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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Dinky was practicing magic on the front porch and Piña was reading a book when Dinky noticed a brown stallion coming up the road and a pink foal beside him. Dinky remained still for a moment, rubbed her eyes, and then burst into action, running from the porch at the two figures.

A moment later, Piña had left her book behind and was following Dinky.

Piña actually reached Diamond Tiara first, pulling ahead of Dinky, and Dinky arrived a moment later. The three foals fell into a three way hug and Filthy Rich stopped in his tracks to watch them, smiling as he stood there.

“You’re here early,” Berry Punch said from the front porch. “We were told to expect you.”

“Sorry, Diamond Tiara was most impatient,” Filthy Rich said apologetically as he began to approach the house. He glanced nervously at the pacing guards and was relieved to see a nod.

“Tell me everything,” Diamond Tiara said, still clinging to Dinky and Piña.

“Have you made any friends?” Dinky asked.

Diamond Tiara’s face fell and her ears drooped. “Apple Bloom and her friends sorta tolerate me. Nopony else trusts me no matter what I do. I’ve tried to be nice. I’ve tried to be good. I’ve tried to show ponies that I’ve changed. Nopony is willing to give me a chance.”

Piña squeezed even harder to try and make Diamond Tiara feel a little better. “You look good. I mean, you look normal again.”

“Been a long summer for me,” Diamond Tiara said. “I’ve missed you both. Well, tell me about the Isles.”

“In a bit. There’s some ponies you need to meet. Like our big sisters Ripple and Loch. And our big brother Sentinel. Well, he’s not here right now but he will be home soon,” Dinky said.

 

 

Berry looked out the kitchen window and watched the foals playing as she served coffee to Mister Rich. “How’s life been?” she asked.

“Lost everything,” Mister Rich replied. “All I have now is my house and my daughter. Lost every single bit I had when the banks went under. The banks didn’t have real money in them. Just accounting ledgers stating how much each account was worth. None of the money in the banks was real. All those bits were off somewhere else. I’m recovering though, making money again and slowly making something of myself the hard way.”

“Sorry to hear that,” Berry said apologetically. “I suppose I ruined a lot of ponies lives.”

“You aren’t responsible. You struck a blow for earth ponies everywhere. You’re a hero,” Mister Rich insisted.

“I don’t know how I feel about the aftermath just yet to be honest,” Berry admitted.

“Not your fault. The nobles did this. Well, some nobles. I actually feel bad about all of them being dragged down by the actions of the upper houses. Fancy Pants, my business rival, he is a remarkably good pony. He deserved better. He had a nervous breakdown not long after the truth came out. He is still consumed by guilt. He had no idea. Night Light and Twilight Velvet… if only all unicorns were like them. So selfless and good. Or Buckminster. There… there are good unicorns,” Mister Rich said as he stared down into the murky blackness of his coffee cup. “I actually became physically ill when I read the transcript of Buckminster’s trial. I didn’t know what to make of it. It wasn’t until I read the well reasoned explanations of what was really taking place that I understood what had actually happened. I don’t know if I could do what he did.”

“He lied,” Bon Bon snapped, still sore over the issue.

Saying nothing, Mister Rich nodded.

“So, found a nice mare to settle down with yet?” Berry Punch asked.

“Funny that you mention that… I am seeing somepony. We’re both very busy but we try to make time for one another. She and Diamond Tiara are starting to get to know one another. She’s a fantastic mare. Her name is Gala Appleby,” Mister Rich replied, still staring into his coffee.

“One of the Apple family,” Berry said, nodding in approval.

“She was one of my secretaries before I lost everything. One of the many ponies I had wronged. She’s making me earn my forgiveness… I like her a great deal,” Mister Rich admitted.

 

 

“So… bees,” Ripple said, cringing as she did so.

“Yeah. Lots of bees,” Diamond Tiara replied.

“Can we not talk about my bees?” Dinky requested.

“Bumblebutt has some issues about her bees,” Piña quipped.

“Coconutbutt!” Dinky retorted.

“Oh no you didn’t!” Piña grunted as she tackled Dinky and began to grapple her sibling into submission for the most hated of all sisterly insults.

Loch Skimmer watched her younger siblings roll around in the grass, trying to wrestle one another into submission. Piña didn’t look like she was trying very hard, so it would be somewhat fair for Dinky. “You don’t seem like a bad sort anymore,” Loch Skimmer said as she turned her attention to Diamond Tiara. “Shame ponies won’t give you a chance.”

“You have us,” Ripple said kindly. “Any friends of my little sisters are friends of mine.”

“Wanna go swimming later?” Piña asked as she gave Dinky a hoof noogie, making sure she didn’t strike Dinky’s horn by accident.

“I’d love to go swimming,” Diamond Tiara replied. “I’ve heard about the kelpie in the newspaper. Thistle, right?”

“Right,” Loch Skimmer answered.

 

 

The chariot landed smoothly and it was Sentinel who stepped off first. Bucky tottered off a moment later and became aware of a group rushing up to greet him. He sighed and braced himself for a tackle, knowing there was probably a pegasus barreling at him.

Sure enough, Loch Skimmer rarely disappointed. Bucky endured the greeting as Twilight Sparkle unhitched herself from the chariot and waved hello. After Loch Skimmer had let go, Bucky saw a blur of pink in his limited day vision. He needed to find his goggles.

The pink blur was not Piña, but was Diamond Tiara. He felt her forelegs around his neck and was surprised by how much affection was in the hug. He felt confused for a moment but didn’t know what to say.

“This is my big brother Sentinel. He’s a squire. Which is a really fancy word for being stuffy and uptight,” Piña said, introducing her brother to Diamond Tiara.

“Pleased to meet you… Piña I am not stuffy nor am I uptight,” Sentinel said in return in a rather uptight fashion.

“You have a fish,” Diamond Tiara observed, seeing Sentinel’s cutie mark.

“A brown trout actually,” Sentinel corrected as he departed for the house, not realising that a filly had been checking out his backside with curious interest.

“My father is inside… he’s been looking forward to seeing you,” Diamond Tiara said to Bucky as she patted him kindly once more. She looked up at Bucky and pain was visible upon her face. She said nothing, understanding all too well what it felt like to be disfigured. “I’m glad to see you home again.”

“I am glad to be home again,” Bucky replied. He then looked at Twilight, who was still stretching her wings and getting her feathers sorted out. He thought about saying something about the real reason he had been brought to the meeting with the mayor, but couldn’t find anything witty to say.

 

 

Settling in at the dining room table, Sentinel realised he needed to secure some sort of a flat writing surface in his cubby under the stairs. He set down his journal, set out some paper, and made the mistake of looking into the eyes of three fillies who were staring at him.

“Come play with us…” Dinky invited.

“You don’t always have to be writing,” Piña said.

“I need to write down what happened in the meeting while it is fresh in my head,” Sentinel explained, feeling a stab of guilt as he looked at his sisters. Their wide pleading eyes were focused upon him and Sentinel knew all to well the power they had.

“I’ve read your stuff in the paper,” Diamond Tiara said. “Especially what you wrote about your family,” she added.

“My brother is getting famous,” Piña remarked.

“We should leave him alone. I am sure he will join us later,” Diamond Tiara said as she cast glance at Sentinel. “I’ve never seen one of your kind before.”

“You probably would have teased him if you saw him before everything that happened,” Dinky said with a faint giggle in her voice.

A pained look crawled over Diamond Tiara’s face and she slumped in place, looking miserable, her ears drooping down to her cheeks. “You’re right… I’d have ran him down and said bad things about what he is.”

“I’m sorry… I said something stupid. Let’s go get you cheered up,” Dinky said as she prodded Diamond Tiara. Dinky felt awful. What was only intended as playful teasing had gone completely wrong.

“But you are right. I did awful things. And that is all anypony can think about. And nopony trusts me now. They can only remember the bad things I’ve done,” Diamond Tiara said as she climbed up into a chair and then rested her head down upon the table. Not looking at Sentinel and with her face smooshed into the table, she asked a difficult question. “What do I call you so I don’t say anything insulting?”

“I am a lunar pegasus,” Sentinel replied, feeling kind of sorry for the pink filly who was slumped over the table.

“Yeah… he’s not bat pony. Just like a solar pegasus isn’t a bird pony,” Piña quipped.

“Or you know, we can just call each other ponies,” Dinky suggested. “I’m a pony with a horn and he is a pony with wings.”

 

 

Lyra and Bon Bon moved around the kitchen trying to figure out what to make for some kind of lunch as a small group sat around the kitchen table and made plans for the future. Lyra, disappearing into the pantry, returned a moment later with a couple of pecks of potatoes held in a magical bubble. She dumped them all into the sink and began to wash them.

Bucky sat at the kitchen table holding Harper to his barrel and trying to soothe the upset foal as he settled in for his meeting with Mister Rich. Harper wanted Lyra’s attention, but Lyra was busy and so Harper was acting as fussy as possible.

Berry, still at the table, watched Lugus talking to the guard and wondered what was being said. Yew and Peekaboo were a short distance away. She sighed and wondered where Derpy was and why it was taking so long for Derpy to come back home.

“Soup?” Bon Bon inquired in a soft voice.

“Potato and shoepeg corn chowder,” Lyra explained in a low whisper.

Hearing her mother’s voice, Harper opened her mouth, shrieked, and then turned on the waterworks for maximum effect. She squirmed in Bucky’s grasp, kicking and thrashing about.

“Reminds me of Diamond Tiara,” Mister Rich said in a wistful voice. “She’d cry until she had her way. She had a set of lungs that had to be heard to be believed.”

“Harper… hush,” Bucky said, patting Harper on the back with his stump. Of course, the foal did not listen and Bucky pondered saying “hush” again to quiet his wailing foal.

 

 

“It is great seeing you again,” Cheerilee said to Derpy as the pair sat down. The earth pony studied the grey pegasus and smiled a sunny smile of affection.

“I know you must be very busy, thanks for seeing me,” Derpy said slowly, all too aware that ponies were staring at her and Cheerilee.

“I’ve been worried,” Cheerilee said, her smile never breaking but her eyes were filled with concern. “And then I read in the papers about everything that happened. How is Dinky and Piña?”

“They’re fine… mostly. Still recovering I think. They need for life to get back to normal. Routine. You know, the day to day stuff that makes life what it is,” Derpy responded. “Is there going to school in the fall?”

“Yes… but the classroom is going to be overcrowded. We’re still busy trying to figure out what to do,” Cheerilee replied.

“I need to register Dinky and Piña… and I need to get Sentinel some placement testing. Is there going to be a problem with Sentinel attending school? He’s-”

“A pegasus,” Cheerilee interrupted. “Just like you. I would hope there would be no problems,” she said, her voice now wavering with hidden concern and worry. “If there are any problems I will attempt to deal with them, but I am overwhelmed. They want to place over fifty foals into my classroom somehow and it will be me all by myself,” Cheerilee explained.

Derpy heard fear in the earth pony’s voice. Real fear. Her smile remained as bright as ever, but it was a false smile, the sort of smile you give to let everypony know everything is okay as the disaster continues to progress.

“The orphanarium will have its own school. At least that is promised, but there are currently no teachers available. And if it does ever happen, that is going to take a while. A lot of foals won’t be attending school this fall. I already have your foals marked down for registration because I knew that you would be meeting with me the moment I saw your return in the newspaper. I wish all mothers were as dedicated about their foals education as you are,” Cheerilee said, her eyes becoming glassy with emotion.

“I still wonder where Bucky is going to find teachers for his school,” Derpy said.

“Everything is still being rebuilt. It is education that suffers the most during these times. Nopony sees it as a necessity. They don’t understand that foals need a sense of routine so they can feel as though their lives have returned to normal. If something isn’t done, this is going to leave a scar in the education of this generation. I’m scared… ponies don’t understand that we are going to be rebuilding for the next fifty to one hundred years… an entire generation. And it is the foals alive right now who aren’t being properly educated that will be the ones forced to deal with the reconstruction,” Cheerilee explained, her smile fading away and replaced with a look of genuine fear.

Derpy did not know what to say. She stared at Cheerilee, trying to think of words that simply were not there.

 

 

 

 

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