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


553. 553

As Berry Punch approached Bucky, she noticed that he was smiling. It was not his more commonly seen forced smile, or his nervous smile, or his ‘I am okay, really, stop worrying about me’ smile. It was the smile that few saw and one of the things she loved about him.

She paused for a moment, standing in place, looking at Bucky and watching as he fawned over Bell Heather and Bandua. Seeing him happy made Berry’s heart feel warm.

“Having a nice day for once?” Berry asked. She watched as Bucky lifted his head and look at her. She watched the dreadful purple mist drift from his eye and she could see his slitted pupil narrow as he focused upon her.

“I had a rough start… then I had a good scare… and then there was a troubling moment where I had to become a terrible hypocrite with Wrecker… but other than that… I dunno, I just feel so happy. I feel better,” Bucky replied.

On the bed, Belisama wrestled with Cadance, trying to preen the alicorn foal’s wings. Cadance, who wanted to play, struggled and refused to hold still, giggling, and making Belisama work for every feather straightened.

Berry watched the griffoness as she attempted to wrangle Cadance into submission, a broad smile upon her face.

“Bandua is so tiny… it scares me how little she is. She is like a quarter of the size of Bell Heather,” Bucky said as he looked down at the foal and the cub laying in front of him. “I think Bell is getting hungry. She’s starting to smack her lips and get fussy.”

“Thistle is spending a bit of time with Keg Smasher… give Bell to me, I’ll feed her,” Berry said, laying down on the blanket spread over the floor by the fire.

Bucky lifted Bell over to Berry and watched as Berry got Bell Heather situated. “Thistle wants to go visit her lake… her loch.” Hearing a gurgle, Bucky’s ears perked as he heard the sounds of suckling.

There was a frustrated squawk. “Cadance! You are a silly creature!”

There was a giggle. “Sama mama!”

There was a laugh. “She got that from Harper.” Berry Punch rested her head on her folded forelegs. The fire was warm against her side. She yawned. It would be easy to take a nap right now.

“Berry… I can’t stand it no more… I really want to meet the twins… this is killing me,” Bucky said, his voice a low whine. “I want to hold them and know that they are okay… I want to see them, smell them, talk to them, listen to the sounds of them breathing.”

“Soon Bucky…. spring will be here before you know it. And with spring comes foals,” Berry replied.

“I can’t wait for spring…”



Celestia lifted up a stack of papers from in front of Raven and placed them in front of Keg Smasher. Raising her eyebrow, she looked at the big burly pegasus. “Keg Smasher, you have done a splendid job of keeping everything together. I am impressed by what you have done here. When the papers are signed and all of this becomes official, it fills me with relief to know that you will keep everything running smoothly.”

The big pegasus nodded. “I do my best.”

“However, you must back down from some of your more… extreme punishments. I am politely asking you to reconsider. I know you needed to establish order, I know there was a a lot of violent conflict here, but Equestria is a civilised nation… acting like barbarians would reflect poorly upon all of us.” Celestia’s eyebrow lowered, becoming level with the other.

“I dinnae feel sorry for what I did… this was a war… I offered an exchange of prisoners and they sent me back skins… skins damn them… some of them were my own colts… mine, do ye understand?” Keg Smasher scowled, his face darkening.

“A lot of bad things happened.” Raven reached over and patted Celestia. “He was a father grieving for his lost foals. It doesn’t excuse what he did, but it explains why he did it.”

“Just so long as it doesn’t happen again. And I don’t want any more public floggings in the Shires. Order has been established. The earth ponies and the pegasi there now understand that there has been a radical change in the social order. They have seen with their own eyes the consequences for clinging to the old ways. There has been enough suffering.” Celestia’s voice was soft but forceful as she made her point.

“At least there is order now.” Keg Smasher folded his forelegs over his broad barrel as he leaned back in his chair. “The riots have stopped. Ponies have stopped burning down the stores where they buy food and the cities in which they live. Worth a few flogged backs if you ask me.”

“Some of the asylum doctors are still at large. Bucky has said it over and over, he wants more resources spent on finding them. They must be made to answer for what they have done. We need to make sure there is no safe harbour for them,” Violet said as she wrote something down, her pen making quick, hasty movements over the paper.

“The zebras have sent agents to assist with that,” Keg Smasher said to Violet. “The witch doctors will find them. It is out of my hooves… the bocors want to try the asylum doctors in the Sea of Grass.”

“Bucky will be okay with that. The Sea of Grass has lovely penal colonies in the Hinterlands.” Violet’s ears perked when she heard a frustrated whinny from Celestia. She turned in time to see Celestia shaking her head.

“Speak of the old crafty bastard himself,” Keg Smasher said as Bucky entered the room.

“Sorry… I got held up in the hall… I was mugged by a group of foals that wanted to hear stories.” Bucky crossed the room in a hurry, pulled out a chair beside Violet, and sat down. He looked around the table and smiled. “I see you managed to get started without me.”

Clearing her throat, Celestia lifted her head high. “We are about to make history. These isles will become a shared territory between Equestria and the Sea of Grass. A common ground, a place to meet in the middle. A territory protected by both.”

“Aye, it’s a bit exciting it is.” Keg Smasher unfolded his forelegs and placed them down upon the table in front of him. He smiled and looked at Bucky. “It’ll have a fit king too.”

“Look, I never wanted this… I was supposed to be steward of the Shire Isles… a protector until such a time that a more suitable ruler could be found,” Bucky said.

“And a suitable ruler was found.” Celestia looked at Bucky.

Raven ducked down in her chair. “Here we go.”

“Then I’d like to abdicate,” Bucky said, drumming his talons upon the table.

“No. I will not allow that to happen.” Celestia sat up, drawing herself to her full height, and her eyes narrowed.

“Fine then. Violet, take a note. All crimes are to be met with beheading—”

“Buckminster Bitters, this is a very serious issue!” Celestia snapped.

“Yes it is!” Bucky’s retort was forceful and full of anger. “We’re gonna have to hire hundreds of cleaners to mop up the blood.”

“Beheading,” Violet said as she scribbled on paper.

“Bucky, so help me, I am not in the mood to have a contest of wills with you. I was having such a nice day.” Celestia’s ears fell back against her head and her nostrils flared.

“The real issue here was that the pony best suited for the job was looked over. A mistake has been made. Keg Smasher should be more than governor of these isles.” Bucky glared at Celestia, unafraid of the consequences. “It is a travesty that Keg Smasher has not been rewarded for his service.”

A tension filled the air as the alicorn and the unicorn stared at one another.

“Keg, I’ll do it myself if I have to. We can go to the deck of The Scorned Mare and I’ll make you a Prince of the Lunar Court myself if need be.”

“Buckminster, you cannot do that—”

“Why not? Do I not have the authority? You’d think that you’d be happy that I was taking some responsibility… you keep wanting to give me authority, or is it not the sort of authority that matters? Just meaningless mundane affairs?” Bucky leaned forward in his chair.

“Bucky, it is not that at all—”

“Is it because Keg Smasher is a pegasus? Is that it? Doesn’t have the noble heart of a unicorn? Is that—”

“BUCKMINSTER BITTERS, CADANCE WAS A PEGASUS!” Celestia snorted several times in rapid succession. “How dare you make such an accusation!”

“And you made her into an alicorn, giving her a horn as a symbol of authority.”

“This is getting heated, perhaps we should take a moment to calm down,” Raven said, making a soft meek suggestion.

“I do not know what has gotten into you Bucky—”

“I’m sick of having everything dumped on me! And so is Twilight, but she’s too servile to say anything about it. I just spent some time with my foals… I have more foals coming. I run a school. I make golems out the wazoo to support the war effort. On a regular basis I hunt down magical criminals and I make ponies vanish… and now I am expected to take on all of this as well… NO!” Bucky shook his head. “No no no. And I don’t care what you say, I still think the reason that Keg Smasher has been looked over is because he is a pegasus. Make him a prince… he doesn’t need a horn to rule. He does a damn fine job as he is… and while we’re at it, how about an earth pony prince or princess? Or would that offend your own inner unicorn sensibilities?”

Recoiling as if slapped, Celestia gasped. Her ears drooped down to the sides of her face.

“That’s enough Bucky… you’ve gone a little too far in making your point,” Violet said.

Bucky waved his hoof at Violet in a dismissive gesture and scowled.

“Don’t you dare give me the brush off!” Violet, snarling, levitated a book. With a flick of her magic, she sent the book flying, striking Bucky right between the eyes, knocking him and his chair over to the floor.

Celestia gasped in stunned shock.

“You owe your aunt an apology.” Violet sat back and began to tap her hoof upon the table. “And you…” Violet turned to look at Celestia. “I think Bucky made a fine point, even though he was a real arse with how he said it. Why wasn’t Keg Smasher given the ability to rule these islands?”

“You threw a book at me…”

“You threw a book at him,” Celestia said. “You threw a book at my nephew… my poor too often abused nephew… how could you? You hit him right between his eyes!”

“Now you remember that he is your nephew… now, as his aunt, how do you feel about what you’ve done to him and Twilight because of obsessive need for control and the fact that you just don’t trust ponies to do jobs that you would rather do yourself? You pile everything upon Bucky and Twilight and then you nag them about doing everything at your standards.” Violet, who looked calm and collected, blinked.

Raven covered her mouth with her hoof, her eyes were wide with fearful panic.

Keg Smasher said nothing, but waited to see how this was going to end.

“I suppose I have done that,” Celestia said, her admission slipping out in a pained whisper, and her eyes dropping down to look at the paperwork on the table.

“And Bucky, I don’t know what has gotten into you, but you don’t sass your auntie. That’s rude. We have enough problems with politics without turning them into ruthless family squabbles. Families work together towards a common goal. Bucky, does your family fight in times of crisis?”

Righting his chair with his magic, Bucky climbed to his hooves. He shook his head. “No. We do not fight in times of crisis.”

“Then why is Celestia any different? What in Tartarus crawled up your ass?” Violet demanded.

“I dunno… I was in a good mood… a really good mood… and I just sorta decided that I wasn’t going to take it anymore,” Bucky replied as he set the hurled book back upon the table. “I guess I felt confident in standing up for myself.”

“So you thought you’d be a prick to your auntie?” Violet’s brow furrowed.

“I dunno what I was thinking.” Bucky sat down in the chair and then slumped down, looking dejected. Reaching up, he began to rub his head with his right fetlock. “Maybe I’m out of sorts because of this hangover.”

“Now apologise to one another… or else,” Violet commanded in an icy voice.

Still rubbing his head, Bucky looked at Celestia. “I’m sorry… I shouldn’t have made this a tribalist issue to gain leverage for my argument.”

“I am sorry as well. I do place too much on you and Twilight… I have very unrealistic expectations for the both of you,” Celestia said, one ear twitching up and down as she continued to stare down at the table.

“There. Now can we get back down to business?” Violet asked. “I propose the first thing we tackle together are the merits of making Keg Smasher a titled Equestrian prince.”

“I second that,” Raven said, raising her hoof.

“I swear, this world would collapse into chaos without us secretaries,” Violet said, grumbling as she glared at Bucky over the top of her reading glasses.





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