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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Two unicorns sat in a small fenced in backyard, sitting in the early morning sun, looking around and occasionally looking deeply into each other’s eyes. Pegasi circled overhead and the world continued to move on, not caring that some imaginary lines that separated the land masses seemed to have shifted a bit.

“It is all so crazy Sparkler. Last night, we had a message arrive by magic that we are all to arrive in Canterlot and swear an oath of loyalty to House Avarice. They’re calling your whole family ‘war criminals’ and say this attack was completely unprovoked. Nothing makes sense anymore,” Rising Star said, his ears splayed out sideways.

“Berry had her reasons. I cannot say she was right, but I understand them. And House Avarice, they are the war criminals. Foalnapping war criminals. That’s crazy,” Sparkler retorted. “Are you going to go?” Sparkler asked hesitantly.

“Of course not, I am casting in my lot with you,” Rising Star said, leaning in and kissing Sparkler on the cheek briefly. Sparkler, inflamed by this show of loyalty and a brief peck on the cheek, wrapped a foreleg around the colt and hauled him in for a long wet kiss on the lips, complete with a long awaited lip nibble, as he had once done to her. Afterwards, the two gazed into each other’s eyes for a while. Sparkler was definitely feeling her inner pegasus right about now. She could almost feel her wings. Loyalty went a long way for her, and a flood of emotions coursed through her body.

“What about your parents?” Sparkler asked.

“Both of them plan to stay loyal to Ponyville,” Rising Star confessed. “We are aware of the consequences. We talked about it last night when everything went wrong all at once. Twilight Sparkle was very brave doing what she did,” Rising Star said. “Failing to answer the summons could have us all in some very big trouble,” he added, looking very worried.

“Berry is in some Berry big trouble,” Sparkler said, causing Rising Star to wince. “I’m standing by her now. Sometime soon, she will be my mother, and I am proud of what she did, even if I don’t agree completely with her doing it.”

“So… does me rebelling against authority make me more attractive?” Rising Star asked, prodding Sparkler with a folded fetlock.

Sparkler rolled her eyes and shoved him, causing him to fall over.

“I really hope that Twilight Sparkle doesn’t end up at war with her own parents,” Rising Star said, voicing his fear.

Sparkler’s eyes went wide for a moment, taking in the entirety of Rising Star’s words, feeling an awful chill creeping down her spine. That would be the most horrible thing ever…

“I want to be a parent someday,” Rising Star said. “With a nice mare. University educated. Maybe some sort of geologist,” he added absentmindedly.

Sparkler pressed her lips into a flat line and regarded the subtle hint with narrowed eyes, staring down at Rising Star, who was sprawled in the grass.

“But if a certain unicorn filly was to not attend university, or not finish university, well, I don’t think she would be as attractive. I need a perfect mare for my foals. And she needs to be smart,” Rising Star said, now resting his head on the grass.

“Your foals?” Sparkler asked.

“I think I’d like a few, but not right away. Being a unicorn, I have high standards. I cannot have just anypony mothering my foals. I dunno, I might even want to start a herd if I found the right like minded mares. I am all for mare empowerment,” Rising Star said.

“Is that so?” Sparkler asked.

“I’d need a mother that would be willing to go to war for her foals. Now that I’ve seen that take place, I don’t think I could settle for anything less,” Rising Star commented. “And I  think I would want a pegasus grandmare to look after my foals, and maybe an earth pony grandmare as well, because I would want them well rounded with educated with different points of view, so they could be open minded to other ponies.”

“Wow, you do have standards,” Sparkler said, nodding.

“And she needs impeccable table manners,” Rising Star quipped, nodding enthusiastically as he lay in the grass. “Somepony has to teach the little unicorn foals courtly manners. Unicorns have such high societal demands, and good manners are of vital importance.”

“Good luck finding such a perfect creature,” Sparkler said.

“I know, it is the impossible dream,” Rising Star said.

 

 

Princess Luna, now a prisoner, settled into the overstuffed chair in Derpy’s living room, as so many other ponies had done before her. The chair was old, and had a long history. It had been returned to a second hoof shop so many times, and had seen so many owners. While it looked a little ratty, it is still supremely comfortable, and Luna would have gladly considered it her throne. It became a perfect place to sit when two small foals squeezed into the chair on each side of her, snuggling up against her.

She turned and studied the three ponies on the couch, all of them looking a little worried. They sat huddled together, and it was obvious to any observer that they all loved one another a great deal. Luna resolved to make sure this love endured. She then turned to her gaze to Twilight Sparkle, who sat on a large cushion on the floor, also studying the three ponies on the couch, looking just a little confused.

“I think,” Luna began, “that we should dispense with all formality and simply speak to one another as ponies. There has been enough protocol as of late.”

“I agree,” Twilight replied.

The three ponies on the couch nodded.

“Berry Punch, why did you do this?” Luna asked, straight forward and blunt.

“For my foa-”

“No,” interrupted Luna, “any answer but that one. That is the easy answer. Just like I turned into Nightmare Moon because I was jealous of my sister’s day.”

Berry Punch glared at Luna, looking her in the eye quite fearlessly. Luna did not seem the slightest bit bothered by this. Rather, she looked rather amused and maybe a bit grateful, a faint smile on her lips and her eyes bright and merry.

“I wanted her to pay for what she’s done. I want all of them to pay for what they’ve done. But that mare, she failed in her duty, and she damn near ruined something beautiful,” Berry grunted, her gaze never leaving Luna’s.

“That’s better,” Luna said, nodding slightly. She cast her gaze upon Twilight, and saw Twilight was gazing at her curiously, her head tilted to the side.

“Buckminster, how do you feel about what has taken place?” Luna asked.

“I have conflicting emotions,” Bucky confessed. “I suppose part of me wants to see my mother suffer because of what she did. Part of me is flattered that Berry is placing me on a pedestal. I’ve never had anypony do that for me before. I’ve never been that important. I don’t know how to feel about it. It is causing me a great deal of emotional distress. Having a mare declare her love for you and then go off and declare war for you kind of makes you feel good,” Bucky admitted, leaning closer to Berry Punch as he did so.

“Bucky deserves better,” Derpy said, closing one eye and staring at Luna with her one good orb. “I keep going back and forth. Part of me wishes I had been there with Berry, kicking the stuffing out of her,” Derpy added, casting a one eyed glance at Twilight.

“Assault is wrong Miss Hooves,” Twilight admonished.

“Now wait Twilight, let us establish a few facts here. Berry, did you appropriately deliver the declaration of war?” Luna asked, her brows furrowing.

“With a slap over the chops and the verbal declaration required,” Berry Punch answered with a faint nod.

“Alright then. At that point, under Equestrian law, Berry was free to kill that mare without consequence. The butler, well, that is just dirty pool to kill the hired help. But Buckminster’s mother, Berry would have been within her every right to kill her, so let us all acknowledge Berry’s restraint in dealing with her,” Luna announced, her eyes meeting briefly with every eye in the room. She gave a soft squeeze to the two foals in the chair with her, feeling them squirm against her sides.

Twilight Sparkle visibly deflated, her head dropping low and her wings drooping.

“We cannot punish Berry for the assault, as heinous as it might have been. She should instead be commended on her mercy,” Luna said, her words slow and careful. “What Berry Punch needs to answer for, is starting a war. And this is a far more serious issue. We cannot determine the penalties for this action now. That can only be done at the end, when both sides sit down and peace is declared. So long as nopony actually dies from this, I would highly recommend leniency Twilight Sparkle, when you determine the punishment for what has taken place. Berry Punch, if I were you, I would pray that nopony dies. The punishment for brokering a war that causes death are harsh indeed,” Luna said, now staring directly at Berry Punch.

“Thank you Luna, for some perspective,” Twilight Sparkle said, taking a deep breath and sighing with relief. Twilight was secretly grateful that Luna was stepping in and restoring some sense of order, some sense of right and wrong. All of this was a lot to take in all at once. And Luna seemed to be able to do it with such grace and aplomb. Twilight Sparkle made mental notes to review Luna’s behaviours and actions.

“I don’t want my sister in trouble,” Piña said sadly.

“Do not worry dear heart, I think this will be alright,” Luna said, comforting the small foal. “This needed to happen. The old treaties are now destroyed and new treaties can now be created. Ones that are fair to all sides. Perhaps Twilight Sparkle could broker some meaningful settlement of peace between both parties. Would be a worthwhile display of her leadership now that she is Chancellor,” Luna said, giving Twilight a pointed look.

“It is indeed very flattering to become the spoils of war, a trophy,” Bucky muttered, mostly to himself when the room fell silent.

Derpy poked him with a hoof and shot him a dirty one eyed glare. “This is your fault,” she sneered at Berry Punch. “You and your feminism and all those big words. Now Bucky has a big head,” the grey mare grumbled.

“If I may say so, I do not agree with my sister’s stance on herd marriage. I wish all three of you the best of luck, and you have my blessing, for whatever it is worth. My views are about one thousand years old and outdated though, so take everything I say with a grain of salt,” Luna said with a soft chuckle.

“Thank you,” three ponies said in unison, words that sounded well practiced together.

“You have mine as well,” Twilight Sparkle added, feeling the need to match Luna’s graciousness.

“Twilight Sparkle, if I may suggest a course of action,” Luna asked.

“Of course Luna, you’ve been very reasonable,” Twilight responded.

“Might I recommend that you use your new authority and require Berry Punch to marry. Soon. I do believe that placing her into a position of real responsibility for her fellow herdmates may level out some of her more wild behaviours. Make her obligated. Craft a shackle for her, as it were,” Luna explained.

“I will take that into consideration,” Twilight said, nodding as she did so.

“And Derpy, keep your flock safe. Keep Berry safe from herself. Do not allow her to do any further foolish action,” Luna advised.

“Okay,” Derpy agreed. “I plan to be in charge anyway.”

Berry grunted a non verbal agreement and said nothing.

“Berry?” Luna asked, her eyes narrowing and her ears folding back against her skull.

“What?” Berry asked, reluctantly receiving Derpy’s hoofs on physical affection after Derpy’s announcement of being in charge.

“I find it interesting that modern feminism is more or less a rehash of the militant culture of warmongering mares from one thousand years ago,” Luna stated, looking very thoughtful. “Right down to worthy stallions becoming a cause for war.”

Berry turned away from Luna’s gaze finally, unable to meet her eye.

“Oh, do not mistake my words, perhaps warmongering stings a little bit right now, but I was quite shocked to discover that I was already a feminist in these modern times,” Luna explained patiently, her words trying to restore Berry’s gaze to her .

Berry Punch turned and looked slowly at Luna, their eyes meeting once again.

“A good father is more valuable than all of the wealth I own in Canterlot. Worth more than the entire contents of my treasury. It isn’t selfish to want these things. A good father worthy of fathering foals is hard to find. And he should be sheltered, treasured, and protected. Fatherhood, just as motherhood, is a sacred institution. Even with the current trouble, you did right in laying a solid claim to Buckminster and then moving to protect him. Herds were made to protect a good stallion. Even after all this time, we are still slaves to certain instincts, certain animal urges. This was a mistake worth making. Somehow, we will move past all of this and this will become a marvelous footnote in Equestrian history. I suppose I shall have to endeavor to spend a bit more time writing our history,” Luna said, squeezing the foals at her sides and trying to reassure everypony in the room.

“I suddenly want to talk to my father,” Twilight said, sniffling.

 

 

 

Author's Note:

A chapter consisting almost entirely of dialogue. Lots of different viewpoints here.

I saw in the comments where people mistakenly believe that Bucky is property or a slave or something... Nothing could be further than the truth.

Anyway, allow the speculation over the current reveals to take place.

Berry isn't actually in trouble for the assault. People focused so much on the assault, and I wanted them to focus on the assault. The assault was just another case of misdirection, to draw in your emotions and make you check your values. The assault was one tiny detail in a much bigger picture, and I think only one commenter in the comments section actually saw the bigger picture. Once war had been declared, it ceased to be assault. As intended, I was able to get a few people lost in the details and focused on one forced perspective because of the emotional gutcheck being delivered.

People were so focused on the assault and being angry over it that they completely neglected to see the much larger picture being painted, or at least being scribbled in, against the historical backdrop.

In the first few rough drafts I created, Berry actually kills Bucky's mother. And Twilight Sparkle is forced to understand the social justice aspect of Equestrian law, as there was no way that Berry could actually be punished for the murder, because it wasn't murder. It was the first casualty of war. And Twilight Sparkle struggled to understand how laws like these had been written, and would be forced to spend a lot of time studying Equestrian history, much of which was written by Celestia herself. A disturbing revelation. Don't worry, more stuff from this direction is still coming. Twilight is going to get a mysterious package in the mail with some very different details about the Shetland clearances, a very detailed ledger. And it is going to push her right over the brink.

In time, this act of killing changed to allow another layer of social stratification to be revealed. The right name and an endless supply of bits can get you anything in Canterlot, meaning that the upper upper class have access to medical services that the lower classes could only dream of. I felt that this was far more damning of the social system and another worthy gut check.

Ultimately though, I have failed. I like my comedies Grecian in nature, and nopony has died. So this isn't very funny by my own standards. My apologies, please forgive me, but nopony is actually going to die. I hope you can overlook this grievous error on my part. I promised a comedy, and I have left out the key element.

 
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