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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In her room at the very top of Sugarcube Corner, Pinkie Pie turned around to look at Cheese Sandwich. He was busy unpacking an absurd number of things out of an impossibly small bag and placing them into a chest of drawers. Pinkie smiled, glad to be home, almost feeling overwhelmed, and she felt a strange longing in her heart for Cheese Sandwich.

“It was reeeeally awful Cheese Doodle… the land was sick. I could hear it crying. There was no laughter. Everything was so unhappy. Everything was cold and grey. There were no windows, no sunshine, no clean water, everything smelled and tasted like ashes, Fluttershy, she has a strong connection to the land too… she’s almost an earth pony, it was killing her. She has the connection, but not the strength like we do, she’s too fragile to feel certain things,” Pinkie Pie said, her eyes gleaming strangely as she spoke and her lips moving strangely out of synchronisation with her words.

“You said something love?” Cheese Sandwich said as he turned around, a rubber chicken falling to the floor. “I’m sorry, I got distracted, all I could hear was the squeaking of these novelty shoes.”

Shaking her head, Pinkie Pie blinked a few times. “Was I saying something?”

“I think so,” Cheese Sandwich replied, waggling his ears and smiling.

“Oh, I remember!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed, pronking up and down in place. “We need to teach Mister Grumpy Pants about laughter. He’s full of sadness and his laughter is broken.”

Pressing his lips together, Cheese Sandwich hummed for a moment, looking concerned. “Mister Grumpy Pants?”

“I’ll introduce you to him later. We need to make him laugh. The right way. I’m thinking we might have to fight dirty. Maybe even resort to pranks,” Pinkie Pie announced, looking very silly-serious.

“If you think that’s wise,” Cheese said, hoofing a rubber chicken off of the floor.

 

 

Laying on a small sofa, Diamond Tiara stared up at the ceiling, fidgeting, and rubbing her front hooves together. One ear drooped, the other was straight out, and she blinked several times as she tried to will the words to come out.

“Having some trouble?”

“Doctor Derby, you know how you talk about things like trust issues? I’m having one of those right now, I don’t know how to talk about it,” Diamond Tiara admitted.

“You know you can say anything,” Doctor Derby stated in a gentle voice.

“But this trust issue is about you… your son Steeplechase. I’ve been having nightmares about him telling everypony about what’s wrong with me,” Diamond Tiara said in a pained squeak.

The doctor let out a low sigh and rubbed his face. “I have apologised for his actions and tried to offer assurances. He has been corrected on this matter. I do not know what else to say or do on this issue.”

“Still hurts, I’m still afraid, and it stresses me out. And when I get stressed out, I fall back on bad behaviours because they are still too deeply ingrained in me and I act on reflex. I still haven’t quite figured out how to break this behaviour just yet,” Diamond Tiara confessed, looking angry. “Your son’s carelessness and cruelty has set me back and caused me some pretty severe issues. I am a product of my conditioning and what my environment has made me to be. Your son is causing me to relapse.”

“You’ve certainly been paying attention to the things I say during our sessions,” Doctor Derby acknowledged, his eyes glancing at the clock. “Your vocabulary has increased. Am I to believe that you have an understanding of the words you are saying or are you trying to impress me so I will become harsher in the dealings with my colt?”

“I don’t know, for once, I was actually just trying to say how I felt and there were no other motivations that I’m aware of. I’ve been having trouble just getting the words out. You noticed that trouble yourself just a few moments ago,” Diamond Tiara responded, turning her head to look at her doctor. “This isn’t manipulation if that is what you are driving at. This issue has divided us. Right now, I am speaking of an actual problem, in this instance, your son, and I can hear the anger in your voice. You’re seeing this as a personal attack.”

The doctor let out another frustrated sigh, his breath heaving as his nostrils flared wide. “I think it would be wise if we cut our session short today. In fact, I think it would be wise if we discontinued our sessions completely. My professionalism has been breached, I am no longer able to help you,” Doctor Derby announced, shaking his head.

Feeling numb all over, feeling betrayed, feeling heartbroken and confused, Diamond Tiara glared at the pony that was formerly her doctor, stunned and in shock. Her mouth moved and no words came out.

“I will speak to your father. I will refund the cost of today’s session. Good afternoon,” Doctor Derby said, looking away from Diamond Tiara to stare at the wall instead.

Her movements jerky, Diamond Tiara slipped off the couch, blinking back tears, and then slowly headed for the door, nearly stumbling over her own hooves. Her numbness retreated just enough to allow her cheeks and her ears to burn, a painful stinging sensation, and her stomach coiled into knots. For a moment, she thought she might throw up on the floor, she heaved, her breath catching in her throat.

Crushed, feeling broken, Diamond Tiara pushed her way out of the door, thinking of only one other place where she felt safe, and with tears now streaming down her cheeks, she decided to head to the one place where she could find refuge.

 

 

Staring down at his plate, Bucky sniffed and then looked at Belisama, who was watching him expectantly. She looked strangely hopeful, her crest was half risen, her neck feathers were fluffed out, and her eyes were wide and gleaming. Her talons gripped the edge of the wooden table.

“Semillon helped me, she was very kind. It was hard to hover over the stove and she didn’t want me getting burnt,” Belisama said in a nervous voice. “Puff puffs. Made from mealworm flour. Served in onion gravy. Semillon suggested the bed of rice.”

Bucky looked down at the bug bites and thought about changelings. He forced the thoughts from his mind, his ears twitching as he did so, and then he looked over at Belisama. “I must say, it certainly looks good,” he stated.

“All they are is little balls of fried dough, fried crispy and crunchy. A little egg, a little cornmeal flour, some mealworm flour, seasonings, and Semillon fried it in peanut oil. We usually fry ours in lard,” Belisama said, the little griffoness was animated and excited.

Shrugging, Bucky figured he had done worse things, like crawl through a sewer or jump off of an airship a mile up in the air. Not bothering with a spoon, he stuck his head down and wolfed down a few puff puffs, slurping them up with some gravy.

And found he could not stop. The bug balls were delicious. He scarfed and gobbled, licking his plate, and in moments everything was gone. Using his telekinesis, he added more rice, more puff puffs, and then dribbled more gravy over everything. He stopped just long enough to sniff, his now powerful nose committing everything about this meal to memory, and then he wrecked his second plate. He lifted his head and licked his chops, still not feeling satisfied.

Feeling immensely pleased with herself, Belisama found herself wishing she had lips to smile with. She watched as Bucky tore into the third plate and actually felt a swell of pride as he wiped out the rest of what was fixed for him, a late afternoon meal he so desperately needed after his long hours of magical labour.

“You have gravy on your ear,” Belisama said helpfully.

Grunting in reply, Bucky licked away the last few grains of rice on his plate, belched ferociously, licked his chops once more, and then he stared at Belisama, his eye still had a hungry look. He licked his fangs, skillfully removing a grain of rice from between his teeth, never once taking his eye off the griffoness.

Using his magic, he snatched Belisama from her chair and hauled her close, taking her into his embrace. She squirmed, wiggled, he could feel her heart racing, and Bucky squeezed her gently. “Why do you still fear me?” he asked.

“Master, I cannot help it,” Belisama whispered. “You caught me off guard.”

Ignoring what she had said, Bucky gave the griffoness a gentle squeeze and tried to comfort her as he leaned back in his wooden chair away from the table. He felt her go still, her body going limp, and he steeled his nerves to deal with her reaction.

“I’m a bad mate, you have been so patient with me and I’ve done nothing to reward you for your kindness,” Belisama said in a pained voice, her beak not moving as she spoke.

“You have,” Bucky gently argued, running his right fetlock along her spine.

“I’m not stupid, I know what you want,” Belisama peeped.

“That will come in time,” Bucky said in a soothingly soft voice.

“No griffon would ever be this patient,” Belisama murmured.

“Lugus would,” Bucky stated with the utmost confidence.

Falling silent, Belisama did not reply. She allowed herself to snuggle close to Bucky, the side of her face resting against his neck. There were grains of fine sand in his pelt, small white grains of sand which were almost always there. She closed her eyes, she took a deep breath, her talons clenching onto his mane as she did so, and she breathed deeply of his scent.

“Thank you for dinner,” Bucky whispered, content to simply hold the griffoness.

“You need so much food when you work,” Belisama responded, trying to make conversation while remaining calm. “You will probably eat when we eat later.”

“Most likely,” Bucky agreed, his ears splaying out sideways. He threw back his head and snorted, sending a kernel of rice shooting across the kitchen. Had any part of his old self remained, it would be screaming endlessly about such uncouth behaviour.

“You two are adorable,” Semillon said as she sashayed into the kitchen, pausing mid step to look at Bucky and Belisama at the table. “No leftovers. That’s always a good sign. I must say, I found the puff puffs rather enjoyable myself.”

“You ate one?” Bucky asked, turning to look at the cook.

“I ate several and I plan to eat more later when I get the chance. They have a good texture, have lots of complex proteins, and they taste delicious. Speaking as a mare who has cooked all of my life, I love discovering new things to cook with,” Semillon responded as she began to clean the dishes off of the table.

“Belisama, begin a dedicated effort to start a bug farm. We have all of this land, any resources you need will be placed at your disposal, and I’m thinking this will be a good thing for ponies too if we can get them to eat bugs. I know that Princess Luna would probably feed her guard and her Myrmidons bugs if given the chance,” Bucky said, looking thoughtful.

“Bon Bon was interested in producing chocolate covered crickets,” Belisama said, sounding thrilled. Her crest rose, fell slightly, and then stuck straight up.

“For the griffons?” Bucky asked.

“For herself. She loves to eat them. Lyra too,” Belisama replied as she cuddled against Bucky’s shaggy pelt and enjoyed the feeling of being close.

“Hmm, I’ll leave these details to you. But grow mealworms and crickets… and anything else you think is necessary. Spare nothing, food is in short supply for lots of ponies and if we can get them to eat bugs, I see nothing but good things coming from it,” Bucky stated, enjoying the feeling of the supple feline body moving against him.

“The chocolate covered crickets were fabulous,” Semillon said as she vanished into the pantry. “Butterscotch or banana creme?”

“Pudding?” Bucky inquired.

“Yes,” Semillon answered, her voice expectant. “There is plenty of fresh milk to make pudding and I want to use it up so it doesn’t spoil. It is far too precious.”

“Butterscotch,” Bucky said after a moment of thought. “What are you fixing?”

“I was going to make pasties for dinner. Vegetable and meat filled. Thistle kindly provided with me with one of the bigger fishes she’s been farming. Also going to make Fancy onion soup with cheese and croutons. It will be done in a few hours, sir,” Semillon replied as she rummaged around inside of the pantry.

“I want wine with my onion soup. Something old and red, strong, please make sure it is chilled,” Bucky requested, his eye lingering on the pantry door.

“Very well sir, we have a large selection of wines from the… stockpiled supplies you brought home after your trip overseas,” Semillon answered, pausing for a moment as there was a muffled thud. “I will find something suitable to go with Fancy onion soup.”

“Is everything okay?” Bucky questioned, worried for his cook. Good help was hard to find and he heard something in her voice that concerned him after the muffled thump.

“Everything is fine sir. One of your sweet lovable little offspring left a rather realistic rubber spider under the stack of mixing bowls. It gave me a scare, sir,” Semillon replied, her composure now recovered.

Saying nothing, Bucky bit his lip. It hadn’t been his foals that had left the rubber spider in the pantry. His barrel heaved with barely repressed laughter and he hugged Belisama just a little bit tighter.

 

 

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