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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Sitting down together at a table in the common room, Princess Luna studied Tannis and Agnetha carefully, watching them as they watched her, and Bucky realised a lot was being communicated even with nothing being said.

“My sister and I would like to extend an invitation to the both of you to stay in Canterlot castle with us. You could learn a new way to rule. Canterlot would make a good central seat to your government and my sister and I are willing to share,” Luna offered in a low measured voice.

“Your sister isn’t here,” Tannis stated, his crest raising.

“We knew a little of the situation. Mostly from reading the news. Celestia was actually very hopeful about having you as guests. It made her feel better to focus upon the good that could come out of this situation and she talked a great deal about all of the new opportunities that could come from having the both of you stay in Canterlot,” Luna explained patiently.

“I have to say, in my own opinion, that this is one of the best possible outcomes I could think of. You and Agnetha could ask for no better teachers than Celestia and Luna. They have a unique wealth of experience that you could draw from. Canterlot Castle has the sort of facilities you would need for when our subjects come to petition you. Plus, any griffons that you keep personally will get the finest schooling one could ask for as far as civil service goes,” Bucky said, speaking his feelings on the issue as he leaned heavily upon the table, his gaze falling upon Belisama beside him.

“A far more pressing question on my mind is what is to be done with us once we reach Canterlot? What is the plan? Do we just go on about our lives?” Agnetha questioned, her crest rising slightly and her feathers fluffing outwards.

“The plan, if there is one, is to get the entire lot of you vaccinated to prevent any problems and then use the hospital facilities of Canterlot Castle get the barbs removed from the males. I understand that it is a simple procedure that takes very little time but has an uncomfortable bit of downtime afterwards,” Bucky responded. “Afterwards, when new male griffons are born, the procedure can be done at birth to make things easier.”

“As strange as it sounds, I am looking forward to this,” Tannis said in a low worried voice. “My desire to be with my bride is overwhelming.”

Tittering, Agnetha playfully pushed Tannis away from her and made a strange chirping sound that Bucky hadn’t heard from a griffon before.

“What about the ones who choose to stay with my mas- my husband and I?” Belisama inquired, her eyes wide with concern as she corrected herself mid sentence.

“We house them in The Albatross until something better can be done and we make things work. The farm is large and there is enough space there for everybirdy. Plus, the griffons and griffonesses will be most useful at my school. As I stated, I need an army… an army for war. I never said what enemy I will be fighting,” Bucky responded, reaching out and touching Belisama affectionately.

“This seems wise,” Luna agreed with a faint nod of her head. “You know, given everything that has happened, Celestia has exactly what she wanted. Peace has been made with the griffons, the world is far more secure, Equestria is made stronger, and it was my sister’s intentions to completely start fresh with a new treaty as far as the Sea of Grass is concerned. Nothing went as planned of course, but the end result is what is important. My sister's endless optimism will be rewarded once she calms down.”

“Are we really at peace?” Tannis asked, slouching in his seat.

“What do you mean?” Luna inquired in reply.

“Still so many griffons being killed… I feel bad about it. They’re bad… but we are so few now… and now we are a species without a homeland who is now dependent upon the good graces of others to survive. We have no land, we have nothing,” Tannis explained, his eyes full of pain as he spoke, his right talons clenching into a fist.

“One day, winter will end over Griffonholm. You will not live to see that day, but your distant offspring will. And they will return home with the spring. You’re like birds who have flown south for the winter. One day, you will return home, and your nation will rebuild and be stronger than ever, because you will have friends who will aid you and make sure you do well,” Bucky said, cocking his head so he could look Tannis in the eye.

“Birds in the spring,” Agnetha said wistfully. “Have we become the snowbird empire? Is that what we are reduced to?”

Unable to help himself, Bucky began to chortle, his barrel hitching as he tried to hold back laughter, and a few snorts escaped his nostrils. He fell back in his chair and laughed.

“What is so funny?” Tannis asked, his crest going completely flat.

“I am the Lord of Winter, King of the Snowbird Empire,” Bucky said, unable to stop his laughter.

“That is somewhat amusing,” Luna said in a quiet voice, a ghost of a smile playing across her muzzle as her eyes twinkled with barely contained laughter.

It was Tannis who broke next, a soft chuckle escaping, then Belisama, and then, finally, Agnetha gave a reluctant laugh. The laughter continued for several minutes, dying off for a moment before somepony or somebirdy chuckled and it began again.

 

 

The lights of Canterlot loomed ahead, and the distant lights of Ponyville was off to the left. The night was cloudy and cold, the breeze was strong, the air was was crisp and smelled strongly of autumn. There was a faint smell of wood smoke as ponies burned logs in fireplaces to keep warm, and there was no doubt that there was plenty of snuggling and canoodling between lovers, as this was the perfect sort of night for it.

Reflecting upon the weather, Bucky thought about holding somepony you loved when it was hot, humid, and sticky. His nostrils flaring wide, he came to the conclusion that cold weather was a far more pleasant for loving and being pressed up against another warm body. Foal making was definitely better in the cold weather. And there were plenty of warm bodies that he wanted to be pressed up against right now. Or even inside of…

Visible above Canterlot, several massive airships floated above the city, recalled from wherever, they were now awaiting orders to be dispatched to somewhere. They all dwarfed The Scorned Mare considerably. Bucky could see their deck lights and lighted windows along the sides.

“My sister is preparing the fleet. She is most upset about guns being back in the world, and so is Scorch. Poor Scorch is actually quite irate. He feels that it is always the artists who suffer the most because of guns, the soft creative sorts, and Scorch likes artists a great deal. Some of the Council of Immortals have been speaking with one another… there is a diamond dog kingdom to the south and east of the Sea of Grass. Word has it they have shock troops that have been using the new rifle designs. The Sea of Grass has been seeing heavy losses. They are sending ships to protect their citizens. My sister has agreed to send the ships you see to scrub the kingdom off of the map. It seems that now that Griffonholm has been destroyed, keeping the new rifles a secret is no longer a priority,” Luna explained in a pained voice.

“Any word from Minos?” Bucky inquired, looking up at Luna.

“Minos has completely collapsed, much like Equestria has. The good minotaurs, our trade partners, are begging for aid, they are fearful to use guns in a conflict as they wish to remain trustworthy in the eyes of the rest of the world. I don’t know what will happen,” Luna answered, shaking her head sadly. “Labrynthia, the ancient city of stone, is now the site of a pitched battle. Most of the minotaurs there have long been peaceful and have forgotten conflict and the battle is hitting them hard. Peace and prosperity brought more wealth than slave trading and war mongering. There is an empowered minority who desire a return to the old days, the bad old days, where the markets sold pony slaves rather than mass manufactured labour saving devices.”

“Because hands with fingers and thumbs give them a right to rule while hooves are a sign that you are a beast of burden, a draft animal meant to pull plows, carriages, and wagons. And the gun is the ultimate symbol of that great disparity between those with fingers and thumbs, and those with hooves. Guns give power to those with hands,” Bucky said in a pained voice. “Being able to walk upright and bipedally allows those hands a lot of freedom to be used in any manner imaginable. And griffons only need to be airborne to free up their hands. Ponies, being quadrupeds… guns are not a good option for us unless you are a unicorn, and unicorns have too much power already.”

“Seems as though being shot in the head has given you wisdom,” Luna remarked, turning to look at Buckminster beside her with a pained by wry expression upon her face.

“I don’t see guns being useful… most ponies can’t manipulate the gun for use. With a few exceptions, most ponies aren’t bipeds. I foolishly thought that guns would level the playing field and shift the balance of power… I was wrong. The earth ponies, pegasi, and zebras would still be at a disadvantage trying to use them, and those with hands would only further have more power, returning back to the bad old days when so many of us are slaves. I will not allow that to happen. I see why the Council of Immortals came together and banned their existence,” Bucky said, explaining his feelings and opinions on the issue to Luna, his eye fixed on Canterlot.

“Not all ponies are as light on their hooves as Cadance, Ripple, and Pinkie Pie. I could see Ripple using a rifle and relying upon her manipulation shoes for its operation and grip… but that is Ripple’s special talent… anything she touches becomes a deadly weapon for her. Her talent frightens my sister something terrible,” Luna responded, her eyes looking towards Ponyville.

“Ripple is going to grow up to become a tornado of death and dismemberment. I couldn’t be prouder,” Bucky said, his voice solemn and serious, with no trace of humour of mirth.

“She is a worthy daughter for War… which reminds me… why are you wearing my brother’s cloak?” Luna asked, now looking directly at Bucky. “I would recognise it anywhere… I made that cloak for him.”

“It was given to me to keep me safe… I must say… it brings me comfort. Makes it easier to see in the daylight. It scares Twilight Sparkle though,” Bucky stated in reply. “So you made this?”

“Death has many cloaks. That one is the Shroud of Night. I wove it for him... I made it from elemental darkness. You are actually wrapping your body in the night when you wear it, which is why the daylight doesn’t bother you. Under the cloak, you will be able to use your shadow magic, and in times of trouble, you could shadow dive and merge with the darkness of the cloak, vanishing completely,” Luna answered, offering an explanation.

“It makes me feel better wearing it. Calmer somehow,” Bucky admitted.

Canterlot was close now. Bucky could see the shipyard docks ahead and massive floodlights shone upon the docking cradles as they approached.

“Oh dear… we have a visitor,” Luna said in amusement as a grey shape loomed in the darkness ahead, zooming towards the ship at an alarming speed.

A moment later, Bucky found himself snatched, the impact somehow painful and gentle at the same time, crushed between two powerful forelegs and hauled off the deck, carried skyward by a sobbing grey pegasus.

He clung to her, paying no mind that the ground was a great distance below, wrapping his own legs around her and squeezing as much as he could, his diminished strength not allowing him to do much.

Derpy’s lips found his and the pair embraced as she streaked upwards, bursting through clouds, gaining altitude to be above traffic. She pulled away with a wet “SMACK!” sound and then began planting dozens of little worried pecks all over Bucky’s face.

“I was so worried… I saw the papers,” Derpy cried, clinging to Bucky tightly. “Oh I love you so much… I never want to lose you,” she sobbed.

Unable to respond, Bucky hauled Derpy in for another kiss, his lips pressing against hers tightly. He could feel the heat of her body pressed tightly against his. He felt one of her hind legs wrap around his hips and pull his lower half up tight against her belly and her secret places, and he felt a searing heat pressed up against him.

“I’m still going to have to kill you… but that can wait till later,” Derpy said after she pulled away from the kiss and pressed her lips against Bucky’s ear.

“I’m sorry,” Bucky said, offering a preemptive apology for everything that had happened, breathing his words against Derpy’s neck and making the mare shudder.

“Oh you are going to be sorry… there is going to be angry rutting later,” Derpy said, still weeping. “I’ll be careful with your head.”

“I did what had to be done,” Bucky said, now feeling tears in his own eye.

“I know… Celestia and I talked just yesterday. She is really proud of you for doing what was right, even though you had to know that you were going to be in big trouble when you came home to me,” Derpy said as she squeezed Bucky tightly, rubbing her whole body up against his. “Is she nice? Is she good with foals? Is she good to you?”

“Her name is Belisama, and she is very nice. I think you and her are going to be friends,” Bucky said hopefully, rubbing his cheek against Derpy’s jawline.

“Still going to have to kill you… later,” Derpy said in a frantic whisper as she rubbed her now enlarged pregnant belly against Bucky.

“I missed you too.”

 

 

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