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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There was an unusual spring in Bucky’s step as he made his way to the breakfast table. As he passed Bon Bon in the hallway, just as she was about to head upstairs, he smooched the earth pony on the lips and then rounded the corner into the kitchen where several of his wives were gathered around the table.

He saw solemn, serious faces. Berry Punch set the newspaper down upon the table.

Trotting to the table, Bucky pulled out a chair, seated himself, and scooted closer to the table. Berry tapped on the paper with her hoof. Bucky glanced down at the newspaper and then he looked up, glancing into Berry’s eyes.

“The paper… they printed every word said to Luna during her attack. It is a direct quote from Princess Celestia and a bunch of witnesses who listened to the memory crystal saying Luna’s words.” Berry’s eyes narrowed. “One unicorn did this Bucky…”

Bucky nodded. “I said the same thing. One unicorn did this.” Bucky looked around. “Say, where is Luna?”

“She and Barley are still in bed,” Lyra replied. “Last night, Barley admitted to have a moment of brain loss and a bad case of the stoo-pids. He said that his brain registered Luna as a bad foal and he just sort of forgot everything else for a moment.”

“Barley is old and set in his ways.” Derpy lifted up her coffee mug between her front hooves and took a sip. “He makes mistakes like the rest of us.”

“I don’t make mistakes… I make opportunities for Piña and I to bond,” Berry said, waggling her eyebrows.

“I feel bad for everything that happened… I didn’t know it would cause a fight. I honestly thought they’d be happy having Harper and Sukari in their room after all they did to help out and feeding them in the mornings. I feel bad that it caused some ruffled feathers.” Derpy heaved a sigh and then took another sip of coffee.

“Well it all worked out okay.” Thistle patted her stomach and glanced around the table. “Dinky and Piña sounded excited when they headed off to school early.”

Reaching up with his talons, Bucky rubbed the withered side of his face. It itched and he could feel little bumpy lumpy things just below his scars. He rubbed with the sides of his talon fingers, keeping his claws away from his face. As he had learned from Belisama, claws were sharp.

 

 

“Sir, you have a visitor.” Violet leaned her head towards Bucky and lowered her voice. “She’s been crying. She looks very upset.”

“Send her in,” Bucky said as he set down his pencil. On the paper in front of him were were some very strange horseshoes. He looked up as his visitor came through the library door. “Apple Bloom… sit down… you okay?”

“No!” Apple Bloom stood just inside the door, her lower lip quivering. “This is so hard!”

“Violet, please, perhaps you could fetch Apple Bloom some cocoa?” Bucky asked.

“Sure thing,” Violet replied as she took off out the door.

“Have a seat. What’s wrong?” Bucky gestured at a chair.

“Everything!” Apple Bloom stood in place for a moment longer and then as the tears began to fall, she went and climbed up into a chair. “This is turning out much harder than I thought it would be and I don’t know how to keep everypony motivated. And nothing seems to be going right!”

“Apple Bloom, calm down. Deep breaths. Just let it all out.” Bucky offered Apple Bloom a little smile.

“I’m running out of time and things just aren’t going right… this is too complicated.” Apple Bloom covered up her face with her hooves and sobbed, her pink ribbon bouncing up and down with each gasp.

“Tell you what. You let it all out, you drink your cocoa when Violet comes back, and then you and I will go have a look at your project. I am limited at what I can do, but I can give you advice and maybe point you in the right direction.” Bucky spoke with a very calming, very soothing voice in the hopes that Apple Bloom might calm down.

“Okay.” Apple Bloom looked up at Bucky and sniffled. “Thank you.” She rubbed her eyes with her foreleg. “How do I become a better leader? I feel like this is my fault. Everything is disorganised.”

“When we go and have a look at your project, I’ll have Violet come with us. She’s just the pony you want to speak to about being organised.” Bucky stacked the papers on the table in front of him in a neat well ordered pile.

Apple Bloom rubbed her chin. “Diamond Tiara is pretty good at organising too… I might need to bring her in on this. I just can’t keep everypony together and everything is falling apart.”

“Apple Bloom, I find that that the best way to be a leader is to get all of the right ponies on all of the right jobs, and then get out of their way so they can work unhindered. If they need to be told what to do constantly, then you either don’t have the right ponies for the job, or you might have failed to map out your direction. Either way, these are problems that can be fixed. So cheer up.”

 

 

Meanwhile, in Canterlot, two old acquaintances were fast becoming friends. Rising Star and Spitfire sat together in small office space within the Stable of Representatives building, going over papers and plans with one another. The office was small, cramped, cluttered, and now had both Rising Star and Spitfire’s name on the door.

Somepony else had secured a ‘Warning! Contents are flammable!' sign to the door beneath their names.

“Rising, I can get you the votes you need… I think… won’t be easy, but it is gonna cost you,” Spitfire said as she looked at Rising Star.

“Ugh, you and your hidden costs… what do you want?” Rising Star settled back in his chair and folded his forelegs over his barrel. “Just spit it out.”

“Oh calm your teats, you big goof.” Spitfire raised one fine eyebrow and looked at Rising Star. “I want your backing on the second chance program.”

“I haven’t had a chance to read about that just yet, there is so much on the docket!” Rising Star gestured at the stack of papers on the desk. “Canterlot is in shambles and things got out of hoof and I haven’t had a chance to sort through all of this.”

Spitfire spread her hooves wide. “Okay! Nutshell… the second chance program is a quasi-military camp for juvenile offenders. This is Soarin and Fleetfoot’s idea. For those who have a few screw ups, this camp is intended to be a means to give them a second chance and keep them from getting into more trouble. Nothing too hard or harsh… I don’t want drill instructors. But I don’t want softies either. A few hard types mixed with a few kind types and hopefully we can give troublesome teens an outlet and a means to straighten themselves out before they become petty criminals as adults.”

“That seems reasonable. I will talk to the other Ponyville reps and see if I can drum up support. That actually seems like a good idea. We can pose it as a means to save money and reduce incarceration costs.” Rising Star reached up and rubbed his chin with one cloven hoof.

“Good spin!” Spitfire smiled.

“How do you think the minority vote will go?” Rising Star asked.

Spitfire’s wings gave a nervous twitch. “I don’t know. I think your proposal to give each of the minority species in Equestria five representatives each was very reasonable. Five donkeys, five diamond dogs, five griffons, five minotaurs… five whatever elses… we’ll have to find worthy souls and there will have to be another election, but we could make it work. I think after that bombshell dropped in the papers this morning it will be a lot easier. Those speaking out about it will be outright accused of aiding the enemy and bringing about more division.”

“That bothers me.” Rising Star scowled and shook his head.

“Why would that bother you?” Spitfire asked, blinking in surprise at Rising Star’s words.

“We should be free to disagree without being second guessed or accused of treason… this whole thing is so fragile and everypony puts a spin on everything.” Rising Star huffed and let out a trapped sigh that had been lurking for a while.

“I never thought of it that way.” Spitfire sat back in her chair on the other side of the desk and looked thoughtful. “I think you’re right, this is a problem. Somepony might have good reasons why they oppose something, but with all of the current anger and mistrust, those valid reasons might be ignored. Damn.”

The door opened and a moss green pegasus with an outrageous pink, red, and bright yellow mane poked her head in the door. “Hey, we’re looking for support for the Las Pegasus restoration project, if you need votes, we have votes, but we need something in return.”

Both Rising Star and Spitfire looked at one another and grinned.

 

 

Feeling stunned, Celestia looked down at the creature kneeling before her. She had trouble breathing for a moment, and when that passed, she worried that she might start crying in front of everypony.

“Stop… do not kneel before me,” Celestia said in an almost strangled voice. “I cannot believe it is you. How have you been?”

The creature rose and brought himself up to his full eleven feet in height. Apelike, bearlike, and with massive bat wings, Scorpan stood and looked around Princess Celestia’s throne room. He let out a sigh more powerful than any blacksmith’s bellows and then reached up with his right hand to scratch at the back of his head.

“I heard you were having some trouble. I thought I’d come and see if you needed help.” Scorpan’s voice was almost too soft to be coming out of a creature of his size and bulk. “I heard what happened with my brother… I am sorry that he plagued you.”

“I am sorry that he is now dead,” Celestia looked up at the massive figure and the first few tears began to roll down her cheeks. “Where have you been? When I saw you last… I was a filly… you were my playmate for a time… you’ve been gone for so long… where did you go?”

“I headed east… I visited with the draquus ponies for a time. I roamed the Forbidden Wastes and the Dead Sands. Tried looking for the lost Temple of Time… found nothing. Eventually found myself in the city of Converge. After my brother and I parted ways, I just sort of wandered.” Scorpan’s eyes narrowed and he began to squirm.

“What is wrong?” Celestia asked as she blinked away tears.

“I can’t stand it when you cry!” Scorpan replied. He lunged forward and snatched Celestia up, she was little more than filly sized in his massive arms. Ignoring her protests, Scorpan scooped her up, gathered the white alicorn to his chest, and began to squeeze her.

After a moment, Celestia relented and allowed herself to be held, cradled in Scorpan’s tree trunk like arms. “You’ve grown very large,” Celestia whispered.

“You still feel about the same size as when I left you.” Scorpan ignored the glares that the guards were giving him as she continued to cuddle the large white monarch. “Where is Luna?”

“Luna is recovering. She is away… there is so much to tell you, old friend,” Celestia replied. “Could you please put me down? This… this is most undignified.”

Nodding, Scorpan lowered Celestia down to the floor and then gave one final gentle pat.

“So what brings you here, to Canterlot?” Celestia craned her head to look up at Scorpan.

Scorpan shrugged. “I heard you needed help. I got word that a big fight is brewing and the odds are not in your favour. The word was put out for heroes. I was in Converge and I heard a great deal about the troubles you face… I heard that you needed a friend you could trust. So I came back.”

Celestia, tears still streaming down her cheeks, beamed up at Scorpan. “It is so very good to see you… it has been so long. Come, we must catch up on old times…”

 

 

 

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