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


565. 565

“I don’t know what has come over Bucky. But he wants to leave as soon as possible. He keeps saying that there is only so much time. I would think that he was being a little crazy… but he is acting remarkably sane.” Berry Punch swirled the soft cider inside of her mug and stared down into it. “When he gets focused like this he seems to level out… become a bit more stable.”

“I suppose we can go at any time, but I was enjoying our vacation.” Celestia pushed her empty plate away from her, using her hoof.

“The last time he got like this there were several hundred new golems made in just a couple of days. He got… he got… I can’t remember what Berry calls it,” Thistle said as her ear twitched from her rising level of frustration.

Berry Punch, still staring down into her mug full of cider, took a deep breath and said, “Hyper-focused. We’ve lost him. He’ll do nothing but pace, plan, and prepare. Whatever he was dreaming about, it lit a fire under him. At least the nookie will be fantastic when he needs to blow off steam.”

“Will you shut up about nookie? I’m dying over here… I feel fine, I don’t see why I have to wait so long… nookie this and nookie that… nookie nookie nookie!” Thistle thumped her hoof down upon the table.

From the end of the table, Tourmaline giggled and Celestia let out a concerned groan as she looked in Tourmaline’s direction. Celestia considered saying something to Thistle, but held her tongue. The kelpie looked as though she was holding back a horrible level of frustration.

“This has been a great trip.” Berry Punch set her mug down upon the table. “There has been a lot of happy memories. I was kinda hesitant to come back here after what happened here the first time, but I’m glad I came.”

A spider golem scurried across the table, weaving in between mugs, plates, pitchers, and serving bowls. It beeped and booped as it ran. When it reached Tourmaline, it stopped. It waved one leg, waved, and then lept from the table.

Squealing with foalish glee, Tourmaline abandoned the dinner table to go running after the golem and her cries echoed through the room.

“I wish I understood the appeal of chasing a spider golem.” Celestia watched as Tourmaline went running off. “I wish I understood the appeal of being chased by a foal. The little spider golem just wants to be chased and Tourmaline is perfectly content to run after it.”

“Life is a funny thing. Some pursue, some want to be chased.” Berry lifted her mug, took a long drink, swallowed, belched, and watched as Tourmaline chased the spider golem. “How old is she anyway?”

Celestia frowned. “I do not know.” She leaned forward, resting upon the table in such a way that it would make half of Canterlot’s high society faint. “They are so different from us. And Tourmaline is so different from them. I have tried to guess, tried to estimate, but I have no way of knowing for certain.” Celestia’s voice was low, quiet, and troubled.

“She is a pony though.” Berry’s eyebrows raised. “Bucky is certain of that. We’ve talked about it, he and I. She might look a little different, but she is one of us. He is desperate to know what changes them, makes them into what they become.”

“And I am desperate to find a cure. It is my most sincere hope that Dinky… it is my desire that Dinky uses her unique talents to deal with the changeling threat. I am hoping that between Dinky and Tourmaline, the changelings can be made free. If all of the changelings are like Tourmaline in their unaltered state, the world would be a much better place.” Celestia watched as the tables turned and Tourmaline took off running with the spider golem in hot pursuit.

“What the Tartarus is Lugus doing?” Berry asked, her eyes going wide.

Celestia turned her head to have a look and almost choked. She felt her heart leap up into her throat. Lugus was juggling pegasi foals. As Celestia watched, he tossed one up into the air, then another, and then another. They soared through the air, their little wings buzzing, giggling and laughing with glee as they ‘flew.’

“He would never drop one.” Thistle watched the spectacle with wide eyes, her head bobbing as she watched the pegasi foals being launched up into the air. “He throws Peekaboo into the air and catches her… she loves it.”

“But… foal juggling…” Celestia turned to look at Thistle. “He does this to Peekaboo?”

“I have no doubt that Lugus could juggle full grown ponies if he wanted to,” Thistle replied.

Celestia’s head whipped back around and she watched as another foal was snatched up and tossed into the air. She bit her lip, fearful, terrified of what might happen if Lugus slipped. If one of his razor sharp claws moved the wrong way.

In the middle of her terror, Celestia realised that Lugus was a magnificent creature with an amazing amount of control. She felt her heart slow down to a somewhat slower pace. Celestia hoped that Lugus would never juggle Cadance. She intended to have a private word with Lugus about the issue.

Bucky pushed his way through the doors and entered the dining hall. “Tonight we sleep on The Scorned Mare as we make our way home. Big storm is blowing in and I don’t want to be stranded here waiting until it blows over. We’ll be leaving in a few hours.” Bucky froze and his eyes narrowed. “Lugus… what are you doing?”

“Juggling little pegasi… what does it look like? I think you need your eyes checked my friend,” Lugus replied.



“This… this is Grisabella,” Weaver said as he stared down at his feet. Sitting on his haunches and wringing his talons together, he waited for Bucky to say something. He had no idea what Bucky might be thinking, because he could not see Bucky’s face.

“I see you’ve found yourself a very pretty griffoness.” Bucky looked down at the little griffon kowtowing in front of him. “You found yourself a real prize.”

The grey griffoness poked Weaver in the back. “Look up at him… it’ll be okay.”

Weaver, trembling, looked up at Bucky. “Thank you. You are very kind. I would like to bring her home with me on your ship.” When he was done speaking, he dropped his eyes again.

“You seem even more nervous than usual. You need to relax.” Reaching down, Bucky hooked a talon tip under the griffon’s beak and lifted the griffon’s head upwards.

“I have a very pretty mate and she is mine and mine alone and life is really nice and I don’t think I’ll never have to worry about her being taken from me in an act of cruelty.” Weaver looked up at Bucky with terrified pleading eyes. “I remember too much of my old life. I lost one that I loved. We never had a chance to do anything.”

“I’m sorry,” Bucky said in a low voice. “You must not be afraid to love.”

“I’ll try.” Weaver blinked and then with his wings, he wiped his eyes.

“Grisabella, ready to leave the war behind? Think you can handle peace?” Bucky looked at the griffoness, taking note of how she was trying to comfort the little griffon sitting in front of her.

“I think I can hang my mace up over the mantle.” Grisabella, sitting on her haunches, picked up Weaver and crushed him to her breast in a hug.

“Welcome aboard then… we’ll talk later. For now, take this little fella here belowdecks and try to get him sorted out. He looks miserable,” Bucky said.

The wind blew, carrying with it the promise of winter’s fury. The gust ruffled Grisabella’s feathers as she raised her wing in salute. “Aye aye, sir. Will sort out the little fella belowdecks.”


“Yes sir?”

“Look after my little griffons… I love them dearly. Do not let them come to harm. You keep that mace above your mantle ready to protect them if the situation demands it.”

“Aye aye, sir!”



“Keg Smasher, I had a lovely time. You have been a most gracious host.” Stretching out her long neck, Celestia kissed Keg Smasher on the cheek. “We need to do this again.”

“Aye, that’d be nice.” Keg Smasher drew himself up to his full height and his ears perked.

“You’re a very nice pony,” Tourmaline said, craning her head to look at at Keg Smasher.

Lowering his head, Keg Smasher nosed Tourmaline, causing the foal to giggle. “Yer cute as a button. I have half a mind to keep you.”

“You have half a mind, period.” Laughing at his own joke, Bucky reveled in Keg Smasher’s surly expression.

“Ye dirty cheesemonger! Get lost. Yer no longer welcome here. And neither is those two co-conspirators.” Keg Smasher looked over at Broom and Door, who stood shivering in the cold. “I hope both of you have a nice time in Equestria.”

Broom bowed her head. “The little griffons begged me to come with them… how could I tell them no?”

“Bucky, ye dinnae mind taking them in, do ye?” Keg Smasher asked.

“For the last time, no, I don’t mind. I will see that they are cared for and never want for anything,” Bucky replied.

“Good. Because I cannae trust them after your little uprising.” Keg Smasher threw back his head and roared with laughter.

“This has been a memorable trip,” Celestia said.

The wind, which had been gusting, was now blowing steady. A few snowflakes began to fall. Standing on the deck of The Scorned Mare, the friends and companions paused in their goodbyes to watch the falling snow.

One lone figure tilted her head back, opened her beak, and tried to catch some as they fell. Keg Smasher, moving with slow caution, approached Boadicea and then stopped a short distance away. Feeling eyes upon her, Boadicea saw Keg Smasher. She let out a startled cry of alarm and looked up, her eyes wide with terror.

“The war is over. We can be friends now. Do take care of yourself, little lass. Don’t let Lugus be a stick in the mud.” Keg Smasher extended his foreleg and made a gesture for Boadicea to come closer.

The griffoness cub, apprehensive, looked over at Lugus, noted his stern stare, and then came forward. She squawked as she was swept up into a crushing hug.

“Last chance!” Bucky cried in a loud voice. “If any other griffons, ponies, or zebras want a ride to Equestria, this is your last chance.” He looked over at Boadicea and could tell from the way that her body was hitching that she was crying. He sighed as he realised that she was going to need a lot of sorting out.

“I don’t want to go!” Tourmaline wailed. She watched as the crowd on the deck began to break up and depart down the gangplank. She watched as Keg Smasher gave Boadicea one final squeeze and then let go. The worst part of love was saying goodbye, she could feel the hurt all around her, it crushed her like a physical force squeezing her body. “No!” Overcome with emotion, Tourmaline ran to Celestia and clung to the alicorn’s leg.

“Tourmaline, goodbyes happen… it is a part of life,” Celestia said in a soft voice, whispering into Tourmaline’s ear.

“Begin pulling up the tethers!” Bucky commanded.

The wind blew with gale force for a moment and the ship lurched as the gasbag was struck by the wind. The Scorned Mare creaked in its moorings.

“Bucky… I meant what I said… I love ye like a brother… don’t be a stranger!” Keg Smasher said, bellowing to be heard over the wind. “Berry Punch, Thistle, Belisama, keep him from getting into too much trouble… he’s a soft headed git!”

“Criminy the storm is coming in hard and fast,” Berry Punch said as she leaned into the wind.

“We need to get in the air and quick. Otherwise, if the wind gets stronger, we’ll be smashed into castle or one of the other ships or something!” Using his magic, Bucky began helping to undo the tethers. The ship’s engines rumbled to life at Bucky’s bidding.

“Get belowdecks!” Lugus commanded. He began clearing the deck, getting the little griffons moving.

“Goodbye Keg Smasher!” Broom called out as she headed for the door.

Keg Smasher raised a wing in salute.

The ship began to rise, rocking in the strong winds. Once it was clear of the moorings, the deck became treacherous. Taking a running leap, Keg Smasher lept over the rail and flew to to safety. He waved goodbye at the last pony left on deck.

Bucky waved back as the ship pitched and rose into the air.



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