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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When Bucky had nothing left within him to give, Sunset Shimmer took over, taking Bucky’s place. Much to her surprise, the massive bipedal golems listened to her, patiently obeying her commands and doing what was required of them.

The storm that hammered the city was quite cold. The snow had already let up quite a bit, there was a steady flurry of flakes and a bit of freezing rain, but even this was lessening as a group of pegasi were busy pushing cloudbanks of winter storm clouds back over the ocean.

A long convoy had formed through the middle of the city, many ponies traveling in a line, some walking, some on pulled sledges, all of them trying to make it where emergency shelters had been set up on top of the hill. Schools, hotels, a hospital, a large outlet shopping warehouse, many buildings had been commandeered and were now being heated. Coal had been brought in.

Princess Celestia’s students moved carefully through the city, restoring somewhat damaged buildings where they could, saving trapped ponies, carefully removing ice and snow from buildings in danger of collapse, and the littlest ones went around offering hot cocoa and hot cider to anypony who seemed to be in need.

 

 

Taking a bit of a breather, Coco and Rarity had a snack and were now drinking cups of hot cocoa. Coco held hers between her front hooves, a graceful delicate gesture, and Rarity held hers in her magic. It felt nice to be taking a break, sitting by the fire, and getting warm.

“I’ve always enjoyed marshmallows in my cocoa,” Coco mentioned as she stared down into her cup, her own innuendo escaping unnoticed by her. She was fatigued, tired, but still strong enough to keep going for a while longer.

“Yes, cocoa just isn't the same without marshmallows,” Rarity remarked in reply. A sudden heat flared over Rarity’s cheeks as she realised a very titillating thought. “When I’m drinking my cocoa I like to get the little marshmallows between my teeth and give them a nibble.”

Coco’s ears perked, now standing erect, and as she stared down at her drink, she realised that she was holding a cup of hot brown innuendo. She gulped, feeling flustered, and a radiant heat began to spread from her dock… in that little place along the underside where Rarity liked to nibble. Suddenly feeling too warm in the cold, Coco took a deep breath. Rarity was a nibbler.

“You know… a marshmallow really needs cocoa. By itself, a marshmallow is kind of… dry... it is a little hard thing. But you put that marshmallow with some cocoa, it softens up. It becomes moistened. Maybe even a little soggy… the cocoa becomes all the sweeter…” Rarity fell silent, unable to continue with her suggestive talk, her cheeks now a fiery red as she watched Coco stammer.

Eyes wide, both mares continued to drink their cocoa in silence for a while, before sneaking a kiss with one another beside the fire.

 

 

“Soarin! This is just like you in bed! Letting the mares do all of the work!” Spitfire shouted as she tugged ferociously on the chain she had clamped in her fetlocks. “You’re a lazy lay Soarin! I’ve gone down on rookies with more enthusiasm than you have!”

“Uuuuuuuuuugh!” Soarin grunted as he flapped his wings even harder and redoubled his grip on the length of chain he had in his fetlocks. “Shut up Spitter! You’d be a nicer lay yourself if you swallowed!”

“You kiss your mother with that mouth?” Spitfire replied as she squeezed her eyes shut and threw everything she had into flapping just a little harder.

“I’ve kissed your mother too!” Soarin grunted as he heaved.

“I’ve actually caught that son of a bitch kissing my mother,” growled Misty Fly as she gave a good yank on the chain she was holding.

“I also ate her pie,” Soarin confessed as he heaved.

“Motherplucker!” Misty Fly swore.

The section of wall they were all tugging on shifted and there was a startled cry of panic from below. The Wonderbolts didn’t let up, hearing the sounds of frightened ponies motivated them to ignore their exhaustion and fatigue.

“I’ve preened a lot of mothers… can’t say I’m ashamed of it,” Soarin said as he somehow found the strength to flap just a little harder and coax just a bit more effort out of his wings, which felt like they were on fire. Every muscle in his body burned. “Misty… with every yank of this chain, I can see your pucker flex… it’s giving me dirty thoughts!”

Trying to tuck down her tail, Misty Fly growled wordlessly and continued to tug as the long slab of concrete continued to slowly slide away. “My barn door doesn't swing that way Soarin!”

“It swang this way once!” Soarin shouted. “And even when that door was properly oiled, there was a lot of squeaking! Cute little squeaks!”

“That was the worst mistake of my life!” Misty Fly retorted, shaking her head.

“It just isn’t fair… How does Soarin do what he does?” Fire Streak demanded as he tugged on his own length of chain.

“Oh, it’s easy to succumb to Soarin’s charms… I know from experience!” Lightning Streak, who was Fire Streak’s brother, exclaimed.

 

 

Finally feeling her own fatigue, Sunset Shimmer sat down wearily upon a hastily rigged wooden platform. She had been up all night. She had been using her magic all day, and even though she had paced herself, she was now pretty much depleted. She needed food and sleep. Reaching up, she rubbed her head, trying to ignore the hornache she was now getting.

Bucky was off somewhere asleep, probably in his cabin, and somepony was needed to run the show. Sighing wearily, Sunset Shimmer got to her hooves and made herself ready to keep going until Bucky had returned.

 

 

Sprawled upon the deck, Sweetie Belle knew she was dying. There were blisters upon her legs. Her back convulsed and twitched in weird and previously unknown ways. Her throat felt hot and scratchy no matter how much water she drank. This was the end. She had been worked to death. She was going to die and Rarity was finally going to suffer, crying endlessly over her lost sister. At least, Sweetie Belle hoped that Rarity would cry endlessly. It was hard to tell with Rarity. She might cry for a while, at least until she was distracted by something shiny. And then, the crying would probably be over.

Beside Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo tried to lay as still as possible, because any sort of movement at all made her want to scream. Muscles that she didn’t even know she had were on fire and screaming at her that they were in pain. Operating the winch and pushing supplies around had finally done her in. The only pain Scootaloo feared more was the sting of disappointment. She had upset Rainbow Dash just once… once, and that feeling was somehow even worse than the wing slap she had taken over the snoot. She never wanted to endure that ever again.

Rumble, beside Scootaloo, lay on his belly with his eyes closed, quietly reflecting that this was probably still better than anything his mothers or his father might do to him. As bad as this might be, this was still getting off easy. He heaved a sigh and fluttered his wings.

Grunting, Apple Bloom shoved the wooden crate closer to the offloading area. This one had big plastic jugs of water as well as paper packets of instant hot cocoa and hot apple cider. She kicked and pushed against the wooden crate, now all alone, all of her friends had fallen. She was the lone earth pony in their group, and she had to give a good accounting of herself.

Much to her relief, help came. Spanner, the griffon, fell into place beside her, dug his claws into the deck, and shoved, pushing his shoulder into the wooden crate. Apple Bloom smiled at the griffon. Spanner had been kind, always making sure she had enough to drink and even bringing them food.

“Stop. Rest now,” Spanner instructed as the crate slid into place.

With a nod of acknowledgement, Apple Bloom fell over, glad to finally be done for a while.

 

 

The last time she had been through Baltimare, Trixie had caused something of a minor riot. Now, now she was doing something meaningful. Purposeful. It was a glorious feeling, and Trixie could not help but feel a little well earned pride.

“Sentinel, are you well?” Trixie asked, looking over at the tired looking colt.

“I’m fine,” Sentinel replied. “Just a little tired.”

“If you need to, head off to a fire and get warm,” Trixie suggested, knowing that Bucky would never forgive her if she allowed one of his foals to come to harm.

“Naw, I’m good. I’m more thoughtful than anything. Trying to make sense of this,” Sentinel said, now looking up at Trixie.

“Sense?” Trixie inquired.

“Why does it take something bad happening before ponies all come together? This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this,” Sentinel said in a troubled voice, his eyes narrowing.

“Trixie does not know. Trixie does not know where to begin. Trixie would like an answer to that question as well now that Trixie has thought about it.”

 

 

“This one looks dead!” Kiara the griffoness shouted.

Grunion gave an irritated glance at Kiara and then at what appeared to be a dead or nearly dead pony. The griffon prodded the cold body and it did not respond. “Fetch the water of life!” Grunion commanded.

Shaquah hunkered down in the snow while Callum carefully filled a small metal cup with the high test whiskey. The dove-like griffon held it carefully in his talons, not spilling a drop.

“Open her up!” Freyja commanded as she pulled a half frozen foal out from beneath a collapsed section of wall.

Branwen and Brigid prised open the frozen mare’s jaws, moving carefully, making sure their talons did not once break the skin or cause injury. Ripple would train the stuffing out of them if that happened, and nobirdy wanted that.

“Fire in the hole!” Callum shouted as he carefully poured the whiskey down the frozen mare’s gullet and then scampered away, Branwen and Brigid moving away with him. “Take cover, we might have another kicker!”

The effect was immediate, the mare’s eyes flew open and she began to cough as well as sputter. She flailed and kicked around, clutching at her throat, her tail swishing from side to side. She hacked and gagged, drew in a ragged breath, and then let out a wheezy exhale.

“Mama!” the foal cried, squirming against Freyja as the griffoness held him tightly.

“We got a live one! Airlift! We need an airlift!” Angus shouted, the little griffon’s voice was shockingly loud from such a small animal and it carried through the strangely quiet snow.

A charcoal grey pegasus landed in the snow not too far away, her straw coloured mane whipping in the wind. Ice frosted her wings. She stomped through the snow and approached the group. An impossibly wide smile was on her face and her eyes twinkled.

“Somebirdy needed an airlift?” Loch Skimmer asked.

“One mare, one foal. Both need someplace warm. We had to revive the mare,” Grunion reported, saluting the pegasus as he spoke.

“Slip the harness on them,” Loch Skimmer said as she turned her gaze to her sister. “Holding up okay Ripple?”

Shaking the snow from her soft blue mane, Ripple grinned at her sister. “Is it wrong that I’m actually enjoying myself?”

Several Raptors carefully slipped the harness on over the still spluttering mare and then secured the foal with her. The mare, glad to see her foal, began weeping, which only made her coughing worse. Grunion gave a tug to the tether and made sure both ends were properly connected.

“I gotta go,” Loch Skimmer announced as she unfurled her wings. “Hold on, there’s some wind. The trip will be scary, but you gotta trust me, I can fly through it. I haven’t lost a single passenger,” Loch Skimmer said reassuringly. She took to the air and carefully took up the slack, raising the mare and the foal into the air with her.

Watching her sister depart, Ripple’s grin widened. “Good work Raptors. Death has been cheated out of one more soul. I’m sure he’ll come for us later and when he does, we’ll give him a fight he’ll never forget. Now MOVE YOU LAZY LITTLE LOLLYGAGGERS!”

 

 

Sitting in the navigation cabin of The Scorned Mare, Bucky studied the ship’s systems and made sure that everything was functioning well enough in the extreme cold as well as the strain that the ship was enduring. Power levels were surprisingly low and passing through a cloud would be necessary soon for more cloudstuff.

It was dark out and becoming bitterly cold. It was going to be a long night. Yawning, Bucky quietly wondered if he had slept enough. All around the ship, he could see spotlights, lanterns, and other sources of light. Fires blazed to keep away the chill.

The door opened and an exhausted looking orange pegasus foal entered, her purple eyes looking pleadingly up at Bucky.

“Yes Scootaloo?” Bucky asked as he reached down and scooped the filly up into his forelegs. He heard her squeak and he redoubled his efforts to be gentle, cradling her carefully.

“Rainbow Dash came back… she’s still kinda angry… but she’s also really tired and so am I… she kinda mentioned that she’d be happier with me if I apologised, so I slipped away and now I’m saying I’m sorry,” Scootaloo explained in a drained voice.

“Apology accepted. Have a hard day?” Bucky responded, still holding the pegasus close.

“Miserable,” Scootaloo replied. “You know, I’ve always wanted to be on an airship. I want to fly one,” the pegasus foal said, reaching out and touching the flight yoke softly, careful not to actually move it. “I just want to fly somehow. It isn’t likely with my wings. They’re stunted.”

“Never let anypony tell you that you can’t do something just because you’re runty or stunted,” Bucky said in a low voice.

“What’s it like?” Scootaloo asked.

“Flying an airship?” Bucky questioned in reply.

“Yeah,” Scootaloo answered, stroking the flight yoke.

“Mostly boring,” Bucky answered. “You need a special sort of patience to be a pilot. You have to know how to handle boredom and remain aware.”

“This could never be boring,” Scootaloo said. “Will you teach me? Give me lessons?”

“Maybe later,” Bucky said, gently setting Scootaloo down on the floor beside his chair.

He watched her go, seeing the enraptured smile upon the foal’s face, when he realised that something was different. On her little orange backside there was a wooden ship’s wheel, like the steering wheels of old, and on either side was a pair of small orange wings that looked a bit like Scootaloo’s.

“Wait,” Bucky commanded. “Come back here.”

Turning, not knowing that something had changed, Scootaloo obediently moved to Bucky’s side and looked up at him. Bucky, smiling, scooped up the pegasus once more and plopped her into the chair beside him, squishing her in.

“This is the flight yoke. If you push forward upon it, the ship will dive. If you pull back, the ship will rise. If you push it to the left or right, the ship will bank sharply in that direction, moving sideways. If you turn it gently left or right, the ship will also turn gently. This lever here controls the speed. If you pull it all the way back, the ship will move at full speed. Right now the ship is at full stop and using power to maintain stability so it doesn’t get blown around too much in the wind. We’re not anchored or tethered because the ship has to keep moving to help with various tasks. So at some point, we’re gonna have to take her skywards so she can fly through some clouds, refill, and the storm generators will keep running,” Bucky patiently explained to the exhausted pegasus foal.

“This is awesome… with an airship I could fly. I could soar. I want to fly more than anything,” Scootaloo said. The foal yawned.

“One day, you will,” Bucky responded.

 

 

 

 

 

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