, and military that, and we need more authority… blah blah blah… only those who have served truly have the right to have an opinion… ponies who haven’t served are ignorant peasants… more pegasi politics. Derpy’s family were autocratic fundamentalists. They made me sick!”

“What makes earth pony politics any better?” Yew asked in a small quiet voice.

“Equality. The idea that we are all ponies and that we are all equal. Those of us who have lived on the bottom for so long just want to be recognised as equals. With the fascist military pegasi clans of Cloudsdale, they believe the only ponies who belong in the guard are pegasi… because they can fly. If they had their way, guess who the only ponies who could vote would be? They tolerate unicorns in the guard because they can be hauled around in sky chariots and used as field mortars, but there is no real love there. The pegasi have long memories and the term “servile pegasi” makes their ears burn,” Berry explained.

“That doesn’t sound very fair,” Yew agreed.

“General Iron Sky says that we are draft animals and we can’t be trusted to vote,” Bon Bon muttered. “He is threatening to resign his position if earth ponies are given the right to vote.”

“Bastard,” Berry swore. She threw down the paper down on the floor in disgust.

“Life seems so much more complicated here,” Yew said in a low uncertain voice.

“Yew, life is complicated everywhere,” Berry said in reply.

 

 

“Father, Princess Luna regrets that she will not have time to speak with you today,” Sentinel said as he pushed his way into the room. With a leap, he flew up into the bed and then settled in near his mother, falling over onto Derpy’s side with a grunt. “There is a huge stack of spell books left in the other room. Mother Lyra is arranging them and she will be bringing them in shortly.”

“Oh good,” Bucky said, yawning after he spoke. “How is Moonbow?”

“Bound in chains. I don’t wish to talk about it,” Sentinel said, as he pressed his head against Derpy’s side. “How soon till they start to wiggle around in there?” he asked his mother.

“It’ll be a while,” Derpy replied.

“Knight Major Bitters, you now have a junior officer at your command. Princess Luna gave me the rank of Cornet, an old rank that doesn’t exist anymore, but has been revived. She told me on the way home that she is going to restore this rank back into the military code for all squires,” Sentinel reported.

“Ooh an officer to do my bidding,” Bucky said proudly.

“My little colt is an officer,” Derpy said in gushing tones. Her head darted back over her shoulder and she planted a kiss on Sentinel, and then another, and then a third. Derpy made a pleased sounding whicker and then she raised her head up high.

“Somepony is a proud mama pegasus,” Bucky said as he watched the pair.

“I am proud of all of my foals,” Derpy said. She sniffed and lifted her muzzle upwards a bit.

“With responsibility comes service,” Sentinel said, curling up against his mothers side. He yawned. “I’m worn out. I had to deal with a fussy foal and keep it from crying so it wouldn’t wake Moonbow.”

“What?” Derpy asked. There was no reply and Derpy turned her head to look back at Sentinel. His eyes were closed and his barrel rose and fell steadily. She nuzzled him one final time and Sentinel grunted in his sleep.

“He’s worn out,” Bucky said in a soft voice.

“He was foalsitting?” Derpy whispered.

“Seems that way,” Bucky replied.

 

 

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