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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Derpy heaved a motherly sigh and read over the paper once again, squinting her bad eye shut so she could focus with her good eye. Placement testing wasn’t quite as good as she had hoped. Sentinel was well ahead of primary school standards for writing, but had abysmal skills in math. Ripple had slightly below average writing ability and her math skills were subpar. She was going to have to attend primary school and potentially be the oldest filly there. She excelled in simple arithmetic and creative solutions but there was a concern she might have some issues with violence. Loch Skimmer was thoroughly average and had scored just high enough to be placed into secondary school, but secondary school was optional and not required.

The frustrated grey pegasus tossed the paper on the kitchen table. This would not do. She could feel all of her hopes and dreams teetering on some great precipice. When Bucky came home, she was going to have to talk to him about private tutoring for all of their foals, including Rising Star and Sparkler, who seemed to have no interest in going back to secondary school or even university.

If she had to, she would wing slap them into submission. She had dropped out of school and she wasn’t about to allow it to happen to her foals. She nickered, an equine sound of frustration, and then she blew her golden mane out of her eyes with a snort.

Feeling frustrated, she took it out on the first thing she could find. She snatched Berry as Berry trotted past, the earth pony had been on her way to the fridge, Derpy hauled her in with her forelegs, crushed her into submission, lifted her from the floor, kissed her savagely, and then dropped the stunned earth pony upon the hardwood floor, where Berry lay giggling stupidly on her back.

Derpy wiped her mouth with her foreleg and felt a little better.

 

 

“What marvelous fliers I have, and I am glad you could finally join us Yew Wood,” Surprise chirped cheerfully. “You look sleepy this afternoon.”

“Peekaboo was fussy this morning long before the dawn and Lugus insisted on letting her sleep with us rather than in the nursery,” Yew replied before slipping into a yawn. “Plus, he kept me up all night.”

“Griffons are largely nocturnal,” Surprise said knowingly.

“Tell me about it,” Yew mumbled.

“I like being all up all night,” Loch Skimmer giggled.

“You certainly keep parts of Rising Star up all night,” Ripple deadpanned.

“Ladies!” Surprise shouted. “Focus.”

“Lugus and I were just talking. We do that. He tells me about his time as a fledgeling and his trials as a knight,” Yew said nervously.

“Sure he does,” Loch tittered.

“Can we not have implications of rutting,” Sentinel begged.

“Yes,” Surprise agreed. “Sensitive little ears.”

“Sorry,” Loch Skimmer apologised.

“We’re going to take wing. Sweet little Sentinel can glide marvelously, I’ve never seen a better potential as a glider, but we’re going to need somepony to give him a lift to keep him aloft,” Surprise instructed.

“Flattery to cajole me is not needed,” Sentinel grumbled.

“I do not flatter,” Surprise said. “Gliding is an art. Not every pegasus can glide so well. Gliding means long distance flight with very little energy expended. It means efficiency. One day, you will make for a marvelous cross country flier but only if you pay attention to me, listen to what I say, and learn.”

“Yes ma’am,” Sentinel responded, perking up a bit under Surprise’s honest praise.

“Sentinel is our glider, Ripple is our junior speedster, Loch Skimmer is our heavy lifter, and we need to find out what Yew can do,” Surprise summarised.

“I have big wings and I’m clumsy,” Yew said self consciously.

“Big wings are a good wing type for a number of things. Gliding, heavy lifting, flying through heavy winds and storms, and keeping foals covered up snuggly-wuggly,” Surprise replied.

“Ugh, cuteness,” Sentinel groaned.

“Like you,” Surprise chirped.

“I am not cute,” Sentinel proclaimed sullenly.

“Sure you are,” Surprise argued. “I think my husband is handsome in his own way and my little foal, who is still so teeny tiny, she is cutesy-pootsy adorable,” Surprise argued.

“Wait, are they…” Sentinel fell silent when he saw Surprise wink and had the sudden realisation that somehow, everything was going to be okay somehow. Not just with his flying lessons, but everything. His dad had chosen a solar pegasus as his mate and had not devoured her. Several things in his brain suddenly clunked into place. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, suddenly feeling much better and thinking about how funny life was.

 

 

“Please, keep Twilight safe, she is very dear to me.”

Looking at Celestia, Bucky nodded slowly, acknowledging her command but said nothing in reply. In Bucky’s eye, the big alicorn almost looked like she was suffering a fit of neurosis. Celestia looked miserable, and he felt as though he was to blame.

“I want you safe as well, please, do not think for one moment that I do not constantly worry about your safety and well being,” Celestia said in a strained raspy voice. “I am so sorry, I was wrong for what I said to you and I regret everything.”

“You only spoke the truth,” Bucky replied. Upon saying it, he wished he could take it back. He watched Celestia flinch in pain and he felt something in his barrel clench tightly. “Nopony can fault you for saying what needed to be said. I chose the darkness. I still have purpose with my darkness. I am still loyal to you and willing to serve.” He hesitated, unsure if he should say what was on his mind. “I also know about Sombra… through the mirror.”

“I loved him. And I see so much of him in you, even now,” Celestia admitted. “But do not worry. You are Buckminster and he is Sombra, and I know how to keep you separated in my mind. I loved the Sombra in this world as well, but in a very different way.”

“I would do anything for my family,” Bucky stated.

“I know Buckminster… that is probably far more fitting to carve upon your monument,” Celestia replied, looking sorrowful.

“You are part of my family,” Bucky whispered.

Celestia froze, her eyes closing tightly, and her whole body shivered. “That makes me a feel a little better to hear you say that Buckminster.”

“I will bring Twilight back to you, whole and in one piece. She is also my family,” Bucky promised in a low voice. “Family doesn’t always agree, and they might not always get along, but they do stick together. At least mine does.”

Opening her eyes, Celestia looked over at Buckminster and smiled a weak smile. “You have an airship to catch. Try to come home in one piece. I do not think I could bear watching you convalesce once again in the hospital. And look out for Twilight. She is very confused and angry about so many things. She is not sure about her place in the world. She had a very idealised view of how the world was, how the world should be, and then one day, she went to Fillydelphia and found out that the world was a very different place. Not long after, she watched everything she knew and believed in come crumbling down. She realised that I could make mistakes, and that I have made mistakes. She watched as the collapse happened and she could do nothing but try to keep control of the tiny section of the world around her. She still holds to her idealism and the last shreds of her naivety like a foal clings to their doll after a nightmare. I want her to keep her idealism Buckminster… it is my hope.”

“I understand. I will try to protect that as well if I can,” Bucky acknowledged as he turned to go, hobbing off on three legs.

Watching him go, Celestia sighed. She drew in a deep shuddering breath and hoped that both of her foals returned in one piece. She understood that the rift still existed between her and Buckminster, but it was easy enough to stand on either side and wave at one another.

 

 

Carefully following Surprise’s instructions, Dinky prepared to cast one of the first and most important spells she had learned as a unicorn. She recalled the words to the Blink spell in her mind, thinking back to that day that seemed so long ago. She had cast the spell that had made everypony want to hug her and her daddy, still her teacher back then, had nearly died because his horn had cracked. But he had kept her safe, and nopony was seriously hurt because of her mistake. She saw the pegasi overhead, ignited her horn, and said the magic words.

 

 

”Whenever I am all alone

And I am too scared to think

Whenever I need some help

I flash my light and blink!”

 

A strobing purple flare shot from Dinky’s horn and rose into the sky, impossible to ignore, the universal unicorn cry for help that every pegasus was duty bound to answer. Dinky watched as Surprise banked, rolled sharply, and then began to angle towards the ground, the others behind her following her example.

A moment later, Surprise had landed near Dinky, gave a wink, and saluted with her wing. She pranced around in place, watching her students land, cringing as Sentinel came in for a hard landing.

“We all just saw a Blink spell. The Blink spell is a call for help that all pegasi are obligated to answer, class. It means trouble, or that somepony is hurt, or that something terrible happened that only a pegasus can fix. You ALWAYS come and investigate if you see a blink spell, do you understand?” Surprise said, explaining the situation to her class in a voice of commanding instruction.

“See a flashing flare, come rescue some unicorn, maybe have a chance to kick plot, got it,” Ripple answered as she folded her wings to her sides.

“A Blink spell means trouble,” Loch Skimmer replied.

“If I see one, I will respond,” Yew acknowledged.

“I already knew this from my officer’s manuals,” Sentinel stated. “Airborne Distress Signals, chapter two, what to look for.”

“Dinky cast a very powerful version of the spell. Sometimes, the Blink spell is very faint. Always be watchful. If you are in the sky, you are obligated to answer. Always be on the lookout. Responding quickly can be the difference between life and death,” Surprise instructed.

“This is one of the first spells that daddy taught me,” Dinky said proudly. “And he stressed how important it was. It makes a lot more sense now, after all of the trouble that’s happened. It is about tribal unity. If a unicorn calls for help, and the pegasus answers, it means that the tribes are working together. If a unicorn calls for help and the pegasus ignores it, there is something wrong.”

“Dinky is correct. Always look for Blink spells and listen for cries of help. We are PEGASI. We are the sworn protectors of the other two tribes. We have a reputation to protect and that reputation states that we are loyal and we come to the rescue when there is trouble,” Surprise stated in a surprisingly harsh militant voice. “And if I ever find out that my students slacked off and trouble happened… and my students did nothing… I will bring a flock and I will hunt my students down for one final lesson. Am I clear?”

There were several nods and Surprise smiled at the earnestness that she saw.

“So when we see a Blink spell, we stop, circle overhead, look for trouble, and then dive down to investigate,” Ripple said.

“Always,” Surprise responded.

“And other pegasi will come as well,” Loch said.

“Yes, but you must never make the mistake of thinking another pegasus will take care of it. What if every pegasus believed that the pegasus on the next cloud over was going to check it out and then just ignored it?” Surprise questioned.

“Nothing would get done because everypony would pass the blame on everypony else. So everypony stops what they are doing and drops down to investigate,” Sentinel answered.

“Good foal,” Surprise replied. “You get a chocolate covered biscuit when we’re done, you adorable little cuddlebug.”

Very much against his will, Sentinel found himself almost smiling at Surprise’s praise.

 

Author's Note:

Everything from the beginning of the story is vital in some way. Almost all of it was relevant in some fashion. Even the Blink spell lesson has now come full circle, as was my intention.

Soon, there is going to be a bit of a time warp, er, time skip. At that point, the story will focus on Bucky and Twilight as they escort the train.

 
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