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 flexed her wings and braced herself for what was coming next. Flying to her old home, having a look around, and then beginning the process of registering her foals in school. She was not looking forward to heading into town and facing all of the other ponies just yet.

As she stood there, she had a moment where she wasn’t sure that she could do it. Her sense of introversion screamed at her to stay. She was only aware of her introversion because of Berry Punch, who had quietly explained it to her during a long chat one day.

She looked at the guard and grinned sheepishly as she stood there flexing her wings. She became slowly aware of the fact that what she was doing might be considered a plumage display. She felt a hot creeping heat working its way up her neck and through her wings. She closed her eyes and thought of how she felt when Bucky touched her, her reaction was identical.

As she took wing, she actually noticed for the first time the extra weight in her belly as she flew and she could not help but smile as she went soaring off into the sky.

 

 

Stepping slowly off of the chariot, Bucky looked around Ponyville. An old familiar friend returned, and he felt a sharp spike of panic go lancing through his barrel. Ponies were staring at him. A few looked afraid. Some looked curious. But every eye in the general area was focused upon him. And probably Sentinel as well.

“It’s rude to stare.”

The voice was loud. The voice was commanding. The voice was right to the point and said what needed to be said. The voice was Sentinel’s. Bucky turned around and glanced at Sentinel briefly, remembering not to stare. It was rude.

“We must be going,” Twilight said, giving Bucky a gentle nudge.

Not quite sure what else to do, Bucky raised his stump and gave a wave before going into city hall to attend to the meeting.

 

 

Feeling irritated, Lyra pushed the newspaper away from her and levitated her cup of tea to her lips. It felt good to be back in civilisation again. She took a swallow and then chewed on a cold scone while looking at Bon Bon and Berry Punch.

“Sentinel’s letter to General Iron Sky has generated a lot of controversy,” Berry remarked.

“Sure has,” Bon Bon quipped.

“I cannot believe that Celestia herself has responded to this issue. I mean, I keep wondering if she actually did it or if her assistant did it for her, you know what I mean. Pledging support for female guard members, saying that it is time for a change,” Berry said, gesturing at the paper.

“And what does your feminism have to say about this issue?” Bon Bon teasingly asked.

“It tells me that it would be really sexy to have a fellow herd member in uniform,” Berry replied without missing a beat.

 

 

Clicking his beak together to get Peekaboo’s attention, Lugus crouched. “Look little one… like this,” Lugus instructed as he pounced. His leap carried him for almost a good twenty feet and he landed solidly on all fours, his claws digging into the earth. “Now… try to pounce upon the grasshopper. Keep your front down… keep your little hindquarters up… legs taut but flexible.”

Peekaboo assumed the position, narrowed her eyes, splayed out her small stubby wings, and then she pounced, missing the grasshopper completely.

Yew balanced on her haunches and clapped her front hooves together.

“She didn’t catch the grasshopper,” Lugus stated.

“But she tried. So I am clapping,” Yew replied.

Lugus shrugged. “I will defer since you know more about this than I do. When I failed, I was beaten with a rod or a cane and disciplined.”

“That’s horrible!” Yew protested.

“Results were rewarded. Failure was punished. I am the strong griffon that I am today because all weakness was ruthlessly carved away from me,” Lugus explained.

Frowning, Yew shook her head sadly. She watched as Peekaboo attempted to pounce upon another grasshopper. “Griffons seem so cruel.”

“We are,” Lugus admitted.

“You’re not,” Yew said, raising her voice slightly. “Don’t you dare lump yourself in with them you big lummox!”

“I left home for a reason. Somehow, I retained my own individual sense of honour. It did not sit well with them,” Lugus said. As he was speaking, he reached out with his talons and snatched a grasshopper in mid leap. He tossed it into his beak and swallowed once he was finished talking.

“The way you speak has changed,” Yew observed.

“I try to talk more like ponies,” Lugus said in return. “We are mimics. We copy the sounds and speech of others, we griffons.”

“Well, why don’t you come over here and talk sweet to me? Tell me all about my expressive little face and how it makes you feel,” Yew said enticingly.

Seeing an opportunity, Lugus pounced.

 

 

It was very difficult to hold back the yawn that pounded upon his fangs like a prisoner upon iron bars. Bucky envied Sentinel’s ability to be completely enraptured by a droning presentation of civic planning. Bucky shifted in his chair and rested his weight against the table. Even by his old accounting job standards, this was boring and tedious.

Finally, Bucky could take no more.

“This is all fine and good to prattle on and on about daydreams… what are we doing for the ponies of this town right now?” Bucky interrupted.

The room went as silent as a long occupied tomb.

“The proposed memorial fountain does absolutely NO GOOD TO THE REFUGEES RIGHT NOW!” Bucky continued, releasing his frustration. “And I am pretty sure they would be in trouble if they tried drinking from it or bathing in it,” he snarled.

The mayor gulped loudly and backed away from her presentation board.

“Surely something useful comes out of these meetings eventually, progress is clearly being made, but think of how much further we’d be down the road of progress without all of this useless drivel!” Bucky bellowed. Out of the corner of his surviving eye, he saw a remarkably smug look upon Twilight Sparkle’s face that was entirely too much like his own. Could ponies have a striking family resemblance after one thousand years? Bucky didn’t know. But he felt a sudden moment of kinship with the alicorn.

“Give me the budget,” Bucky demanded.

Looking suddenly nervous, Ivory Scroll, the mayor, looked pleadingly at Bucky. “We have accountants and city treasury officials who deal with-”

“GIVE ME THE BUDGET!”

The mayor’s secretary hurried forward, lifted the folder, and handed it to Bucky. She then retreated, fleeing the room with her tail tucked between her legs and her ears pinned to her skull.

“Really there is no need for-”

“I am a certified accountant with a long history of getting results. Just ask Mister Rich,” Bucky growled, cutting off the mayor once more. He lifted the folder and began to look over the proposed budget. His face turned into a terrifyingly sour scowl and another assistant fled the room.

“This can go… this can go… this is stupid… if the surviving rich ponies of the town demand gardening service along the public walks bordering their properties, they can pay for the service themselves. I am all for city beautification but this is patently ridiculous. Nope. Nope. Certainly not. Why? That’s gotta go. With the funding cut from there this can be raised… city employees do not need an expense account at the most expensive restaurant in town during these troubled times. What in Tartarus is this? A joke? The expense account gets more money than the school funding for Miss Cheerilee? RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!” Bucky said as he slashed away savagely with his pen.

Twilight Sparkle covered her mouth with one fetlock and coughed demurely. She then turned to Sentinel and gave him a wink that only Sentinel could see.

“Why do the wealthy get trash pick up twice a week while everypony else gets trash pick up once every two weeks? THAT’S GOTTA GO! What a load of horseapples… why is it that every tree in the town grows wild and free except for where the wealthy live? Why do those trees require so much money for pruning? I bet somepony has a really cushy job with a stupidly high wage for doing nothing more than lopping off a few branches now and then… that’s gotta go. THIS IS NOT A BUDGET! THIS IS A FAT CARCASS WAITING TO BE DISEMBOWELED! DIE DIE DIE DIE!”

Sentinel covered his face with his hooves and sunk down in his chair. This was side of his father he had not seen, and he wasn’t sure he ever wanted to see it ever again. The force of his father’s pen strokes caused ink to spatter along the wall and it was like blood from a gutted animal spraying forth in rhythmic spurts. His father’s savage ferocity was terror inducing and Sentinel hoped that he never did anything that evoked his father’s excitable ire.

“I’ve quintupled the education budget after I’ve gutted all of the perks for the wealthy. Cheerilee will be getting a much needed raise. The city is now running in black ink. We could probably lower taxes, but I am not even certain about the tax situation during these difficult times… that section of the budget is missing…” Bucky said as he shot an accusing glance at the mayor. “Also, I have completely killed the funding to all of the accountants on payroll that created this budget. I’ll be taking over this department. It will save the city almost a half a million bits a year and I’ll do this for the reasonable sum of SACKING THE ENTIRE ACCOUNTING DEPARTMENT!”

Mayor Mare flinched as she backed into corner.

“I’ve taken that lump sum of money that would normally be spent upon an army of accountants and I’ve spent it instead on the new orphanarium. The funding for which was criminally low. Are there any objections?” Bucky said, tossing the folder down upon the table.

“No… no I think that about covers it,” Mayor Mare said politely.

“Well, I am glad this meeting was so productive! In the first half we took care of all of the issues involving our new school, and in the second half, the dragon that was the city budget was slain by our noble knight. I feel as though we accomplished something today!” Twilight announced in chipper tones.

“We sure did,” Ivory Scroll, the mayor, replied in terrified tones, her tail clenched tightly between her hind legs.

“And you kept assuring me that everything that could be cut from the city budget was being cut… tsk tsk. It seems there was a lot to cut from the budget and your staff simply wasn’t looking hard enough,” Twilight said in an impossibly cheerful voice.

“I know what I’ll be writing about for my next open letter to the editor,” Sentinel said.

 

 

The house was dusty and quiet. Everything was right where it was left it seemed. Derpy stared at the spot upon the wall where her husband had smashed his head into it. Up the stairs and down the hall was the bed where she had watched over him and had truly fallen in love with him. This house was where it had all started.

Nopony had bothered her as she had flown in to town. A few had looked at her, a few had flown close, but she had not been disturbed by anypony.

She remembered coming home and finding the house full of popcorn and macaroni noodles everywhere, and the crunching sounds they made under hoof.

Derpy made her way up the stairs to retrieve a book for Piña.

She roamed the house, going from room to room. She made her way to Sparkler’s room. She peered around, her eyes roaming over the table that Sparkler used as a desk. She opened the wooden box that her daughter kept her treasures in. She saw a diary and lifted it out with her hoof. Placing it on the table, she opened it and had a look. The last few pages were all about how much she loved Rising Star and how happy she was to have a father. She stuffed the diary into her saddlebags with the book for Piña and moved on.

Much to her surprise, this house no longer felt like home.

 

 

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