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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Derpy looked around the room at her herd and wondered what came next. This was their last night here. Tomorrow, they would return to Ponyville. Bucky was on the floor, mobbed by foals, and quietly reading them a book about a mouse that was a knight and had a needle for a sword. Ripple was becoming increasingly heated as she continued to lose to Lugus. Loch Skimmer was busy trying to figure out how to use a spoon with her hooves. Sentinel was studiously peering into a dictionary as he worked on a crossword puzzle. Sparkler was busy writing something, but Derpy didn’t know what it might be. Rising Star was meditating, hovering inches off of the floor and a large wisp of fire burned above his horn, contained in a magical aura to trap the heat. Thistle was trying to find some comfortable position to lay down in on the couch. She flipped, she flopped, and no matter what she did, she couldn’t get comfortable. Yew Wood and Lyra were discussing motherhood and exchanging helpful tips. Bon Bon and Berry Punch were quietly discussing something in the newspaper and looking at Bucky as they talked.

Every pony was accounted for.

Derpy was exactly two decades old, and only barely out of her own teenage years. She had a lot of responsibilities for a mare her age. She thought about her mistakes, her triumphs, her failures, and the things she needed to work on to be the sort of mare her family deserved. She understood she was far from perfect. She had done her best so far, up to this point in her life. She had sacrificed everything she had for Dinky and Sparkler. She thought of a Nightmare Night, her last Nightmare Night as a teenager, and how she had dressed up in paper bags so there would be enough money to get Sparkler and Dinky good costumes. Now, there were others. So many others. Harper and Peekaboo were the smallest foals in their tribe. Little Peekaboo was not her foal, not directly, but it was agreed that the whole tribe would raise her. Derpy was quietly ready to give up anything to provide for her family. Her herd. Her tribe.

There was an angry cry from Ripple as she lost and a loud squawk of triumph from Lugus. Derpy smiled. Ripple was competitive, even for a pegasus. Derpy thought of Rainbow Dash and wondered how she was. Derpy wondered if Ripple and Loch would get along with the pegasi of Ponyville. She had fears for Sentinel and how he would fit in.

There was a faint knock at the door. Derpy slipped from the couch and made her way to the door, smiled her best smile, and pulled the door open. A unicorn was holding a scroll in his magic. Reaching out her wing, Derpy took the scroll, nodded, and gently shut the door. She looked at the scroll. It was addressed to Lord Rising Star.

“Rising Star,” Derpy called.

With a snort, Rising Star snapped out of his meditation and his flame vanished in a poof. He looked up at Derpy, blinking, trying to clear the white mana residue from his eyes. He had been in deep focus, following Celestia’s advice about communing with fire. Fire had a voice.

“You have a letter,” Derpy announced.  She held out her wing and the scroll.

Grasping the scroll with his magic, Rising Star levitated it over to himself, popped the seal, and opened the scroll. He began reading. The script was fine, flowing, and very official looking.

Derpy watched as Rising Star’s face scrunched up and a worried look appeared on his face. She moved through the room swiftly, worried that it could be bad news. She went to his side and was ready to comfort him. “What is it?” she inquired gently.

Rising Star looked up from the scroll and his eyes darted around the room. Everypony was watching him now. His magic fizzled and the scroll drifted down to the floor. “I’ve been nominated,” he said.

“What?” Sparkler asked. “Nominated for what?”

“I’ve received over one hundred nominations so far… for the Stable of Representatives,” Rising Star answered in a stunned voice. “In a week, after more nominations have been collected, I will be formally asked if I have a desire to run and have ponies vote for me.”

“What about school?” Derpy asked.

“We can get tutoring,” Bucky said in a very serious voice. “Private education. Geared towards politics.”

“Are you going to accept?” Loch Skimmer asked.

“How could I say no?” Rising Star said, blinking slowly and trying to take everything in. “I mean, serving others. Somepony has to do the job. This is a test of idealism. To see if ponies will do this job without pay for the good of the public. If I say no… if I said no… well… I… somepony has to say yes and set an example,” he stammered.

“But you know nothing about politics,” Bon Bon said.

“Perfect,” Berry said.

“Perfect?” Bon Bon asked.

“Well, he’s going in honest. And you’d better come out honest too, or Bon Bon and I will kick your sorry little star covered plot all over Ponyville,” Berry replied, her gaze narrowing and settling upon Rising Star. “Don’t think that we won’t. Ask Bucky what happens to ponies that lie.”

“They get slapped. And rightfully so,” Bucky said as he rubbed his cheek.

“You are going to be a busy pony,” Sparkler said. “Metalworking, school, working as a representative, and you have three wives that need your attention.”

“I need to know how to beat Lugus,” Ripple said with a snort.

“A warrior is only as good as their mind,” Lugus said patiently.

“Are you even old enough to run?” Lyra asked.

“I must be. I’m nominated. I’m considered a legal adult because of my marriage,” Rising Star replied. He looked down at the scroll on the floor. He took a deep breath and then looked at everypony around him. “I need to be alone,” he announced. Not saying anything else, he stood, trotted off towards the room that he and his wives were staying in, and then shut the door behind him.

“I wonder what his parents are going to say,” Sparkler said after her husband had vanished. She heaved a sigh and stared at the bedroom door, tempted to go in after him.

 

 

“I don’t understand how he has so many nominations,” Sparkler said in a quiet voice to Berry Punch. She was sitting on the sofa now, worried for her husband, who was still secured in their room.

“He’s been in the paper so much already. He was the quiet voice of reason during the treaty signing. How that made it into the papers and became so prominent, I’ll never know. Sentinel’s letter to the paper. Rising Star is… well, a rising star,” Berry replied, looking Berry serious.

“He is a young voice that many of the troubled younger generation can relate to. They’ve all been held down by the system. Rising Star is a pony they believe will share their points of view,” Bon Bon said, her brow furrowing.

“Everything is moving so quickly. I feel so overwhelmed. Stuff just keeps happening. I need time away from everything. I’m not doing well,” Sparkler admitted to the mares sitting on either side of her.

“Brace yourself Sparky. Tomorrow, we’re heading home to Ponyville. I imagine that things are going to become even more overwhelming for a while,” Berry Punch said, wrapping her foreleg around Sparkler and giving a squeeze.

 

 

Peekaboo watched her daddy’s tail. It was interesting. It wasn’t like her tail at all. It was long, skinny, fuzzy, furry, and had whole bunch of feathers at the end of it that he used to tickle her. She liked to hold on to it while she was sleeping. Daddy wasn’t quite a pony. She missed her mommy, but she had a whole bunch of new mommies now and that made things a little better. She remembered water, she remembered everypony crying, and she remembered flying away with her new daddy, along with a bunch of other foals.

She wished she knew where her mommy went, but it didn’t bother her much anymore. She only thought about it sometimes. There were too many interesting things to explore to be sad.

Peekaboo the foal was in an unusual position. She was at the peak of her imprinting stage, the stage where she would learn the most about the world around her. She had a whole herd of ponies to learn different behaviours from, and there was a griffon as her central paternal figure. Most foals at her stage of development had two parents and possibly a few siblings to aid in their development and help to formulate their budding behavioural patterns. Having such a diverse social structure around her was going to make her psychology as a herd animal unique to say the very least.

She watched as her daddy’s tail swished, turned her head around to look at her own tail, and then tried to move her own tail in a similar manner. Her tail had too much hair. She scowled, her little face contorting with foalish frustration, and then gave up trying to make her tail move in the manner she desired.

“No,” Peekaboo muttered.

She turned her attention on Harper. Harper was wobbling around on her little legs and slowly exploring the world around her. Harper was too little to play with very much. The other foals were too big to play with, they had their own fun, and Peekaboo had trouble joining in.

Peekaboo grunted. Boredom was a terrible thing for a foal of any age.

 

 

 

 

I am still having trouble understanding everything my father had to endure after we arrived in the mainland. His trial does not sit well with me. I still have nightmares about it. Only instead of branding him, they cut off his head and everypony is laughing about it. I hope I am never tasked to slay a dragon like my father was. I don’t know if I have the same sort of courage as he does.

I have seen a side of my father that I was not aware of. His total lack of respect for authority. He is an authority figure, I mean there is no doubting this, but he acted like a foal on the day of his coronation. I am still having trouble putting all of my thoughts and feelings about that day into words. Watching him as he ran from his responsibility has affected me in ways I do not understand. He was so gleeful. It was all a game to him. He ran and he expected them to give chase. I don’t understand. He faced his trial fearlessly, repeatedly saying he regretted nothing. He was defiant. He never ran from his trial. He endured his branding. My mother Derpy tells me that he made no move to stop what was happening. But he ran away when it was time to claim his rightful reward after everything he had endured. I just don’t understand my father at times.

I miss Moonbow a great deal. Once again, I am the only lunar pegasus around. I understand the choice she has made. I accept it. I can only hope that I make choices to make myself worthy of everything she is sacrificing. I get to sleep in a comfortable bed and eat sweets. She has to try to find a way to sleep covered in iron weights and shackles. One day she will be an unstoppable juggernaut of motherhood. (I like my new thesauruses - I hope I use brackets right)

I don’t know what sort of knight I will be. Will I be a knight in shining armor? Will I fight with hoof, fang, and muscle? Will I fight with words? My mother Lyra says that wars can be fought with words. Words have power. My father has his armor and his unbreakable will. Lugus has an axe. A really big axe. I am not sure what I have yet.

I need time to get away from everything and have quiet moments again. I can’t think in all of this chaos. I think everypony is starting to go crazy. Tomorrow, we depart for Ponyville. I don’t know what to expect.

I am actually quite afraid.

I must go. Peekaboo has pounced on Lugus’ tail and there is quite a commotion.

 

 

 

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