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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Easing himself into the bed beside Derpy, Bucky sighed. His fetlock ached and he felt swimmy headed, as if he had been been drinking too much. He rolled over onto his side, thankful for warm grey pegasus. He felt a wing wrap around his body. He closed his eyes.

“What did you do to her?”

Bucky’s eyes opened at the sound of Berry’s voice. Berry’s frantic and rather upset sounding voice. Bucky, not feeling all that well, groaned.

“Bucky! What did you do to Piña?” Berry asked.

“I punished her… she got what was coming to her and she’ll think long and hard before she screws up again,” Bucky replied.

Berry began grunting with each breath.

“Look, she needed hard discipline—”

“HOW HARD?” Berry demanded. “She’s upstairs in her room right now, panting, her sides heaving, all hot and sweaty, saying that she wished that she had never been born. What did you do to her?”

Wincing, Bucky lifted his head. “Look, you and Bon Bon talk about spanking her all the time and—”

“And the fear of being spanked keeps her in line, mostly. Other than a few light harmless swats that I cry over in the bathroom later, we don’t beat on her or anything.” Berry began tapping one hoof on the floor.

“I taught her the value of hard work, that’s all. She pulled me around in a sleigh, she might have pulled a few ponies around Ponyville, and I might have scared her just a little tiny bit by offering to trade her to Coco and Rarity as a source of labour to pay for my gown.” Bucky felt Derpy’s muscles flexing against him.

“That’s all?” Berry asked, her eyes now moist and glistening.

“That’s all.” Bucky looked the earth pony in the eye, confident that he was telling the truth. He had done those things.

“Well, I would say that you did a good job of making her sorry… I still hate you a little for doing it.” Berry stood there for a moment, her eyes closed, and then she opened her eyes and darted to the bed. She dove in, tackling Bucky. She kissed him on the cheek and then lay down beside him. “We have to wake her up for dinner. She’s wore herself out.”

 

 

Free from school, Ripple bounded through the snow, eager to meet with her Raptors. The day of proving drew ever nearer. Armed with a to-do list from Violet, she was almost bursting with the need to get started.

Princess Luna and Princess Celestia had the most unfair advantage of not needing to attend school and get good grades. Ripple’s short and somewhat curly blue mane blew back in the breeze.

Ahead, the Raptors were already gathered, ready ahead of time. Ripple felt immense pride at seeing them. As she drew near, they saluted. Ripple, feeling a meaningful tingle on her hips from her cutie mark, whipped out her wing.

“Violet sent us a copy of the list,” Kiara said, her small black head tilting to the side as she spoke.

“We were surprised,” Freyja said, standing beside Callum.

Difficult to see in the snow, the albino griffoness known as Branwen lifted her head high. “We can do what is expected of us, but this seems…” The griffoness shrugged.

Sniggering, Loki slapped Grunion on the back. “They’ll never expect this. This is brilliant.”

“This will maximise our skills and what we’re good at. Remember Raptors, this isn’t about winning or losing, but showing what we’re made of.” Ripple folded her wings against her sides, making certain her feathers were smoothed out.

“Excuse me, I see Fresh Meat.” Loki adjusted his doublet and his armor. There was a faint clink as he did so. Spreading his wings, Loki took off, a horrible greasy expression upon his face. If ever there was a griffon that looked like a plague rat, it was Loki.

The other Raptors watched as Loki left, all of them chortling, laughing, and chuckling. “Fresh Meat should be called Dead Meat,” somebirdy said.

“Now now, she might prove herself and surprise us all.” Ripple narrowed her eyes and watched as Loki folded in his wings for a dive. She watched as Boadicea scrambled through the snow, trying to avoid Loki’s swooping attacks.

The Raptors watched as the drama unfolded between the harrier and the corvid. Kiara cawed with raucous laughter as Loki swooped down, gathered snow, and began to pelt Boadicea with snowballs.

Birds of a feather did not stick together it seemed as one corvid watched the misfortune of another corvid and laughed.

“Each of you have a job to do. I expect it done well. Consider this a suicide run. We can’t win, it’s true. The point of the exercise is to subdue, and subduing a Myrmidon isn’t impossible with the means we have at our disposal. So even though we can’t win, we’re going to go down in style, with all of the fierce dignity we can muster. Our end will be remembered!” Ripple glared at her Raptors with fierce eyes, her wings now spread and her head held high.

There was a collection of avian cries in reply.

“Private Callum… I have a special job for you.” Ripple smiled.

The dove like griffon was shoved forward by Freyja. He blinked and looked proud.

“You are our messenger. You will be my dove of war. Tomorrow, early, once the initial preparations are complete, you will fly to Canterlot. Your job might just be the most important of all of these tasks. Do well, and you will earn the silver armor of a messenger. I will have my husband make it for you. Do not fail me, Private.”

Callum sat up on his haunches, went straight, and offered a smart salute with his wing.

“Private Freyja, once your tasks are completed, you will escort Private Callum to Canterlot. It is enemy territory. I want our messenger safe. Once his task is completed, you are permitted to treat him to lunch behind enemy lines.”

“Aye aye,” Freyja replied as she saluted. “Can do, ma’am.”

Ripple returned the salute and then turned to watch as Loki continued to harass Boadicea, who was now running for her life through the snow. She watched for several moments and then turned to look at Gofannon.

“Wing Corporal Gofannon… Private Loki does understand that he is dealing with a half starved cub that has been in a cell for a very long time, correct?”

“Yes ma’am, he does. Lugus pulled him aside and gave him a few private words. Loki, while psychotic, is not a monster towards cubs. He will do what is right.” Gofannon watched as Loki hurled snowballs at the black figure leaping through the snow.

“Good. We’re Raptors. We look after our own. She’s not one of us yet, but I have no doubt she will be.” Ripple looked at her Raptors. “So… anybirdy else that wishes to join our ranks? Any young cadets in the school? Anybirdy at all?”

“Squire Cornet Ripple, there is one… from the school.” Shaquah stepped forward.

“Good… tell me all about them...”

 

 

Lying very still on the floor, Bucky watched Sukari as she stared at him. The zebra foal kept looking at the bandages on Bucky’s fetlock. She made sad wuffling sounds and squirmed as she sat on the floor.

“Doctor Mawu said that sudden changes scare her. Gradual changes are better for her. Give her time to study a situation, to adapt, to take everything in. If we rush her, she is just going to shut down and make a mess,” Thistle said. The kelpie cleared her throat. “She also said that it was good that we have Magpie. Sukari needs to learn that griffons can be trusted. Magpie is winning her over. Magpie bathed her this morning after everything that happened.”

“Learn anything else?” Bucky asked.

“Jua means sun,” Thistle replied. She took a deep breath.

“What else?” Bucky asked.

Thistle let out a soft squeak. “I learned what baba meant...it doesn’t mean baby… it means father.”

Bucky, thinking of what Sukari had said, closed his eyes. Laying there with his eyes closed, he felt something brush up against his snoot. Opening his eyes, he saw blue. Sukari’s tiny face was inches from his own.

“Bucky… say ‘mtoto’ to her.” Thistle’s voice was an urgent whisper.

“What?”

“Mtoto…”

“Mtoto.” Bucky dared not move. He didn’t want to get bit again. Sukari was touching his snoot, a very tender place indeed. “Hello mtoto?”

Sukari looked very confused. She sat down once more and prodded Bucky with her hoof.

“See, she wants contact, she wants to be cuddled and loved like any other foal, but she is very skittish. Doctor Mawu says it is best to allow her to come to you.” Thistle took a deep breath and let it out in slow measured huffs.

“Sukari… mtoto.” Bucky blinked at studied the foal sitting in front of him. She was striped, a beautiful pattern, and Bucky felt her scars did nothing to take away from this.

Bucky realised that he might be biased.

She was touching his muzzle, prodding him, running her small hoof along his scars. Bucky almost dared not breathe.

“Baba.” Bucky gave the foal a hopeful look.

“Baba gone… ate.” Sukari slumped down and it appeared as if she had deflated.

Moving with extraordinary caution, Bucky moved his talons towards Sukari. She couldn’t bite through those. He watched her eyes go wide. He feared the worst, but he kept going. He touched her side. “Mtoto.”

The foal whimpered.

Bucky touched his own face. “Baba.”

Sukari shook her head. “Baba gone.”

“No.” Bucky shook his his head. He reached out once more, placed his talons behind Sukari, and pulled her closer. He kissed her just above her navel. “Mtoto.” Cold fear crept up his spine and he felt his testicles shriveling. Right now his face was in danger… and so were his ears. He could hear Thistle’s heavy breathing and he heard Magpie’s as well.

Thistle covered her muzzle with her hoof, there was too much tension for her to deal with. She worried about Bucky being bit again. Sukari looked terrified.

But, the foal hadn’t soiled herself.

“Be brave Bucky… little griffons are nippers sometimes… many a mother has lost a talon finger,” Magpie said in a low whisper.

Magpie’s words did not fill Bucky with confidence. Now he worried for Belisama.

“Baba gone.” Sukari’s little barrel was heaving.

“No Sukari, I’m baba… and you are mine… my mtoto.”

“No! Baba gone!” Sukari took to her hooves and scrambled off. She shot beneath the crib, leaving Bucky laying on the floor.

Sighing, Bucky lay there and did not move.

 

 

Stomping through the snow, Ripple approached the benches and big bronze brazier that burned in the common area between the dormitory towers and the school. There were a few students out here, gathered around the fire, talking, and laughing.

“That one,” Shaquah said, pointing with her talon. “The orange pegasus. Purple mane.”

“Oh bugger,” Ripple said, her words coming out as a mumble.

“She is a pegasus, but she is very insistent about joining our cadet program,” Shaquah said as she looked up at Ripple.

Ripple strode forward with the easy grace of a strutting pegasus. “Scootaloo… how ya been?”

Scootaloo, turning around, seeing Ripple and Shaquah, snapped into a clumsy salute.

“At ease,” Ripple said, not allowing herself to smile. “Why are you here?”

“I want to be a Raptor.” Scootaloo stood tall, a defiant expression taking over her face. “And don’t you dare tell me no because I can’t fly.” Scootaloo cleared her throat and lowered her voice. “I’m going to be the best pilot ever someday and I understand that the Raptors will be flying new gyrocopter prototypes.”

“Who told you this?” Ripple asked.

Scootaloo tried snapping to attention again. “My mother is Princess Twilight Sparkle.”

Ripple lowered her head and looked Scootaloo in the eye. Ripple’s eyes narrowed. Her muzzle crinkled. “And do you think having a princess mommy will get you into the Raptors?”

Scootaloo, staring straight ahead, swallowed and cleared her throat once more. “No. I expect to get in on my own merits. My other mother, Rainbow Dash, wants to be a Wonderbolt. She has never quit going after what she wants. I won’t either. I want to be a Raptor.”

“Why?” Ripple asked. “We’re nobirdies. We’re untested and untried.”

“One day, you are going to be someponies. Somebirdies. And I want to be a part of this while you are still noponies.” Scootaloo craned her neck and stood a little taller, coaxing another inch out of herself. “When the Wonderbolts got started, those brave ponies got to go down in history. They were the first. I want to be one of the first. Rainbow Dash might get to brag about being a Wonderbolt, but I’ll get to brag about being part of history.”

Ripple stared down at Scootaloo tight lipped.

“I want to fly. More than anything. I want to be a pilot, but not just any pilot. I want to be the best. I want to be a part of something great. Being a part of the Cutie Mark Crusaders has taught me that.” Scootaloo’s eyes became pleading. “You wanted cadets. You have one.”

“Private Shaquah…”

“Yes, Squire Cornet Ripple?”

“I think we have a Fledgling.” Ripple turned and looked at the griffoness at her side. After a moment, she turned to look at Scootaloo. “You got permission to stay after school?”

“I can be a little late.” Scootaloo struggled to keep the smile off of her face.

“Private Shaquah… please… take our Fledgling to meet Private Loki and Fledgling Fresh Meat. Tell Loki that Scootaloo here does not yet know fear…”

“Aye aye,” Shaquah said. “Come on, Table Scraps, get a move on.” She made a gesture for Scootaloo to follow.

“Table Scraps?” Scootaloo asked.

“Loki is going to eat you alive…”

 

 

 

 

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