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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Things were not going as planned.

Things never went as planned. No plan ever survived contact with the enemy, Lugus had warned her of this, and Ripple had foolishly not listened. When this was over, if Ripple survived it, she made a promise to herself to spend more time listening and less time thinking of clever quips to say when she and Lugus sparred.

Turning sharply, Ripple banked around a corner, pumping her wings as hard as she could. Behind her, the wyverness was in hot pursuit. Ripple was smaller, a little bit faster, far more maneuverable, and Ripple was playing out her advantages for all that they were worth.

Glancing over her shoulder, Ripple saw the slobbering maw of the massive wyverness. Multiple rows of teeth, all of them like spikes and needles. A long tail that ended in a cruel barb and filled with deadly poison. A long supple neck, two large webbed wings, and two long hind legs that ended in massive talons that could easily snatch up a pony, one in each set of talons.

“Oh bugger.”

Flying way too fast to make the next turn, Ripple wrenched her body around, pumped her wings, and then braced out with her hooves alongside the stone building. She ran sideways along the wall, her war shoes striking sparks as she ran nearly the full length of the building, her momentum keeping her aloft. Near the end of the wall, she pushed away and took off flying.

Behind her, the wyverness crashed into the wall, shattering some of the stone and then falling away. It took the wyverness some time to recover from the impact, and Ripple crowed in smug triumph, “Hahahaha ya big dumb bitch!”

Looking up, Ripple saw Grunion, Loki, and Gofannon perched in the open window of a large abandoned apartment building, and she could see the glint of brass on their crossbows. She felt a pang of worry for a moment and hoped that the big dumb bitch would keep chasing her, and not her Raptors. The Raptors were hers to protect, and her father would be furious if they were to get hurt. There was also the curious conundrum that her Raptors were charged with keeping her safe, and would die if necessary to protect her.

It was quite a pickle, and if trouble came, there would probably be a fight to see who was going to die to defend who first. The Raptors weren’t just Ripple’s troop, her servants, and her guards, they were her family, her friends, creatures that she loved dearly and held deep affection for, even if she did beat the stuffing out of them regularly.

As Ripple went streaking past, the wyverness hot on her tail, Grunion, Loki, and Gofannon took careful aim and then fired. All three quarrels struck home, the first struck the wyverness in the wing joint, the second tore into her central knuckle on her left wing, and the third lodged into serpentine creature’s long supple neck.

There was a piercing draconic scream of pain from the wyverness, then there was an angry thunderous roar, and then the now injured wyverness became enraged.

With a sudden burst of speed, the wyverness surged forward and Ripple felt her danger sense screaming through every fibre of her being. She rolled away just as the wyverness’ jaws clamped down on where she had been only a fraction of a second before, and Ripple was certain that she had just lost a few hairs off of her cropped tail.

Recovering, Ripple leveled out and then bolted ahead, flying with everything she dared in these tight confines. Too much speed and she’d splatter into a wall trying to go around a corner. She wove in an out of the many twists and turns of the canyons formed by abandoned high rises, then with a determined grin, she shot through an open window and into a building.

Behind her, the wyverness smashed through the wall and Ripple found that she had company with her in the old office building. All around her were desks. She took off, flying in the narrow space between the ceiling and the desks, her hooves clattering over a desk occasionally as she flew forwards through the large open office space.

The wyverness was far too big to do so, and was forced to crawl over the floor, shoving desks out of the way. She swept them away with her wings, flinging them aside, the desks shattering walls and slamming into each other with terrific force. Papers flew, personal fans fell off of desks, old coffee cups full of pens, pencils, and erasers fell to the floor and shattered.

The wyverness roared in frustration as she had to move a particularly large bank of filing cabinets to chase after Ripple, who had disappeared around the corner. She tossed the first one aside, flipped over the second and the third, and then the domino effect took care of the rest, filling the open area with a loud -thump thump!- of sound as the filing cabinets fell over atop of one another, clanging and banging together in a terrific cacophonic discordant hullabaloo.

Coming around the corner, the wyverness was slugged in the nose once, twice, thrice, and then finally, a four hit combo left her with a bloodied snoot and a few broken fangs. Each strike left behind flesh burned by extreme cold. Ripple’s hammering blows stunned the shocked and surprised wyverness, causing the large head to snap back from the force of impact caused by the enchanted war shoes that Ripple wore, made for her by her father.

Taking off as fast as she dared, Ripple hurled an insult over her shoulder, shouting “Dungbrain!” as she fled.

The wyverness screamed in fury, shaking her now bloodied head and lunging forward after her now hated meal. Snatching up a desk between her wing knuckles, she hurled it at Ripple with as much force as she could muster.

Dodging, Ripple felt the desk graze her primary feathers as she rolled out of way. The desk smashed into the wall, filling the air with the sounds of squealing steel and concrete dust. A large section of ceiling gave way and Ripple nearly found herself smooshed as she once again darted out of the way, only to almost become crushed once more as a section of wall toppled in her direction. Feeling frustrated about all of the close calls, Ripple voice her annoyance in one rage filled syllable…

“Bitch!”

Leaping out of a window, Ripple took wing and began to look around for more Raptors.

 

 

The wyverness was far more resistant to damage than Ripple had anticipated. She flew low, flying near street level, the wyverness right behind her. Overhead, Ripple knew her Raptors were waiting. Pouring on some speed, Ripple accelerated and banked upwards.

Behind her, the world exploded into fire. She could feel the heat and she heard the dull roar of flames as several flaming spell jars set everything ablaze. Looking back, Ripple saw a terrifying sight. It was quite literally the stuff of nightmares, an image that Ripple knew would haunt her to her grave, and would visit her in her scary dreams every chance it got.

She now had a flaming wyverness chasing after her.

“Oh shite and buggery!”

The wyverness’ thick hide was protecting her from most of the conflagration that had been dumped around her. Buildings ignited, abandoned wagons burned, and the now exceedingly pissed off wyverness blazed.

“NEW PLAN RAPTORS! NEW PLAN! MAKE IT UP AS WE GO!”

“Loki! Do something crazy!” somebirdy cried.

Feeling panicked when she heard those words, Ripple risked a another look back over her shoulder, and then she looked around her, her eyes scanning for any sign of incoming danger. Asking Loki to do something crazy was a move borne of terrible desperation, and Ripple became vaguely aware that they were in deep meadow muffins now. Not sure what to do, Ripple went streaking off towards where the river emptied into the harbour, a flaming wyverness burning brightly right behind her.

 

 

Weaving in an out between factory smokestacks, factories, and stacks of old cargo crates, Ripple kept the wyverness busy. She was feeling a little bit of fatigue now, her throat was painfully dry, and her lungs burned with each breath.

The wyverness had been shot full of crossbow quarrels, pelted with sling stones, blasted with fire, and shocked with a few lightning spell jars. Her body was blackened, bloodied, scales were now missing, leaving behind exposed flesh and bleeding lacerations. At some point, the flames had died, but she still smouldered and streamed smoke behind her as she flew.

Ripple was still flying by adrenaline alone… the wyverness functioned on pure rage.

Dropping suddenly, Ripple flew under the boom of a crane, and then a second later she heard the screech of metal when the wyverness slammed into the boom arm. Too breathless to crow anything in triumph, Ripple kept flying.

“Ripple! SOUTH!”

Following the shouted command, Ripple banked and headed south between a cannery and an old brewery. She found herself in a narrow confine, there wasn’t much room to maneuver between these two massive brick buildings, and she was glad to see the open sky at the end of the of the corridor.

Seeing a large net at the end of the corridor, Ripple panicked when she saw it far too late. “Oh buggery!”

If she pulled up now, she would never make it in time, the wyverness was inches away from her tail, and Ripple had no options. She pulled in her wings, tucked in her legs, and made her body as straight and slim as possible.

Ripple closed her eyes and trusted in luck.

The filly slipped through the net, slipping between the thick chains that formed the cargo net. She could feel the chains clank against her body, brushing up against her feathers, her pelt, and she could feel her rear war shoes strike the chains.

“Feck me!”

Unfurling her wings, Ripple sucked air into her lungs and flapped for her life as the wyverness hit the cargo net. She was too close to the concrete pier, far too close for comfort, if she extended her legs she would kick the grey expanse of shaped stone. Her wingtips were striking the surface with each beat.

“No no no no nononononono!”

Pulling up with everything she had, Ripple shot skywards, rolled, banked, and then turned about to see that the wyverness had crashed into cargo net. It was now on the ground, thrashing about, trying to get free, the chains clanking as the massive creature fought against its bonds.

Above the wyverness, a massive cargo container hung at the end of a crane arm. With a dull thud, the crane arm exploded, there was a massive incendiary cloud, and the cargo container came crashing down upon the wyverness with a wet sounding -splat!-

As Ripple dived, she watched her Raptors descending. She came in slow, almost gliding, watching as the half of the wyverness’ body that was not pinned beneath the cargo container kicked and twitched. The long scorpion-like tail whipped about, slapping from side to side upon the concrete.

Her legs kicked out for impact, Ripple landed and then came to a running stop. She stood panting, her barrel heaving, her wings still flared out to dissipate her body heat. Her tongue lolled out and dangled from the corner of her mouth.

Around her, the Raptors assembled, the smaller griffons all coming together to watch as the wyverness’ kicks and twitches became weaker and weaker.

Drawing in a pained breath that made her ribs ache, Ripple looked around to make sure that her Raptors were all accounted for. Seeing them all, she looked at the wyverness, saw its leg twitch one final time, and said, “You messed with the wrong flock.”

There was the sound of wings flapping and the sounds of claws scratching on concrete. Ripple didn’t need to turn around to know that it was Lugus. She prepared her best smug smile, brushed her mane out of her face with her wing, and took a deep breath.

“I saw almost everything...”

Ripple’s ears perked. Lugus sounded almost… impressed? That was far more than Ripple had hoped for. She had expected a scolding for being reckless, for losing a few feathers from close calls, she had expected a good dressing down…

“...you lucked out. You were sloppy, disorganised, there were too many times that your prey held the advantage and you only survived through sheer luck…”

Ripple groaned and slumped down, her carefully prepared smug smile now vanishing.

“...but there were also a couple of moments where you were utterly brilliant my squire, and for this, I am both impressed and proud of you. All of you. I’ll expect better next time though Raptors… today, luck was enough to see you through.”

Her ears perking up straight, a grin crept over Ripple’s face as she turned to face Lugus.

 

 

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