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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“How much do you think she remembers?”

Sunset Shimmer turned her head and looked over at Twilight. The alicorn, once an enemy, then a friend, and was now a confirmed family member by blood, a close cousin. Twilight looked pensive, worried, thoughtful, and Sunset Shimmer wished she could ease Twilight’s fears. Her head turned once more to look at Shining Armor who was laying on the carpet, his head was upon the floor, and Cadance was inches away from his nose. The alicorn foal was hugging her stuffy and repeating Shining Armor’s name over and over, a never ending stream of “Shiny!”

“Everything, I hope,” Sunset Shimmer said after realising she had not replied and time was slipping away. “She still adores Shining Armor. It always makes her happy to see him. I know you’re scared though. I wish there was a way to ease your mind.”

“I guess only time will do that,” Twilight replied, her eyes never leaving Cadance and Shining Armor. “My brother is happy… I suppose I should be happy with that, but I am not. I feel terrible that I’m not happy, Sunset. I’m so anxious and worried and I am filled with the absolute need to know that she is still Cadance and that everything that was important is still there.”

Sunset once more turned to look at Twilight and saw tears welling up in the corner of her eye. She felt a pang in her barrel; she did not like to see Twilight crying, or any pony for that matter. “Worried for yourself… I mean, should something ever happen… er… you know what I mean, I hope.”

Twilight shuddered. “Yes… a thousand times yes.”

“I wanted to be an alicorn,” Sunset Shimmer admitted in a low trembling whisper. “I wanted it more than anything… power… so much power. After being with Bucky, after seeing what power has done to him, after seeing what is expected from him even though he has not ascended… and everything that has happened with Cadance, well, I am happy to remain a unicorn.”

“Settling into life as a type four?” Twilight asked.

Scowling, Sunset Shimmer shook her head, causing her mane to tumble down into her face. “No Twilight, I am not adjusting well. I am nervous and anxious all the time. I have to be so careful now. Just the slightest flick of my telekinesis and I can shatter something. I’m scared to even use my magic. To be honest… I was happier as a type three. I feel like I am constantly on the verge of having a surge.”

“Careful control is tricky. I can’t imagine what it is like for Bucky. His horn is a focusing crystal of sorts.” Twilight Sparkle reached out with one wing and wiped a tear away from her cheek. “Just imagine how much control he exerts when he picks up a foal.”

“I’m scared to pick up anything.” Sunset Shimmer was all too aware of the tremour in her voice. Feeling nervous, she then tried to blow her mane out of her face. “I wonder what it is like for Shining.”

“Shining Armor is all but an alicorn, according to Celestia. He is the defensive might of the Crystal Empire. Functionally immortal, at least as long as the Crystal Empire exists. Every day he grows stronger as the Empire purges more of the corruption from its system. Celestia is worried about his ability to handle that much power, but he doesn’t seem to be having any problems at all. He can make a dozen projections now. In time, Shining Armor might end up being his own army. I do not understand what my brother has become, but he is happy, even if he acts a little weird sometimes.”

“Shiny no!”

Sunset Shimmer turned her head just in time to see poor Cadance getting raspberried upon her ribs. Sunset smiled and turned to look at  Twilight, who was crying again. Reaching out, with a soft touch, she placed a foreleg on top of Twilight’s own foreleg, hoping to comfort her friend.

 

 

“You’ve gotten so big,” Sentinel said as he once more gave Moonbow a good looking over, his eyes darting from place upon her to another.

“It was pulling the iron weights everywhere,” Moonbow replied.

“Where is your doll?” Sentinel asked.

Moonbow smiled, reached out with her wing, and gave Sentinel’s ear a tug. “I get one day to have a little fun. Luna deactivated the doll for me so I could have a nice time with you and Diamond Tiara.”

“Oh.” Sentinel blinked and then looked over at Diamond Tiara. “So what should we do first? I’m open to almost anything.”

“There is going to be a big tug of war competition soon. With the slippery conditions it should be a lot of fun. There is three of us,” Diamond Tiara said.

“That’d almost be like cheating. Two lunar pegasi and an earth pony… we could take on the adults,” Sentinel replied.

Moonbow grinned a wicked grin. “That sounds like a lot of fun.”

 

 

“Snow Harper… can you say snow?” Lyra asked as she held Harper up so the foal could look at the falling flakes.

“Snow,” Harper said, her breath visible. When she saw it, she took a swipe at it with her hoof. “Can see words.”

Lyra giggled as she watched Harper watch her own breathing. “Yes Harper, you can see your words. You’re getting to be a big foal now.”

“I wonder if she needs to go potty.”

“Bonnie, she went potty a little while ago,” Lyra said as she turned to look at Bon Bon.

“Yes, but Derpy said that consistency is the key. We take her even when she doesn’t need to go and try and get her to do something and it will help to prevent accidents.” Bon Bon turned her eyes upwards to look at the falling flakes and then watched as Lyra settled Harper upon her back.

“Potty,” Harper said and then she crammed a hoof into her mouth to try and eat the snowflakes that had fallen upon it.

“You want to go potty?” Lyra asked.

Harper pulled her hoof our of her mouth and her eyes narrowed. She blinked, looked thoughtful, and then looked over at Bon Bon. “Yes. Go potty.”

“Peekaboo will go on her own now. She doesn’t even need somepony to help her. Most of the time,” Bon Bon said. The earth pony followed after Lyra as Lyra took off, heading for a bathroom. “This is how it starts Derpy says. First they start eating on their own, then the potty training, and then one day, they don’t need you very much at all.”

“Little Harper will always need her mamas.” Lyra turned and shot Bon Bon a ‘I dare you to contradict me’ look.

Bon Bon ignored the look that Lyra was giving her. “One day, Lyra, she’ll be nervously bringing home little colts to meet us.”

Freezing mid step, Lyra shuddered, almost dislodging Harper from her back. It took a moment, but Lyra recovered and continued forward, saying nothing, not replying to what Bon Bon had said.

“Just look at little Sentinel… our stuffy little fella. Just last week he was asking me what sort of nice things could he do that would make Diamond Tiara happy and Bucky was telling me that Sentinel was asking him for advice on how to talk to a filly… Sentinel isn’t even at his decade mark,” Bon Bon said in a low voice.

Crossing through the large double doors and paying no attention to the guards that opened the doors for them, Lyra and Bon Bon were glad to be indoors, where it was warm. Bon Bon shook herself off, sending snow flying everywhere, but Lyra was unable to do so without causing Harper to fall.

“Ten years is good Bonnie… we have ten years to pretend that she is completely innocent. We’ll deal with the soul crushing burden of her bringing a colt… or even a filly home when the time comes. Until then, we never speak of this again,” Lyra said.

 

 

Derpy’s ears went from being pinned back against her skull to perked forward, the sudden movement accompanied by a snort. Her wings fluttered at her side and her tail swished from side to side as she looked at the reporter and the photographer.

“Derpy, they just want to ask a few questions,” Thistle said, rolling her eyes and trying to keep her frustration out of her voice. The over protective pegasus was having a moment and Thistle reminded herself how much Derpy loved her.

“Those reporters wanted to ask Berry a few questions a week or two ago… it ended up as a smear piece,” Derpy replied as she lowered her head and glared at the two strange ponies.

“Ma’am, we’re not regular reporters. My name is Quibble and that nice mare over there is named Okra. We’re conservationists and we seek to inform, educate, and give a voice to rare sapient species, documenting them and making the public aware of them. A month ago we interviewed a hippogriff in Vanhoover… we want to help Thistle.”

Derpy looked at the pegasus named Quibble and then at the earth pony named Okra, her bad eye closed and her good eye narrowed. From behind her, she could hear Thistle clearing her throat.

“What would you like to know?” Thistle asked. She lifted her head. “You’ll have to forgive her. We’ve had some bad experiences with ponies. Derpy loves me a great deal and she is very protective.”

“Yes… we know,” Quibble replied. “There was a doctor… Whippoorwill—”

“How do you know about her?” Derpy demanded, one hoof stomping down upon the stone floor.

“We spoke with her,” Okra said. “She told us she made a terrible mistake and that every day she wishes she could make amends. She said that she didn’t know the full story of everything that had happened.”

Derpy’s aggressive stance softened a bit and she lifted her head. “Oh. Is that so?”

“We also spoke to a zebra… there are a few kelpies in the Sea of Grass, but not many. Not much is known about them, other than they are rare,” Quibble said. “We’re just trying to get a story worth reading. Many of our readers are staunch conservationists.”

“There are a few kelpies living in the wilds on the Shetlands. I had little contact with them. Keg Smasher said they were almost feral,” Thistle said.

Quibble looked hopeful. “So, can we speak with you? Ask a few questions? Take a picture or three?”

“You may.” Thistle hoped that Derpy would back down. Much to Thistle’s relief, Derpy did. The grey mare hopped up onto the well cushioned sofa and settled in beside Thistle. Derpy’s nostrils were flaring. Unable to help herself, Thistle giggled.

“So, uh, the most notable thing about you is your mane. It seems that it is made out of living plants. Can you tell us more about it?” Quibble asked as he pulled out a notepad and a quill.

“My mane is made of water weeds. It also blooms little pink flowers. If I don’t submerge myself in the water regularly, my mane and my tail begins to wilt and look unhealthy,” Thistle replied.

“What do you eat?” Quibble asked, his eyebrow raising as he scribbled down Thistle’s previous answer.

Thistle, filled with the playfulness of her youth, flashed a fang filled smile. “Food.”

“Oh… uh—”

“I eat fish. Lots of fish. I can’t really digest other things. I sometimes eat candy, I like chocolate as much as any other mare, but if I eat too much, it gives me tummy trouble. Bon Bon made me chocolate covered fish eggs… they’re delicious.”

Quibble’s ears splayed out sideways. “Chocolate covered fish eggs?”

Thistle nodded. “Yup. You bite down on them and they pop!”

The reporter wrote down everything Thistle said. “That’s fascinating, so long as you find it delicious, that is what is important.” Quibble paused for a moment, looked at Okra to make sure that Okra wasn’t doing anything embarrassing like gagging, and then, looking back at Derpy, he felt relieved when he saw that Derpy seemed a bit more relaxed by his acceptance.

“I can eat eggs too. I like eggs. Might be my pregnancy, but I’ve been eating a lot of pickled eggs,” Thistle said. She looked over at Derpy. “Actually, we all do. You know, pickled eggs sound really good right about now.”

“Hmm, I do enjoy a good pickled egg now and then myself,” Quibble admitted as he scratched something down upon his pad. He cleared his throat. “You say you have to take a dip regularly in water?”

Thistle nodded. “I’ll dry out and parts of me will wilt. My skin gets really dry, it hurts.”

“Princess Twilight Sparkle placed a lot of effort in making you a habitat. Are you pleased with your lake?” Okra asked as she checked over her cameras.

“Oh, I love my lake,” Thistle replied. “My lake is large enough for me to raise a few little kelpies in, that’s all I need.”

“It is my understanding that you are about to give birth to a kelpie. This is a momentous occasion. Do you have a name yet?” Quibble asked.

Thistle felt a leg slide over her stomach. “Bell Heather.”

“Named after a Shetland flower, how pretty,” Okra said.

“Do you mind a personal question?” Quibble asked.

There was a squeeze from Derpy and Thistle took a deep breath, which she struggled to do. “I might answer. You’ve been very pleasant so far.”

“Are you happy here in the mainland? Do you feel like you fit in? Do you feel like your fellow equines understand you?” Quibble asked.

“That’s more than one personal question,” Thistle replied. Try as she might, she could not stop a giggle from escaping, a somewhat nervous giggle. “I am happy here on the mainland. I’ve always wanted to be here. No, I do not always feel like I fit in. There have been a few moments where I have been made to feel most unwelcome. Doctor Whippoorwill took part in one of those moments. As for understanding, I don’t get out much. It is very difficult for me to move around and I really don’t leave home. I hope that will change in time, there is so much I’d like to see.”

Quibble wrote down every word that Thistle said, flipped a page over on his notebook, and then gave Thistle a warm smile. “So tell me Thistle, what would you like for the world to know about kelpies? This is your chance to have a say. I will write down what you have to say and I will get it printed word for word in the paper. So this is your chance to tell the world about kelpies.”

Thistle gasped and felt a twinge of panic. She had no idea what to say. She felt another squeeze from Derpy. She felt her heart begin to race deep inside of her barrel.

“Don’t worry, we have plenty of time. Just take your time, think about what you’d like to say, and if it isn’t too distracting, Okra will snap some pictures of you if that’s alright,” Quibble said.

“I guess a good place to start would be to tell the world that we are still ponies… and that you shouldn’t be afraid of us just because we are different…”

 

 

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