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 is motherhood?” Yew asked Thistle, cuddling up close to the kelpie. Yew had her own hopes for expanding her motherhood. She looked over at Belisama, sighed, and then turned back to look at Thistle.

“I’m much happier now… I was miserable for the past few months. It’s all over now,” Thistle replied. “Barley is so happy with Bell. Look at him.”

“Barley is good with foals. Like Bucky. Others give Barley a hard time for being a little rough around the edges, but they never see him with foals… sort of like Bucky I guess. Ponies say a lot of bad things about Bucky too.” Yew frowned and shook her head.

“I feel so strange. So emotional. So protective.” Thistle looked around the room. “I’ve been feeling more aggressive.”

“Moms are all about protection. Part of what we are. Ready to fight and protect your young? Your fellow herdmates?” Yew asked.

“I guess,” Thistle replied.

“I don’t believe you. Say that with a bit of conviction!” Yew demanded.

“If somepony came near my foal I’d rip them apart!” Thistle’s voice now had an unmistakable growl. The room around her fell quiet.

“I still don’t believe you, you big sack of marshmallows! Let me see your mom face!” Yew said in a loud commanding voice, something she had picked up from Lugus.

Thistle curled back her lips, revealing a mouthful of needle teeth. She snarled and leaned forwards towards Yew Wood. A low resonating growl rumbled in the back of Thistle’s throat.

“That is a believable mom face! I like what I am seeing!” Yew said to Thistle as she patted the kelpie on her withers.

“I… just don’t understand this place sometimes,” Rarity said as she rubbed her head with her hoof. “I have fallen in with the most marvelous barbarian savages… I don’t know how this happened, but I appreciate them as my friends for whatever reason.”

“Mom face! GRRRRR!” Yew growled as she made a terrifying mom face, her scars and single eye giving her a distinct advantage.

Seeing her mother’s mom face, Peekaboo wrapped her wings around her face and fell over, going limp on the floor. She let out a shrill cry.

“Whoops, too much mom face,” Yew said as she lept from the couch and landed beside Peekaboo. She nosed her foal, rolling Peekaboo over, and then blew a raspberry against Peekaboo’s belly.

“I think Yew has a better mom face than I do… this is where having one eye works out to your betterment,” Thistle said. Even as she said it, she hoped that Yew would not take offense.

Yew threw back her head and laughed, putting an end to Thistle’s concerns.

“I don’t have a mom face.” Belisama lifted her head off of the cushion. “My beak doesn’t allow me to make scary faces.”

“Scary mom body… rear up, flex talons, puff out, full body intimidation,” Lugus said, not bothering to lift his head. “Maybe lots of hissing.”

“She does that to Bucky when she’s in the mood—”

“Not another word Berry!” Belisama said in protest.

“Really, she’s adorable!” Berry Punch waved her hoof in a dismissive gesture.

Rarity, still rubbing her head, looked around the room. “I swear, brutes and savages...”

“So Bucky is minding his own business and coming into the house through the front door when Belisama comes from out of nowhere and pounces on him, sort of like how Moonbow pounces on Sentinel—”

“Berry… no,” Belisama said, her voice pleading.

Undeterred, Berry Punch smiled and continued. “I mean, she takes this running, flying leap and comes right at Bucky. Bucky… who took on an entire griffon army… and Bucky just stands there with this blank expression on his face as Belisama bounces off of him—”

“Oh this is embarrassing,” Belisama said and then began to mutter,

“—and he’s just staring at her. So Belisama fluffs out, her crest goes up, and she sits back on her haunches and starts flexing her talons at Bucky, hissing and making these strange screeching sounds. At this point, Bucky raises his eyebrow and he has his head cocked that way that he does when he’s confused and he’s looking down at Belisama.” Unable to help herself, Berry Punch began to giggle.

“So what happened?” Yew asked.

“Bucky took the direct approach and asked me what I was doing and how should he respond,” Belisama replied. The griffoness heaved a sigh and looked at Berry, who was now beside herself with laughter. “I told Bucky that I was his fierce warrior wife and I was trying to impress him.”

“Did it work?” Rarity asked, taking an interest.

“Bucky didn’t laugh at me.” Belisama curled into a pudgy ball of fur and feathers, hiding herself. “He was very kind to me as I experimented with sexual aggression. I never once felt that he was patronising me or having a laugh at my expense.”

“It is always fascinating to gain an insight into Bucky.” Rarity lifted up a glass of water, stared into it, and then took a long drink. She swished it around the inside of her mouth and swallowed. “I’ve seen different parts of Bucky… seeing him in Griffonholm… it changed me. Don’t get the wrong idea, he is very dear to me. I have actually worked very hard to be careful what I say so I don’t say the wrong thing. He got us out of Griffonholm alive and whole of body.”

“Griffonholm went bad,” Lugus said in a low voice.

“Twilight has never been quite the same.” Rarity looked at Lugus and was unable to hide the pain on her face. “None of us are the same. There is not a day that goes by where I am not thankful to be alive. It makes me glad to have Coco. I think we’re all stronger for what happened. Fluttershy is different now. She has a quiet strength. I think Discord is part of that. Pinkie Pie is still a party pony, but she has settled down… it is hard to explain. She and Cheese Sandwich are so close… Pinkie has… matured, for the lack of a better word. She has become a great deal more responsible. She and Cheese have formed a herd with the Cakes… more of an extended family… don’t get the wrong idea. Applejack… I don’t know what is up with Applejack but I worry about her. None of us has changed more than Rainbow Dash though.”

“Rainbow Dash has become a stranger… there are times I feel like I don’t even know her,” Berry Punch said to Rarity. “She can still have her moments as a boastful braggart, but those moments are rare now… out of place. Dash is a completely different pony.”

Rarity nodded. “She is. The Element of Loyalty has never been more loyal.”

“At least some good has come out of Griffonholm.” Lugus turned his head around to look at Belisama. “Luna says the world is a better place for what happened there. Labyrinthia too. Even with the trouble, Luna says that the world has not known this sort of peace for a long time. Nations are wanting to make peace and put an end to conflict. Even the warring diamond dog kingdoms are putting aside their differences and making peace.”

“It is difficult to think about your species being a major cause of the world’s problems,” Belisama said as she flopped around, trying to get comfortable.

“Indeed. I look at my fellow ponies and wonder to myself, ‘how did we manage to mess up the whole world so badly’ almost every day,” Berry Punch said.

“What?” Belisama lifted her head and unrolled her body to get a good look at Berry.

“Griffons made their mistakes, minotaurs made mistakes, the diamond dogs wouldn’t stop fighting with one another and with the other sapient creatures that share this mudball… and House Avarice profited from all of the war and conflict in the world. You can’t point at just one species and blame them.” Berry Punch looked around the room, aware that everypony and everybirdy was looking at her.

“We had our hoof in helping to make a dreadful mess of things,” Rarity said. The unicorn’s eyes narrowed and she looked angry for a moment. “Back in the fall, I stopped purchasing one of my most popular fabrics. I found out, quite by accident, that the fabric in question was manufactured by minotaur calves. Underage labour. The fabric was magnificent, hand woven… but the construction depended upon teeny tiny nimble little fingers. I was appalled. Sickened. I took the bolts that I had left and I burned them in fire created by my own magic.”

Berry Punch blinked, shocked that Rarity had that much conviction.

Rarity hung her head for a moment, looking down at the floor. Her nostrils flared and then she looked up. “Not all of us can do battle with whole armies to keep the world safe… but each of us can do the little things that make a difference. I now investigate my supply line and have started a directory of cruelty free fabric sources.”

Berry nodded. “Well said.”

“Do you think it helps?” Yew asked.

“I don’t know. I’d like to think it does. I’ve lost customers because of this. Important customers who now go elsewhere to get custom creations in the fabric they desire. I can’t say that it has changed the world, but it has changed me,” Rarity replied.

Berry Punch smiled. “Every little bit helps…”

 

 

“Bittersweet, did you have a nice holiday?” Rising Star was very careful with his lips and he made a few clumsy words in ear language as he spoke. He was glad to have caught Bittersweet alone, in the hallway, so he could have a private moment with her.

The donkey nodded.

“I always feel as though I neglect you somehow. Like not enough is said between us.” Again, more ear movements and careful movements with his lips as he looked Bittersweet right in the eye. “My mother warned me that just because you can’t talk doesn’t mean you don’t have stuff to say. It’s made me worried.”

Bittersweet looked away for a moment and then she turned her head back to Rising Star, she had a coy, coquettish smile. Both her ears and her lips moved as she began to say something, but no sounds came out. “You’ve been very good to me. I love you. I have a responsibility to express myself if I need something.”

“Bittersweet, there is something I need from you… I hate to even ask, but this is very important,” Rising Star said as he stood almost snoot to snoot with Bittersweet. “This was my mother’s idea… my mom is pretty smart.”

Bittersweet, still smiling, nodded in agreement. “What do you need?” her ears asked.

“Donkeys are citizens of Equestria too… and they don’t get treated very well. I’m going to do something about it when the midwinter assembly comes, and I want to make a two pronged attack. I want you there with me when I give my address to the Stable… no, I need you there with me… I want you to use ear language. I need for you to say my speech with me, using those long pretty ears of yours. I want to show all of Equestria that we have something that we can learn from the donkeys and I want to show that the deaf can be made to listen.”

Bittersweet backed away from Rising Star with her mouth hanging open.

“I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to scare you if I did Bittersweet… I know how skittish you can be… you’d have me right there with you and I could arrange to have Ripple with us… oh cheese and crackers I’m sorry.” Rising Star stood in place, still looking Bittersweet in the eye, hoping he could make things better.

“I am a deaf-mute donkey. I am below even other donkeys. You want me to help you—”

Unable to stop himself, Rising Star’s anger bubbled out. “Never say that again! Shut up shut up shut up! You’re not below anypony or anydonkey and I don’t ever want to see your ears make those words ever again! I am putting my hoof down!”

Her tail swishing, Bittersweet stared at Rising Star. Her nostrils flared. “It was hard to read your lips,” Bittersweet’s ears said as they made swift movements. “But did you just tell a mute donkey to shut up?”

Feeling stupid, Rising Star realised what he had done. He nodded and hung his head.

“Are you angry with me?” Bittersweet asked, her ears moving slower this time.

Snorting, Rising Star nodded.

“I am more than just the donkey that you had to marry to keep Ripple happy, aren’t I?” Bittersweet asked, both her lips and her ears moving together.

Rising Star wanted to shout “WELL DUH!” but what came out was silence. He stepped forward, ducked his head down, and kissed Bittersweet on the corner of her mouth. A moment later, Bittersweet reared up and he felt two legs wrap around his neck. It was impossible to communicate words during moments like this, but nothing needed to be said.

After a few moments, Bittersweet let go and stepped back. “I will help you. You want the deaf to hear and so do I. Also, I will help you reach out to the donkeys.”

 

 

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