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 time following the tower construction were ones of recovery for Bucky and rambunctious elation for the others. Dinky, Sparkler, and Rising Star could barely contain themselves, barely sit still, it was as though they had all eaten too much sugar. They ate, and kept eating, occasionally looking at what they had done. Even from some distance away, it felt like standing next to a hot oven.

The residents of the hamlet celebrated, and with good reason. Hope had ignited their passions, much like a spark does tinder. Genuine smiles were on their faces. For once, the future seemed to contain more than hard work, drudgery, and living in constant fear.

While Derpy was eating a cold fried oatcake, a young earth pony mare came up beside Derpy and dropped off a small pink wildflower. Derpy stared down at it for a moment, realised what it was and what it meant, and then she stared at the mare, the mare waiting in expectation. Derpy swallowed, looking around, smiled again, and not knowing what else to do, said “thank you,” for the flower.

The mare retreated, looking disappointed. Derpy realised there were others.

“We seem to have become a desirable family,” Berry mused, sounding Berry intrigued by the proposal. “Derpy, just accept it and be gracious about it. Consider their point of view about the whole thing. Think about what we just watched. I don’t know about you, but I have a raging filly boner right now, I want Bucky to father my foals, and I am already married to him. They see a chance at a better life and there is going to be offers,” explained Berry as she shifted her sitting position, her filly boner throbbing like a second heartbeat.

The grey mare slumped in defeat. She couldn’t fault somepony for wanting a good family, seeing as how that was all she wanted herself. Word was going to spread about what had taken place here, and would spread quickly if the landing pegasi guards were any indication. The soldiers viewed the tower and the communal hall from a safe distance, looks of awe upon their faces as they took everything in.

 

 

“What is the mainland like?”

Sparkler turned to look at Loch Skimmer.

“I want off of these Isles. The only thing that kept me here was the freedom to have to raise a family properly. And now a herd has come from the mainland to save us,” Loch Skimmer said.

“A herd? To save you? I am not sure I understand. Bucky is the one doing the heavy lifting, we’re only helping him,” Sparkler said to her new friend.

“Herds are one singular entity. The members draw strength from one another. Your father, look at his strength. Where do you think he gets it from? He is as only as strong as the friendships and love within his herd,” Lock Skimmer explained. “At least, that is how I see it. My dad says I am too smart for my own good and I think too much. Says I’ll be an unhappy mare when I get married.”

“My father wants me educated. He wants me to go to university. He expects for me to be smart. Bucky has been very very good to me and my mother,” Sparkler said.

“I wish my dad was like that. He just wants me to have as many foals as possible now that the sweeps are over. He told me he is going to fix me up in a nice marriage, but I don’t know with who,” Loch Skimmer said.

“I think I know who I am going to marry,” Sparkler said in a low whisper.

“Is he nice? I mean, he seems decent enough,” Loch Skimmer said, casting a quick glance at Rising Star.

“He followed me here. He didn’t have to follow me. He could have stayed home, stayed safe and comfortable, but he came here. I love him,” Sparkler said. “I plan to start a herd. I know what I want to do with my life. Well, I thought I did. For a while I thought I wanted to be a geologist. And maybe I still do, but my goal has changed. When I get back to the mainland, I am going back to school, and then I think I will help my father start his new school for magic when that happens, if he will let me. And then, I plan to settle in, gather up a few trusted mares, and begin my own family.”

“That sounds like a good life. I’d love to go to school. My dad says schooling is foolishness that mares have no need of. We just need to be able to have foals and that’s it,” Loch Skimmer said.

“Want to learn how to read?” Sparkler asked.

“Is it hard?” Loch Skimmer replied.

“You seem smart, it shouldn’t be too hard. Rising Star and I need to teach Sentinel, you could join us,” Sparkler invited.

“You would do that for me? I’m practically a stranger…” the pegasus filly asked.

“You’re my friend, and I could use the teaching practice,” Sparkler replied.

“Could you teach my sister? She’s a year younger than me. We’re the only fillies in our whole family… I want to do what is right for both us. There used to be more… but the sweeps happened,” Loch Skimmer said bitterly.

“Just bring her,” Sparkler said.

“Her name is Ripple and she’s smart. She comes from a different mother, but we’re close,” Loch Skimmer explained. “I intend to take her with me when I leave this place. Can I tell you a secret?”

“Only if you feel that you can trust me,” Sparkler said.

“I do, I don’t know why we say that whole can I tell you a secret line… I suppose it is just something we say… Ripple doesn’t like colts. She’s into fillies. And she’s going to be expected to leave home and start a family soon. And whoever marries her isn’t going to care that she isn’t into males. I don’t want to see that happen to her. Being forced I mean. I’ve heard about it happening to other mares around here. The stallions call it “breaking her in” or “taming” and it worries me,” Loch Skimmer said. “Foals are so important here that mares don’t get much in the way of personal freedom. Only one thing is expected from us, and if we don’t provide it willingly, we are made to do it. I understand the reasons, and I suppose I can endure it for myself, but I can’t bear thinking about it happening to Ripple.”

“That’s horrible,” Sparkler said. “My mothers, I know they enjoy each other’s company and do things with one another. I don’t think I swing that way. I mean, I don’t know, I’ve never tried it, it doesn’t interest me… I couldn’t imagine being forced.”

“Your mothers have a go at one another and are married to your father? There are ponies that go both ways?” Loch Skimmer asked.

“Well, yeah. I mean, they all love one another,” Sparkler replied.

“Never heard of such a thing. Maybe it happens around here, but I don’t know anything about it. Usually the mares just share the stallion and ignore one another,” Loch Skimmer said.

“Those three love one another madly,” Sparkler said. “It is the kind of love that fills me with hope. It is why I want to start a herd, even if I don’t think I am into mares. I want the sort of love that is bigger than just two ponies.”

The two fillies lapsed into silence, occasionally looking at one another.

“You have all this freedom,” Loch Skimmer said, breaking the silence. “I envy you. You are going to have this wonderful life and you are probably going to get everything you want.”

Sparkler did not reply, but chewed thoughtfully on an oatcake.

“Even Thistle is going to get a chance to be happy. I think your family will do the right thing in time and take her in. Thistle is a good pony, even if she is a little odd sometimes. She saved one of my mothers from drowning after she accidentally got tangled up in a net and pulled under. There was somepony learning how to fish that day and he messed up his hold on the net. She’s saved a lot of ponies from drowning,” Loch Skimmer said.

“You could be happy,” Sparkler said. After speaking, she wiped the crumbs from her muzzle with a foreleg.

“I have big dreams, but they won’t mean much if I am ran down and forced to marry. I am at that age and I hear about it every day,” Loch Skimmer said. “For all I know I might be getting introduced to my future husband and maybe even fellow-wives tomorrow. It is bound to happen sooner or later.”

“You would be forced?” Sparkler asked.

“Yes,” Loch Skimmer returned. “The fellow-wives are there to do the forcing. I’ve seen it happen. A chase happens, a herd of mares run the new mare down, catch her, then they start beating her into submission, and then the herd’s stallion takes the new mare and breaks her in if she keeps resisting. It is much easier on you if you just go along quietly and do as you are told.”

“That’s horrible,” Sparkler hissed. “My mother chased Bucky, but there was no violence involved. All three of them chased one another, and nopony was hurt. I can’t imagine a chase ending in violence. That’s awful…”

“There are not a lot of options here, which is why I want to leave. Before something happens. I want a family, don’t get me wrong, but I want it on my terms, with the ponies of my choosing,” Loch Skimmer stated.

Sparkler said nothing, but her mind whirled with thoughts. There was so much she had taken for granted in her own life, as hard as it had been, it could have been harder. She wrapped a foreleg around her new friend and hugged her, wishing she had some kind of meaningful words to say.

 

 

“Look at them,” Berry said in a quiet whisper.

Derpy closed one eye and squinted at Sparkler.

“Sparkler has a friend,” Berry said.

“She sure does,” Derpy said.

“I remember becoming your friend. We had humble beginnings,” Berry said in a low voice. “And now, I love you.”

“Friendship is a funny thing. I don’t think I would have made it without you,” Derpy admitted. “I would have gave up. Might have given up Dinky and Sparkler and just tried to start over.”

“But we stuck together. Now we’re a family. We have Bucky. I get to spend the rest of my life with my best friend,” Berry stated.

“Stop, you’re gonna make me misty,” Derpy warned.

“If you give me a chance, I could make you wet instead,” Berry teased.

Derpy tittered.

“No, really, I need to blow off some stress,” Berry whispered. “Bucky isn’t well enough to handle that. You and I need to slip off someplace and work each other over.”

“I’m filthy. I haven’t bathed in a while. Yuck, no,” Derpy protested.

“A bath might be nice. I suppose we’ll have to go to the lake,” Berry admitted. “And then we can blow off steam.”

“Maybe,” Derpy said.

 

 

Bucky reveled in his new sense of power. His plans were indeed possible. He could see that now. The tower was only the beginning. There were other things to do. Important things. He was going to have to figure out the next step. Talking with Sparkler and Rising Star would be a required step, and soon, and then the difficulty of figuring out the complex magics he would need to see his plan to fruition.

He needed to clear his head. It was time to brew some beer perhaps. Indulge in what he was meant to do, clear the cobwebs out of his mind, and take plenty of time to gain much needed perspective before taking the next step.

The tower was only the first step. Here, with protective sunstones, spells could be tested. Sparkler and Rising Star could be safe while raining down destructive magics upon the wolves. Luring them in might be difficult, but that could be figured out in time. Getting Derpy to agree to allow Sparkler to help was going to be far more difficult than fighting the wolves.

He would need Dinky to help him find where two strong ley lines crossed. That might require a bit of exploring. Dinky’s bees were going to be immensely useful and powerful. Dinky’s talent might just be one of the most powerful talents Bucky had ever encountered. It was a talent limited only by imagination, and Bucky was determined to make sure that Dinky was able to exploit her talent completely.

He also planned to use Dinky’s bees to track the wolves during the daylight hours, to find out where they hid. He was going to have to teach Dinky to tap into the vision of her bees. Once found, Bucky hoped to sting the wolves and swarm them, weakening their physical bodies.

Bucky was expanding into his new type four physiology, and he felt a mischievous streak coming on.

 

 

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