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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Standing just outside the door of Bon Bon’s sweet shop, Diamond Tiara pulled her face into something that was almost, but not quite a smile. Her stomach gurgled slightly from nervousness and she felt the muscles in her gut tighten painfully for a moment. She took a deep breath, held it, and let it out slowly.

“Bucky, are you sure you’re up for this? You seem awfully distracted, I don’t mind doing this later. Did something happen?” Diamond Tiara questioned as she turned her head to look at Bucky while chewing on her lower lip, which contorted her face into something that was certainly not a smile.

“Yes, something happened, try not to worry about it,” Bucky responded in a dull voice that was nearly a monotone.

His ears perking, Sentinel looked up at his father. Sentinel knew that voice. That was the sort of voice that meant major trouble. His father was an animated speaker, with a resonant sonorous voice, and the dull flat monotone he had heard meant that his father was holding back something to hide his emotions. His father used that voice so other ponies would not worry, except for Sentinel, who did worry when he heard this voice. Sentinel felt his back muscles go rigid as his hackles began to rise. His father had been distracted the whole trip, and Sentinel had dismissed it on his father simply being a little bit absent minded.

“Sentinel? Are you going in son?” Bucky questioned as he stood waiting at the door.

Snapping free from his own distracted state, Sentinel shook his head, tried to relax his back muscles, and then grinned sheepishly up at his father. “Sorry… I kinda got lost there.”

Chuckling half-heartedly, Bucky prodded Sentinel to move him along. “It happens.”

 

 

“...and so, as I have previously explained to both of you, Mister Rich wanted to teach one final life’s lesson. Dirtbound, this is your sister, Diamond Tiara,” Bucky said in a low voice as he placed his foreleg around Diamond Tiara, who was sitting in the booth seat next to him, pressed against his side. “Diamond Tiara, this is Dirtbound. Your brother.”

“Hi,” Diamond Tiara squeaked.

“Hello,” Dirtbound said in a slow nervous drawl that made it sound more like ’hulloo.’

Pressing her two front hooves together, Diamond Tiara stared down at them, her brows wrinkling, and one ear, the ear that always caused trouble when she was nervous, flopped over and fell down to hang limply beside her face. “This is Sentinel. He’s my friend.”

“Salutations Dirtbound,” Sentinel greeted in an entirely too formal fashion. Realising his mistake, Sentinel cringed, his own ears drooping a bit, splaying out sideways as the colt realised just how awkward this moment was becoming.

Looking down at the tray of goodies that had been placed before them, Bucky grabbed a chocolate in his magic, stuffed the whole thing in his mouth, bit down, and metaphorically melted. Slumping down in his seat, he chewed slowly and thoughtfully on the dark chocolate ball that had been spiked with orange peels, rum, and the flavour of cloves. His eye almost closing, he made a mental note to give Bon Bon a very special private thank you, which would certainly include her being told how pretty she was until she was a giggling flustered mess.

“We’ll be seeing each other in school soon… I think… maybe bumping into each other in the hallways… I’m going to finish secondary school and maybe move into higher education,” Dirtbound said to Diamond Tiara as he reached up and began to rub his ear, which had just started stinging all of a sudden.

“It is important to have an education,” Diamond Tiara replied as she slowly began to regain her composure. “Violet Velvet has talked to me about secretarial science… I like organising and I think the science of time management and organisation is kinda neat.”

“That’s a science?” Dirtbound questioned as his eyes narrowed and he peered at Diamond Tiara with his mouth hanging open slightly.

Nodding, Diamond Tiara pulled a glass of apple juice closer, the straw sliding around the lip of the glass from momentum, and her drooping ear rose a bit. “Almost anypony can be a secretary… but it takes a lot of education to be a good secretary. Like Violet Velvet. She has multiple degrees, including ones for tea time etiquette, she is an experienced midwife, and she has a doctorate in secretarial science, along with a half a dozen other degrees. She can be trusted to manage a vast operation or to run an empire… literally. Because of her background and qualifications, Bucky here could leave her as a steward in his stead. It takes a lot of education to be trusted this much.”

“Uh… I see,” Dirtbound replied. He glanced around the table nervously and then his eyes rested on the tray of chocolates. Reaching out, he took one in hoof, lifted it to his muzzle, nibbled, and tasted something spicy, something gingery. He felt himself relax a little and he settled into the cushioned booth seat. “I don’t have my life planned out that far ahead,” he admitted after he swallowed.

“Life just sort of happens,” Sentinel remarked as he looked down at his glass of chocolate milk. He blew on the straw, causing to move in a slow circle around the edge of the glass. Little ripples flowed across the surface of the chocolate milk as he breathed. He stopped what he was doing and looked up and over at Dirtbound, who was sitting beside him. “We can plan for it, we can prepare for it, but life will do what it wants to with us. I’d like to be a writer. I’m sure that life has plenty of other things in store for me, I know that it does, but I want to be a writer. I think.”

 

 

Yawning, Princess Luna could barely keep her eyes open. She lay on her side, Erebus beside her, and tried to focus on remaining awake for the rest of the meeting. Erebus was warm, she could feel the heat of his body against into her own, and the now little colt was smacking his lips as he drifted off to sleep. He was full of milk, had been burped, and with the way his ears kept twitching, probably wished the room was quiet.

“...the Shire Isles are begging to become a protectorate of Equestria, just as the Minnowrock Isles did. They exist upon the archipelago known as the Founder’s Bridge for those of you that do not know your geography,” Raven explained in a low clear voice to the many ponies assembled in the room. “When the world froze over, this is where the founders crossed into Equestria from the old world.”

“I do not know that I want the Shire Isles becoming a part of our empire after their treatment of unicorns,” Princess Celestia said in a cold emotionless voice.

The diplomat from the Shire Isles, a pegasus, let out a wordless whimper.

“I do not believe your society is capable of the sweeping changes required of you,” Princess Celestia continued as she turned to look at the pegasus diplomat. “I’ve seen how you yourself treat the unicorns here in Canterlot castle. You are discourteous, blunt, rude, and you say things that should never be said. You have insulted those that look after your comfort and your care. Many times I have thought about throwing you out and requesting another diplomat, but so far, you have been the best that the Shire Isles has had to offer.”

“My most sincere and heartfelt apologies your Majesty,” the pegasus whined as he looked at Celestia through his spotted and dirty glasses.

Looking down at her papers, Raven’s face crinkled into a frown. “Over five hundred dead have been counted so far, with more expected. Not just the royal family, but also nobles, members of parliament, and many truly noble guards who fought bravely. There are reports of thousands of brass shells on the floor at the sites of the massacres. There is no longer a functional government left in the Shire Isles.”

The ponies in the room watched as Princess Celestia’s hard stony exteriour broke for a moment, her expression becoming pained, her eyes closing, the way she bit down upon her lip, how her ears drooped, and the way she slumped down in a defeated posture, but only for a moment. She recovered and lifted her head high, her eyes opened, now blazing with a glittering glow.

“We can make Keg Smasher the governor of the entire archipelago and give him emergency powers,” Princess Luna suggested as her eyes sprang open. “He is a pegasus. The ponies of the Shire Isles would follow him, of this I have no doubt.”

Whimpering, the pegasus diplomat, who was named Cromwell, began to rub his hooves together as more tears welled to the surface and then slipped down his cheeks. “I am authorised to do anything required to guarantee the safety of the ponies that I serve. If necessary I have even been authorised to start a war with Equestria with the intention of immediate capitulation and surrender of all territories… I-I-I’ll d-d-d-do it,” he said, his final words a stammering stutter.

“There is no need for that,” Princess Celestia stated.

“We are a broken nation… we cannot continue to function. And yes, we’ve done wrong. We’ve made mistakes. We need to apologise for our hubris, our fear, and our paranoia. We throw ourselves upon your mercy,” Cromwell whined as his composure completely broke. He took off his glasses, set them down upon the table, and then buried his face into his front legs to sob.

“As of this moment, at least for a time, the Shire Isles are now a protectorate of the Nation of Equestria. At my sister’s advice, I am placing the pegasus known as Keg Smasher into the position of Lord Governor over the Shire Isles, and I am placing our own Lord of Winter as Lord Protector of the Shire Isles,” Princess Celestia announced in a cold proclamation.

Kibitz, who was sitting beside Raven, immediately began to write down the proclamation word for word. The older stallion wrote with beautiful loops and flourishes, knowing the historical importance of this document.

“Princess Luna, do you challenge my royal decree?” Princess Celestia inquired in a loud voice to her now sleeping sister.

Awaking with a snort, Princess Luna looked around and blinked a few times, looking very confused. “Do forgive me… I have been awake for days…” she said as her words trailed off into a yawn.

“I have claimed the Shire Isles, at least for now. This might change later. I have appointed Keg Smasher as Lord Governor, and have installed Prince Buckminster Bitters as Lord Protector-”

Princess Luna interrupted her sister with braying laughter, which caused Erebus to awaken with a startled cry. “You made a unicorn the Regent of the Shire Isles?” she crowed breathlessly. “Sister, are you trying to punish them in your usual quiet way?”

Glaring coldly at her sister, Celestia gave her sibling a furious sour scowl. “Do you challenge my royal decree or not?” she demanded impatiently, one ear twitching uncontrollably as she attempted to stare Luna down.

Shaking her head as she tried to calm Erebus with her wing, Luna reigned in her laughter. “No… the Lunar Court offers no challenge and offers a sincere debt of gratitude to the Solar Court for placing the Crowned Prince of the Lunar Court into a position of trust and service.”

Smiling, Kibitz had Raven sign the paper, and then Raven picked up the paper to pass it around the room so it could be signed. She first floated it to Cromwell, whom uncovered his face and stared at the paper with red bloodshot eyes. He picked up his glasses, placed them on his nasal bridge, peered through them, and then carefully signed the paper, holding his pen in his wing. Princess Luna signed next, then Princess Celestia, and then several other dignitaries present to witness this meeting.

Crossing the floor, Ferdinand, the minotaur diplomat, placed a large hand upon the distraught pegasus named Cromwell. “I know this is difficult, but I do hope that you will trust me when I say that this was the best possible outcome. When this meeting is dismissed, you and I will have drinks together… maybe discuss a better future for both our kind.” Lifting his hand, Ferdinand patted the pegasus several times to comfort him.

“Thank you,” Cromwell murmured as his glasses slipped down his nasal bridge from the minotaur’s enthusiastic back slapping. “Thank you, all of you.”

 

 

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