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


575. 575

“I have an itch.” Belisama’s feathers were fluffed out. “I have an itch and it will not go away.” The griffoness squirmed. “It is where I have an itch that is the problem… it showed up the day after we found that ship and now I’ve suffered for the past two days.”

Looking over at Belisama, one of Bucky’s eyebrows elevated somewhat.

“My kitty bits are itching!” Belisama wiggled her backside around on the bed.

“Got a case of clitty litter?” Bucky asked, choking back a laugh as he spoke.

“Oh… hah hah…” Belisama ground her backside against the sheet.

“Probably just healing up after giving birth.” Bucky watched as Belisama scooted her backside over the sheets. Laundry would need to be done again, of this there could be no doubt.

“Go take Bandua to Magpie. I’m going to take a bath,” Belisama said, still dragging her backside over the sheet.

“As you command, your Majesty,” Bucky said, bowing his head. He snatched up the shawl where Bandua was sleeping in his magic, held it close to his neck, and departed.

“Oh by the stars… it itches!”



The common room was filled with excitement. If all went well, they would be home by late evening, or maybe midnight. For some, it was returning home. For others, it would be their first time in a new place.

For Bucky, it would be the end of boredom. The winter games would be a good distraction, there was lots of work to do at Hidden Hollow Fortress, there would be beer to brew, and a school to run, provided that there were no blizzards keeping little foals from reaching school.

Holding a sugar cube in his magic, Bucky looked down at the blue eyes looking up at him. Blue eyes filled with a hopeful look, but also clouded with doubt. He kept his ears down and tried to look as submissive as possible.

“Just say something. Anything. Anything at all. I don’t care what you say, just say something and I will give you this sugarcube. You haven’t said anything for almost two days now. Daddy is scared… and you have such a sweet voice.”

Sukari, looking up at the sugarcube, swallowed, closed her eyes, dropped her head, then turned around and began to walk away.

Bucky thought about grabbing her, but that might startle her. Again. Startling her meant cleaning up a mess. He lowered the sugarcube down to foal level. “Here. Just take it. And know that daddy loves you.”

He waited. The foal was just standing there. His eyes lingered in the stripes on her back, both her pelt and the fine latticework of scars. One ear twitched. Bucky, not aware that he was holding his breath, began to feel lightheaded.

“Come on, take it. Just… have it. No strings attached.” Bucky’s words were raspy from holding his breath. He drew in wind through his dry throat.

Sukari turned, eyed the sugarcube, licked her lips for a moment, stared at the treat, and then, without warning, she lunged at it. She gobbled it down, looked up at Bucky, and then ran off with her corded tail tucked between her hind legs. She dove under a pile of cushions and hid.

“Well, I’m calling that a victory,” Bucky said to no one in particular.

“Buckminster… a word with you for a moment?” Celestia’s head was held high and she looked hopeful.

Bucky rose up on all fours and something in one of his hind legs popped. Grimacing, he limped over to the table where Celestia was sitting and sat down in a chair.

“Luna has no spies here… well, except for you of course.” Celestia’s expression became serious. “I do not see a way for us to win. Luna is allowing me to field up to two dozen units. She was very patronising about the whole thing. She is detestable sometimes.”

Bucky nodded.

“Any plans on how to beat her?” Celestia asked.

Bucky shook his head. “She is fielding one Myrmidon. A male. The rest are garden variety lunar pegasi and her elite night watch unicorns.”

Leaning forward, Celestia’s eyes narrowed. “How did you learn of this?”

“I have my sources.” Bucky made no effort to elaborate.

“The game is not in your favour. These are war games, but we cannot cause grievous bodily harm or crippling injury. Your griffon fighters might do well in a real skirmish, I have no doubts, but how can they subdue such terrible foes?” Celestia’s lip curled back in a snarl. “Luna is going to be unbearable to live around after she wins.”

“If I could give my griffons a well outfitted magical arsenal, this would be different—”

“No magical armor, no magical weapons, those are the rules. Unicorns can use stunning spells, holding spells, and spells to incapacitate, but not cause serious injury.” Celestia looked at Bucky and her expression softened.

“I know. The rules aren’t very fair. They were not written with little griffons in mind.” Bucky’s talons began to drum upon the table.

“Imagine if you will, Luna’s lunar pegasi in magically shielded plate mail, storming your defenses.” Celestia lifted up her teacup and there was an angry slurp. She swallowed. “The no magic rule exists for a reason. If you could use it, so could she.”

“So yes… still an unwinnable situation, no matter how you slice it.” Bucky poured himself a cup of tea.

Watching a spider golem scurry past, Celestia smiled as Tourmaline followed. “I wish you could build a fifty foot tall war machine… that would put Luna in her place.”

“Somepony could get seriously hurt with one of those. I won’t do it,” Bucky added a slice of crystalised dehydrated lemon to his tea and plunked in a sugarcube. “Without going into detail… I have a few questions about my trip to Mustangia… that is assuming that the ponies we hope to find will be at the mine where we think they might be.”

Celestia’s demeanour shifted. She sat up, becoming regal and dignified. Her front hooves folded in front of her, one over the other upon the table. Her eyes glowed for a moment, burning like embers in a fire.

“I need to make sure that Twilight understands my purpose there. Twilight can suffer inopportune pangs of consciousness… I’m not even sure if she should be going.” Bucky lifted his teacup and sniffed.

The sound in the room around the pair seemed to go quiet, to be dulled somehow, as if it were somehow distant and very far away. Bucky’s horn was glowing. Nopony or nobirdy seemed to  be looking at them, all of them found reasons to look away, finding something else that was far more interesting to look at.

“I will make certain that Twilight knows what is to take place there if you find what you are looking for. She might not like it, but she will obey and I know that she will do what is asked of her. You are to reduce the mirror travelers to a fine paste and Twilight is to destroy the control device.”

“To make things clear, I am not working as a Black Cloak or a duly appointed agent of the Lunar Court. This is a family affair, a private dealing between a nephew and his auntie. I don’t want Twilight bringing rules and regulations into this. I don’t want a repeat of somepony scolding me for dangling somepony off of a roof in Vanhoover and giving them a scare.” Having spoke his mind, Bucky tilted back his head, placed the teacup to his lips, and took a satisfying sip. He hissed after he swallowed, grimacing as the hot liquid slid down his throat.

“Buckminster… Captain Frost Armor was a member of Twilight’s family. A close cousin, but he was not a noble. He came from a long proud line of loyal, dutiful servants to the crown. I watched him grow up. When he was a yearling, he stood straight and tall and he saluted me. It was his very first salute. He devoted his entire existence to my service. He saw me through some of the worst moments of my recent life.” The tea in Celestia’s cup began to boil. Steam rose from the teapot. The butter on the plate began to go soft and lose its shape.

“I understand. I will go to Mustangia and I will do as I am asked.”

“If you will excuse me, my dear nephew, I do believe I need some fresh air,” Celestia said in a soft voice that did nothing to hide her fury. She bowed her head, then rose from the table, and then saying nothing else, departed.



“In the distance, I can see Canterlot,” Tourmaline said as she peered out of the small window. She squinted through her glasses. “The city is so pretty at night.”

Berry Punch pushed Tourmaline over and peered out the window, sitting cheek to cheek with Tourmaline. “The sky is so clear… I can see all of the stars overhead. The sky is kinda purple. You can see the whole of the land is blanketed in white.”

Tourmaline yawned and then draped herself over Berry Punch. “I’m sleepy.”

“It is past midnight,” Berry said.

“But if I go to sleep, I’ll just get woke up when we arrive.” Tourmaline yawned again and rubbed her cheek against Berry’s neck. “Bucky is right.”

“He is? Since when has Bucky been right about anything?” Berry wrapped a foreleg around Tourmaline and gave her a squeeze.

“Earth ponies are extra snuggly.”

“Oh.” Berry Punch smiled. “He’s right about that. But we won’t tell him. He’ll get a big head from finally being right about something. We don’t want that.”

“We don’t?” Tourmaline gave Berry Punch and owlish stare through her glasses.

“No. We don’t. Because we like Bucky just the way he is. The lovable bumbling doofus that always comes through for those he loves or those in trouble.” Berry reached up and booped Tourmaline on the snoot. “Like you.” She watched as Tourmaline yawned.

“So sleepy.”

“When we get to Ponyville, I’ll make sure you are tucked into a nice warm bed. I think you’ll be staying with us tonight.” Berry reclined over on her side, pulling Tourmaline down with her. The foal did nothing to resist.



The Scorned Mare settled down towards its mooring in the snow covered field like a sleepy foal tumbling into bed. The night was almost windless, the air was crisp and clear. From where he was, Bucky could see the lake behind the house had vanished; frozen and covered over in snow, it was hard to see and indistinguishable from the land around it.

There was a deep sense of worry, anxious anticipation. He wanted to see his foals, his family… but there would be so many questions. So much talking. It was bound to be overwhelming. There would be questions about Sukari.

Bucky worried about Sukari. This was going to be a new environment all over again. Everypony would be wanting to see her, touch her, be near her. Bucky feared that it would be too much.

There would be questions about Broom and Door, Lugus was going to have to explain things to Yew. There were going to be papers to fill out, to sign, and forms for the school.

There were going to be vaccinations to perform. Poor little Sukari, who had already suffered enough, was going to have to be stabbed in the backside. Bucky vowed not to let Grimglammer anywhere near the zebra filly.  

It was one thing to vaccinate a foal or a pony; it was another to enjoy stabbing somepony in the arse with a railroad spike.

His talons on the control yoke, Bucky eased his ship down. There was a muffled thump as the ship settled into the wooden cradle and the ship shuddered as its weight came to rest in the mooring.

Flipping several switches, Bucky powered down the engines.



Moving about the deck, Bucky was securing the tethers himself when a flight of griffons arrived. They went to work and in no time at all the ship was secured in its berth.

Ponies from belowdecks starting coming abovedecks.

There wasn’t much of a greeting party, which was no surprise. It was late at night. A few lights flickered on the farmhouse, windows that had been dark were now illuminated.

The Raptors landed on the deck, all of them looking a bit sleepy.

Distracted, Bucky did not see the grey shape swooping through the darkness. It came as a blur, moving swift and almost silent. Bucky let out a startled cry of alarm as he was snatched off the deck. Strong forelegs wrapped around him, squeezing the air out of his lungs.

“I missed you!”

A moment later, Bucky felt Derpy kissing him all over his face. He saw the ground beneath him, moving in a blur. Craning his head, he found Derpy’s lips with his own. After one very passionate and smouldering kiss, Bucky pulled away with a wet slobbery pop.

“You can say hello to everypony else in the morning. Right now, you’re mine. All mine.”

“I suppose you are hauling me back to bed?” Bucky asked.

Derpy nodded. “Yup.”

“Derpy, there is so much to tell you—”

“Later… I have other plans for your mouth.” Derpy gave Bucky a squeeze.

“But Derpy… really, there is some important stuff to talk about… Cadance learned some new words, Belisama gave birth, and I… uh… well, I may have brought home a zebra foal that Thistle and I adopted—”

“You brought me home a gift?”

This was not the reaction that Bucky expected. To be honest, Bucky was not sure what he expected. But not this.

“You’re so sweet! So thoughtful!” Derpy began kissing Bucky’s face all over once more.

Forgetting everything else, Bucky wrapped his forelegs around Derpy’s neck and allowed himself to get lost in the moment. He sought out her lips once more with his own and as her lips parted to invite him inside, Bucky’s troubles melted away.




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