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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A plum coloured earth pony sat at the train station, waiting. Barley O’Blivion was due on the next train in. The cantankerous old unicorn would be good to see again. Berry truly missed him and his wisdom. Truth be told, Berry wanted him around as she began her family. Foals always needed a history lesson or two that was worth listening to.

He was obnoxious, he always had a hoof for some foal to pull, and he was family. You did anything for family. Barley had been there when Dinky had been born, and had helped out quite a bit. Barley had been there each time when Berry’s parents had died. And now, he was coming back to Ponyville to stay, to spend his final years in the place that he loved.

He claimed that the damp of Vanhoover made his gnarled old bones ache.

A faint whistle indicated the train was coming, and Berry waited, prancing around on her hooves impatiently. She was behaving almost like a filly, wanting to see her dear uncle, take him home, and introduce him to Bucky… because really, she wanted his approval. Not that she needed it, she just wanted to follow family tradition. Something her siblings had broken away from.

There was also the fact that Barley was a hoot. A real hoot. Berry needed a companion with a mind for mayhem.

At last, the train pulled into the station, steam rising from the engine, the smell of burning coal leaving a tang in Berry’s nose.

She didn’t have to wait long. Being somewhat elderly, he was one of the first off of the train, and he came down the stairs slowly but with grace and dignity. He was older than Berry remembered, his once white pelt now yellowed into ivory colour with age, and his once fiery orange mane and tail was now an iron shade of grey. He moved towards her, picking up his pace a little, until Berry could take it no longer and ran forward to hug him, nearly crushing him, causing his spine to crackle.

He was quite grateful for the spinal crackle, it worked loose a few bad kinks from sitting on the train.

“You look well lass,” Barley said, looking Berry up and down. “Now, tell me you’ve had some foals. A mare your age, there should be foals. This is shameful behaviour. And foals are so much fun to make.”

“Funny you should mention that. No foals yet, but I’ve met their father,” Berry confessed, blushing.

“Oh, have you now?” Barley said, raising an eyebrow.

“Yes. I have. I have found a nice fella to settle down with, and Derpy and I are forming a nice little herd,” Berry said, blushing even more and giggling. She had gone from being a mature mare to a secondary school filly. Or maybe even a primary school filly.

“Oh… you were always the good one Berry, respecting the old ways, listening to your history, doing what is right,” Barley praised. “How is Piña? I’ve missed that filly. How is Miss Hooves? How is wee Dinky?”

“Fine, fine, where is your stuff?” Berry asked, looking around.

“I have nothing. What few things I had left, I gave away. I can’t take stuff with me when I go. And I don’t plan to go for a while, but I didn’t see a need to haul a trunk cross country at my age.” Barley said, coughing slightly.

“Well then, let’s go home,” Berry said. “We’ll talk. Up for the walk?”

“Yeah,” Barley said.

Berry began to walk home to Derpy’s house, leading the old unicorn along behind her. He fell in step, still spry even with knobby knees, looking around and seeing how Ponyville had changed.

“Before we get home, there is something you need to know,” Berry said, in her Berry worried voice.

“Eh, what’s that?” Barley asked.

“The stallion I’ve found, the unicorn that I love, he is a son of House Avarice,” Berry said, cringing and biting her lip after saying it.

“Oh damnit Berry, what are you thinking you empty headed numpty!” Barley snapped, suddenly sounding very grouchy.

“He’s a good find, trust me, I give you my word. He’s a little broken right now, but I love him and that’s final, and I don’t give two horseapples and a tinker’s damn what you think!” Berry retorted. Except, she did care about what her uncle thought.

As they walked home, Berry told her uncle everything that had happened recently, leading up to Bucky keeping Dinky safe and his recovery.

 

 

Alone in the bed, Bucky lay listening to the voices downstairs. Joyous shouts, the sounds of ponies talking, Derpy and Berry both laughing. The foals were still in school. Some pony had come to visit. After a while, he heard hooves on the stairs, many hooves, Derpy and Berry were coming upstairs and were bringing the visitor.

The door slowly pushed open and Bucky saw an older unicorn, ivory coloured, studying him with piercing eyes. Derpy shoved her way into the room, jumped up into the bed, and lay down beside him, her head on his withers.

Always protective.

“I done heard about what you did laddie,” the old unicorn said. “I’m Barley O’Blivion and I hear you’re courting my beautiful wee Berry.”

Bucky nodded, not sure what to say.

“I also hear you’re a son of House Avarice. I suppose that can be forgiven, Berry seems awfully insistent and sweet on ya, and I never could tell her no. What is a sorry sot like you courting two mares like these? Are ye daft?” as the old unicorn spoke, a familiar lilt crept into his voice. “I want enough foals to surround my bedside so I can die proper, stop wasting time fiddling around ye lump.”

Bucky groaned. There were now two of them.

“I understand that you need your rest. I’ll leave you in the care of yon pegasus mare. I love her a great deal, she’ll treat you well if you treat her well. We’ll talk more later,” Barley said, bowing his head slightly and exiting the room.

Berry looked almost beside herself, prancing around and acting like a filly. She crossed the room in a bound, jumping onto the bed, planted wet sloppy kiss on Derpy’s lips, and then planted a wet oily waxy kiss on Bucky’s.

After staring at them both for a moment, she lept from the bed and was out the door again, giggling like a school filly.

“She is going to be totally unbearable,” Bucky said in a panicked whisper.

“Aw, she’s sweet. And she slipped me the tongue,” Derpy said, licking her lips and making a happy sounding grunt.

“Me too,” Bucky said, heaving a contented sigh.

 

 

“Berry, my dear sweet little filly Berry, have you actually thought this through?” Barley asked.

“I thought you were alright with this?” Berry said, taken aback and slightly angry, taking a big breath and getting ready to tell her uncle off.

“I’m alright with him,” Barley said, cutting her off. Berry deflated visibly. “What of the foals ye daft lass? What if the foals are wee little unicorns and House Avarice sets its greedy eyes on them and does their dirty little tricks to try and claim them? What if they’re powerful wee little unicorns… you think those plotholes will ignore those potential assets? I’ve seen it happen lass, those Canterlot unicorns make the damn laws, and they take whatever they damn well feel like,” Barley said, looking quite angry and a tremor had taken over one leg.

“But,” Berry said, looking confused and angry.

“But nothing lass, you look at what they did to their own son, lying upstairs in yon bed. You said with your own lips they broke him. You want that shadow looming over your own foals? What sorta horrible parents does what was done to that poor soul up there? His eyes look bloody haunted! And all of the things you’ve told me, which I am sure isn’t everything. Protect what you claim Berry Punch, daughter of Clan Pickled,” Barley said.

“I had planned on paying them a visit actually, his parents. To clear the air and give them a piece of my mind,” Berry whispered in low tones, not wanting anypony else to hear.

“You give them a bloody message that Clan Pickled sends their regards and to keep their bloody hooves off of our foals! Those smarmy bastards TOOK OUR FOALS!” the old stallion growled. “After that little misunderstanding that had our home taken and saw us banished to that forsaken rock in the ocean, they came and stole what was rightfully ours. Never relax your guard, oh ye daughter of Shetland.”

Berry nodded respectfully to her uncle, bowing her head slightly.

“Now you be a good wife for him and you do what is right for your foals. I know you’re one of those fancy feminists and you got those uppity values in university. You put those to work lass. You are obligated to protect both of them ponies upstairs. Never forget who and what you are lass,” Barley said.

“I remember who I am, why do you think I am committing to this?” Berry said in strangled voice.

“Good lass,” Barley said. “I meant what I said, I want enough foals to surround my bed so I can die proper.”

“Yes uncle, of course,” Berry said, nodding, her eyes somewhat teary.

“And one of those foals is to take on my name. I don’t care which little type you squirt out, unicorn, pegasus, or earth pony, one of them is to have one of my names,” Barley said gently, wrapping a foreleg around Berry’s neck and hugging her.

“Barley Bitters is a good name for a foal I think,” Berry said, sniffling, her face pressed into her uncle’s neck.

“Aye lass,” Barley agreed, his own eyes misty. “We look after our own...”

“Come what may…” Berry continued.

“We anarchs only have one another,” Barley finished. “You go to Canterlot and give that coont a piece of your mind,” he added, his accent now thick.

 

 

“They’re plotting against me,” Bucky whispered. “I just know it.”

“Maybe,” Derpy admitted, her ears perked and trying to listen.

“See, I knew it,” Bucky said in a low moan.

“You are silly,” Derpy said, closing one eye and peering at his stitches carefully. “Think about my plot and you’ll feel better.”

Images suddenly came to Bucky’s mind, making his thoughts a distinct shade of blue. He did indeed feel better.

“You look better,” Derpy said, still peering from one eye. “I can barely see a crack in your horn now. Is your face still numb on this side?”

Bucky nodded, saying nothing, thinking blue thoughts. And red wine coloured thoughts. Thoughts about plots. As he started thinking about this he knew he should be embarrassed about. And he was. And that made him feel dirty. Bucky discovered he liked feeling dirty. He raised the eyebrow on the good side of his face.

“What?” Derpy said.

“I can’t stop thinking about your backside,” Bucky confessed, remembering Bon Bon’s lessons about honesty.

“Oh! Want to spend some time looking at it?” Derpy asked.

“No,” replied Bucky, nodding his head yes.

 

 

Later that day, Dinky Doo and Piña Colada came home to a very big surprise. Entering into the house with Lyra and Bon Bon, they were greeted by an old unicorn, a distant memory from early foalhood.

But that didn’t matter. They were swept up anyway, the old stallion falling down upon the floor to be with them. Berry Punch watched this display, sitting quietly, and Lyra had an odd almost emotional reaction as Bon Bon gently stroked her.

Old bonds were almost instantly revitalised by touch and smell, triggering powerful herding instincts. What was once lost was quickly reclaimed, powerful feelings of affection and bonding were induced. Piña in particular cried happy tears, unable to speak, only able to express her affection by hugging, touching, and rubbing her hooves over her uncle and Dinky as they shared an emotional moment with one another.

Finally overcome, Lyra began to cry, leaning into Bon Bon and no longer caring what ponies watching her might think.

Finally, Berry Punch joined the pony pile on the floor, hugging the foals and sharing a bonding moment with her old uncle, her body engaged in various acts of affection, her mind off someplace else, someplace distant.

 

Author's Note:

Fun fact.

Anarch means somebody that kills royalty or nobles. King slayer. Prince murderer.

I am drawing upon real history to create the backdrop of everything that is about to happen. During the Highland clearances, the English went through and stole away sons and daughters with English blood. The English lords had a right to rape wives on the night of their marriage, ensuring that quite a few English blooded Scots were born. Lands and titles would go the firstborn, usually of English blood. The English stole these sons and daughters away, and raised them loyal to the English crown.

It was a bad time to be alive.

 
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