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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There were no big bathtubs onboard The Scorned Mare, and Bucky was thoroughly enjoying the large tub in the hotel room suite. The evening had been exhausting in more ways than one, and Bucky needed downtime as an introvert. Bon Bon was beside him in the large square tub, and Lyra was sitting on the other side, looking at Bon Bon and Bucky with a sleepy expression of relaxation upon her face.

“There is a surprising number of type threes here,” Lyra said as she laid her head back upon the edge of the tub. “Well, at least with the ponies we met this evening.”

“And the zebra unicorns are fascinating,” Bon Bon remarked, nodding her head slightly as she spoke. “And the zebra alchemists are working on a new chemical compound that will allow cloud retention in a gasbag. I’ve never seen Lyra look so animated listening to another pony.”

“Alchemy is its own powerful form of magic. Ponies should respect it and take it seriously,” Bucky grumbled. “And where is Belisama? Why isn’t she in here with us?”

“She is sleeping Bucky,” Lyra replied. “Hey, what did you think of those compressed cloud dispenser stations for the mini airships? Just pop in, refill the gasbag, and go zooming off to be somewhere else in the city. This place is amazing. Little tiny airships that hold only a pony or two and don’t take up a huge amount of space like a hot air balloon.”

“Lyra, I don’t think you love me anymore,” Bon Bon said regretfully.

“What are you talking about Bonnie?” Lyra replied in a worried voice.

“I think you’re having an affair with an airship or two,” Bon Bon deadpanned.

“Airships are awesome,” Lyra squeaked.

“I think about everything I have seen and heard tonight and I can’t help but think how some of this might help Equestria. Manehatten and other big cities have traffic problems with all of the pony drawn cabs and carriages. Personal airships and cloud dispensing stations to keep them refilled and floating would help out quite a bit, pegasi shouldn’t be the only ponies who can fly,” Bucky said as he closed his eye and relaxed a bit.

“I don’t mind being on a big airship, but the idea of being on a little one scares me,” Bon Bon admitted. “Then again, I don’t like it when Derpy or Lugus picks me up and flies with me. At least The Scorned Mare feels like solid ground beneath my hooves.”

“You think Twilight and her friends are having a nice time?” Lyra asked, kicking her hind legs around the in the water and stretching out.

“Poor Flash isn’t. Poor dear. Kicked out and told mares only so they could probably all do what we are doing, soaking the in the tub together. A stallion can be in same bath as a mare and not be thinking about perverted stuff,” Bon Bon said to Lyra.

“Says who Bonnie?” Bucky impishly asked as he grabbed Bon Bon and pulled her close. He pressed his snoot into the soft velvety place just behind her ear and nuzzled, causing Bon Bon to let out a fillyish squeal.

“Bad Bucky! Bad!” Bon Bon scolded, squirming away from Bucky and moving to the other side of the tub with Lyra.

“Oh come on… it isn’t like I had a boner or anything,” Bucky grumbled. “I wonder how Rising Star is doing. I miss the others,” he said in a forlorn voice.

“School has started. I bet the house is quiet with Dinky and Piña off at school,” Lyra said as she sank down in the water, leaving only part of her head and snoot above the surface.

“I can’t wait to be home. Should only take a few days, maybe four or five to get home if we are lucky,” Bucky said as his gaze lingered on Bon Bon, his eye drinking in her beauty as her wet mane clung to her shapely well muscled neck.

 

 

The tub was crowded and personal space simply didn’t exist. Twilight Sparkle felt her annoyance growing steadily. The night had been long and difficult, and the alone time that Twilight desperately needed wasn’t happening. Applejack was on one side of her and Rainbow Dash was on the other, two ponies who had no concept of personal space or boundaries.

On the other side of the tub was Fluttershy and Rarity, both of whom had their eyes closed as they relaxed, pressed tightly against one another.

“Them there vertical gardens are the most impressive thing I have ever seen. The whole side of the building that faces the sun is used to grow food, mostly things on vines and what not. I ain’t never seen anything like it,” Applejack said as she reclined against Twilight Sparkle.

“You’re awfully quiet Rainbow, are you alright?” Twilight inquired of her friend.

“My head hurts and my ear is throbbing,” Rainbow Dash admitted. “It’s nice to feel safe again and not be scared. Just doing this.”

“This is quite lovely,” Rarity agreed in a low murmur of pleasure. “So you’ve come to appreciate girly stuff Rainbow Dash?”

“Naw, it ain’t that,” Rainbow Dash responded. “Just the feeling of being safe. In this tub. With all of my friends. I wish Pinkie Pie was here.”

“She hasn’t been the same since she heard Bucky laughing,” Twilight said in a low strained voice. “She’s turned grey, just like she did when Discord changed her.”

“I’m sure she can be made better,” Rarity said in a reassuring voice. “Pinkie Pie is the most resilient pony I know. Remember when Applejack made those simply dreadful baked bads? Pinkie ate a few and was sick for hours… but she recovered.”

“And a few hours later, she had the explosive splatters and was stuck on the toilet,” Rainbow Dash said with a weak chuckle.

“Hey, shut up, don’t talk about that. Let bygones be bygones,” Applejack demanded.

“And your apple brown betties constipated the Ponyville relay team,” Rainbow Dash chortled in a low voice.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about Dashie,” Applejack retorted, punctuating her words with a loud snort.

“Applejack, I had to squeeze out a log with five grunt rings because of you,” Rainbow Dash said, lifting her head to look at Applejack.

“Oh this conversation has took a turn for the worse,” Rarity protested, rolling her eyes. “This is just dreadful.”

“I dunno, I’m just glad to hear Rainbow’s voice,” Twilight murmured, staring up at the ceiling, unaware that Rarity and Applejack exchanged a glance after she spoke.

“I am shocked that Fluttershy hasn’t complained about what we’re talking about,” Applejack remarked, looking over at Fluttershy.

“She is asleep. Poor thing is tuckered out. I’ll wake her in a while, the hot water is so relaxing,” Rarity said in a low voice. “Speaking of which, there are two big beds. Who is sleeping with whom?”

“I think I’ll crash with Twilight and Rainbow,” Applejack said, looking over at the two ponies beside her. “You’re a blanket hog.”

“I am not,” Rarity retorted in a low voice.

“Twilight is a pillow hog,” Rainbow Dash muttered.

“What?” Twilight demanded. “Get your own pillow! You drool!”

“Alicorns rule, pegasi drool,” Applejack sniggered.

“And earth ponies ain’t cool,” Rainbow Dash grumbled.

Rarity, noticing that nothing had been said about unicorns, was silently thankful and kept her mouth shut, saying nothing to alert anypony to this fact.

 

 

In the dark hours before dawn, Bucky sat at the table, trying to scribble out some kind of speech to give at dawn. He had been awake all night, laboring away in the dark room while the others slept. There were griffons here in the Sea of Grass, some of whom had families that had been here for a long time. There were zebras and ponies that needed reassurance that Bucky was okay and unharmed after being taken into custody.

There was a nation holding its breath that needed reassurance after everything that had happened and Bucky had no idea how to give it to them. He and Twilight both had been asked to give a few words during a dawn address to the nation to symbolise the dawn of a new era. He tossed away yet another wadded up ball of paper and licked his lips nervously.

He rose from the table and walked to the window. He looked out over the city, seeing a city that never slept. Cabs were bustling through streets, just as they had done all night, moving around helter skelter every time Bucky had looked out of the window. Airships flitted about and the city lights illuminated the city.

“I don’t give speeches, I kill things,” Bucky whispered to himself, his stomach twisting into knots. “Oh this is dreadful. I wish Sentinel was here. He’d have a speech cranked out in a jiffy.”

He used to be such a civilised unicorn… a well bred and proper unicorn. Life had done something awful to him, leaving him something else. During the question and answer session about the city, he had asked about the city sewage and what was done with waste on a such a large scale, causing quite a number of ponies and zebras to choke.

As it turned out, the city waste was converted into methane, burned, and turned into electricity by powering steam turbines, and at least one council member was quite happy and enthusiastic to explain in depth the whole process, and she had even offered Bucky a tour of the plant.

The zebra witch doctor had spent the rest of the night shamelessly flirting with him.

 

 

The plaza was packed with ponies, zebras, griffons, giraffes, and quite a number of other sapient races as the sun crept over the horizon. Several thousand creatures had packed themselves into the plaza and packed into the streets around the plaza.

Twilight Sparkle had been quite entranced by her first meeting with a giraffe.

The mood was one of hope. It surged through the crowd like an electric current, and the crowd packed closer and closer to the raised podium where Bucky, Twilight, and all of the others waited to speak.

“So who goes first?” Bucky asked Twilight.

“You do, since you asked,” Twilight responded.

“Ugh, I hate you,” Bucky grumbled, barely able to hear himself over the roar of the crowd all around him as far as his eye could see. “Well, no, I shouldn’t say that. I actually love you a great deal, but I am a bit peeved you’re making me go first.”

“Aw, thanks Bucky,” Twilight replied, leaning a bit on Bucky and smiling.

“Enjoy taking the stairs for the rest of your life,” Bucky chortled.

“Oh… you fiend!” Twilight hissed.

The pair watched as Bocor Oya addressed the crowd and said a few inspirational words about the new era of cooperation for both the Sea of Grass and Equestria, and how the Princess of Friendship had brought them together.

All too soon, Bucky saw Oya turn around and look at Twilight and himself. Sighing with resignation, and knowing he had no speech, he approached the microphone slowly, bowing his head respectfully to Oya as he drew near.

Taking a deep breath, Bucky made the mistake of looking out over the crowd. Thousands and thousands of eyes peered back at him, some full of fear, others full of curiousity, and some with adoration.

“Good luck father!”

Hearing Sentinel’s words lifted Bucky’s spirits slightly and he lifted his head high. He looked out over the crowd and cleared his throat. “You know, this is a lot harder than I thought it would be to get started,” Bucky said in a warm honest voice to the crowd. “You will have to forgive me, I actually don’t like crowds,” he continued with his honest streak, speaking openly about his current difficulty. “So I am sure that some of you are wondering right now, just how does a pony become the king of the griffons? Well… let me tell-”

A single loud “CRACK!” rang out through the crowd and a fine mist of crimson erupted from Bucky’s head as he was flung backwards, his body tumbling away from the podium and collapsing in a heap. He lay on the ground, his tongue hanging out of his mouth, one hind leg twitching and kicking violently, blood pooling around his head and a growing dark stain appearing around his hindquarters and his bowels and bladder released themselves.

Lugus responded in an instant, flinging himself over Bucky, and as he did so, another loud “CRACK!” pealed through the plaza. A jet of blood spurted from Lugus’ side, just behind his ribs, causing the giant griffon to growl savagely. The crowd panicked and stampeded and the air was filled with screams.

“There!” Belisama cried, pointing at a glint of metal she had seen with her sharp eyes.

With a snap of his wings, Sentinel took flight just as Twilight Sparkle brought up a shield bubble around the podium. Panic and chaos erupted all around the podium and Agnetha quickly tried to stop the bleeding on Bucky while Belisama went to work on Lugus, who was still huddled over Bucky’s convulsing body.

An angry red haze filled Sentinel’s vision, making it difficult to see. His ears sounded as though they were filled with bees, a painful droning sound that only served to further enrage him. Not too far away, he saw his target. A minotaur with a scoped lever action rifle.

There was another terrific “CRACK” and Sentinel felt a burning pain in his side as the bullet grazed his shoulder and skidded along his ribs, just under his wing. Another shot thundered out through the rapidly emptying plaza, and Sentinel felt something graze his leg, but he was far too enraged to feel pain.

A second later, Sentinel tucked in his wings and head just before he cannonballed into the minotaur at full force. The impact shattered most of the bones in the minotaur’s torso and sent the rifle flying. It hit the ground and fired one last final shot up into the air.

Whipping his head out, Sentinel clamped down upon the minotaur’s muzzle as he landed on his hooves, his rage fueling his strength. His jaws easily crushed bone, collapsing the minotaur’s face with a sickening crunch that Sentinel did not hear over the roaring rushing sound in his own ears.

Releasing his bite, Sentinel savagely bit down upon the minotaur’s throat, gave a jerk, and ripped the minotaur’s head free from his shoulders. His rage still not spent, Sentinel began punching the bloody torso, one heavy blow causing the left arm to rip free as Sentinel’s right front hoof connected with the shoulder joint. He punched again and again, his fury growing worse as the scent of blood filled his nostrils.

“Sentinel?”

“Get away from him Bon Bon, he’s gone feral!”

“Sentinel, mama needs you… come here to me Sentinel.”

The voices were difficult to hear, his ears were still full of the sound of berserker rage. Sentinel stopped punching and stood there, trying to listen to the voices, the red tint in his vision making it almost impossible to see anything. He stood there, a long trail drool dribbling down from his blood soaked muzzle.

“Bon Bon! Get away from him! It isn’t safe!”

“Sentinel, mama is scared and she needs you… come to me Sentinel.”

Looking down at the bloody partially dismembered corpse, Sentinel let out a pained howl, his fangs bared, and his ears still buzzing painfully. He sniffed, smelling blood… and something else. Something comforting.

“That’s right… come to mama… do you remember how I held you when your back was burned and Lyra read to you?”

Moving towards the sound of the voice, Sentinel moved away from the bloody chunks left strewn all over the ground. More slobber trickled from his jaws. He sniffed, trying to ignore the scent of blood and the terrible need to feed. He turned and looked back at the bloodied mess now behind him.

“No no baby… come to mama… mama needs you.”

In the red haze of his vision, he saw a pony, but he had a hard time recalling a name. He knew her scent though, and he sniffed the air, smelling her, smelling her fear, and smelling his own scent. She was his. He moved towards her, stiff legged, and then he felt two legs wrap around him, pulling him in tightly.

The red haze subsided slightly, and Sentinel began to sob as his senses slowly returned, each moment beginning to realise more and more what he had done. Bon Bon… it was Bon Bon… her scent was comforting. He collapsed completely in her embrace, going limp as Bon Bon held him, and he felt Bon Bon begin to cry.

Behind the sobbing pair, a growing crowd formed around the fallen Lord of Winter.

 

 

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