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


335. 335

Huddled in his chair upon the deck of The Scorned Mare, Bucky looked at both Agnetha and Tannis, smiling as best as he could. Tannis, slightly larger and bulkier by far, was sitting with his wing protectively around Agnetha. Agnetha, smaller, delicate and graceful, was rubbing the side of her face against Tannis’ neck, ruffling their feathers together in what was unmistakable avian affection. Bucky had learned that ruffled feathers needed fixing, which meant allopreening between a couple. Allopreening meant trust, trust enough that a razor sharp beak was allowed near a soft delicate throat.

Already, Bucky was picking up upon the language of his subjects, now that he had a large sample group to study, and the knowledge given to him by Berry Punch on how to observe the effects of unspoken language.

Not far from Tannis and Agnetha were Lugnut and Spanner, also close together and clinging to one another affectionately, right in the open now that they had nothing to fear.

“You know,” Bucky began as he looked around at a number of griffons and ponies around the deck looking at him. “Kings and queens have been getting their needs meet before the common griffon for a long time. How about we look after Lugnut and Spanner first?” he inquired, turning his half opened eye upon Tannis with a meaningful look.

“I think that’s a splendid idea,” Tannis said, rotating his head around to look at the smaller pair. Tannis, unsure of how to feel about the pair, couldn’t deny that they deserved to be happy, but felt conflicted about the need to repopulate his species. While he said nothing, something about this rubbed him wrong, but he understood the need for personal freedom and that it was more important than any of his own personal opinions. He was determined to make changes and go down in history as a progressive, and there could be no doubt that this was a bold first step, so he silenced any feelings of personal objection from within, because this was something that needed to happen. Outwardly, he remained calm and kept his crest under control. This wasn’t anything to get his feathers ruffled over and he was determined to be a better king than his father.

“You know,” Agnetha said in a low calm voice. “I cannot help but feel that we are making a mistake here.”

Immediately, many pairs of eyes were upon Agnetha, some of them silently demanding some kind of explanation, others looked on in fear, and one Tainted eye looked at her while waiting for her to continue.

“We have a pair bonded couple that are about to be married under our new laws, a social contract to be pair bonded for life. This kind of dedication should be rewarded and celebrated, we are embracing a new way of life as we travel across the ocean to a new land. Pair bonded couples should raise young together. I am not so sure I like the idea of communal nurseries where only one set of opinions are taught to the cubs. We should have cubs raised to believe in other things, to have differing opinions,” Agnetha explained, looking around nervously as she spoke.

“What are you driving at Agnetha?” Tannis inquired, his wing still held tight around Agnetha as he looked her in the eye.

“I am saying that if they were open to the idea, we should give them one of the cubs to raise. A young one. Perhaps the youngest one we have, because that is where change will start. The cub will grow up knowing two fathers and see it as something normal. We shouldn’t force it upon them of course, but looking at them right now as I speak, I suspect that they like this idea,” Agnetha answered, her gaze shifting to Lugnut and Spanner.

“I’d like to make it known that I like this idea,” Bucky announced.

“I do as well,” Belisama said, sitting beside Bucky upon the deck.

“We want what everybirdy else wants,” Spanner said, his voice a nervous squeak.

“We just never thought we’d get it,” Lugnut admitted, shaking his head.

“Are you agreeable to this course of action?” Agnetha questioned, looking at her subjects, her eyes narrowing as her keen intelligence took over, realising she had a chance at a serious change in societal mores within the reach of her metaphorical talons’ grasp. Agnetha, a keen hunter, realised that her prey was nearly subdued and it was time to strike. “You clearly wish to reap the rewards of change, but are you willing to endure the work required so others might also benefit from these changes?”

“Of course we’re willing to work so others can be happy,” Lugnut said in reply, his feathers ruffling as he grabbed Spanner and squeezed him closer. “We’re not afraid of hard work. We’ll take as many cubs as you will throw at us,” the griffon stated, his eyes narrowing as he looked up boldly at his queen.

“Just one will do,” Agnetha responded. “Unless of course you want more than one, but one should do nicely to begin with. Both of you are males. We wouldn’t want you overwhelmed.”

“You think because we’re two males that were not capable of looking after cubs,” Lugnut sneered, bravely defying his queen. “Spanner… I do believe we are being patronised and our honour questioned,” he said in a low voice to the griffon he was holding.

His crest rising, Spanner let out an angry avian peep of indignant fury but said nothing. He stared up at Agnetha for several moments and then averted his gaze, staring down at the deck while his chest heaved from heavy breathing.

Bucky, who realised exactly what was going on, recognised Berry Punch level social manipulation when he saw it, having been the victim of it a few times himself. He smiled lopsidedly and waited for the inevitable outcome of this situation.

“Agnetha, we should not antagonise our subjects,” Tannis said softly.

“I’ll not have my honour questioned… I demand satisfaction!” Lugnut growled, fluffing himself out to almost twice his normal size in bold defiance.

“My apologies,” Agnetha responded. “Two cubs shall be yours, but I must request the two youngest. We want them to learn as much as possible and I know for certain that there are two young impressionable cubs available. Sisters in fact. It will be good to keep them together. It isn’t good to separate twins, it would be an ill omen  as we reestablish our kingdom,” the clever griffoness explained.

“We accept,” Lugnut grunted, now averting his gaze and staring down at the wooden deck planks. “We’ll show them, won’t we Spanner,” he whispered softly.

“And both of you are willing to endure a little surgery to have the barbs removed?” Belisama inquired, looking at the pair with curious eyes.

“I would never want to hurt my mate,” Lugnut replied in a low voice.

“Me neither,” Spanner answered, lifting his gaze to look at Belisama. “It is very nice to see one of our own caste as queen,” the griffon said amicably to nobirdy in particular.

“Do either of you have anything to say to one another?” Bucky asked, angling his head down to look at the pair of griffons before him on the deck. “Any special vows?”

“We’ve said those when we thought we were going to die,” Spanner answered.

“It meant more during that moment,” Lugnut added.

“Do both of you promise to be devoted, dutiful, and dedicated to one another?” Bucky inquired, his voice smooth and steady, his tone one of fatherly concern. “You are carrying with you the hopes and dreams of those like you… are you willing to live your lives as an example for those who have the same hopes and dreams that you do?”

“I’m in for it,” Spanner agreed.

“Talons-y!” Lugnut exclaimed.

“Huh?” Bucky grunted, confused.

“My king, it is an expression from the griffons who live in Fancy with the ponies. It means ‘let’s go’ and it is a common expression shouted at the beginning of an adventure,” Spanner explained.

“Oh… I see… bad news Spanner, you are marrying an egghead. Hrm, I really hope that doesn’t mean something different to griffons than it does ponies. Did I just screw everything up?” Bucky inquired of the crowd around him. He looked out into the many faces and saw no replies. “Well then, Spanner, you and your egghead are now bound by the law of my authority. There were a lot of words I was supposed to say but I don’t remember them, Keg Smasher was right, it is a lot easier to shout ‘my word is law’ when these situations arise.”

“We’re married?” Lugnut asked.

“Yes,” Tannis stated in a gentle voice, trying to emulate Bucky.

“I will have your cubs brought to you,” Agnetha said, trying not to chuckle.

“This is simply fabulous,” cultured voice announced in the background just before a flashbulb went off. “Oooh this new camera is a joy to use.”

“Save your film,” another voice drawled.

“Oh darling, I have plenty of film, don’t you worry,” the cultured voice responded.

“Moving on,” Bucky announced. “Tannis and Agnetha, front and center.”

The pair of young adult griffons both turned their heads to look at Bucky, their eyes wide with excitement. The breeze whipped at their feathers and their tails twitched against each other.

“Any fancy words? Or Fancy words as the case may be? Talons-y and all that?” Bucky questioned, looking at Tannis and Agnetha. “I know this probably isn’t the royal wedding that both of you hoped for, but things are pretty swanky given the circumstances.”

“Agnetha, I have no castle, no treasury, no wealth, all I can offer you is myself and my oath that I will be a good king,” Tannis said, craning his head around to look Agnetha in the eye, his crest now fully extended.

“That is all I ask for,” Agnetha replied in a quiet voice. “I have nothing but my father’s terrible legacy, which I plan to atone for, by being a devoted queen to my subjects and I will do whatever I can to make you happy as my husband. I would like for us to be a living example for our subjects. I had a long speech prepared but I forgot all of it when I looked into your eyes.”

“Aye, that’ll do it,” Bucky announced. “By right of my authority as one of the kings of the griffon empire, I bind you together in marriage. Do not break this contract lest your honour be forfeit, and might all of our subjects stand in witness of this union... I almost said something about kissing the bride, but that would have made me look incredibly stupid.”

“As queen, I bless this royal union and I do not oppose this binding… I was supposed to say other things… I can’t remember what they are,” Belisama stammered nervously. “I’m failing in my duties,” she said dejectedly.

“You said enough,” Bucky remarked as a camera flash went off. “You said what was important, the rest of it is just empty words that sound meaningful.”

“Thank you,” Belisama murmured, her feathers fluffing out.

“Dance with me Agnetha,” Tannis demanded as he reared up on his hind legs and pulled Agnetha up with him. He pranced away, pulling Agnetha along with him, his forelegs wrapped around her body, and the griffoness clutched Tannis for balance.

Bucky watched them dance, glad for their happiness, and was delighted to see that Lugnut and Spanner joined in. Music from Lyra’s lyre suddenly filled the air, a joyful sound that lifted the hearts of all those who heard it.

“Dance with me Lyra,” Bon Bon begged.

“I can’t! There are ponies and griffons watching,” Lyra replied, backing away from Bon Bon, trying to escape from Bon Bon’s nefarious scheme to embarrass her.

Not taking no for an answer, Bon Bon grabbed Lyra, hoisted the unicorn into the air, and went waltzing off with her, Bon Bon bouncing around on her hind legs as she held Lyra in her forelegs, Bon Bon’s hooves thudding heavily into the wooden deck as she pranced.

“So… anybirdy or anypony else wanting to get hitched?” Bucky inquired, his Taint-filled eye falling upon Rarity as he spoke.

“Ooh!” Rarity squealed. “I know a couple that needs to be hitched!”

“Applejack! Stop shoving me! What are you doing?” Twilight demanded as she was pushed in front of Bucky. “What’s going on?!”

“Sorry Flash, but this is for your own good, I’m going to shove you now, if that’s okay, if you will allow it, if you don’t mind… I’m very sorry,” Fluttershy said as she gently nudged Flash Sentry with one hoof hesitantly. Fluttershy squealed in frantic panic as she poked Flash Sentry several times with her hoof, trying to get him to move.

Twilight Sparkle felt her blood run cold as ice when she heard Bucky cackle.



Author's Note:

And we see that Agnetha is just as clever as Bucky is. Thankfully, they're on the same side.

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