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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All that could be seen was ice and snow, a white blur that made it difficult to even see the tip of his muzzle. A dark grey muzzle Bucky’s consciousness noted. The cold, as bitter as it might be, was completely unnoticed by the body that Bucky was currently in while dreaming.

“Sir, the Windegos are being pushed back,” a voice reported.

“Good,” Bucky heard a voice coming out of his muzzle say in a savage growl.

“Clover the Clever’s forces protect her while she wields the Hearthfire spell,” the voice reported, shouting over the shrieking wind.

“The Fire of Friendship as she calls it,” the body Bucky was in bellowed in reply.

The pair of ponies came to a door and pushed their way inside, a flurry of snow coming inside with them. For the first time, Bucky could see clearly. His companion was a massive lunar pegasus and Bucky, after a moment of searching his thoughts, knew that his name was Briarburner. He tried to comb his memories for more details.

“Clover is an extraordinary mare,” Briarburner said as he drew near the fire.

The room was circular. Bucky realised he was in a tower. Some sort of watch tower probably. It was warm inside. Painfully warm. He realised that he and Sombra now shared something in common.

“Clover is certainly an extraordinary looking mare,” Sombra replied after a moment of hesitation. “She is a most pleasing shade of green and her mane is-”

“Sir, I know from my intelligence reports that you’ve had a good look at her mane from up close and had several opportunities to examine the back of her head in quite some detail,” Briarburner grumbled.

“It was meaningless,” Sombra said dismissively. “She had cold sickness and it was a practical way to warm her body. There is nothing between us.”

“But you still find her pleasant to look at,” Briarburner muttered.

“Of course I do, I’m not stupid,” Sombra retorted as he snorted.

“Which is why you had to warm her up several times, right sir?” Briarburner inquired.

Still trying to take in his surroundings, Bucky realised that Sombra still had his natural horn. There were no fangs. Sombra was still a pony. A very shaggy stocky pony meant to endure the cold. Sombra had not yet endured his many changes.

“Bah, Clover was a distraction at best. Mares only get in the way. Good for scratching the itch and little else,” Sombra snarled, tired of Briarburner’s badgering.

“And what of Platinum?”

“Oh do not start discussing that spoiled little trollop,” Sombra bellowed.

“Princess Celestia wants you to marry her. She believes it will be good for both of you,” Briarburner stated in diplomatic tones. “My intelligence can find no dalliances on her part. She seems to still be as pure as the freshly fallen snow.”

“So not a trollop, just a stuck up insufferable prat,” Sombra snorted.

“If anypony is the trollop here, I suspect that it might be you,” Briarburner deadpanned.

Glaring icily at his second in command, Sombra bared his teeth and narrowed his eyes as his barrel began expanding and contracting rapidly from his sharp intakes of breath.

“Shall we make a list, sir?” Briarburner offered. “Clover the Clever. Xalaxne the Seer. Carroway the Stormhorn. You’ve done nothing but make innuendo at Princess Celestia while Princess Luna egged you on just to tease her sister. And how many unicorn serving wenches have lost their purity as you’ve rammed their gates open in conquest?”

“Virginity is a prize that can only be taken once!” Sombra argued as he settled into a chair.

“So take Princess Platinum’s, sir. She will make a worthwhile conquest,” the lunar pegasus suggested in wry tones.

“She is an awful mare,” Sombra grumped in a low sulky voice. “Celestia asks too much of me. Who does she think she is burdening me with such a millstone around my neck?”

“Sir, if I might point out, I have on many occasions, and I should add that my spies have also observed this, that you have stared longingly at her plush and rather perfect backside,” Briarburner said in diplomatic tones.

“Her backside is marvelous. Her endless whining would kill the mood,” Sombra retorted as he glared at the ever so mouthy lunar pegasus.

“Might I recommend a gag sir… or perhaps you could find another use for her mouth,” Briarburner suggested.

Stroking his chin thoughtfully, Sombra did not reply right away. He sat silently, musing over Briarburner’s suggestion, reflecting on his options. “She hates me you know. Says I am an oaf,” Sombra said after several moments of silence.

“Well, to be fair sir, you are an oaf, a cretin, a bit of pervert, a regicidal maniac, a shameless flirt, a ne’er do well, you have a lewd tongue, you unsheath regularly in public due to a staggering lack of control, you drink copiously, and you are a thief of purity,” Briarburner replied dryly. “And those are your good qualities… sir.”

“You know, one day, you will speak one word too many and I will be forced to collect your head,” Sombra stated. “Don’t think for one moment I would shed one tear for the loss of my best friend. I would still have your severed head to keep me company. At least it would be silent.”

Chuckling, Briarburner went over to a shelf and poured himself a drink of strong ale. He raised his mug in salute to Sombra. “I have taken the liberty of speaking to Platinum’s friends. They are willing to foalnap her and bring her to the wedding. They all believe that marriage would be best for the both of you. Especially Clover, who believes that Platinum could use a bit of ‘warming up’ from you.”

“You... treacherous... knave... how could you plot against me?” Sombra bellowed.

“Sir, Celestia has given orders. Your lechery is at an end, or so she believes. You have one week to prepare yourself,” Briarburner chortled and then he began to guzzle down the contents of his mug while Sombra began to spew obscenities.

 

 

Loch Skimmer circled over Ponyville, watching the ponies down below. Several pegasi watched her warily, and Loch understood why. She was an outsider, and her place in the flock had not yet been determined. Fluttershy was the most wonderful pony that Loch could imagine, even if she was a bit shy.

She banked, rolled, and then leveled out. She reveled in having her freedom again, the ability to fly. She loved to feel the wind trailing along her body. She was not a fast flier, nor was she particularly skilled, but she was a steady flier.

She had spotted Barley and Rising Star earlier, and had even flown low to say hello. She had spotted Cheerilee and had swooped down to be friendly. Loch Skimmer was starting to know a lot of ponies and she hoped that her charm would allow her to make friends. She smelled good, she had a great smile, and she felt she was funny.

It was then that Loch Skimmer saw the Blink spell. Surprise’s lesson was immediately recalled in her mind and she twisted mid-air, turning her snoot earthwards. She dove, her wings tucked to her sides. At the last minute, her wings flared out and leveled her out just above the ground, and she flew between buildings towards the source.

A construction scaffold had collapsed, causing several ponies to fall from great heights. She could see them on the ground. Several limbs twisted at unnatural angles, which made her own once broken leg ache painfully. Other pegasi were all around her and more were on their way.

She landed, coming down smoothly, and then folded her wings at her sides. She began to take everything in, trying to figure out what to do. Pained cries began to reach her ears.

“We have wounded! We need to get them airlifted!”

There was a loud creak of metal, then a screech, and more of the scaffolding tore away. Reflexes took over. Just as she had done with Sentinel, Loch Skimmer reacted without thinking, immediately launching herself skywards towards the scaffolding. If it fell, it would crush the already injured ponies below. There were pegasi all around her.

As a group, the pegasi caught the scaffolding and safely lowered it to the ground, while other ponies began to move the wounded away from the construction site. Loch Skimmer felt a powerful sense of belonging, moving as one part of a whole flock, the feeling of being an outsider now gone.

She felt the tendons in her wings creak as she strained to lift the heavy scaffold framing. Other pegasi around her had their teeth bared from strain. With a great deal of effort, they moved the metal framing away and set it down safely where it could do no harm.

“We need to get these ponies in slings and get them to the hospital,” a voice commanded.

“We need strong steady flyers. If we jostle them to much, we could hurt them,” another voice instructed.

Loch Skimmer went forward with a few others, hovering over the group. “I’m not fast, but I’m steady,” she stated.

“Put this canvas harness on and we’ll get a sling hooked up,” a white pegasus mare commanded in a loud clear voice that cut through the confusion.

Loch Skimmer did as she was told, easily slipping into the harness. There was a large metal ring now protruding from the girth of her barrel. A moaning earth pony was carefully placed into a sling and then a lanyard was clipped to the metal ring on Loch Skimmer’s harness.

“Go go go!” a pony shouted.

Rising slowly, Loch Skimmer carried away her precious cargo, following other pegasi who were departing for the hospital. She was careful with every flap of her wings, trying not to jostle the earth pony in the sling. She compensated for the wind and followed the other pegasi carrying the injured to the hospital.

It was a short flight and there were nurses waiting on the roof. Loch Skimmer’s wounded pony was unclipped and she was waved off, cleared to go. She took off at speed for the construction site where more wounded awaited, pumping her wings as hard as she could, applying some much needed hustle to her flight.

When she returned to the construction site, there was a pony in a sling waiting for her. She dropped down, hovering carefully, and another lanyard was clipped to her metal ring. She waited, wanting to fly, but worried about a signal of some sort. She looked down and saw a pony carefully making sure everything was in the sling because a leg had flopped out.

Loch Skimmer was glad she had waited.

“Go!” her loader cried out.

With a flap of her powerful wings, Loch Skimmer was gone.

 

 

Her throat was parched and Loch Skimmer sat on the roof of the hospital drinking ice water out of a paper cup. The breeze felt good on her body. Her wings ached, but she didn’t mind. She had carried nine ponies in total, and she felt pretty good about it.

She saw a white pegasus approaching her, and Loch Skimmer had the feeling she was being studied. Her ears fell back and she assumed a submissive posture, wondering what was about to happen.

“You are a remarkably stable flier,” the white pegasus said. “My name is Sky Hook. I head the emergency response team. For somepony who clearly has never done this before, you impressed me.”

Blushing, Loch Skimmer smiled. She felt hot, nervous, and sweaty. “I just did what I thought was right,” she said sheepishly.

“We only recently formed the emergency response team. Ponyville is becoming too large and there are too many ponies. How would you like a job? The pay is awful, there are long periods of boredom, and when disasters do happen you will be overworked to death,” the mare offered.

“I have a job working with the Dawn Brigade… it doesn’t pay very much, or so I’ve been told. I’m from the Shetlands. I don’t know a lot about money yet,” Loch Skimmer replied. “And I will be starting school soon.”

“School is fine and having a second job is fine. We need stable fliers. In fact, if you take me up on my offer, you are going to have to spend a few weeks in training, which means more school. In a sense anyway,” Sky Hook explained. “While in school, you can work in the afternoons and evenings. Look, you are too stable of a flier for me to give up on. I don’t need fast reckless fliers, I need somebody that flies like there is a foal in their sling. Like you did. I kept an eye on everything you did.”

“I’m flattered,” Loch Skimmer murmured.

“Well?” Sky Hook questioned.

“I’ll do it,” Loch Skimmer replied, nodding her head as she did so.

 

 

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