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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With a satisfied sigh, Bucky gazed longingly upon The Scorned Mare in her docking cradle. Life had turned into a blur for a while, with so much to do and so much to get done. All around him life was rapidly moving ahead. Rising Star’s smithy neared completion, a few small houses had been built by the Royal Solar Corps of Engineers, and the docking cradle for his ship had been finished. The school had seen much progress, the current dormitory towers had been finished, and new ground had been broken for several more.

The Scorned Mare had indeed been upgraded. She had a semi-rigid gasbag shell now, somewhat smaller than the old gasbag, with a cloud scoop and all manner of new arcano-tech gadgets. And that was just the gasbag. The ship itself was now thoroughly modern with indoor plumbing, with toilets and showers, a modern kitchen, and far more comfortable berths to sleep in.

Along her sides were electro-cannons, three rows of nine each, for twenty seven guns total on each side, all of them automated, each of them ready to spew lightning at a foe. The Scorned Mare had more electro-cannons than any other ship her size, making her a small but formidable foe.

The ship was fully stocked and ready to go.

Bucky however, was not ready to go, but he would do his duty.

 

 

The library, now filled with even more books, was a comfortable and cozy place. It was, perhaps, Bucky’s second favourite room in the farmhouse, the first being the nursery. It was the place where Bucky chose to hold court, if one wanted to call it that, and where he was currently sitting with Mister Rich, discussing last minute issues before his departure.

“Do you think Rising Star will be able to make a small cast iron wood burning stove for every single gourd house?” Mister Rich inquired, shifting in his seat, his pen held at his hoof, and poised over paper on a clipboard, which was resting on the small study table before him. His eyes looked upwards, and his gaze fell upon Bucky, who was sitting in a high backed chair some distance away, and Mister Rich couldn’t gage Bucky’s current mood or what he was thinking.

“I think he will. The forge is almost completed. And you misunderstood, he isn’t going at this alone, Princess Celestia has some of her own blacksmiths and metal workers on this task. Rising Star will only need to make a few hundred, and while I do believe he will be slow to start, once he figures it out, with his magical skill he should be able to crank out a dozen stoves at a time once he warms up to his task,” Bucky answered, doing nothing to hold back the impish smile spreading over his muzzle.

“My apologies,” Mister Rich returned, one eye widening and his ears lacking back ever so slightly. His pen slashed at the paper and he made a few notes. “I was working with faulty information it seems. There are a lot of ponies criticising the gourds. For all of the critics, there are a lot of homeless ponies who are desperate to have anything.”

“I am still irked that the credit keeps going to either Twilight Sparkle or myself, when it was Rainbow Dash who had the idea. I grow weary of dealing with ponies who want to take me to task for this issue when it wasn’t even my idea,” Bucky grumbled. He lifted a glass of rum to his lips and took a slow swallow.

“We have managed to secure a few more teachers and teacher’s assistants. All of whom are willing to work at your school, but they understand that they must first assist Twilight Velvet and Night Light with the refugee foals and Cheerilee in the schoolhouse. Things aren’t looking nearly as grim as they once did,” Mister Rich reported.

Nodding, Bucky felt pleased at the news. He took another sip of rum. It burned his throat pleasantly and filled his insides with warmth. His remaining eye glanced at the door when it opened and he saw Sentinel step inside. He watched as his colt moved through the room and then take a seat in chair at the table, close to Mister Rich, and then pulled over a pile of papers to begin reading through them.

Try as he might, Bucky couldn’t discern how he felt about Sentinel taking so much interest in civics and the colt’s obsessive need to understand all of the gritty mind numbing details. His wandering mind was interrupted when Diamond Tiara sheepishly entered the room, darted to the table while peering at her father, and then took a seat beside Sentinel.

“Gimme those reports,” Diamond Tiara demanded, snatching away a sheaf of papers from Sentinel. “Those are unorganised. Reading them will make no sense.” She immediately began to sort through the papers and handed a few of them back to Sentinel, scowling, and shooting an icy glare at her father for his failure to pre-sort the reports prior to the meeting.

Stifling a laugh, Bucky somehow remained silent when he heard Sentinel groaning. He turned his attention to Mister Rich, took a deep breath, caught a whiff of his rum, and then breached an issue that he had been thinking about for a while. “Ponyville needs a police station and a jail. I know there is enough money in the budget to begin planning. We need to either convert a previously existing building or build a new one. Sparkler has introduced her cadets to the community as police, and they need a base of operations.”

“So many building projects, so little time,” Mister Rich sighed. “We have the funds, not sure about the labour. Most ponies are working on the apartment buildings that are going up. The labour is horribly unskilled at construction. We have ponies who used to be marketers and department store salesponies trying their hoof at construction. There’s been injuries and quite a few have been hurt.”

“I know, Loch Skimmer tells me about her job in detail,” Bucky replied. “She wants to learn how to be a paramedic…”

“Daddy, these numbers don’t add up,” Diamond Tiara interjected, sliding a sheet of paper to her father. “Something seems off. Have a look please,” she requested.

Bucky watched as Mister Rich took the paper and began to look it over, and then he watched as Mister Rich’s face melted into an angry scowl. There was a clatter as Mister Rich’s pen fell to the table.

“What is it?” Bucky asked, raising his eyebrow.

“Somepony is spending too much money on too many supplies for the project. The supply list reads all wrong. Thank you Diamond, I will have this thoroughly examined,” Mister Rich growled, his irritation building up into a fury.

“Think somepony is embezzling?” Bucky inquired.

“Without a doubt,” Mister Rich answered.

“Refugees?” Bucky asked.

“I’m not sure,” Mister Rich replied.

“Once you terminate the contracts, if they are, send them packing. We have no need for them here. If there is any protest, contact Twilight Sparkle and they will be removed,” Bucky instructed.

Nodding in reply, Mister Rich picked up his pen and made notes of Bucky’s edict.

 

 

“Aye, I see ye have an impressive list of references. Well, one reference, but many years of service. They get shipped off for being pricks and you get left unemployed, which is an awful thing at your age,” Barley grumbled as he looked over the sheet of paper he was given. “Do ye happen to know what neeps and tatties are?”

“No sir, I am sorry,” the unicorn mare answered.

“I am hesitant to hire a cook that doesn’t know what neeps and tatties are,” Barley said, raising one bushy grey eyebrow.

“I am capable of learning,” the unicorn replied, her voice cracking with nervousness.

“Must be tough, living a good life in the house of your employer and to suddenly find yourself in a refugee camp at your age, no longer pampered, safe, or warm at night,” Barley stated, genuine sympathy in his voice. “Semillon Bordeaux?”

“Pronounced “Say-mee-yaw Bor-dough”... I am from Fancy. I can even speak Fancy which may help if you have any high society functions, which I am sure you will, given that there is a prince living here,” Semillon replied.

“If you ever call him that, you will set him off something awful lass,” Barley warned.

“I understand sir,” Semillon replied.

“I like you,” Barley announced.

“Thank you very much… sir,” Semillon replied, now trembling. Her eyes looked pleadingly at Barley and her barrel began to rise and fall at an increased rate.

“And no, there is no way I am going to ask you to do anything that’ll rob ye of yer dignity in order to get or keep the job. I’m a randy pervert, make no mistake lass, but ye look like yer about to piss yourself. I’m guessing this is the part of the interview where other ponies ask what other household duties you can perform?” Barley inquired, blunt as always.

The mare took a deep shuddering breath, let it out in a nervous squeak, and nodded.

“None o’ that here. I’ll only flirt when I’m given a clear signal, otherwise, what fun is there?” Barley muttered. “Yer a fat cook if you don’t mind me saying so, and that puts me at ease. Never trust a skinny cook I say. Nae, dinnae be embarrassed lass, I meant it as a compliment. Look, I’m an arse, and I say stuff, you’ll get used to me in time.”

“So I have the job?” Semillon asked, nearly holding her breath from nervousness.

“Aye. There is a bedroom on the third floor that I think will be nice for you. Sits in a corner of the house, has two windows facing different directions. Sorry about all of the stairs. There is a bathroom right next to the bedroom,” Barley said, smiling at Semillon as he spoke. “I done hired me a Fancy cook. I’ve done well for myself, not bad for some old fart from the Shetlands.”

“Thank you so much… you will not regret this,” Semillon whispered, her relief visible upon her face, her ears splaying out sideways as she smiled happily.

“Oh, and watch out for wee Dinky…”

 

 

Dinky came to the slow painful realisation that she should not have pranked her father. She panicked and pounded upon the arms of the chair, both of which were wrapped around her tightly and prohibiting her escape. The dining room chair had quite literally come to life when she had sat down in it, the arms grabbing her, and then it had scurried off, running for the front door, and was now running circles in the yard while everypony watched and had a good laugh.

Even more alarming was the fact that nopony had come to her rescue.

“Somepony help me!” Dinky cried.

“No, I think I’ll watch,” Derpy replied.

“Mama!” Dinky protested, squirming, trying to get free of the chair that was squeezing her and running around willy nilly, the come to life spell seemed to have given it no real motive other than to hold on to her and run on its four legs.

“You pranked your daddy… Having a dragon roar come of the breadbox when he opened it… you nearly gave him a heart attack you little hooligan,” Derpy said, sitting down on a chair on the porch.

“You know, it isn’t every day you see a chair running around the yard holding onto a foal,” Berry Punch observed. “I mean, weird stuff happens every day in this house, but this is exceptional. Bucky really went all out for this one.”

“We had a saying in school… never prank anypony from the enchantment class,” Lyra stated, sitting down beside Derpy and setting her cold drink upon the ratty looking wicker table beside her. “This is why. Oh look, the chair is starting to spin around in a circle.”

“Ugh somepony make it stop!” Dinky begged as the world around her spun crazily. For a moment, she could see the house, then the school, then the trees, and  then the house again, and the chair spun even faster. She felt her gorge rising.

“That chair moves like a ballerina,” Bon Bon said, sitting down beside Lyra.

“Sure does… how long before Dinky tosses her cookies?” Berry asked.

“Did that chair just do a backflip?” Lyra inquired.

“I do believe it did,” Derpy answered, nodding her head.

“That’s impressive,” Lyra stated.

 

 

 

 

 

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