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 sunlight glittered on the snow, dazzling Sentinel’s eyes. The skies, overcast, still allowed enough sun to make the day bright and cheerful. The Scorned Mare was being loaded, prepared for the trip to the Shetlands. Bounding through the snow, Sentinel hurried, hoping to catch Violet and have a talk with her before she left with his father.

There was always something to do it seemed, some task, some bit of busy work. If the weather held, school would be starting up again soon, and there would be lots of catching up on missed schoolwork.

As Sentinel neared the farmhouse, he heard his father laughing. A real laugh, not the strained weird laughter that made Sentinel feel nervous. The colt smiled. At least his father was feeling better. He heard Berry Punch shout, then squeal, and then something about snowballs was said. Sentinel, focused on his task, did not turn around to see what was going on behind him.

 

 

Taking a deep breath, Sentinel summoned up his most formal posture, sitting up straight and trying to look as serious as possible. He glanced at Ripple, saw her nod, and then looked around the table at the other ponies present, Violet Velvet and Semillon.

“We know everything is rather busy right now, but we wanted to say thank you for taking a moment of your time to speak with us,” Ripple said, offering a smile to both Violet and Semillon. “Sentinel? If you don’t mind, perhaps you’d like to speak in detail about our business here?”

Another deep breath. Reaching out one wing, Sentinel adjusted his glasses, a nervous habit, and cleared his throat. “Squire Ripple and I are here on official business. We are in need of your services for the upcoming winter war games. Buried in a compendium of rules, regulations, and military protocol, there is a regulation that allows us to conscript those with special talents into our service. Now, with this being peacetime, if we wish to conscript you, we are obligated to pay you for your services, paying you a fair wage to make up for earnings lost while you are, uh, pressganged into our service.”

Violet, her mouth pressed into a straight line, nodded, looking very stern and serious.

The cook on the other hoof, smiled. Semillon looked delighted.

“Violet, we would need your services for organisation… and some of your… other skills,” Ripple said in a low voice.

“Do you require my services as a bodyguard or do you require me to remove a high priority target?” Violet asked.

Ripple gulped. “You can do that?”

“Uh, Ripple, I think she might be pulling our leg. But then again, father would never take on an ordinary secretary… um… well…” Sentinel reached up and scratched his chin, his serious mein now gone. The colt looked confused and worried.

“What we need is a oath to secrecy, strong organisational skills, and some of your more unique talents of a non-lethal variety,” Ripple said, recovering the conversation. She turned to look at Semillon. “And from you, we need for you to do what you do best.”

“I suppose I’ll be feeding the troops?” Semillon asked.

Ripple nodded. “Something like that. There are ears everywhere. We will tell you everything you need to know in a secret briefing, once you agree to work with us.”

Sentinel, folding his front hooves in front of him on the table, leaned forward. “Now we discuss the cost. Both of you are professionals. Ripple, my responsible big sister…” Sentinel looked over at Ripple and glared, his eyes narrowing. “My responsible big sister does not believe in saving her bits for a rainy day and we are short on funds. I however, have eighty seven gold bits and eleven silver bits.”

Violet shook her head. “That doesn’t even cover a single day worth of pay.”

Heaving a defeated sigh, Sentinel slumped down in his chair.

“Father pays you well I guess,” Ripple said, trying to hide how upset she was. She forced her wings to remain still at her sides and was mindful of how her nostrils were flaring.

“I never said a fair exchange was impossible. But you cannot afford my services.” Violet offered up a half smile and peered at Sentinel over the top edges of her reading glasses.

“I’ll do this for free. This promises to be interesting,” Semillon said.

“No no… Semillon, demand compensation,” Violet said, looking at the unicorn cook. “I propose a trade of work hours. If Semillon and I work for you, we keep a tab of all the hours we work… when everything is said and done, both of you work for us for an equal number of hours.”

“Fine, but only if it doesn’t cut into my schoolwork. Father has enough stress without worrying about me slacking off,” Sentinel said.

“That goes without saying.” Violet, nodding, turned and looked at Ripple.

The charcoal grey filly shrugged. “I’m willing to work if I need to. Anything for my Raptors.”

“Good, we have an agreement. I will prepare the contracts for all of us and we can sign. I charge a three hour minimum for contract writing, the papers will be very thorough and ironclad.” Violet grinned a shrewd looking grin.

“Oh bugger,” Ripple said, flinching at Violet’s words.

 

 

“Buckminster Bitters, if you do not put down that snowball, I will smite you with all of the majestic fury of the sun.” Celestia stood tall, proud, resolute. Her face, a stern mask, took every ounce of effort she possessed to maintain.

Celestia wanted Bucky to throw the snowball he was holding. She only needed an excuse, a reason, being the magnificent monarch that she was, she could not go around starting snowball fights.

But Celestia always had the option to return fire.

Something cold hit her backside. Celestia shivered and turned to look. Berry Punch had a crazy looking grin and her foreleg was still raised. Turning and taking her eyes off of Bucky was perhaps the second worst mistake Celestia made this day.

Celestia’s worst mistake was engaging the Lord of Winter in a snowball fight.

As she stood there looking at Berry Punch, a massive soft packed ball of snow blinked into existence over her head. Celestia looked up and felt very much like a foal once more. She heard a panicked squeal from Tourmaline.

The massive snowball, the size of a wagon, took Celestia down but not out. She rose up from the snow, shaking herself off, steam rising off of her pelt as her inner radiance manifested as heat.

Celestia, who did not get to show off her mastery of telekinesis very often, made one thousand snowballs all at once. Flames flickered from the corners of her eyes. Her pastel rainbow coloured mane became a rippling curtain of superheated plasma. Steam rose from all around her.

FACE THE FURY OF THE SUN!” Celestia cried as she fired a barrage of snowballs at Bucky.

The Lord of Winter, realising the tactical error he had made, teleported away to cover. Celestia’s use of the Royal Canterlot Voice caused the icicles in the nearby vicinity to crack and fall off. Bucky watched as Berry Punch went bounding off through the snow. As pudgy around the middle as she was, Bucky felt a sense of wonder at how she moved.

What had to be a hundred snowballs thumped against the wooden crate that Bucky had taken cover behind. He peeked out for a moment and then ducked as a snowball nearly struck him. At least Celestia was laughing and having a good time.

“Save our headmaster!”

This was unexpected. Bucky blinked.

Daring to peek over the edge, Bucky saw Celestia under fire. The scary flames were gone, she was Celestia again, still laughing, and hurling snowballs at his students. Bucky emerged from cover, began scooping up snow in his telekinesis, and lobbing snowballs at Celestia.

Tourmaline, caught in the crossfire of all of this, ducked away and sought cover.

 

 

Unsure of what to do, Thistle took a deep breath and looked at Bell Heather. The foal’s pelt had darkened a bit since her birth, she was a somewhat darker muted shade of purple. Still no sign of a mane or a tail had sprouted, but Thistle knew that it would happen. It was only a matter of time.

“What should mama do?” Thistle asked in a low whisper.

“Mama.” Bell’s voice was soft, difficult to hear. Words were said while breathing, but seldom at any meaningful volume. Bell smacked her lips together and looked up at her mother.

“You’re no help at all Bell, your answer to everything is food.” Thistle’s lip protruded in a pout and she had a very foalish desire to sulk. “What if he tells me no? What if Derpy tells me no? I’m still not sure I want to do this, but part of me wants to do this… mama does not know what to do Bell.”

Laying on her back, Bell kicked all four legs around in the air as she made flatulent noises with lips.

“I also gotta do what is right for you… this is all a lot harder than I thought it would be,” Thistle said to herself. She turned her body towards the nursery window and looked out. There was some sort of commotion going on outside. “Sometimes I don’t know what to do with you Bell. I’m so scared… I don’t want to be a bad mother. I want you to love me like Dinky loves Derpy or Piña loves Berry.”

Bell gurgled and cooed.

“It’s just mommy hormones,” Thistle said as she wiped tears out of her eyes. “Stupid mommy hormones. Mommy hormones making me cry, mommy hormones messing with my thinking, and mommy hormones making me want to shag somepony even though I can’t do anything… I can’t stand being like this.”

Reaching a decision, Thistle dove into the wooden closet in the nursery and began to dig around, looking for everything she needed.

 

 

Standing slack jawed on the porch, Ripple watched the carnage taking place, each breath she took coming out as visible steam. Celestia was hammering Bucky in a snowball fight. The Raptors had moved to defend their king and had formed a protective shield in front of him.

Most of the foals had fled, but a few brave ones continued to hurl snowballs at Celestia, who ignored them.

Clinging to Ripple’s leg was Tourmaline, who stood there shivering, watching her mother and Bucky wage a terrible war upon one another.

There was a loud squawk when Branwen took a snowball and was downed, knocked from the air. Loki was scooping up snow and hurling it Celestia.

“Branwen is one of my favourites! Celestia, you fiend! Branwen, your king will avenge you!” Bucky cried.

Angus, Flench, and Grunion went on a strafing run, pelting Celestia with snowballs as they went streaking past. Branwen, who had recovered, was crawling though the snow to flank Celestia. The albino griffoness was almost invisible as she crawled through the snow.

Ripple heard hooves on the porch beside her. She turned and saw Thistle. Thistle, wearing a foal carrier, had Bell Heather with her, wrapped up in a blanket and stuffed into the foal carrier. Thistle herself was wearing the bright green woollen cloak that had been made for her by Rarity.

 

 

When Bucky saw Thistle approaching, he stopped what he was doing and went still. One last snowball thumped him in the side of his head, but he ignored it. It slid down, the snow clinging to his shaggy pelt.

“Bucky, I’m coming with you… I want to see Keg Smasher. I miss him so much.”

Kiara and Freyja, who had permission to ride upon their king in battle, cleared off, leaping from Bucky’s back, landing in the snow, and then scurrying off to a respectful distance.

“Thistle, you’re beautiful in that cloak,” Bucky said, distracted and staring at Thistle.

The kelpie blushed. Thistle could feel the cold stinging her nostrils. Cold water had no effect upon her, but she felt the cold air. She felt a hot moist heat spreading through her nethers. Something about the way that Bucky was looking at her. “I’ll be good. I’ll get lots of rest on The Scorned Mare and I’ll be careful while we’re visiting the Shetlands.”

“If it makes you happy.” Bucky, unable to take his eyes off of Thistle, took a deep breath. Feeling nervous, scared for a reason he could not explain, Bucky took a few steps forward, his hooves and his talons crunching in the snow. He strode forward until at last he reached Thistle.

Not caring that he was being watched, Bucky stretched out his neck, puckered up, and gave Thistle the sort of kiss that threatened to melt the snow around them.

The kelpie felt her legs go weak, her knees wobbled, and it became difficult to breathe. When it was almost too much to bear, she pulled away and then wiped her slobbery muzzle with her foreleg. She took a deep breath and smiled.

“I think Keg Smasher will be happy to see you and Bell,” Bucky said as he looked Thistle in the eye. “I suppose it is time to stop playing and finish up,”

 

 

 

 

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