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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“The photography session is going to be later, just after the evening meal. So we have most of a day to kill. We should have enough time for our little project,” Berry Punch said to Twilight Sparkle in a low voice.

Twilight smiled, the sort of smile that brought warmth to the room. “I’ve been waiting for this… I’m so excited that I almost can’t stand it.”

“What’s the point of having wealth if you can’t do anything good with it?” Berry Punch asked as she watched a group of guards landing on top of the gatehouse. Looking through the gate, Berry Punch could see the foundations that had been laid out for the Stable of Representatives building off in the distance. “Where is Bucky anyway? If he isn’t here in just a few more minutes, we’re leaving without him.”

Pointing with her wing, Twilight bounced in place almost like an excited foal. “I see him.”

After Bucky closed the distance between them, he kissed Twilight on the cheek and then smooched Berry Punch on the lips. Leaving behind a somewhat flustered earth pony mare, Bucky grinned a roguish grin and said, “Sorry, Cadance was being fussy and didn’t want to let me go. I had to distract her with something Shiny.”

Twilight winced. “Gee Bucky… that’s so funny… how long did it take for you to come up with that?” There was a long pause and then Twilight Sparkle rolled her eyes. “That joke is horrible… horrible.”

Sighing, Bucky admitted defeat. He pulled his hood up over his head and looked at Twilight from within its depths. “Cadance was happy to see your brother. I was able to slip away without too much trouble.”

“How much do you think she remembers of him?” Berry Punch asked.

Turning to look at his wife, Bucky shrugged. “Everything I hope.”

Feeling the need to get started, Twilight Sparkle decided it was time to move things along. “We should get moving, we have a lot to do.”

Berry Punch, who was now looking at the courtyard where preparations were being completed for the ceremony to welcome winter tomorrow, turned to look at Twilight.

Not knowing that Berry Punch was about to say something, Bucky cut in. “I had a weird experience. Celestia wanted to know why I flooded her office… I was kind of confused, I mean, she filled my office with popcorn. Only she is saying that she didn’t fill my office with popcorn. What’s weird is that the popcorn had her magical signature.” Bucky shook his head. “She congratulated me on my masterpiece… it took her a week to figure out how to remove the water.”

Unable to believe the conclusion she had reached, Twilight Sparkle’s face drew into a curious scowl. “Do you think it was Luna?”

“Oh yes, I do believe that it was indeed Luna. So does Celestia. I have proposed a temporary alliance between us to deal with this issue.” Each word spoken drifted away from Bucky as a cloud of steam in the freezing air.

Canterlot’s higher elevation made it far colder than Ponyville.

“We can talk about it while we are walking,” Berry Punch said as she gave Bucky a nudge to get him moving. She huffed an impatient sigh and was glad when Twilight also prodded Bucky to get him going.

 

 

The wind howled through somewhat deserted streets. Canterlot had seen better days. The nobles, now gone, had been the bulk of the city’s population. Canterlot was being rebuilt, but it was taking time. New ponies were moving to Canterlot.

The streets were already lined with eight foot tall candy canes.

The decorations were going out early this year. Princess Celestia wanted everypony reminded of tribal unity after the disastrous collapse that had taken place during the summer. A new year was coming and with it, hope and the promise of a better future.

Things were already looking so promising.

There was one thing Bucky did notice as he walked and the sight brought him much relief. Canterlot had a population of griffons now living out in the open near the central shopping district.

 

 

Bucky recognised the toy store he stood in front of. He had come here looking for a gift for Dinky. The store was setting up the window displays for the holiday season. A unicorn colt was in the window setting up a castle and a train playset. Fluffy cotton balls had been laid out as snow. Blue cellophane had been spread out to look like a frozen over lake.

There was vague feeling of irritation when Bucky observed that nothing was in proper scale to anything else. He sighed and tried to dismiss his feeling of unease. Giant ponies and little locomotives just did not make sense.

“You okay Bucky?” Berry asked.

Startled, Bucky’s whole body tensed. “I, uh, heh, I was thinking about Dinky’s birthday party… I came here to find a gift for her. I guess I got kinda lost for a moment.”

“That gift you purchased for Dinky made Derpy fall madly in love with you. It was so thoughtful. So generous.” Berry Punch fell silent for a moment and then wiped one eye with her fetlock and then muttered, “Stupid pregnancy hormones.”

“Is anypony else excited? I’ve always wanted to do this. You don’t think this is abusing my powers as a princess do you? I mean, I keep worrying about this, I can’t stop thinking about what we are about to do… Scootaloo has told me some really awful stories about orphanages. I want to make a difference. This somehow seems to reckless and crazy though to do what we are about to do and I feel so out of sorts. I just hope that we are right for doing—”

Realising that Twilight had become stuck, Bucky decided to cut Twilight off before she worked herself into a hot neurotic mess. “Twilight Sparkle, we are about to make a whole bunch of orphaned foals happy. There is nothing wrong with that. We have wealth and privilege, now let us make the most of it to do good things. I do not believe this to be an ostentatious display of wealth and power. This is merely doing the right thing. We have more and as such, we are obligated to give more.”

“There are more orphans than ever now. Tirek’s attack upon Manehatten, the collapse, the violence that took place here in Canterlot, this is going to be a rotten winter for a lot of foals. This might be the sort of thing that gives them faith back in the future and makes them want to go on… at least, that is my hope,” Berry Punch said as she watched the clerk in the window lay track.

Twilight Sparkle took a deep breath and then eyed the door. Her wings fluttered. “I am going in!”

 

 

There was no sign of the salesfilly that Bucky had once met in here. The store had few customers. There was still a train running though the store and the railroad crossing near the front door was now holiday themed. The shelves seemed well stocked all things considered. The store smelled of popcorn and roasting chestnuts. A massive display was being constructed in the middle.

With a well practiced toss of his head, Bucky allowed his hood to fall away.

A grey maned stallion approached. He smiled as he drew near and used his magic to adjust his tie and collar. “Hello… what might I do for you?” he asked.

Twilight Sparkle let out a shrill excited squeal and then tried to contain herself. “I’ll take everything.”

The salespony raised an eyebrow. “Everything madam?”

Twilight nodded. “Yes. Everything. We want everything in the store. Everything you have back in the stockroom. We want it all.”

“Forgive me madam, but I simply must go and fetch my manager,” the salespony said in an apologetic voice. The unicorn paused for a moment. “I assume that you will be paying for this and this is not a royal requisition?”

“Oh, we’re paying,” Bucky replied.

“Wonderful,” the salespony said as he hurried off.

Twilight Sparkle, who was still bouncing in place, turned her head to look at Berry Punch. “I can’t believe I just did it. That felt really good. Really really good. I just asked for everything in the store. When I was a filly I really wanted to do that. It’s been a dream of mine.”

The manager was an older unicorn, white haired, and bespectacled. He approached with a slow gait, an incredulous look upon his face, and he cleared his throat when he looked at Berry Punch.

“Am I to understand that you want everything?” the manager asked.

Feeling somewhat annoyed, Berry Punch stepped forward. “Yes. We want everything. We will be paying. We want everything so we can give the orphanariums a nice holiday—”

“You,” the manager said, interrupting Berry Punch. “I know you… you... you’re that meddlesome earth pony that ruined everything. You ruined the good life that we unicorns had here in Canterlot. I don’t want you here. I want you out of my store right now this minute… you dirty little m—”

“Excuse me?” Bucky’s words chilled the room and the manager fell silent. The lights in the store seemed to dim. “I beg your pardon, but were you about to call my wife a mud pony?”

The manager backed away, his steps slow and jerky.

Drawing herself to her full height, Twilight Sparkle advanced as she pushed Bucky aside. “How dare you say such a thing in my presence.” Twilight’s voice was a dangerous sounding screech. “How dare you!

“As far as I am concerned, b-b-both of you are traitors to our way of life… and you… your parents sold us out… they betrayed us… we lost all of the good things we had… I lost one of my employees in the violence that broke out because of this… this… instigator…” the manager said in a hesitant stammering stutter.

“Twilight Sparkle, do not do anything rash,” Bucky said. “Look, we want what we came here for. Give it to us and we shall go away. We will pay and everypony will go about their day. Fail to deal with us reasonably, and make no mistake, we will take what we want to through other means.”

The manager, now frozen in place, gave Bucky a hate-filled stare.

“We will take everything. Have it ready. I am mobilising the guard to come and secure the gifts and they will manage the delivery. In a few days, my agent, Violet Velvet will be by to pay you. Just give me a total and so we can go about our business. I am asking you to deal with us reasonably and we will treat you fairly. But do not test my patience…. also, for your own sake, I would not do anything to further anger Twilight Sparkle. Speak ill of her parents again and I do believe she will make you regret it,” Bucky said in a voice that radiated calm.

“I will need to look at the stock invoices to give you an estimate on price,” the manager said. He blinked and then took another step backwards. He looked at his gathered employees who were now gathered together and staring. “Close the store and call in more employees, we’re going to need the help.”

Bucky took a deep breath and watched as Berry Punch tried to calm Twilight. He turned his head and looked at the manager. “I am glad we could work something out. We’ll be going now. I will trust that you will give us a fair total and I will instruct my agent to give you an additional ten percent for your trouble. Deal with us fairly or face my wrath.”

“I want out of here,” Twilight said as she turned and stomped off towards the door.

 

 

“The nerve of some ponies!”

“Twilight, let it go. Don’t let it ruin our day,” Berry Punch said to Twilight Sparkle.

Turning and looking down at Berry Punch, Twilight shook her head. “I can’t stop gritting my teeth… I’m so angry.”

Berry Punch stopped in her tracks and looked up at Twilight. “Look, keep in mind what the goal was. We got the toys we needed for our shopping list. Now we have a few more toy stores to hit up, some department stores, and our list has a lot still on it. We ran into a pony with a severe cranial-rectal inversion. We can’t let it ruin our day. I will admit though, I was surprised that Bucky didn’t do something awful.”

“I thought about it,” Bucky admitted. He looked at Berry and then he nosed her neck, pressing his snoot through the folds of her scarf.

Berry shivered and giggled. “Truth be told, I wanted to kick him.”

“Let’s just head to the next store. Maybe a few check marks on my list will make me feel better,” Twilight Sparkle said as she watched Bucky and Berry be affectionate with one another.

“Canterlot… the city of unicorns,” Bucky grumbled.

 

 

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