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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“Just looking at that makes my teeth hurt,” Raven said, tilting her head to look upward at Celestia. “Cavity inducing. I mean, just look at that.”

“I know.” Celestia nodded.

Both mares watched as Bucky pressed his lips once more to one of Cadance’s frogs and blew a raspberry, sending the foal into a fit of wiggle-giggles, pulling her legs in and trying to protect herself.

Once Cadance recovered from her fit, she would, with deliberate slowness, raise another hoof up and press it against Bucky’s muzzle, displaying a bravery known only in foals who liked being tickled.

“Ooops… somepony laughed too hard,” Bucky said, his nose crinkling. “Allow me to get that for you, Empress.” Bucky rose to his hooves, wobbled for a moment as his back legs adjusted to the strain, and then he lifted Cadance in a field of blue-green magic. He took off at a trot, heading for the nursery to change Cadance’s soiled diaper.

Raven, her eyes wide, watched Bucky go, disappearing down the hall.

Reaching out with her wing, Celestia prodded Raven. “It is for this reason that you just witnessed that I can forgive Bucky all of his many character flaws.” Celestia looked around and lowered her voice. “I hope we can save him. Luna is already forming a plan. Until then, we have to help him tough this out.”

 

 

Her eyes narrowing, Derpy looked at her husband. “I was about to tell you to behave yourself… but the whole point of this trip is for you to have a nice time.” Derpy leaned forward, snoot-bumped Bucky, and then took a step back, her hindquarters crackling as she did so. “So get into a little bit of trouble, but not too much trouble.”

“I dunno, some quiet rest and relaxation time might be nice. I hope there is no trouble,” Bucky said, hoping his tone sounded sincere. “Seeing Keg Smasher and the others might be nice.” Bucky looked over at Yew Wood and Lugus, who were also saying a quiet goodbye to one another. He looked back at Derpy. “I don’t understand why Lugus is going but Yew Wood is staying here.”

Turning her head, Derpy glanced at Lugus and Yew. “Lugus’ place is with you. Yew Wood knows we’ll need help with Harper and the other foals. Saying goodbye allows them a chance to say hello to one another. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

Scowling, Bucky shook his head. “I don’t like saying goodbye. If you weren’t in the condition you’re in, I might be selfish and beg for you to go.”

“If you beg, I might go anyway,” Derpy replied, her voice a soft silken whisper.

Bucky closed his eyes, his expression becoming pained. “No. No, you need to stay here. I can’t cause you more pain.”

Reaching out a wing, Derpy rubbed Bucky’s cheek. She saw his eyes open. She leaned in closer. “Are you blaming yourself for this? Do you think that this is your fault? You seem to forget, I had a hoof in this too. We had a lot of fun making these twins. It took three ponies to make this sort of trouble.”

Bucky let go a soft nervous laugh. “If anypony is to blame, it is Cadance. I wonder what she will say when she discovers she is the one responsible for the act that made all of her brothers and sisters?”

“I never thought of it that way.” Derpy smiled and then rubbed her cheek against Bucky’s cheek, the good side of his face where he still had some feeling. “Keep Cadance close. She can help you.”

“She’s daddy’s little filly.” Bucky, enjoying the feeling of Derpy being so close, rubbed his muzzle against the soft spot just under Derpy’s ear. “She’s already vapourised a bunch of imps and sent them right back to Tartarus.”

Her ears pinned back against her skull, Lyra approached, her steps slow and uncertain. She nosed Bucky’s side and then waited for a response, knowing that Bucky and Derpy were sharing a private moment. There was a flurry of wings and movement, it happened fast enough that Lyra was startled, and then Lyra found herself drawn in, with Bucky kissing one side of her muzzle and Derpy kissing the other.

“I’m going to miss you,” Lyra said in a dry scratchy voice. Her lower lip began to quiver and then, just before the tears started, Lyra pulled herself together. “Come back to me. Harper needs her daddy… and I need him too.” Lyra lifted one hind hoof, drew it upwards, and with a nervous twitch, scratched her own belly with her hoof.

“Lyra, with me leaving and with Witching Hour and Tiddlywinks off island hopping, it falls on your shoulders to manage security here. Keep everypony that we love safe. Keep your family safe. Ripple will obey any command you give her and the Raptors will acknowledge your leadership. While I am gone, the golems will obey you. Sunset Shimmer will be glad to do anything you ask of her.” Leaning closer to Lyra, Bucky sniffed. She smelled of cocoa, of floral soap, and of peppermints.

“I can keep everypony and everybirdy safe,” Lyra replied. The mare, finding some confidence, drew herself up and held her head high.

Bon Bon’s heavy hooves clomped over the wooden floorboards as she approached. Saying nothing, she pressed her snoot into Bucky’s side and snorted,  almost bowling him over. “Hurry home Bucky… don’t forget, we have that appointment with the fertilisation specialist.”

“Bonnie, I could never forget about you and the importance of fertilising your eggs…”

Blushing, Bon Bon began to titter.

“The fastest way to go about getting your eggs fertilised would be to just go at it with an unwrapped candy,” Derpy said, nosing Bon Bon as she spoke.

The herd broke into perverse giggling.

Berry Punch trotted up to the group, her belly swaying from side to side as she moved. “My ears are burning. Was somepony telling dirty jokes without me?”

“We were just discussing Bon Bon with a creamy filling,” Derpy replied.

Bon Bon, blushing like a school filly, leaned over and kissed Bucky on the lips and then stepped away to fan herself with her hoof. She muttered, “It’s warm in here.”

“Thistle is sound asleep in our cabin on The Scorned Mare. I went looking for her, hoping for a bit of a smooch. I didn’t wake her, she looked so peaceful. And beautiful. Did I mention beautiful? Thistle has become a hot piece of mare meat since becoming a mother,” Berry said as she narrowed her eyes. When she was done speaking, Berry Punch let out a sultry growl.

“Berry, you’re awful,” Lyra said, her cheeks turning as red as beets.

“I understand Bucky’s fascination with pregnant mares and mothers. You see that big round belly or a little foal following after them, and you know they put out—”

“Berry Punch!” Derpy reached out her wing and gave Berry a playful slap on the backside.

“Well, it’s true,” Bucky said, coming to Berry’s defense. “Hey, speaking of really hot females that put out, where’s my hot little pu—”

“Bucky!” Derpy, Bon Bon, and Lyra all said in unison.

“—ssy cat Belisama?” Bucky grinned a wolfish grin.

Giggling, Berry Punch reached out and prodded Bon Bon, trying to appease her fellow earth pony’s more subtle sensibilities. “Belisama is having a last minute chat with Magpie. Magpie keeps saying ‘my queen’ and ‘your grace’ and Belisama is getting flustered, so look out. Flustered griffoness will need to be looked after later.”

“I dunno what has gotten into Magpie lately,” Bucky said, becoming serious. “She’s become a bit mother-smother… and fixated on keeping her king and her queen happy.”

“She has no more cubs to care for.” Bon Bon looked at Bucky. “All of her cubs, all of her little wee ones, each one of them now has a home, a family, or a group that is caring for them. I’ve talked with Magpie. She’s lonesome.”

“I’ve left her in charge as the caretaker—”

“Bucky, being in charge of adult griffons is not the same as looking after little helpless cubs that depend upon you for all of their needs. Magpie is miserable,” Bon Bon said.

“Nuts. Why won’t she tell me these things?” Bucky asked.

Bon Bon’s head lowered a bit and she shook her head. “She feels nervous about being a hunter griffon. She still feels very guilty about everything that happened. She does not want to disappoint you, let you down, or have you unhappy with her. She is defined by two things… both of which are servitude of a sort.”

“Oh bugger this.” Bucky, his tail swishing from side to side, took off at a hobbling trot, pushing his way through the group of mares around him.

“Bucky, where are you going?” Derpy asked.

“A king is only as good as the least of his subjects,” Bucky replied. “One miserable subject leads to one miserable king. This cannot stand!”

“Well there he goes. At least he’s having a lucid day and he’s acting a bit more like himself,” Lyra said as she watched Bucky go.

“You know, holding himself to these impossible ideals is why he is so stressed all the time. He carries too much on his shoulders. He’s so fixated on keeping us and his griffons happy. We should figure out some way to help him, but I have no idea what to do or how to do it.” Bon Bon, reaching out to Lyra, pulled the unicorn mare closer, wrapping a thick foreleg around Lyra’s neck.

“Guilt is a powerful motivator… trust me, I know,” Lyra said, her expression becoming downcast as she spoke. She shook her head. “As much as he wants to, Bucky can’t hold himself to these standards. At some point, he’ll break.”

 

 

Dinky watched as her father approached, with Magpie the griffoness just behind him. He was wearing his black cloak, it spilled over his body, and for a moment, Dinky understood just what she wanted from life.

A flowing cloak made for an impressive looking pony. It wasn’t enough to just be a wizard, a powerful spell caster, one had to leave behind a good impression. Dinky wasn’t so sure about black though. Black was maybe a little spooky and Dinky had no desire to be scary. At least, not too scary.

Perhaps something in a bright blue.

For a moment, Dinky thought about a broad brimmed wizard’s hat. Star Swirl was famous for wearing one, and Trixie didn’t look half bad in her rumpled, crinkled hats. Dinky wasn’t sure if the broad brimmed hat was right for her though. There was a whole world of hats though, and Dinky was certain she could find one if she started looking.

“Dinky?”

Blinking, Dinky snapped from her daydreaming and looked up at her daddy. “Yes?”

“While I am gone, try to keep your pranks to a minimum,” Bucky said, sitting down upon the wooden floor by the front door. “Please?”

“I dunno if I’ll have time for pranks. With you gone, I’m gonna have my studies, magical practice time, Sunset Shimmer is going to help me study teleportation, and Harper is going to take up a lot of our time.” Dinky looked at Piña, on her left, and Sentinel, on her right. “We don’t mind getting up early to help feed Harper. I know you think we’re gonna stop, that were gonna get bored and quit any day now, but we’re not. We want to show that we’re grown up and that means doing our part.”

Bucky, smiling, lowered his head. “I’ll tell you what. If I come home and Derpy tells me that you helped take care of Harper every single morning that I am gone, I will see about raising your allowance. And if your mother tells me that you’ve been extra helpful, well, the potential exists for a substantial raise. Hard work is rewarded.”

“I require nothing. I have my own means of making money,” Sentinel said as he wrapped his wing around Dinky.

“Piña, I have a special project for you.” Reaching out, Bucky rubbed Piña’s cheek with the soft side of his fetlock.

“What?” Piña asked.

“When I come home, I would like for you to have enchanted one item. I know you can do it, don’t bother telling me that you can’t… Lyra and Sunset Shimmer will help you if you need it. Just a simple project.” Bucky smiled, leaned his head down, and kissed Piña right between her ears.

Piña swallowed and her frogs felt sweaty. Her stomach began to tie itself in knots. “Okay,” she squeaked.

Raising his head, Bucky looked at his older foals. “I have tasks for each of you as well…”

 

 

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