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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“Heat and pressure… same thing you use to make a diamond, which you’ll be able to do if you pay attention to your lessons,” Scorch said, carefully explaining how to make the best possible steel for armor.

“I’m trying,” Rising Star said, watching as Scorch crushed the armor plate he had been constructing in his fist. He stared at the currently bipedal fire elemental.

“You’re doing a good job too… but you can do better, Celestia has really high standards… I know because I’m the one who taught her what to look for,” Scorch said, tossing the crumpled up ball of steel into a bin of scrapped metal. The big fire elemental paused, looked around the forge, shifted into his earth pony form, and then stared at the door. “I hear a foal crying. I don’t like it. Go investigate,” he commanded.

Nodding, Rising Star trotted out the door and then made his way around outside, listening for the sounds of a troubled foal. It didn’t take him long for his ears to pick up on the sound of sobbing. He picked up his pace, his long legs allowing him to move swiftly, and as he came around the school building, he saw a pink foal.

At first, he thought it was his sister Piña Colada, which made him panic.

After a moment, he realised it was Diamond Tiara. He paused for a moment, unsure of what to do, and then he resumed his brisk trot towards her, his head held low. Foals got nervous when you had your head up too high, or so Bucky had said, and Bucky somehow knew about foals.

“Diamond, you pretty little pink thing, what’s wrong?” Rising Star asked, his head low and his voice gentle, trying to think of everything Bucky had taught him. He even stuck his lip out, trying to make himself look sad. He saw Diamond Tiara look at him, which was different than looking up at him, and her eyes were bloodshot and filled with tears. Her nose was snotty and crusty stuff had formed in the corners of her eyes.

Diamond Tiara’s only reply was a bray of pain, a wordless sound of misery and suffering. She froze, standing there, looking impossibly sad, her ears drooping down beside her face.

“Come on,” Rising Star said, lifting the smaller foal in his magic and tossing her on his back, an action that was far more gentle than it looked. He trotted towards the house, knowing there was only one pony that could fix this sort of misery.

 

 

Leaning back on the sofa, Derpy clutched Diamond Tiara to her barrel, trying to calm the wailing foal in her arms, all of her efforts accomplished absolutely nothing. Bucky sat in a chair nearby, his eye attentive and worried, and Berry Punch sat beside Derpy, a pained expression upon her face.

“Yew,” Derpy called out. “Go… find Mister Rich and let him know Diamond Tiara is here and that there is something wrong.”

“Can do,” Yew replied from the kitchen where she was getting cooking lessons from Semillon. The pegasus mare trotted out of the kitchen, opened the front door, stepped out on the porch, and then she was gone, streaking off towards Ponyville.

“Did somepony hurt you?” Derpy cooed, her voice soft, her lips inches away from Diamond Tiara’s ear. “Did somepony touch you?” she asked in a low whisper, and when she did she heard a terrifying rumbling growl from Bucky. All Derpy received in reply was Diamond Tiara giving her head a faint shake.

Berry Punch watched her husband’s new talons flexing, the claws interlocking into a fist, the metal clicking together as the talons closed. She turned her gaze towards Derpy and Diamond Tiara, feeling helpless. “Sentinel, Dinky, and Piña are all with Bon Bon and Lyra,” Berry Punch said in a low soft voice, wishing she could do something to somehow fix this situation.

Derpy gave the crying foal a squeeze and she felt Diamond Tiara’s face being buried into her neck. It was hard to believe that at one point, this foal had been Dinky and Piña’s nemesis, the chief source of torment in their lives. And now, this foal was weeping her eyes out, held in Derpy’s motherly embrace.

 

 

Lugus, sitting on his haunches, looking rather majestic in his pose, looked down upon the smaller griffons who were known as Ripple’s Raptors. Lugus would never say it out loud, at least not at this point, but the little chuckleheads had promise. There was actual potential here to have a working combat unit. Loki was crazily dangerous and would need to be held back, but insanity was an asset on the battlefield, Lugus knew this from his time spent with Bucky.

“How many of you know how to use a sling?” Lugus asked. He watched and saw five talons being raised up in the air. Grinding his beak in frustration, Lugus realised he had his work cut out for him. “A sling is going to be your primary ranged weapon for covert missions where you need to slip in and out of a location. A sling is small, compact, and can be stored in a secured pouch that is tight against the body.”

“I’ve used a sling… I’m a damn good shot,” Loki bragged, looking proud.

“I’m sure you are,” Lugus remarked, looking at Loki.

“What about open engagements?” Gofannon inquired. “I’ve been reading that book that Ripple wanted us to study. I’m not sure how it applies to us though, unless the regimental weapons get scaled down for our size.”

“For open engagements, each of you will be issued a lever action crossbow, blueprints have been secured for a three pull model, a fairly standard field tested model favoured by both the minotaurs and diamond dogs. It will be scaled down a bit for your smaller size,” Lugus explained, studying each and every one of the Raptors.

“I’ve seen those. Faster than a winch model. Three good yanks on the side mounted lever cocks the crossbow for standard fire, six pulls will give you more penetration and range,” Angus said, his eyes brightening as he become highly animated. “I admired the woodworking on the one I saw… it was beautiful.”

“You will also be issued hook-swords for open engagements, a fairly standard issue griffon weapon, none of you are really strong enough to use a hook-axe. For covert operations, hook-daggers will be issued and a variety of devious weaponry,” Lugus announced, glad to see he had everybirdy’s attention.

“Are we actually going to be taken seriously?” Callum asked, looking rather small and unsure of himself as he spoke. “I’ve seen those Myrmidons. They’re huge. The solar guard pegasi are all skilled warriors and have size on their side.”

“If you want to be taken seriously, then you must earn respect. Your size is a powerful asset as well. You will be trained and your skills will earn you the respect you deserve. Once you have shown promise, your king has promised a full compliment of magical weaponry. Magical sling ammunition. Magical crossbow bolts. You will be given full access to unbelievably destructive firepower, but only after you’ve earned it,” Lugus said in a loud clear voice.

The big griffon stood, stretched his spine, spread his wings out to get the kinks worked free, flapped a few times to get airborne, hovered, and let a long sling dangle down. He placed a small smooth stone into the cup of the sling, hefted it a few times, and then with practiced ease, he began to spin the sling around over his head as he hovered. He released the stone and a second later it smashed into a rotten tree about fifty yards away, causing a shower of splintered wood where it impacted.

Several of the smaller griffons whistled, a few peeped, and one squawked.

“Begin,” Lugus commanded. “Be careful and one at a time. I will teach you the basics. You will listen and you will learn.”

 

 

Bon Bon giggled and secretly enjoyed her feeling of sadistic satisfaction as she watched Sentinel struggle to deal with a mouthful of taffy she had crammed into his mouth when he had his guard down. The colt was chewing, the taffy sticking to his teeth and fangs, his powerful jaws were actually stymied by the large amorphous mass of taffy.

“Bonnie, nopony can eat that much taffy,” Lyra said in a worried voice.

“Sentinel can,” Bon Bon insisted, looking at Lyra and then at Sentinel.

“My bon bon looks like a peanuty turd,” Piña complained.

“Piña! Language!” Bon Bon scolded, looking at the turd shaped confection that Piña had made. The earth pony eyed the candy, seeing some potential in Piña’s work, and she continued to listen to Sentinel smacking away on his mouthful of taffy.

Golden Harvest, an earth pony with a carrot cutie mark, tittered from the other side of the counter, covering her mouth with her hoof as she looked at Piña’s first attempt at making candy. “Foals say the darndest things,” she said in a low voice.  

“How can I help you?” Lyra asked, looking at Golden Harvest with a smile.

“I need a job,” Golden Harvest replied, looking hopeful. “Growing season is almost done for carrots. I didn’t make very much this year, considering everything that happened. I’m about broke… so I thought I’d turn to my friends for help.”

“You're hired,” Bon Bon said as she listened to Sentinel chewing noisily and sloppily on his mouthful of taffy, still feeling rather amused. She could hear drool splashing on the floor.

“Oh… well that was much easier than I thought it was going to be,” Golden Harvest said in a surprised voice.

“You’ve helped us before for spare bits… so you know what you're doing, and to be perfectly honest, Lyra and I are busy with foals and family now. We need the help. Do you know anypony else that needs a job and might be good at this?” Bon Bon questioned, looking hopeful.

“Well, Helia was looking for work, she used to work in the bakery, she’s really good at kneading dough, they laid her off though… but it isn’t as bad as it sounds,” Golden Harvest said in a nervous reply. “So hard to find a job now with the refugees.”

“Why was she laid off?” Lyra asked.

“Because she’s starting to show and she isn’t married. Some ponies are so uptight about these sorts of things,” Golden Harvest huffed, her cheeks puffing out as she did so.

Scowling, Lyra looked at Bon Bon, then at Golden Harvest, and finally she looked at Dinky and Piña, who were looking at her with wide curious eyes, trying to understand the situation. Suddenly, Lyra realised she was in the middle of “I am now a responsible adult with foals” moment and she felt a stab of panic. “Send Helia to come and talk to us. If we’re not here, we’re out on the farm. She’s a good worker?”

“One of the best. She’s a pegasus, she likes pounding dough into submission,” Golden Harvest responded, the corners of her mouth curling into a smile. “He’s going to be chewing on that all night,” she said as she looked at Sentinel, who was still violently chewing on his mouthful of taffy.

“Hmmmumflumph,” Sentinel mumbled as he continued to savagely gnaw on the massive wad of taffy that Bon Bon had stuffed into his mouth. He glared balefully at his mother as a long string of drool dribbled from his chin, nearly stretching down to the floor in one long viscous strand.

“Why would she be fired for showing? What was she showing?” Dinky asked.

“Right now, Berry Punch and your mother Derpy are showing. Thistle is really showing,” Lyra said in a patient voice, trying to be a responsible parent. “Helia is showing too it seems. But Helia isn’t married. Some ponies are uptight prudes about this sort of thing, and they push their opinions upon others, shaming them and firing them from their jobs because they are horseapple heads.”

“Sounds like it,” Piña agreed, looking at Lyra with wide eyes. “And you are going to give her a job?”

“Most likely, if she accepts,” Lyra responded, feeling somewhat angry about the whole situation. “It ain’t right, how some ponies are.”

“Mmmmlutherfluthers,” Sentinel said angrily around a mouthful of taffy.

“SENTINEL!” Bon Bon shouted, looking at her colt and feeling her ears burn.

“Leave him be Bon Bon, I thought about saying it, some ponies are just plain rude… Sentinel doesn’t curse that often and when he does it is because he is really angry,” Lyra said, turning her golden eyes upon Bon Bon.

“He knows better!” Bon Bon said to Lyra.

“He’s just venting,” Lyra said defensively. “And with as much time as he spends around Bucky, Sentinel is surprisingly soft spoken.”

Scowling, her lip curled back in a snarl, Bon Bon fell silent and accepted Lyra’s judgment call. She looked at Sentinel and for a moment, she felt a strange sense of pride that her colt would become angry enough to risk her anger over an issue. Her expression softened and her glowering scowl softened into a disappointed look.

“He’s a male that cares about female issues… don’t ruin that,” Golden Harvest said in a low voice.

“Yeah,” Lyra agreed. “Look at all that drool… yuck Sentinel I don’t understand how you can drool like that… yurgh!” Shuddering, Lyra turned away and closed her eyes, unable to look any longer.

His mouth still full of taffy, Sentinel stoically chewed, hoping this was a foe he could wear down with time.

 

 

 

 

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