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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Berry Punch quietly read the newspaper at the kitchen table. The past few days had slipped into a sort of quiet routine. There was a lot of canning and food preservation to do before winter, a job that Bon Bon and Lyra excelled at together. The pantry was rapidly filling with jars of canned vegetables and dehydrated eggplants. Berry enjoyed working in the kitchen a great deal.

But for now, she was content to sip her coffee and read her newspaper. General Iron Sky was now under fire and backpedaling from his comments. A majority of the population not able to vote had left a lot of feathers ruffled. There were demands for his resignation. Mares were demanding their right to serve. The voting process and its details had been released, and the votes would be held soon.

The official title of the new government was a major source of curiousity for Berry Punch, and it was something she would have to study. Crowned Confederacy. Equestria would be broken down into regions and special powers would be given to the local regions to allow each to run to the best of its abilities. Cloudsdale had no need for a farming oriented government like Ponyville, the paper offered as an example. Each region would have its own representatives in due time. Absolute power would be held by the crown but only used in times of crisis and unrest. Each region would, in time, know how to govern its own needs best. Each region would eventually be given its own Stable of Representatives.

Berry took another sip of coffee. Government tailored to the needs of a specific region sounded pretty good to her, and each region being able to act autonomously sounded even better. There was no good reason for a representative in Cloudsdale voting about the farming issues or water distribution rights in Ponyville other than for reasons like vote trading, which would only gum up the political process.

Turning a page, Berry continued to read and ignored the anarchy all around her. Across the table, she could hear Barley clearing his throat. Any moment now she expected for him to start shouting that running needs to be done outside, not indoors. She ignored Piña’s pleading cries for help because Sparkler would not stop blowing raspberries on her belly.

“FOALS NEED TO RUN OUTSIDE YE LOUSY LITTLE GITS!”

Sighing contentedly, Berry was thankful to be home and have all of her herd together again.

 

 

Tilting her head off to one side, Loch Skimmer listened carefully to Fluttershy singing. Humming really. The singing would start soon enough when the music within took over. Remembering everything Fluttershy had told her, Loch took a deep breath and sang from her stomach.

“TRALALALALALA LAAAA LAAA LOOOO LAAAAAA LOOO!”

The echo of her voice came back to her from the trees. A flock of birds flew away, now terrified, streaking the trees and ground with white as they departed.

“Ooh… my…” Fluttershy whispered. “Such a powerful voice you have… I’ll try to call the birds back and we will try again. Their little backsides must be puckered by now. Poor little birds.”

Frustrated, Loch sat down with a thump. “What am I doing wrong?”

“Oh your singing is wonderful,” Fluttershy said. “But, um, well, there is a tiny bit too much volume. Maybe we should have you whistle… maybe that would be best,” she stammered nervously, uncomfortable with offering any sort of criticism.

“But I thought I needed volume so all of the birds could hear me. If I sing really loud, I can effect more birds in one area, right?” Loch asked.

“Try calling the birds Loch. Whistle. Just close your eyes, think about gentle happy thoughts, and whistle,” Fluttershy instructed.

Doing as she was told, Loch closed her eyes, puckered up her lips, and began to whistle. She thought about all of the things that made her happy. Harper and Peekaboo. Seeing somepony after they had been gone for an hour or two. The time did seem to stretch on forever when somepony she loved was away from her. She thought about moments of laughter with Berry Punch. She loved all of her mothers, but Berry Punch was special.

“Ooooh keep going,” Fluttershy coaxed.

Digging a little deeper, Loch Skimmer thought about those most special in her heart. Sparkler, Rising Star, and Ripple. She thought about the different sorts of affection she had for each. She loved Sparkler, but she loved Sparkler in a different way than she did Rising Star. She thought about Ripple. She thought about comforting Ripple during those private moments where all the pain finally came up to the surface and Ripple would cry bitter tears. Fiercely private moments that no other ponies were even aware of. Loch felt something in her heart swell.

The sky around her was filled with the sounds of birdsong and Loch felt a sense of triumph.

 

 

Rising Star watched as the Royal Solar Corps of Engineers surveyed the site of what would soon be his forge. The pegasi, earth ponies, and unicorns worked together, efficient in every movement they made, marking off with stakes the perimeter of the building. Ground was going to be broken today. Apparently, getting the forge going was a priority of the Crown, and Rising Star felt a small bit of pride that he and Bucky’s services were so desperately needed.

“This has to be some kind of dream come true for you,” Sparkler said in a solemn voice.

“This was a dream I didn’t know I had,” Rising Star admitted to his wife.

“You don’t seem so depressed,” Sparkler commented as she sidestepped a little closer to Rising Star and watched the engineers working.

“I’ve been feeling a little bit better actually,” Rising Star replied. “I think ponies are going to vote for me. I don’t know if I will win, but I know they will vote. My forge is being constructed. Bucky and I have talked about me teaching in the school when it is completed. I don’t feel so worthless. So much seems to be depending upon me now.”

“You were never worthless,” Sparkler said in a comforting voice.

“Celestia’s meditation trick has helped me. I’ve heard the fire talking to me. It has a voice just like she said it did. It wants things from me. And not burn down everything sorts of things. It wants me to create. To make things. It whispers words of purpose in my ears when I manage to tune everything out and listen,” Rising Star explained. “I can hear the sun talking to me,” he whispered in a very low voice.

“I’ve been reading… our elemental attunements make us what we are. I’m not connected to fire, lightning, or ice. It’s funny, I always wanted to be a pegasus. It was a dream of mine. But yesterday, while reading about elemental alignments, I discovered that I am an earth pony with a horn. Well, maybe not a real earth pony, but earth ponies tend to be geomantically aligned. There are earth ponies that can talk to rocks. And the rocks supposedly talk back to them and tell them things. If fire talks, then the rocks probably talk as well. Maybe I should spend some time trying to listen,” Sparkler said to her husband in a low voice. “This all sounds so crazy.”

The pair watched as sky wagons pulled by pegasi came in for a landing in the grassy field some distance away. Building supplies and raw materials were being delivered. More workers were arriving.

It was shaping up to be a productive day.

 

 

“So I said, tulip-ortation? Petal powered magic? Are you crazy?”

Groaning, Bucky looked pleadingly at Twilight who was sitting across from him in the library of the farmhouse. Twilight looked to be in just as much pain as he was, and he took solace in that fact. Pinkie Pie was truly unbearable at this early hour.

“So you’re telling me that pegasi live in giant gourds in the Isles?” Rainbow Dash asked, bringing up a conversation from a previous day. “Like the little gourds that Fluttershy turns into birdhouses?”

“Yes Dash,” Bucky replied.

“Twilight, why don’t we grow those here? I mean, the housing issue. If we can grow those big gourds and get that magical fertiliser from Zecora, we could grow giant gourds and at least the pegasi would have a home for the winter if we could grow enough. I don’t know how they would keep warm, but it is a sheltered dry place,” Rainbow Dash insisted. “We still need to find a place for the earth ponies though.”

“Oh I am positive the pegasi would find a way to keep warm piled inside of a gourd,” Twilight said, a blush covering her cheeks.

“I could fly out to the Shetlands. I bet I could do it in less than a day. I could get a whole bunch of gourd seeds. I could be there and back again in three days, tops,” Rainbow Dash boasted.

Twilight Sparkle pursed her lips together and looked thoughtful at Rainbow Dash’s words.

“It is a sound idea. We could easily hang the gourds from trees. If need be, we could probably find a way to put them on a crude foundation and have them on the ground as well. Craft a simple door to keep the weather out. Not an ideal house, but it would allow ponies to make it through the winter with some kind of shelter. We’d need hundreds of gourds though. I don’t know how many,” Bucky said while gesturing with his stump.

“The first gourds we grow would provide seeds for more gourds. We’ve been experimenting with magical fertiliser, the food grown from it is… off. The food is greatly enlarged, but offers no more nutrition than say an apple of normal size. It hasn’t been a solution for feeding the masses. But the gourds wouldn’t be for eating. Just living in… and already giant gourds would become even larger…  Rainbow Dash, I am going to need for you to head for the Shetlands. I will write you a letter explaining what we need,” Twilight said.

“Awesome…” Rainbow Dash gasped, her excitement already building.

“Once you have cleared the coastline, you are cleared for as much speed as equinely possible. I will be outfitting you with a tracker to measure your speed. We’ll take care of several tasks all at once,” Twilight Sparkle stated.

“Dashie… good luck!” Pinkie Pie said.

 

 

“Chickens and ducks,” Ripple said as she watched the crates being unloaded from the wagon. She fluffed out her feathers and studied the chickens. “What is to be done with these chickens and ducks?” She had seen chickens in a book, but she knew what ducks were.

“Fresh eggs,” Pinto Bean said, watching his sons unload the wagon. “Maybe for eating sometimes,” he added, shuddering as he spoke. “But eggs are valuable.”

“I don’t recognise that,” Ripple said.

“That’s a goose. There is also a gander in the wagon,” Pinto replied. He sat down and rested his back. “Geese also produce eggs. Big eggs. Delicious eggs.”

“My mother Bon Bon said she is going to start pickling eggs. She wants me to help her so I can learn a valuable skill,” Ripple said as she watched the fowl being unloaded.

“Pickled eggs are good eating,” Butter Bean quipped as he set down a crate full of chickens. He wiped his brow and looked at his father. “This is a lot better than pulling a mine cart.”

 

 

Freezerburn perched on the porch railing and began to preen his feathers. His mate, Philomena, was sitting beside him, cooing softly and fluffing out her feathers. It was time to build a nest somewhere, and this seemed like as good as place as any. There were ley lines nearby in the Everfree, an intersection, so there was plenty of magic in the area to draw from. The nearby forest and swamps were also filled with abundant food, including Freezerburn’s favourite meal, hydra spawn. Just rip off one head, fly away with it, and there was a feast of flesh, eyeballs, and brains. Philomena was more into fruits, vegetables, and seeds, but he did not begrudge her.

He gave his mate a loving head bonk and then squawked loudly to claim his territory.

 

 

 

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