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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Closing the door behind him, Sentinel left Twilight Sparkle and Spike together in his cabin. He took a deep breath, calmed himself, and then let it out slowly. There was one thing that Sentinel understood about family, and he had learned it from his mother, Derpy. Family needed to talk and let things out. Things like ‘I love you’ needed to be said. There had to be words.

From the other side of the door he heard sobbing. Sentinel fled the hallway, heading off to find some place he could go that was quiet, calm, and secluded, which seemed an impossible task on a ship full of little griffons who liked to hide in every nook and cranny.

Without realising it, he soon found himself abovedecks and saw his father in the small navigation cabin, alone, and Sentinel realised that there was a good chance to have a talk with his father.

 

 

“Hello father,” Sentinel greeted, sitting down on the floor while Bucky studied the large projection map. He peered up at the map and saw the Hinterlands on display.

“Sentinel,” Bucky said in a distracted voice.

“Planning on assisting the zebras in the Hinterlands?” Sentinel inquired, looking up at his father with wide curious eyes.

“Only if I have to do so,” Bucky answered, his eye never leaving the map. “Need to get to Tradewinds and return the zebras and ponies safely home. Medicine is also needed. For all of us I think. We’ve been to a very polluted place.”

“I feel fine,” Sentinel reported.

“You and I both,” Bucky stated. “Fluttershy still sniffles, Rarity has a bit of a wheeze that she refuses to say anything about according to Agnetha, and Rainbow Dash has been getting bloody noses on occasion.”

“How do you keep track of them all?” Sentinel asked, his voice held a hint of awe as he looked at his father with his ears pinned back.

“I love them Sentinel. Wholly and completely. Earlier I took a full briefing from Agnetha about the state of health. Many of the little griffons are sick, some are losing feathers, there is severe malnutrition, quite a few have a condition called ‘weepy eye’ that seems caused by the industrial contaminants in the air… Sentinel, these are all duties that one day, you will have to do in my stead,” Bucky answered, looking away from the map and down at his son.

Sucking in a deep breath, Sentinel let it out slowly, his cheeks puffing out.

“You will need some help organising. Treat Diamond Tiara well and you might have that help,” Bucky said with a faint hint of a tease in his voice. “One day, these will be your subjects. You will be responsible for every aspect of their life. You must protect them. Nurture them. Give them a future. Begin working to earn their trust now. Endear yourself to them. Be yourself. Be kind. Let Ripple handle the martial aspect of things for now. She is more into that than you are. Delegate tasks and responsibility. Find some griffons you can trust and make them responsible for their own kind.”

“What is to be done with them?” Sentinel inquired in a low voice.

“Great things,” Bucky responded.

“I don’t understand,” Sentinel stated.

“I have a glorious future vision of griffons integrated with the pony tribes. I intend to use their strength to aid Equestria. They are industrious. They understand machines of all types. They have remarkable talon to eye coordination. They can do amazing things that could reduce the dependence on magic for many earth ponies and pegasi. Once I am gone, I intend to leave behind an industrious army of griffons that are loyal and dedicated to protecting and serving Equestria,” Bucky explained, making a few sweeping gestures with his stump as he spoke, his ears twitching to different positions rapidly.

“And you are leaving this legacy to me,” Sentinel nervously squeaked.

“Think of how much in common your kind and the griffons have. The griffons farm bugs Sentinel… or did. You like bugs. This could be a means for your kind to find more acceptance in Equestrian society and reduce the need to hunt, which scares ponies. A stable healthy source of food in a society of herbivores,” Bucky said in return to Sentinel.

“Hrm,” Sentinel hummed thoughtfully.

“Sentinel, survival of the lunar pegasi and the griffons are practically intertwined in my vision. Both have similar needs. Both have similar problems. Being a fierce predatory species among the ponies is difficult. Most of the world’s sapient species are herbivorous… there is always going to be difficulty maintaining trust and understanding. But I think I see a way,” Bucky said in a somewhat manic and insistent voice.

“And it will be up to me to make sure this vision continues,” Sentinel sighed, slumping slightly before his father, realising for the first time the enormity of his task, and its importance. The colt felt the first crushing weight of rule settling upon his shoulders, and after a moment of thoughtful consideration, found that he did not mind.

“Sentinel, I love you a great deal… I understand that I have laid out a task that seems impossible, but there is no one else I trust enough to look after my legacy. You are ideally suited for this role, this future, perhaps even more so than I am. The griffons will follow you and Moonbow for your strength,” Bucky said to Sentinel, reaching out to stroke his son with his right fetlock as he spoke.

“Father… I am going to have to take on a griffoness as a mate, aren’t I?”

 

 

Sentinel prowled the halls once again, his mind unsettled, trying to figure out everything that had taken place in just a few short days. He had, previous to the trip, figured out his place in the world, at least sort of, in a very general sense. And then, during the course of the trip, he had killed a sapient creature using his teeth and immense strength, had seen death on a scale he could scarcely comprehend, and now it seemed that his entire future was all neatly laid out for him.

His father was creating a lasting legacy and giving his tribe a future.

The colt understood that his father would have other foals, and those foals would continue other aspects of his father’s legacy. There would probably be a unicorn born at some point with immense magical power that might continue in Bucky’s role as the Lord of Winter. It slowly percolated into Sentinel’s brain that he was continuing the militaristic branch of the family that would serve and protect the future Lord of Winter.

Sentinel felt a strong rush of pride. Not only was his father trusting him with the griffon kingdom, but Sentinel understood that he was being entrusted to protect every other legacy his father left behind, every brother and sister not born yet, it was all being left to him. The colt suddenly felt very small and very humble as he trotted through the halls and he hoped that he would prove worthy.

Sentinel found that he missed Diamond Tiara a great deal, and he wondered if the earth pony filly missed him. School had started by now, and he hoped that Diamond Tiara wasn’t being bothered too badly by her classmates. Sighing, Sentinel realised he missed Dinky and Piña as well, and hoped that they were sticking by Diamond Tiara’s side.

 

 

Returning to his cabin, Sentinel saw that Spike was gone and the cabin was empty. The cabin, small, some might even say cramped, was Sentinel’s favourite space aboard The Scorned Mare. It wasn’t quite his hiding space beneath the stairs at home, but it was a small secure space where he felt well hidden and secure. It had clearly been designed with him in mind, no doubt designed by Princess Luna. There was a small folding desk, two bunks, both of which folded into the wall, a well supplied small closet full of art supplies, a small round window, and the walls, which were painted a beautiful shade of dark purple-blue and covered in small stars that actually twinkled with a faint magical glow.

He sat down near his desk, banged on just the right spot with his hoof, and the entire desk fell outwards into place. He pulled open a drawer, pulled out a fine pen with a silver tip, his journal, set them down upon the desk, and then stared at the wall, trying to gather his jumbled thoughts.

Sitting in the dark room, Sentinel wrapped a tendril of shadow around the pen, willing it to move, straining, his whole body trembling. He gritted his teeth and felt a bead of sweat dribble down just behind his ear as he extended his willpower, just as Luna had instructed.

With a clatter, the pen trembled upon the desk, bouncing and vibrating around. For just a brief moment, it lifted into the air, rising a scant inch away from the desk, and Sentinel held it for a few seconds, exhausting himself as he did so.

Sentinel let go, his whole body now shaking, his head hurting. Shadow based physical manipulation was a rare gift that few had, a gift that Luna called umbrakinesis. His father had the gift as well, but tended to ignore it in favour of his own telekinesis.

Extending one jittering wing, Sentinel picked up his pen, turned on his desk lamp which bathed his desk in a faint glow that Sentinel could see just fine by, and then opened his journal.

 

 

Night has fallen on the fifth day of our stay in the griffon empire, or what is now left of it. So much has changed. I remember our first day here and the feeling of bleak emptiness upon seeing Huginn. Huginn now being buried under a blizzard that will last centuries.

So much has changed since we were attacked. Spike has certainly changed, and I have as well. I can still taste griffon flesh in my mouth while I sleep, and the scent of blood remains strong in my nose. I still feel so guilty. I am still bothered by just how easy it was to rip the griffon limb from limb and tear his throat out. He was so physically weak, I can still remember him and his feeble struggles against me, trying to make me stop.

It is an important reminder that I must be forever vigilant and watch my strength. The world and the living things around me are all so fragile and easily broken. I do believe that my budding relationship with Diamond Tiara, should it continue, will be good for me in the long run, she is fragile and delicate, well, as much as an earth pony can be fragile and delicate, and she will make, for lack of a better term, good practice. I just hope that I never sneeze while holding her, I tend to clench up.

Father plans to leave tomorrow with the dawn. There are those labouring through the night with last minute preparations to make The Albatross a suitable place to live, as I do believe my father plans to use it to house the griffons once we return home.

I worry that I lack my father’s sense of vision. He sees himself as a new founder, creating a new unified tribe, not just of ponies, but of sapient species. He sees a connection between the lunar pegasi and the griffons that I did not see, but I should have seen. Our survival as a species does indeed depend on one another, I do believe my father is correct with his idea. We need to earn the trust of those who fear us. I don’t know how to do this, but I know my father has a plan.

The griffons have placed all of their hope in Belisama, who has given herself to my father as his servant. I have heard them talking, I have heard their hopeful conversations. I wonder if my father is aware of how much is being said. The griffons love my father as one of their kings, but they want a queen. I wonder how my mother Derpy will feel about having a flock that is entirely loyal to her. I wonder how Moonbow will react when she learns of our future.

The griffons are amazing creatures. I have spent some time watching them closely and have discovered their bathing habits are quite interesting. They preen their wings, getting their feathers damp with drool, and then they rub their wings all over their body, covering their pelt with a somewhat waterproofed coating of slobber. Lugus has never done this in the open, but the griffons seem to enjoy sitting in the sun with one another and preening together as a group. They also grab their tongue with their talons, soak their talons in slobber, and rub themselves down using their talons. They are clean fastidious creatures.

When I get the chance, I hope to sketch them preening as a group.

 

 

 

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