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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Charassare was a big pony. A very big pony. Charassare was a lunar pegasus, and he was as large as some of the females of his species. Charassare was also a Myrmidon, and a terrifying example of his type. His entire body was concealed from view by heavy steel plate, with only his wings exposed. He moved with a terrifying, easy grace, it was as if he didn’t notice that he was wearing several hundred pounds of articulated platemail over a coat of chainmail.

Charassare’s name meant ‘gasher’ in the old tongue.

The big bull male bellowed. The tower, where his beloved and precious Mistress, the Princess Luna should have been, sitting in the lap of luxury, was empty. As his cry echoed through the Whitetail Woods, the few animals not hibernating shat themselves in fear.

“The damnable Lord of Winter is treacherous!”

Charassare looked at the lunar pegasi and unicorns gathered around him, waiting for orders. He snorted a great snort, it was as if he was a massive creature made of metal and powered by the steam that seeped out of the eyeholes in his helmet.

“Somehow, the Lord of Winter has spirited our Mistress away from us.”

“He has cheated! He is known for his unicorn cleverness. He boasts about it often!”

“We must go recover her.” Charassare’s voice was a low reverberating growl from within his helmet. “But first, we should see how deep his treachery runs. I wonder if She of the Painful Day is taken as well.”

“This is becoming unorthodox… are we really going to go meet with the Solar Guard?”

“YES!” Charassare’s voice echoed through the trees.

Myrmidons held no official rank. They didn’t exist. But failure to obey their commands was said to be taking one’s own life into one’s own hooves. The six unicorns looked at one another, shrugging, and then looked at Charassare.

They watched as the big male went stopping off through the snow with five Lunar Guard following after him.

“We’re going to need a white flag!” one of the unicorns cried as the group hurried after the marching lunar pegasi.

 

 

“Captain Hierofalco.” Charassare lifted a wing in a respectful salute. “You fought in the battle of Canterlot, when those milksop nobles failed to remember their place. Almost died defending the orphanage that the rebels attacked to draw Princess Celestia out.”  

The battered looking white pegasus took off his half faced helmet and his pelt turned a sooty blue. He looked up at the much larger lunar pegasus and saluted. “Charassare. The last pony standing in the battle of Fromme du Lac. You watched your entire squad get massacred by guns and you yourself was shot… let’s see… how many times?”

“Not enough times to kill me.” Under his helmet, Charassare was grinning. “Captain, I suspect that you are missing something very important to you.”

The sooty blue pegasus nodded. “Yes. Yes we are. Something precious to us was stolen and we were just discussing the pony responsible for this… theft.

“The Lord of Winter has gone too far!” a unicorn shouted.

“He has forsaken the rules. We suspected this might happen,” Captain Hierofalco said. “I do believe he has taken what is precious to us as hostages. I am unsure of what to do or how to deal with this situation.”

“Seems reasonable. Our Princesses, being honourable sorts, stuck to the rules as they were abducted, doing nothing to fight back or save themselves.” Charassare shook his head, causing his chainmail to jingle and his armor to clank.

“If he is willing to do that, then he is willing to fight with us directly. The Lord of Winter is a foe most dangerous. He might not kill us, but he may make us wish we were dead,” a pegasus of the Solar Guard said.

“We’re already dead. It’s just the armor that holds us up,” Charassare said.

“There is something wrong with you Myrmidons—”

“PRIVATE, SHUT YOUR NECKHOLE!” Captain Hierofalco barked.

“Sir, yes sir.”

“We should be going. Look out for traps. Move as a group. Keep the unicorns well protected, they might be our only chance.” Charassare lifted his head and snorted. “I suspect that we will be ambushed by griffons and they will target the unicorns. The Lord of Winter is no fool. He knows he has nothing to fear from us pegasi, he could crush us down and make us kneel before him.”

“Watch out for rape bombs,” a pegasus said.

“Yes… watch out for any flying purple orbs of glass. If you see one, fly away as fast as you can,” Captain Hierofalco commanded.

A unicorn whimpered.

A pegasus said, “We’re fecked.”

“Show some spine you snivelling cowards,” a lunar pegasus replied. “At least we’ll die getting laid.”

 

 

Peering ahead, Captain Hierofalco studied the guard tower where the Lord of Winter was located. In the distance, the tower stood, nestled in the naked trees, and smoke drifted up out of the chimney.

There seemed to be no guard posted.

Cold fear made the Captain’s stomach churn.

A light freezing drizzle began to trickle down, no doubt more trickery by the Lord of Winter to demoralise them all. No doubt that the ground ahead was littered with traps of all kinds. The serene looking snow no doubt hid all manner of horror. The snow was his snow.

“I don’t see anything,” Captain Hierofalco said. “Nothing at all. No golems, no griffons, no guards, there is nothing out here.”

“I’m pissin’ myself over here,” a pegasus whimpered.

“I fear nothing,” a unicorn whispered. “Ahead is a whole lot of nothing and it is going to kill us all!”

“He won’t kill us… but the treacherous bastard revels in humiliating his enemies,” another pegasus said.

Charassare broke cover and began to march forward, leaving the others behind. He made no attempt at stealth, he did nothing to check for traps, he moved towards the squat stone tower, snarling inside of his helmet.

Reaching the door, he stood there for several long minutes, not sure what to do. Nothing had happened to him. No harm had been done. There were no caltrops in the snow, no traps, no glass orbs filled with a dreadful purpleness.

Lifting his hoof, Charassare knocked upon the door.

 

 

A blast of heat struck Charassare as the door opened. A fragrant aroma struck his nostrils. The scent of tea, of cinnamon, of bread, of sugary sweetness. Confused, not sure what was going on, the big brute of a lunar pegasus stood there in the doorway.

Charassare seemed to have arrived at a tea party that nopony had told him about. The princesses were gathered around a table piled high with food. Griffons stood watching him.

“You idiot… you’re letting the cold in.” A greasy looking griffon stood staring.

“Private Loki! Some manners!”

“Excuse me… but I would like to know what is going on.” Charassare stepped inside and the door was shut behind him. He looked around, trying to take everything in.

“Peace talks,” Princess Celestia replied.

“Princess Buckminster has offered an unconditional surrender and the use of his tower as neutral ground so that my sister and I might trade concessions and discuss terms as we sue for peace,” Princess Luna said. She lifted up a sheet of parchment and held it in front of Charassare’s helmet. “Look at the calligraphy! Each stroke is perfect. Look at the kerning, the print, this message is written perfection!”

Princess Celestia levitated something up off of the table. “The napkins have been folded into little swans!”

“Princess Buckminster, when faced with insurmountable odds, chose to bear the humiliation of loss upon his own back rather than have his troops get hurt unnecessarily, placing the safety of his subjects above his own needs.” Princess Luna smirked and lifted up a slice of coffee cake.

As Princess Luna gobbled cake, Ripple and Sentinel paced around the perimeter of the room, their eyes never leaving Charassare.

“We’re scared of this?” the greasy looking griffon asked.

“Shut up! Loki, shut up!” Ripple commanded.

The harrier griffon looked up at the lunar pegasus. “You stink like honour.”

“Private Loki…” Sentinel’s voice was a low growl.

Charassare sighed, causing his armor to clank. He cleared his throat. “Lord of Winter, I thought poorly of you. I said things. I suspected the worst of you when I found my Mistress missing. I have not been a good example, nor have I given you the respect you have earned.”

“Told you so,” Loki said as he sat down. “The stench of honour is strong on this one.”

Bucky lifted his teacup in salute and smiled. “Think nothing of it. Want a bite to eat? Semillon went all out with quite a spread.”

“No thank you, Lord of Winter. To recompense for my failure, I will join your guard and make certain these peace talks remain undisturbed. There should be peace between the sisters.” Charassare stepped away from the entrance, snapped to attention with a rattle of steel, and became a statue beside the door.

Loki hiked his talon thumb at the lunar pegasus. “I like this one. It’s like seeing Squire Cornet Sentinel all grown up.”

“Now… we were discussing the terms of peace. Sister, dear sister, surely there is something I can do that would convince you to surrender. I would so love to win this year.” Princess Celestia gave Princess Luna a polite smile.

“You have a list of my demands… but there is something else I want from you.” Princess Luna levitated up a napkin and wiped her muzzle.

Princess Celestia leaned forward. “I am willing to give much for peace… and victory this day. What is it that you want?”

“Princess Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns… I… I would like my name added to the school. I grow tired of being left out of everything.” Princess Luna lifted a cookie from her plate and waved it around. “You have your name on everything! It is a publicity issue!”

“How about I remove my name from the school?” Princess Celestia asked. She watched her sister’s eyebrow raise. “The Royal Pony Sisters’ School for Gifted Unicorns. If we do it this way, we do not have to argue whose name comes first.”

After swallowing her cookie, Princess Luna wiped her face with a napkin once more. “Your desire to win must be unbearable, dear sister.”

Clearing his throat, Princess Buckminster lifted his bandaged fetlock and made a gesture towards Princess Luna. “Your sister is giving up quite a bit. How about a little graciousness on your part?” His ears perked when he heard a faint whuffling sound. Turning his head, Bucky’s eyes focused upon the pile of cushions in the corner.

“Excuse me,” Bucky said as he got up from the table. “I’ll take care of that.”

“Oh… oh my… that’s fragrant!” Branwen scooted away from the two foals she was guarding. “Did you… did you just hear it happen?” She looked up at Bucky as he limped closer.

Nodding, Bucky dropped his head down and touched snoots with Erebus. “Poor little fella. Let me get that for you.”

As she gave another cookie a dainty nibble, Princess Luna watched as Bucky went to work changing Erebus’ diaper. She chewed, looking thoughtful, and then her head turned towards her sister. She swallowed and gave a delicate cough. “Each day, his hearing becomes more and more like the lunar pegasi. He is changing… this holds so much promise for our future Shadowbolts… my sweet little foals born of shadow and darkness.”

Desiring her sister’s attention, Princess Celestia rapped upon the table, a soft quiet tapping. “I have agreed to all of your demands. The school will have its name changed. Is there something else you wanted?”

“Yes.” Princess Luna lifted her head high.

“Very well, out with it,” Princess Celestia said.

“When this is over, and we are out of these ridiculous sacks of frippery, I want the following things… one sisterly hug… perhaps two. I want you to sit beside my bed and read me a story, like you did when I was little. I will also want a glass of warm milk. While I am snuggled in the bed, after I am read to, with Tourmaline and Erebus present, I wish to be told that I am the best sister ever. If you can agree to these demands, I will willingly surrender to you and you shall be the victor this day.”

Violet, standing near the table, looked at the sisters, first Princess Luna and then Princess Celestia. These were reasonable demands.

“I do believe I can agree to your terms.”

“Very well, I surrender. I am at your mercy.” Princess Luna looked over at Charassare. “I do hope your honour will recover, but we have suffered a crushing defeat by the Solar Court.”

The big brute of a lunar pegasus said nothing.

“This… this is pleasant. I have won and no harm came to anyone this day.” Princess Celestia heaved a sigh of relief. “Sentinel? Ripple?”

“Yes?” they both said together.

“I want both of you to remember that diplomacy is the most important aspect of war. As you grow up, as you progress in your careers, as you take on more leadership, I want both of you to remember this day. This war was settled without a single broken bone, no blood was spilled, and no one was hurt. And it was because your father was willing to sacrifice his pride, which is a very hard thing to do. Losing well is one of the most difficult things you will ever learn to do as soldiers and leaders. Take this lesson to heart.”

Sentinel bowed his head and then nodded.

Ripple lifted her head and looked Princess Celestia in the eye. “Sentinel and I could not see any other way of winning, and Sentinel wanted to avoid bloodshed. I wanted my Raptors to prove their worth, but not at the cost of even one of them getting hurt. I am relieved that this ended the way it did. If one of my Raptors had been injured, even Loki, I would have been eaten alive with guilt.”

Princess Celestia bowed her head to the two foals. “Your Raptors have proven their worth, and I have no doubt that in the future, they will prove most invaluable.”

Her head dropping, Ripple bowed.

“Ripple?”

“Yes Princess Luna?”

“About your request to have the Raptors join the Shadowbolts…”

 

 

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