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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“Greetings everypony. Today, we are going to try this again. You’ve been very well behaved so far today and I would like to say thank you,” Princess Twilight Sparkle said, smiling a sheepish smile. “I would also like to thank all of the brave ponies who spoke today, those still courageous enough after the unfortunate events of yesterday,” she added, looking around the room at the gathered ponies, blinking slowly and feeling increasingly nervous.

The room was silent. Quiet enough to hear a pin drop. A mouse fart might be deafening.

“I would also like to thank the Lord of Winter for joining us today. I am one hundred percent positive that the Lord of Winter, who is my close and personal friend, appreciates your good behaviour and your considerate kindness towards one another. When you get a chance, tell him thank you for keeping all of us safe,” Princess Twilight Sparkle said in the microphone, carefully pronouncing each word.

Smiling her nervous smile, Twilight looked over at Bucky, who was sitting in the center of the room, his black cloak draped over his body, and his hood pulled over his head. All that was visible from the hood was his long jagged horn and the end of his muzzle. The rest of his face was lost in shadow. A faint purple mist drifted up out of the left side of the hood. She watched as his talons drummed on the floor, moving in a rhythmic hypnotic motion, but made no sound.

There were no guards present in the room. Just a few speakers, some members of the public, the entire gathered body of the Stable of Representatives, one Princess of Friendship, and one Lord of Winter.

The final occupant of the room was the oppressive silence when nopony was speaking, like right now, not even breathing could be heard. The room was chilly, cold even, but many of the ponies were sweating nervously. Everypony was still, calm, unmoving. Each and every pony was extremely polite and considerate of one another. Nopony interrupted one another. Every gathered equine was the very model of good manners and social graces. The Lord of Winter had asked them all to behave, and he had stated that he would only ask once.

Standing at the podium, her snoot inches from the shiny silver microphone, Twilight Sparkle felt a bead of sweat roll down the side of her face and then trickle down her neck. “Well… who is ready to have a vote? Each representative has been given a little box. On the box is a switch. There are three positions. The middle is neutral, the box has not been activated yet. If you move the lever up, it will vote yes. If you toggle the lever downwards, it will vote no. The numbers will be displayed up here on this projection,” Princess Twilight Sparkle explained, pointing at the heavy cloth screen behind her. “You will have one minute to make your vote and then the results will be tallied. This is our big moment everypony… our first issue that we decide for ourselves. Thank you for turning out for this historic event!”

The sounds of subdued applause pealed through the room.

Waiting for the quiet to return, Twilight took a deep breath. She felt her tail swish, moving on its own, she could feel feathers against her ribs. She could feel a faint breeze moving through the room and tickling the fine hairs in her ears. She felt the silence settle over the room like a funerary shroud. “Everypony, if you would, please, enter your votes if you will,” Princess Twilight Sparkle instructed, her voice becoming a squeak for a mere moment as she said “you will.”

And so began the longest minute of Twilight’s life as she turned over the ceremonial hourglass constructed just for this very event. She stared at the shifting sand, noting how it moved so slowly, how it seemed to stick and not fall at all. Twilight felt a nervous spasm cause one eyelid to flutter slightly. She felt her dock clench and the beads of sweat building up on her frogs.

The final grain of sand did not fall soon enough. It felt like a brief eternity had passed.

There was a ringing of a bell and then a projector clicked on. The light flickered to life, the lights in the hall dimmed slightly, and numbers appeared upon the projection screen behind Princess Twilight Sparkle.

Craning her head, Princess Twilight Sparkle had a look at the numbers. “Seventy nine of you said yes. Nine of you said no. Two of you abstained. Well then, those numbers are pretty clear. Mares now have a right to openly serve in all branches of the guard!”

This time, the applause was thunderous, nopony held anything back. The sound was nearly deafening. There were hoots, hollers, the sounds of hooves clopping together, piercing whistles, an explosion of sound and celebration.

“Again, I want to say thank you!” Princess Twilight Sparkle shouted through the microphone. “Since we still have some time yet, I wish to discuss some items on the docket for our next gathering so you can begin to educate yourselves on the issue!”

Clearing his throat, Bucky caused the entire room to become as silent as the grave once more. He allowed his hood to fall back from his head and looked around. “I too, would like to thank you for being good mannered and kind. I am glad that nopony felt the need to make the mistakes of yesterday,” the Lord of Winter said, addressing the crowd in a whispery soft voice. “I am most pleased that you heeded my warning that I made when we started and that I was not required to ask you to behave yourselves a second time.”

 

 

Clutching his chosen weapon, Bucky made ready to subdue a wily foe. His eye narrowed and his ears pinned back against his skull. In his talons, he held a spoon. Suspended in his magic, he held a bowl of smooshed sweet potatoes, Dinky’s favourite food.

Before the warlock sat Harper, locked away in a high chair, her expression one of furious rage and her forelegs folded over her tiny barrel. Her horn glowed faintly and every curl of hair upon her head stood out in all directions, her poofy orange mane actually larger in size than her body. Her tiny lip curled back and her little orange tongue protruded. Inhaling sharply, Harper Heartstrings blew a raspberry at Bucky.

“You are going to eat,” Bucky stated.

“No!” Harper protested.

“All of your mothers have had enough,” Bucky said in a soft patient voice. “Zapping Derpy again was bad. Shame on you.”

“Not sorry,” Harper said, defiance in her eyes. “Burpy mean!”

“Harper honey… you don’t understand this yet, but I never get into a fair fight if I can help it,” Bucky said to his foal, his kind patient voice never wavering or becoming angry. His horn glowed for a moment, and then Harper was outlined in a blue-green glow.

A moment later, Harper let out a squeal, then a shriek, and then began to giggle as she squirmed in her chair, her little forehooves moving along her body as she tried to shove away the invisible ticklers that were tormenting her. When she opened her mouth to let out a shout, Bucky seized the moment of opportunity and slipped the spoon between her lips. With a deft movement, he left behind a mouthful of buttery sweet potatoes as he withdrew his spoon with a jerk of his talons. His tickle spell ceased and he gently pulled Harper’s lips together with his telekinesis.

Realising that she had been had, Harper tried to spit the food out, but found could not. She tried to scream, but found her mouth would not open. She banged her forehooves upon the highchair tray, her face turning dark purple with rage as she realised there was nothing she could do but swallow the food. With a gulp, she swallowed what was in her mouth and glared balefully up at Bucky.

“Bad mama mama!” Harper accused when her mouth was released.

Getting a spoonful of sweet potatoes, Bucky held out the spoon towards Harper, who was still giving him a furious glare. She shook her head no and pressed her lips together.

“Fine, very well, we do this your way,” Bucky said in a soft voice. His horn glowed.

A moment later, unable to help herself, Harper let out a shriek when she felt the invisible tickles all over her body. The spoon darted into her mouth, dropped off a load of sweet potatoes, and departed before she really even had a chance to resist or protest. Her mouth closed involuntarily.

Snorting furiously through her nose, Harper sat there and refused to swallow. Her cheeks bulged out as she sat in defiance, the glow from her horn growing steadily. She banged her hooves upon the tray table of the high chair and kicked her hind legs in an apoplectic fit of foalish rage as she stared at Bucky.

Sighing, Bucky gently pinched Harper’s nostrils shut with his magic.

It took all of three seconds for her to swallow and then suck in a breath through her mouth, which opened as soon as she swallowed her food. She glared hatefully at Bucky, drew in another deep breath, and then zapped her mama mama.

“Harper!” Derpy shouted, her voice rather angry.

Raising the spoon and waving it at Derpy to silence her, Bucky said nothing. He dipped the spoon into the sweet potatoes and prepared another bite. His mane was now frizzy and static electricity crackled along its length. He extended the spoon towards Harper.

“NO!” Harper protested.

“Harper, my sweet little foal… you can’t win this fight,” Bucky said, his voice not even slightly angry, his patient and calm demeanour persisting after the painful zap. His horn flared and he applied invisible tickles against Harper’s ribs. “You cannot wage war against me and hope to win.”

The foal resisted, trying valiantly to keep her mouth squeezed shut, but she finally opened up to let out a shout and when she did, Bucky was ready. The spoon shot in and left behind a bite of sweet potatoes. Once more, Harper’s mouth closed and was held shut, her lips pinched together by an invisible force.

This time, Harper swallowed before her nostrils were pinched.

“I don’t know that I like this,” Lyra whispered. “This feels wrong.”

“She’s willful. So is Bucky. This is how Harper chooses for it to be,” Derpy stated, gently patting Lyra and trying to console her. “When this is over, you should be the one to nurse her. She is going to want to be comforted.”

“Harper was being a bit persnickety,” Bon Bon said, shaking her head. “I hate watching this happen, but I know that it needs to be done. He’s not hurting her at all, he would never do that, but Bucky is certainly showing Harper that she is not the one in charge.”

As Bon Bon spoke, there was a fierce crackle of electricity as Harper zapped Bucky once more. The room filled with the scent of ozone as the contest of wills continued. There was a shriek followed by a frustrated grunt from Harper as her mothers all watched.

Finally, realising she could not win, Harper began to sob. She willingly accepted the spoon into her mouth and dutifully swallowed each bite, weeping for the rest of the meal, her eyes downcast as she was unable to look at her mama mama.

Also crying, Lyra wept into her front hooves and fell over against Bon Bon.

Derpy watched as the entire bowl was finished off. There was no spitting, no refusals, Harper willingly submitted and ate each bite, letting out the most heart rending wails as she finished her meal. She reached over and patted Lyra, feeling a need to cry herself.

Finally, Bucky scraped the bowl and got just enough sweet potatoes to form one last bite and he held out the spoon to Harper. She looked up at him, her eyes wide with hurt, and she slowly opened her mouth, revealing her little orange tongue. Bucky gave her the last bite and after a moment, she swallowed it.

Lifting a cloth in his magic, Bucky wiped Harper’s face, trying to scrub away the tears and the bits off sweet potatoes from her lips. When she was mostly clean, he lifted her from her high chair and pulled her close. Not wanting to be held, Harper kicked and resisted, but Bucky ignored her feeble attempts and cradled his foal in his forelegs, placing her head against the crook of his neck. After a few more moments of struggle, she went limp and then began to wail with renewed vigor as Bucky slowly rocked her back and forth.

After having a good cry, Harper quieted, taking deep snuffly shuddering breaths. “Harpy sorry,” she mumbled in between shuddering gasps. “Harpy much sorry.”

“My little Harpy is still loved,” Bucky whispered, kissing Harper on the top of her head, pushing his muzzle down through the nearly impenetrable mass of fiery orange curls.

“Love?” Harper asked as she continued to snuffle.

“Always and forever. Yes, you are loved,” Bucky responded, now aware that he was being stared at by a whole herd of mares and even a few foals. “Want some milk?” he asked in soft whisper.

“No… hold Harpy,” Harpy replied, wiping her nose against Bucky’s neck.

“Maybe a bit later then,” Bucky whispered, still gently bouncing Harper around.

 

 

 

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