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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Buckminster awoke, and began to look around through bleary eyes. The pile had shifted somehow while he had slept. Sparkler and Berry Punch were curled together, Rising Star was off by himself, and the lunar pegasus was nowhere to be seen.

He looked at Derpy and blinked. He blinked again several times. She was dozing lightly, Dinky and Piña both under one wing, and under her other wing was the lunar pegasus colt, looking at him with wide pleading eyes.

Bucky felt a chuckle escape him. “Just humour her, okay?” he asked in a faint voice.

“She dragged me in sir, by the nape of my neck, and would not let me get away,” the colt whispered. “She growled terribly and then sat on me to subdue me.”

“Is it that bad?” Bucky whispered back.

The colt shook his head “no” and then went still, fearing further reprisal if he woke the mare.

The deep magic he had cast earlier left Bucky feeling starved. His stomach rumbled and gurgled to let him know that he needed food. Another soft laugh spilled out, Bucky feeling some sympathy for the colt’s plight.

“Where is the bathroom?” Bucky asked.

“Bathroom?” the colt replied. “What is that?”

“The place where one relieves themselves?” Bucky asked.

“There is a bucket in the corner,” the colt whispered helpfully. “Somepony will be along to empty it or you can just pour it out the window yourself.”

Bucky recoiled in horror at the colt’s words, and could not suppress the shudder of disgust that took over his whole body.

“A lot of ponies just piss in the hall and leave the maids to scrub it up,” the colt added, still trying to be helpful. “They get upset if somepony craps on the floor though,” he warned.

Bucky arose, stretched, which caused his back to crackle and pop, yawned, and then moved over to the bucket. It was filthy. He felt a terrible feeling of apprehension. He still didn’t even like the idea of somepony hearing him use the bathroom, which set off fits of neurosis. He glanced at the ponies on the mattress, and then back down on the bucket.

He peered out the window in disgust, looking down, and saw a copse of trees not all that far away. “Look after them,” he commanded to the colt. And then, Bucky vanished in a bright flash of light.

He returned several minutes later in another bright flash of light, looking much better. “I’m going to need to eat entire pounds of starches because of that,” he muttered to himself. He had a worrying thought. How much food was available here? He felt a miserable ache inside of his barrel, and his mind began to twist into knots of worry.

Derpy snorted herself awake and began to look around, smacking her lips. She lifted her tail, farted loudly, and then giggled from the tickle just under her dock.  

The colt also giggled, and then his nostrils crinkled in disgust.

“I’m not sorry,” Derpy whispered into the colt’s ear, causing him to giggle again.

Bucky felt his heart warm slightly. As bad as it might be, he could count on Derpy being a good mother. She looked much better now, although Bucky wondered how long it would last given the conditions, and what might set her off next.

Berry woke with a grunt, catching a whiff of something horrible. “Argh, what died?” she groaned, shaking her head with disgust. “It is a little chilly in here,” Berry announced.

Bucky realised the room was a bit chilly. He looked at the pile of compressed peat bales and the fireplace. Seemed easy enough. He levitated a bale into the fireplace and then with a flicker of magic, set it ablaze. That should begin warming the room for the soon to arrive night he thought to himself. A second later, he regretted his actions. The burning peat bale smelled worse than pegasus flatulence. And pegasus flatulence smelled bad.

Piña awoke with a yawn, and Dinky wiggled free from between Piña and her mother. She stood and stretched her legs, and then wiggled her backside around.

“What is that stench?” Sparkler asked sleepily.

“That is no way to talk about your mother Sparkler,” Berry teased.

“You’ll all be heading off to the dining hall soon,” the colt announced.

“What about you?” Bucky asked.

“I’ll get fed leftovers when everypony else is done,” the colt replied.

Bucky didn’t like the sounds of that. And by the looks of it, neither did Derpy. She scowled and a low growl could be heard in her throat.

“You’re coming with us,” Berry insisted.

“I can’t,” the colt protested. “I’ll get punished if I go in there.”

“Nuh uh,” Derpy protested. “If somepony punishes you I’ll kick them.”

“She will,” Berry agreed. “Probably right in the potato sack. She’s that kind of pony. Did anypony happen to notice that Keg Smasher is afraid of our little grey mare?”

Bucky winced at Berry’s words and nodded. Keg Smasher was indeed afraid of his little grey mare, and he had said so.

“I need to pee,” Piña whined.

“Yeah,” Dinky added, now squirming.

“Let’s figure this out,” Bucky said. “Sooner the better.”

The first thing done was Bucky herding all of the males out of the room to give the females some privacy. and they stood around the hall waiting. When the door was finally opened, the females moved out into the hall and stood with Bucky, while Rising Star and the lunar pegasus colt went into the room to attend to their business.

The bucket was emptied out the window several times, mostly by Sparkler, and once by Rising Star.

After everything was attended to, the ponies shuffled back into the room and waited for somepony to come and collect them.

The night drew closer.

 

 

The dining hall was large and open. There were several long tables. There were no chairs. No cushions. Just the stone floor. Bucky and his herd stood in the wide doorway, taking it all in, not sure what to think. The colt stood trembling, not wanting to enter, looking very afraid.

Derpy shoved him through the doors and hurried Piña and Dinky along. Standing in doors was rude, and blocked traffic. Derpy wanted to leave something of a good impression.

The colt protested several times, and finally Derpy slapped him in the rump with her wing, silencing him and making him slump in defeat. Bucky walked along behind them, Berry at his side, and Sparkler and Rising Star were just behind them.

There was no silverware. Bucky had a troubling thought. There was probably very few manipulation shoes here on the Isles, the special magical shoes that had a seed of magic inside of them that allowed for near field manipulation that allowed earth ponies and pegasi a degree of freedom and modern living without unicorns. The thought was depressing.

“Aye, welcome,” Keg Smasher greeted. “I see you brought a guest.”

“I did. And if you punish him, I will break your legs,” Derpy threatened.

“Oh my, she’s feisty, ain’t she? You had to find you one of them motherly pegasus types,” Keg Smasher said, looking genuinely worried.

“I want my foals looked after,” Bucky stated dismissively, feeling genuinely uncomfortable with everything around him right now.

“You got lucky lad,” Keg Smasher said to the colt. “You be extra good to her, do you hear me?” he commanded, gesturing to Derpy.

“Yes sir,” the colt replied, nodding his head.

Bucky and his herd settled in at the table with Keg Smasher, and began to look around. There were surprisingly few ponies at the table.

“Where are your wives?” Bucky asked, unable to contain his curiousity.

“They’re working. Marrying me doesn’t mean a life of cushy relaxation. I expect servitude from my wives in exchange for the privileges afforded to them. Most of them right now are working as nurses in the humble little hospital we have, looking after the sick and the injured. Some are in outlying villages working as midwives. I don’t lord over my ponies, I serve them. I work hard to try and make their lives better. I bust my arse every day trying to improve this sump-hole of an island,” Keg Smasher explained.

“And he leads us into battle against our many threats,” a pony cried from another table. “He’s a damn good Laird.”

“Aye, I do that,” Keg Smasher admitted in humble tones. “Ain’t right to ask my soldiers to possibly die for me and not go out there with them. Just ain’t right.”

“I have always felt that is how it should be,” Bucky replied, his voice low and quiet. “It was an opinion that put me at odds with my family.”

“I’d imagine it would, Son of Avarice!” Keg Smasher bellowed.

“Never call me that,” Bucky hissed.

“Aye lad, sorry, I meant nothing by it. Merely wanted to point out the contrast. You’re a good sort, I can tell,” Keg Smasher replied.

“I claimed you as one of our own,” Berry interjected.

“I’d be glad to have you as a fellow Pickle,” Keg Smasher offered.

“And I think I would feel much better being one,” Bucky agreed.

“That settles it then. Everypony in this room bear witness, Buckminster Bitters now exists in my house. He is a Pickle in all ways that matter by right of my might, and let no pony argue, unless it is by combat. Does any protest?” Keg Smasher announced.

The room fell silent. Heads lowered and ears dropped. Nopony dared make a challenge. Keg Smasher ruled in the only way that mattered. Absolute force.

“And by the rule of my house, he retains his position of armiger. Piss him off at your own risk. Mess with him and his family at your own risk,” Keg Smasher decreed.

Dinky looked very confused, but remained silent. Piña however, did not.

“What is an armiger?” Piña asked.

“A pony at arms. A weapons bearer,” Bucky explained, not saying more.

“A pony that can be trusted to kill other ponies for the right reasons and is immune to retribution,” Keg Smasher added.

“A position that is all too often abused,” Bucky protested. “I shouldn’t be trusted just because of my birth or my bloodlines. Birth does not make me noble. Was a hard lesson for me to learn.”

“Noble words… spoken by a noble,” Keg Smasher replied, raising his eyebrow. ‘You and I are a different breed.”

“No, I am not,” Bucky protested. “I was just born lucky. Doesn’t make me special.”

“Yes you are!” Keg Smasher bellowed. “I’ve heard about you and what you’ve done. Celestia speaks highly of you. You are as noble as they come by word and deed, and I don’t give two shites and a tinker’s damn about noble birth. I was born to a common prostitute! I rule by right of might. I came home, back to these wretched Isles, and I killed the previous Laird for being a selfish tyrant and then I claimed my position. I slew him, I slew his treacherous wives, and I killed most of his court for the horrible things they did to their own ponies. Sickens me what they did. When I got done this fortress flooded with blood and ran down the halls and formed pools in the low places. Don’t talk to me about nobility Buckminster Bitters, you have it in you to do much the same.”

Bucky sat in silent shock, his mouth hanging open. Derpy’s eyes were wide, and she stared at Keg Smasher. Berry’s gaze dropped down to the table. Rising Star sat and shook his head, unable to take in everything he had just heard. Sparker leaned on Rising Star and looked troubled.

Dinky and Piña clung to one another.

Earth ponies began hauling in carts of food and unicorns began to pile platters from the carts upon the tables. The food smelled delicious after not eating all day.

“Where is Thistle?” Berry asked.

“In the lake,” Keg Smasher replied. “Feeling broken hearted and rejected.”

Derpy made a choking sound and covered her mouth with her fetlock.

“She’s nice. She brings me fresh fish,” the colt stated.

“You eat fish?” Piña asked.

“Fish?” Dinky repeated.

“Yeah,” the colt replied. “And sometimes mice and rats if I catch them.”

“Oh gross…” Piña moaned.

“Yuck!” Dinky gasped.

“Something has to get rid of the rats, otherwise we’d be overrun,” Keg Smasher said in the colt’s defense.

“I’m scared of rats,” Piña confessed.

“I’ll protect you,” the colt offered.

“See? He’s a good lad,” Keg Smasher announced.

Bucky eyed an enormous bowl of hot buttery peas. His mouth watered. Not sure what the proper manners were, he took the bowl in his magic, poured some out on his plate, put the giant serving bowl down, and then stuffed his muzzle into his plate and began to gobble.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the others around him doing the same.

After making his peas disappear, he looked around for other things he liked. There was vegetable stew, gratin potatoes, mashed turnips, fried parsnips, bread, there was a surprising amount of food and variety.

“Neeps and tatties!” Berry punch exclaimed happily, stuffing her face down into her plate and scarfing down a large pile of whatever neeps and tatties were. Bucky had no idea. But it looked good.

“Mead is what we need,” Keg Smasher said, glad to see the serving maids bringing drink. “Over here lasses, do hurry!”

Derpy noticed that one of the serving maids left a small white flower next to the Laird’s plate before she departed. She took it to be a sweet gesture and nothing more.

The hall was filled with the sounds of ponies eating and celebrating, making merry. The sweeps were over, and the oppressive penalty taxes were no more. There was a lot to celebrate, and many toasts were lifted to Berry Punch.

In the middle of all, a long wailing howl drifted through the hall, causing the room to fall silent, except for Piña, who shrieked shrilly and jumped upwards, landing on and clinging to Bucky’s neck. He braced a foreleg under backside to support her weight and realised she felt wet back there. There was a patch of wetness on the stone floor. The foal began to sob with fear, shame, and embarrassment, burying her face in Bucky’s neck.

“I have you Piña, you’re safe,” Bucky soothed. “Don’t worry, nothing can hurt you when I am around. I will keep you safe.”

“Damnable wolves,” Keg Smasher growled.

Berry fretted over her sister, but did not want to pull her away from Bucky. Not knowing what else to do, she continued eating, but kept glancing at Piña Colada and feeling worried.

The foal clung to Bucky, still sobbing, her little forelegs wrapped tightly around his neck. Dinky, worried about Piña, began to sniffle a bit, but she maintained her composure, knowing how important control was. She sat up a little straighter and her horn flared with light. “I’ll keep you safe Piña,” Dinky offered.

“I can watch over you all night if you ask me to do so,” the colt offered.

Piña did not reply, but continued to cry, the emotions of the day now slipping out in one teary flood.

Dinky quietly made the puddle left behind by Piña evapourate, knowing how embarrassing it was to have an accident.

There was another long howl.

“Damnit, the foals will be in a state tonight,” Keg Smasher swore angrily.

“Piña, love, try to calm down, these wolves, they feed on fear,” Bucky whispered to the foal he held in his embrace.

Bucky looked over and saw that Derpy was in quite a state. Her wings were flared. Her muscles quivered. The emotions of the day had been hard on her as well. And now, her foals were threatened. He barely recognised Rising Star, who seemed like a completely different unicorn. Rising Star looked aggressive and not his usual happy go lucky self.

“I might be able to help you with the wolves,” Bucky offered.

“NO!” Derpy cried.

“Derpy, be still,” Bucky said gently. “Keg Smasher, I have powerful magic as I am sure you know. I might be able to help you. What are these shadow wolves and what can I do to help you?”

“They’re terrible foes. Shadow and flesh. They tend to become insubstantial when you attack them, making them very hard to kill. They feed on flesh and fear. They became a real problem under the last Laird, and I just cannot seem to stem the tide of these horrible monsters,” Keg Smasher replied.

“Give me time to settle in, collect my wits, and draw my strength. I can help you,” Bucky offered.

“I am not comfortable with this,” Derpy growled.

“Would you have me do nothing to protect the foals here?” Bucky retorted.

Derpy squirmed uncomfortably, a grimace upon her face. “No, because you probably can help them,” she muttered. “You are going to get an earful about this later though,” Derpy promised.

Bucky continued to hold Piña, and wrapped his other foreleg around her withers. She was slowly calming, but the sobs were still wracking her tiny body. She hiccuped from fear and was content to be held.

“Derpy and I will keep our foals comforted and safe. Just don’t do anything rash or stupid when and if you go out hunting,” Berry stated in low tones.

“I told you that you were noble,” Keg Smasher said to Bucky, grinning, lifting his mug using his wing. He drained it in one long gulp.

Bucky ate, using his magic, still holding Piña, not letting her go. She had calmed a bit more, and he fed her a bit now and then we she pulled her face away from his neck. She was still damp back there, and would need a bath or at least a washing. Bucky realised he would as well.

“I think I understand Derpy’s attraction towards you now,” Berry said to Bucky in a low voice. “Seeing you comfort Piña is making me feel some very strong feelings towards you. Right now, I really want to reward you for being a good daddy,” she said in very low whisper.

“You and me both,” Derpy whispered. “Still angry with him though.”

“Aw, don’t be angry. He just wants to keep other foals safe,” Berry replied to her fellow-wife.

“I don’t want to lose him,” Derpy said in a choked reply. The grey mare grabbed her tankard with her wing, lifted it, and then guzzled her mead. She belched ferociously and slammed it down upon the table.

“Your wife has excellent manners,” Keg Smasher quipped.

“She’s damn near perfect,” Bucky agreed.

“What about me?” Berry questioned, glaring at Bucky.

“You are also everything I would ever want in a wife,” Bucky admitted.

“Good answer lad,” Keg Smasher chuckled.

Berry relaxed her posture and resumed eating.

Bucky tried to relax and enjoy himself, glad to have a moment to bond so closely with his precious little Piña.

 

Author's Note:

Chapter turned out much longer than I had planned. I'm not sorry! A lot is going on here. So do try to pay attention to the little details I have hidden in the middle of the chapter where nobody bothers remembering.

Neeps and tatties are turnips and potatoes.

 
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