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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Something was terribly wrong with his family. Sentinel felt his ears burning yet again. Breakfast had been completely disrupted. Berry Punch and Loch Skimmer were on the floor, clutching one another, braying and crying with laughter, Derpy had fallen over onto the table and was pounding it with one hoof, his father struggled to remain in his chair. Thistle had ran into the bathroom announcing her need to pee as she fled. Bon Bon and Lyra remained seated but clung to one another as though their lives depended on it. Rising Star finally lost his seat and fell to the floor with a thump, laughing as he fell. Sparkler was snorting with every laugh she made. Ripple looked embarrassed and tried to ignore the insanity around her.

Even Lugus had lost it completely and made strange avian noises as he clutched at Yew.

“Filly bits… take a pounding!” Berry shouted as she pulled Loch Skimmer even closer.

At the sound of Berry’s words, Sentinel watched as his father lost it completely and his head hit the table with a thump, his barrel heaving. Sentinel wished that he understood what was so funny. Dinky and Piña weren’t laughing, and looked just as confused as he did.

With a shriek, Derpy fell from her chair and slipped from the table. She hit the floor with a thud, her laughter never stopping. She reached up towards Bucky with her forelegs, her eyes clenched shut as she guffawed.

“My filly bits can take a pounding,” Loch Skimmer giggled as tears streamed out of her eyes. She buried her face into Berry’s neck and wheezed as she chortled.

“I can’t beeeeeeeeeeeeelieve they printed this,” Berry Punch heaved.

“I don’t know what is so funny,” Sentinel snapped.

His words fell upon the group like oil upon a fire. Giggles turned to chortles and then turned to guffaws. Sentinel scowled. He had completely incapacitated all of the adults in his family and he didn’t understand how he had done it.

“Accidental innuendo is the best kind,” Bon Bon said as she wiped her eyes. She leaned over and kissed Sentinel, whose scowl intensified. “My little colt is so innocent and sweet. He doesn’t even know why this is funny.”

Sentinel crammed a bite of fried fish into his mouth and chewed sullenly. He wasn’t sure how he felt about cooked fish. He knew that Thistle didn’t like it. He sort of liked the golden fried crispy bits.

“My sweet big brother Sentinel told that General Dunderhead he was full of poop,” Piña said, not understanding what the big deal was. She wanted to say something other than “poop” but Berry had already pulled her aside and warned her about swearing around foals now that they were back home.

“He sure did…Sentinel called him on his crap… Sentinel had a vowel movement,” Berry chortled, barely able to contain herself as she spoke. After she was done speaking, she exploded with more laughter.

There was a thump as Bucky slipped from the table and then there was the clatter of a spoon that fell to the floor. He landed on Derpy and the pair clutched one another, with Derpy rolling over and pulling Bucky on top of her.

“I’m gonna die,” Lyra heaved, sucking to suck in air.

“No puns! NO!” Derpy begged, holding Bucky close.

“What is so funny?” Sentinel snapped, finally out of patience.

“In a few years… not long at all… you’ll be pounding Moonbow’s filly bits,” Berry chortled.

Sentinel choked. The thesaurus said that pounding was another word for abuse and comminute. The slow painful realisation of what he wrote sank into Sentinel’s mind. He felt his cheeks blaze. He thought about the night he had climbed onto Moonbow’s back. He felt a strange heat in his belly. And then, he felt something else. He thought about how soft she was. How she smelled. Her warmth. The way she pounced him and sat on top of him. The heat of her body as she was sitting on him. Certain parts were hotter than others. Sentinel grunted and realised he now shared a problem with his older brother Rising Star.

He was out of his chair in a moment, on his hooves, and galloping for the nearest bathroom door. He ran inside and slammed the door shut, and then quietly hoped that he could die from embarrassment. Worst of all, they were still laughing.

 

 

Bucky followed after Luna on three legs. Luna looked a little better, as though she had finally rested recently. In the distance, The Scorned Mare was tethered and moored. Bucky was glad to see her again, and he worried this might be the last time.

“What of my ship? What becomes of The Scorned Mare?” Bucky inquired.

“She is still yours. She is being upgraded. She is getting the latest in arcano-tech engines. She is being fitted with a new gasbag with a cloud scoop and a compressor. A weapons system is being installed. The interior is being modernised with things like a kitchen and modern plumbing. She is small but charming. I’m paying for this from my own private treasury. She’ll be needed soon,” Luna replied.

“Needed soon?” Bucky asked.

“Celestia and I will speak with you when it is time,” Luna answered.

“Very well then,” Bucky responded.

“Thank you by the way. For making me the godmother of your foals,” Luna whispered.

“You saved me. I get to be with those foals because of you. It is only right that I share them,” Bucky said to Luna as she came to a stop. He stood beside her.

“You will be the registered commander of this vessel. Your rank and command will extend to the Royal Equestrian Navy. This ship will bear a diplomatic flag and any attack upon it will be an act of war upon Equestria. The deck counts as sovereign Equestrian territory anywhere she flies. If need be, treaties, agreements, and articles of surrender can be signed upon the deck and be legally binding. Apart from the diplomatic flag, this ship will be registered within the Lunar Court. Apart from declaring war upon Equestria, an attack upon this vessel will be declaring war upon me directly,” Luna said in a commanding voice.

“Will I be able to moor her in Ponyville?” Bucky asked.

“Perhaps,” Luna replied. “Tricky docking a ship this size.”

“This ship is small. I chose the hull because of that,” Bucky said.

“Still larger than your average rowboat with a gasbag that is common with the more adventurous aviators,” Luna said in return.

“Something will have to be figured out,” Bucky said.

“Are you ready to return home?” Luna asked.

“Yes and no. I want to head home to Ponyville… I don’t want to be mobbed when I go there. I don’t think I can take it right now,” Bucky answered.

“Barley will be very happy that you are returning home. He has been worried sick,” Luna said to Bucky as they both stood looking at the shipyard. The wind blew and Luna watched Bucky’s long mane and tail billow out off to one side.

“How are you and Barley?” Bucky inquired in a low voice.

“We are close. We are friends. I do not know what will become of us,” Luna answered carefully. “He is very dear to me. He held everything together in Ponyville working as the coordinator between the different refugee camps. He kept ponies calm. Twilight Sparkle finds him indispensable and she values him as a friend I believe, even if they don’t always see eye to eye,” Luna replied.

“I bet Ponyville has changed,” Bucky stated.

“More than you know… Buckminster… there is a delicate issue I must discuss with you. There is a changeling living in Ponyville. You are bound to find out because you are that sort of pony. It is a very important social experiment. His name is Slate and he lives with Lily Valley, Roseluck, and Daisy. He believes he is a pony and he has no idea that he is actually a changeling,” Luna said, watching Bucky carefully as she spoke.

“Does he truly believe he is a pony?” Bucky asked in a strained voice.

“Yes. He does. With all of his heart and mind. More importantly, he loves those three mares a great deal. And they love him,” Luna replied.

“I will keep him safe. He has nothing to fear from me. I will not bring harm to another pony,” Bucky said as he looked down at the ground. “I suppose he feeds on them.”

“Yes. He does. He has been there for a while now. He has grown healthy and very happy. He is still a little feral because he showed up completely mindless. He is our means of study. We’ve learned so much from observing him. My sister… Celestia, she has a plan Buckminster, to bring peace with the changelings. She plans to use Dinky’s magic some day to see if the connection to the hive mind can be severed. She also wishes to see if Dinky can give them free will like Slate has free will,” Luna explained.

Bucky sat down rather suddenly as his brain tried to take in everything Luna had just told him. He took a deep breath, held it, and then blew it out with a flatulent sound as his lips flapped together in an equine sound of stunned shock.

“Dinky is powerful beyond what most ponies could comprehend. She is a telepath Buckminster. That part of her gift hasn’t developed completely, but it will. Right now, she can connect to insects. She can command swarms. She is not elementally aligned though. Her focus lies elsewhere. You did her a favour exposing her to dark magic. I’ve been inside of her mind. She has had her taste of it, and she never wants to experience it ever again. This puts my sister’s mind at ease. Powerful telepaths… mentalists… they can be problematic. Dinky has been scared straight so to speak. She will never wander from a righteous path. You have done for her what I do for others through dreams. You have scared her into complete submission and dedication to virtue,” Luna said as she watched some pegasi lifting up a large section of kitchen counter.

“Should I be proud of that?” Bucky asked.

“It is better that such a lesson comes from a father who loves her,” Luna replied.

“I don’t think I feel good about this,” Bucky stated.

“Buckminster, the sort of harm she could have caused if she strayed from the path of gentle goodness would be immeasurable,” Luna said in a soothing voice.

“Maybe you are right,” Bucky muttered. “Doesn’t mean I have to like it. I did something terrible to her.”

“We shall take you home under the cover of nightfall. There will be guards posted around your home to allow you to settle in undisturbed. The crowds will come. Sooner or later, you will have to face them,” Luna said. “For now, you should return to your family. Are you studying those books I gave you?”

Realising the nature of her last question, Bucky turned to look at her. “Yes Mistress. I am,” he replied.

“My most faithful student… Your Mistress is pleased,” Luna said in a warm voice. “Soon, I will begin Sentinel’s training. Much of it I will be doing myself.”

Luna watched as Bucky rose up on three legs and together, they headed back to the castle in a slow leisurely walk, the Mistress and her student, Luna slightly ahead and Bucky just behind her upon her heels.

 

 

Everything was packed. Evening approached. A somber mood had fallen over the herd. Some were hopeful about returning home, others were terrified of yet more changes. It was a quiet time, and not much was being said. Harper and Peekaboo napped, cuddled up together upon a small quilt laid over a sofa.

Bucky was reading a spell book about offensive transmutation, deeply engrossed in his studies. Sentinel was beside him, reading an officer’s manual. Beside Sentinel sat Rising Star, and Rising Star was busy staring at his letter of nomination with a look of worry upon his face.

Loch Skimmer busied herself with attempting to use a curry comb upon her sister using her hooves and her new manipulation shoes. Ripple sat serenely receiving her sister’s ministrations, occasionally turning to look at Rising Star.

Sparkler was reading one of Sentinel’s officer manuals, her lips moving as she read, trying to commit it to memory. Her eyes were narrowed with concentration and she was wearing the glengarry she had worn to the coronation.

Derpy, Berry, Thistle, Bon Bon, and Lyra were all crowded onto one couch together, bonding and holding one another in a quiet moment, coming together as fellow-wives.

Lugus was sprawled out upon the floor and Yew Wood walked along his back, cracking and popping his spine. The much smaller pegasus looked as though she had felled the much larger griffon and was standing upon him in triumph.

Piña and Dinky were colouring together, both of them laying on the floor and working on the same picture.

A soft knock came tapping upon the door and then it opened. Twilight Sparkle appeared, and there was a whole host of unicorn guards behind her. She smiled warmly as she saw the tribe all together.

“Come, it is time. The unicorns will carry everything. Leave it to them. We must go,” Twilight commanded. “It is time for you to receive the reward that you so richly deserve.”

An excited murmur broke out and the entire tribe began to move…

 

 

The fleet of chariots and the sky wagon moved swiftly through the dark, and the lights of Ponyville were below them. Derpy knew right away that something was off. Her home was near the middle of town and the group was heading past the town. She felt a little worried but said nothing. Maybe something had happened to her home…

Bucky, sharp eyed as he was in the dark, could make out the refugee camps on the outskirts of Ponyville. The campfires blazed and tents could be seen. There was a lot of new construction all over town. He saw the library tree as they passed overhead.

Finally, the group slowed and began their descent. It was Berry that slowly began to recognise where they were. Her old farmhouse. It had changed. Lights blazed from the windows. It had been expanded upon and completely restored. The old distillery looked different. It had several wings extending from it, a greenhouse, and it had been completely renovated to the point where it was almost unrecognisable. Berry Punch did a double take. She saw the moon behind the farmhouse. She blinked a few times and realised that there was a small lake where there had once been fallow fields. She could see a long dock extending from the back of the house.

In short time, they landed, and the dumbfounded group all crowded together.

“That’s the new school. We’ve made a few changes. We’re still working on the dormitory towers. Princess Celestia ordered the construction of a kelpie preservation environment. The lake is pony made, becomes quite deep in some places, is fed through underground springs we’ve tapped into, and has been stocked with fish. The farmhouse has been completely rebuilt and has been greatly expanded to fit your family,” Twilight explained in a loud voice for everypony to hear.

Berry Punch barely heard a word Twilight was saying. There was an ivory coloured stallion coming down the steps slowly, his gait slow and pained looking. Berry began to cry when she saw him. For a moment, she remained frozen.

And then, she ran to him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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