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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“Here daddy, have some cocoa.”

Bucky looked at the cup held in Dinky’s telekinesis. It trembled a bit, the liquid inside sloshed, but not enough to spill. Dinky, who had stopped the snapped chain with impeccable timing, still had trouble holding things still while levitating them. The cup was proof that while she had the power, she still lacked the fine control.

As he took the cup of cocoa, he thought about Dinky’s little prank, the vanishing letters in the book. It was a prank that took a serious amount of skill and dedication, it was something that many adult unicorns would have had some real trouble with.

“Thank you, Dinky,” Bucky said as he took the cup into his own telekinetic grasp. The trembling ceased and the cup became still.

“You’re wet.” Dinky looked down at the water dripping on the kitchen floor. “Semillon will scold you if you leave her kitchen a wet mess.”

“Do I get any cocoa?” Celestia asked, giving Dinky a hopeful look.

Hearing Celestia’s request, Dinky nodded. Sticking out her tongue as she concentrated, she lifted the brass pitcher that held the steaming cocoa. Dinky placed a cup down upon the table, maneuvered the brass pitcher full of cocoa over the cup, and then poured, careful not to pour too much. Feeling very pleased with herself that she did not dribble a single drop, she set the ornate brass pitcher down upon the table, picked up a mint leaf, crushed it in her magic, and dropped it into the cup of cocoa.

“Bon Bon adds crushed mint,” Dinky explained as she lifted the cup and passed it to Celestia. “But she crushes it with the edge of her hoof. Crushing the leaf releases the flavour.”

Without being asked, Dinky went to work once more, preparing a cup for Tourmaline.

“Thank you,” Celestia said.

Celestia was far too big for the kitchen table. She was hunched over and her hind legs were too long for the chair. “Dinky, you have fresh mint? This leaf isn’t dried.”

“We grow it in the greenhouse, along with the bugs we eat—”

“Gross! Bugs!” Tourmaline shuddered.

Unable to help herself, Celestia snickered.

“You get used to them,” Dinky said to Tourmaline.

“Bugs are icky and gross… you shouldn’t eat bugs. Yuck!” Tourmaline stuck out her tongue and made an expression of disgust. She shook with revulsion and then adjusted her glasses.

“I dunno… some bugs are delicious… but you have to fatten them up with hot cocoa first,” Bucky said.

Tourmaline let out a squeal, then a shriek, flew out of her chair, and took off running out of the kitchen at full speed. “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!”

Dinky, holding Tourmaline’s cocoa, looked at her father and then at Celestia. “What’s got into her?”

Chortling, almost choking, Celestia struggled to compose herself and bring herself back under control. She coughed, cleared her throat, and then looked at Bucky with one raised eyebrow. After a moment, her expression softened and she looked at Dinky. “Tourmaline has a dreadful fear of bugs. And your father is a scoundrel… really Bucky… scaring foals. Shame on you!”

“If Tourmaline goes and tells Bon Bon that you’ve been bad, you’re going to be in big trouble,” Dinky said, peering at the archway that was the entrance to the kitchen.

“Bon Bon… who makes bug candies.” Bucky slurped the mint leaf out of his cocoa, chewed on it for a moment, and then swallowed. “Are we going to be ready to go in a bit?”

“In a little while Bucky—”

“Celestia, why are we waiting? We could have left by now,” Bucky said, interrupting.

“Bucky, Raven is coming with us. She needs a vacation too. She’s in Ponyville, visiting some friends. She will be along in a while and then we can go.” Celestia took a sip of cocoa and when she pulled her mug away, she had a soft brown chocolate mustache.

Seeing it caused Dinky to giggle.

“BUCKY!”

Hearing Bon Bon’s voice, Bucky flinched and ducked down in his chair. He could tell by Bon Bon’s tone that he was in for a scolding.

“HOW COULD YOU?”

His voice little more than a whisper, Bucky said to Celestia, “Earth ponies. I’ll be hiding if anypony needs me.”

With a flash, Bucky vanished, leaving Dinky alone with Celestia.

A moment later, Bon Bon appeared in the entrance to the kitchen, scowling, and her eyebrows were as furrowed as a field that was fresh plowed. Tourmaline was on Bon Bon’s back, her little front legs wrapped around Bon Bon’s neck.

“Back bedroom,” Celestia said. “He is with Derpy.”

 

 

“You’re a bad pony.” Tourmaline, laying beside Bucky, snuggled a little closer, pressing into his side. She looked at Cadance, whom Bucky was cradling in his front legs.

Bon Bon, her anger forgotten and feeling affectionate, leaned over and kissed Derpy on the cheek. It was hard to stay angry around Cadance. It had been a hectic morning and the quiet of the bedroom was appreciated.

Derpy, laying between Bon Bon and Bucky, returned the kiss, turning her head and kissing Bon Bon on the corner of her mouth. Afterwards, she turned to look at Cadance, who was giggling.

“She is so full of love,” Tourmaline said in a low whisper. “It makes me feel funny.”

Bucky nodded. “You know Tourmaline… when both you and Cadance are older, perhaps you two can work on making your talents work together. You need love and Cadance has it in abundance.”

Tourmaline rested her head against Bucky’s withers. “Hmm.”

“I was being very silly with my bug comments… I never meant to actually scare you,” Bucky said in a low voice. “You are a very special little changeling. I went through a lot of trouble to rescue you. I would never allow you to come to harm.”

“I know,” Tourmaline replied.

“You know?” Bucky asked.

Tourmaline giggled. “It is fun being scared. Luna scares me and I take off running.”

Bon Bon grunted. “I got taken in by a sweet little face—”

“You sure did,” Bucky said.

“Shush Bucky… this is a nice moment, don’t ruin it.” Bon Bon leaned her head forward and looked around Derpy to give Bucky an stern glance.

“You like rescuing foals, don’t you?” Tourmaline asked.

“I suppose it is something of a hobby,” Bucky replied.

Leaning her head down, Derpy nuzzled Cadance and then lifted her head. “I think it started with Sentinel.”

“Nope.” Bucky shook his head.

“No?” Derpy closed her bad eye and peered at Bucky, trying to figure out what Bucky was about to say. Her ears perked forward. “Dinky?”

“Dinky.” Bucky nodded. “The idea that Dinky might get taken from you scared me. It changed everything I thought I knew about myself. I was always so worried, so afraid of everything, but all of my fears were selfish. I was always so worried and afraid for myself. But when I realised that Dinky might get taken, when I thought about how much it would hurt her, when I thought about how much it would hurt you, I couldn’t think about myself. All I could think about was saving Dinky and keeping you from getting hurt.”

“And then came Sentinel,” Derpy said, closing both eyes and resting her head down upon her folded forelegs.

Bucky stared down at Cadance. “I can’t imagine my life without Sentinel. I love the stuffy little guy so much.”

“Thank you for saving me and Glass Slipper,” Tourmaline said as she crawled over Bucky’s back. She slid down, settling into the slight gap between Bucky and Derpy, and rubbed her face against Derpy’s neck. “Mama told me a little about what you had to do to save Cadance.”

Thinking about the hook, Bucky closed his eyes and shivered. He felt a cold stabbing pain in his hips. His mouth fell open and he took a deep breath.

“It still hurts you,” Tourmaline said, wiggling around so she could wrap her forelegs around Bucky’s neck.

“It was a job like any other. It had to be done.” Bucky, who did not feel like talking about this, wondered what to say to change the subject.

“Bucky, are you alright?” Bon Bon asked. Her eyes glittered with concern. One ear twitched, causing her mane to tumble around her eyes, the curls bouncing in a most fetching way. “I don’t think this is a good time for Bucky to talk about this.”

“Who is going to save Bucky?” Tourmaline asked.

 

 

“Looks as though everything is stowed away,” Belisama said to Violet.

Violet nodded. The most recent addition was extra diapers for Bell Heather. Turning her head, Violet looked at Thistle, who was making silly faces at Bell Heather. Turning, Violet left the room, taking Belisama, who was riding upon her back, with her.

After trotting down the hallway, passing many doors, they came into the common room. Violet looked around. Several little griffons were moving about, doing last minute preparations. A crew of them were coming along after refusing to allow their king and queen to leave without them.

“Violet, do you think this will hurt a whole lot?” Belisama asked.

“It’ll hurt plenty… but I don’t think it will be as bad as it was for Thistle,” Violet replied.

Belisama could feel the muscles in Violet’s back quiver as the mare moved about. “What makes you think that, if you don’t mind me asking?”

Violet watched a team of griffons all work together to carry a large sack of oats into the kitchen. She thought about helping them, but knew that she would be squawked at and there would be much angry peeping and raised crests.

“Thistle is still young. Thistle is young, underdeveloped, and little. Thistle is a scrawny little thing and she gave birth to one fat little foal. One beautiful fat little foal. Bell Heather almost tore her mommy a new one. I’m honestly surprised that Thistle didn’t rip or tear during the birth.” Violet heard a cheer from within the kitchen. The griffons must have secured the bag of oats. “You’ve gained a lot of weight during your pregnancy, but proportionally, you’re a lot smaller than Thistle was. It stands to reason that your cub will be very small when it is born. Griffons come out underdeveloped and helpless at birth. So this should be much easier on you.”

“I see,” Belisama said as she reached forward and stroked Violet’s mane.

“Thistle squeezed out something larger than a giant watermelon. You’ll probably give birth to something the size of an apple. Thistle might be larger than you are in general, but the width of your hips isn’t that different. Thistle has a longer body, longer legs, but you both share a similar broadness and width.” Violet trotted down the hall, stepped aside for another group of little griffons hauling a sack of coffee beans, and then climbed up the stairs when she reached them, mindful of the griffoness riding on her back.

“I’ve been practicing those breathing exercises,” Belisama said.

“Good.” Violet emerged on deck, stepping through the door. The cold air made her nostrils sting. “It was very nice of you all to take in Helia and look after while I am gone. She is a dear friend and I worry about her, even though I know she is healthy and fit.”

Belisama looked down over the railing and watched as Helia played in the snow.

“You are to stay close to either Bucky or myself at all times. You could give birth any day now.” Violet watched as Helia helped a little minotaur calf get back up on her hooves after falling over in the snow.

“I know what is expected of me. Do you think I should have stayed at home?” Belisama asked. “I mean, am I being stupid for wanting to stay with Bucky?”

Violet snorted. “Don’t be silly. There is too much made of the fragility of females. There are always risks, problems, moments of trouble… but females have been giving birth for a long time. Usually in less than ideal conditions.”

“There has been a lot of death too.” Belisama felt an icy prickle of fear, the cold chill she felt had nothing to do with the winter weather.

“Yes, but we know the culprits now. We’re winning this war. Infection… we’ve figured out that bacteria… germs… viral infections… all of those things that cause sickness, we’ve figured out that they exist. We have modern sanitation now. We have drugs that will clear an infection up if it happens. We can stop blood loss and hemorrhaging. Because of education, we’ve picked up a mighty hammer and now we beat back death until it goes away and leaves us alone so we can give birth in peace and then go about our business.”

With silent contemplation, Belisama considered Violet’s words.

“Are you happy about having a little female cub?” Violet asked.

Belisama peeped, the sound escaping her before she realised she had done it. Her feathers fluffed out and she could feel the faint touch of the cold air upon her skin, creeping through her insulated feathers. “Yes… yes I am.” Belisama took a moment to form her thoughts into words. “My cub will never know the fear that my sister and I lived with. She will never know what it means to be a possession, to be property. She will never live in constant fear of rape, of torture, or being eaten. She will have some wonderful males in her life… males that she can trust. Her father… Sentinel… Barley… Rising Star… and even Lugus… especially Lugus. Lugus has become a very dear friend to me. It took a long time for me to stop being afraid of him.”

“There he is now. Sitting on one of those little ledges on Bucky’s tower. Watching everything beneath him, keeping everything safe. He has Peekaboo with him,” Violet lifted up her foreleg and pointed.

“All of the school foals love him. He has their trust. I wonder sometimes, what it is like to be Lugus, to be such a large predator living in around such smaller creatures. I wonder what he thinks, what he feels, what the world is like for him,” Belisama said as she looked over at Lugus and Peekaboo.

“I’d imagine that he and Bucky both would have some interesting things to say,” Violet replied. “Look at Peekaboo. She is going to grow up thinking that Lugus is her daddy. She is never going to see him in the same way the rest of the world sees him. She is never going to see a massive apex predator. She will never be afraid of him. She will trust him completely. The fear that others might have of her father will be utterly alien to her. When I look at the two of them playing, it makes me think.”

“It is a lot to think about,” Belisama said as she reached down at rubbed her tummy.

 

 

 

 

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