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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This kept happening. This kept happening and Bucky hated that this kept happening. This kept happening and it just wasn’t fair. Cadance was a morning pony. Bucky tried to open his eye and found that he couldn’t. It was as if it was glued shut. His gunky crusted over eyelids refused to budge and opening his other eye would do no good because it was pressed into the pillow.

“Daddy?”

-Bonk!-

One of Cadance’s hooves bounced off of Bucky’s skull with the sound of a just-thumped melon. Bucky wondered who put Cadance in the bed with him. There was going to be a long talk with the pony or griffon responsible for this travesty, this act of cruelty against him and his hungover state.

Bucky yawned. Any observer walking into his room at this inopportune moment would see a mouthful of terrible teeth, jagged fangs, teeth meant for ripping and tearing, all of them inches from a helpless looking pink foal that was within chomping distance.

There was a soft thump on the bed as Cadance fell over, landing on her back. She lay there, looking a little green, and the covered her face with her front hooves. The foal gagged and it took for a moment for her to recover.

“Stinky!”

“Bucky! You killed Cadance!”

Hungover, half awake, and now terrified, Bucky sprung to life, he strained to get his eye open, and finally the crusted gunk let go. His eye fluttered open like a filthy toxic waste encrusted butterfly emerging from a barrel of sludge that it had used as a cocoon for the most horrendous metamorphosis ever. Taint mist came creeping out, and it too, also looked hungover. It was slow to drift away and appeared lazy.

He looked down at Cadance, who was looking up at him. Cadance gulped in a lungful of air, held it, rolled over, and then tried to crawl away. Bucky, still blinking his goop covered eyelids, grabbed Cadance, pulled her close, and kissed her cheek. He settled himself down upon the pillow and lay there as Cadance struggled to break free.

“Stink… stink stink stink!”

“What’s that you’re saying, little Cadance?” Bucky asked.

“Mama help!” Cadance wiggled, her face now more than a little green. “Mama help help!”

Bouncing up onto the bed, Berry Punch gave Bucky a shove to make him let go and she rescued Cadance, pulling her away and brushing her mane out of her eyes.

“Bucky… you stink. I just thought you should know,” Berry said, mincing no words.

“My mouth tastes funny… what happened last night?” Bucky asked.

“Well, at some point in the wee hours of morning, you were as drunk as a lord. You led a slave rebellion. The former slaves had no idea what they were rebelling against, but they followed you anyway, chanting ‘we’ll nae be fooled again!’ You led an army of unicorns and little griffons down into the cellars and then you liberated a bunch of stinky mare’s milk cheeses. You then served the former slaves a grand meal of cheese and hardtack crackers while you delivered your most eloquent speech about what a privilege it was to serve them.”

“Ooooh.” Bucky reached up and rubbed his head. Through one blurry, bleary eye, he looked at Cadance, who was scowling at him and had her nose covered with her fetlock.

“Keg Smasher issued his first royal pardon. The guards were summoned because of the ruckus. Keg Smasher was called. Keg was apparently hung over and not in the mood to deal with this fiasco… it was sometime around dawn. I think the whole castle could hear him bellowing about you. Anyway, he pardoned you for the ‘Coup de Fromage.’ But you have gone down on the books as a rabble rouser and an anarchist.”

“Ugh.” Bucky couldn’t figure out what else to say.

“Celestia took pictures. There is a really good one of you standing on top of some cheese wheels, trying to look defiant in front of Keg Smasher. He’s still taller than you. If the rest of the world sees what Equestrian Princes do in their off hours, we’re all doomed.”

“My face feels… disgusting.” Bucky realised that he couldn’t breathe out of one nostril. It was caked over with something.

“Keg Smasher ordered you dunked down into a barrel of cheese curds—”

“Say what?” Bucky asked, cutting Berry off. “No, wait, nevermind. It is better if I just don’t know about these things.”

“A bath has already been drawn for you. Now go and get in there. These sheets need changing. Has anypony mentioned that YOU STINK?” Berry Punch scrambled away from Bucky, taking Cadance with her.

 

 

“My queen… I have a request for you.” The little griffon approached Belisama and Magpie with his head ducked down low.

“What is it? What do you want, Weaver?” Belisama adjusted the shawl that was tied around her body. Inside was something precious to her.

Weaver, now trembling, pointed to a much larger scarred hunter griffoness. “I have wooed her… it took much dancing and supplication, but she has agreed to be my mate. She has lost her desire to fight and wants a home, a hearth, and a family. Being a hunter, she wants a permanent contract for breeding.”

“Yes, but what is it that you want?” Belisama asked.

The griffon blinked and his talons began to tap upon the stone floor. “I do not want to be separated from her, that’s what I want. She is good. Kind. We leave to go home soon… I want her with me or I want to stay here.” Weaver paused. “Well, not really wanting to stay here. Want to go home. We have a nice home.”

“Yes, we do have a nice home. Will she be permitted to leave?” Belisama asked.

“I hope so. We’re going to ask for her release,” Weaver replied.

Belisama sat up a little straighter. “What is her name?”

“Grisabella…” The little griffon looked over at the much larger hunter griffoness and his crest rose. “Grey beauty. Look at her… there is no finer griffoness… none like her.” The griffon froze, panic overcoming his features. “The beauty of our queen is beyond comparison! I never meant to insult you, your Majesty.”

“Grisabella, could you come closer?” Belisama waved the griffoness forward as she ignored the panicked griffon’s theatrics.

The larger hunter moved with an easy feline grace. She was missing a talon finger on her right set of talons. There was a jagged pink gash that stood out on her chest. Her grey pelt was marred with scars. She bowed when she approached Belisama.

“Would you like to come to Equestria?” Belisama looked into the griffoness’ large grey eyes, feeling very afraid. It was difficult, Belisama struggled against averting her own eyes, fighting against the pecking order that had been pounded into her since birth.

“It is time for the fighting to end. I want a cub. I want to try marriage… some of the griffons seem quite taken by it. I still don’t know what to make of it, but I like Weaver enough to give it a try.” Grisabella sat down. She reached out her talons, grabbed the smaller griffon, and pulled him closer. “I never felt that it was right, how the little griffons were treated. That’s why I left home. Traveled the world as a mercenary. Ended up here. Saw a lot of fighting. Saw the worst of the fighting. Saw enough violence to last me seven lifetimes… so I’m done with it. I have a king worth serving now. I saw him this morning during the Coup de Fromage.”

Belisama felt Magpie nudge her.

“I will see that you are cleared to come home with us,” Belisama said, not knowing where her courage was coming from as she continued to look the much larger griffoness in the eye. “Do you have any skills outside of being a mercenary? Anything more suited for peacetime?”

Grisabella shook her head. “No… not really. But I can learn, right? Weaver said he would teach me how to make cloth. I might try that.”

“I found a pretty griffoness.” Weaver, with slow hesitation, grabbed the griffoness’ foreleg and gave it a squeeze. It was obvious to any looking that he was scared, but it didn’t stop him from taking a chance. He rubbed his face against her as his tail swished back and forth.

“I hope both of you find happiness,” Magpie said as she reached down and gave Belisama a gentle pat. “Grisabella, if you would, please remember, a lot of the little griffons are still scared of our kind and easily spooked. Be gentle with them, and patient.”

“Oh I would never hurt the little fella… he’s kinda cute and he knows how to show off his plumage,” Grisabella replied. “Plus, he’s a flatterer.”

“I think Bucky is going to be really happy to hear about this.” Reaching up, Belisama patted the tiny little lump that was Bandua in her shawl. “We are very glad to have you, Grisabella. It is my hope that others of your kind will join us as well.”

 

 

“Tourmaline, have you had a nice trip?” Violet asked.

The jet black foal nodded with all of the youthful enthusiasm she could muster.

“I would imagine that this trip has been quite educational,” Raven said as she sat down next to Tourmaline. She looked down at what Tourmaline was working on and studied it. After a moment, Raven smiled.

“You have had a chance to meet some very colourful characters. Hopefully, there will be no lasting damage.” Violet began setting out everything needed for tea upon the table. “What are you drawing Tourmaline?”

“History,” Tourmaline replied, offering no other explanation.

Raven looked down at the stick figure ponies that Tourmaline had scribbled. It was easy enough to make out the picture. “Tourmaline, when you are done with that, may I have it? I would like to have it framed. It is history worth preserving.”

“Really?” Tourmaline looked over at Raven and blinked.

Nodding, Raven patted the little filly on the withers. “I think so.”

“Can you help me spell out the words?” Tourmaline gave Raven a pleading look.

“Yes, I will help you, but you are going to write them.” Raven smiled when a plate with a coffee cake was set down in front of her. “Hmm, somepony knows what I like for breakfast.”

Setting down a teapot, Violet nodded. She said nothing as she hurried off to the ship’s kitchen, humming to herself as she departed.

“It is past noon. It is too late for breakfast.” Tourmaline, trying to capture an important detail, focused upon her work, levitating a crayon in her magic as she tried to make everything just perfect.

Raven, watching, said nothing about the fact that some of the ponies in the picture had five or more legs. She heard hooves on wooden planks, looked up, and saw Celestia entering the dining room.

Yawning, Celestia crossed the room in a few steps, her long legs allowing her greater strides. She approached the table, looked down at Tourmaline’s drawing, and began to laugh as she sat down.

“Why did everypony go back to bed?” Tourmaline asked.

“Because… this is a vacation and we got up far too early. This is a time to be lazy,” Celestia replied. The white alicorn yawned again. “Remember Tourmaline, there are some things you shouldn’t mention to others or talk about.”

Tourmaline nodded. “I know. I ain’t saying nothing.”

“Tourmaline, do not say ‘ain’t’... it is unbecoming of you.” Celestia looked at the food on the table, yawned yet again, and slumped down in her chair in a manner that did not become a princess.

The foal sighed and looked up at her mother. “Applejack says it all the time.”

“Tourmaline, you did a good job… that horn is instantly recognisable.” Celestia narrowed her eyes. “Is that the barrel?”

Still scribbling with her crayon, Tourmaline nodded.

“You have done a wonderful job with this.” Celestia smiled. “Are you making this for me?”

“Raven claimed it,” Tourmaline said in a low voice.

“Raven… how could you?” Celestia looked at the unicorn mare sitting on the other side of Tourmaline. “Tourmaline, dear, do you think you could make another?”

Tourmaline’s pastel pink mane bobbed as she nodded. “Raven, I need the words. Can you help me spell them?”

“Suffer not a tyrant to live… strike down all tyrants with cheese…”

 

 

 

 

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