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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“Bucky?”

Sitting in one of the overstuffed chairs of the farmhouse library, Apple Bloom hunched over a steaming mug of soft hot cider held between her front hooves. The fire crackled and Apple Bloom was enjoying a bit of quiet downtime.

“Yes?”

Sitting in his usual chair, Bucky was reading a spellbook about nonlethal incapacitation spells. Looking up from his book, he waited for Apple Bloom to say something. He smiled a soft, pleasant smile to encourage Apple Bloom to speak what was on her mind.

“Why me?” Apple Bloom asked.

Bucky chuckled and lifted up his own mug of hot soft cider. “Oooh… I was waiting for that question. Well… why not you?”

The earth pony filly’s brows crinkled and Apple Bloom looked very confused.

“Your cutie mark is yours… while some cutie marks repeat, your cutie mark is special and unique. You were born to have that mark. You were created to do what you did today. That’s why everypony else that tried to do what you have done has failed. This accomplishment of yours that you did today, it was your own special thing to do.” Bucky lifted his mug to his lips and took a sip, never once taking his eyes off of Apple Bloom.

“But I didn’t do this… I mean, I had so much help. So many ponies helped me…”

“And you, you led them. You organised them. You kept them focused on the task. You picked the right ponies for the job, you inspired them, and you got them to help you complete your vision.” Holding his mug in his talons, Bucky gave Apple Bloom an almost sleepy looking smile.

“But I’m so young,” Apple Bloom said in a voice that was almost a whine.

“So was Cadance when she battled Prismia.” Bucky’s face became serious. “At some point, we grow up and stop believing that we can do anything. We make excuses and rationalise ourselves out of our potential. We tell ourselves we can’t. When we’re young, we don’t know any better. We think that anything might be possible and then we stupidly blunder forward.”

“So I did this because I didn’t know that I couldn’t do it?” Apple Bloom blinked and cocked her head. Her muzzle crinked. “Wait, that sorta makes sense. So what is the one thing you can do that nopony else can? Do you have a special spell or a talent?”

“I have made a spell that brews up beer from raw ingredients. When I first figured it out, it wasn’t very good beer. Each time I cast the spell, it got better and better. Now, when I cast the spell, Barley himself can’t tell what was properly brewed in a vat and what I made with my spell. I have no doubt any longer that this is my special talent, my special spell, my special purpose that is tied to my cutie mark. I’ve even started brewing up batches of whiskey and other alcohols from raw ingredients. When I cast the spell, I feel at peace with everything and I am overcome with calm.”

“Hmm.” Apple Bloom lifted her mug to her lips and took a sip.

“Twilight Sparkle says the spell is unbelievably complex. It involves time manipulation and is mind boggling to perform… and all it does is make alcohol. It doesn’t serve much else of a purpose, but it is what makes me special,” Bucky said.

“Apple Bloom! Come play with us! We need a fourth player for cross conquer checkers!”

Bucky gestured at the library door with his hoof. “You should go play with them. You’ll feel better and blow off a little steam. Go on, go have fun.”

 

 

“Come on Harper, make zap for mama,” Bucky said. He faced Harper well prepared, a fresh grounding spell would protect him from Harper’s lightning. The foal had been throwing off many sparks and many accidental static discharges had already stood up many a mane this evening, including Erebus, who was still crying.

“No?” Harper replied.

“Come on Harpy… make some zap. It’s okay. Just like you do for mama Lyra… make zap for mamamama,” Bucky made an inviting gesture with his talons.

“Harpy made Erby cry… Harpy bad.” The dejected foal slumped over and looked miserable. Her mane, held aloft by too much static, was unable to droop and display her mood.

“Which is why we need to drain you of your destructive potential, my little thunderhead.” Bucky smiled at Harper and then raised an eyebrow. “Want visit from the tickle monster?”

“No.” Harper’s lip protruded as she turned away from Bucky.

“Fine… there here comes the zerbert monster,” Bucky said in a mock-menacing voice.

Harper turned her head to look at Bucky, and lightning coursed along her stubby horn as she did no. “Nooooo!”

Bucky allowed a long string of slobber to dribble from his lips. “Here comes the zerbert monster!”

“EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” Harper squeaked in terror. She started to run but was caught in Bucky’s magic. She kicked, wiggled, and then let go off massive discharge of lightning that struck Bucky.

“Gobble gobble!” Bucky shouted as he pressed his muzzle to Harper’s exposed belly. He pressed in, drooled everywhere to get a good seal, and then blew a colossal raspberry.

As he did so, blue bolts of lightning flew from Harper’s horn, striking Bucky all over, but most struck his horn. He blew another raspberry and Harper exploded with laughter. Lightning arced and crackled between Bucky and Harper. Even with the grounding spell to protect him, Bucky’s mane stood on end and his tail became a frightful mass of hair.

“Grawr! Foal gobbling time!” Bucky said after he came up for air. This time, he went for Harper’s weak spot, her neck. She squealed for mercy but Bucky had none. He blew a raspberry as Harper kicked, wiggled, discharged lightning. He blew another raspberry, and then another, and he noticed that Harper’s discharges were losing power.

Harper was giggling like a spastic squirrel. She looked up at Bucky, her eyes twinkling, almost begging him to do it again. She pressed her snoot against Bucky’s muzzle and blew a clumsy, slobbery raspberry of her own.

“Harper, you always make me so happy with your infectious laughter and your smile,” Bucky said as he gave Harper a squeeze and held her close. Harper seemed to have few arcs left in her and Bucky rather enjoyed the little zaps that connected the two of them.

“Buckminster, thou art a most ridiculous creature,” Luna said from the doorway where she stood.

Turning his head, Bucky gave Luna an evil look as he set Harper down upon the floor. His eyes were glazed over with manic glee and he let out a little cackle. “Gobble gobble!”

“Oh no! Buckminster, you would not dare to commit such a trespass!” Luna took a step backwards. She could see a ribbon of slobber dangling down from Bucky’s muzzle and she watched as Harper scurried away, still giggling, parts of her pelt shiny with drool.

“Grawr!” Bucky growled as he pounced.

“NOOOOOOOOOO!” Luna cried as she took off running down the hall.

 

 

Humming a soft wordless melody, Coco Pommel held a brush in her fetlock as she held Sweetie Belle close to her. After a moment spent in a crushing, but gentle hug, Coco resumed brushing the tangles out of Sweetie Belle’s mane. Removing the tangles from the filly’s tender head took a gentle touch, and Coco was nothing but gentle touches.

“Sweetie Belle?” Coco asked as she pulled the brush down Sweetie Belle’s neck.

“Hmm?”

“Sweetie, love, one of the most difficult things you can do is stand in somepony else’s shadow...” Coco stopped speaking for a moment as she tugged out a determined tangle with slow measured strokes, never once causing Sweetie Belle to cry out. “Rarity tries to be very good about that sort of thing, when somepony showers her with praise she tries to make it clear that we both worked on the project in question. Ponies don’t always listen though.”

“You think I’m upset?” Sweetie Belle asked.

“I wasn’t sure,” Coco replied in a gentle voice that matched her considerate actions. “I had to find out. I didn’t want you feeling cheated, or that you were left out of the limelight. I know how hard it is.”

“Apple Bloom deserves her moment in the spotlight. She worked really hard. Later on, if I’m ever working on something important, I know she’ll help me. I don’t feel bad about this, I feel really happy that I had a hoof in helping her. She did something really amazing and I helped to make that possible.” Sweetie Belle leaned against Coco Pommel, feeling relaxed and almost limp. The brush trailing over her scalp felt divine. “It’s hard being around my sister, isn’t it? She’s famous and everypony treats her special.”

“Yes Sweetie, it can be very difficult, but Rarity does try to include me. She makes every effort, even if ponies don’t want to listen.” Coco began work on the hank of mane just behind Sweetie’s right ear.

“You think that is what it will be like for Apple Bloom? She’ll get famous and important and then ponies will recognise her and Apple Bloom will have to stick up for us and all we do and nopony will listen?” Sweetie Belle tilted her head to make Coco’s task a little easier.

“I don’t know… I just know that it takes a very special sort of pony, a very strong pony to stand in the background while others get their due. Apple Bloom is now a princess… I know from being the shadow of Rarity’s fame and from hearing Twilight talk about her own experiences and troubles with her friends, it can be very difficult standing in the shadow of greatness.” Coco Pommel stopped brushing for a moment, lowered her head, and kissed Sweetie Belle on the top of her head.

“This won’t change our friendship,” Sweetie Belle said in a soft voice. “Will it?”

“I hope not… I think if you are aware of the problems that can happen, you will know how to deal with them and it will help,” Coco replied.

 

 

Heaving a sigh, Rainbow Dash looked Scootaloo in the eye. “It’s time we had a talk, Squirt. Pay attention, there is a lot to talk about.”

“There is?” Scootaloo’s wings fluttered as she looked up at Rainbow Dash.

Rainbow Dash nodded, sidled up beside Scootaloo, and wrapped a wing around the pegasus foal. “This is the ‘so your best friend just became a princess’ talk. See, this is something I’ve had experience in… because of Twi.” Rainbow Dash laid down on the floor and pulled Scootaloo down with her. “You have a duty now… a task that only you can do.”

“And what is that?” Scootaloo asked as she tried to blink away her confusion.

“When Twilight became a princess, she needed me more than ever, because I’m awesome. I’m made of awesome. And let’s face it, Twilight Sparkle is an egghead. And not just any egghead, she’s the princess of eggheads. Now, see, eggheads typically don’t know just how eggheaded they are, so somepony had to help Twilight Sparkle have awesome moments whenever possible,” Rainbow Dash replied.

“I don’t get it.” Scootaloo nuzzled her muzzle against Rainbow Dash’ jawline.

“I’m in charge in making your mother, the princess of eggheads, Twilight Sparkle, appear to be awesome. I have to give other ponies something to look at, something to distract them, something awesome to look at so they don’t focus on Twilight Sparkle’s eggheadedness. It is my job to try and help Twilight Sparkle not look like such a dork. If she starts dancing…” Rainbow Dash shuddered and felt Scootaloo shuddering with her. “If she starts dancing, I have to strut my stuff and do my thing and be the most awesome pegasus ever so ponies will look at me and not go blind by looking at Twilight Sparkle when she dances. If Twilight Sparkle is making some long, boring, eggheaded speech, it is my job to make funny faces, the occasional rude noise, and to be as silly as possible so ponies don’t go to sleep and Twilight won’t feel bad for causing yet another snorefest.”

“I see,” Scootaloo said in a soft, squeaky voice.

“Apple Bloom is an egghead… Squirt, you, you’re going to have your work cut out for you. You have the sacred duty that every pegasus made of awesome must embrace. Being loyal and being awesome. But don’t worry, Squirt. I’ll teach you my awesome ways so that you too, can protect your egghead.”

“Um, thanks… I think?”

 

 

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