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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Looking at the art upon the wall, Bucky sighed. There was no sense getting angry about it. Harper looked up at him with wide eyes, curious eyes, eyes that didn’t know fear. Sukari on the other hoof, cringed and shied away, a crayon still in the corner of her mouth.

The colour crayon drawing on the wall could be washed away with no effort.

Lowering his voice to ‘I’m speaking to scared foals’ level, Bucky looked at Sukari and asked, “Do you need to pee?”

The zebra filly looked at the wall for a moment, then down at her front hooves, and then up at Bucky. She looked confused and her ears splayed out sideways.

“Well, come on… follow me.” Bucky took off at a very slow walk and he did not put much pressure upon his injured leg. He looked behind him and saw Sukari was following him. His bunched muscles relaxed a little. She was still so timid, but showed signs of improvement.

 

 

“Try using the little stool right there and then climb up. Be careful, you can do it,” Bucky said, still using his soft voice. “Mind your tail when you sit down. Harper, can you show her how it’s done?”

Squeaking, Harper ran in a little circle. “Harpy show!”

Stopping, Harper became very serious looking. She folded her body a bit, reached back with one front hoof, took a few swipes at her fluffy, curly poof of a tail to get it gathered, sucked in a deep breath, which bulged out her cheeks, pulled her tail off to one side, and sat down.

“See? Just pull your tail aside before you sit down up there. It’s tricky, but all little fillies learn how to do it. It keeps your tail from falling into the bowl. Your tail will make it easy.” Bucky reached out and gave the zebra filly a soft pat.

“Wet.” Sukari’s eyes narrowed.

“Well, so what if you fell in once. That was kinda your fault you know. Bon Bon was trying to help you and you squirmed away. Next time, hold on to Bon Bon’s hoof or whomever it is helping you and that won’t happen.”

With nothing else to do, Bucky waited, watching Sukari.

Bouncing up onto her legs, Harper began to prowl around the bathroom, sniffing shampoo bottles, examining soaps, and, being the ever so curious foal she was, she gave a strawberry scented bar of soap a little lick.

To Bucky’s credit, he swallowed most of his laughter.

“Yuck!” Harper stuck out her tongue.

With a worried gasp, Sukari mounted the stool, got her hooves up on the first step, wobbled a bit, found her balance, got her front hooves up on the second step, scrabbled for her balance once more, got her hind hooves up on the first step, squeezed her hind legs together, whimpered, and then continued her way up.

In her struggle to hurry, she almost fell. Bucky, reaching out with his talons, tipped her back into the right direction and the zebra filly let out a terrified squeak.

To Sukari’s credit, she held her bladder.

“The world is a scary place when you are so small,” Bucky said as Sukari began to climb onto the seat. He watched her wiggle, trying to grab her own tail, she hooked it, pulled it aside, and sat down, leaning forward so she wouldn’t fall in.

A moment later, there was the sound of running water.

“Go pee pot,” Harper said, looking up at Sukari.

“Yes… now I know you know how to go.” Bucky smiled and felt a sense of accomplishment. “Now, if you are all wet back there, and sometimes it happens, you can just pop into the shower and get clean… I’m told that in Fancy, they have toilets that squirt you on the backside and get you clean. Fancy sounds like a nice place.”

“I gotta go pee pot,” Harper said, bouncing up and down on her hooves.

“One moment Harper, Sukari is almost done,” Bucky replied.

 

 

As Grunion ran a file over the bladed edge of a wicked looking javelin head, Gofannon applied polish to an articulated girth plate. The pair worked in near silence as they almost always did, doing what needed to be done, and giving the Raptor’s equipment the care it deserved.

Lifting his head, Gofannon saw a shadow moving along the workbench.

“Shouldn’t you be in school?” He looked at Boadicea with one narrowed eye.

“I got out of last class early… my next class is in a little less than half an hour,” Boadicea replied as her eyes devoured the shinies on the workbench.

“What weapon do you favour?” Grunion asked.

Boadicea, enthralled by so many shinies, let out a peep. After a moment, she replied, “I like riphooks.”

“So you fancy yourself a fist fighter?” Grunion continued scraping with his file, making the edge clean, neat, and perfect.

“I never said I was good… but I like flying by stuff and hooking it.” Boadicea reached out and picked up a helmet. She eyed it, turned it over, her eyes darting back and forth as she took it all in, and then she set the helmet down.

Setting down the javelin head, Grunion reached out and picked up a riphook. It was a short handle, meant to be clutched in a fist, and a short hooked blade came out from the middle, protruding out from between clenched talons. He examined it and looked at Boadicea. “This is considered a weapon of last resort… like a dirk, a dagger, or a stiletto. It is clever of you to slash and go with this weapon.” He turned the riphook over in his talons, looking at the blade. Fist blades. Katars. A cestus. Simple weapons, and yet clever warriors always found a new way to use them.

“Any other weapons you like?” Gofannon asked.

“I’ve been trained to use a bow since… since… about the same time I learned to fly I think,” Boadicea replied. She cocked her head sideways. “I shot dune rats when they were no more than brown dots in the sand.”

Grunion whistled.

“Forgive me, I am not boasting… Lugus will punish me… it was a matter of necessity… of eating—”

“Don’t worry about it, we won’t tell Lugus. The Raptors need a good archer. Most of us are too little to use a longbow well, and crossbows take a while to make ready to fire. We’ll see your skills soon enough. You should see Lugus’ bow… it has to be eight feet in length and the grip of the bow is larger than your leg. We make jokes that he could fire little griffons on his arrows and launch us into battle,” Grunion said, trying to put the cub at ease.

Gofannon watched as Boadicea’s eyes continued to linger on the bench full of weapons and armor pieces. “Tell you what cub… you do well in school and I will make you a riphook and a punch dagger… and I will tell Lugus that you earned them. What do you say to that?”

Almost overjoyed, Boadicea turned to look at Gofannon. She let out a pleased peep and her talons flexed, her claws scratching the floor.

“Now… get back to class and let us finish our work. We have much to do…”

 

 

“Bucky… just… just what are you doing?”

Continuing his great work, Bucky took note of Derpy’s voice.

“Bucky… you… I… sometimes I just… Bucky!”

“Hmm, needs a little more grey,” Bucky said, lifting up the grey crayon once more.

On the wall, there was a whole flock of stick ponies. Some of them had wings. All of them were rather crude… Bucky saw no sense in making Sukari and Harper feel bad by drawing better than they did. Bucky himself was working on a grey stick pony pegasus with grey wings and a round circle belly on her stick body.

“Bucky…”

“Stop, you’ll spook Sukari.”

Derpy almost swallowed her own muzzle. She let out a grunt followed by whinny.

“Mama,” Harper said, pointing to a brown pony with a purple horn. The head was larger than the body. She looked proud of her accomplishment.

“I’m going to go lay back down,” Derpy said, turning around and walking away. “Harper, you did a good job of drawing Bucky… you got his big head right.”

“Ouch!” Lifting up a yellow crayon, Bucky added a yellow mane and a tail to the grey pegasus.

“Jua.” Sukari pointed at an orange circle. An orange crayon hung from the corner of her mouth. Her ears were pinned back against her skull.

“You drew the sun… that’s wonderful!” Bucky lowered his head down closer to Sukari’s eye level. He saw the fear in her eyes for a moment… a flash of terror, and then it passed. Her eyes were so blue… the bluest shade of blue. Bucky could see himself reflected in them.

“Want pickle,” Sukari said, looking hopeful.

“Harpy wants pickle. Green not yuck.”

Bucky set his crayon down upon the floor. “Okay, follow me, we’ll go to the faraway land of the kitchen and get pickles… but we’ll have to watch out for the cook… she guards the pantry and none shall pass!”

Sukari let out a yelp of fear.

“No… no, I’ll find a way for us to pass, don’t worry!”

 

 

Looking up from her work, Broom saw Bucky slinking into the kitchen. He was acting sneaky, which was nothing new, and two foals followed after him, the zebra filly almost clinging to his hind heels.

Peeling the shells off of hard boiled eggs, Broom dropped them one by one into a small barrel filled with a brine and cider vinegar solution. She leaned over the table and nudged her brother, Door, who was staring out the window with a stupid-happy grin on his face.

“Close your eyes Sukari, and follow me. If you close your eyes, they can’t see you… it works for Peekaboo. Nopony will see us because we’re sneaky.”  

Biting her lip, Broom held back her laughter. She had already encountered an invisible Peekaboo. She heard her brother chortling. She watched as the zebra filly, her eyes now closed, bump snoot first into one of Bucky’s hind legs. There was a fearful whimper.

“Now all we have to do is get by Semillon without her seeing us…”

With a plop, another egg was dropped into the barrel.

Broom turned her head. Semillon was sitting on a chair by the sink, stirring a large mixing bowl filled with yellow mush. The cook, smirking, was ignoring Bucky and the foals.

“Stinky eggs.”

“Harper, shush, we can’t be sneaky if you talk about stinky eggs.”

“But eggs stinky… farts.”

Door hunched over the table, his barrel shaking, choking and making snorting sounds.

“Stinky stanky eggy farts… burpy mama eggy farts.”

Broom watched as her brother stuck his hoof into his mouth and bite down upon it. She worried that she was going to have to do the same.

“Yes, Derpy does smell like eggs… sometimes. Now shush, we’re being sneaky.”

“Farts sneaky?”

“Yes Harper, farts can be sneaky. Now be quiet, we’re almost at the pantry and nopony has seen us.”

As Broom watched, the trio vanished into the pantry. She leaned over and touched her brother, who appeared to be dying. She could hear Semillon’s heavy breathing as the cook tried to contain her laughter.

There was the clunk of wood and a gasp.

“Farts!”

“Ugh, that’s sauerkraut.”

There was another clunk of wood, a grunt, more wood clunking, and then a slosh.

“Pickle… pickle… pickle… pickle go in hole, stop farts?”

“Harper, don’t you dare try to stick a pickle in there… you eat them… there is something wrong with my little girl.”

Unable to stop herself, Broom burst out laughing. She gulped, trying to hold it in, but it was no use. The laughter bubbled out and escaped.

From the pantry, there was crunching sounds.

“Sour.”

“Yes Harper, pickles are sour.”

“Not sour.”

“No… Harper… if you stick a pickle in your ear, you can’t taste it… or if you stick a pickle into any other place for that matter… you only taste things in your mouth.”

Seeing stars, Broom thought she was going to die at any moment. Beside her, Door was flopped over the table, banging his hoof.

“What no taste ear?”

“Why? Because you have taste buds on your tongue and your tongue tastes things, that’s why… Harper no… don’t stick the pickle there either…”

“EEEEEEEEEE!”

“Hold still, let me wipe your eye… eyes are for seeing, not for pickle tasting.”

Door fell out of his chair and hit the floor with a thump.

“Taste pain! Sting!”

“I’m sure it does… Harper, hold still!”

“Eye no eat pickle!”

“I tried to tell you… is that better? Do you need a kiss?”

“Eye has lips over eye. Eye kiss?”

“No Harper, those are eyelids, not lips. You can’t eat pickles with them, and you can’t kiss with them. Your eye is all red and bloodshot… your mothers are going to take turns killing me.”

 

 

 

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