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 smiled when a small ghostly flickering image of Twilight Sparkle appeared in the middle of the room. With a flick of his magic, he locked the door and soundproofed the room. He leaned forward in his chair and his smile turned into a broad toothy grin.

“Everything pretty much went the way you said it might Twilight,” Bucky said, looking down at Twilight’s illusionary projection.

“Did I do a good job of protesting?” Twilight asked sheepishly. “It felt wrong being deceitful… Applejack slapped me a few times, said it was wrong to lie. It really hurt Bucky.”

“Bah, you’ll get used to that. Bon Bon has set me straight a few times now, it just means that the earth pony in question loves you dearly. Just give her a hug and say thank you,” Bucky responded. “And yes, you did a fine job of playing your part.”

“Wait,” Tannis interjected. “She knew about this?”

“What is going on?” Agnetha demanded.

“Master is treacherous, I knew it,” Belisama muttered, shaking her head.

“We both sort of thought that this might happen once we got to the Sea of Grass. We had a plan in place,” Twilight said, her projection turning to look at the three griffons looking stupidly at her. “Bucky is my dear friend. Of course I’m not going to let him suffer any more than he has to. And if I didn’t want him taken there isn’t a force on this planet that could stop me. He saved my life and the lives of my friends. Are they treating you well Bucky?”

“They have given me coconut milk Twilight… I must say, we need coconut milk back in Equestria,” Bucky replied, still grinning crazily.

“Finch toured The Albatross. The zebras and ponies actually threatened him, telling him he had better not harm the little griffons, saying that the griffons had suffered enough and were slaves too. I think this will go a long way towards cementing the new relationship between all three nations Bucky… seeing it made me feel hopeful,” Twilight Sparkle reported, a sunny smile appearing upon her lips.

“Marvellous Twilight, marvellous,” Bucky stated in a low pleased sounding voice.

“The ponies and the zebras actually protected the servant griffons?” Tannis inquired, lifting his head and looking at Twilight’s projection.

“Finch demanded the griffons get away from the citizens of the Sea of Grass. The griffons got a little spooked. A lot of the zebras and ponies actually picked them up and hugged them to make them feel better, and a few really rude words were said to Finch, who was completely flummoxed about the whole situation. He apologised,” Twilight’s illusionary projection answered.

“Twilight, remember, offer no specific details about anything that happened in Griffonholm. Keep everything to a bare minimum and admit to nothing,” Bucky warned.

“I know that Bucky… what do you think are the chances of this working?” Twilight questioned, turning her head to look at Bucky.

“I don’t know Twilight, we’ve both been right about a number of things thus far, so I think we can venture a guess and say that we just might get what we want out of this,” Bucky replied, shrugging as he spoke.

“We have to secure a meaningful future for the griffons Bucky… you just keep doing what you do best. Scare them silly and keep acting crazy,” Twilight recommended. “I think that Princess Celestia might banish both of us to the moon though.”

“Who says I’m acting?” Bucky demanded, suddenly serious. “And Twilight, we cannot possibly be in any more trouble than we already are. There was a line and we crossed it. Might as well keep going. Remember Twilight. You be the good pony and I’ll be the scary crazy pony… which is easy for me because I don’t have to act.”

“Oh Bucky, you’re so silly sometimes,” Twilight Sparkle giggled and then vanished.

“Well, everything is almost going according to plan so far… but I did think I’d get taken into custody in Tradewinds,” Bucky grumbled to himself, rubbing his belly with his remaining front hoof.

“You are practically a griffon,” Belisama whispered, looking at Bucky with wide concerned green eyes. “Master, I am impressed by your treachery.”

Chortling, Bucky shrugged. He relaxed his magical hold and released the door and killed off the sound proofing spell. “No more whispering about committing suicide in desperation," he said loudly.

Nodding with understanding, Tannis went along with Bucky’s ploy. “Yes sir, I’m sorry sir, I will not allow it to happen again.”

 

 

After a soft knock, the door opened, and Finch entered, followed by a unicorn. The unicorn levitated a silver mirror behind him, which he laid down upon the table very carefully. Then, the the unicorn left, leaving Finch alone in the room with Bucky, Tannis, Agnetha, and Belisama.

“There are those who wish to have words with you,” Finch said as the mirror flickered with magic. “Bocor Oya and Grand Sorcerer Canterberry.”

As Bucky watched, two illusionary projections emerged from the mirror, a zebra’s head and a unicorn’s head. The unicorn was wearing a tall conical hat covered in stars, and Bucky thought he looked a little ridiculous.

“Greetings, I am Bocor Oya,” the zebra said, introducing herself.

“And I am Grand Sorcerer Canterberry of the Council of High Sorcery in Tradewinds,” the unicorn added.

“I am Bucky. This is Tannis, that is Agnetha, and the little one over there is my devoted friend and bodyguard, Belisama,” Bucky said, offering up introductions and taking perverse pleasure from seeing the two projected images scowl at the lack of protocol.

“Your Majesty, it has come to our attention that you are the king of the griffons,” Oya said in slightly annoyed voice.

“I am. Fleshrender was killed after his full confession of his crimes and I made Tanner drink his own crown as punishment for the crimes he committed,” Bucky responded in deadpan.

“Oh my… that’s dreadful,” Canterberry grumbled, looking rather queasy. “Oh… I think I can taste my dinner… oh bother what a perfectly awful way to die.”

“Princess Twilight Sparkle is the reasonable one. They failed to be reasonable with her. Both Fleshrender and Tanner tried to assassinate the two of us and our dear friends. They became enemies of Equestria and I was forced to deal with them… so tell me, how do we plan to handle this? Will this end reasonably?” Bucky said, ending his words with an inquiry. He felt a smug sense of satisfaction spread over him when he heard three distinct gulps around him, one from Finch and two from the projections.

“To be honest, we are not quite sure what to do,” Canterberry stated in voice quavering with nervousness. “This sort of situation has never happened before in our long history, and we’re not sure we have the legal means to deal with it. A king has never voluntarily surrendered and cooperated in the middle of an active war.”

“And under normal circumstances, considering the atrocities committed, you would be put to death for everything that has happened,” Oya remarked as she looked at Bucky, the zebra’s eyes piercing and bright. “But you are not responsible for those atrocities, and by all accounts, you have saved many lives by your actions.”

“And there is the matter of the rescued zebras and ponies… who are demanding that the griffons be spared,” Finch reported. “By all accounts, from what my officers have gathered, the little griffons are slaves and not active participants in the war.”

“Yes,” Oya agreed. “We are sending a ship your way loaded with ninety seven little griffons taken as captives when we seized a griffon dreadnaught gunship. Their wings are clipped. None of them can fly. I’m told they are quite annoying as they keep trying to give themselves away as gifts to the zebras and ponies aboard the ship carrying them.”

“So… is this to be an exchange of prisoners?” Tannis asked nervously.

“No,” Canterberry replied. “We are giving you the griffons as a good faith gesture. It saddens me to do it though, I am told they are master mechanics and repairers. They completely overhauled the ship they were being sent to you on.”

“On behalf of my subjects, I thank you for your graciousness and your hospitality,” Bucky said in a stately voice.

“That is very kind of you to do, but I am curious about our current predicament,” Agnetha interjected politely. “I am begging you for the lives of my subjects, I will do whatever it takes to secure their freedom. They have suffered enough. If you need somebirdy to pay for my father’s crimes, I will gladly do so.”

“Agnetha, be quiet,” Bucky commanded.

“Yes sir, sorry for speaking out of place sir,” Agnetha apologised.

“The Council of Sorcery and the Council of Bocors are still speaking. My friend Canterberry and I were asked to speak with you to get some kind of idea what sort of pony you are. Both councils need some kind of assurance. We’ve made so many treaties with the griffons and each and every single one of them has been broken. We understand that the circumstances have changed and we are no longer dealing with a griffon king, but there are those on the councils whose hatreds run deep,” Oya said, explaining the situation at her end to Bucky and the others.

“I understand,” Bucky replied, nodding his head softly. “Many generations of distrust do not simply go away.”

“Do you have anything to say?” Canterberry inquired, looking at Bucky, his projection looking hopeful.

“I am Bucky Bitters and I am the War Chief of Equestria. I am a knight. I answer only to Princess Luna when it comes to martial matters. I am also one of the kings of the griffons, and it is with both of these positions in mind that I would like to make you an offer,” Bucky said in smooth charismatic voice.

“And that is?” Oya asked.

“A mutual protection pact. A real one. Not the current lip service treaty that both of our countries have with one another. Princess Celestia will likely not agree with my actions, but know this, The Scorned Mare is sovereign territory of the Lunar Court, and I am a duly appointed agent of affairs of said court. My authority is second only to Princess Luna’s. Any agreement signed upon The Scorned Mare’sdeck is legally binding, and Princess Luna is a princess of her word. In times of trouble, I will personally involve myself in your defense and bring with me my loyal and devoted army of griffons who will be under my command,” Bucky answered, offering up a deal.

“This is quite a tempting offer,” Canterberry said in a low voice.

“It is,” Oya agreed. “Because we know who and what you are. The Three Sisters live in Tradewinds. They’ve told both councils about you, even though the details were scarce.”

“There is trouble around the Shetlands. I know that the griffons have been sending raiders up that way, and I am concerned for the safety of my subjects up there, both pony and griffon. Equestria is currently having trouble keeping its borders well defended,” Bucky stated making a gesture with his stump.

“We are aware of the collapse,” Canterberry sighed, his voice sad. “Many Equestrians came to Tradewinds. We were quite surprised. Many in the Sea of Grass go to Tradewinds so they can go to Equestria.”

“We can commit to nothing at this moment, our respective councils are still talking, but I can say that I am hopeful that we can work together,” Oya said to Bucky. She then turned to Tannis and Agnetha and smiled at them. “And both of you as well. You have a long and difficult task ahead of you, earning the world’s trust again. I am hoping that we can help you do that.”

“I will lean heavily upon my colleagues for a peaceful resolution that brings our nations together in a meaningful way. The surviving griffons are mostly slaves it seems. It would be cruel and heartless to punish them for the crimes of their masters. Many in our nation know the pain of slavery and the cruel touch of a burning brand. I will remind them of our shared pasts,” Canterberry said, looking at Tannis when he spoke. “Finch! See that our guest is treated well. Allow him the run of the ship and access to the deck. You have royalty on board and you had better treat them with the respect they deserve!”

“Sir, yes sir,” Finch squeaked nervously.

“We will contact you tomorrow with an answer. In the meantime, please enjoy our hospitality. The ship carrying your subjects should arrive sometime after midnight at your location. We are informing them that they have new kings. I do hope we can work together as friends,” Oya said in a friendly voice.

“Thank you Bocor Oya and Grand Sorcerer Canterberry… I am most pleased that cooler heads have prevailed. The last attempts at diplomacy… went poorly,” Bucky responded, leaning forwards towards the projected illusions coming out of the mirror.

“Yes, on behalf of my subjects, I offer my gracious thanks to the both of you, Bocor Oya and Grand Sorcerer Canterberry,” Tannis said, bowing his head.

“We will contact you again tomorrow,” Oya said as the projections flickered out and then disappeared.

“Perhaps I can get all of you to follow me to the mess hall? Twilight Sparkle has sent over food suitable for all of you. We could have a meal together,” Finch offered.

“That would be lovely,” Agnetha replied, her crest rising.

 

 

 

 

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