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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“My friend, we have a problem,” Lugus reported in a low voice to Bucky, who was busy relaxing on the deck of The Scorned Mareand drinking hot tea. The griffon sat down on his haunches and looked around to see who might be listening.

“And what is the nature of this problem?” Bucky asked before taking a sip of tea.

“My squire has accepted ownership of a group of griffons,” Lugus said in a low voice, and then ducked out of the way as Bucky spewed out tea.

“What?” Bucky gasped, before he began to cough and sputter.

“Ripple has accepted ownership of a group of griffons pledging service to her. I don’t think she knows or understands just what has taken place,” Lugus explained as his head turned to watch his squire, who was standing near the prow of the ship. “See that group of griffons following her? She agreed to their terms with a spoken contract.”

“Oh bugger,” Bucky grumbled, squinting at Ripple in the bright sunlight. “Lugus, there needs to be general warning issued about this whole verbal contract thing… I can’t have my griffons giving themselves away to everypony.”

“Alas my king, I was ambushed and before I could refuse them, several pledged themselves to me and Yew… Yew is quite taken at having devoted servants. She is already fawning over them and wants to teach them how to knit,” Lugus replied to Bucky.

“I don’t understand this culture of willing servitude,” Bucky snapped, glaring around angrily. “They just keep giving themselves away.”

“They are oppressed and heart broken. They are desperate for worthy masters. They want caretakers who will love them and look after them,” Lugus said. “I do not understand them myself, I am a warrior… I know little of their ways and their culture is beyond my understanding.”

“Does Yew understand any of this?” Bucky inquired, looking Lugus in the eye.

“I’ve tried to explain it to her,” Lugus answered. “Yew thinks they are adorable and she has spent much time cuddling those now devoted to her.”

“I… I… I don’t understand what is going on and everything already seems to be falling apart. You make it sound like Yew thinks of them as pets or something,” Bucky grumbled in a low voice.

“I think she thinks of them as… foals… because of their small size,” Lugus returned, stammering slightly, and gently correcting Bucky’s assertion.

“RIPPLE!” Bucky bellowed.

The griffon and the unicorn watched as Ripple paraded over, her griffons in tow. She approached with her head high and her wings flared out slightly, looking proud. She stood near Bucky for a moment, bowed her head slightly to Lugus, and then sat down on haunches.

“You called for me?” Ripple inquired.

“Ripple, I am concerned that you don’t understand what is going on,” Bucky stated.

“About what?” Ripple asked.

“Ripple, these griffons gave themselves to you. I mean they are literally giving you their lives. They are giving you ownership of them. Do you have any idea of the responsibility you will have for their care?” Bucky questioned.

“All they did was pledge their dedication I thought,” Ripple said, looking all around her at the griffons and griffonesses sitting nearby, and then at Lugus, who was shaking his head slowly.

“As king, you have power to override their ownership and claim them as your own,” Lugus said, causing several concerned peeps to come from the crowd of griffons around him.

“No Lugus,” Bucky said as he looked at Ripple. “Ripple, you are going to keep your guard. You will be responsible for their care. Their feeding. If they are injured, it will be your job to care for the wounded and nurse them. You are going to take responsibility for them all, you will keep them, and you and your herd will provide for their every need or so help me… you… you… you don’t even want to know what will happen if you disappoint me.”

“Father, I would never willingly disappoint you,” Ripple said bowing her head.

“You will teach these griffons how to defend themselves. You will make them fearless and fierce. You will teach them martial discipline and at some point in the not too distant future, you are going to present them to Princess Luna for full martial inspection,” Bucky commanded in a low sonorous voice.

The sudden gulp from Ripple was audible, quite loud, and sounded painful.

“Buckminster, my friend, is that necess-”

“Lugus, I find it necessary,” Bucky interrupted in a cold commanding voice.

Lugus, sighing, turned on Ripple, raised his head high, reached out his talons, grabbed her around her barrel, lifted her, and pulled her close, holding her beak to snoot. “Our honour has been engaged. You have never disappointed me thus far, and you will not fail me now. You will make them ready for full martial inspection. Have Sentinel help you. Sentinel has more of an eye for detail than you do, between the two of you, there will be no chance of failure.”

“Sir, yes sir,” Ripple said fearlessly, her eyes never leaving Lugus’ piercing stare.

Nodding, Lugus gently set the filly down, patted her affectionately, and then looked down at all of the griffons who had watched everything that had taken place with wide worried eyes.

“I pity all of you,” Lugus said, looking over Ripple’s troops.

“Ripple, you make them worthy and I will arm them,” Bucky promised.

“Consider it done,” Ripple responded, bowing her head down low. “SALUTE!” Ripple cried, whipping her wing out.

The griffons followed her lead, and eleven wings snapped outwards with an audible crack, a good first effort by any account, and Lugus nodded his approval.

“They need little hook-axes,” Lugus mused.

 

 

As the sun started to settle over the western mountain ridge, Bucky found one last feature of interest as he prowled the military base for one last time, wearing his armor to assist his movement. There was a railway depot with a track ending, a railway turntable, and a tunnel leading back to Huginn going under the mountain. There was a train parked in the tunnel, hidden from above, and Bucky moved into the dark passageway to investigate.

There was a locomotive, a tender car, a few empty boxcars, and then he found boxcars with steel kegs. The kegs said “Warning: Explosive!” in bright red painted letters. Bucky peered down at the long line of boxcars stretching under the mountain in the long tunnel, and wondered how many thousands of tons of gunpowder there was.

Bucky realised that as he was leaving, he was going to have to detonate the powder reserves, and he wondered what sort of spectacular explosion awaited. He would have to do it when his ships were a safe distance away.

Pausing thoughtfully, he realised that blowing up all of the powder was a waste. Lifting out a dozen steel kegs with his telekinesis, he began the long walk of hauling them back to to the vast holds of The Albatross.

 

 

“You should just go and talk to her.”

Sighing, Spike turned and looked at Sentinel. “I want to, but I feel bad after what I said,” he confessed. “Things feel weird now.”

“Look, didn’t you learn anything from what happened that night? You almost lost your mother,” Sentinel said in a forceful voice. “She is your mother Spike… even if you can’t say anything because everything feels weird, if you go up and give her a hug, it will make things better… because that’s how things are with your parent. I’ve learned one very important lesson from my mother Derpy… words sometimes get misunderstood or in the way, but a hug is always a sure means of communication.”

“I said something awful,” Spike groaned, wringing his hands together. “It was awful because it was true, but I know it hurt her. I can’t take it back. I can’t unsay it. Every time I get near her now, she gets teary eyed and won't look at me.”

“Spike, this can be fixed. This can be made better,” Sentinel insisted.

“BUT I DON’T WANT THINGS TO GO BACK TO THE WAY THEY WERE!” Spike shouted. “I don’t want to be her… her… her… servant! I want to go to school this fall. I’m not happy.”

“We’ve talked about this… you need to tell her,” Sentinel responded in a low soothing voice to his friend.

“I’m so miserable right now… and I know she has to be miserable. Pinkie Pie is all kinds of messed up, we’re at war, Twilight has failed and Princess Celestia is really really angry… I don’t actually know what is going on, but I know that Twilight almost had a meltdown… and I’m having my own meltdown… and I can’t lay all of this on her right now,” Spike stammered.

“Spike, I am sorry,” Sentinel said as he turned for the door of his cabin.

“For what?” Spike asked.

“For what I am about to do,” Sentinel replied.

“What are you doing?” Spike questioned.

“I am going to get Twilight and bring her here, and then both of you are going to talk,” Sentinel answered as he stepped through the door. “And if you value our friendship, you will be here when I return. This is a small ship and there is nowhere to go.”

 

 

Carefully pulling the brush through Peekaboo’s mane, Belisama glanced up at the one eyed pegasus watching her. She gave Peekaboo a tickle with her wing and listened to the foal giggling as she tried to work out a few tangles.

“It isn’t easy you know,” Yew said in a low voice, reaching out with one wing and brushing her mane from her face. “I’ve seen how you look at him. I’m getting pretty good at reading griffons.”

“What isn’t easy? I don’t know what you mean,” Belisama replied.

“A griffon and a pony can love one another, but it isn’t easy. Ponies are affectionate creatures. They have big soft squishy lips… like mine. They like to kiss. They like to kiss all over, kissing every inch of the body you can imagine,” Yew said suggestively, and then she puckered up her lips to make a smooching sound.

Belisama’s only reply was a worried squawk.

“Griffons have a beak. So certain concepts are lost to the griffons. Lugus and I have had to fumble through many awkward situations,” Yew confessed.

“I know about mating… I have never done it, but I am not stupid,” Belisama whispered. “I would rather not be having this conversation. I don’t understand the need to talk about breeding. If it is not being done for the purpose of making cubs, then it is a means for males to assert their dominance. I understand it completely.”

“No, you don’t,” Yew said sadly.

“You shouldn’t tell me what I don’t understand,” Belisama said defensively.

“What about love?” Yew asked.

“Something in storybooks,” Belisama retorted bitterly.

“Look, I know about the barbs. And I think I understand the fear-”

“YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THE FEAR!” Belisama shouted, causing Peekaboo to flee, the little foal squirming off with her wings flapping, heading for her mother, Yew Wood.

“Then tell me about the fear,” Yew said in a gentle voice, unphased by Belisama’s anger. “I know about the barbs, and I understand that males in your culture use sex as a means to establish dominance.”

“More than that,” Belisama hissed, her beak snapping shut with a clacking sound.

“What then?” Yew asked, not sure she wanted to know the answer.

“You have been with Lugus… and you have seen his length,” Belisama said in a cold voice, her eyes suddenly blazing with anger. “Now imagine being my size.”

“The thought has crossed my mind,” Yew responded in a somewhat strangled voice.

“My sister…” Belisama began, and then fell silent. “Bandua… Bandua was killed when a much larger griffon forcibly penetrated her. He just kept going, forcing his way in deeper and deeper, until she was impaled and screaming. After he was finished, he skinned her, plucked her, and prepared her for eating. I was forced to watch, knowing the others were planning to have their way with me once they were done eating.”

Yew felt sick and her stomach lurched. She swallowed a few times, clung to Peekaboo, and she struggled to look Belisama in the eye. “So sex is used for more than a means to establish dominance.”

“Yes,” Belisama hissed.

“Lugus has never hurt me,” Yew said in a gentle voice. “Look, I know what you want from Bucky… I am very close to his wives, we are like sisters, and there are no secrets between us. We talk about our husbands openly and all of our bedroom habits as Berry Punch likes to call them. Bucky is a very sexual creature.”

“If I am ever taken as a wife, if he wants me, I will be submissive, go limp, and allow him to have his way with me, as is his right,” Belisama said in fearful voice.

“Oh Belisama,” Yew murmured. “That would be the worst thing you could do.”

 

 

 

 

 

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