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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Much to Bucky’s relief, Rarity had pressing business elsewhere and departed quickly, saying “ta ta” and telling him that a finely tailored suit would do a great deal to ease the “distracting imperfections and unsightly blemishes upon his slender masculine form.”

Bucky understood that Rarity was a good pony, but he found her mannerisms rather irritating, and he figured that it would be better to take Rarity in small doses. Having her around, even for a short time, made him feel all the more grateful for his own wives.

The donkey was scarfing down leftovers as fast as Bon Bon could serve them, and showed no signs of slowing. The poor thing was clearly starved, and Bucky felt genuinely bad for her. She had no manipulation shoes it seemed. She was light grey, dappled with golden brown spots, and her muzzle was white. Her mane was black and her tail seemed exceptionally long by any standard, with a thick tuft of hair at the end. Her tail was currently coiled around the chair leg and Bucky wondered how prehensile it was.

“You poor thing,” Bon Bon said as she set down bowl of reheated cornmeal mush.

“She can’t hear you Bonnie,” Lyra quipped.

“I don’t care, that was more for my benefit,” Bon Bon muttered.

“Is it just me or is Rarity a bit snooty?” Lyra inquired. “I mean, I kinda know her just a little bit. We’ve been to the spa together and we’ve bumped into one another many times now, and I am actually a seething caldera of rage right now that is struggling to hold back crackling electric death because of her repeated “suggestions” on how our husband could improve his appearance and I think my neurosis is getting the best of me.”

Bon Bon hurried away from the table and immediately began to try and soothe Lyra’s frazzled nerves, stroking her and whispering softly into her ear.

Sitting quietly, Bucky levitated a pencil and some paper over to the table and set them down, having them ready for when his guest needed them. He levitated the dirty dishes back to the sink, washed them, dried them, and placed them in the cupboard. There were spells that simplified the process, but low output telekinesis used far less mana calories.

 

 

Words were his friend. Numbers not so much. Sentinel struggled with the math on the test he was taking. He felt sweaty and nervous. He hated tests. Too much pressure. He knew he had done well on the writing part and the reading part. He wasn’t sure about the history part. There was a lot of questions he couldn’t answer. He had been able to name all of the royalty present in Equestria though.

Ripple, sitting beside Sentinel, had a different problem. She had some trouble with words. She could read well enough, and understand what she had read, but writing was difficult. Finding the right words was a tricky business. Math on the other hoof was stunningly easy. One pile of dead bodies when added to another pile of corpses, made for a much larger pile of corpses. All of her math questions that required to her write them into word problems turned into body counts, shockingly well written body counts. Subtraction problems usually involved ripping limbs or heads from bodies and how many limbs were still attached to the body. After much internal debate, the scrotum counted as the mathematical equivalent of two, because there were two testicles that could be ripped free, thereby increasing the number of parts that could be torn from a body, including legs, wings, a head, a tail, ears, four eyelids, a penis, etcetera. Ripple worked with a manic glee, tearing through her math section with ease.

Loch Skimmer approached her work carefully and methodically. Her words were carefully chosen, but simple and plain. She understood what she read, and her written summaries were short, brief, and the central points were focused upon. Her math portions were a bit tricky, but she did the best she could. She felt that she did exceptionally well, she was able to answer every question on the test, but she wasn’t sure if she had provided enough information. This was stuff that Sparkler and Rising Star had pounded into her head when they taught school.

Derpy paced back and forth in the dining room, glowering at her foals, just waiting for one of them to slack off even just a little bit. She walked silently, treading carefully upon the hardwood floor, her hooves making no sound. Her feathers were ruffled and her ears were perked forward.

 

 

Picking up the sheet of paper, Bucky squinted in the bright light of the kitchen and focused on the fine well written print. “My name is Bittersweet. I am one decade and three summers old. I am not stupid. I hate ponies that seem to think that screaming will somehow make me hear them. It only makes their lips harder to read. I do not know where my mother is, but I am worried and scared for her. I am keenly observant with my eyes. My mother and I used to work for a wealthy family of pegasi who worked in the entertainment industry in Las Pegasus. I am an experienced nanny but I cannot provide references. I can talk with my ears,” Bucky read out loud.

He paused, and his muzzle scrunched. He peered at Bittersweet, trying to understand what he had just read. “You can talk with your ears?”

Bittersweet let out a sigh, hunched over a sheet of paper, and began to scribble out words with the pencil in her lips. She wrote slowly and carefully, her eyes occasionally flashing up at Bucky and her ears moving the entire time she wrote. Finally, she finished and lifted her head.

Floating the paper over, Bucky had a look. “Ear language. A movement of the ears that corresponds to each letter of the alphabet, and specific gestures for common words. If you let me stay, I can teach you. I will teach your foals. Just please don’t make me stay outside. I am scared of the dark. I will do anything my dignity allows if you will keep me as a servant,” Bucky read, struggling to focus upon the paper.

He looked at Bittersweet, who was looking at him pleadingly. “Ear language. Something donkey in origin?”

The donkey nodded slowly and her ears twitched.

“I’m guessing it was meant as a way for servants to talk to one another without being heard by your masters. Being seen and not heard is what makes for a good servant,” Bucky said, moving his lips carefully.

Nodding enthusiastically, Bittersweet leaned forwards.

“I must admit, I have concerns about a deaf-mute nanny, but I believe you will be extra attentive with your eyes. Pegasi are persnickety about who they let watch their young, and I have no reason to think you lied. So you must be a good nanny. You are intelligent, you are bright, and let’s be honest, you are in a bad spot. So let’s get a few things clear. You are now my nanny. You will live in this house, you will be given a room, you will be fed, and you will be looked after. You will be paid a fair wage. There are currently two small foals. One is Harper, the other is Peekaboo. There is about to be a lot of foals, so we could use the help. There is going to be two sets of twins soon, and one more foal is going to be here by winter,” Bucky explained.

Bittersweet’s eyes went wide. She gaped at Bucky.

“In over your head?” Bucky asked, a soft chuckle escaping with his words.

Nodding, Bittersweet slowly closed her mouth.

“And I will not require you to go outside at night or be in the dark. Nothing should live in fear,” Bucky said in a gentle voice that Bittersweet could not hear, but he could see the relief in her eyes.

As Bucky watched, tears of gratitude slowly made their way down the donkey’s cheeks.

 

 

Sitting on the porch, Bucky sipped his gin and lemonade. The late afternoon sun was away from the the front of the house, and the porch was gloriously shady and cool. A nurse named Redheart was looking over his earth pony groundskeepers and Bittersweet, his donkey nanny, making sure they were in good health and free of hoof rot.

In the distance, beyond the school, there was a new tower for Witching Hour and Tiddlywinks. It wasn’t too tall, only around eighty feet. It was fairly broad, and the top was onion shaped. Or maybe turnip shaped. It was a massive bulb on top of a flowing column of granite. It needed windows and a door still. Bucky planned to work on making glass later.

Beside him on the porch, sitting on a swing, Sparkler sipped her own drink and relaxed. Her Shivers seemed mild today, or so Bucky noticed, and he felt some relief for her.

“You are getting better at stone shaping,” Bucky said, trying to engage Sparkler in some kind of conversation.

“I need practice. One day, I might not need you to supercharge me to shape big things like towers,” Sparkler said. “Today, when I touched the granite, I felt something weird in my head. I dunno what it was, but I felt at peace.”

“I feel like that sometimes when I am using my magic at an extraordinary level. I can just tune everything out and my mind goes blank, and all of my worries slip away. There is just magic and nothing else,” Bucky replied to Sparkler.

“Yeah… I think I am falling in love with my magic. I have so much of it now. My telekinesis is stronger now, so much stronger now that I am a type three. I can do things now that were impossible before. I am starting to understand some of those complex things in the spellbooks you want me to read. When are you going to teach Rising, Dinky, and I how to wink?” Sparkler said, ending her words with a question.

“As soon as I think you are ready. Winking is dangerous. You need a fine level of focus and concentration so you don’t wink yourself into a wall or down underground,” Bucky answered.

“Yeah… my focus isn’t the best yet to be totally honest. And Rising Star still gets distracted. Dinky however…” Sparkler murmured.

“Dinky shows a scary level of control already for a foal her age,” Bucky finished.

“Father, she can lift my whole herd with her magic,” Sparkler announced.

“Really?” Bucky asked.

“Truly,” Sparkler replied.

“That is impressive,” Bucky admitted.

Looking out over the property, Sparkler took a long drink of gin and lemonade and then turned and looked at her father. “We’re building a village.”

“I suppose we are. All of the teachers will need houses or towers nearby. The servants all need a place to live. I am thinking that this farm will become its own community in time,” Bucky responded.

“How did your talk with Cheerilee go?” Sparkler asked.

“She couldn’t stay… testing ran a bit longer than she expected and she had to go. We only talked briefly and she said she is all for the merger of the schools. Her concern is that the school is outside of town, rather than in the inside of town, so students may have trouble getting here. We’ll have to set up a wagon service to cart in foals that are too far away to walk here within a reasonable amount of time,” Bucky answered.

Sparkler took a long swallow of her drink, grimaced, it was more gin than lemonade, and then she pulled an ice cube into her mouth to crunch on using her tongue.

“I wonder how they did on their placement tests,” Bucky muttered.

“I am worried too. If Loch or Ripple let me down, I am so going to work them over. I will Buck Sergeant Sparkler both of them to death if they botched this,” Sparkler said between crunches.

“Sentinel will punish himself and nothing I could do would be worse than what he will do to himself,” Bucky grumbled. “He’s such a stuffy little guy.”

“Hey, you don’t get to complain about Sentinel being stuffy,” Sparkler snarked.

“Heh, I suppose you are right. I’m one to talk, right? At least I have a long history of mischief to show that I am not a total loss,” Bucky said, smiling rakishly as he spoke.

“You probably played those pranks because you were so repressed. Imagine if Sentinel started pranking us,” Sparkler muttered.

“Sheesh, Sparky, don’t talk like that, I felt shivers up and down my spine and got a tingly feeling in my dock,” Bucky said as he shuddered.

 

 

 

 

 

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