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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A very nervous group of cautious ponies were at the dining room table eating breakfast, not quite sure how to act with Celestia sitting at the table with them. Bites were delicate, timid, and small. Regularly boisterous eaters were skittish. Brash devourers were sheepish and uncertain. The conversation was almost non existent as ponies nervously tucked into their oatmeal and fruit.

“I expected a livelier table,” Celestia said after swallowing a dainty bite of oatmeal.

“I suspect that some of these ponies have never been hungover before,” Bucky replied, looking around, and eyeing some of the more bleary eyed guests at the table who didn’t look so good. He spooned in a large dollop of butter into his oatmeal and then added honey.

“My head… I fear I do not feel well,” Rarity murmured demurely, unable to muster enough energy for her usual theatrics to accompany such a statement. She took a swallow of orange juice, grimaced, and then added a ladylike spoonful of butter and some strawberries to her oatmeal. She stared at the raisins on the table for a moment, then she looked at the applesauce, and then she just dully stared down into her bowl, her expression rather vacant.

“Pinkie Pie feels a little less like Pinkie Pie and more like Greenie Puddle…” Pinkie Pie groaned. She prodded her oatmeal with a spoon. “But if I feel like Greenie Puddle, I lose the alliteration of my name. I think I hear Colgate’s dental drills buzzing in my ears.”

“Y’all are a buncha lightweights,” Applejack grumped as she loaded butter and applesauce into her second bowl of oatmeal. She lifted her spoon from her bowl, pointed it at Pinkie Pie, and scowled. “And you’re an earth pony. We have a reputation to uphold. We’re earth ponies. We’re supposed to be able to hold our liquor.”

“That’s just not fair,” Rainbow Dash whined. “Earth ponies and their alcohol tolerance… you have all that strength and endurance… and that too.”

“No, what isn’t fair is them unicorns who can make themselves sober up by casting powerful magic,” Applejack retorted, her green eyes darting around to look at some of the unicorns and alicorns at the table. “That’s cheating. It’s… like pegasus wings during a competition,” she grumbled, giving Rainbow Dash the stinkeye.

“You mean I can make myself sober?” Twilight whimpered.

“Sure,” Bucky replied. “Just have to focus your will while being completely soused, no problem at all, and then use some deep magic. Regular magic won’t do. I tend to fire off a non specific dispel magic focused point blank. It does nothing to the area around me and tends to sober me right up,” he explained.

“This butter is marvelous. So much better than the butter that the royal kitchens use… where do you get your butter from? Is this made here on the farm?” Celestia asked, gently butting in and taking charge of the conversation.

“Oh, thanks… I made that butter myself,” Berry Punch answered, a broad smile slowly spreading across her muzzle.

“Is this goat butter? Or does it come from cows?” Celestia inquired, insistently but politely, one eyebrow now raised. “It is so rich and creamy… this is the best butter I think I have ever had in my whole long life… I must know.”

“Princess Celestia… I made that butter myself. I started with the finest meal you could feed a pony, digested it carefully, snuggled with my foals, kept my bright and sunny disposition so my milk wouldn’t sour, and then Bucky milked me… afterwards, I churned my own milk into butter,” Berry Punch explained in reply.

There was a clatter of spoons from around the table, several grunts, and Princess Celestia sat frozen in shock, unblinking, having become quite statuesque. The only visible sign of life was a slight flaring of her noble nostrils.

“Well, at least it’s made all natural and with love,” Applejack said as she shrugged. She took another bite of her oatmeal, completely unphased by the revelation. “Now that you mention it, I do think I can taste the foal snuggling,” the earth pony mare said with a smile.

“I actually take a lot of pride in my milk,” Berry said, ignoring the looks of disgust and horror all around her. “It’s made me feel more important as a mare. Not only am I feeding my foals, but I am providing for my whole family… I’ve never felt more… like, well, more like a mare than I do now that I provide milk. It has made me take better care of myself and respect my body more. I feel… valuable or something.”

“It improved your feelings of self worth?” Coco asked timidly, aware that Rarity was now looking curiously at her.

“Yeah,” Berry replied. “I am having a direct impact upon the health of everypony in my family. I watch what I eat. It forces me to think about somepony other than myself and I haven’t been so selfish,” she explained, gesturing with her spoon.

“I feel the same way,” Bon Bon admitted from behind her napkin as she wiped her face. “To be honest, at first, I thought I’d feel degraded, like I was livestock or something. But now I feel empowered.”

“Oh my gracious… this has certainly given me a lot to think about,” Celestia said as she slowly lifted her spoon and gingerly took a bite of oatmeal. She chewed thoughtfully and looked at Berry Punch as she ate, and then her gaze darted to those who were no longer eating. After taking a deep breath and relaxing, Celestia realised she was eating another mare’s butter and enjoying it a great deal. She dropped her daintiness completely and began to spoon in large bites of buttery oatmeal, realising she didn’t have to keep up the act around these ponies. Here, she could just be a pony. For a brief moment, she could understand Luna’s appeal with spending time with Barley and Bucky’s family in general.

Coco prodded her oatmeal a few times, added another spoonful of butter, and then took a big bite. After chewing thoughtfully for a few moments, she swallowed, her brow furrowed, she looked up at the ceiling while deep in thought, and then her gaze dropped and she looked at Berry Punch. “Thank you,” Coco said graciously, her voice filled with warm sincerity.

“This isn’t the strangest thing I’ve done,” Discord announced as he bravely ate another bite. He smiled at Berry. “This gives me ideas,” he admitted as he cast a leering gaze at Fluttershy.

“Oh… ooooh… oh my,” Fluttershy stammered, her voice a low moan. Her cheeks turned beet red and she dropped her eyes, unable to look at anypony else. “Oh maybe I shouldn’t have said that I would do anything to make you happy.”

“Gonna make Fluttershy your little milkmare?” Pinkie Pie asked as she nudged Discord. When he nodded, Pinkie Pie managed to smile, even with her headache. “Just be gentle,” Pinkie Pie said in a low voice to Discord before she returned to eating her oatmeal.

“Too bad Silver is in the kitchen eating at the table in there with the foals,” Applejack said around a mouthful of oatmeal. She wiped her straw coloured mane out of her eyes with her foreleg, her mane was loose and spilling down her neck as well as her shoulders, and then she tossed her head back slightly to keep her mane away from her face while she was eating so it wouldn’t get sticky or dirty. “I’d love to spring this idea on him.”

“You know, for those of you not eating right now, by rejecting my butter, you are rejecting me,” Berry stated, a faint hint of hardness entering her voice. “The very essence of me and everything that makes up what I am as a mare.” For a moment, her eyes darted to Bucky, then Derpy, and then finally to Bon Bon, seeking support.

“I’m sorry… I’m hungover and this is a bit much to take in,” Twilight apologised.

Rarity, who slowly lifted her spoon with her telekinesis, eyed her bowl, closed her eyes, and then took a bite. After chewing and swallowing, she opened her eyes and looked at Berry. “It… just came as quite a shock. I never meant to be insulting. This… this is the very essence of generousity, giving something of yourself.”

“This is part of the way of life on the Shetlands,” Bucky remarked, not looking up from his bowl. “I was shocked when I learned the truth, but it didn’t really slow me down. It’s brought me closer to my wives. All of them. It’s forced me to re-evaluate their value to me as mares, mothers, and loved ones. I now see mares as the source of life… they give us foals, they provide foals and even their families nourishment, and my respect for females at large has grown greatly.”

The table remained silent for a while after Bucky spoke, with ponies eating while looking thoughtful. Celestia kept turning to look at Bucky, staring at him peculiarly, as though she was looking at a pony she didn’t know. Rarity looked at Bucky for a long moment, her cheeks becoming quite red, and then she dropped her gaze to stare into oatmeal, which she continued to slowly eat. Twilight studied the butter, turning a scholarly eye upon it as she thoughtfully ate her oatmeal.

“Why do we think this is wrong?” Twilight asked, a thoughtful honest question slipping from her lips. “If the milk is good enough for our foals, why not us? When and why does it become wrong?” Twilight’s face contorted and her muzzle scrunched, causing wrinkles to appear upon her nasal bridge. “Why do we drink cow's milk? That’s for cows… calves… suddenly I feel very confused and life doesn’t make sense, not that life ever made much sense.”

“Those are very good questions Twilight,” Celestia responded, looking at her former student with wide thoughtful eyes. Celestia’s ears folded back slightly as she leaned forward over her bowl. “A better question is… why does everypony do it and never ask questions about it?”

“Because, quite frankly, it is embarrassing… it is easier to just go along with what everypony else is doing and not look like a freakshow. You are bound to be shamed and publicly ridiculed if you question the status quo… oh my… I think I’m having an epiphany or this hangover is causing me to have an aneurysm,” Twilight replied, lifting up her left front hoof to rub the side of her head. She ate several bites of her oatmeal in rapid succession, barely chewing as she gulped down her food.

“We worry so much about what other ponies think about us,” Derpy stated.

“I certainly have to worry about what my little ponies think about me,” Celestia confessed, looking around the table. “It isn’t often that I get to just be a pony… like this.”

“Or holding down your subjects and blowing raspberries on their bellies,” Rainbow Dash grumbled.

“Hey, to be fair, she treated us all as equals. She razzed Twilight and me as well, and we are certainly not subjects… but I do notice that nopony has raspberried her,” Bucky interjected. He lifted his orange juice, took a drink, eyed the glass, and then he looked irritated. “Needs more pulp.”

“Buckminster… bring an army... dear,” Celestia said with the barest hint of sarcasm.

“I wouldn’t need to. I just need to wait till you are fully absorbed in spouting off your platitudes in public… I could take advantage of my diminutive size, walk beneath you, and give you the raspberrying you deserve,” Bucky replied, leaning towards Celestia and raising his remaining eyebrow over his surviving eye focusing his Taint filled stare upon Celestia, smiling his crooked smile.

“I do believe this is the part where my sister might say… 'You, minion, are too saucy' towards you at this moment,” Celestia responded, her eyes merry, a smile spreading wide over her muzzle.

The other ponies at the table stared at the unicorn and the alicorn, all of them silent and wide eyed, and nopony quite knew what to say about the ruthless battle of wits taking place. Twilight in particular seemed shocked at the exchange.

After a moment of silence, Bucky threw back his head and laughed, causing Celestia to do much the same. He banged on the table with his remaining front hoof and Celestia stuck out her tongue at him, something that further stunned poor Twilight, who had never seen her mentor behaving how she had been behaving this entire morning.

Berry smiled, but not at the exchange of jokes. She was pleased that the apparent gap between Bucky and Celestia seemed to have closed for now, and the tension between them seemed gone.

“It’s funny cause minion is another word for slave, right?” Applejack asked in her usual blunt fashion, causing the table to fall silent and stare at her, eyes blinking rapidly. “What? What’d I say? Something wrong?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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