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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Lyra awoke suddenly, as she usually did, her eyes flying open and she felt her usual sense of panic upon awakening. She did not know the time, the room was dark, and she could feel warm bodies all around her. She felt a familiar leg wrapped around her. With her foreleg, Lyra clung to that solid leg she knew so well, glad to have Bon Bon near her.

“Bonnie?” Lyra whispered.

“Lyra, ponies are trying to sleep,” Bon Bon replied in a very low voice.

“But you’re awake,” Lyra stated in a breathy whisper.

“I couldn’t sleep,” Bon Bon whispered to Lyra, causing the unicorn’s ear to flicker.

“I didn’t mean what I said… I’m really sorry… about saying what I said… about the whole choke thing,” Lyra stammered in a breathy utterance.

“Think nothing of it Lyra. I forgive you. Go back to sleep Lyra. I’ll hold you and keep away the things that scare you,” Bon Bon responded in a soft voice, speaking into Lyra’s ear.

Squirming around, Lyra shifted, trying to get comfortable. She found a small furry feathered body, it was warm, it was so very soft, and Lyra pulled Belisama closer. The griffoness made a peep in her sleep and Lyra was grateful for something small and snuggly to keep her warm at night. She realised that Bucky had come to bed at some point and was sleeping soundly close by. For this, she felt thankful. Feeling warm, safe, and secure, Lyra slowly drifted off back to sleep, knowing she was well protected from her nightmares.

 

 

“The foals aren’t up,” Bucky grumbled as he stumbled into the kitchen, his metallic talons clicking upon the floor as he made his way to the chair. He yawned, rubbed his cheek against Berry Punch’s side as he went by, and felt a pat on his back from Derpy.

“I’m keeping them home from school today,” Derpy announced.

As Bucky slid into his chair, a cup of coffee was set down in front of him. He blinked slowly, reached up, rubbed an ear, and then smacked his lips as he tried to get the horrible taste of morning out of his mouth.

“There’s been a full write up in the paper,” Berry Punch mentioned in a dull voice from behind the newspaper. “They printed a list of every single farm he saved. It’s a long list. They mentioned that he was your personal assistant.”

“He is my friend,” Bucky retorted in a half awake voice. “Was. I guess… I don’t know what to say,” he grumbled as a pained expression overtook his face. “What else is in the paper? Distract me.”

“Spitfire is leading the charge for mares in the guard. She wants the Wonderbolts reinstated as a combat unit, like they used to be. Now that she’s elected, she’s bringing sweeping reform to Cloudsdale. She’s also pledging to revitalise the E.U.P. Guards to promote equality, like it used to be a long time ago. At some point, earth pony guards became strictly supply and logistics. She wants to restore the military to some glory day ideal,” Berry Punch summarised, still hidden from behind her paper.

“She’s been making those promises,” Bucky said before he slipped into a yawn.

“Yeah, but now, she is making a public plea for help from you, Knight Major Bitters, to do it, saying she can’t do it alone,” Berry Punch said in an almost bored sounding voice that was not entirely awake.

His spoon falling to the table with a clatter, Bucky wordlessly grumbled.

 

 

“What do you mean there is no way to report missing foals?” Flash Sentry demanded, looking at the magistrate and several town council members with undisguised disgust.

A dark blue stallion with a musical note cutie mark took a deep breath. “You have to file a report with the guard in Canterlot. But the guard is in Canterlot and we live down here. Usually, if a foal did go missing, we’d spread word of mouth around the community and we’d go looking.”

“That’s not good enough… we have a dangerous criminal holed up somewhere that is using foals as his accomplices. We need to start spreading the word to ponies that if a foal is missing, they need to come to the police,” Flash Sentry said, looking around the room at several ponies who were eyeing him. It was too early in the morning to deal with this sort of annoyance. “Also, I need geological survey maps. I need to know where every cave is in the area surrounding Ponyville.”

“We can help you with that,” an older looking mare said. “Your lovely wife, Princess Twilight Sparkle, she retrieved geological survey maps from Canterlot just in case those three fillies go fall down into a hole somewhere during one of their adventures.”

“I want the city to pay for advertisements in the paper about the police and the services we offer. This is important,” Flash Sentry said in an impassioned voice.

“Are you making demands?” a younger looking stallion questioned.

“Yes!” Flash Sentry snapped.

“I will see what we might be able do,” the older looking mare said in reply.

“NO! You will do something. This isn’t something I want done a week later. It will be done now. Today. Not later after it is discussed over a dozen luncheons. If the city council can’t do its job then I will make sure it is known that it is time for a new city council,” Flash Sentry growled.

The pegasus felt the room go icy after his promise. He saw every eye in the room glaring at him. The soldier felt terribly out of his element, yet there was something familiar about this situation too… he had made enemies and they hated him. Deep inside, Flash Sentry was okay with that. He wasn’t here to make friends. He was here to get results.

“Look, if I have to pay for these newspaper advertisements myself, I will make it known that I approached all of you, asking for help about something that threatened the foals of our community and I will make sure it is known in the papers that you sent me packing with all of your usual empty promises,” Flash Sentry said as he banged his hoof down upon the table.

The room erupted into angry shouting and Flash Sentry steeled himself for what was sure to be a long, difficult, trying, and troubling morning.

 

 

“How are ya feeling?”

Trying to move her head, Diamond Tiara sluggishly looked at Sentinel. His outline was fuzzy, either because of her farsightedness or because of the drugs. She squinted, trying to bring him into focus. For a moment, her drug addled brain suggested that her constant squinting to see things was the reason why ponies always thought she was angry and then her mind exploded into a galaxy of profound thoughts, far too many to manage or keep track of. She stared dully at Sentinel and forgot what it was she was even trying to say. Her tongue felt dry and too large for her mouth.

“We’re going to get you out into the sun today. That’s the plan. Get you out of this bedroom and go outside. I’ll sit with you and we’ll have a nice time,” Sentinel said in a soft voice that was remarkably like his father’s.

“I was sad about something, but I can’t remember what it was,” Diamond Tiara said groggily, her words heavily slurred.

“You’ve been medicated,” Sunset Shimmer said as she lifted her head from a book and looked at Diamond Tiara. “Would you like a drink?”

Nodding slowly, Diamond Tiara was almost able to focus upon the yellowish orange pony speaking to her. Her drug addled brain told her that the yellowish orange pony was her friend. A friend that brought delicious drinks.

Getting up out of her chair even though she didn’t have to, Sunset Shimmer poured a glass of carrot and apple juice, chilled it slightly with her magic, stuck in a straw, and then began to maneuver the drink so Diamond Tiara would get most of it down her throat rather than down her chin and on to the bed. Bartleby moved to her side, his crest rising in concern, and he sat back on his haunches while he wrung his talons together.

Watching all of this, Dinky felt as though she had so many things to say, but she didn’t know how to say them or even what to say. She couldn’t even begin to imagine how she would feel if she lost her daddy. She had almost lost him a few times and that alone had nearly killed her, or so Dinky had felt. She had certainly wanted to die. Her thoughts drifted back to her birthday party a long time ago getting to know Bucky. She felt a painful clenching in her barrel and the sting of tears pricked at her eyes.

“I don’t like her when she’s all drugged up like this. It feels wrong somehow,” Piña said in a soft voice, her eyes settling on Sentinel as she hoped to draw from his strength. The earth pony foal felt exhausted. She hadn’t slept very well, tossing and turning all night. “I understand why it is important though.”

“I wish Ripple was here with us,” Sentinel muttered, the colt very nearly pouting in his current state of misery. He heaved a sigh and watched as Diamond Tiara slowly and clumsily sucked liquid through a straw.

“Ripple took this day to spend time working with her guard. She understands that even in grief, sometimes we have duties… obligations to fulfill,” Sunset Shimmer said in a soft voice.

“Sometimes, the only solace that we have is to take our duties upon ourselves and work ourselves into exhaustion. It achieves the same end as being drugged. After all, a drugged stupour is not so different from an exhausted stupour,” Bartleby stated in his softly spoken voice.

“I actually understand that, I think,” Dinky said, thinking back to the day that Bucky had worked her to the point of exhaustion. “You know, rather than mope, I’m going to do something useful.”

“Oh?” Sunset Shimmer questioned, turning her head to look at Dinky.

“I’m going to paint. And then I’ll stick the pictures up around Diamond Tiara’s bed so she can have something to look at,” Dinky announced as she scratched her chin in a thoughtful manner.

“You know Bartleby, this is a chance to show off your skills as a painter… you could do a little teaching… maybe make a few foals feel better… maybe make me feel better,” Sunset Shimmer suggested as she looked at the toucan beaked griffon hopefully.

“I read about a new technique,” Dinky stated, still scratching her chin. “It uses little slices and sections of sponges to get textures and shapes. Works well with watercolours.”

“That sounds promising,” Bartleby remarked, the griffon hopping up on Diamond Tiara’s bed to wipe the foal’s face. He snatched up a cloth hung over the headboard and began to scrub away sticky carrot and apple juice, while Diamond Tiara moaned faintly from the vigorous scrubbing. “I’d like to do some painting. I find it is a good way to clear the mind and regain focus.”

Moving with surprising suddenness, Diamond Tiara wrapped her forelegs around Bartleby and squeezed, hugging the griffon tightly. “Kitty!” she squealed as she rubbed her cheek against Bartleby.

Letting out a squawk, Bartleby squirmed and struggled against the earth pony foal’s embrace, trying to wiggle free. “This is not dignified,” he muttered as tried to extricate himself, his tail swishing to and fro.

“Fluffy kitty,” Diamond Tiara mumbled as she closed her eyes and held on to Bartleby.

Sighing with a sense of fatalistic resignation, Bartleby settled in and allowed himself to be hugged. Reaching up, he carefully brushed Diamond Tiara’s mane out of her eyes. “This foal is sick. I suppose I can endure this if it makes her feel better. This is humiliating.”

“But you are a fluffy… kitty… bird… creature,” Sunset Shimmer stated and she cringed when Bartleby turned his head to glare at her. “I mean, you’re little, small, not much bigger than a foal, you're soft, fluffy, and it isn’t like you are some hunter or warrior, a fearsome death dealer… oh dear.... Bartleby, I don’t know that I like the look you are giving me.”

“Bartleby, I know your pain,” Sentinel grumbled, knowing all to well what it was to be a fierce predatory creature that others found “cute” or “cuddly” when all of your effort was spent trying to be anything but cute or cuddly. Predators got no respect.

 

 

As Bucky shoveled breakfast into his mouth, he heard a knocking upon his door.

 

 

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