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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“How do the lightning cannons work?” Ripple inquired, looking over the deck rail at the protruding metal antennae sticking out from the sides of The Scorned Mare.

“Super compressed cloudstuff naturally turns into stormclouds. The gasbag above is filled with clouds which turn into storm clouds. Those storm clouds produce electricity. Between storm clouds producing electricity, and the solar collectors built into the gasbag, this ship has enough electricity to power everything, the lights, the refrigerators, heating, air conditioning, and the electro-cannons. Most of the time you never actually need to use the electro-cannons, just the sight of them is enough to discourage most threats. Some ships have them and they’re not real, they’re just decoys to scare threats off,” Flash Sentry explained.

“Neat,” Ripple replied. “So how do you know so much about this?”

“When I was a foal, I wanted to be an airship captain,” Flash Sentry admitted, grinning sheepishly. “I still do.”

“So why didn’t you become an airship captain?” Ripple asked, turning her head around to look at Flash Sentry and perking her ears forward in interest.

“Because, when I took the placement testing that pegasi take in school, I had high scores in military communications and military supply chain management. I didn’t want to be a quartermaster or a sky wagon puller, so I chose communications,” Flash Sentry answered.

“So you did it because a piece of paper told you to?” Ripple asked, her eyes going wide in disbelief as she stared at the orange pegasus. “What about dreams?”

“I had dreams. I wanted to be an airship captain and a police officer. At the same time. And an official Princess Rescuer… but that dream was silly and I let it go. I didn’t have the necessary skills for being an airship captain, I scored too low in vital areas. I did score well enough to be considered for military police duty… and when I got my cutie mark, for a time, I really did think I would become a police officer. A blue shield... I had some hope for a while. But real life happened and I was good at what I did working in the messenger corps. I personally flew several dangerous missions during the collapse and wound up in quite a number of dangerous situations. I’m still alive, and that sort of tells me that I am doing the right thing,” Flash Sentry answered.

“So the fact that you are alive tells you that you are competent and good at what you do… but are you happy?” Ripple questioned. “I mean I’m good at a number of things, but I’m happy when I’m following my dream. I’m gonna be a knight someday.”

“I don’t know if I’m happy,” Flash Sentry sighed.

“I am finally happy,” Lugus interjected.

“Hard to tell when you are happy. You can’t smile,” Flash Sentry replied.

“I have Peekaboo. I have Yew, my beautiful one eyed mate, who has scars that tell stories, and it is she whom I love. I have a squire. I have a chief who is worth serving and an honourable tribe. I am finally living up to my ideals as a knight. I was miserable before,” Lugus explained.

“Think there will be trouble, large friend?” Flash Sentry asked.

“Almost certainly. I should not have come. I have a feeling that when I return home, they will try to arrest me or have me killed,” Lugus replied, sitting down upon the deck. “I came because it was requested, but it is a bad idea. I am conflicted. I must stay at my chief’s side, but by doing so, I am putting him in danger… or so I worry,” Lugus replied, his crest rising high as he spoke.

“If anything touches you, I’ll crack their skull open and spill their little birdy brains out,” Ripple said, bristling and puffing out, her legs going stiff as she stood near Lugus.

“Ripple, you are practically a griffon,” Lugus stated in an amused voice.

 

 

“This is the greatest trip ever,” Spike said, giggling as he spoke. He had several marshmallows impaled on his claws and he waved and wiggled them as he belched up a gout of flame, toasting them with just the perfect amount of burn. He peeled off a well toasted marshmallow and passed it to Sentinel. “And the adults are so wrapped up in their little chat that there is nopony to tell us to go to bed,” Spike chortled.

Taking the offered marshmallow with an extended thumb claw, Sentinel then jammed it into his mouth and chewed. “These are great,” he mumbled around a mouthful of marshmallow. “Most of the time, I go to bed on my own. Nopony ever has to tell me to go to bed. I have duties to perform and I need to be well rested.”

Blinking, Spike froze. “I never thought of it that way. I have a lot of responsibilities. But at the end of the day, I just want to have fun and play… and usually Twilight has to tell me to go to bed or put me to bed.” Spike paused for a moment, looking thoughtful as he ate a marshmallow. He swallowed it with a loud gulp and then looked at Sentinel. “We’re overworked. We have so many responsibilities and duties to perform. We never get a chance to do what we are doing now, just having fun and doing nothing.”

“I get a chance occasionally,” Sentinel replied, his ears splaying out sideways as he became reflective. “But I am not one for play. My sisters do drag me to tea parties though and I do play darts with Ripple.”

“But we’re kids. We’re supposed to be playing around when were not in school. We’re not supposed to have full time jobs just yet,” Spike said in a voice full of regret. “I want to go to school with the foals I know. Even if school isn’t fun. I hate that I can’t go. Twilight says I wouldn’t learn anything there that she couldn’t teach me, but it isn’t about learning stuff… and she just doesn’t understand. I want to be around other kids sort of my own age… like Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom, or Scootaloo. I really like Sweetie Belle. She and I talk about all kinds of stuff. Apple Bloom and I build stuff. And Scootaloo and I do adventurous stuff together,” he confessed, baring his soul to his new friend.

“So tell your mother you want to go to school with the rest of the foals and tell her why. Twilight strikes me as being mostly reasonable. If she doesn’t listen, I will help you. Going to school together would be nice. I’m worried about school,” Sentinel responded. The lunar pegasus colt slumped down in his bunk, sighed, and then stretched his wings out.

“It is difficult to be a dragon living in a world full of ponies,” Spike murmured morosely, hunching over and resting his chin on his palm. “I don’t fit in with other dragons any more, I learned that. They horrify me… dragons are awful… but I don’t quite fit in with ponies either. I get along really well with you though.”

“We aren’t so different,” Sentinel said reassuringly, seeing his friend in distress. “When other ponies look at us, they see a monster with terrible teeth and scary claws. Thankfully, we have those who love us and see past that.”

“But you are still a pony,” Spike said in return.

“Am I?” Sentinel asked. “I eat meat. I have echolocation. I am a shadow creature that has an almost pony shaped body. I have to be careful of everything I touch so I don’t shatter it, break it, or crush it. I am already far stronger than all of the adult ponies in my family, including Bon Bon. If I was to ever lose my temper and slap one of my sisters with my hoof,  I could shatter their skulls into a thousand pieces. The only other pony I can ‘play’ with is Moonbow, who is just like me. We can be rough with one another and not suffer the consequences. If I was to hug Diamond Tiara like I do Moonbow, it would kill her. I don’t feel like a pony,” he explained.

“But don’t you see? You are… you love them. You don’t hurt them. You are careful and considerate of how fragile they are, because you are a pony. You hold back because you value them. Just like I do… I get the strangest ideas sometimes… I’ve had dreams about eating Sweetie Belle-”

“Wait, what?” Sentinel interrupted.

“I’ve had dreams about eating Sweetie Belle,” Spike repeated in a raspy pained voice. “It’s awful, I didn’t mean to say it, it just sort of slipped out, please don’t hate me.”

“I’ve had dreams about eating Diamond Tiara. I’ve even found myself staring at her legs and thinking about how delicious they looked,” Sentinel admitted. “Or other parts of her tender little body…” he grumbled in a low growly whisper, feeling a rush of heat creeping along his skin all over his body.

Heaving a sigh of relief, Spike fell over on his bunk and clutched his face. “Oh that is such a relief. I thought I was alone… I thought I was a monster. I’ve never even told Twilight. The worst part is, in the dream, Sweetie Belle was alright with it, telling me it was okay and trying to comfort me because I was crying while I was eating her.”

“I had a very similar dream about Diamond Tiara. And my mother Thistle told me that she had a dream about my father… he was very forgiving towards her about being devoured,” Sentinel said to Spike, his body flooding with relief as he was finally able to talk about this with somebody he could relate to.

“I wonder why we dream about them being okay with it?” Spike questioned, laying flat on his back. He grabbed his tail and clutched it, squeezing it in his clawed fingers, fidgeting nervously.

“I dunno,” Sentinel answered. “Maybe it is because we know that they love us in spite of being what we are… or something. I wish I had an answer.”

“Sometimes I feel like a pony trapped in a dragon’s body. I want to be a pony more than anything,” Spike confessed. “I don’t want to be Twilight’s dragon assistant, I want to be her foal. I want to be soft and fuzzy. I want Twilight to hug me and feel something other than hard metallic scales,” he explained. The little dragon yawned as he continued to squeeze his own tail and he started to struggle to keep his eyes open.

“Spike?”

“Yes Sentinel?”

“I am really glad we are friends, Spike.”

“Me too.”

 

 

“So you fell in love with Yew because her face is messed up and she is missing an eye?” Flash Sentry inquired, trying to understand the griffon.

“I do not think her face is messed up. Is a page covered in letters that tell a story messed up?” Lugus asked in reply.

“Sorry, I misspoke, please forgive me,” Flash Sentry said as he cringed.

“Do not worry little pegasus,” Lugus responded. “I fell in love with Yew because she is a beautiful creature to me. She is a survivor. She picked a fight with an eagle. I love every inch of her tiny barely more than a meal body.”

Gulping, Flash Sentry looked concerned at the griffon’s words. “A meal?”

“She knows how I am… we have talked. She accepts my foibles and even thinks they are funny. She trusts me. Asks me if this spot on her leg looks especially delicious or how I would properly prepare her haunches,” Lugus said, making a chuckling sound deep in his throat as he spoke, the words coming from a different part of his throat.

“Well, that’s good that you can joke about it,” Flash Sentry stated.

“Love bears all things,” Lugus replied. He scratched at the spot on his chest where his fur and feathers merged. “Isn’t that right my squire?”

“Oh I don’t know…” Ripple replied, dropping her gaze to the floor.

“You love Sparkler. Sparkler loves you. But you also find yourself attracted to a donkey,” Lugus said to his squire, his tone faintly teasing.

“She is a very pretty donkey!” Ripple responded defensively, looking Lugus in the eye.

“She has a very expressive face and ears. I like her,” Lugus said, reaching out and gently stroking Ripple with his wing.

“I’m really afraid Lugus… what if we really like each other but she isn’t agreeable to the whole herd thing and I lose her? I’m really falling for her. And Sparkler knows it. I love Sparkler, and I kinda have a crush on Sparky, but I have a major crush on Bittersweet. I mean, I think about her constantly. Sparky says it is because I already have her, and it is true, I do have Sparkler, so I am comfortable with our relationship and I know that someday, when I feel ready, Sparky and I are going seal the deal on our relationship… but I don’t have Bittersweet. I’m having to work to get her affections. I have to earn every smile from her. And it all feels so different,” Ripple explained. “So exhilarating to do all of the right things and get a smile from Bittersweet.”

“Love is confusing and difficult,” Flash Sentry agreed. “I think Twilight’s closest friend is falling for me. I feel awful about it, I keep thinking I need to send some clear message to end it, but if I do, and it hurts her, it will also hurt Twilight, and potentially wreck my chances with Twilight. I don’t know what to do.”

“Love is complicated. I don’t like it,” Ripple muttered. “Crushing skulls is easy. I like that. Pounding things into pudding… that’s easy. I like that. But love? What a mess.”

“At least neither of you are over four times as large as your mate. You don’t know what trouble is,” Lugus said, prodding Ripple and Flash with his wings. “You have it easy.”

 

 

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