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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“Mistress?”

“Yes Asp, what is it, I desire to be done here so that I might get some rest. Tonight is a big night,” Princess Luna replied.

Asp took a deep breath. It was never his place to second guess his Mistress, but he felt that something needed to be said. “Mistress, about the changes—”

“What about them?” Princess Luna asked.

“Do you plan to tell them about the incorporation of changeling magic?” Asp stood at attention and hoped that his Mistress would not be too angry.

“That is on a need to know basis… and none of them need to know. The changeling illusion magic blended well with our shadow aspect generation and the ability to feed upon fear will keep the Shadowbolts strong in the field.” Princess Luna lifted her head high and stared at Asp. “Are you questioning my actions?”

“No, Mistress, never that… but as a personal opinion, I do believe they deserve to be told about this,” Asp replied.

“Each of them signed up to be augmented. Never once did I agree to reveal how they were to be augmented. Asp, I am not in the mood for a discussion about ethics, and since when do you have morals?” Princess Luna glared down at Asp and narrowed her eyes. “I am going to bed. See that everything is ready for tonight.”

“Yes Mistress…”

 

 

“They’re starting the winter session. Rising Star is going to Canterlot. I know I should be with him, but… I don’t want to go. I want to stay here, with all of you,” Loch Skimmer said to Berry Punch. “Lousy Rising Star, all the stomach flu did to him was make him belch fire.”

Unable to hold it back, Berry Punch giggled at the mental image of Rising Star belching fire. She snorted once as she tried to stifle a giggle, and then just let them slip out. After a moment, she recovered, and then she reached out and patted Loch’s hoof with her own.

“Loch, stay here if that is what you want. Still having some troubles?” Berry asked.

“I keep bursting into tears for no reason.” Loch Skimmer slumped down in her chair.

Berry Punch nodded. “Hormones. Derpy and I went through those. I’m still going through those. I slip off into the bathroom and have myself a good cry about once a day. I think about something sad and wait for the tears to come so I can just get them out and over with.”

Patting Loch on the side, Semillon set down a tray full of milk and cookies. “Here you go.”

“Thank you, Semillon,” Loch Skimmer said as she turned to look at the unicorn.

“Broom made the cookies. They’re good,” Semillon said as she gave Loch another pat. Semillon smiled and then walked away, her hooves clicking on the kitchen floor.

“Berry?”

“Yes Loch?”

“Can I really tell you anything?”

“Of course.”

“I thought about… you know… putting an end to this.”

Berry Punch’s eyes narrowed.

“I know the procedure exists… but after I thought about it, I was so ashamed. I know mares do it, but I felt bad for even thinking about it. I guess I was scared… I haven’t told anypony else.”

The earth pony took a deep breath. “A mare has to have choices… that’s important. That said, I’m glad you didn’t make that choice. Loch, we’ll help you raise this foal.” Berry Punch grabbed a glass of milk, a cookie, and then dunked her cookie in her glass of milk.

“I feel so guilty.” Loch’s eyes dropped and she stared down at the table.

“Don’t feel guilty. Guilt is bad. Sometimes choices have to be made and each mare has her own reasons. Even if I don’t agree with them, it is important that each mare has the ability to make a decision. Loch Skimmer… don’t feel guilty for thinking about it. It is perfectly rational and reasonable. Now have a cookie.” Berry Punch stuffed the whole cookie into her mouth and began chewing.

“I thought about destroying a little piece of love that Rising Star shared with me.” Loch Skimmer covered her face with her hooves and then began to sob.

 

 

“What was that all about?” Lyra asked as she watched the pegasus in silver armor depart. “Bucky, is something going on?”

As he popped the seal on the scroll case, Bucky did not reply. He instead strode into the back room of the candy shop, pulled out the scroll, and gave it a read. His eyes darted back and forth as he read the carefully penned missive from Princess Celestia.

“Bucky?” Lyra asked, looking fearful. “Please tell me that they’re not sending you away… I’m not ready for you to go just yet.”

Rolling up the scroll, Bucky stuffed it back into the wooden case. “No… no, nothing like that. Celestia has made the decision to allow me to begin upgrading type twos to type threes. She did it because Twilight Sparkle convinced her that it was worth it.”

“The world has never known peace like we know now and yet we’re gearing up for war.” Lyra went to Bucky’s side and rubbed up against him. “At least we’re gearing up for war together against a common enemy… and not with each other.”

“We even have a battle cry now… remember Fromme du Lac...” Bucky shook his head as his words died in his throat.

“I keep reading about everything that happened there… the battles… Bucky, why did they hit the city so hard? They never mention that in the papers.” Lyra looked at her husband and hoped for an answer.

“Fromme du Lac was Fancy’s granary city. It was the centrally located city that had a rail hub that gave easy access to all of their grain stores. The mirror travelers hit it hard and took away the grain reserves of an entire nation. Now, they keep popping up to terrorise them and bring about instability,” Bucky replied. “It isn’t being mentioned because nopony wants to start a global panic about the starvation and famine that Fancy faces. Each part of the alliance is doing their part to make sure that Fancy gets the food they need. We don’t need a global panic right now. Things are just now getting stabilised.”

“You think the mirror travelers have a base around there somewhere?” Lyra asked.

“I’m positive they do…”

 

 

“Raven?”

“Yes Princess Celestia?”

“I am stuck making two terrible decisions.”

“How can I help you?”

“We are sending some of our own strategic grain reserves to Fancy, not that we have much to spare and I fear I must make an awful choice.”

“Princess Celestia?”

“If I give the order to prioritise unicorns, Fancy will have stronger magic and better defense. The unicorns will give them the edge they need to rebuild… the edge they need to fight… the means to defend their cities.”

“Yes Princess Celestia, that makes sense.”

“If I do that though, there are going to be cries of unicorn favouritism and earth pony oppression. I am almost paralysed from this decision and I do not know what to do. Magic takes a great deal of food to sustain. Either way I go, I am going to set off a firestorm.”

“I am sorry Princess Celestia… I do not know how to advise you on this issue.”

 

 

“Larch? Hey Larch, I was wondering if you wanted to compare notes for tonight’s special astronomy class,” Babs Seed said as she trotted up beside Larch. “Night Light and Galaxy Guide both are going to give an extra special lecture… I’m so excited.”

Larch sighed. Over a month’s worth of study and notes, and all for this class, which had been delayed by recent events. “Sure Babs. I have study hall right now, so we can do it now if you like.”

“That’d be perfect.” Babs smiled. “So where is Piña? Do you think she has her notes?”

“She has two whole notebooks full of notes… I’ve seen them. She wrote down everything that Night Light and Galaxy Guide have had to say in our classes.” Larch scowled and shook his head. “I feel like everypony is smarter than me.”

“Aw, buck up Larch,” Babs said as she slugged Larch on the shoulder.

“Heya!”

“Piña! We were just talking about you.” Babs grinned.

“Hi Babs… hello Larch,” Piña said, feeling a warmth in her ears when she looked at Larch. “So… after tonight’s lesson, how do you think you’ll do on the exam?”

“Well enough to make the League of Extraordinary Earth Ponies proud,” Babs said. “I got this licked.”

“What about you Larch?” Piña asked. She smiled and blinked at Larch.

The earth pony colt shrugged and said nothing.

“So… Larch… when did you plan to talk to my father?” Piña asked in a low voice as she leaned over and looked at Larch. She did her best to mimic Berry Punch’s pouty look.

Larch gulped and his mouth went dry. As the moisture departed from his mouth, he felt his frogs begin sweating. His dock began to itch. His stomach gurgled and a cold sensation of terror crept up his spine from his itchy dock.

“Planning on a date?” Babs asked. Her grin widened. “How about the three of us together? Larch is kinda cute and Piña, you’ve got the whole pink pony thing going on.”

Piña felt a flash of heat travel through her body as she turned pinker than she normally was. Babs’ brazen remark had caught her completely off guard. “Um…”

“I’m dying to get out of the house and get away from Applejack… I mean, I love her, but she’s… I dunno. I can’t say anything bad about her. She took me in.” Babs’ grin narrowed for a moment and then broke into a wide sunny smile. “Hey Larch… we can go ask Bucky to take Piña out together.”

Piña’s brain worked overtime as it tried to process blossoming feelings of adolescent attraction. Her whole body burned as she came to the conclusion that Babs was a pleasing orange colour and Piña discovered that she liked the way that Babs’ mane dangled into her eyes.

Larch was doing no better, standing there with his mouth open, and realising he was outclassed and outnumbered.

“Hey, you guys can tell me tonight when we attend astronomy class. I just want a chance to get out of the house, that’s all,” Babs said in a pleading voice.

 

 

Pinkie Pie paused mid pronk, hung in the air for a moment with a thoughtful expression upon her face, scratching her chin, and dropped down on three legs. “Does this mean I get to throw you a foal shower?”

Rarity sighed while Coco gave an enthusiastic nod.

“So you’re really really really really going to go through with this?” Pinkie Pie asked.

“Yes, Pinkie Pie, we are going through with this. Coco is going to be a mother,” Rarity replied.

“I’m showing!” Pinkie Pie pushed out her gut, which caused her cheeks to bulge. “I feel so pretty… I’ve never really felt pretty before but now I feel pretty and Cheese Sandwich comes and he serenades my belly and sings silly songs while playing his accordion!”

“Pinkie Pie, you have always been a pretty pony,” Rarity said in a warm sincere voice.

Blushing, Pinkie Pie shook her head. “Nuh-uh. I’ve always been the pudgy pony that had to rely upon my winning charm and raw charisma.” She looked over at Cheese Sandwich, who was working the counter with Mister Cake. “But when he looks at me… the way he looks at me… I feel pretty now all the time!”

“Rarity, we need to throw Pinkie Pie a foal shower… I mean, we should. Somebody needs to throw her a foal shower and it should be us,” Coco said in a soft demure voice.

“What a splendid idea!” Rarity’s muzzle split into a smile, revealing dazzling white teeth.

“Oh no! I gotta go! I can’t listen to somepony planning a party for me! Bad luck!” Pinkie Pie bolted, leaving behind a cloud of confetti and a faint pink outline of herself.

Reaching out, Coco fanned the pink pony outline away and then began to brush confetti off of her pelt.

 

 

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