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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Everything was chaos. The past few days were all one chaotic jumble. The last thing that Bucky remembered clearly was finding out that Thistle had a kelpie foal coming. There were fittings for formal clothing, trips to the dentist, hoof polishing, a rehearsal that Bucky had managed to talk his way out of by playing sick, and Bucky had ignored almost everything by keeping his nose buried in books.

Also, in the mess, Bucky had taken his first few steps unassisted, the day before last.

He watched as his family swirled around him, each one trying to figure out what to do next. Ripple refused to wear a dress, saying she’d rather show up in armor instead. Somehow, Ripple still looked girly. Her mane had been turned into three long braids and tied off with royal purple ribbons. Ripple insisted she didn’t mind looking girly, she just refused to wear a formal gown or a dress.

Loch Skimmer refused to wear a dress at all, protesting for all to hear that such a thing blocked off Rising Star’s access to her filly bits, and that clothing was unfair to husbands and wives. Derpy, Berry, and Bon Bon were still trying to herd Loch into a corner so they could get a gown on her and Bucky could hear them in the common room pleading with Loch to cooperate.

Sentinel didn’t seem to mind dressing up once the act was finally done, and was strutting around in a black wool officer’s coat with silver trim. The insignias of his rank were pinned to his lapels. The colt strutted, moving around with easy confidence and grace in his uniform. His tail had been bound, wrapped around the dock with black grosgrain ribbon in military style.

Piña and Dinky wore simple gowns that were almost floor length and they tried to not step on the hems. They had to move slowly and carefully so they wouldn’t tumble. Piña took to it much better than Dinky did, slinking around in a manner that mimicked Berry Punch’s slinky movements in her form fitting gown.

Derpy wore a grey gown that was a few shades lighter than her pelt. It had a swooping backline that split along her neck and remained open down to her wing joints, exposing a delicious expanse of pony flesh for all to see. Bon Bon had warned that such a revealing cut was sure to cause a scandal, but Derpy didn’t care. She enjoyed parading herself around for Bucky to view.

Lyra wore an extra frilly formal gown that made her the frilliest mare in the herd. She had even touched up her face with a bit of makeup and now pranced around fishing for compliments. She moved with surprising grace and beauty.

Bon Bon wore a simple modest gown, one might even call it plain, and simply stated that anything too frilly offended her earth pony sensibilities. She wore it well though, and parading herself in front of Bucky had left him breathless.

Berry wore a gown that accented her every curve as an earth pony. It somehow made her hips look wider and plumped out her plush figure. It was also open beneath so Harper could be fed easily, due to Bucky’s outright refusal for bottles and formula, or what Berry called the first of many of Bucky’s royal decrees. Berry didn’t mind at all and was glad that Bucky had put his hoof down.

Rising Star wore a tuxedo cut jacket that was dark bottle glass green rather than black. He was a dashing figure, his jacket contrasting sharply with his light blue pelt. He had to keep away from Loch Skimmer, who threatened to undress him forcibly and “ravage” him repeatedly.

Sparkler, much to everypony’s shock, wore a military uniform that had been fitted for her. It had been Luna who had come through for Sparkler, providing a jacket that would fit with a few modifications. Her Buck Sergeant status was proudly worn on her lapels and the charcoal grey wool looked stunning in contrast to her purple-pink coat. Sparkler chose to make a political statement with her clothing. She believed that mares were fit to serve in combat roles, not just as field medics, doctors, nurses, and entertainment. (As was the case with the Wonderbolts) She even wore a service cover, the glengarry set at a rakish angle upon her head. Luna was certain that the uniform would set off a firestorm of political controversy. Thankfully, Sparkler was known for having thick skin.

Thistle wore a gown with heavy floral accents that complimented the living greenery of her mane and tail. She was in full bloom now, her mane and tail filled with pink blossoms. She was impossible to ignore. Whenever she drew near to one of the other mares in the herd, sniffing could be heard as Thistle’s magic took full effect and her effect upon Bucky was in fact, actually magical.

Lugus wore nothing, as there was nothing that would fit him, but he was quite intrigued by the gown that Yew was wearing.

The hustle and bustle was interrupted by a knock at the door, which turned out to be a messenger stating that the whole family was needed for a photograph session scheduled beforehand. As everypony panicked and tried to collect themselves so they could go, Bucky begged that Sentinel stay behind and keep him company, to which Sentinel agreed.

It wasn’t long before the herd stampeded out the door, leaving Bucky and Sentinel alone in the suite together, and Bucky smiled a wicked smile.

 

 

“Come on Sentinel, time is short,” Bucky said.

Sentinel looked up at his father in confusion, his face rather blank.

“There is no photograph scheduled. Mental magic. Just a tiny bit of mind control. I had to get everypony out of here so I could escape. We don’t have long before my treachery is discovered so we need to skedaddle now,” Bucky explained.

“Father! This smacks of dishonesty!” Sentinel cried out in protest.

“Yes it does,” Bucky agreed. “But there is no way I am letting them crown me,” he said.

“Father, this is wrong,” Sentinel said with pleading urgency.

“I no longer have a healthy sense of right or wrong. I fear I’ve become a pragmatist. Write that down in your journal and feel free to tell the papers. I feel that it is only fair for other ponies to know what they are in for,” Bucky said.

“Father…” Sentinel said in exasperation, the closest he would come to sassing his parent.

Bucky’s face grimaced with concentration, his horn flashed with a bright blue-green flare, and then he slowly slid out of bed. He stood shaking on three legs. “Practical augmentation is my ticket to freedom,” he muttered, mostly to himself.

“You no longer look like a skeleton,” Sentinel observed.

“Thank you,” Bucky said. He wobbled around on three legs. “Feels weird being this light. Oh, right, sticky hooves,” he muttered. His face scrunched and after several moments, his hooves and Sentinel’s hooves glowed in a blue-green aura.

“Father, this is not behaviour befitting an officer,” Sentinel said fearfully.

“Sentinel, you are a colt. You are entitled to play and have fun. Now you listen to me, today, we’re going to play hide and go seek. We’re going to hide, and probably the entirety of the Equestrian Royal Guard is going to seek us,” Bucky stated.

Sentinel groaned and his facial expression was one of actual pain. “I’m going to be court martialed,” he moaned.

Bucky took off with surprising speed on three legs, hopping around and getting a feel for his new three legged gait. He cleared the door, peered around the common room, and then bolted for the door leading out, Sentinel hot on his heels.

He stuck his head out the main door and peered down the hall. Sure enough, at the end of the hall, there were two guards. Bucky grinned.

Without saying a word, he placed his hoof on the wall and then boosted himself up. He scurried up the wall and then made his way along the high ceiling. Sentinel followed, a panicked look on the colt’s face. Their hooves were silent and made no sound.

“Sentinel, ponies hardly ever look up. It is our major failing as a species,” Bucky said philosophically to his son as he scooted along the high vaulted ceiling. His mane hung down towards the floor and he looked rather wild.

Moving swiftly and silently, the pair scooted past the guards, passing overhead. Bucky continued, looking around him, trying to get his bearings. After moving up the hall, he turned to look at Sentinel.

“We’re not too far from the school wing. Follow me, I’ll show you around,” Bucky said in a low voice.

“This castle is far too large,” Sentinel said in a panicked whisper.

“Extradimensional space,” Bucky whispered back.

“Wizardy stuff,” Sentinel grumped.

The pair made their way along the ceiling, and Bucky’s pace picked up as he became accustomed to moving on three legs. He looked all around him, mostly down below him, hoping he and Sentinel would not be caught.

“I’ve been putting on a little,” Bucky confessed. “I had to make ponies believe I was too weak and helpless to escape.”

“Father, I fail to see the point. They will find us. And they will crown you,” Sentinel said.

“And I will keep running,” Bucky replied. “If they are going to do it, it is going to be without any pomp and circumstance. And they are going to have to drag me there in chains.”

“Father, not to be pedantic-”

“You’ve been spending too much time with Piña and your writing,” Bucky interrupted.

“Father, you are a slave, I have no doubts at all that they will in fact drag you to your coronation in chains,” Sentinel hissed.

“Sentinel, stop pointing out the obvious,” Bucky said.

“Yes father,” Sentinel agreed.

“Token resistance,” Bucky stated.

“What?” Sentinel inquired.

“Token resistance,” Bucky repeated as he hobbled along the vaulted ceiling of the hallway. “What is important is the fact I am resisting. It doesn’t matter if I win or lose, I’m going to lose, but I am going to lose while I am fighting. I will go down with my ship,” he explained.

The Scorned Mare is sinking?” Sentinel asked in confusion.

“No,” Bucky said, somehow still holding on to his patience. “It means I will never give up. I will fight a losing battle because I am a stubborn jackass.”

“Oh… I already knew that father,” Sentinel whispered as he scurried after his father.

Bucky halted, turned his head, and looked at Sentinel, raising his eyebrow as he did so. Sentinel whimpered, fearing his father’s displeasure. Bucky grinned and Sentinel’s face contorted in confusion. They were standing where two hallways crossed and Bucky moved off once again, this time down a side wing. A brass sign down below said “school dormitories” in ornate letters.

They passed another pair of guards and Sentinel’s face writhed with panic. Bucky moved with the cool easy grace of a skilled troublemaker who was now forced to hobble on three legs.

The guards looked up and Sentinel freaked out completely. Letting out a screech, he glared at the guards, scowling fiercely. He paced back and forth in place upon the ceiling, trying to figure out what to do. Finally, an idea struck him.

“I am Squire Cornet Sentinel,” Sentinel announced. “Neither one of you saw anything, do you understand me?”

“Sir, yes sir,” one of the guards said, snapping off a salute as he looked up with a dumbfounded expression upon his face.

“We are on a very important mission and I must escort my father to safety,” Sentinel reported. “If anypony comes along asking, we went in the other direction.”

“Understood, sir,” the other guard said. “Prince Bitters has not been seen in this wing.”

“That’s right!” Sentinel said. The colt began chewing on his lower lip nervously and then took off once again after his father who had never once stopped or even slowed down.

The guards, watching the pair depart, said nothing to one another until the pair were quite some distance away. They watched with bemused interest as the prince and his son departed.

“I like him. As far as officers go, he’s a good one,” one guard said to the other.

“Can’t get in trouble for following orders,” the other guard muttered.

 

 

Bucky neared an old familiar place. As he drew near, he felt his emotions spike and for a moment, he felt like crying. Ahead was his old familiar hiding place, where he went to get away from life in general.

“Sentinel, here is where I spent most of my time in school,” Bucky said.

Sentinel walked forward along the ceiling and looked down towards the floor. Ahead of them was a gap, an opening in the wall ahead, invisible if you were standing on the floor. It could only be seen if you were standing upon the ceiling and looking downwards. As he watched, Bucky carefully eased his way in, and Sentinel followed. There was a hidden room and Sentinel peered around in the faint dim light.

“What is this place?” Sentinel asked.

“A long time ago, this cubby was filled with a massive stone block. If the castle was under siege, the block would be dropped into the hallway below, squishing the attackers and plugging up the hallway to stop further intrusions,” Bucky explained in reply.

“Fascinating,” Sentinel responded.

“My old aversion spell on the opening still works. Nopony has found this place. Even my old books are still here. This place has gone completely untouched. I thought for certain that somepony would have found it by now,” Bucky said in a melancholy voice. “Does nopony ever get into trouble and run around on the ceilings?”

Sentinel looked around the room and saw a few old dusty cushions, several books, an old candle, and several glass orbs. “What do the orbs do?”

“I always kept a few around for experimenting,” Bucky said. “But one of them should vibrate if the guard comes near.”

“This is a side of you I never expected,” Sentinel whispered to his father.

“I came here to study. To get away from bullies. I came here to cry. I came here so I could be left alone and not be bothered. I laced this room with enchantments so it would not be easily detected. This was my fortress. This is where I grew up and developed my solitary nature that would have been my undoing. This is the room where I decided that I didn’t need other ponies and I convinced myself that it would be better if I lived by myself, never married, never had foals, and died alone, taking my family name with me,” Bucky said.

“That’s awful,” Sentinel replied in a pained voice.

“Yes, it is,” Bucky responded. “You know I love you a great deal, right?”

“Yes father, I know,” Sentinel answered.

“I am glad I changed my mind. I am happy that I bumped into a special grey pegasus… it seems like it was a lifetime ago,” Bucky whispered.

“I am glad you did too,” Sentinel said.

“Sentinel, I have a job for you as my squire. I need for you to take a message to Princess Celestia. It isn’t fair of me to keep you here with me where you might get in trouble and make ponies worry about you. I need for you to slip out of this room, make your way to the great hall, ask the guards for help if you get lost, and I want you to tell Princess Celestia a very simple message,” Bucky said in a low but commanding voice. “And do not betray my position… loyalty my squire, loyalty…”

“What should I tell her?” Sentinel replied.

“Catch me if you can,” Bucky replied.

 

 

 

 

 

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