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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Bucky sighed and waited for his family to gather around. He was tired, it had been a long night, and more than anything, he wanted to tell his family about the news and then go to bed. He rubbed his face with his right fetlock and settled back into his chair as more and more ponies and a very large griffon packed into the living room.

Looking around, he saw that everypony was here and he cleared his throat to get their attention. “Some news. Well, several bits of news. First off, I am sending the guards away. We’ve settled in and had our private time. So expect visitors. The guards are clearing out before noon today and it will be made known in Ponyville that we are accepting visitors but we don’t wish to be mobbed. So I don’t know what is going to happen,” Bucky announced.

“Ooh strangers…” Loch Skimmer murmured.

“Hush Loch, before I have to find something else for you to do with those lips of yours,” Rising Star said amorously as he leaned in and kissed her.

Waiting, Bucky laughed quietly as he paused for the pair to finish.

“Second order of business. Celestia and Luna want Twilight Sparkle and I to head to Griffonholm to deal with a diplomatic crisis. I will be leaving before the month is out,” Bucky stated.

“Oh you’re not going alone!” Bon Bon said. “You’ll get in all kinds of trouble without us.”

“We need to stay here. School is starting. Foals need to stay so they can go to school. Plus, we have doctors visits and all kinds of other things for those of us who are pregnant,” Derpy said.

“Sentinel will be going with me. I need my squire,” Bucky said to Derpy in a gentle voice.

“No! Sentinel is staying here to go to school… he’s a smart colt with a future as a writer,” Derpy argued.

“Let me put this another way. Princess Luna wants Sentinel to go so he can be schooled in diplomacy with hooves on experience. As my squire and as a potential knight, diplomacy will be one of his many tasks and obligations,” Bucky explained.

Scowling, Derpy folded her forelegs over her barrel and glared at Bucky, her brows furrowed. “Then you take care of whatever you need to and you hurry home. I want my colt in school. Today he has placement testing along with Ripple and Loch Skimmer.”

“I get to go to Griffonholm,” Sentinel said in a low voice.

“Ripple is traveling with us as well,” Bucky stated. “Lugus is coming and he is required to have his squire present. Ripple also needs to learn diplomacy.”

“YES!” Ripple cheered, pumping her hoof into the air repeatedly.

“A trip to Griffonholm,” Lugus said in a low voice, his beak snapping together several times as he spoke. He smoothed back his crest with his left talons and tried to not look disturbed.

“Sorry old friend. Celestia insisted on you going. She wants an example that griffons can peacefully coexist with ponies. She wants you to take Yew Wood and your foal too,” Bucky said.

“This is dangerous,” Lugus said.

“I know,” Bucky agreed.

“Wait, dangerous?!” Derpy snapped.

“Griffons are duplicitous treacherous creatures,” Lugus stated.

“Not all of them,” Yew retorted, slapping Lugus with her wing several times as she spoke.

The big griffon cringed away from the small by comparison mare and gave her a pleading glance to make her stop. When she finally relented, he stroked her softly, and then tugged on one of her ears gently.

“I’m going,” Lyra stated.

“I guess this means we are taking Harper,” Bucky sighed.

“Of course,” Bon Bon answered. “I’m coming too. You… you will get into trouble and cause all sorts of bad things to happen if somepony isn’t there to make you behave.”

“You make him behave!” Derpy commanded.

“You know I will,” Bon Bon said as she shot a glance at Bucky.

“Maybe there will be a big fight and I’ll get to punch stuff again,” Ripple said excitedly.

“Ripple!” Derpy barked.

Slumping down and becoming completely submissive, Ripple dropped her gaze to the floor and looked guilty. She wiggled behind her sister Loch Skimmer and tried to hide from Derpy’s disapproving glare.

“If there is trouble, you kick plot and you kill stuff. No playing around Ripple. Death strikes, not crippling blows,” Sparkler commanded.

“Sparkler!” Derpy shouted angrily.

“Sorry mother… she might be your daughter, but she is my herdmate, and I am her matriarch,” Sparkler argued.

Her mood souring completely, Derpy fell silent and looked at Ripple, who was hiding behind Loch with a pleading expression in her eyes. “If there is trouble… you do whatever you have to do to come home safe and we’ll sort out whatever happens after you come home.”

“Yes mother, I understand mother,” Ripple replied.

“And I am not your commanding officer,” Derpy muttered.

“In a few days, I will be heading to Saddle Arabia, far to the south. I will be returning home by train. I will be guarding that train, along with a whole bunch of Myrmidons and Twilight Sparkle. Lugus, you have been requested to come along. No squires. Not for this. We are expecting heavy resistance along the trip. Witching Hour and Tiddlywinks will be here to keep all of you safe. If something happens, YOU LISTEN TO THEM OR SO HELP ME… look, just listen to them if there is a crisis or something happens. Respect my wishes,” Bucky commanded. “Rising, if something happens, if being the operative word here, if there is trouble, you burn down anything that threatens our family. That goes for you as well Sparky. Petrify anything that threatens you. And when I am gone in Griffonholm, you will be responsible for their protection then as well.”

“I understand father,” Rising Star acknowledged, bowing his head slightly.

“If need be I can summon my protectors,” Dinky offered. “I don’t want to hurt anypony, but I don’t want my family hurt either. If something happens… bees.”

“What abou-”

“Ripple,” Bucky interrupted. “It goes without saying. You do that hoof-fu thing that you do.”

“Yes! Permission to punch something so hard it explodes,” Ripple cheered, looking nervously at Derpy as she did so.

“I feel inadequate,” Loch Skimmer whined.

“Why sis?” Ripple inquired.

“Well, Rising is a living bomb, Sparkler is an unstoppable stone statue, my sister can punch things and make them explode… and I’m just kinda here. Useless. I don’t think I can fight. I feel like we are supposed to be the protectors of this family. Bucky depends on the three of you to keep his foals safe and his wives safe, and I’m just sorta useless,” Loch explained.

“You are not useless! You are my sidekick!” Berry Punch said. “My pervert pupil… but more than that, my daughter. You keep Sparkler and Rising Star sane, and you keep your sister leveled off. Say you are useless again and I will slap you so hard it’ll make your head spin.”

Loch offered up a half smile and sniffled a bit.

“You help to keep my boners warm,” Rising Star whispered into Loch’s ear, making the filly giggle uncontrollably. He then wrapped a foreleg around her and hugged her.

 

 

After discovering he could not sleep, Bucky prowled the property. There was a lot to do today. On the side of the school away from the house, just inside the treeline, there was a massive half buried lump of granite that could be shaped into a nice tower for Witching Hour and Tiddlywinks.

Above him, a hot air balloon towed by a pegasus was being pulled along, and a pony waved from the basket of the hot air balloon. Bucky lifted his stump and waved back.

The guards were packing up and getting ready to go. The engineers building the forge were already hard at work for the day. A carriage house was also planned for construction, but the location was not yet determined. Today, a massive supply of sand was to be delivered for Bucky. Fine sand of the highest quality, and kept in large storage containers. Also on today’s list of things to was to survey a site to build homes for the earth pony groundskeepers and future servants.

Bucky tried to keep his mind focused on what needed to be done, and not upon the unicorn that had died last night. The strange mystery that the unicorn represented was perplexing to Bucky. There was trouble brewing, and Bucky wasn’t sure what to do.

As he hobbled along, he saw Witching Hour and Tiddlywinks already hard at work for the day, covering everything in protective spells. They seemed rather sedate and relaxed all things considered, and Bucky was glad that they had found some peace.

The earth ponies he had hired were hard at work already, and he noticed that they seemed rather happy. They were still thin looking, and Bucky worried about them a great deal. A nurse was coming out today to check their hooves since they had been living in a camp.

Finally, he found who he was looking for. “Come Piña, time for a magic lesson. Let’s see if we can get something to happen today.”

 

 

Berry Punch pulled Thistle closer and planted a few kisses along her neck, making Thistle giggle softly while squirming to break free.

“Don’t get me worked up Berry,” Thistle tittered.

“But your talent is sex appeal. Your cutie mark gives me ideas,” Berry whispered. “And these pregnancy hormones just make me want to hug and squeeze everypony I love. And shag them.”

“My back hurts,” Thistle explained.

Berry pulled away, looking berry serious. “Need some time in the lake? Or a hot soak in the tub? Anything I can do?”

“A backrub might be nice,” Thistle said in a quiet voice.

“Okay, but you have to make those cute little squeaks that you make,” Berry insisted.

“Deal.”

 

 

Rarity moved through the crowd carefully, wearing protective booties over her immaculate hooves. She was taking no chances. There was a positively dreadful disease going around. The mid morning sun was almost unseasonably warm today, and she could feel her pores threatening to make her glisten alluringly as she trotted.

As she moved, she thought about Coco, who was at the depot, taking inventory of all the supplies to distribute. It was dreadfullywarm Rarity realised as she thought about her dear friend. Coco’s attention to detail was already indispensable and and Rarity wondered how she had ever done this job for so long without her.

Arriving at the processing office, Rarity wiped off her boots and stepped inside.

 

 

Loose Leaf, the incredibly organised earth pony, watched Rarity as she entered, and waited for Rarity to catch her breath. Rarity looked flustered about something today, and Loose Leaf was a little worried about the news she had to give Rarity.

“Loose Leaf, how are you this day?” Rarity said in a cultured voice.

“I am doing well,” Loose Leaf replied.

“You look worried, dear,” Rarity said.

“We have a situation,” Loose Leaf reported, deciding not to waste any further time.

“We do?” Rarity asked, her voice vaguely pouty and filled with concern.

“We have a camp resident that just arrived early this morning from the Unicorn Range. I don’t know what to do with her. It would be a bad idea to simply leave her in a camp,” Loose Leaf responded.

“Why?” Rarity inquired.

“She… she is deaf and dumb. I don’t know if there is a kinder way of saying it, forgive me if my words are heartless or harsh,” Loose Leaf answered in a hesitant voice.

“Oh my,” Rarity gasped. “With all of the trouble going on, she wouldn’t be able to hear any sort of alarm or warning. She wouldn’t be able to cry for help. Oh… this is just dreadful.” Rarity flounced into a chair with a huff and fanned herself with a booted hoof.

“There is one more problem with her. It has already been causing some minor trouble,” Loose Leaf mentioned, worried about Rarity’s mercurial moods.

“And that is?” Rarity questioned.

“She’s a donkey,” Loose Leaf replied.

“Oh. I thought it was a problem. It is like ponies being afraid of zebras or llamas. How gauche… well, that complicates things,” Rarity fumed as she continued to fan herself.

“Any ideas where we can keep her safe?” Loose Leaf inquired.

“Hmm, give me a moment,” Rarity hummed.

Loose Leaf turned away from Rarity and returned to reading her well written and thoroughly detailed report written out for Twilight Sparkle. Hoof rot, fleas, lice, and a terrible infestation of an extremely hardy species of pubic lice were becoming too common in the camps. Incoming refugees were dwindling. New arrivals would be turned away soon, sent off to other places, like Vanhoover. Winter in Vanhoover was excruciatingly cold however.

“I am having a marvelous idea,” Rarity said. “My… rather… uncouth… friend Barley could probably use some help for his gardens. It is a busy time of the year. Certainly she could pull a cart or help out in the garden, even without hearing or speech.”

Looking thoughtful, Loose Leaf nodded. “That is a good idea.”

 

 

 

 

 

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