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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Something was wrong. Something was not right. As darkness settled over Ponyville, Princess Luna became more and more aware of the fact that something had changed. She had not been able to figure it out at first, there had been the knowledge of that something was wrong, but what was actually wrong had eluded her.

Now, as Luna watched the ponies around her, she realised that the ponies of Ponyville were not afraid of her. Ponyville had seen the horrors of civil unrest. Many of the refugees had witnessed the rampage of Tirek. The Lord of Winter had settled in Ponyville and made his home here. Luna herself had become a regular fixture.

Nopony was even giving Luna so much as a second glance.

Luna, for her part, felt incredibly relieved. Her first Nightmare Night here had been something of a problem. Ponies were milling about, going around to have their fun, and Luna was just another pony in the crowd.

Erebus belched and Luna smiled. Erebus, now a lunar pegasus once more, was solid and heavy in the shawl slung around Luna’s neck. When Luna looked down, she could see Erebus watching the world around him through his large yellow-green eyes.

This was acceptance. Ponies were out enjoying her sacred night. She was their protector and she had earned their trust. Nopony was cowering, scraping, bowing, or prostrating themselves.

“I’m gonna go tap the bungs on those big cider casks. There’s gonna be a lot of drinking tonight… aye, ‘tis a cold night and cider will keep the chill away,” Barley said.

Reaching out with her wing, Luna pulled Barley to her. She held him for a moment, trying to warm him, and then, closing her eyes, she kissed him on the cheek. Opening her eyes, she pulled away. Barley smelled of woodsmoke, citrus, and the many scents found in whiskey.

“That’ll warm me… how’s me colt? Is he warm enough?” Barley asked.

Overcome with a sudden rush of emotion, it took Luna a moment to be able to reply. She took a deep breath… “Erebus is warm enough… he is swaddled… and I love you all the more for calling him your own…” Luna said as she exhaled.

 

 

“Hurry up!” Feeling her words were not enough, Loch Skimmer gave Rising Star a shove to get him moving. “Move your big stupid-sexy self!”

“I dunno what the hurry is—”

“Rising Star, the hurry is that I want chocolate and that we promised to help Bon Bon and Lyra, our two mothers that love us dearly, we promised to help them out on the busiest night of the year for them. The current help is not enough! Now MOVE!” Loch Skimmer said as she tail-whipped Rising Star in the rump.

“Whahahahahey!”

Loch Skimmer could see the tips of Rising Star’s fangs when he looked back at her. His eyes promised revenge. The very best sort of revenge. Loch Skimmer found herself looking forward to it as she continued towards Bon Bon’s shop. “I wish Ripple was here with us.”

“Bittersweet has problems with crowds… she gets spooked when she can’t keep track of everything going on around her,” Loch Skimmer heard Rising Star reply.

Unable to help herself, Loch Skimmer began to giggle. “They just wanted to stay at home and snog in peace. I’m glad that Ripple is happy.”

A large group of foals passed by Loch Skimmer and Rising Star in the street, all of them in costumes, and Loch Skimmer slowed for a moment to watch them as they went off hunting for treats. This was their night. “You know Rising, sometimes I think I might like to have a foal.”

Loch Skimmer saw Rising Star turn to look at her and  then she heard him say, “We could always ‘forget’ to use that one useful little spell in the heat of the moment…”

 

 

Dinky looked first at Tourmaline and then at the guard pegasi surrounding them. She sighed, felt a little bit frustrated, and realised that this night was not turning out as she had hoped it would. She didn’t mind having Belisama around, she liked Belisama being around, and now that the griffoness had the cast off of her leg, it was much easier on Belisama to get around. But the guard pegasi were scaring away other ponies.

The griffoness was enraptured by everything around her and Dinky watched her mother take everything in. Belisama was playful, very much so, and Dinky hoped that Belisama would have fun.

One of the guard pegasi coughed when a group of ponies got too close. Dinky frowned but said nothing.

Tourmaline’s costume was almost too good… she was Twilight Sparkle, an almost perfect mimic of Twilight Sparkle when she was still a unicorn. Dinky was amazed at how accurate it was, and she realised that somepony, probably Celestia, had helped Tourmaline achieve this perfection, just like Trixie had helped Dinky look like a changeling.

“Dinky… you’re a drone.”

Snapping to awareness, Dinky looked at Tourmaline after hearing her words. “Yeah… I wanted to be a changeling. They’re neat.”

Tourmaline’s face made an odd expression and Dinky felt a moment of worry that she had said something wrong. Dinky made ready to apologise, but was cut off by Tourmaline who asked, “You think changelings are neat? You’re not afraid of them?”

“Princess Celestia told me that I have a promising future and I can help her with the changelings… or so she thinks. She gave me several books about them. Celestia told me that understanding something is the first step towards not being afraid of it.”

“I dunno about that Dinky, I’ve actually become more afraid of a number of things now that I understand them. I understand how dangerous they are,” Piña said.

“Maybe changelings really aren’t bad at all,” Dinky heard Tourmaline say as Dinky was looking at her sister Piña. After a moment, Tourmaline continued: “Maybe changelings really just want what all of us want.”

Dinky could see Piña flash a wide crazy grin and then she heard her sibling shout, “Candy!” As Dinky turned to look at Tourmaline, she saw her friend sigh and Dinky could not help but notice a sad expression upon her face.

“What’s wrong?” Dinky asked.

“Oh, nothing. Never mind. So what do we do? This is my first Nightmare Night,” Tourmaline said.  

 

 

“Rainbow Dash, you are a turtle,” Twilight said in a voice that barely contained her mirth. She reached out and prodded Rainbow Dash’s shell, had a giggle slip out, and watched as Rainbow’s tail flicked from side to side.

“Hey egghead, I am a tortoise,” Rainbow Dash corrected.

Unable to stop herself, Twilight laughed.

“I wanted to dress up like Tank for Nightmare Night… you… you’re just some old fuddy duddy wizard again,” Rainbow Dash said.

Lifting her head high, Twilight perked her ears forward and gave Rainbow Dash a glare. “Star Swirl was not a… well, he kinda was… but that’s not the point! I am doing this to be educational and bring awareness of our historical greatness to the current generation.”

“Yeah, ‘cause Nightmare Night is all about educational opportunities. Eeeeeeegghead…”

“If you two are squabbling again, I’m going to have to ask that you both settle this like pegasi… while I watch,” Flash Sentry said as Twilight watched him enter the main room of the library.

“Oh we’ll give you something to look at Flash—”

“Shush Rainbow, foals,” Twilight said as Glass Slipper and Scootaloo entered. “Where is Spike?”

Twilight saw Flash Sentry smile. “Spike took off with a supply of firecrackers and I do believe he has slipped out to go find trouble.”

“That little scamp… no matter… Smart Cookie… Private Pansy!” Twilight said.

Scootaloo ducked her head down low and stared at the floor and Twilight could not figure out why. The little orange pegasus filly was dressed up in costume armor that was mostly period correct.

“I look ridiculous,” Scootaloo said.

Twilight watched as Glass Slipper clutched her father’s leg and looked up at him. “I just want to find Tourmaline… she’s supposed to be here tonight,” Twilight heard Glass Slipper say.

Scootaloo let out a whine and Twilight heard her foal say, “I could have been Commander Hurricane… Flash got to be Commander Hurricane… I could have been awesome… but now I’m just a dweeb.”

“You know, having played the part of Commander Hurricane, I think I’d like to see Flash as Private Pansy,” Rainbow Dash said in the sort of voice that made Twilight feel more than a little flustered. The room suddenly felt too warm for comfort and Twilight wished there was a cool breeze or something.

Fanning herself with her wing, Twilight blinked a few times. “Hush Rainbow.”

“Come on, I wanna go!” Glass Slipper whined.

 

 

Licking her teeth, Diamond Tiara allowed a teeny tiny belch to slip out and began to think about eating another caramel apple. The last one had been sour, green, and the contrast of sweet caramel and sour tangy apple had made the treat irresistible.

Much to her dismay, Sentinel was being a real mess again. His expression was one of pure Sentinel-ness. “What is it now?” Diamond Tiara asked.

She saw Sentinel jump at her words and then look at her guiltily. Sighing, Diamond Tiara gaved the worried looking colt a smile. “Why are you such a mess?”

“Um, well, Captain Clobber is a pegasus. A solar pegasus. I feel funny impersonating him. My wings are all wrong,” Sentinel said.

It was now a struggle to keep a straight face. Diamond Tiara was forced to swallow her smile and she sucked in her cheeks a little bit to keep herself looking composed as serious. “Sentinel, this is Nightmare Night. You are wearing a costume. We have earth ponies dressed up as unicorns. We have unicorns dressed up as alicorns. Four ponies went walking by inside of a dragon costume. It is all in fun.”

The tufted ears that Diamond Tiara was so fond of began to pivot and rotate, moving about the way that they did when Sentinel was too high strung for his own good. She heard Sentinel draw in a deep breath and then she heard him say, “At least Princess Punishment was an earth pony in the comic books. At least your costume is accurate.”

A filly went by dressed as Princess Luna and two pegasi were dressed up as her royal guard. Diamond Tiara watched as the filly passed, impressed by the effort made. “I think that was Firelock.”

Sentinel’s only reply was a grunt.

In the distance, a band began to play music. Diamond Tiara could hear a plinky piano and the sounds of a fiddle. “This black stretchy fabric makes me feel funny. It’s so tight and clingy. It is like a second skin.” Waiting, hoping her words had some effect, Diamond Tiara saw no sign of Sentinel responding.

Reaching out, Diamond Tiara gave Sentinel a poke. “Sentinel?”

She felt him jump at her touch and then she heard him say, “Oh… sorry… all of this is overwhelming for me. The sounds… the smells… my senses are all overloaded and I’m not doing well.”

The honest approach. Diamond Tiara felt her eyebrow raise on its own.

“When I get overwhelmed, I worry about stupid things. I think about all of the stupid things in my life and I become so fixated upon them that I can’t think about what is going on around me. And then I behave like this. I actually do want to have a nice time. I want both of us to have a nice time together.”

“Come here,” Diamond Tiara said. She watched as Sentinel came closer in his shy slow manner, the way he always moved. Reaching out her right front hoof, she guided his head closer, and then stretching out her neck, she reached out and kissed Sentinel just above his eyes. “I feel overwhelmed too sometimes. Especially when I think other ponies are judging me about my past. So about how about this… we just focus on each other.”

There was a blur of motion in Diamond Tiara’s vision and then she suddenly felt two lips pressed against her own. For a moment, she could feel sharp points and the faint pressure they left behind. Sentinel had been eating hot cinnamon candy. For a moment, their lips parted, Diamond Tiara could feel the hot rush of breath blowing over her damp tongue, and the strong taste as well as the scent of cinnamon became almost overpowering.

As suddenly as it had began, the kiss was over and Diamond Tiara was left struggling to draw breath. The night, so cold just a few minutes ago, was now too hot. She smacked her lips together a few times, swallowed, and looked Sentinel in the eye. “I need a drink. How about we go get us some cider and then maybe try that again?”

 

 

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