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


245. 245

Lugus came in fast and hard, holding a long wooden pole. Ripple blocked each of his attacks, his swings, his thrusts, and one particularly vicious overhead chop. Her hooves ached from the impacts, but her hooves were growing tougher and tougher each day. For her hooves to become hardened, they had to absorb heavy painful blows and heal.

She was now able to block things that would have made her shriek with pain a month ago.

Lugus stayed airborne, hovering just above the ground, and Ripple stayed on the ground, obeying Lugus’s rules. Aerial combat would come later. The filly and the griffon moved with perfect grace, it was almost as if they were dancing.

However, the large lump on Ripple’s front leg and the enormous bruise over her rear hip was evidence that this was not a dance. When Lugus had the chance, he struck and he struck hard. Ripple was getting better and better, offering fewer and fewer chances for Lugus to land a blow. Occasionally, she managed to tag him. Lugus had his own collections of bruises, lumps, and abrasions.

With each blow, with each strike, Ripple screamed and cried out. It kept her breathing, as each scream required a deep breath. It manifested her rage. It also kept her adrenaline flowing. She was a fierce deadly creature now, already approaching peak physical condition for her age, and she was young. She had her whole long life to perfect her art.

Lugus suddenly let go of a flurry of attacks, not hard, but fast, coming in an endless stream. Ripple blocked, kicked away, or evaded most, but a few slipped in and the wooden pole caught her sharply on the right shoulder, making her cry out in pain rather than fury or anger.

The violence suddenly stopped and Lugus tossed the pole away. He landed, folded his wings, and then looked patiently at Ripple.

“What did you do wrong?” Lugus inquired.

“I was… too… confident…” Ripple gasped as she collapsed into grass, panting with pain and squeezing her eyes shut as she rubbed her shoulder.

“Yes,” Lugus agreed.

“I… I should… should have… I should have eased off. Not retreated, but backed off and gained some distance when the fast quick assaults began,” Ripple admitted, her eyes squeezed shut and tears slipping from the corners as she spoke. She tried to flex and rotate her shoulder, cried out wordlessly, and stopped mid motion. She went limp in the grass and laid still.

“You okay?” Lugus asked.

“It hurts… but it hurts more that I was stupid. I was feeling cocky,” Ripple confessed. “You are too big to move as fast as you do.”

Letting out a squawk, Lugus sat down in the grass and then made a laughing sound deep in his throat. He reached up and began to rub a large lump on his sternum, his crest high, and his tail swishing back and forth slowly.

“You are the most extraordinary warrior I have ever seen,” Lugus admitted. “To have so much potential at such a young age. One day not long from now, we will be evenly matched you and I. Already, you put me on the defensive far too much. In my homeland, such an admission from a warrior like myself, a knight, would be shameful. I would likely be punished. Maybe even put to death for dishonouring myself. But I am proud to have you as my squire.”

“Thanks,” Ripple responded, looking up at the big griffon and smiling.



Piña wasn’t sure what she was feeling, but she was feeling something. Her hooves tingled and she could smell ozone in the air, just like she could smell it when unicorns were casting a spell. She felt squirmy and itchy all over. Her knee had a pinchy feeling.

Beside her, Bucky had his eye closed and he sat on his haunches, balanced and calm. He had not slept, but was surprisingly well focused for having been awake all of the day before, up all night, and now part of today. He felt lucid. He felt collected. He felt strangely serene and realised that he loved this farmhouse and the surrounding land.

The calm was completely disrupted with Piña’s right front hoof burst into flames.

Piña shrieked right away as her pelt singed and her skin began to blister. Bucky responded immediately upon opening his eye, sucking away the flame and the heat, and replacing it with a soothing cooling sensation. He lifted Piña in his magic and looked at her leg. The burn was superficial and she was missing a little hair.

“You okay Piña?” Bucky asked.

“Yeah… I think so. Scared me more than anything,” Piña replied. “It was all hot and then I smelled burning hair. My knee had a pinchy feeling.”

“Hmm,” Bucky hummed, taking a mental note. “Go inside Piña. Tell somepony what happened. And they’ll slather some salve all over it and you’ll feel better in no time.”

“I made magic happen again,” Piña said.

“Yes you did. But you don’t seem to be able to cast spells at a distance. I am guessing that the magic manifests at your hoof and goes no further, meaning everything you cast will have to be touch based magic. Unicorns have spells that only work with an actual horn touch. I will have to ask Twilight for a book if she has one. Certain spells will be very dangerous for you because of proximity. If you can learn to control fire though, it might have some uses. You would be able to light candles or possibly be able to heat things by touching them with your hoof,” Bucky explained.

“That would be awesome. I’d love to do that,” Piña said as she was set down in the grass.

“Good girl. Now go inside and get that looked at,” Bucky said, gently patting her on her backside to send her on her way.



“I wanted to give Sparky a proper marriage ceremony when we came home,” Derpy said glumly to her fellow-wives in the kitchen. “But everything is all messed up. We came home and our home is all strange and weird now. I wanted to have a big party of some sort where we could all celebrate our marriage together. Give Sparky and her herd a proper ceremony, and a chance for all us to celebrate our love.”

“Keg Smasher did a fine job of bringing us together,” Bon Bon said as she sat at the table drinking coffee. She first took a sip, then she took a swallow, and finding that it had cooled just enough to do so, she took a long pull from her cup.

“Parties weird me out,” Lyra whimpered. “I am still having nightmares about the coronation. I can’t believe I let you all talk me into going into a room packed with so many ponies. I kinda wish that Bucky would have let me tag along on his adventure.”

Stirring her coffee with a spoon, Berry smiled. “I think Sparky and her herd are happy.”

“If we wanted to help them celebrate, all we would need to do is give Loch Skimmer a big tub of frosting and have Berry whisper a few ideas into her head,” Bon Bon said in a low voice, a broad smile on her face.

“I got burned.”

Every mare in the room froze, and motherly instinct kicked in instantaneously. Every head turned. There were five distinct sharp intakes of breath. Thistle let out a low moan of concern.

“I made magic with my hoofy and it caught on fire. Daddy put me out. I’m missing some hair and it blistered,” Piña explained.

Berry slid from her chair and went over to Piña, looking at her leg. “We’ll put some burn ointment on this and it’ll be okay,” Berry cooed soothingly.

Rolling her eyes, Piña snorted. “Don’t treat me like I am a foal.”

“I’m treating you like you are my foal. Because you are. Bratty little sister or not, you are my foal. And I will worry about you if I feel like it,” Berry groused.

Leaning forward, Piña kissed Berry on the snoot. “Thanks…”

“Don’t mention it,” Berry replied.



Seeing Cheerilee again made Bucky feel rather nostalgic for the time when he was just falling in love with the two mares who had started all of this. Her saddlebags were full and she trotted at a brisk pace, moving with the easy grace that all earth ponies seemed to posses when walking down dirt roads, each step causing a puff of dust to ripple outwards from her hoof.

He realised he could only see her in detail when she was close. He really needed to start wearing his dark smoked glass goggles in the daylight, but he couldn’t figure out where he had placed them. He had tried conjuring them up, but they were nowhere to be found. Sentinel was missing his pair as well.

“Hello Bucky,” Cheerilee said. “Or should I call you something else now?”

“Bucky is fine,” Bucky replied. He went still as Cheerilee drew close.

He could feel her breathing on him as she drew near, looking at his emerald eye and his horn. He could hear the sharp inhales of shock as she studied him. He heard her make a sad sound in the back of her throat, a low whimpering sound.

“They did a number on you,” Cheerilee whispered. “I’m so sorry.”

“Thank you,” Bucky said graciously.

“Ready to be an educator?” Cheerilee inquired.

“Very much so. At least foals don’t try to devour you alive,” Bucky replied. He recoiled, regretting every word he had just said when he saw Cheerilee’s look of disgust and horror.

“I… I suppose black humour is how you deal with it,” Cheerilee squeaked.

Slumping, Bucky did not know how to respond.

“You did a brave thing. You did a good thing. I’m sorry you had to suffer,” Cheerilee said.

“I have my reward,” Bucky said, hoping to comfort the stricken looking mare.

“Being a prince?” Cheerilee asked.

“No,” Bucky chuckled. “My wives. My foals. They’re all I want.”

Reaching out, Cheerilee gently stroked the withered side of Bucky’s face. She ran her fetlock over the spiderweb of scars tenderly. “I wish I knew what to say about that. I am glad they make you happy. I seem to be short on clever phrases and pithy sayings lately.”

“Actually, when you get done testing, I want to talk to you about my plans. How would you feel about teaching here? At my school?” Bucky questioned.

“I know nothing of magic,” Cheerilee answered.

“No. I plan to teach all kinds of ponies here. Together. Little unicorns working side by side with earth pony alchemists and clever pegasus researchers. Or anything really. I want them all to work together. As a group. Trusting one another. I want earth ponies and pegasi to be part of the learning process for unicorns learning magic. I want troubled unicorns to make friends… and learn the magic of friendship. I have plans,” Bucky explained.

“We’ll talk later,” Cheerilee replied. “But yes… I would be willing to work here doing something like this,” she offered.

“Oh… Cheerilee… watch out for Loch Skimmer. She’s a good filly… but she can be a little… blunt,” Bucky warned.

“I’ll keep that in mind but I have been teaching for a long time. I doubt she could say anything that I haven’t heard before,” Cheerilee replied, smiling brightly as she did so.

“I hope they do well,” Bucky said as Cheerilee headed off to the house. Once she was a safe distance away, Bucky grinned. “She doesn’t stand a chance with Loch.”



Bucky was watching the sand being unloaded from fleet of skywagons when a worker pointed out that he had two visitors coming over to see him. He stood up, turned, sat back down, and waited for his visitors to get closer so he could see who they were.

One was a white pony… and the other was a brown grey looking pony.

When they drew closer, he squinted and stared. One pony had incredibly long ears.

“Prince Buckminster… we haven’t been formally introduced. I am Rarity, one of Twilight’s friends, and I am here on a mission of mercy.”

“Just Bucky will do,” Bucky replied.

“Bucky?” Rarity said, her mouth contorting into a distasteful moue. “Oh my goodness… oh dear… you poor thing… you’ve been… been…”

Hearing Rarity fall silent, Bucky took a deep breath. “Yes. I know. My face. My horn. My everything,” he said, holding up his stump.

“Perhaps a clever application of makeup would help you recover your… rugged good looks,” Rarity suggested. The tacky looking jewelry around his neck certainly didn’t help and she considered suggesting that he take it off. Just as she was about to say so…

“What brings you here?” Bucky asked, feeling mildly irritated.

“Oh… oh of course. Oh dear, it slipped my mind. I have with me a donkey. She is young. I am not sure how young. I don’t know what age she is to be honest. She is deaf and mute. I thought she would be safer out here away from the camps and the city of Ponyville. She couldn’t hear alarms or cry for help if something happened. She’s defenseless,” Rarity explained.

“So you want me to look after her and let her stay here as hired help?” Bucky asked.

“Oh… yes… that is exactly what I was hoping… if I might trouble you, it is quite a long walk to make it out here and I am in desperate need of visiting the powder room,” Rarity demurely stated.

“Be my guest. Just walk right in. Somepony in the house will show you,” Bucky offered.

“Oh what a perfect gentlestallion you are!” Rarity cried as she trotted away.

Bucky watched the donkey staring at Rarity as the white unicorn mare trotted off. He saw the donkey roll her eyes and heard her snort. Reaching out, he gently prodded her, making her turn to look at him.

“Can you understand me?” Bucky inquired, moving his lips slowly.

The donkey stared at him for a moment, her expression quizzical. After several moments of consideration, she nodded slowly.

“Reading lips?”

Again, she nodded.

“I am guessing that the well meaning unicorn named Rarity treated you like you were stupid instead of just being deaf and dumb?”

The donkey nodded enthusiastically.

“She meant well.”

Shrugging, the donkey snorted.

“Can you pull a cart? Are you good at manual labour?”

The donkey shook her head no. She lifted a hoof to her mouth, made a faint coughing sound, pressed the hoof to her throat, and then flung out her leg and shook it. She then pointed to her other foreleg and prodded the muscle.

“When you got sick it messed up your body and left you weak?”

The donkey froze for a moment, looking very surprised. She blinked a few times, and then her eyes narrowed at Bucky. She leaned her head forward, nearly touching his snoot with her own. She snorted.

“One of my best friends is mute. We had long conversations.”

The donkey jerked her head back, her eyes going wide again. She cocked her head to one side and then prodded Bucky with a hoof.

“You’re not that different from an earth pony.”

The donkey’s nostrils flared for a moment. An intense look blazed in her eyes. And then, she slowly smiled.

“So you can’t work in the garden much. At least not heavy labour. You seem smart. Can you read? Write?”

The donkey nodded frantically and looked at Bucky with pleading eyes.

“You probably really want to communicate. Do come up to the house with me. I bet you’re hungry. You look thin. My instincts tell me you are a foal still, no matter how you might protest. You seem more adult because you are quiet and serious and subdued.”

The donkey looked shocked and peered at Bucky once again with narrowed eyes. Reaching out, she booped him on the snoot.

“Okay, you’ve made your point. You can be playful. No need to be sarcastic about it.”

The donkey’s jaw dropped open and her ears drooped forwards as she continued to stare at Bucky in disbelief.



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