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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There were four alicorns in the living room. Derpy’s home, small and cramped by Bucky’s standards, large and spacious by Ponyville standards, had become one of the rare locations to host all of Equestria’s alicorns under one roof. It was a momentous occasion, and two alicorns were already celebrating and in surprisingly good moods given everything that was going on.

Two were not.

Two alicorns were not in good moods. One of them felt quite snippy seeing both of her aunts in a very relaxed state of decorum. That same alicorn was also grieving the loss that her husband was going to have to endure. She was not in the best of moods at all. The other had similar worries, having lived to see the end of a noble house that was there when Equestria had been founded. And then to see her teacher, her mentor, the very example that Twilight Sparkle had modeled her entire life after, sitting in a chair drinking and becoming quite relaxed, it caused quite a bit of mental turmoil.

Luna, laying on the floor, cocked up one leg and farted. It was a loud wet sounding squealer, and it filled the room with an appalling stench. Barley and Celestia both laughed at it, as did the foals, everypony else was in too much of a state of shock to react.

“The stench… -hiccup- will last… forever!” Luna said with drunken theatrics, paraphrasing her own infamous words. Celestia, upon hearing this, broke down completely, bellowing with laughter until tears came out of her eyes.

Cadance stood, crinkling her nose, unable to take a deep breath, hold it, and let it out in her usual manner of stress relief.

“Oh my gosh, that is worse than Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, and Applejack all put together, and those three once wrecked the Grand Galloping Gala,” Twilight Sparkle muttered. “Even worse than Fluttershy’s silent but deadly creepers.”

“I was there at the Gala,” Celestia quipped. “The after party at Donut Joe’s was so much better. I cannot stand the high society unicorns sometimes.”

“At least the two sisters are able to laugh at past hurts together,” Berry remarked.

Berry’s words had a profound effect on Cadance and Twilight Sparkle, both of whom looked a little less angry. Cadance watched both of her aunts, both of them still laughing, and felt a little ashamed for judging them. She knew the burdens they both bore upon their shoulders. Twilight internally began to hope that the two sisters would keep having a nice time together. Perhaps, this is what they needed.

“Heck, you put me and my sister Berry Shine into a room together and somepony is walking away with a black eye,” Berry said. She punctuated her words with a long drink.

“I don’t have any siblings,” Bucky muttered, also taking a drink.

Derpy said nothing.

Berry, noticing Derpy’s silence, began to crawl over Bucky, displacing Dinky, squashing Piña beneath her, until she was laying on top of both Bucky and Derpy, and she planted a gentle kiss on Derpy’s head, right between her ears.

Luna, seeing this display of affection, felt very touched. She immediately scrambled upwards to her hooves, staggered through the room, and then climbed into the chair with her sister, clinging to Celestia’s neck, trying to not fall out of the chair. Luna kissed her sister a few times, reeking of whiskey, wine, beer, and gin, and Celestia did not seem to mind, embracing her sister affectionately and holding her close in the chair, which was not large enough for two alicorns.

Cadance, the alicorn of love, felt a truly humbling amount of love in the room, and Shining Armor was not here to share it with her. She kissed Twilight on the cheek instead, which instantly destroyed what was left of Twilight’s bad mood. “This is a powerful moment,” Cadance whispered in Twilight’s ear. “I wish you could feel what I am feeling.”

Cadance wrapped a foreleg around Twilight’s neck, pulling her sister in law close. “Love bears all things. Politics, disputes, sisterly squabbles, acts of war, love can survive all of these things,” Cadance whispered.

“Or bring them about,” Twilight replied.

“Sunshine sunshine…”

“Ladybugs awake…”

“Clap your hooves…”

“And do a little shake…”

The final line was spoken together in one voice by two very close ponies who loved one another, and Cadance’s hug became an almost unbearable crushing force as her inner pegasus nature took over her drive to give affection, and Twilight’s inner unicorn felt an odd sensation of comfort.

Dinky, overcome with emotions and feeling a need to do something, enchanted everypony’s shoes, her brief moment of magic completely unnoticed by anypony in the room.

 

 

Back in her library, later that day, a somewhat annoyed Twilight Sparkle was handed a package by Spike. Spike struggled to keep a straight face, chewing on his lip, his eyes watering with tears. With Twilight’s every step, the dragon shuddered, hugging himself, almost unable to contain his mirth.

“It isn’t funny Spike. Trying to dispell it only makes it louder,” Twilight grumped. Troublesome meddlesome little unicorns she thought to herself.

Heaving a sigh of frustration, she pulled the paper off of the package. She didn’t know where her parents were, or Shining for that matter, she supposed they were out seeing Ponyville. Under the paper was a box. A wooden box. Inside the wooden box was a ledger. A ledger bearing the royal seal of Princess Platinum.

Settling down upon the floor and setting the book before her, Twilight Sparkle began to read, something she was very good at. This book was written in fine script, by somepony with exquisite magical control.

The ink was fine ink too, the very best sort of ink that bits could buy. Twilight knew this because she used the same ink. It flowed beautifully and produced beautiful text. It wasn’t dribbly or splotchy, dried quickly, and did not smear easily.

The paper of the ledger was beautiful ivory white, heavy stock, made for absorbing perfect ink. It was the right blend of perfectly smooth, to allow the quill to travel without snagging, and faint roughness, to catch the flowing ink and allow it to seep in. This was a ledger from somepony that loved paper and ink just as much as Twilight Sparkle did.

The beauty of the ledger and the ink though stood out in contrast to the horror story inside. Twilight flipped through page after page of detailed notes about penalty taxes, tributes, payments that had to be made to keep the peace, restitution for so called crimes, payments made for killing certain noble members of House Avarice from over nine hundred years ago, and the penalties were still in effect, each year a payment was due. House Avarice sat at the top of the heap, and it was easy to see why. House Evening Star even had debts, as Twilight found, large debts to House Avarice, and those debts were subtracted from the payment due to House Evening Star for its allegiance. It became easier to understand how House Evening Star had fallen under House Avarice’s control, even if she didn’t see the explicit reasons why. Just that payments were due. House Evening Star would be bankrupted in no time at all if it wasn’t getting a portion of the penalty tax from the Shetland Isles. That portion was paying off House Evening Star’s debts and then some, giving them a sizeable chunk of wealth each year to add to the family coffers.

And every house owed something to House Avarice in some form or another. Some received payments enough to cover their debts and make them quite wealthy, much like House Evening Star. Others had backed the wrong gambit and now had to pay yearly.

And every year without fail, there was a hefty payment from House Two Lights, a name that very few knew about. Twilight Sparkle sat in total shock, unable to comprehend what it was she was reading. These were just the markers for the debts, not the histories of the debts themselves, but this was amazing information. She saw other tabs protruding from other parts of the ledger, and opened to one listed as ‘resources’.

Twilight realised with dawning horror that she was reading about the foal sweeps of the Shetland Isles, the foals were marked as resources. Every few years, a regular sweep was conducted and most, though not all, of the foals were taken from the Isles under the excuse of doing what was ‘right’ for the foals and the betterment of society. Most of the foals ended up in Fillydelphia, and the various noble houses that profited greatly from Fillydelphia were paying tribute to House Avarice for services provided and resources offered. Fillydelphia continued to grow by leaps and bounds, and, even though it was a city populated mostly by mares, the population continued to grow with explosive growth. Fillydelphia payed taxes to both the Crown and to several noble houses, and those noble houses made a fortune off of the ever growing population of Fillydelphia. Tribute was then offered to House Avarice. House Avarice was making a fortune off of sweeping foals and essentially selling them to Fillydelphia, fueling the population boom, greatly increasing the number of ponies who paid taxes. And everything was indexed back to income listings in other parts of the ledger.

It was all a very complex money making scheme that was completely heartless, cruel, and ruthlessly exploited ponies.

At some point during her reading, Twilight Sparkle broke down, wondering if her trust in her fellow ponies and her belief that ponies were inherently good could survive this. She began to sob, and, hearing her cry, Spike came along to try and comfort her. She hugged him tightly to her, rocking back and forth and she wept, unable to say why she was crying. Spike, unable to do anything else, did the only thing he could do.

He was there for her, just as she had always been there for him.

 

 

“So, marriage,” Bucky said. “Tomorrow.”

Berry Punch pressed a shoe down upon the floor and it made a disgusting sound. She nodded slowly, and then looked at her soon to be fellow-wife and smiled. “Marriage is fine and good, but I am far more interested in what comes after,” she said in a smokingly sultry voice.

Both mares looked at Bucky, who began to look a little panicked.

“You should show Bucky your walnut trick,” Berry said.

Derpy began to laugh riotously. “I could, the foals are out with Lyra and Bon Bon,” Derpy replied.

“Walnut trick?” Bucky asked.

Saying nothing, Derpy went into the kitchen, each step producing horrid flatulent noises along the way. She returned a moment later with a walnut held in her teeth.

She gently set the walnut down on the floor directly in front of Bucky, and then smiled at him, giving him a seductive glare.

“Berry, I need to be kinda excited for this trick. I’m thinking sexy thoughts but I nee-” Derpy was cut off as Berry went in for the kill, planting a devastatingly deep kiss on Derpy’s lips. When she pulled away a moment later, Derpy's wings were half sprung.

“We’ve all heard stories of pegasi cracking nuts with their lips, well, Derpy can too, and not just her kisser lips,” Berry said, slurring slightly.

A new horror crept into Bucky’s mind and threatened his fragile sanity.

Derpy sat down on the walnut, made a face, stuck out her tongue, and then stood up. The walnut was missing. Her ears twitched in concentration, she closed her eyes, flexed her buttocks together, twitched her tail, and there was a loud “CRACK!” from her backside.

A moment later, she grunted and a cracked walnut in several pieces fell to the floor.

Bucky whimpered in panic, fearing for his sanity and now his life.

“Neat trick, eh? Derpy read about it in a book about old pegasi military traditions. Pansy could do it,” Berry said, smiling. She also picked apart the walnut from the shell and ate it too, smiling broadly as she did so.

“How…” Bucky whimpered.

“Easy,” Derpy said, grinning. “I just flex back there a little. I’m strong! Maybe too strong for my own good. I once destroyed part of the town hall by accident,” she admitted, blushing as she did so. “Some pegasi are fast, others are strong.”

Bucky gibbered in fear.

“Now, Bucky, if you and I know what is good for us, we’ll just go along quietly and allow her to have her way. I wouldn’t trigger any of her aggressive qualities, or you don’t want to know what she might do to both of us,” Berry Punch warned. “Derpy and I talked, and I suggested that she be the one to get rid of your pesky virgin status. She’s pent up and needs a chance to let go. After that, all bets are off and it is every pony for themselves. I’ve had a dry spell for a while myself and I have itches that need scratching.”

Bucky huddled into a ball on the couch, a wordless cry escaping his lips.

“I’ll try to be gentle, but I make no promises. I have needs,” the pegasus promised.

“I make no promises to be gentle. I never do anything, or anypony for that matter, halfway,” Berry chuckled.

“In that case Berry, I have no plans to be gentle with you, I think you’ll be strong enough to take it,” Derpy said, prodding Berry with a hoof.

“Do yer worst!” exclaimed Berry, her accent coming in strong.

 

Author's Note:

Well, there we go. The ledger. It should offer up some indication on just how messed up everything is.

Anybody know who the House of Two Lights is?

Dinky did a bad, bad thing.

Derpy is... Well, Derpy is terrifying.

 
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