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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“Mama sad.” The expression on Harper’s face was somehow worse than the expression upon her mother’s. “Why mama sad?”

Standing at the edge of the bed, Bucky didn’t know what to do. Lyra was laying here, red eyed, miserable looking, and Bon Bon was holding her, pressed against Lyra’s back and Bon Bon was rubbing her. Bucky wanted to grab her, hold her, squeeze her…

But he was all too mindful of what he was and how Lyra might react to certain parts of him. Fear churned his insides. Worry. He had already sent off a message to Luna and he felt an odd sense of anxiety as he wondered if Luna might reply… or if she would ignore him.

Luna was angry after all.

As he stood at the edge of the bed, Bucky thought about how much he loved Lyra. The unicorn mare was special to him… she had been the unicorn that he had married, the unicorn whose neurosis had meshed so well with his own. A unicorn that he was proud of, did not feel ashamed of, a unicorn that was so unlike the others he had known in his life.

Lyra, a commoner, was silly. She could be crude. Lyra was capable of matching Berry for dirty jokes. Lyra was the perfect foil for Bon Bon. Bucky valued Lyra’s curiousity and philosophical nature.

“Hold me.” Lyra extended a foreleg towards Bucky.

Bucky did not need to be told twice. He dove into the bed and wiggled up against Lyra. There was a tangle of legs between them as he pressed up against her, sandwiching her against Bon Bon. Harper, between them, let out a low whimpering cry.

Standing in the door, having come from the bathroom, Derpy looked at the ponies in the bed. Lyra was very dear to her. There was intimacy there now, a recent development. A strong connection had formed. Limping, the pain in her pelvis throbbing, Derpy approached the bed.

She climbed in and clambered over to Bon Bon. She threw herself down on top of Bon Bon, her front half draped over Bon Bon’s soft and supple sides. She rested her head down on top of Lyra.

A pegasus’ place was on top of the pile, so they could be the first to rise in the herd’s defense. Instinct was a difficult thing to deny. Spread out over Bon Bon and Lyra, Derpy felt empowered, in control of the situation, and Lyra’s sadness didn’t hurt so much.

“I heard Lyra got bad news,” Loch Skimmer said, standing in the bedroom doorway that led out to the hall. Her wings flapping, she hurried to bed and tossed herself at the pony pile, joining Derpy.

“I don’t feel right about doing this anymore.” Bon Bon’s voice was ragged, raspy, it was the voice of grief. “Lyra and I do everything together.”

Sniffling, Lyra raised her head. “Bonnie… don’t… don’t give up on your happiness for me. This hurts enough.”

“Lyra… I…” A large tear slipped from Bon Bon’s eye, soaked into the pelt of her face, and left behind a dark discolouration.

“I’m so glad that I have Harper. I already know the joy of being a mother.” Lyra pressed her face into Harper. “I have Harper and that’s enough. Harper is perfect.”

“Harpy,” Harper said, still overcome with sadness and not knowing what to do.

“You know, I almost started crying and carrying on about how useless I am as a mare.” Lyra hiccuped and took a moment to draw in a deep breath. “But I have Harper. I think about all of those nights with Sentinel. And Ripple calls me her mother… as bad as this is, I think I can deal with it.”

“Well, Lyra, you’ve certainly gotten stronger,” Bon Bon said, whispering into Lyra’s ear. “There was a time that something like this might have destroyed you… knocked you down.”

“This caught me off guard, that’s all. I’ll be okay. I’m just going to need all of you if I’m going to be okay.” Lyra pulled Bucky closer and Harper grunted as she was squeezed between them. “Bucky, I need you now more than ever.”

Saying nothing, Bucky did the only thing he could think of, and that was holding Lyra.

 

 

“This one is yours. She is returned home safe and sound,” Lugus said as he dropped Diamond Tiara from his talons. She plopped down into the snow as Lugus folded his wings. “I hope she is not late. If there is to be a scolding, the fault is my own.”

Coco, shaking her head, made a flatulent noise with her lips. The big griffon was a bit too noble and she had no intention of scolding anypony… or anybirdy for that matter.

“This one has already scolded me.” Lugus cocked his head sideways and looked down at Diamond Tiara. “She brought up several excellent points.”

“Lugus, would you like to come in?” Coco asked.

Lugus, his eyes bright and flashing, peered through the window. “How is Bucky’s gown coming along?”

“Oh it is going to be faaaabulous,” Coco said in a soft but excited voice. “Rarity has the foundation on a dress form. We’re working together… it is an experimental piece. We’re trying to see how well our styles mesh together as we both work freeflow. Bucky told us that we have free reign to do whatever we wish.”

The big griffon’s crest rose. He had very little understanding about what had just been said, but Coco seemed happy about it.

“Do come in Lugus… please?” Diamond Tiara asked.

“Very well. I shall come in. Thank you for having me,” Lugus replied.

“We’ll prepare tea and show you Bucky’s gown.” Coco offered Lugus a pleasing demure smile. “Come on, it’s chilly out here.”

 

 

After patting Bandua, who was tucked into her shawl, Belisama pulled her autoharp to her breast. With her talons, she began to pluck out a tune, hoping to make Lyra feel better. Closing her eyes, she thought about how she had felt last night under the pink moon. Magic had happened, there could be no denying that. She had done magic.

Now came the difficult part. Making it happen again. She had been trying all day.

No magic had come forth. No rush of emotion. No tingle-tickle. No strange feeling of vibration in the claws on the end of her talons.

Loch Skimmer, pulling herself from the pony pile on the bed, came over to where Belisama was sitting in on the couch, climbed up, and sat down beside  the griffoness. Loch’s head began to bob in time to the music, the melody that Belisama was plucking from the strings.

After a few minutes of listening, Loch Skimmer let out a warbling, wavering whistle. Her head still bobbing, a pegasus metronome, Loch kept perfect time with Belisama’s music, as weird as it might be, Loch Skimmer hit just the right notes to compliment Belisama’s tune.

And then, the whole room felt it. Like a rushing wind, the music struck them. Flagging spirits lifted. The sense of grief retreated. Sorrow, depression, sadness, it was all shoved back by the music that tickled their ears and flowed through their bodies.

For Lyra, more tears fell, but the relief was evident upon her face.

Harper’s head began to bob along with the music and one little front hoof began to tap upon her mother’s ribs.

Belisama… Belisama was lost. Her eyes were closed. Her talons moved along her strings. Her slender neck extended and her head waved from side to side.

A small figure came into the bedroom through the nursery door. She sat in the doorway, wide eyed, trembling somewhat as she peered into the room. A strange expression was upon Sukari’s face.

Thistle, coming up behind her, sat down on the floor. Sukari, looking back at Thistle, let out a sad mewling sound and then moved to be with Thistle, grabbing her foreleg and squeezing it. For Thistle, the feeling of the foal clutching her foreleg was overpowering. She began weeping, but was unable to tell if they were sad or happy tears.

Berry Punch, coming through the hallway door, looked around the room, her mouth open, trying to take in what she was witnessing. Dinky and Piña appeared in the door as well, peering in, trying to figure out what was going on.

Yew arrived a moment later, Sentinel at her heels, and Cadance was slung over Sentinel’s back. The trio stood, transfixed, staring into the doorway.

With each new face, Belisama felt the music flowing through her talons becoming stronger and stronger. It was a warm, living thing, like napping in a sunny window or being cuddled up against the warm body of one that you loved. Perhaps napping in a sunny window cuddled up against the warm body of one that you loved.

As the music continued, Belisama began to understand her power.

 

 

“Lugus, she was really hurt that you doubted her sincerity,” Diamond Tiara said, her words causing ripples to form in her tea. She held her teacup between her front hooves and waited for it to cool.

“But I do not know that she is being sincere.” Lugus speared a cube of cheese with his claw. “For all I know, she could be telling you these things and manipulating you as well.”

The earth pony filly scowled. “Maybe… let’s say that she is. What is she getting out of it?”

“Sympathy.” Lugus, having replied, flicked the cube of cheese into his beak.

“Look, I know she did some bad stuff, whatever it was, but must you be so cruel?” Diamond Tiara shook her head.

“Boadicea killed a fair number of ponies and griffons. She inflicted harm upon many others. She has shown herself to be treacherous.” Lugus cocked his head in a very avian way and looked at Diamond Tiara. “Trust must be earned. I am offering her a way to redeem herself. She will earn it… or she will not.”

Almost dropping her teacup, Diamond Tiara struggled to keep it between her hooves. Hot tea sloshed over the side and splashed her fetlock. The filly hissed as she felt the hot liquid scalding her. She set her teacup down upon the table and stuck her fetlock into her mouth, sucking on the burned place.

“Are you alright?” Lugus asked.

Diamond Tiara pulled her fetlock out of her mouth. “I’m fine.” She stared at Lugus with wide worried eyes.

“I am inclined to believe that Boadicea was a good griffon caught up in some very bad circumstances. She needs a chance to prove herself. If I believed her to be truly bad, I would have never allowed her near my mate and my cub.”

“Foal.” Diamond Tiara stuck her fetlock back into her mouth and sucked on the scalded place once more.

“Foal.” Lugus nodded. “She acts so much like a little cub. She is fierce.”

“So you do trust her with what is important,” Coco said, a faint wrinkle visible upon her brow. “You trust her enough to allow her near your precious little Peekaboo. But you continue to be suspicious. I don’t understand.”

“I do,” Rarity said, looking at Diamond Tiara with one eyebrow raised in concern.

“You do?” Coco asked.

“I do.” Rarity nodded. “By leaving Boadicea in a state of doubt, she is forced to examine herself and question everything she does. She becomes self aware of her manipulative behaviours, her flaws, her faults, and gains the ability for critical introspection.”

A blank stare settled over Coco’s face.

“What? I go with Diamond Tiara to attend her therapy sessions… I listen.” Rarity waved her hoof in a dismissive gesture. “I understand that I have flaws and faults of my own and that because of that, sometimes ponies expect the worst from me. I can be vain, shallow, and sometimes I lack focus on the important issue because I let myself be distracted by trivial things. I do it so I am not overcome by my own neurosis. By refusing to acknowledge a more pressing issue, I face the world on my own terms, for good or ill.”

“I… you… what?” Coco stammered.

Rarity rolled her eyes and took a sip of tea. After she swallowed, she said, “I take Diamond Tiara’s therapy sessions very seriously. I have a responsibility as her guardian. I am also trying to be a better sister for Sweetie Belle.”

Spearing another cheese cube on his talon thumb claw, Lugus watched the exchange between the two mares.

“Darling… I am full of surprises… and filled with the need for self improvement…”

 

 

 

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