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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An open letter to General Iron Sky

 

Today, I hope to have my say about several issues. First, I’d like to call you out about your idea that only those who have served having the right to vote. It sickens me. I see it for what it is. It isn’t even about just serving, but sexism as well, a word my mother Berry Punch has taught me a great deal about. The majority of the guard are males since only males can serve in combat roles. According to Princess Luna, males make up roughly one seventh to one sixth of our population. A minority by all accounts. Under your policy, around six sevenths of the population would have no right to vote, and those that do vote would likely be pressured to vote in the interests of those higher up in command. This would give a minority overwhelming power over a majority. You sir, are a pompous buffoon. This is not even taking into consideration that of that one seventh, only a fraction of those are serving in the military, the rest are civilians.

This is the rule of the noble houses all over again, a small minority having absolute power over the majority. Is this what we, the ponies of Equestria, want a return to?

Second, the ability of females to perform in combat. Some of the most powerful combatants I know are female. My sister Ripple is a Dragoon and has a destiny mark because of her combat prowess. The Shetland Isles, where I come from, is now transitioning over and allowing females in active combat roles. Should I mention Princess Luna herself, perhaps the greatest melee combatant who has ever lived if certain historical notes are to be believed? And what of Princess Luna’s rumoured Myrmidons, the majority of which are rumoured to be female because the males have trouble completing the training?

I am sick of hearing how fragile mares are and how they need to be protected. I am sick of hearing that mares are the weaker sex. I have grown tired of the notion that only males are fit for combat, and by extension, the right to vote.

I am tired of hearing how something takes balls to do. I am sick of male genitalia being used as euphemisms for power, toughness, and endurance. There is no truth in these statements. As evidence of my own statement, I offer up the following: Once, in play, my sister Piña Colada stepped upon my testicles. The pain was blinding. It was all I could do not to cry. Testicles, balls, the potato sack, there is nothing tough about them. They are fragile. Weak. Soft. One swift strike is all it takes to disable a foe, something my sister Ripple repeatedly points out in conversations about combat.

No, if you want toughness, you have to look at filly bits. Those things were made to take a pounding. Look at the size of a foal and compare it to the hole from which it exits, and then imagine passing that foal out through your colt bits. There is far too much evidence suggesting that mares are tougher than stallions.

My name is Sentinel, and this is my plea to the public. Females, demand your right to serve. Protect our budding right to vote. If you are a female and you wish to serve, please, send a letter to your local paper and let your fellow ponies know. Give good reasons as to why you wish to serve. We now have a public voice, let us use it responsibly.

Squire Cornet Sentinel, son of Knight Major Buckminster Bitters.

 

Sentinel stared at his letter for several minutes. He wasn’t sure if it was a very good letter, he hadn’t really done something like this before, but taking that first step was important. He had to stumble a few times if he was ever going to run. He trembled as he reread his words. He wasn’t sure if the dictionaries and the thesauruses had helped him or not. The letter seemed awful and he was tempted to crumple it up with the others. He snatched it in his grasping digits, folded it carefully, and placed it inside of the envelope. He held a bar of sealing wax over a lit candle, allowed it to soften, shook it to make it dribble upon the envelope, sealing the envelope with wax and then pressed Princess Luna’s royal stamp to the wax leaving her mark imprinted in it. He carefully wrote down that the letter was to go to the Canterlot Trumpet. He blew out the candle and pressed his lips together in stoic resignation.

For a moment, Sentinel was worried that he was going to throw up. He had himself a bad case of nerves. He fought back the queasy feeling in his guts, slipped out of his chair, made his way to the door, exited the door, made his way down the hall, and then delivered his letter to a guard with instructions for delivery.

Feeling even worse, Sentinel made his way back to the room, shut the door behind him, made his way to a sofa, sat down, clutched his stomach, and wondered what to do with the twenty bits promised to him if he wrote something that generated public interest. He had very little concept of money, and Equestria’s economy was only just now recovering. Bits were just starting to be used again. He had no idea if twenty bits was a lot of money or not, nor did he care.

Much to his relief, he felt himself being pulled into Sparkler’s embrace, and he went willingly, without fuss or protest. He felt her kiss the top of his head and he felt comforted. He said nothing as he continued to think about what he had done.

 

 

Bucky was sitting on the sofa enjoying family time when the door opened. There was no knock, no warning, no nothing. Luna strode through with a heavy wooden case held in her magic. Behind her were several unicorn guards.

The wooden case was set down upon the floor with a thud and Bucky recognised it right away. It was the case that held his armor. A familiar looking axe was set down upon the case, and then a set of war shoes.

“These artifacts of dubious origins are being returned to you,” Luna announced. “They are to be used in service of the empire. They are too well made, too useful, and too practical to be destroyed, in this my sister and I are in agreement. Buckminster, once you have constructed an appropriate vault, the orb with the still beating demon heart will be returned to you. You are to be its custodian. It is… usefuland after much debate, my sister and I have decided to take advantage of it. Rising Star, it is my understanding that you are getting a royal commission to work steel for my sister. You are to have access to this orb for certain projects. Once your skill has improved, I may commission you to make Myrmidon armor.”

The room was filled with stunned silence.

After several moments of just sitting there, Rising Star finally spoke up. “I’d be honoured,” he said in a quiet voice. He took a deep breath and looked at Bucky.

“My shoes,” Ripple said as she cautiously crept forward. “And my Master’s axe.”

“Thank you Luna,” Bucky said.

“You are most welcome,” Luna replied.

“Luna, while I have you here, I’d like to bend your ear,” Bucky said.

“I have a small amount of time. Before you bend my ear, you have a meeting with two ponies in just a little while. You will be escorted to meet with them. You and Lyra Heartstrings both,” Luna said in return.

Nodding, Bucky looked around at his wives and saw each of them give a faint nod. He cleared his throat, coughed, more out of habit than need, his lungs hadn’t bothered him all morning, and then looked at Luna. “We… all of us, humbly request your service as a godmother for our foals,” he said at he looked Luna in the eye.

“What?” Luna said, her teal eyes going wide. Her wings fluttered softly at her sides.

“We want you to be the godmother to our foals,” Derpy said.

“Nopony has ever requested this… We doth not know how to respond,” Luna said, falling into old speech patterns as her emotions took over. She took a few steps backwards and her nostrils flared. After a few moments of heavy breathing, her ears drooped down to the sides of her face.

“Maybe there is some formal method we missed out on, but we thought that we would just ask directly," Berry Punch stated.

Thistle nodded. “Want a kelpie foal?” she offered.

“We doth accept thine offer…” Luna said in a strained cracking voice. There was a crackle of magic from her horn and then she was gone, vanishing in a bright flash of blue.

“Is she okay?” Derpy asked as the unicorn guard filed out the door.

“I think she was overcome with emotion. She probably wanted a moment alone to compose herself,” Bon Bon said as the door was pulled shut.

“The only thing left to do now is to get Sentinel legally recognised as my heir and son,” Bucky said as he leaned against Derpy and took  deep breath. “I hope we get to go home to Ponyville soon.”

 

 

Bucky stared at the circlet that symbolised his authority and the torque that marked him as a chieftan. He looked at the note left in the small wooden box containing the two items. He sighed, thankful that his royal title was not “prince” and was something he could live with. He ignored the circlet and instead placed the torque around his neck. It was small, made of braided silver cables, and the two end caps were wolf heads with open roaring mouths. Their eyes were little onyx flecks. The torque was strangely warm to the touch and Bucky suspected it was magical. He would figure out what it did later.

He looked at himself in the mirror, lifting his head high for a moment, and then dropped it back down to his more usual slouching position. He bared his fangs, looking at them, stuck out his tongue and licked them, and then he closed his mouth after pulling his tongue back in. He got a good look at his artificial eye. The black fulgurite in his eye socket was shockingly smooth in contrast to his horn. The tiny emerald in the dead center of the black fulgurite flickered briefly as his mind commanded it to light. He examined his Taint filled eye and briefly wondered how many mana calories he burned from the continuous magical emission. Perhaps a doctor might know. He leaned in close to the mirror and looked at his horn. It was every bit as long as Celestia’s. Black, jagged, with a few places having sharp bladed edges. At a certain angle, he thought he almost looked like a changeling. His long shaggy pelt was shiny and healthy looking now. His sideburns framed his face and they were long and full.

He turned around and stared at his own backside. His hind legs were withered and malformed now. The doctors told him his tendons and ligaments had suffered terrible damage, some of them had been bitten right through. He flicked his tail, which was almost floor length. Such length was unheard of on a stallion and he expected that he would have to endure a few laughs.

Ponies laughing about his tail length were the least of his worries though.

His ribs were still visible but getting better. He had nearly killed himself with continuous magic use the doctors said. His spree of never-ending spell casting had taken a toll upon his body and the consequences were unknown. Constant use of deep magic. The endless nights of creating spells jars and filling them with spells. Creating artifacts. Unicorns were never meant to cast spells for so long with such poor food and so little rest. It was generally accepted by all of his doctors that it had been Berry Punch’s exceedingly rich and nutrient dense teat milk that had kept him going during the final days when he burned through everything he had trying to prepare. Harper had indirectly saved his life.

Without Harper, Berry Punch would have never started nursing. Without Berry Punch, Bucky understood that he would have died at some point, probably slipping off in his sleep or having some sort of magical aneurysm… the possibilities of how he might have died were endless. Such a small thing had made such a difference.

He shook his head slightly and his mane spilled down around his torque. He decided he would wear the torque. He felt as though he had earned it. He would only wear the circlet when he absolutely had to. He liked the torque. The two wolf heads were powerful reminders of what he had faced, what he had endured, and what made him the pony with a horn that he was now.

He smiled at himself. He had to go. He had a meeting with two ponies.

 

 

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