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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The citizens of Ponyville saw a strange sight overhead. Princess Twilight Sparkle pulling a chariot with two large frozen chunks of ice following along behind her, surrounded in a magenta glow. A few sighed and went about their business, Ponyville was a strange place after all, a couple stopped to stare, a few took photographs of the event, and one older mare fainted.

The chunks of ice were massive, larger than the largest buildings in Ponyville. One was dropped off in the lake that had formed behind the hydroelectric dam and the other massive chunk of ice was plunked down in the freshwater reservoir. Once that was done, the chariot went streaking off, and the strange spectacle was over.

The mare who fainted would never fully recover and would spend the rest of her days fearing the invasion of the giant flying icebergs, always keeping a wary eye upon the sky.

 

 

At home once again, Bucky sniffed and smelt something delicious. He paused, sniffing, watching as Twilight Sparkle zoomed off again towards Ponyville. The chariot was parked once again by the school and the guards paced around the perimeter of the property. So far, no massive mob had shown up.

Something stunk of delicious garlic and onions. Bucky teetered up the steps and made his way indoors, sniffing with every step. As soon as he cleared the door he was nearly bowled over by Loch Skimmer who rushed to greet him and plant kisses all over his face.

“Dinner will be done soon. Lyra has made an enormous amount of baked eggplant lasagna layered with cheese. Several pans are cooking in the oven right now. There is also going to be garlic bread and a spinach with alfalfa and bean sprout salad,” Bon Bon announced.

“Some of the foals and a few family members will have to sit at the kitchen table,” Lyra said informatively as she paced by the stove and looked in the oven window. “I hope there is enough. We need a bigger oven.”

“I knew we’d be a large herd, I dinnae know you’d be founding a tribe,” Barley groused.

“I keep wondering how I am going to get back and forth to work… I don’t even have my learner’s permit to fly yet,” Loch Skimmer said as she walked Bucky to a chair, nudging him along with her wing. “I don’t even know where to show up for work… nopony told me anything.”

“Don’t worry about it lass, it’ll all sort out in time ye pretty little cuss,” Barley said as he sat reading the paper. He lowered his paper and looked at Bucky, one eye narrowed. “Somepony went and hired the earth ponies in the garden as groundskeepers.”

“Is that a problem?” Bucky asked.

“Nay, I’m prood of ye fer doing it,” Barley replied as he hid his face behind his newspaper.

“We need to grow bell peppers!” Bon Bon shouted from the kitchen.

“Celery!” Lyra added.

Strolling casually into the living room, Derpy took a seat next to Bucky. She leaned on him and kissed him softly on the cheek. “Our son has made himself a hiding place under the stairs. He’s calling it his cave. Once he is done fixing it up, he plans to invite you inside. Seems you had some hiding places in school and Sentinel was quite impressed.”

Chuckling, Bucky nodded.

“Dinky and Piña have a new friend they’ve been playing with,” Derpy said.

“Who?” Bucky asked.

“A little earth pony foal named Citrus Summer,” Derpy replied.

“Good. This pleases me. I don’t want the hired help being treated poorly or somehow unequal. I want their foals to get along with our foals,” Bucky said. “I remember how my family treated the help. Makes me feel sick to my stomach just thinking about it.”

“Calm down,” Derpy whispered soothingly. “I think we’re all better than that.”

“I want to be better than them,” Bucky groaned in an insecure voice.

“You are,” Derpy said, smooching him on the cheek.

“Quit yer bellyaching… ye did good lad. And if anypony treats the help poorly, I’ll be giving them such a tongue lashing,” Barley grumbled from behind his paper. “Besides… I has me a soft spot for the wee orange filly.”

“You just love foals,” Derpy said to Barley.

“Aye. I do,” Barley replied. “Eh… they're gonna put all that empty space in Canterlot to good use. Building the Stable House. A place for all of the representatives to gather an vote on the issues at hoof. I like where this is going.”

 

 

“Eggplant?” Sentinel asked in a curious voice.

“It’s delicious,” Piña said just before jamming a bite into her mouth.

Looking down at her plate, Ripple struggled to hold a fork with her hoof. She was still getting the hang of things, but she had perfect control over her body. Usually. Controlling her manipulation shoes was another story.

“I don’t understand silverware,” Yew said, looking down at her utensils. “Looks like you could stab your lip with the fork.”

“I already have,” Ripple muttered. “During breakfast I stabbed my gums.”

“This really smells good,” Yew commented.

“Mmm hmm!” Dinky nodded, her mouth full of lasagna.

“This might be better with meat in it,” Sentinel quipped.

“Gross! Who would put meat into lasagna?” Piña responded.

“Maybe little slivers of deer,” Sentinel mused.

Piña puffed out her cheeks and made a gookie face.

Dinky laughed and Lyra started to laugh as well. Yew giggled around a mouthful of food.

“Piña… what am I going to do with you?” Lyra asked.

“Love me,” Piña replied.

Lyra looked at the foals around the table and was glad to be sitting with them. She watched as Sentinel finally tried a bite of eggplant. She watched him chew slowly, his expression blank. She felt her muscles tense. She waited, hoping that he would like it.

A moment later Lyra felt as though she had made a major accomplishment when Sentinel dropped his muzzle to his plate and began to noisily savage his food, devouring it in large wolfish bites. It was pretty much the highest form of compliment she could hope for.

“He was hungry,” Yew commented as she watched the lunar pegasus colt scarf his food. She followed his example and planted her muzzle into her plate and began gobbling.

“Sentinel has his own little hiding spot,” Piña said between bites. “We want a hiding spot.”

“Yeah!” Dinky agreed with her mouth full.

“He needs a place to have a little privacy. That’s important to him,” Ripple said. “He’s in a house full of fillies and mares.”

Piña chewed her food thoughtfully, looked at Sentinel, and thought about making a comment about him needing a place to hide his boners. She swallowed and then said nothing. She couldn’t say something that mean about her big brother. Then she began to chortle as she realised that he had a place to hide his boners… Moonbow. Someday. For some reason, the thought didn’t seem as icky as it once did.

“I am an apprentice to an all powerful archmage. I need a proper study,” Dinky said with a few dramatic gestures. “I need a secret location.”

 

 

Chewing on his garlic bread, Bucky came to one simple conclusion. He swallowed, smacked his lips, and then looked around the table. “This butter is flavourless.”

“I was just thinking the same thing,” Derpy said, her ears perking forward. “I miss the butter on the isles.”

Suddenly feeling many eyes looking at her, Berry Punch looked up from her plate. “What?” she said, her mouth full of salad, a little bit of oil and vinegar dribbling out as she spoke.

“You are such a gifted pony…” Bucky said as he turned his sole surviving eye upon Berry.

The earth pony mare begin to giggle as she was eating, dribbling more oil and vinegar as she did so. She wiped her face with her foreleg, stabbed a big slice of eggplant, stuffed it into her mouth, chewed, and then swallowed.

“So full of milk,” Bucky said as he licked his lips. “And I bet Bonnie would have sweet milk.”

Bon Bon blushed and then began to chortle.

“Ach, so ye discovered the secret of the wunnerful butter o’ the isles,” Barley said. “I say, ye should run her down and milk her fer being a saucy little tart. Been too long since I’ve had proper butter.”

“Conversation over food is never boring in this tribe,” Lugus said. He tried a bite of the lasagna and held it in his mouth for a while to get a taste for it. Lugus, being semi-omnivorous, could eat small portions of things not meat and not have too much trouble in his stomach.

“It’ll be all garlicky now,” Derpy complained.

“Mmm, garlic butter,” Bucky said as he ate a bite of salad.

“Rising, honey, are you gonna milk me someday?” Loch Skimmer asked.

Upon hearing Loch’s words, Rising Star nearly choked and Barley whacked him on the back. Snorting through his nostrils for air while his mouth was still full, Rising Star tried not to laugh. Beside him, Sparkler was about to fall out of her chair and everypony at the table was laughing.

“Well, dairy should come from trusted family members,” Barley quipped. “Pegasus butter is too thick to spread when its cold. I can remember Berry’s father milking me sister right at the breakfast table so we’d all have fresh milk.”

“Well, this just got weird,” Sparkler said before jamming a big folded up lasagna noodle into her mouth along with a big runny glob of cheese.

Recovering from his laughter, Rising Star felt an odd pressure in his horn. His sinuses suddenly felt clogged and his entire head felt stuffy. His ears popped, then popped again, and he felt something pressing on the back of his eyeballs. A puff of fire exploded from his horn and then a scroll landed on the table between his glass and his plate.

“Ow,” Rising Star said as he rubbed his head with his hoof. He lifted the scroll with his magic, broke the seal, and saw one word. “Testing,” he read aloud. “I don’t think I like this new mail service.”

He felt the terrible pressure building again in his head and he clenched his eyes shut. “No,” he moaned, not enjoying this sensation at all. A second later, there was another big poof of fire and a second scroll landed on the table. Rising Star groaned wordlessly and had to hold his head up, his eyes still closed.

Levitating the scroll, Bucky popped it open to see what it had to say. “Instructions for return mail coming soon. Sorry about the headache. You can actually do something that Twilight Sparkle cannot do. Love, your fellow pyromancer, Celestia,” he read.

“More mail is coming?” Rising Star whined.

Suddenly, Bucky clutched at his head and everypony at the table watched as tendrils of shadow snaked around his horn. After a few moments, the shadow coalesced into a scroll and landed on the table, being the crescent moon symbol of the Lunar Court.

“Ugh, haven’t I suffered enough…” Bucky muttered.

 

 

Barley sat in a reclining deck chair watching the moon rise up over the trees, his bones aching and tired. It has been a long day. Convincing the camp leader to cooperate had taken some serious cajoling and all of the charisma he could muster. He looked over at Sentinel, who was sitting beside him.

“Aye, yer a quiet sort,” Barley quipped.

“I have trouble expressing myself sometimes… I find it is easier to write. I can think about what it is I want to say and carefully put the words together,” Sentinel replied.

“The trick to talking well is saying what ponies want to hear, while remaining true to yer own self, and saying what ponies need to hear, all at the same time,” Barley confided.

Staring up at the edge of the moon that was peeking over the trees, Sentinel did not know how to respond. The stars twinkled overhead. There were crickets and frogs. Owls hooted. Whippoorwills cried. The night air was sweet and rich with scents that only Sentinel could smell.

“Ye had to watch yer father do a right awful thing and endure a terrible trial,” Barley said. He heard a whimper from Sentinel and a pained expression crossed over his own face. “Reading that transcript killed me. I understand that ye were there.”

“I was,” Sentinel replied.

“Yer father, and make no mistake nephew, he is yer father in every way that matters, said what some ponies wanted to hear… but even with all the awful things he said, he stayed true to himself and his ideals, and then said what needed to be said. Bucky is a right good lad. He’ll grow old and wise if he lives that long,” Barley explained.

“I worry about that,” Sentinel confessed. “He runs away from silly things… foolish things. I don’t understand it. He ran away from his own coronation and hid. But he willingly walked into the lair of a crystal lich. He runs at danger, not from danger. My father confuses me.”

Taking a deep breath, Barley considered Sentinel’s words carefully as he gazed up at the starry sky. The night air was warm and pleasant. Fireflies danced in the grass and over the lake, which was currently kelpie-less.

“My father is going to get himself killed one day… I don’t think he will suffer from old age,” Sentinel stated in a solemn voice. “I… love… I love him so much.”

“A stallion could not ask for a finer colt,” Barley muttered and then fell silent to enjoy the sounds of the dark sacred night all around him. He loved the night… and he loved its Mistress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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