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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“Dearest Buckminster, I bet you have troubling symptoms and they are showing, just as I have calculated and predicted. I will explain tonight, between first and second sleep when I come to Ponyville. Do not worry and try not to panic, your friend, Twilight Sparkle.” Bucky looked down at the sheet of parchment and blinked a few times, feeling very, very confused and a bit intimidated by Twilight.

With her eyes on the parchment, Luna said, “Twilight Sparkle is as smart as you are clever, and that is saying a whole lot. I have no idea how she stays on top of everything, but she seems to know what is going on.”

“First and second sleep. I wonder if I should try that,” Bucky said as he looked over the words on the parchment.

“Many ponies do… a bit of sleep in the evening, waking up in the middle of the night, spend an hour or three eating, studying, laughing, making foals, and then back to sleep for a few more hours before the dawn.” Luna looked up at Bucky. “If you were to follow your own natural sleeping patterns, you would sleep through the morning, be awake around noon, and then sleep through the afternoon until evening.”

Rubbing his stomach, Bucky wondered what was going on while he also marvelled at Twilight Sparkle’s intuition. He felt blessed to have her as a friend.

 

 

“Berry, have you thought about taking a break?” Derpy asked. She looked at the earth pony hunched over a small fold out desk that was against the wall and next to the wardrobe in the bedroom. “You’ve been at this for a while.”

Sitting up, Berry Punch rubbed her face with her front hooves. Her spine crackled as she stretched. Reaching behind her, she pressed one hoof into the middle of her spine, pushed, and leaned backwards.

Derpy winced at the sound. It was like somepony snapping a bunch of celery in half.

“What are you doing?” Thistle asked.

Berry turned around on her cushion and looked at her two fellow wives. “Stuff.” Berry blinked and shook her head for a moment. “Balancing the books. Making certain that the businesses are profitable. Making certain that we can help our affiliated farms with funding in the spring so they can plant what we need. I do not want them indebted to the banks ever again.  My brain feels like sludge. I’m tired.”

“Take a break,” Derpy said, her suggestion soft and inviting as she tapped on the bed beside her. “Come here. Sit with me.”

“I need to be able to go on long walks to clear my head and I’m too fat.” Berry’s eyes narrowed. “I feel so sluggish and stupid. I keep packing on the pounds and I can’t stop eating and if I keep this up, I’m going to become a giant slug laying in the bed beside Derpy all day.”

“I don’t want to hear it.” Thistle shook her head. “You can still move, Berry Punch.”

“So I can.” Berry Punch heaved a sigh.

Trotting through the room, her ears back in a submissive posture, Sukari came round the bed and sat down on the floor near Berry Punch. The zebra looked up at the earth pony with a hopeful expression.

“I know… I promised you a story. I’ve been very busy. I’m sorry,” Berry said, looking guilty.

There was a flash of anger in Sukari’s blue eyes. Her tail thumped against the floor as it twitched. The zebra foal snorted and then said, “Pervert.” Getting up, Sukari went trotting off, walking past a stunned Thistle whose mouth hung open.

“Did… did she just say what I thought she just said?” Derpy asked as the zebra foal went through the nursery door.

“How did she know I am a pervert?” Berry shook her head as though she was trying to get the confusion out of it, perhaps out of an ear or a nostril. “What just happened?”

“Berry Punch… how could you teach her that word—”

“Oh no… no no no! You can’t blame me Derpy, I didn’t do this!” Berry said, cutting Derpy off. Berry stood up, wobbled a bit, her sides jiggling as she struggled to get her balance, and then Berry’s ears tilted forwards.

“Where else would she hear this kind of language?” Derpy asked. “You keep slipping up and saying stuff around the foals… Piña swears, Harper says awful things, Cadance has learned some bad words from you… this keeps happening!”

“I didn’t do this!” Berry snorted to place emphasis upon her retort.

“This is my fault.” Thistle lifted her head.

“Stay out of this Thistle, you can’t save Berry from this little slip up—”

“No, Derpy, this is my fault.” Thistle stepped forward. “Bucky came inside as I was coming out the kitchen. As he came inside the front door, he goosed me. Got his nose up under my tail and stuck his snoot right into my plot furrow. I called him a pervert because I was surprised. Sukari, Harper, and Cadance all heard me call Bucky a pervert.”

Derpy turned her head away from Thistle and looked at Berry. “I’m sorry.”

“To be fair, ninety nine percent of the time, it is my fault, so I can’t be mad. But you owe me one I’m sorry kiss and a free pass the next time I screw up,” Berry Punch replied.

“Fair enough.” Derpy turned and looked at Thistle. “Thank you.”

“Wow… this just resolved itself without any serious squabbling, angry words, or shouting.” Thistle’s eyes darted from Berry to Derpy. She began to giggle.

“Sukari doesn’t even know how right she was.” Derpy’s face was like the sun parting the clouds as she began to grin. “It’s kinda funny even though it shouldn’t be.”

Tittering, Berry Punch nodded in agreement and then said, “I’m going to go read her a story and maybe give her a brownie.” Berry Punch left, heading for the door that led out into the hallway, off to find Sukari.

In the nursery, Bell Heather began to cry and there was a soft squawk from Magpie. Thistle cocked her head and listened for a moment.

“Hungry.” Derpy looked at Thistle and saw her nodding.

“Yep, hungry. Sounds so clear now, makes me feel stupid that I couldn’t hear this before.” Thistle began to move towards the nursery door.

“Thistle, love, these things take time to learn. But you are becoming a great mother.”

Hearing Derpy’s praise, Thistle felt a warm tingle all over that made her feel so good that a little laugh escaped her lips. She glanced at Derpy before she went through the nursery door and for a moment, she was overcome with a feeling of love that she had no words to express.

 

 

The mead hall’s lights were low and the air was somewhat smokey. Belisama’s statue stood out in its own column of light. Sitting beneath her statue, Belisama held Bandua in her forelegs and looked at the other mothers gathered around her, holding their young.

“These are blessed times,” Odin said in a soft, warm voice to the griffonesses around him. “All of you are doing your part to rebuild our empire, and for this, I thank you.” Reaching out, Odin patted Belisama. “We came to the verge of extinction. It was almost our end. I saw our end, or I thought I did, I saw what was our final battle as we were first burned by fire, turned to ashes and cinders, and then buried under ice. I saw what I thought would be our grave. I felt my own end coming, I saw my own death. I felt what little goodness that existed in our species grow weaker and weaker, choked out by the evil that plagued us.”

Bandua peeped and her eyes blinked as she lifted her head.

“The two kings will fight and commit treachery upon one another, all sisters' cubs will defile their sacred kinship and the bonds of blood will be severed. As our world nears its end, madness will be the herald of our end; an age of coal, an age of steel, all bonds of brotherhood and trust will be sundered. There will be a burning age, and then, with the coming of the black dragon, griffon will turn upon griffon, no griffon will have mercy on another.” Odin slumped down and looked sad. “As I began to see my own death, I wrote down those words almost eight hundred years ago, not knowing what they meant, but knowing that it meant our end.

“Bucky was the black dragon,” Belisama said in a soft voice as she turned her head to look at Odin. “His armor… his helmet looked like a dragon’s head and he had a long black tail. Our cities were burned away in fire and then Bucky buried Huginn and Muninn in ice.”

“It was the end of us… we died that day… we are something different now,” a griffoness said as she looked around at the others. “We are something new now. The sickness is gone.”

“I am starting to feel the music now when I play,” another griffoness said. “We are rediscovering our magic and the old ways are being revived.”

“The bigger griffons that survive are very protective of us… Lugus is like the warriors in the sagas of old, he would die to save any one of us and he would never bring harm to us.” The griffoness rocked her cub in her forelegs and blinked as she looked up at Odin.

A small griffoness with a bright yellow canary-like head looked around and met her fellow griffoness’ eyes with her own. “Grisabella has become a tireless provider. She goes into the Everfree and returns with meat for all of us. She hunts only the dumb and the mindless. She keeps us fed and when she is not hunting, she is watching over us with her sharp eyes, even though there is no danger here.”

“Tannis and Agnetha are tireless assistants to Sun Mother and Moon Mother. They are trusted and are good,” a griffoness said as she bounced her cub in her forelegs. “Are we still what we once were?”

“I don’t know,” Odin replied as he looked at the females around him. “I have gathered you all here for a reason. Each one of you has shown a talent for writing, for prose and verse, each one of you has shown yourself as exceptional little griffons.” Odin paused, stretched his wings, and looked over at Belisama. “I ask that all of you become the Mothers of Memory… please, begin writing down our history as we rebuild. Write down our new songs. Write down our triumphs as they happen, our victories, like the battle against the rats.” Odin reached out and touched Bandua with his talons, rubbing her neck with the side of his talon finger. “These little ones will need to know our new history… let the old history die under the ice. We have an obligation to teach these little ones our sense of goodness, our decency, the strength of our hearts… we owe it to them to tell them the story of how we rebuilt after we stood and saw witness of the twilight of our end… aldarrök, the age of our end, the end of our age.”

“Is this the new morning?” a griffoness asked.

Belisama nodded. “One might call it that. We witnessed the twilight of our end, we saw the sun set upon our empire, we have endured the night of terror, and yes, this could be seen as the new day. We now exist in a new land, with new gods, and better kings. Sun Mother and Moon Mother have embraced us as if we were their own offspring.”

“Odin, we will be your Mothers of Memory. We will write for you new sagas for our kind.” A griffoness held her cub in one foreleg and rubbed her bulging, pregnant belly with her other talons. “We will make new stories to tell our young and we raise them knowing the new way.”

“Odin, I will do as you ask, but I have a request,” a griffoness said in a nervous voice as she looked up at Odin. “I feel that we are missing a member. You called together a meeting of mothers… and while there are many, you wanted those of us who are exceptional. Spanner was left out of our number. He is the mother of Sprocket and Cog. Any who look at Lugnut and Spanner will see that Spanner is the mother out of the two of them.”

Belisama’s crest rose as she nodded and looked at Odin. “She is correct.”

“I will go and have a talk with Spanner once we are done here,” Odin said. “We must embrace the new ways… I am glad that you brought this to my attention. Thank you.”

 

 

 

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