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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The main chamber of the Stable of Representatives was getting crowded. Rising Star watched as more and more ponies poured into the seats as well as the floor where they could stand or sit and watch. Beside him, Bittersweet sat, a patient expression upon her face, and a beautiful sunny orange ribbon tied into her mane. Rising Star was close to the floor. He liked it here. He was close to the ponies he was serving. He could see their faces. For many representatives, there was a belief that the higher up you were, the more important you were.

The thought made Rising Star feel sick.

He watched as a small group of donkeys gathered in the standing room only section. Far too few donkeys. Breaking the rules, he jumped over the barrier and down into the common area, not at all afraid. He walked towards the group and saw Sulky waving at him.

“Rising Star! Rising Star! They won’t let us all in! They say they’re saving room for ponies, because their opinions matter!” Sulky cried in a loud voice that carried over the noise of the crowd.

Almost igniting, Rising Star took a deep breath and maintained control.

“LET THEM IN!”

Twilight Sparkle’s voice, amplified by magic, boomed through the chamber. Her expression was calm. Her wings remained unruffled. She stood and stared at the guards posted at the doors.

“Do as my mommy says… or you’ll be stood in the corner.” Peering out from behind Twilight Sparkle’s left hind leg, Glass Slipper gave a disapproving glance to the ponies her mother had addressed.

“Majesty, it was planned to allow the tax collector’s union—”

“You mean to tell me one of the most well represented groups in Canterlot is being given precedence over a group that has no representation at all?” Twilight Sparkle took a step forward.

The guard looked like he wanted to swallow his own face. “Look, I was under orders from Representative—”

“I do not give one ruffled feather who gave you orders… you took orders from an equus non grata. You OBEY my orders. I am ordering you to let the rest of the donkeys in or so help me, I will dismiss the entire lot of you and I will summon the Lord of Winter to look over this meeting when it is called to order. Do you want that again? Because he is in town.”

The guard snapped to attention and fired off a salute with his wing. Another guard opened the door and barked out a command. A few moments later, a long procession of donkeys entered the hall and began filling up a section of the standing room only, all of them standing or sitting together on the floor.

Rising Star, satisfied that justice was done, returned to his seat. With effortless ease, he lept over the barricade and then sat back down beside Bittersweet.

“You made mommy mad… shame on you!” Glass Slipper stuck out her tongue and blew a raspberry of disapproval at the guard. “You’re lucky she’s nice. If it was me, I’d stand you in the corner. You’re bad!”

 

 

An entire hour had passed and Rising Star controlled the urge to yawn. It would be his time soon, and he had to be patient. So far, there had been voting on mundane stuff. Tax codes, business laws, education reform, which had made Twilight Sparkle scowl in the most horrendous manner when one representative spoke out and said that earth pony education reform served no practical purpose.

The representative had been raspberried by Glass Slipper and threatened with time spent in the corner. Provoked into action by the foal, many earth ponies in attendance also blew raspberries at the pegasus that had drawn Princess Twilight Sparkle’s ire.

Rising Star, being young and rather immature, sort of hoped that Glass Slipper’s raspberry of shame would become a political institution. It was brief, to the point, and expressed what you thought about somepony’s opinion. It said everything that needed to be said.

“Representative Rising Star… you have the floor.”

Almost startled, Rising Star bolted up in his chair. He cleared his throat, stood up, glanced at Bittersweet, and then stepped forward. He looked all around the chamber and saw hundreds of eyes looking at him. He wondered how many ponies hated him and how many more might hate him after he did what he was about to do. Beside him, Bittersweet stood and he turned his face to her so she could see his lips.

“My fellow Equestrians… no… wait, my fellow sapient beings. As I am certain most of you know, my name is Rising Star. And today, I came to give a speech about workers rights and the need for more laws to protect workers, among a number of other issues. But I tossed that speech out last night. There is a bigger problem to address… we need to protect all of our labourers. All of our workers. There are many workers who are getting no protection whatsoever.”

Bittersweet’s ears moved with grace and speed, repeating everything Rising Star said.

“It has come to my attention that donkeys have no representation. Neither do diamond dogs, nor griffons, nor minotaurs, nor any of the other sapient races.” Rising Star paused and allowed his words to sink in. “The donkeys have been begging for help for a long time, long before our government fell and had to be rebuilt. While we put the pieces back together, we need to include them. I ask that all of you bear with me for a moment while I give you a demonstration.” Rising Star fell silent.

Beside him, Bittersweet’s ears kept moving. She had a look of intense concentration upon her face as she continued her husband’s message. She stared into Rising Star’s eyes and ignored the confused and befuddled crowd that was staring at her.

The first minute passed, and then the second, and by the third minute, the crowd began to murmur. By the fourth minute, hissing whispers could be heard all over and Twilight Sparkle’s wings became ruffled while scowling at the noisemakers.

“That is a voice that none of you can hear, but all of you need to learn to listen to. Imagine how frustrating it must be to beg for help and have no one listen. For the past few minutes, my lovely wife was begging you for your help over and over, pleading with you to listen. None of you could make out what she was saying. Not only is she a donkey, but she is deaf and mute. She embodies several major problems we face as a nation. All she was asking for was your help, over and over again, and none of you, none of you could make out what she was saying. This embodies the plight of many of the minorities in our nation. They have no voice. No means for you to hear them. Many of you became angry and perhaps thought I was wasting your time. I just recently learned a lesson about pleas for help and not listening. I took it to heart and I have the lumps to show for it. I am asking for an immediate vote to allow for minority representation so we can begin to fix these problems.”

The chamber exploded with sound, a furious roar traveled through the gathered crowd as the shouting began. The shouting grew louder and louder. Twilight Sparkle began crying out for silence. A fight started between a pegasus and an earth pony, and the fight spread, becoming a vicious multi-tribal brawl. Twilight Sparkle cried out for guards and none seemed to be coming. She stood in the crowd, demanding order, surrounded by a shield spell so she could protect herself and Glass Slipper.

Realising that Bittersweet might be in danger, Rising Star picked her up, burst into flames, and began to walk out of the chamber. Ponies gave him plenty of space, fleeing out of his way, running, screaming in panic as the flaming fey unicorn made his way to the door with the donkey held up above him out of harm’s way. As Rising Star exited, he saw a few guards approaching, but many seemed to have abandoned their posts.

Saddened, he shook his head as he made his way through the doors and left the main chamber.

 

 

“Sister, time and time again your solar guards have failed. There is division in your ranks and loyalties lie scattered, this is a problem that keeps rearing its ugly head and causing us problems—”

“I know Luna,” Celestia said, cutting Luna off. “I am aware of the issue. Not everypony goes into the dreaming minds of their guard and keeps them fanatically loyal.”

“Sister, there is no need to be snippy.” Luna’s eyes narrowed from hurt.

Shaking her head, Celestia apologised. “I am sorry. That was uncalled for. I give my guard a great deal of freedom and I keep hoping for the best from them. I only get the best from a few. I am bitter, I am angry, and I took it out on you. That was wrong. I am also angry with you for sending in lunar guards and Myrmidons into the representative chamber. I worry how democracy can happen with living suits of armor scaring everypony in there into submission.”

“Buckminster is not exactly a cheerful pot of geraniums either.” Luna stared at her sister.

Unable to help herself, Celestia snorted and then let out a sad sounding chuckle.

“Sister, these are tumultuous times. I see into ponies dreams. There are a lot of angry ponies because they are no longer on the top and they are now forced to scrabble out an existence with those they once exploited. Many are unhappy with the idea of equal hoofing. Their entire way of life burned up during the summer and now those ponies have to find a new way. Those with old wealth are now destitute and they curry favour with whatever they have left, trying to rig the game in their favour once more. This is not going to be easy… and to have a pony like Rising Star step in and demand that equality be spread to the others who share Equestria with us, that is is going to cause a panic. Many businesses depend on donkeys for cheap labour and this threatens their profit margins. Many employers are already furious that they have to pay earth ponies a fair wage. Meanwhile, type one unicorns can sit back in a collection factory, in total ease while enjoying air conditioned comfort as they sit in a well cushioned chair, they get milked for their thaumaturgical liquids, and make three times as many bits in a day as an earth pony wagon puller or labourer. Being born a unicorn still means a free pass to the middle class for many.” Luna’s expression became sad and she looked away from her sister and out the window towards the Stable of Representatives building.

“What do we do? Time and time again, my guard betray me. I give them freedom. I hear what they say about your guards and their slavish obedience. I try to be their friend. I try to be fair. I try to make certain that my solar guard are treated in the same way I want my subjects treated, fairly and kindly… but every time that it matters, they turn on me. It hurts so much… and here I am just focused on my guard… the rest of our problems seem insurmountable.”

Luna turned to look at her sister. “There is the geas—”

“We have the entire Stable of Representatives under geas already just to safeguard our budding democracy. Where does it end? If we start with the guards, why not the police? If we geas our police, why not our teachers? We will need to keep going… eventually, all of our subjects will require a geas to live within our society.” Celestia's voice was a fearful whine of pain and her eyes brimmed with tears. “I hate what we have done to the Stable of Representatives even though I know it is necessary. We could end tribalism and discrimination against minorities with a geas. Fair wages would be paid. But then, our subjects would not be choosing to do the right thing. They would be forced.”

Frustrated, Luna stomped her hoof. “What about just one generation of adults under the geas… they would raise their offspring to believe in the correct values—”

“LUNA!”

Luna’s ears dropped down in submission and she took a step backwards away from Celestia. “I am sorry… that slipped out. I do not know if I actually meant it. I too, am frustrated and angry and I want results!”

“Somehow, we have to make them want to do the right thing, sister.” Celestia moved to Luna’s side, moved alongside Luna, and placed her wing over the smaller alicorn. “I envy the donkeys in a way… their ethics are gloriously uncomplicated by magic. They are a simple species and most of them do what is right for the sake of doing right. Bittersweet is a magnificent creature.”

“There are going to be many, many nightmares tonight about the Bogeypony, and for many, it will be a nightmare of their own crafting. I am returning to bed. Summon me if I am needed.” Luna leaned against Celestia and allowed herself a moment of closeness.

“Sleep well Luna, I will leave a light on for you, my sister.”

 

 

 

 

 

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