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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Bucky exploded onto the deck of The Scorned Mare with a burst of ice, freezing everything around him. Teleporting himself and his armor, which had considerable mass, was exhausting. He looked around and saw Twilight Sparkle hovering a short distance away, blazing brightly, still connected to the sun.

He peered down at the city below and saw a ruin. Most of it was simply gone, the rest of it was wreckage and debris. Some of it was still burning. Scorched craters pockmarked the land, and it almost looked like the surface of the moon.

“Bucky… are you okay?”

Turning away from the nightmarish ruin below, Bucky turned to look at Lyra, glad to see her. She was smiling, excited, and Bucky was glad to know that she was unharmed.

“Twilight Sparkle kinda wrecked the city,” Lyra said in a voice reedy with nervous excitement. “It was awesome… I mean, I did some neat stuff, but I am a type three. Twilight Sparkle cut loose as a type five. She held nothing back,” the unicorn reported.

“I would have done the same in her position,” Bucky replied. “Did my trunk make it?”

“Yeah, it crawled off into its storage spot… we have a lot of griffons on board Bucky, we’re getting overcrowded. The Scorned Marewas only meant to hold maybe sixty or so at most, we’re at well over one hundred right now. The system is producing enough drinkable water though and we seem to be okay, just not enough bunks.”

“Most of the griffons are small. We’ll make do,” Bucky said, looking at Lyra, drinking her in and appreciating her beauty after all of the horror he had seen. “I am tired. I am going to go remove my armor.”

“Okay Bucky… I think we’re okay now.”

 

 

The helmet was the last thing to go into his trunk. Bucky stretched, got his neck to crack, and then took a deep breath, feeling surprisingly okay after all of the killing. He had killed old and young alike, sparing those that he felt that he could.

He had carefully secured the rifle down inside of cavernous expanse of his trunk, and all of the bullets as well. Fleshrender’s rifle was very much like his soldier’s rifles, only of much better quality and better materials. Rosewood and mahogany inlaid with silver, a blued steel barrel, and a large brass scope for distance sighting. The rifle was shockingly accurate for almost a mile of distance, provided one used the rangefinder on the scope.

There was a soft knock upon his cabin door and Bucky pulled it open. He saw Lugus, who looked weary, the big griffon was clearly exhausted. Bucky felt how Lugus looked, and the two friends stared at one another silently for a moment.

“What is it Lugus?” Bucky inquired after a moment of silence.

“There is a griffoness that is demanding to see her master and know that he is well,” Lugus said in a low voice.

“Oh nuts… Lugus, tell her to go away,” Bucky sighed.

“Buckminster… she calls you master… she has given herself to you,” Lugus said, his voice somewhat hesitant.

“I don’t want her,” Bucky retorted, his patience stretching thin.

“You don’t understand my chief… she is yours. You have no idea how insulting this would be to her if you just send her away. She is like me… a creature of honour. She is one of the sane members of my species that hasn’t fallen into madness. You cannot just be rid of her,” Lugus explained.

“So what should I do Lugus? Keep her as a servant?” Bucky questioned, his voice rising slightly.

“Or a wife,” Lugus said in a flat voice.

“Lugus have you taken leave of your senses? Did you get hit on the head?” Bucky asked, his voice now low and rather growly.

“I took several blows to the head but my judgment is sound,” Lugus replied defensively, looking Bucky in the eye. “But you don’t understand what this means. Our word is our contract. We griffons live by contracts. I gave you my word as a contract. Too few of us follow the old ways anymore where our words mean something. She gave herself to you… her word is her contract. If you force her to break her word, she loses her honour, do you understand?”

“No!” Bucky retorted angrily.

“If you cast her aside not only have you done your part to nearly exterminate the griffons, but you will have also destroyed just a little bit more of our culture as well… WE ARE TOO FEW! And I don’t mean our numbers, I mean OUR HONOUR! SHE HOLDS ON TO THE OLD WAYS AND IF YOU CAST THAT ASIDE I WILL NOT FORGIVE YOU!” Lugus shouted, rising up over Bucky and looking down upon him.

Bucky, who had faced far scarier things, was unconcerned by Lugus’s angry shouting.

“Look, my chief, I-”

“Lugus, I have had a very trying day. I just got done killing thousands and thousands of griffons. I skinned Fleshrender alive and I made Tanner drink his crown. I killed several hundred fledglings who have eaten pony flesh and passed their loyalty test. I will listen to what you have to say later, but I am not certain I see the importance of this. My apologies,” Bucky said, his eye never once breaking eye contact with Lugus.

“Yes, of course my chief. I am merely begging you to keep us alive and our culture as well. Some of it is salvageable,” Lugus said to Bucky, slumping down and assuming a more submissive posture. “Forgive me my angry outburst.”

“And forgive mine as well, this has been a hard day for all of us,” Bucky returned.

“She is down in the infirmary, her leg is broken. She is scared, nervous, and panicked. She is of the servant caste and servants like serving and knowing their master is okay. Everything she knows has just been destroyed. All she wants is some comfort and reassurance, something familiar, which is to serve. She has an exaggerated sense of duty, just like another pony I know,” Lugus explained patiently.

“Fine… Lugus, that I do understand. At some point I will try to talk to her,” Bucky promised, trying to reign in his impatient feelings of frustration by taking deep breaths.

“No, you will do more than talk,” Lugus insisted. “You will listen, even if it means I have to drag you to her and sit on you.”

“Lugus… this really means this much to you?” Bucky asked.

“Buckminster… my chief… I gave her my word that I would make you see reason somehow,” Lugus replied.

“Lugus… Lugus, please, tell me that you didn’t just do that… giving your word about getting me to see reason. Maybe trying to get me to see reason? See, that is a reasonable goal,” Bucky said in a pleading voice. “And it gives you room for failure… you did say ‘try’ right?”

Lugus shook his head no, which caused Bucky to groan in exasperation.

 

 

Twilight Sparkle skidded to a halt as she landed on the deck of The Scorned Mare. Every muscle in her body ached with exhaustion, she was starving, and she felt completely numb between her ears. Her fires had extinguished and now, she was just an alicorn again, no longer ablaze with rage.

“Where is Spike?” Twilight asked, the first words out of her mouth as she landed.

“Spike is fine,” Ripple reported. “He is assisting Agnetha and Rarity. Rarity is quite good at stitching up wounds.”

“Rarity is stitching up wounds?” Twilight Sparkle asked in stunned disbelief.

“Yes, and she is quite good at it. The swelling on Rainbow Dash’s scalp became quite bad near the ear and the wound tore open a bit. I am told that Rarity sewed it up,” Ripple reported in a loud clear voice. “Lyra talked her into stitching wounds. Lyra sewed Sentinel’s ear back on when it was nearly torn off by a giant trout.”

“I would have never thought that Rarity would hold up under that kind of situation,” Twilight murmured, distracted by the ringing now in her ears. “I need to tell Rarity what a good pony she is and that she is a dear friend.”

“Are you okay?” Ripple asked, noticing that something seemed off with Twilight.

“I don’t feel well, I need rest. And you do too. You are dismissed or whatever it is called. If any threats come, I think the ships automated defenses will let us know. Are we still getting survivors trying to board?” Twilight responded.

“Yes,” Ripple answered. “Well, I think. I haven’t seen any in a while. Yew Wood has been most useful in helping because of her understanding of griffons.”

“Good deal… Ripple, go to bed,” Twilight insisted.

“Thank you ma’am,” Ripple replied, bowing her head slightly.

 

 

“Bucky, I know you are tired, but we have a situation developing,” Lyra reported as she watched Bucky take a soothing sip of coffee.

“Situation?” Bucky inquired, raising his remaining eyebrow over his surviving eye.

“The little griffons.. and even some of the bigger griffons we have as guests, what few of those there are… they are demanding to see their king,” Lyra squeaked in a nervous voice.

WHAT?!” Bucky thundered, his voice causing everything around him to rattle and Lyra’s mane blew back away from her face.

“They want to see their king… the other king… they recognise Tannis as one of their kings, they are demanding to see their warrior king,” Lyra explained in a halting nervous squeal.

“OH FECKING BUGGERY!” Bucky bellowed. His head thumped down on the table and a long low whimper escaped his throat.

“Tannis is the rightful King of Muninn, you are the rightful King of Huginn now, and your subjects are starting to demand to see you,” Lyra said soothingly, wrapping her foreleg over Bucky’s withers.

“I don’t want to be king,” Bucky whimpered, the terrible events that had happened finally catching up to him, and his resolve stared to crumble. “Lyra, don’t make me be king.”

“I don’t think it can be helped, honey,” Lyra whispered into Bucky’s ear.

“I need Lugus… Lyra, I need Lugus, he will know what to do about this,” Bucky groaned. He banged his stump on the table and lifted his head up.

“The griffons say there must always be two kings to maintain balance… and you are their warrior king,” Lyra crooned into Bucky’s ear, trying to calm Bucky down.

“Lyra, love, go fetch Lugus… he’ll know what to do,” Bucky begged.

“Okay Bucky, you just sit here and try to stay calm, I’ll go fetch Lugus,” Lyra promised, kissing Bucky on the good side of his face with a wet sounding smack. “I’ll bring Bonnie too.”

 

 

Bon Bon’s hooves kneaded deeply into Bucky’s back as he leaned into the table. Bon Bon stood behind him, standing on her hind legs, and she grunted from her effort. Lyra did not return, having departed to look after the deck of the ship with Yew.

Lugus sat across the table, looking concerned, his claws drumming rhythmically as he stared at Bucky. The big griffon’s crest was up and Lugus looked like he was going to fall over from exhaustion at any moment.

“I will not help you,” Lugus stated, breaking the silence.

“What?” Bucky asked in disbelief, looking at his friend.

Shaking his head, Lugus lifted his other talons and pointed one at Bucky. “I refuse to help you until you sort out your situation with Belisama,” he said in a low voice.

“I said I’d talk to her!” Bucky snapped, setting down his coffee cup on the table with a clunk, causing some of the liquid to slosh out.

“I am sorry my king,” Lugus retorted.

“Oh you birdy bastard!” Bucky snarled. “Don’t you dare call me your king!”

“You are the rightful king of Huginn. And technically Muninn as well, but you cannot sit on both thrones at once my king,” Lugus said, offering a bare explanation.

“I am not the king!” Bucky snapped.

“Bucky, do try and remain calm,” Bon Bon insisted in a soothing whisper.

“NO! Somebirdy is trying to stick a crown on my head!” Bucky grumped angrily, waving his stump at Lugus. “He knows how I feel about responsibility!”

“Belisama might make a good queen,” Lugus mused.

“Oh you son of a bitch… you… you did this… I know YOU did this!” Bucky accused.

“YOU TRIED TO CAST ASIDE OUR HONOUR!” Lugus roared in reply.

“So you spread word that I was the king?” Bucky demanded to know, his mouth falling open as he gaped at his friend.

“No… I did no such thing. I merely did nothing to stop the notion when Belisama proposed it and the others heard it. I merely said she had a good point,” Lugus said, flexing his talons nervously.

“OH DAMNIT SHE IS GOING TO BE THE DEATH OF ME I JUST KNOW IT ALREADY!”

 

 

 

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