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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“Is it just me or has Ripple really filled out and started looking hawt?” Sparkler asked Loch Skimmer, who was sitting beside her. She felt a spike of attraction. Loch was preening her wing.

“Ugh, I wouldn’t know…” Loch Skimmer retorted as she lifted her head. “She’s my baby sister you perv!”

“She used to look like a foal. She was so small… so skinny… Her legs got all long. She’s covered in muscle. She’s almost as big as you are now. What a difference a little bit of time, food, and love has made,” Sparkler said, her eyes narrowed and lust filled. “At some point recently, my brain stopped saying “foal” when I looked at her.”

“Eeeew gross… stop… that’s my sister!” Loch cried.

“Just saying, you have a hawt sister,” Sparkler teased.

“My baby sister isn’t hawt! Stop saying that! New subject!” Loch protested.

“When is your birthday?” Sparkler asked.

Taken aback by the sudden question, Loch Skimmer panicked for a moment. “I don’t know!”

“That’s awful,” Sparkler said.

“We just go by how many summers we’ve seen,” Loch muttered. “Ripple is supposed to be treated like a foal…”

“Ripple stopped looking and behaving like a foal. You do know that she kinda sorta slipped Rising Star the tongue, right? They were kissing so innocently and she licked his lips. And then he freaked out and she freaked out and-”

“OH GROSS STOP STOP STOP!” Loch Skimmer shouted as she tackled Sparkler and knocked her off of the bed. She pinned Sparkler to the ground, sat on her head, mindful of Sparkler’s horn, and held Sparkler down. “I’ll fart on your noggin,” Loch warned.

“Murphulphlurb!” Sparkler murphulphlurbed, pinned under Loch Skimmer’s loaded plot.

 

 

Barley settled into his chair by the fireplace, curled up as much as his rickety old spine would allow, and then rested his head upon the arm of the chair. He was tired and it had been a very long day. He saw Lyra bringing him a cup of tea and he managed to offer a thankful grunt when she set the cup down upon the ornate wooden table that stood next to his chair.

He watched her sit and settle upon the floor with Harper, Peekaboo, and the new donkey nanny that was named Bittersweet.

Barley liked Bittersweet. She didn’t take no guff from nopony.

There had apparently been quite a scare earlier when Bittersweet had seen Lugus and then proceeded to freak right the feck out. Donksylvania had been completely overrun by griffons, and donkeys had lived in mortal fear of griffons ever since.

Barley liked Lugus. He liked Lugus even more now that he had heard that Lugus had patiently stood there with a deaf-mute donkey kicking the stuffing out of him and doing nothing to defend himself. Lyra finally pulled Bittersweet off of him and got her calmed down.

Lugus had no lips and this made it extremely difficult to communicate with Bittersweet. Once Bittersweet had realised that Lugus posed no threat, she had calmed a bit, but was still very afraid of the large griffon. Lugus, knowing that actions spoke louder than words, gently pushed Peekaboo over to Bittersweet and then had walked away, leaving his foal with the donkey.

And now, Bittersweet was on the living room floor trying to make sense of this weird tribe of ponies and one griffon she had found herself living with, and Lyra was still trying to soothe her frazzled nerves.

 

 

Derpy pulled the blankets over Bucky’s sleeping body and was silently grateful that he was finally asleep. He had been awake for far too long and had done far too much. He reeked of gin, or what Barley called “hero’s burden.” Barley assured her that heroes never slept well and the only happiness they ever had was what others gave them.

Heroes sacrifice their own happiness and peace o’ mind so the rest o’ us can be happy and have peace o’ mind, Barley had told her in his soft lilting voice.

She felt troubled, because Bucky seemed so happy being home… the nightmare was over. He could finally rest. The long sleepless spell troubled her. She paced beside the bed, torn between the need to crawl into the bed and guard his body or the desire she had to go upstairs and spend some time with Dinky and Piña before they went to sleep.

“I’ll watch him.”

Turning, Derpy looked at Thistle.

“I’m tired. My back hurts. I’ve been a little constipated and using the bathroom actually wore me out. I’m going to go to bed. I’ll stay with him. I know how you feel about protecting him when he is worn down like this,” Thistle stated as she crawled into the bed.

Derpy gently helped Thistle get situated, lifted Bucky’s head carefully, and lowered it down upon Thistle’s back once the kelpie was comfortable. Bucky’s breathing immediately became more regular, and both mares sighed.

“He needed his kelpie pillow,” Derpy whispered as she tucked the blanket around both of the ponies she loved so dearly.

 

 

The woods were dark but Rising Star didn’t find them scary. He crept carefully over logs, under low hanging branches, around brambles, and carefully avoided patches of stranglesnatch, a carnivorous vine that watered itself with fresh blood.

The Everfree had a strange beauty at night. His horn was lit, not with the usual glowing brilliance of most unicorns, but with a wisp of pink-white fire that only a pyromancer could summon.

Lots of ponies connected with the fire element, but most were not pyromancers. They were just handy with fire spells and good with making things burn. Then there were the minor pyromancers. Ponies with a strong connection to fire and could undergo minor elemental shifts.

Rising Star had learned he was a Pyromantic Unicornis Majoris. He was fire trapped in a unicorn’s body. Upon first hearing it from Celestia, Rising Star was filled with fear. He was making peace with it though, and with the advice offered by the living embodiment of the sun as well as a few books, he was rapidly coming to terms with his power. He was to fire what Bucky was to cold. A special type of fire.

Minor pyromancers burned from within and quickly tired themselves out. Fire spells were the most draining. Major pyromancers with the right training could draw in ambient magical radiation from the ley lines all around them and set it ablaze, offering up a nearly infinite amount of fire with enough focus and training. It wasn’t tapping into the ley line directly, which was something Celestia was capable of, but it did allow for Rising to burn things continuously and never wear out, provided that he trained himself to focus.

He cautiously peered around him, wondering if some terrible drooling monster might ambush him. Rising Star was kinda hoping that something would try something stupid. He was in quite a mood and he couldn’t figure out why.

“What is this? What do I see? A burning pony… in the Everfree.”

Rising Star froze at the voice and then turned his head.

“A cunning look, a dangerous flash, I must ask you, don’t burn me to ash.”

The zebra was watching him, waiting, a lantern filled with fireflies had been set down near her hooves. She looked rather afraid.

“Let down your guard, just ease your mind, have no fear, I don’t burn the kind,” Rising Star said in reply. He saw the zebra smile.

“Twinkle twinkle Rising Star, how I wonder how you are?” the zebra said.

Squirming, Rising Star realised he did not know the zebra’s name. He had heard it before, but he could not remember it. He felt a pang of guilt for not knowing.

“Relax your mind and worry no more, Zecora is the memory you are looking for,” the zebra rhymed.

“I felt the blush of worry upon my cheeks, but then I heard the voice of kindness speak,” Rising Star offered in return.

The zebra nodded and bowed. “I have a quest I must bespoke… I need the leaves of the fireoak,” Zecora stated.

“I swear upon the heart that burns within my breast, I will aid you on your quest…” Rising Star replied with a sheepish smile. “I’m really not that good at this. And I used to fancy myself as a poet too… how embarrassing.”

“Rising Star… don’t be absurd, I am flattered by your words,” Zecora said. She dropped her head, picked up her lantern, and headed off.

Sensing adventure, Rising Star took off after her.

 

 

The log in the fireplace popped and crackled, filling the room with a pleasant and cozy background sound. The smell of peppermint tea hung heavy in the air, and a very adult sounding silence was filled with the rustle of newspapers and cleared throats.

“You know, I’ve read through this three times now, and I still find myself smiling. Captain Spitfire is well spoken. She wants the Wonderbolts returned to full military status and no longer considered the entertainment division, which she feels is an embarrassment to their proud and noble history. She also wants the head of General Iron Sky on a platter. The fact that she has over a thousand nominations for the Stable of Representatives is impressive,” Berry said, breaking the silence.

There was a crackle from Barley’s newspaper and he lowered it to look at his niece. “Aye… an’ Spitfire is a looker too… if’n I’m gonna be voting, I have no shame in voting for some mare that is easy on my eyes,” Barley replied.

Remaining silent, Lyra wondered how Barley turned the word “too” into something with two syllables. “Tay-oo” which also rhymed with how Barley said “no.”

“Barley, have you no shame?” Bon Bon asked.

“Nae, my sweet dear Bonnie… it was chewed off by a badger,” Barley replied.

Chortling, Bon Bon rolled her eyes and gave up.

“I plan to do my part to help our family. When the vote comes, I’ll be voting for Rising Star. He’s a fine lad. Good head on his shoulders. Plus, he knows how to light his farts on fire, a skill every politician should have,” Barley announced.

The room filled with giggles and titters.

“I don’t fully understand the need for voting,” Sentinel said, finally sticking his snoot into the adult conversation. “Why not just have the royals run everything?”

“Because lad, they’re ponies too. They make mistakes. Luna’s made all kinds of mistakes and the nattery old dame has chewed my ear off telling me about them,” Barley replied. “It is time for us to make our own mistakes. Look after our own affairs. Let them look after the big things, and we look after the little things, so more things can get done,” he explained.

“I think the vote is a good idea, I just don’t fully understand it,” Sentinel said, stating his position clearly. “I am not sure what it will accomplish.”

“Probably not much in the beginning. We’ll have to learn as we go,” Barley patiently answered, looking over at Sentinel fondly. “I’m glad that Bucky brought me back a nephew.”

“While most of us are gathered here, there is something I want to bring up… well, I know Thistle is in the bed with Bucky and Derpy is upstairs with the fillies, but I plan to spring this on them as well… times are hard right now. I mean, we all know that. Just look at the papers in front of you. With all of the shortages and stuff… I was thinking, we need to fall back on things we learned while visiting the Shetlands,” Lyra announced.

“Aye, and that is?” Barley asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Well, I know it has been talked about a few times, but I think we need to have a serious talk. We need to get all of the mares in the herd producing milk. We go through butter and milk by the pounds and by the gallons every day… we have an untapped resource that we could be exploiting,” Lyra explained. “It is just milk. Made by equines, for equines, and it shouldn’t be weird that we use it. We could secure cows or goats, but we would have to feed them and house them. Times are going to be rough enough as it is.”

“Aye… between Bon Bon and Berry we should have enough for day to day stuff. Mostly. If we make something like chowder or something that needs a lot of milk, we might need more,” Barley stated, his voice serious and firm. “Things will be a little harder once the foals arrive though.”

“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” Berry said.

“Self sufficiency is something we should strive for,” Bon Bon remarked. “I suppose I can be milked. It will give Lyra something to do.”

“We Shetlanders have an awful lot we could be teaching ponies about living, if they’d just stop laughing at us and poking fun at our ways,” Barley muttered, his lilt softened into an almost non existent state.

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Note:

This is probably the most INTJ thing that Lyra has done so far. Ignoring social taboo for practicality and efficiency. She is difficult to keep in character because all of the rest of the characters are often lackadaisical and do things willy nilly.

 
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