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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The Albatross was secured just above the treeline with chains secured to the trees below and a long rope ladder was left hanging down for the griffons who could not fly. It was not an ideal solution, but for the time being, it would have to do. The ship was simply too massive to do much else with it.

The griffons, given a clean bill of health and the males now barb free, had already begun to explore their surroundings and check out the various interesting things upon the farm. One group had found their way to the forge and had braved the sweltering confines, expressing an interest in metal working. Others were examining the school.

There were a lot of griffons, and Bucky was glad to see them. The tug ship had already departed and was now heading back towards Canterlot, to return to the royal shipyards and perform the many tasks to be done there.

 

 

“Poor Bittersweet is completely overwhelmed,” Berry Punch said as she watched a group of griffons frolicking in the yard. She reached out a hoof and scratched at her ribs for a moment, her eyes rolling back into her head as she did so.

“There is going to be some time spent adjusting,” Derpy said in reply, turning to look at Berry. She felt a spike of attraction when she saw Berry’s eyes. Derpy knew other ways to make Berry’s eyes roll back into her head like that.

“So how does it feel being married to the King of the Griffons?” Berry inquired in a voice that held a hint of laughter.

“There are a lot of griffons,” Derpy admitted, looking around. “What are they doing?”

Peering over at the dormitory tower, Berry could barely make out the shapes of small figures swarming up and down the sides of the partially finished structure. She could hear hammering and the sounds of work being done. “I think… I think the griffons have taken it upon themselves to get work done around here. The labour organisations with the refugees have been so disorganised lately. Wow, look at them go, the ones that can fly are moving the stone blocks into place even though it takes quite a few of them to lift one. They’ve got hustle!”

“Sure do,” Derpy agreed, her bad eye closed and her good eye squinting to see.

“They really are moving. They’re lifting several stone blocks a minute where the pegasus labour teams were lucky to get one block lifted every few minutes… and these griffons are mostly foal sized. I’m impressed,” Berry grumbled, her brow furrowing as she spoke. “Say what you will about the griffons, they are dedicated workers. Ever watched Belisama care for that curved sword of hers?”

“I have,” Derpy answered. “She is… I think the word is diligent,” she stated hesitantly, her ears perking forwards. “I wonder how Magpie is… she is probably on that big boat looking after the griffon cubs. I haven’t seen her around and I was hoping to see her.”

“Care to give me a lift?” Berry asked. “I wanna see griffon cubs!”

“Oh they are adorable. And you’ll like Magpie. She’s very nice. Bigger griffon… I think she’s a hunter. I’ll give you a lift,” Derpy replied as she slid out of her seat on the front porch and flexed her wings. “Am I starting to look fat?”

“I refuse to answer that,” Berry responded. “But I know I’m starting to get a healthy layer of pudge going. Bucky keeps squeezing it. Good thing he likes pregnant mares.”

 

 

“And I trust that both of you are happy with this arrangement?” Bucky inquired as he looked at Sunset Shimmer and the griffon who had volunteered to be Sunset Shimmer’s assistant. The little griffon had practically tripped over his own legs and had thrown himself at Sunset Shimmer’s hooves, offering himself as a gift to Bucky’s apprentice, and announcing he was a skilled scribe and painter.

“He seems nice enough,” Sunset Shimmer replied, looking down at the griffon who was gazing adoringly at her, which was somewhat unnerving. “You have a very pretty beak.”

The griffon averted its eyes and stared down at the floor. “Very kind of you to say that about my beak… but there is no need to flatter me. I am here to flatter you.”

“But your beak is rainbow coloured,” Sunset Shimmer said, lowering her head down to have a closer look. “It is why I chose you actually.”

“You chose me because I have a toucan beak?” the griffon responded, looking up for a moment before looking away again. “It is the very source of my shame.”

“Yes Bartleby, I don’t mean to be shallow, but your beak caught my eye,” Sunset Shimmer admitted. “And I like it. It’s cheerful looking.”

“You are very kind,” Bartleby said, his black feathers fluffing out.

“I think I’m going to leave you two to get acquainted. He’ll need a bed… I’ll see what I can do,” Bucky said as he turned towards the door.

“Wait, sir, Your Majesty, I have a hammock on the ship, I much prefer to sleep curled up in it, it is nice not having to sleep in a hiding spot, crammed away in a tiny space,” Bartleby said, looking up at Bucky for a whole moment before turning away.

“Well then, I will leave you two to sort everything out. If you have any other personal effects, I would go get them. I want my apprentice safe, secure, and happy… I am trusting you Bartleby. I know you will not let me down,” Bucky said as he stepped through the door.

“Thank you, Master,” Sunset Shimmer said, bowing her head as she spoke. She watched and waited until Bucky was gone and then shut the door. She turned and looked at Bartleby, smiling broadly. “When I study or experiment, I tend to say my thoughts out loud, how are you at taking notes?”

“I write very quickly and would take down letters and missives for my old master. She was of the warrior caste… I used to write up her legal contracts for her,” Bartleby replied, sitting down on the floor and speaking slowly.

“So… you are a scrivener… that’s good,” Sunset Shimmer said in a somewhat nervous voice. “Look, I don’t know what you expect from me, but I know this is important for a variety of reasons that I won’t go into. I don’t expect you to be my servant, I would rather have you as my friend, so let’s just get that out of the way. I have problems being lonely… so I am really rather glad to have you as a companion.”

For a moment, Bartleby lifted his head and gave Sunset Shimmer a hopeful look, and then immediately averted his gaze, his bright orange talons flexing.

“I do have one request though,” Sunset Shimmer said in a nervous voice.

“Anything for you,” Bartleby said in a hushed reply.

“Can you teach me how to paint if I get you all of the supplies?” Sunset Shimmer questioned in reply, looking down the odd looking griffon with a rainbow beak, black feathers, and a pearlescent white feline half.

For a moment, the griffon looked too stunned to respond, and then it slowly nodded, unable to say anything in return, his long tail swishing and darting about.

 

 

“You know, I’m so happy that school finally ends, but then I remember I have to walk home. Our old house was only a short walk to the school. Now it takes forever,” Dinky whined in protest of the long death march was ahead of them all.

“Coming home with us Diamond Tiara?” Piña asked, looking at her friend.

“I dunno, I haven’t thought about it yet,” Diamond Tiara replied.

“Oh come on, long romantic walk with our brother,” Dinky quipped. “How could you refuse? You know you want to.”

“I’m a bit behind on my homework actually, and if I don’t keep up, my father will lecture me,” Diamond Tiara. “Plus, father is having a hard time.”

The foals said nothing, aware that there was a problem, but most of them didn’t understand just how much of a problem there was between Filthy Rich, Gala Appleby, and Ivory Scroll. The problem had gotten just out of hoof enough that it was having an effect upon Diamond Tiara, who was wrestling with her own difficulties of having strong feelings for Sentinel even though he was already betrothed, even though it was considered okay.

“I wonder how what happened at Griffonholm will change our geography lessons,” Apple Bloom mused, changing the subject and banishing the now uncomfortable silence.

“Griffonholm is still there… sorta,” Scootaloo said in a low voice. “Twilight said the land is being cleaned and that the long winter will make life come back again someday.”

“How is life at the library?” Sweetie Belle asked, looking at Scootaloo curiously.

“A little cramped,” Scootaloo responded right away. She then paused and looked thoughtful. “Twilight has mentioned something about creating extra dimensional space.”

“It’s nice to have a family, isn’t it?” Sentinel inquired, looking at Scootaloo.

“Sure is,” Scootaloo replied. “Flash is really nice to me. He’s starting to get his voice back. Rainbow Dash hugs him really tight and still cries a lot. She won’t tell me about what happened.”

“I wonder how Pinkie Pie is doing,” Ripple said as she turned her head to look at Canterlot off in the distance, changing the subject.

“I don’t like seeing Rainbow Dash cry… she’s so tough… seeing her like that hurts me,” Scootaloo said in a low voice.

“Some very bad things happened Scootaloo. It is going to take time to heal,” Ripple said, wrapping her wing around the smaller pegasus filly, realising the subject did not change.

“Fluttershy seems okay,” Scootaloo said, shaking her head. “Rarity seems fine. We all know about Pinkie Pie… but everypony else seems to have just shrugged everything else off and don’t seem all that different from how they usually are.”

“Scoots, Rainbow Dash… she almost lost her eye. You’ve seen the wound on her head, right?” Ripple inquired, speaking in a patient voice.

“Yeah,” Scootaloo said in a low raspy voice, looking uncomfortable.

“Well, just a hair more, and Rainbow would have lost her eye. No more dreams of being a Wonderbolt. No more fast reckless flying. No more being Rainbow Dash. And right now, she’s having some trouble flying because she hit her head really hard when she was thrown to the floor. She is the embodiment of the Element of Loyalty, and she very nearly saw all of her friends die. She is going to have a hard time for a while… the best thing you can do is be her friend, love her, and just accept that she is going to cry for a while,” Ripple explained in a soft voice, still holding Scootaloo under her wing.

“Maybe we can get our cutie marks in cheering Rainbow Dash up,” Sweetie Belle suggested in a disheartened voice.

“You should try,” Diamond Tiara said in what she hoped what a sincere voice.

“With our usual results, maybe we can get her to laugh, even if it is at us,” Apple Bloom said, looking around at the ponies all around her.

“How did you get so tough?” Scootaloo asked Ripple.

“Who said I’m tough?” Ripple responded, looking at Scootaloo with one narrowed eye.

“Well, you seem okay about everything that happened, you’re a squire, and you have your own guard unit,” Scootaloo said in reply, looking up at Ripple.

“I’ll tell you a secret, I’ve cried about this too… I just put on a brave face in public,” Ripple admitted in reply.

“I think this is where we say our goodbyes,” Sweetie Belle suggested. “Apple Bloom, I’m going home with Scoots to cheer up Rainbow Dash. You coming?”

“Sure am,” Apple Bloom replied, smiling at all of her friends.

“I’ve got to go do homework,” Diamond Tiara grumbled.

“I like homework,” Sentinel stated. “It’s soothing. Well, most of it.”

“Egghead,” Scootaloo said in subdued voice. “Spike has already split. I guess he was in a hurry to get started on the ‘understanding politics’ homework where we have to cut clippings from the newspaper.”

“I should get going… I can’t let Spike beat me. I mean, our parents… who we are. We have an obligation to be politically savvy,” Sentinel said in a concerned voice. “If I screw this up it will look bad.”

“No school tomorrow… it’s the weekend, are we going to get together?” Apple Bloom asked, looking at the group.

“I plan to go see Moonbow,” Sentinel stated. “I’ve put in a request.”

“And I’m going with Sentinel,” Diamond Tiara said in a shy voice, her cheeks turning a darker shade of pink. “I get to meet Moonbow for the first time.”

“See girls, if she can share Sentinel, we can share Rumble,” Apple Bloom remarked.

“Goodbye, I guess we should get going,” Piña said.

Giving Scootaloo one last squeeze, Ripple looked down at the pegasus. “You go home and you help your mother through this rough time. It is during troubled times that special bonds form. Good luck making her feel better.”

“Thanks Ripple,” Scootaloo said, smiling up at the larger filly.

 

 

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