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


405. 405

They were four days into the disaster now and things were well in hoof. The royal yacht had departed upon the third day. Princess Luna had departed suddenly during that night. The city had been saved. Power was now mostly restored to the parts of the city still standing. There was a plan to use the luxury ocean liners moored in Manehatten to house the now homeless residents of Baltimare.

The Wonderbolts were now seen as local heroes, if perhaps a little perverted and rude.

Try as he might, Bucky could not resist having a look at his old foalhood home, the House Bitters estate that existed on the outskirts of Baltimare. He had flown out there in the form of a large hawk, Belisama following after him, and with his own eyes he saw the dilapidated and partially burned ruins of the massive estate compound. The chateau style home was no more, only a few walls remained standing, and all of the surrounding structures were now demolished. The property had been laid siege to during the riots, other members of House Bitters holed up inside. Bucky had heard stories from the survivors he had helped to rescue when he had asked them of the fate of his foalhood home.

He was not sorry to see it go.



“Are you sure it is wise to leave?” Lugus inquired, looking curiously at Bucky.

“I received a message via shadow-link. We are needed in Canterlot at once,” Bucky said, looking at his friend. “Besides, the residents have things under control now. They are being surprisingly well behaved. Some of the large surviving factories are being used as a temporary shelter. So I think it is time to recall everybirdy and everypony and then depart.”

“Things do seem to have gone well. Better than expected. When are we leaving?” Lugus responded, looking at Bucky and studying his friend. Bucky looked weary, out of sorts, exhausted, which meant that Bucky was his usual self and Lugus felt an odd sense of relief.

“By noon. Spread the word. I want everypony and everybirdy back on board and accounted for,” Bucky answered as he scratched his neck with his talons than then adjusted his torque.

“Sometimes it feels that we just race from one disaster to the next,” Lugus stated, his crest rising slowly as he gave Bucky a thoughtful look. “I know we have long moments of boredom and peace, but then there are moments like these. We are still cleaning up here and we have been summoned back to Canterlot for some unknown reason. Are we going to be shipped off to someplace else? Sent on another mission? Quell some other disaster?”

“Maybe trouble overseas,” Bucky mused, staring out over the remains of the city. “At least Tannis and Agnetha will be left behind to continue to run things here. Princess Celestia was wise to give them emergency authority. They’re good leaders. Kind. Patient. This will be a good learning experience for them.”

“I do not want trouble overseas. I want to remain at home. I want to spend time with Yew and continue to try and make offspring,” Lugus said in a low voice, reaching up and scratching the side of his head with his talons.

“That is always a good way to pass the time,” Bucky remarked, nodding his as he spoke.

“Yew has a strong need for more foals. She says that Peekaboo is not enough. She wants something she can have suckle. What an odd way to feed your young,” Lugus commented, cocking his head to one side so he could get a better angle for scratching.

“Yes… you griffons lovingly vomit down one another’s gullets,” Bucky deadpanned.

“Griffons start out so helpless. Not like you ponies. You start moving around on your first day. You can walk. Crawl. Griffons mostly just lay there. I must warn you, newborn griffons are hideous. They have no feathers anywhere. They’re naked where feathers should be. After a few days, they get quills, sheaths sticking out through the skin like little spines. Eventually the first feathers and down begins to grow. Little cubs stay helpless for about the first year and then aren’t much better for the second,” Lugus said, feeling conversational.

“Gestation times are different. Griffons come out in less than four months, ponies take almost a year in the womb before they are ready to come out,” Bucky said, thinking about Lugus’ words.

“Have you attempted anything with Belisama?” Lugus said in a low respectful voice.

“No,” Bucky replied.

“When the time comes, do not be afraid. She might look small, and she is, but griffon females are remarkably stretchy down there. I know of willing copulations between smaller females and much larger careful males. Little griffons are born with large heads and flexible rubbery soft beaks,” Lugus said, offering a bit of encouragement.

“I have noticed… during my more… gentle stroking of Belisama that she has eight nipples… I’m assuming that they are vestigial,” Bucky stated, his eyebrow raising.

“Stroking?” Lugus questioned, his own feathery eyebrow raising.

“She likes to have her belly rubbed. She just rolls over and melts Lugus. Hey… I bet you do the same thing,” Bucky said, looking at his friend.

“I do not!” Lugus retorted, his crest not only going erect, but tipping forward aggressively.

“If Bon Bon was here, what do you think she would be doing right about now?” Bucky asked in an infuriatingly smug voice while giving a knowing look to his best friend.

“I have nothing to say to you. That is private. Exposing your belly is an act of trust between close mates. We have claws that could rip one another apart and being gutted is quite a painful way to die,” Lugus retorted in a flat monotone.

“I bet Yew thinks you’re adorable when you fall over and beg for belly rubs,” Bucky said, pushing his luck just a little bit and goading his friend.

The big griffon glowered at Bucky, his eyes narrowing and his predatory stare focusing on the egregious equine. His crest fell, laying flat upon his head.

“So what is it with griffons that get up out of bed in the mornings, hike their backsides in the air, raise their tails up straight, and stretch while sticking everything back there in your face?” Bucky questioned, ignoring Lugus’ angry glare. “Griffons really don’t have a plot furrow back there. No butt crack. Sorta flat really, with a little protruding pucker.”

“Trust,” Lugus said icily.

“Trust?” Bucky asked.

“It is a feline thing. You wouldn’t understand,” Lugus deadpanned.

“I’m trying to understand. At first I was curious if it was an invitation of sorts. I mean, there it was… Belisama’s little pucker and her… well… hrm, let’s call them kitten curtains. Which look really different from filly bits. Filly bits are more of a  long slit, griffonesses have more of a… well, I don’t know exactly. Things look kinda puffy and puckered. Kinda round looking with something sort of protruding or something,” Bucky said, his eyebrow raised in quizzical confusion.

Shaking his head, Lugus gave a disgusted glance to his friend.



Lifting off from Baltimare, Bucky sat with Scootaloo beside him in the command seat, as he had often done with Lyra, only Scootaloo was a lot smaller. The little pegasus watched with wide eyed wonder as Bucky showed her how make the ship rise, how to level her out, and how to engage the autopilot.

“You just lock on to a location upon the map projection. Here we have Canterlot. We have a tailwind and good conditions. We’ll be there in just a while. Then you engage the autopilot,” Bucky explained.

“But you could fly it by hoof all the way if you wanted to,” Scootaloo said, looking somewhat overwhelmed.

“Yes. Or if there were heavy storms I might want to take control of the flight. There are several forms of autopilot. I used support mode in Baltimare. I had the ship lock on to me and follow me around on the ground where it could, so that the winches could be used for various support tasks. Another autopilot is specifically for moving through the water if I should ever have to put her down in the water for some reason. She is seaworthy,” Bucky responded.

“Has anypony made an airship that can go above the sky?” Scootaloo asked, carefully reaching out to touch the flight yoke.

“Not to my knowledge. You can only go so high in an airship because of how the clouds are used for lift. I’ve heard that the gas filled airships can go a little higher. New advances in pressurisation and air tight cabins on airships have led to new kinds of sea vessels called submersibles, boats that operate under water. Luna is having several of them built. She has an idea that a boat that moves underwater could draw near a coastal city unseen and unnoticed, wait till nighttime, surface, and then release some very well trained guards under the cover of darkness to attack our enemies,” Bucky said in a soft patient voice. He thought of a sudden surprise Myrmidon assault and smiled, revealing his fangs.

“You never joined the navy. How do you know about all of this?” Scootaloo asked.

“I earned my way in through deeds and merit. I’ve been instructed. I am competent enough to be part of the command structure, or so I’m told. Honestly, I don’t know. I tend to make things up as I go during bad situations,” Bucky answered, being completely honest.

“I suppose if I want to be a good pilot I need to join the navy,” Scootaloo said, looking thoughtful. The pegasus filly yawned, letting out a soft squeak as she did so.

“That’s one way. There are plenty of civilian programs as well. Princess Luna tells me I am a good pilot because of my obsessive compulsive disorder and my need for control. I could probably give you some lessons,” Bucky offered.

“I did something bad and you’re being so nice to me. I stowed away upon your ship,” Scootaloo said, sounding more than a little guilty.

“I like foals. All foals. Even rotten ones I suppose. You’re not rotten though. Plus, you’ve worked hard and done your part. A foal needs to know that they are loved even if you have to punish them,” Bucky replied, glancing down at Scootaloo.

Smiling, Bucky disengaged the autopilot, lifted Scootaloo, and held her in front of the flight yoke. “Grab the yoke. Don’t move it too much, but pull back just a tiny bit, and steer the ship towards that mass of clouds. Try to plow into them.”

“What if there are pegasi in those clouds?” asked Scootaloo in a frantic voice as she placed her hooves upon the yoke and gave a gentle pull.

“Then a warning beep would be happening right now, letting me know that some pegasi would be getting a very rude wake up call,” Bucky answered, clutching Scootaloo to his barrel with one foreleg and supporting her backside with the other. “You’re doing fine, pull up just a little more,” he said, using his most gentle and encouraging voice.

Pulling up just a smidgen more, Scootaloo watched as the entire front of the ship before her plowed into a fluffy cloud and vanished. The navigation cabin was surrounded by greyish white, and nothing else was visible. It was as if the world around them had suddenly vanished.

And then, just as suddenly as the world had vanished, it returned, the deck was visible, and there was sunlight again upon the dark wooden planks. Something beeped softly on the console and then went silent.

“We just took on some much needed cloud. I do believe The Albatross got some as well. Nice work,” Bucky said, his tone one of praise.



Canterlot was a beautiful jewel in the late afternoon slipping into early evening sun. Bucky dropped speed and cruised slowly, coming in low and slow over the city and approaching the royal docks. Looking around, he quickly realised that something was wrong.

All of the flags were at half mast and black banners had been hung from a number of places. A large black wreath had been hung over the central balcony where Celestia liked to address her subjects. Bucky could see a large number of ponies were crowded into the central courtyard, the same courtyard where Twilight Sparkle had been crowned and then addressed her subjects. The same courtyard where the same fate might have happened to Bucky, had they caught him.

As the ship slid into the mooring, Bucky teleported down to the docks, appearing in a burst of snow and ice. He looked around at the half mast flags and felt a growing sense of panic. He saw a group of ponies approaching him along the walkway, and hurried off towards them.



Celestia was red eyed, grief stricken, and still crying. Twilight stood at her right in much the same condition. Luna stood at Celestia’s left, looking both angry and sorrowful. Bucky knew that there was something horribly wrong.

“What?” Bucky asked in a frantic voice.

Celestia looked at Luna first, then Twilight, and then back at Bucky. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “Buckminster, I have very bad news to give you,” she said in a soft sobbing voice.

“What? Just tell me,” Bucky begged, now suddenly very worried about his family. He felt his heart begin to race.

“While we were in Baltimare, a dragon attacked the Crystal Empire, aided by the mirror travelers. There was a dedicated effort to attack the crystal palace. The dragon began to attack the city… Cadance… dear sweet Cadance was always more pegasus than was good for her… she went out and challenged the dragon, hoping to save her subjects,” Celestia said in a strangled voice.

“No,” Bucky whispered.

“According to witnesses, she unloaded everything she had right as the dragon began to use his fire breath. The resulting explosion obliterated a small section of the city, the dragon, and Cadance,” Luna continued when Celestia was unable to do so.

Backing away, Bucky shook his head. “No, not Cadance… she was my counterbalance!”

“Shining Armor lives, but he was gravely wounded during the assassination attempt. He is currently here, in Canterlot. He is expected to recover… once more your rescue of Tourmaline has made a difference,” Luna said in a soft sad voice. The alicorn looked away from Bucky and stared off at a fluttering flag, anger still flashing in her eyes. “We found no traces of her body. Most of the dragon was gone as well. She’s gone.”

“I need to go… I need to be with my family. I’m sorry… but I must go… I cannot stay,” Bucky stammered as he backed away from the three alicorns. He saw Rainbow Dash landing just a few feet away with Scootaloo, both of them looking very confused. “I’m sorry, if you need me, you know where I am,” he said and then exploded into snowflakes.

“What happened?” Rainbow Dash asked in a fearful whine as Twilight Sparkle ran up to embrace her tightly.

“Cadance is dead…”



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