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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“Boadicea, this is Loki. Loki, this is Boadicea.” Gofannon looked over at Lugus, who was watching everything. “Loki is going to be your new best friend.” Gofannon tried to think of something more useful to say, some means to make Boadicea understand what she was in for. Balanced on his haunches, he sat up straight and raised both of his talons.

“Loki was used as a pit fighter in an arena. He once killed a manticore by ripping open its guts, crawling up inside of it, and eventually crawling out of the manticore’s mouth… after it had died.” Gofannon looked over at Loki, who seemed very pleased with himself at the moment.

There was a startled peep from Boadicea.

“Loki will teach you everything you need to know about fitting in with us. I would welcome you to the Raptors, but you have not yet earned that honour.” Gofannon narrowed his eyes and gave Boadicea a hard stare, something that was very difficult for him to do. More than anything, he wanted to avert his eyes and become submissive.

“You want me to train her?” Loki fluffed out and his wings flapped. “I’ve crapped out things more dangerous than she is.”

“I’ll show you dangerous!” Boadicea cried, bringing herself up to her full height. Still a cub, she wasn’t a whole lot bigger than Loki.

“Boadicea… there is much you could learn from Loki.”

Boadicea froze and then bowed her head after hearing Lugus’ voice.

“He once climbed up a sump hole and assassinated another griffon by ripping open their groin with a dagger. You foolishly stabbed a mountain of a pegasus with a sharpened spoon. You have much you could learn from Loki.” Lugus stepped forward, his claws clicking upon the wood. “Loki is treacherous in the same way that our king is clever. Always suspect the worst from the little ones, for they can be the most dangerous.”

Boadicea nodded, her head still bowed. “I will heed your words.”

“Time for a lesson. Loki, disarm. Everything. Right now. On the ground. Remove every weapon you have.” Lugus commanded.

“Do I look armed?” Loki asked.

“Other than the dagger visible on your belt, no. Now, disarm.” Lugus gave the smaller griffon a stern look.

“This is a chore,” Loki said in a peeved sounding voice.

With a clunk his dagger hit the wooden floor. He took off his belt, revealing a garrote that was twined along the inside. A set of brass knuckles slid out from behind the belt buckle. Opening his doublet, Loki began to reach inside. Several darts hit the floor. Multiple bolos were set down. Another garrote was drawn out. A stiletto was drawn from behind Loki’s back, hidden beneath his doublet. Another stiletto was pulled out. A hook bladed knife was drawn from a hidden sheath and with a thump it hit the floor. A sling was pulled out of Loki’s sleeve, dropped, and then a sack full of steel balls was tossed down beside it. Several blackjacks were drawn from multiple places and thrown down to the floor.

Boadicea’s eyes bulged as she watched Loki disarm.

A small thin crossbow stock was pulled from somewhere, and then the bow for the crossbow was pulled from somewhere else. It was a tiny thing, the quarrels were little more than needles, but there was no doubt to anybirdy viewing that the quarrels were poisoned. Spreading out his wings, extending them to their full length, Loki began to pull needle darts, another garrote, several small blades, and multiple glass vials filled with various liquids.

Lugus squinted his eye at Loki. “I said everything.”

“Fine!” Loki snapped. Opening his beak, he reached down his own throat, made a gurgle, and a moment later, he pulled out a dagger in a wooden sheath. He tossed it down to the floor. Hunching over, belching, making gagging sounds, he retched up another dagger in a sheath and several more glass vials filled with different coloured liquids.

Lugus shook his head.

“I am disarmed. I hope you are happy,” Loki said in a sulky voice.

“Boadicea… have you learned anything?” Lugus asked.

“The little griffon walks funny. I do not think he is yet disarmed,” Boadicea replied.

 

 

Looking over a map of Mustangia, Bucky gnawed upon his own lip, teasing his skin with the sharp points of his fangs. There was a cluster of mines, most of them opal mines, but there were a few mines in particular that he had interest in.

The sound of Violet’s pen scratching away in the background was comforting.

Reaching down with a compass, Bucky began measuring how many inches away the mines were from the city proper. Mustangia, located upon the coast of an inland sea, was almost the halfway point between Equestria and Saddle Arabia. Far down south, beyond Saddle Arabia, Bucky knew that the mirror travelers had another portal.

He scowled. Mustangia was a city of with a majority of earth ponies. Bucky didn’t like this at all. Mirror travelers hated earth ponies. If the mirror travelers were anywhere near Mustangia, there were bound to be problems.

“Twilight Sparkle has arranged for her friend, Fluttershy, to come and spend some time with you,” Violet said, breaking the silence.

“What?” Bucky asked.

“According to this missive, Fluttershy is being sent with instructions to teach you how to meditate, to teach you how to be calm and serene, and to help you with your disposition.”

“Oh bother… that’s not necessary.”

“Sir…”

“Yes, what is it Violet, I am very busy,” Bucky replied.

“I agree with Twilight. You could stand to learn some healthy coping mechanisms—”

“TRAITOR!”

Showing no concern at all, Violet ignored Bucky’s outburst. “Sir, this missive is signed by Princess Celestia as well. It is an official order that for the good of the Empire. You need some healthy forms of stress relief that do not include you drinking, self medicating, working yourself to death, or other self destructive activities.”

The corner of Bucky’s eye twitched. “So this is how Celestia wages war. She hits me at home, looking oh so benevolent, as if she is actually concerned about me… she is cunning.”

Rolling her eyes and sighing, Violet shook her head.

 

 

“—and this is where you will be going to school. You will be starting tomorrow. Bright and early. Once school is finished, you will be reporting to Gofannon and Loki for training. If you have homework, your needs will be assessed and you will be given time to complete it.”

Boadicea slumped and let out a miserable sigh as she turned away from Lugus.

“Sigh once more and I will tell Yew that you are depressed and in need of much hugging.”

The griffoness cub looked over at Lugus, her eyes narrowed. “You wouldn’t dare.”

“Yew’s previous family did not show much affection. It still pains her. She will not make the same mistake twice, which is why I love her as much as I do. I will see that she gets the affection that she desires, both physical and emotional. Do not test my patience, little cub.”

“Stop calling me ‘little cub.’ I served in the army. I was a scout. I survived a war. I am no helpless little cub and—”

“Stop behaving like a little cub and I will call you something else,” Lugus said.

Her crest raising, Boadicea held her head high. “At least I don’t go smashing the heads of ‘little cubs’ down into the floor.”

“And I don’t go dropping down on top of somebirdy like the common sneak thief.” Lugus’ talons began to tap upon the tile floor.

“I was scared… what else was I supposed to do? I was tied up and in chains after I had just been dosed with sleeping powder and all I could think about was all the bad things that could happen to little females like myself… I’m sorry I dropped down on you, really, I am. I was out of my mind from fear and worry.”

Lugus did not expect Boadicea to switch to this tactic. He wondered if it was a tactic, or if she was being sincere. He mulled it over in his mind, trying to take what he knew of her, her intelligence, and his own best judgement. After much thinking, Lugus realised that he didn’t know.

“Lugus… they hurt me… I don’t know if it was accidental, but they clipped my wings and cut into feathers rich with blood. They filed my claws down to the quick… a lot happened. I thought they did it to torture me, but now, after meeting with Keg Smasher, I am wondering if it was all just an accident.”

Not knowing what to do, Lugus searched his mind, trying to find something to say, some means to respond. He came up blank. He tried to think about what Yew might do in this situation.

Reaching out his massive wing, Lugus enclosed it around Boadicea and crushed her to him, squeezing her tight against him. He felt her struggle, kicking, trying to squirm away, but then she went still and allowed herself to be held.

 

 

“—it is with great pleasure that I announce the first ever meeting of the League of Extraordinary Earth Ponies!” Piña banged away on the small wooden podium and smiled.

“I dunno, this still feels wrong somehow… League of Extraordinary Earth Ponies—”

“Diamond Tiara, if a pegasus or a unicorn or even a griffon wants to join, we’ll make them honourary earth ponies… we will refuse no one,” Apple Bloom said. “We don’t want nopony accusing us earth ponies of being tribalist.”

“Okay, that works for me.” Diamond Tiara pressed her front hooves together, thought about her posture, and sat up straight.

“Apple Bloom?” Piña asked.

“What?”

“No, I’m taking the attendance,” Piña said.

“Whoopsie… I’m here,” Apple Bloom said.

“Diamond Tiara?”

“Present!”

“Larch?”

“I’m here.”

“Babs Seed?”

There was a long pause…

“Babs?”

“Sorry, I was thinking about that pink moon last night.”

“Archer?”

“Here!”

“Lance?”

“I think I’m absent.”

“There is always one… okay, we are all here.” Piña smiled out at the earth ponies in the room. “Oh… and I am here. One Piña Colada. Apple Bloom, I’m turning the floor over to you.”

“Thank you Piña,” Apple Bloom said as she got up from her desk. She walked through the empty classroom that the club had borrowed, taking a few deep breaths. She passed Piña, who was going to go sit down, and then stepped up to the podium.

The faces of the other foals all looked up at her and Apple Bloom felt butterflies in her stomach. She swallowed, and wished that she had some water. She cleared her throat.

“We’re here to prove to everypony that we earth ponies can do anything, anything at all. The League of Extraordinary Earth Ponies is here to show the world that there is nothing we can’t do. Each and every one of us is special in some way.” She looked at her fellow earth ponies and offered a nervous smile. “Piña and Larch can do magic. They’re earth ponies, and they can do magic. Babs has a knack for astronomy that has caught the eye of Princess Luna. Over the summer, Babs might get a chance to go and study with Luna and that’s amazing. Archer is an earth pony… and she can use a bow. She’s a crack shot and proof that earth ponies can do anything. Lance can do scary math inside of his head, without an abacus or a slide rule or even paper to work out the problem.”

“You forgot somepony,” Piña said in a low whisper.

“Oh… that’s right. Diamond Tiara, who can organise anything.” Apple Bloom grinned a sheepish grin and looked around. “Sorry about that Diamond… you’re my friend, I wouldn’t forget you on purpose. I’m as nervous as a two tailed cat in a room full of rockin’ chairs.”

“Think nothing of it, Apple Bloom,” Diamond Tiara said with a reassuring smile.

“Now, during our first meeting, I thought we’d all brainstorm about all the ways that we can show the world that we earth ponies can do anything and how we can make a difference.” Apple Bloom’s face became serious. “We don’t have to grow up and be farmers if we don’t want. We don’t have to be wagon pullers. We’re getting our IQs tested now and we’re being offered the same chances as everypony else, so lets not blow it. We’re gonna get good grades, we’re going to attend as many extra curricular activities as possible, we’re gonna make ourselves known.”

“Yeah!” Lance cried out.

“Eyes on the target,” Archer said.

“Yeah, on target,” Larch said.

“Do we have to donate blood?” Babs asked. “I hate being stuck with needles.”

“Yes we do. We earth ponies have the best blood there is, the blood bank says so, and there is always a need. So we’re gonna donate as a group and we’re gonna show everypony how useful we earth ponies can be.” Apple Bloom looked over at her cousin. “I’ll hold your fetlock Babs… I don’t wanna be stuck either. I’m scared of needles.”

“We’re going to need parental permission slips,” Diamond Tiara said as she dug through her stack of papers on her desk. “Mine is already signed.” She held out a stack of papers to Piña, who took one and then passed them around.

“So… who has ideas on how we can show the world that earth ponies can do anything?”

 

 

 

 

 

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