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


571. 571

“My eyes burn.” As Boadicea reached up to rub them, Bucky pulled her talons away.

There was a grunt of concern as Bucky peered into Boadicea’s eyes. “Your nictitating membranes are inflamed—”

“My whats are what?” Boadicea asked.

Bucky sighed, feeling bad that he knew more about griffons than the griffoness he was trying to help. “Nictitating membranes. Your inner eyelids. The eyelid you can see through that allows you to fly through sandstorms or dust or even bad weather.”

“Oh… those.” Boadicea slumped down and allowed Bucky to wipe at her eyes with a soft damp cloth he had conjured.

“Crying releases all the toxins and gunk built up in your tear ducts. For griffons, this means an eyeful of irritants until it finally flushes out.” Bucky used the corner of the cloth to daub at Boadicea’s eyes.

“I wonder if this is why we are told not to cry.”

“Might be.” Bucky wiped away some eye boogers. “I read about this in a book. Belisama had lots of eye problems after she came home. She mourned the loss of her sister.”

“Why are you being so nice to me? I was bad. I wanted to kill you. I said awful things. I behaved like vermin.”

“You sound like Lugus… he is always complaining about vermin.” Bucky wiped the cloth over Boadicea’s nostrils. “As for why I am nice to you… the war is over. Time to leave it behind.”

“We griffons are taught that vermin are the worst things in the world…”



“Do we tell Bucky?”

“No. Bucky has plenty on his mind. The mess has been cleaned up and everything is okay. Nothing to worry about.” Berry Punch narrowed one eye and looked at Thistle.

“I was too afraid to scold her… I mean… she’s suffered so much… she went over to the corner and just started peeing… what do I do?” Thistle looked at Berry with wide worried eyes. “I was scared that if I told her no, or raised my voice, or did anything at all she would freak out and we’d have to catch her and calm her down again. How will we punish her? Tell her what right and wrong is?”

Berry shrugged. “I dunno.”

“Well, we can’t be loud… we can’t swat her little backside… I’m terrified of upsetting her.” Thistle’s eyes began to glisten with tears. “I don’t know what I’m doing and I’m gonna fail.”

The floodgates opened and the kelpie began to sob.

Sitting down beside Thistle, Berry wrapped a foreleg over the kelpie’s withers.

Thistle muffled her sobs by burying her face into Berry’s neck, hoping she wouldn’t wake her own foals. Both were asleep now, wrapped together in a blanket.

“Thistle… Thistle, listen to me. I don’t know what to do either, but we’ll figure it out. Maybe Derpy will know what to do. Meanwhile, we’ll just keep an eye on her, try to get her into the bathroom every so often, and we’ll praise her and give her cookies when she does the right thing.”

“I’m gonna fail… I’m gonna be a bad mother… Celestia was stupid for giving her to me.” Thistle’s whole body rocked with sobs as she clung to Berry.

“Oh crivens,” Berry said, slipping into a rolling lilt from stress.

“I just stood there like a stupid pony… those really stupid ponies that you hear stories about that stand there and look up with their mouth open while it is raining and they drown—”

“Thistle, hush,” Berry said, giving the kelpie a squeeze.

“I just stood there as she peed in the corner—”

“Thistle, shush, now I mean it.” Berry gave Thistle a kiss on the cheek. “Be quiet. You’ll wake the foals and then you’ll complain about being a bad mother some more.”

Thistle snorted and sniffled, trying to suck snot out of her nostrils so she could breathe. “But I am a bad mother…”

Berry Punch, left with no other option, went with the only thing she knew to do to distract a loved one from their sorrows. Ignoring Thistle’s snotty muzzle, Berry Punch hauled Thistle in for a kiss, forcing her lips open and distracting Thistle with a tongue so long it could lick the bottom of a bottle.

Thistle went stiff for a moment, trying to pull away, and then went limp as Berry worked her over. After a few moments of stunned shock, the kelpie wrapped her forelegs around Berry’s neck and began to reciprocate.



Tourmaline, so very aware of the emotions all around her, sat down on a cushion in the corner and scowled. There was lots of love to be had, but it was sad love. There was too much sadness on the ship. There was too much depression. She felt a buzzing in between her ears, just behind her eyes. There was also sexual love, something she was all too aware of when it happened. Feeling lightheaded, she lay down upon her cushion and tried not to think about what Berry and Thistle were doing, feeling some very conflicting emotions of her own about the whole thing. As a foal, it was gross and icky. As a changeling, it was a source of strength and energy.

Berry and Thistle were very good and very strong sources of strength and energy.

Her mother was gone… Celestia had retreated to their cabin and had asked for some alone time. Tourmaline knew all too well what would be happening in there soon. It was strange, knowing that her mother was engaging in physical love and that it was a source of food to be consumed.

Tourmaline felt wrong for absorbing it, like a foal that stealing cookies from the jar.

The emotions from the Shetlands were raw, untamed, overwhelming. They had been overpowering. Tourmaline had trouble containing herself and her telekinesis had become quite unstable, not that she had very much control over it just yet.

She watched as Cadance took wobbly steps around the common room. Tourmaline waved, gesturing for Cadance to come closer. Cadance, seeing Tourmaline, smiled.

Spreading her wings to help her balance, Cadance tottered over to Tourmaline, almost stumbled, recovered, and climbed up onto the cushions with Tourmaline. She lay down and snuggled up against Tourmaline, glad to have a warm body to press against.

“Hi Cadance… I guess everypony is ignoring you right now,” Tourmaline said in a low whisper. “Lugus is off trying to think, Bucky is looking after his griffons, your auntie Celery is… well you don’t need to know what she is doing.” Tourmaline pressed her lips against Cadance’s cheek and gave her a kiss.

Cadance giggled.

“There is a zebra with mind sickness that I can’t bear to touch or feel… Bandua is a blank space that only feels cold and hunger. Bell Heather is only really happy when she is getting milk. Broom looks really happy but she is actually scared out of her mind and I don’t know why. Sprocket and Cog are weird but sweet… they feel the sort of love that a cub or a foal feels for their parents towards almost every single griffon here. Door is worried about his sister and he feels scared because he thinks one of the little griffonesses is pretty and he’s doing all he can to keep talking to her but for some reason he thinks its wrong that he finds her pretty. Tourmaline took a deep breath. “Weaver is so very in love but he is so scared of losing his love or having it taken away. Grisabella is also in love but she is too proud and too much like Lugus to show it because showing it would be awkward. Magpie keeps looking at Broom and I think Magpie likes Broom in the same way that Door likes the little griffoness he keeps looking at.”

Tourmaline swallowed.

“But Magpie is scared because she doesn’t know if Broom will find her pretty.”

The changeling hiding in a foal’s body scowled. “I’m not supposed to gossip or talk about any of this stuff, mama says it is wrong, but I know for a fact that you can feel everything I am feeling too. And it is too much.”

Cadance nodded and looked up at Tourmaline with wide eyes.

“See? This isn’t gossip. This is just two friends talking about what they already know. I don’t know if mama would see it that way though, so you and I are going to have to keep this a secret.” Tourmaline wrapped her forelegs around Cadance and hugged her.

Cadance, smiling, hugged back.

“Mama worries too much that you might feel weird about me because of what happened with the changelings in your old life and she is worried that you will remember everything and hate me but I don’t think that you will. Do you hate me?”

Cadance’s mouth became a straight line and a worried expression overtook her face. She shook her head.

“See, I knew it. Mama worries too much.”

The soft pink alicorn foal nodded.

“We can be the bestest friends and we’ll know everyone’s secrets together.”



“What the… why is there…” Bucky looked down at the command console. There was a ship ahead, not moving, and this alarmed Bucky more than he cared to admit. Airships were supposed to be moving. It is what they did. This ship was drifting but not moving under its own power.

Reaching down with a talon, he pressed a button and turned off the alarm. Knowing that The Scorned Mare was a marvel of automation and would raise her own shields if threatened, Bucky flicked a switch and raised the shields anyway.

Nothing like a decoy dead ship.

The door opened. Bucky glanced over and knew it would be Lugus. “You and I will be taking a little sightseeing tour.”

“Oh?” Lugus looked worried.

“Dead ship ahead. No magical signature from the engines. Now go tell everypony and everybirdy that I want them in the common room, that is an ORDER.”

Lugus, sensing Bucky’s air of authority, nodded. “Aye aye, my king.” Bowing his head, Lugus departed.



“This could be dangerous.” Celestia stood firm, one hoof tapping upon the wooden floor. “Buckminster, I am coming with you.”

“No! Damnit, look… I need you here. There are things here that need guarding. As the captain of this vessel I—”

“Are you pulling rank on me?” Celestia demanded.

Bucky, sensing an opportunity, nodded. “Yes I am! You are confined to ship!”

“You sly little pony. Fine. Rob me of any chance I had of adventure.” Celestia sighed and shook her head. “I was actually hoping for a little trouble on this voyage.”

“Lugus and I are heading over to have a look around. Berry Punch, while I am gone, you are in charge. Don’t do anything stupid.” Bucky gave the earth pony a stern look.

“I hate being in charge. You bastard.” Berry Punch’s nostrils flared as she snorted in anger. “Don’t do anything stupid… come back to me in one piece. Hey, that should be our family motto… don’t do anything stupid…”

“We do stupid stuff all the time,” Thistle said.

Berry nodded. “That’s what makes it funny.”

“If I join the family, can I do stupid stuff?” Celestia asked.

“No. You are confined to ship,” Berry replied.

“Aw…” Celestia did her best impression of foalish disappointment.

There was a clicking sound followed a creak. Looking over, Bucky saw Belisama raise her crossbow and stroke the stock. Looking around, he saw that the other little griffons and some of the bigger griffons were armed. Knives winked out of nowhere. Grisabella was holding a well oiled and well polished mace in her talons. Upon second glance, Bucky realised it was a cylinder head from a steam engine and that it had to weigh at least twenty pounds. Magpie was checking her blade. Several of the little griffons had slings. Bucky wondered why they were all so well armed. Lugnut had pulled out some contraption that looked as though it fired railroad spikes, from where Lugnut had pulled it, Bucky did not know, but the strange device had tanks on it and what appeared to be pressure gauges. Steam began to rise from a vent.

There was a tooting sound, almost like a tiny train whistle. Bucky pondered what it would be like to hear the tooting of a train whistle as the last sound you heard in your life as a railroad spike penetrated your skull… without realising that he was doing so, Bucky smiled the sort of horrible smile that made ponies around him want to wet themselves and made sphincters clench.

Celestia stepped forward and dropped her head down. With her lips a scant inch from Bucky’s ear, she said, “They are all armed. Should they be armed? I was not expecting this.”

A low thrum came from Lugnut’s steam powered spike launcher.

“Lugus, we’re going.” Bucky made a gesture for Lugus to come along, ignoring Celestia’s concern about well armed little griffons.

The big griffon gave a tug on Boadicea. “Come on, we’re going. I’ll carry you over.”

Bucky stopped. “No… Lugus, let me make this clear. We’re going.

Lugus lifted his head and towered over Bucky, looking down. “No, let me make this clear. My authority overrides yours in this instance. I want her with me. You manipulated me into this authority.”

Craning his head to look up, Bucky nodded. “Okay, fine. She comes with us. But you should be keeping her safe.”

“No, as her father, I should be teaching her about dedication and devotion to duty. Do not tell me how to raise my cub and I will not tell you how to raise yours.” Lugus stared down at his king, looking somewhat irritated.

“Fair enough.” Bucky looked up and poked Lugus in the chest with a talon. “I was hoping you’d say something like that. You can always be counted on to be honourable and true.”




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