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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Moving swiftly though the night, Sparkler carried upon her back two very sleepy foals. She didn’t want to put them in the orphanarium, somehow, that didn’t feel safe. She worried that perhaps foals were being snatched from around Ponyville, and she didn’t want these two being captured again. Sparkler needed them watched over and kept safe, she had made a promise.

The filly moved tirelessly, the endless conditioning she endured was now paying off. She could cross Ponyville multiple times, covering the whole county without ever feeling worn out from all the trotting. She had once been a soft flabby filly, but now, even in her fleshy form, she was as hard and unyielding as a stone, only matched by Ripple for raw stamina and endurance, and Ripple could easily beat the snot out of her.

To be fair though, Sparkler knew that Ripple could beat the snot out of most ponies.

Opening a gate, Sparkler went up the walkway to a house, her breath visible in the cold wee hours of the morning. She went up the stairs, stood on the landing, and then began to bang on the door. This was the only place she could think of where the foals might be safe for a while.

Upstairs, a light came on, and Sparkler banged a little harder upon the wooden door. Another light came on, then other, and finally, the living room window lit up. The door opened, the hinges squeaking faintly as it did so.

“Mom… dad… I need your help,” Sparkler said to Shining Star and Galaxy Guide. She smiled hugely and her ears splayed out sideways.

Shining Star yawned as her husband, Galaxy Guide, stared blearily at Sparkler. The stallion looked half awake, but concern was visible upon his face.

“It’s cold… come inside,” Galaxy said, stepping back from the door as he did so.

 

 

“...so I need for you to look after these two adorable little criminals if you can,” Sparkler explained in a hopeful voice to her in laws. “We can sort out the legalities in the morning. They’re both really rather sweet and affectionate. Singsong knows how to say please and thank you and Brass Note is well behaved and likes to wipe his face when he’s eating,” she said as she looked at the foals sleeping soundly in a pile together on the couch.

“Galaxy?” Shining Star said in a hopeful voice. “Please say yes.”

“I want to, but I’m worried. Can we actually keep them safe?” Galaxy Guide asked, looking fearful.

“I think we can. We’re unicorns dear… good unicorns and loving parents. Our daughter came to us for help,” Shining Star answered in a pleading voice. “Our home is empty. I still have a need to mother something. Rising Star’s room is empty… they could stay in there. We could get them a bunk bed. We could make this work Galaxy.”

“It’s a little colt and a filly. They’re going to need separate rooms eventually,” Galaxy said in a soft voice as he looked at the foals snuggled together.

“We have the basement. It’s been partially renovated. We could make a room down there. Galaxy… I’ve been meaning to talk to you about adoption ever since I saw the newspaper with the foal adopted by the Royal Pony Sisters. I have needs Galaxy…” Shining Star begged. She looked at her husband with wide pleading eyes. “These poor little foals have been abused… somepony hurt them and made them do bad things… are you really going to turn them out?”

Sucking in a deep breath, Galaxy Guide held it for a moment, his cheeks puffing out, and then he closed his eyes and let it out slowly through his nostrils. He opened his eyes and then he looked at Sparkler. “Look what you did.”

“I’m not sorry,” Sparkler said in a bemused voice, a half smile appearing upon her face as she looked her father in law in the eye. “They’ll need a bath. The cheap black dye on those pyjamas is bleeding off into their pelts. If Singsong starts talking about her mothers too much, she’ll start crying, so look out. If she starts crying, Brass Note starts bawling, they’re very close and it is a miserable experience to get them to stop blubbering. Brass Note wanted something in exchange for his cooperation and helpfulness, he asked for a rubber ducky, which seems like a very reasonable request.”

“You know Sparkler, one day you are going to make an amazing mother,” Shining Star said, her eyes brimming with tears as she spoke.

“We can get him a rubber ducky… that is a very small price to pay I suppose,” Galaxy Guide said in soft whisper.

“He was very helpful. He told me everything he knows, which wasn’t much, but he was very brave. They’re terrified. During the extended interrogation, I had to get a second order of chocolate pudding pie,” Sparkler said as she sat on the sofa, quivering all over.

“Officer Sparkler… is that kind of brutal interrogation even allowed?” Galaxy Guide questioned with one raised eyebrow and a sarcastic smirk upon his face.

“Hey, I take what I need by any means necessary. Playing by the rules is for chumps,” Sparkler responded, a soft giggle escaping from her lips as she spoke.

“My sweet little Rising Star did so well for himself when he took you as his wife,” Shining Star gushed, looking at Sparkler affectionately.

“I gotta go. I have a city to patrol. There is going to be a train coming in at four in the morning, and I gotta go prepare,” Sparkler said, looking at both of her parents in law. “Thank you so much, both of you.”

“Stay safe,” Galaxy Guide replied, looking worried.

“Yes, please, stay safe,” Shining Star repeated, also looking worried.

“My job is to keep others safe by putting myself in danger,” Sparkler said as she rose off of the couch. “Help me do my job. Keep them safe. One less thing for me to worry about.”

“We will,” Shining Star promised.

 

 

The early morning hours were exceptionally beautiful on this cold crisp morning. The birds were chirping, something that would soon be gone as the birds were escorted south, and the extra cloud layer had caused a spectacular sunrise.

Sparkler was exhausted but happy. It had been a good night. She had done her job and things had worked out well. She had saved two foals. She had made her presence known to all of the businesses that laboured in the early hours of the morning just before dawn, the many bakeries and restaurants that depended upon early morning business.

There had been no further incidents at the train station.

“Officer Sparkler, I need to speak with you!”

Turning, Sparkler saw Mayor Mare. She immediately put on a smile and tried to look useful to the local politician that was heading right for her. “Mayor Mare,” Sparkler greeted.

“Oh please, call me Ivory,” the mayor insisted, offering up a warm smile.

“Did you need something?” Sparkler asked, her breath coming out in great steamy puffs as she spoke. She could feel the chill on her ears this morning.

“I’m worried. Mister Rich, he never showed up for the closed door council meeting. He wasn’t there at the open door meeting either. He also didn’t show up for the civic planning meeting,” Ivory Scroll said in a low worried voice.

“He’s been having a rough go at things,” Sparkler said, looking at the mayor as she spoke. Sparkler knew that the mayor was one of those “tough things” that Mister Rich was having to endure.

“He never misses meetings. Ever. He never, ever, under any circumstances misses a meeting. He is your father’s majordomo. We can set the clocks by Mister Rich showing up for meetings. Something is wrong,” Ivory Scroll insisted.

“Maybe he just needed some time to get his head together. Things have been hard for him. He’s been having a lot of personal problems. And Diamond Tiara is very sick,” Sparkler said, trying to sooth the mayor’s fears.

“Last night before sundown, I obtained a writ from our local magistrate. This authorises you to go into his home and check on him. I’m worried… you don’t understand. He never misses meetings. I know that you know about what was going on between us. Mister Rich is very professional. He would never let something like that get in the way of doing his job. Something is wrong, so please, go check on him for me,” Ivory Scroll instructed in a pleading patient voice.

“Okay, I’m going. I don’t like butting into ponies private affairs any more than I absolutely have to,” Sparkler groaned, a frown settling over her face. “He’s probably just taking some time off to get his head together. I mean, he did get dumped by two mares at once and his daughter was criminally neglected by her psychiatrist.”

Her lips pressing into a flat line, Mayor Mare glared at Sparkler. “That may be the case, but I would feel better knowing that he is okay, perhaps having himself a private drinking bender or just taking a bit of quiet time to himself without telling anypony. This behaviour is not like him at all.”

“Yeah, well, getting dumped hurts,” Sparkler said, feeling very irritated that she had been wrangled into this. “And sometimes after being dumped you are in no mood to see the mare that dumped you.”

“Just check on him,” Ivory Scroll said as she glowered at Sparkler.

 

 

Standing on the stoop of the large home that Mister Rich lived in, Sparkler banged on the door once again. There had been no answer the first few times, and now she was starting to feel a sense of worry.

“Mister Rich?” Sparkler called out in a loud voice.

There was no answer from the silent house. Looking up at the windows above her and hoping for some sign of life, Sparkler banged on the door again with her hoof. Cringing, hating herself for this intrusion, she popped the door latch with her front hoof, and much to her surprise, the door opened. It had not been locked.

The door swung open, revealing a wide open entryway and a stone tile floor. Sparkler slowly stepped through the doorway. She stopped, sniffed, she caught a whiff of something but she didn’t know what it was. Something sour, like old beer. Her nostrils crinkled.

“Mister Rich?” Sparkler called out once again.

Once again, there was no reply, no answer from the silent house. Peering through a doorway, Sparkler looked into the large living room. It was empty. It didn’t even look lived in. There was nothing anywhere. No signs of clutter. No mess. No magazines or books spread all over the table. She pulled her head out and looked through the other doorway. She saw a dining room. Also empty. Immaculate and untouched, just like the living room. She continued down to the end of the entryway and entered into small square room. There were stairs along the back wall, a study, a bathroom, and a door leading into the kitchen.

The kitchen had signs of life. There was one bowl left on the counter. Inside of the bowl was dried milk and bits of granola. Beside it was one spoon. Near the bowl was several beer bottles, beer bottles that Sparkler recognised, a brew made by Barley, and there were eleven bottles total. Pausing, Sparkler looked around trying to find the twelfth bottle. Moving again, she opened the fridge. The fridge was nearly empty and there was no twelfth bottle of beer to be found in there. There was a single glass jug of milk, half empty. Almost everything else was condiments.

Departing the kitchen, Sparkler headed for the stairs. Halfway up, on the landing, she encountered a bottle of wine and saw a dark stain on the first stair leading up. The wine bottle was empty. The stain on the stair stunk of urine. There were a few tail hairs here on the stair as well.

Perhaps he sat here and had himself a good cry, Sparkler thought to herself.

She continued up the stairs to the top landing and then looked around. There were several doors. The first she opened led to another bathroom. The second was a game room. Red mahogany and dark green felt covered everything and the room stunk of conspicuous consumption. There was a billiards table, a card table, and several other games that Sparkler did not recognise, all of them done in red mahogany and dark green felt.

One door led to Diamond Tiara’s room. The room was all done up in purple and pink, with hints of blue to be found on various things. There was a tall bookshelf and a stained glass lamp beside the bed. A vanity was in the corner. On the table beside the bed, there was a pair of glasses, which surprised Sparkler. She had never seen Diamond Tiara in glasses. She realised that the foal was probably self conscious about being seen in them. Standing in Diamond Tiara’s room, Sparkler noticed a foul smell on the air.

After coming into Mister Rich’s room, she noticed the smell was stronger. The bed was rumpled, somepony had slept on it, but not in it, they at least laid on top of the comforter. The room was empty. The closet door was open, revealing a perfectly organised closet. Sparkler looked around, not knowing what else to do, and then she noticed the other door in the room when she turned around to leave. She went to the door and pushed it open, the smell growing stronger as she did so.

Sparkler found the twelfth bottle of beer.

Standing in the doorway, Sparkler looked into Mister Rich’s private study. He was slumped over at his desk, and on his desk was the unaccounted for bottle of beer. As Sparkler stood there gawking, she felt cold fear creeping though her guts. Her nostrils crinkled from a sour stench.

“Mister Rich?” Sparkler asked in a very frightened voice.

There was no reply.

Stepping forward on jerky legs that didn’t want to work, Sparkler slowly approached the desk and the slumped over Mister Rich. She noticed a puddle around his muzzle, his head was resting on his desk, and something shiny was leaking out of his nose.

“Oh you stupid dumb bastard… you stupid idiot how could you do this to Diamond Tiara?” Sparkler whimpered, her voice a terrified squeak.

Reaching out with her hoof, Sparkler prodded Mister Rich. He was cold and stiff, unmoving, and her touch caused him to slide over a bit on the desk, leaving a slick slimy trail as his muzzle dragged over the wood.

Looking over the desk, Sparkler saw the bottle of beer, the puddle of vomit that had dribbled off of the edge of the desk and onto the floor, and she saw a small glass bottle filled about two thirds of of the way with pills. One pill was on the desk, and the stopper was missing from the bottle.

Squinting, Sparkler read the label. “Laudanum,” she read aloud in a quavering voice.

Suddenly feeling the need to puke herself, Sparkler backed away from the desk and the corpse of Mister Rich. She gagged, her whole body suffered from one massive convulsion, and she couldn’t tell if it was her Shivers or just revulsion.

Fighting back nausea, Sparkler backed out of the room, went to the window, ripped it open with her magic, and controlled herself long enough to say a simple incantation.

“Whenever I am all alone and I am too scared to think, whenever I need some help, I flash my light and blink,” Sparkler said in a strangled voice. A blinking flare shot skyward, blazing bright over Ponyville, and Sparkler knew that help was on the way.

 

 

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