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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As Luna worked her hooves into the soil, she felt the first stirrings of her magic returning. The air inside of the greenhouse was humid and warm. The smell of greenery hung in the air and the moist, rich smell of black soil was almost cloying in her nostrils. She could feel her connection with the earth.

Luna, who should have been in bed, was wide awake, could not sleep, and was behaving like any other foal that didn’t want to go to bed. She watched the other ponies in the greenhouse. Dandelion Fluff and her husband, Pinto Bean, were busy working through the rows of plants that grew in the greenhouse. There were griffons in here that farmed bugs in compost boxes and an entire cycle of life was happening in the greenhouse, making certain that nothing was wasted. Nearby, a teacher was teaching students a lesson in horticulture.

At one end of the greenhouse was a waterfall, an endless stream of water that cascaded over a wall constructed of jagged stones and bits of brick. The falling water formed a fine mist and fans blew a steady breeze, which blew the mist over the plants, keeping everything moist and hydrated.

The sound of the falling water was soothing. Luna found that she adored this place.

Lowering her head, Luna nosed around the lettuce plants, pressing her snoot into the dirt, and very much enjoying her restored connection to the earth, as faint and feeble as it might be.  

She prowled in between the rows, her nose to the ground, sniffling, her hooves pressing into the moist black dirt with every step, and soon she found herself lost in a massive forest of oversized cannabis plants that made her feel very tiny. Squatting down, she urinated among the plants, sensing their needs, and knowing that she had something to offer them.

Urine was rich with nitrogen, something that the plants needed. Urine also had phosphorus and potassium, especially earth pony urine, and that helped to restore the soil, giving it life. Uric acid in urine helped to break down organic compounds in the soil, making things like compost even more effective.

With a sigh of relief, Luna gave back to the earth something in return for everything she had taken. She gave herself a shake to dry herself off, waggling her backside around, and then wandered off, departing the tall cannabis plants and wandering into the pole beans that grew along wooden trellises.

The soil was oh so very warm, full of rotting compost that had been ground with earth pony hooves. It heated the air of the greenhouse and made it feel like spring. Overcome by the primeval equine that dwelled deep within her, Luna fell over and began to roll in the dirt, rubbing her croup over the moist, black soil. She flapped and fluttered her wings at her sides, sending dirt everywhere and getting her feathers filthy. As she flopped around, she rubbed her head in the dirt, also her neck, and she kicked all four legs up into the air as she snorted.

She was not the only pony that was doing this in the greenhouse.

 

 

Laying in a warm patch of sunlight that was shining through a window, Bucky was almost sleeping; he lay drowsing with his eyes closed, sprawled over a quilt left on the living room floor. His hind legs were kicked out behind him and his long tail was fanned out over his legs.

A mischievous kelpie that was up to no good lurked around the corner of the archway that led into the living room. She watched, she waited, biting her lip to repress her need to giggle, trying to determine if Bucky was a good target.

Sitting at the kitchen table, Berry Punch was reading the paper and eating as she also kept an eye on the drama that was about to unfold. She could see that Thistle was up to no good and Berry Punch sort of hoped that Thistle would get what was coming to her. At the very least, Berry Punch was hoping that Thistle would get something coming to her, and that Berry Punch could be a part of it.

Beside Berry, both Harper and Cadance were sitting in their high chairs, also watching. Harper was bending her head down to eat baby carrots and Cadance ignored her food as she watched the kelpie creeping up on Bucky.

“Daddy?” Cadance’s voice was a low whisper and she waved in Bucky’s general direction as she bounced around a bit in her high chair.

“Daddy will be fine,” Berry said in a low reassuring voice to Cadance.

Cadance covered her muzzle with both of her front hooves and watched in wide eyed terror as Thistle crept closer to Bucky. She whimpered and her wings fluttered at her sides. “No… nooooo…”

“It’s just play, Cadance.” Berry Punch reached over and patted Cadance as the alicorn foal covered her eyes. Berry felt the corners of her mouth pulling back as a grin overtook her.

Meanwhile, Thistle, who had crept up on Bucky, loomed over him, wondering what to do next. She had trouble telling if Bucky was asleep or if he was playing possum, she knew full well that it could be either. She dropped head down, pursed her lips, and blew into Bucky’s ear.

The tufted ear twitched once, then twice, and then waggled around as Thistle continued to blow. As the kelpie watched, Bucky’s grey eye opened. She gave him a warm smile, blew in his ear once more, and then let out a squeak when Bucky lifted his head.

“Catch me if you can,” Thistle said in an alluring voice as she reached out and stroked Bucky’s cheek with her hoof. Saying nothing else, Thistle took off, lickety split, heading for the front door.

In the kitchen, Berry Punch watched as Bucky got his legs, wobbled like a newborn foal, and then took off after Thistle, running out of the front door after her. The earth pony mare threw back her head and had a good laugh.

 

 

Below her, Rainbow Dash watched as Thistle took off running with Bucky in hot, panting pursuit. It seemed even midwinter could not stop a chase from happening, and Rainbow Dash recognised it right away for what it was.

She let out a piercing whistle to the get the attention of her class, made a gesture to follow, and then she rolled, dropping down into a dive. Behind her, her students mimicked her actions and when Rainbow Dash leveled out, her students did as well.

Flying low, Rainbow Dash buzzed over the heads of Bucky and Thistle.  Her class made catcalls, whistles, and cheered on Thistle, telling her to run faster. One more flier joined the fray, and Belisama fell beside Rainbow Dash, flapping her wings and keeping up with the mob as they chased after Bucky and Thistle.

“Hey!” Rainbow Dash cried. “Hey, you should be a part of this! Go after Thistle!”

And then, without warning, the sky darkened as a whole flock of little griffons joined in to see what was going on. They flew around Rainbow Dash’s flight class and joined in on the fun.

“And this class, is a ritual as old as ponykind… the chase. It is how we declare our intentions for one another. It is how we, as ponies, profess love for one another, or declare our intentions for another. Usually you see it a lot more in the springtime, and sometimes in the summer. The chase is what makes sure that the fastest males catch the fastest females and there are many that believe that this is what has made our species so strong… I dunno… I just think it’s fun to chase somepony that you like,” Rainbow Dash said, offering an explanation to her class. “Pegasi fly while doing it… earth ponies run… and so will unicorns if you can tear them away from their books and get them outside.”

Rainbow Dash watched as Thistle lept over a snowbank and then darted off in another direction, her tongue flapping from the corner of her mouth. “You see class, when one pony is chasing another pony, that means they are curious about a relationship and it is considered rude to chase another pony’s pony… fights have started because of that… and so have wars. Word has it that Stratuspolis was destroyed because one brother chased after the mare that his brother had declared his intentions for with a chase. A bitter feud broke out between brothers. If the legend can be believed, Stratuspolis was destroyed, one brother murdered the mare, made his brother watch, then killed his brother, and then killed himself. We pegasi have been known to be a little hot headed… I guess.”

“Will this be on our test?” a colt asked.

“Maybe!” Rainbow Dash replied with a broad grin. “I suppose we could consider this part of the rules of flight.”

“Are there any rules for the chase itself?” a filly asked.

“If you don’t want to be chased, don’t run,” Rainbow Dash replied. “Just stand there and shake your head no at the pony trying initiate the chase.”

“How does one start a chase?” a colt asked.

“Usually with a friendly snoot bump, followed by a soft touch on the cheek. It is the opposite of declaring war, which is a hard slap across the kisser,” Rainbow Dash replied. She turned to look at her class and the gaggle of griffons following her. “After the initial contact is made, the snoot bump and the touch on the cheek, if a pony takes off running, you take off after them.”

“Is there anything that we pegasi should be doing while a chase is going on?” a chubby pegasus colt asked in a breathless voice.

“Flock around them and keep them safe, I suppose. I guess that is what we did in the old days, when it dangerous. Now, we flock around them and harass them to let them know we like them and that we approve. Like this.” Rainbow Dash placed both front hooves on either side of her mouth and shouted at Bucky, “HEY, GROUNDPOUNDER! GET MOVING, YA SLOWPOKE!”

Darting around, Rainbow Dash dodged the snowballs that Bucky lobbed at her with his telekinesis. “Hey Bucky! You throw like Twilight Sparkle dances!”

“Somepony fetch the burn cream!” a colt cried in a squeaky voice.

“I’ll deal with you later, Rainbow Dash!” Bucky shouted as he kept running.

Rainbow Dash, laughing, rolled through the air and pointed down at the ground at Bucky. She watched as he turned tail and started to run in another direction. “Hey class, pay attention. Now we have a reversal. See how Thistle and Belisama are now chasing him? At some point, the chaser becomes the chasee as a means to see if there is mutual interest. And in this case, Thistle and Belisama are continuing the chase, running after Bucky as he is now running away from them.”

“Thistle isn’t running very fast to catch him,” a filly said as she watched.

“Well, no, the whole point isn’t to catch him, it is to chase him. Bucky has messed up legs and those weird metal griffon claws and he can’t run very well.” Rainbow Dash glanced at her class and made certain that every head was accounted for. Her quick observation abilities told her that everypony and everybirdy was present.

“Pay attention my griffons, this is important. I want you to watch this and learn,” a grizzled griffon said as he swooped past Rainbow Dash.

A smaller griffon, named Weaver, broke off from the flock and then tweaked the beak of a larger hunter griffon named Grisabella. Already a pair, Weaver took off at full speed, streaking away, and in a flash of grey, Grisabella went after him, her wings pumping to catch up with the smaller, faster griffon that she loved.

“That is the love I want each of you to have for one another,” the old grizzled griffon said as he pointed at the pair with left talons. The old griffon then turned in the air and pointed at Belisama. “Or that. That works too. See how she chases the one she loves. She is happy. Learn from these examples.”

“A chase is supposed to make you happy,” Rainbow Dash said. “If a chase isn’t fun, you’re doing something wrong.”

A filly, who had a rosy blush on cheeks, reached out and stroked the cheek of a colt as she flew near him. She giggled, lingered in the air for a moment, and then took off with as much speed as she could muster. After a moment, the confused colt took off after her, and with a chuckle, Rainbow Dash went off after them both.

 

 

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