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 is no news of home… I feel so cut off here,” Derpy mentioned as she settled into bed. She snuggled under the covers and did her best to ignore the sounds of the wolves. The horrible wolves that had maimed her husband. Carefully, she approached Bucky’s blind side and surprised him with a kiss, her questing tongue probing between his lips and working its way around inside of his mouth. She felt funny, kissing him so intimately while her foals watched, but she needed this moment. She leaned into him, her lips pinching and giving a gentle tug to Bucky’s bottom lip. She finally pulled away with a wet sounding smack.

“How come you never kiss me like that?” Rising Star asked Sparkler. He froze, realising his mistake a moment too late. Five adult eyes focused on him. Two were Berry’s, two were Derpy’s, and one was Bucky’s. Out of them all, Bucky’s was the worst. Once, he had been afraid of Derpy, afraid of flight lessons, afraid that the pegasus might kill him. Now, now he was afraid of what he might live through with Bucky.

“I smell aggression,” Sentinel warned in a low whisper to his bedmate, the two colts wrapped together under the same blanket. “Watch out for the alpha.”

“Look… I love Sparkler and recent events have educated me that loving somepony is pretty much all that matters because you never know when they might be taken away from you without a single moment of notice. Of course, we’re kissing when you are not looking. It is what we do at our age. Stop looking at me like that…” Rising Star’s brief moment of courage melted away under Bucky’s terrible one eyed stare.

“Oh stop that! You’re threatening your own future son in law,” Sparkler scolded. She poked Berry Punch, who was beside her. “Someday, we’re going to be married, and one day there is going to be a lot more than just kissing going on. He’s gonna be shagging my purple pink backside and I am going to be enjoying it... but he’s right. What if father hadn’t come back that night? Would both of you truly be content with just your last kiss? Makes the ones you get now feel all the sweeter by comparison, don’t they?”

Berry’s gaze dropped, her eyes cast downward, looking at the sheet beneath her. She heaved a sigh, taking Sparkler’s words into consideration. Without meaning for it to happen, a single tear beaded in the corner of her eye and rolled down her cheek, leaving a dark spot on the sheet beneath her muzzle.

Derpy closed her eyes and nodded, licking her lips briefly, thinking of the kiss she just had. She felt an uncomfortable tightness in her throat. She felt a burning sense of shame creeping up her neck.

“Marriage?” Bucky asked after licking away the waxy slobber on his bottom lip. “Sparkler, what about school?”

“You know, I can be married and still go to school. I can use birth control. Barley and Princess Luna showed Rising Star and I a spell. We’re not doing anything, not yet, he’s too scared and I’m too nervous and I don’t plan on trying anything until I am mature enough to think about it and not feel ashamed and start giggling,” Sparkler answered. “Plus, we’ve already been in a position where I had a lapse of judgement and it was Rising Star who preserved my virginity, so take that into account before you start doing the whole overprotective parent thing again.”

“When?” Derpy asked.

“The other day. When we left to explore the grounds. We found a secluded place and I did my damndest to seduce him. He shoved me away and told me ‘no’ and I was really angry with him for a while and we went and had a walk, and then we met Loch Skimmer,” Sparkler replied. “I was conflicted. Father had almost died. It was all I could think about. What if Rising Star died out here in this horrible place and I never got a chance to express how I felt... I cried at him, I begged him, I used all of my feminine wiles, and Rising Star turned me down each time.”

Bucky settled his gaze upon Sparkler, an unknown emotion buzzing between his ears. He suddenly loved this filly a great deal. He had loved her for quite some time actually, but now, the feeling blossomed into something greater. Her honesty stoked something burning inside of him. She stared back at him, her gaze dropping away for an instant before she steeled her nerve and resumed staring back.

“All of this talk about sex makes me feel squirmy,” Piña politely interjected from beneath Derpy’s wing. She scootched and snuggled, feeling the firm flesh over Derpy’s ribs and taking comfort against the growing cold in the room. It was dark under the blanket, and only a faint light peeped in from where Derpy had her head raised, the blanket lifting as it wrapped over Derpy’s withers and crest. She felt Dinky snuggling in just beside her, both of them cuddling under Derpy’s wing together. She felt safe squished between Derpy and Dinky, the horrible howling outside didn’t bother her nearly as much. Piña meeped when a wolf howl sounded just a little too close to the castle for comfort.

“I am going to kill them all,” Bucky hissed, breaking a dozen chains of thought those around him as he did so. His remaining eye narrowed. He started to say something else, but Berry’s lips suddenly pressed against his, and her long orange tongue darted and flicked in and out of his mouth, distracting him from his vengeful thoughts. She moaned into his mouth as she angled her head for better suction. Bucky felt feverish… not just in his burnt skin, but beneath it, heat rising to the surface from deep within.

Berry pulled away, leaving behind a thin strand of drool as she did so. She heaved a deep breath, rolled her eyes for a moment, and then shot a look at her fellow-wife. She felt Sparker give her a gentle nudge. The string of drool broke and two droplets fell to the bed below.

“Each kiss could be your last,” Rising Star said sadly. “There are no guarantees of any future. There is only what we have now, in this moment, at this time. And at this moment, we have each other. It is all we have. It is the only measurable thing of value, the only thing that any of us treasure, the thing all of us are fighting for, striving for, hoping to preserve, We are made stronger because of the different connections of love that form the ties between the ponies in this room.”

“He’s a poet,” Sparkler whispered, her skin shivering from Rising Star’s well said words. She leaned over on to Berry Punch, feeling a close moment of love and kinship, the feeling that Berry was her mother stronger than ever.

“Well, at least my future son in law is well spoken,” Bucky grumbled.

Derpy nodded. Her head then fell and rested upon her forelegs, her eyes closed, and one ear twitched as the compacted peat bale in the fireplace crackled and popped. Her breathing deepened. She had two foals under her wing, her husband near her side, a husband she wished she could press up against but didn’t want to hurt him, and the events of the day were heavy upon her mind. As she began to drift away, she thought of Thistle, alone in her lake, all by herself in the darkness. For a brief second she wished that Thistle was here with them, perhaps curled up with Sparkler to keep warm, to be kept safe and secure. It was a passing thought, and Derpy slipped into slumber with a snort and a fart as her body relaxed.

Bucky listened as Derpy slipped into sleep. With his left eye, he gazed at Berry, who looked back at him. He felt Berry’s soft fetlock brush his face just below his left eye and he leaned into her touch. “I love you,” he whispered. He lowered his own head down upon a pillow, closed his remaining eye, and waited for sleep to take him.

 

 

The brewery was large and filled with archaic equipment. Berry was right at home, but Bucky had no clue what was what. Bucky and Berry were alone together in the building, the rest of the herd back in the dining hall, Sparkler and Rising Star setting up a lesson in literacy. Before leaving, the pair had seen quite a few foals being brought to attend Sparkler and Rising Star’s impromptu class. Derpy was there with them, more than content to look after as many foals as she could. Thistle had opted to stay with the group and maybe even try learning something.

The smell of grain and beer clung cloyingly to the nostrils, a scent that made Bucky relax and feel calm. He could feel his own purpose all around him, and he looked forward to a little downtime.

First things first though. He snatched Berry in his magic and pulled her to him, her hooves skidding over the floor. He kissed her deeply, the movement making the seared gash on the side of his face ache, and after several moments of drinking Berry Punch in, he released her, leaving her feeling Berry frustrated.

He strode off slowly, stiff legged, his skin still feeling entirely too tight, looking at the equipment all around him. It was well cared for, well polished, and clearly the pride of this community. He heard Berry’s heavy breathing behind him.

“That isn’t nice to leave a mare flustered like that,” Berry admonished.

“I gave up on being a nice pony,” Bucky replied as he continued to explore the brewery. “Look where it got me. Now… now the time of being a nice pony is over, and I get to be a bad pony for a while. I finally have a chance to let go. Release a little death magic. Perform spells that would get me locked away on the mainland. I am finally in a place to fully explore the depth of my abilities without fear or repercussions. Plus, I can do it and be a hero, rather than being called some crackpot hedge wizard. I can do very bad things and justify them by bringing about good ends.”

The earth pony mare did not reply. She paced behind her mate, watching him, feeling Berry attracted to him. Good Bucky was sexy. Bad Bucky was pure intoxicating lust. She walked just behind him, leaving a wake of well perfumed air, her tail swishing from side to side.

“Don’t get me wrong… the only thing that truly matters to me in the long run is family. That will never change. But a little mad experimentation and the means to do so without boundaries, that’s tempting. It is like you wanting to tie me up and have a little fun with me. I understand that Berry… who can resist the siren call of being naughty once in a while?” Bucky turned his head so his left eye could take everything in as he spoke. “I don’t think I could tell Derpy this without feeling very uncomfortable, but you, I can tell you Berry.”

“A wife for every need,” Berry replied. “I like the darkness you have. It completes you. It makes you a well rounded pony. I hope you never feel the need to hide it from me. I hope our foals have some of your darkness. It will make them better ponies I believe, provided they are balanced out by some of your light.”

The unicorn inhaled deeply, taking in the scents of the brewery and the tangy whiff of Berry’s perfumed mare vapours. He paused, turned, walked around Berry, pushed her tail aside with his nose, and inhaled deeply, the rush of air causing Berry to hiss as it tickled over delicate places. Bucky pressed his nose gently into the gentle curvature of Berry’s haunches, planted a gentle kiss, and then he walked away, walking down the corridor between the giant vats.

Berry stood in place for a moment, shuddered, shivered, and then trotted after her mate. “I’ve been meaning to ask,” she stated, trying to distract herself from her powerful sense of need. “Why can’t unicorns just transmute rocks into beer? I know they can turn rocks into objects and even food… but why not beer?”

“Complexity. I probably could turn rocks into beer, but it would be undrinkable. Think about the sofas I made. The plain scratchy material of the fabric. The dull grey colour. I could change that, sure, but that would be a cosmetic change. It doesn’t change the fact that the sofas are very crude and simple things. Bread made from rocks is hard, flavourless, and almost nutritionally worthless. Beer would be almost undrinkable,” Bucky explained.

“So why not take the raw ingredients and zap them with magic, and just brew beer that way?” Berry asked.

“Well, I… uh, I have thought about that actually. I was going to experiment. I meant to experiment a few months ago. And then this really sweet grey pegasus mare chased me, a flock of pegasi harassed me, she introduced me to her best friend, both of them plotted against me, I had my horn cracked, fell in love completely, a war got started, I got married, and I just recently lost an eye,” Bucky responded.

“Bah, minor distractions,” Berry replied. “Stop making excuses,” she deadpanned.

“But both of you are so very distracting,” Bucky protested. “Like right now, I would be shagging you until you bleated like the filthy little ewe that are you are if I knew it wouldn’t hurt me so badly and we had told Derpy what we were up to before we left.”

Berry smiled warmly. “You’re getting better. Be patient. Keg Smasher did a really good job cauterising your wounds. I spoke with him briefly. He has had a lot of practice. Apparently the trick isn’t to just press the iron in, but to roll it back and forth over the flesh to make a good seal.”

Bucky winced, recalling a painful memory.

“Sorry love… I didn’t mean to make you hurt more,” Berry apologised.

“No worries,” Bucky replied. “You know, figuring out how to brew beer with magic would probably help me with figuring out how to assemble raw materials and help me with what I have planned…” Bucky thought out loud.

“In the old days, they called a group of rogue unicorns a coven. Is that what you, Dinky, Sparkler, and Rising Star are going to become? Look, I am not stupid, I know you are planning something much bigger than some suit of armor. All of this talk about experimental magic and doing questionable things that would get you in trouble on the mainland. You are planning something, something I probably can’t comprehend, aren’t you?” Berry questioned.

Bucky sighed and thought about total honesty. “I think I have a way to turn Sparkler and Rising Star into full fledged type threes. Sort of a smaller step of ascension. I am going to need them at peak power if I am going to accomplish what I have planned. Look, I am confident that it wouldn’t hurt them. I am not going to rush into anything. I’ve already channeled immense amounts of magic through them and I know that they are physically capable. I am going to channel Sentinel’s shadow essence into objects that I craft, infusing them with shadow. It will not hurt him. None of these things will do any harm, but on the mainland, they would be morally reprehensible and I would face serious consequences if I did them there,” Bucky confessed.

“Will it help you destroy the wolves?” Berry asked, her tone grave, all trace of merriment and arousal now gone. Her eyes glittered with unspoken rage. “Will it destroy the wolves that took your perfect eye and maimed your body, which I love?”

“Yes,” answered Bucky, the word an exhaled whisper.

“Then do what needs to be done, just like I did. I enjoyed kicking the crap out of your mother. Bad things happened, but good things are coming because I did it. Throw caution to the wind Buckminster… these are reckless times, and bold moves might be our best option. The greatest risks bring the greatest rewards. Look, I love you more than any words can explain, and with that love comes trust. I understand that sometimes, you gotta walk through a mile of shite before you can reach your goals. Life is about getting dirty. And I chose to get dirty with you,” Berry stated while looking Bucky in his remaining eye. She leaned forward and planted a gentle peck on the left corner of Bucky’s mouth. “And while you are doing the mad scientist thing, replace your eye somehow. Even if you can’t see with whatever you replace it with, just make something functional and practical.”

“That’s actually a very good idea,” Bucky murmured in reply.

“Now, let’s see if we can’t figure out how to brew beer using nothing but your magic. We will figure out how to do this together. You are going to need me,” Berry announced.

“I will always need you,” Bucky admitted.

 

 

The noon hour approached. Bucky and Berry were still gone. All around her were foals, and Derpy was truly in her element. Much of the castle staff had dropped off their foals for the lessons, and Derpy was foal sitting the littlest foals that were too little for school, but had been brought anyway by hopeful parents.

The foals were fine, but Derpy was worried by the growing collection of flowers, which she had taken to eating. They were sweet and delicate, and the mare had a strong craving for fresh greens. The worst had been three mares, the youngest even younger than Sparkler, probably still in a single digit age range, all of them leading small foals and offering flowers. The youngest had stated that their husband was gone. All of them were sisters.

It had left Derpy heartbroken and confused. Part of her wanted to take them in, but not as fellow-wives. It was getting harder and harder to deal with the endless offers of flowers. There were foals having foals here. Thistle was actually a bit older than quite a few mothers Derpy had seen. Derpy settled into a soft pile of straw, tiny foals all around her in a pile. She covered as many as she could with her wings, and relished the broody feeling that permeated her down to the core of her being. She was warm and surrounded by little helpless bodies, little helpless bodies that needed her. The straw formed a comfortable nest. Derpy felt her hide being soaked by drool from little heads that rested upon her, and she didn’t mind. Some of the foals were sprawled over her back, several of them in a pile with one another, and she could feel somepony breathing in her mane, slow steady tiny inhales and exhales which were warm, a constant repetition of breathing and the confirmation of life.

The broody pegasus desperately wanted to have another foal of her own. She did not know that even now, the beginnings of life were taking place deep inside of her, and that two new ponies would grace her world in little less than a years time. One foal was of the winds, the other graced with magic. Powerful hormonal changes were taking place within the pegasus, altering her moods, changing her behaviours, preparing her for the many changes that were to come.

Sparkler and Rising Star worked well together as teachers, complimenting each other nicely. Derpy’s sharp ears picked up their voices well, their gentle instruction, Sparkler’s endless patience that she had learned from looking after Dinky and Piña, and Rising Star’s enduring creativity, even in the swirling chaos of a mess of foals all wanting to get his attention.

Ponies were beginning to enter the hall to wait for lunch, which would be very soon. Some of them watched the lesson taking place, others watched Derpy and her careful mothering of a whole mess of foals, which were somehow quiet and well behaved for her.

Keg Smasher entered the hall, froze, and then tried to understand what he was seeing. He saw the improvised classroom. He saw the broody pegasus. He saw other ponies waiting for lunch and watching everything that he was trying to take in. Keg Smasher was covered with dozens of seared patches over his flesh and he was limping badly. He moved slowly towards the nesting pegasus, not wanting to do anything stupid, like spook her or invoke her sense of territory.

“Hello there stormy mare,” he greeted.

Derpy looked up at him, closing one eye to study the giant pegasus that was cautiously approaching her. “Feeling better?” Derpy asked.

“A little. How is Buckminster?” Keg Smasher replied. He eased himself down to the floor and scooted a little closer to the foal pile and the grey mare.

“Bucky is getting better, you did a really good job of closing his wounds. I can’t thank you enough,” Derpy said, real gratitude in her voice. “You brought me back my husband… what was left of him.”

“I know it’s rough. I want to thank you as well,” Keg Smasher stated.

“What for?” Derpy inquired.

“Right now, you’re sitting on the most valuable bit of treasure I have in my keep. The only thing I have of any real value. Without those, my ponies have no future,” Keg Smasher explained in reply.

Derpy blushed and looked down at a foal cradled in her forelegs.

“Would you mind doing this every day? I hate to ask, but we all have to do our part around here. And ponies will work harder if they don’t have to look after their own foals, or don’t have to worry about their own foals being safe. I’d imagine you foal sitting has raised the productivity around here just a little bit. The school here is a good idea. We have nannies and nursemaids, but they are few in number. One more such as yourself would be a powerful asset,” Keg Smasher said as he reached out and touched a foal with one wing, giving it a tickle. The foal hiccuped and rolled away, trying to avoid the irritating feathers.

“Doing this makes me happy,” Derpy confessed. “This is the only thing that makes sense in the world.”

“Well, sitting on them and making them are my two favourite activities,” Keg Smasher admitted. “No more sweeps. We get to keep each and every one of these.”

“Does it bother you that we intend to keep Sentinel? Do you feel we are taking one of your foals?” Derpy asked, raising her gaze towards Keg Smasher, closing one eye, and studying him.

“No. He is getting a good home. That makes me happy. It isn’t the same at all. And the fact that you worried enough about it to bring it up, I don’t have the words,” Keg Smasher replied. He returned Derpy’s gaze, looking into her amber eye. He watched the other eye open and easily saw why Bucky loved this mare so much. She was the embodiment of what Keg Smasher and Bucky both valued, a motherly queen nestled upon a throne of foals. Looking past the eyes, she looked regal, purposeful, a strong foundational cornerstone to build a herd upon.

“You keep staring at me,” Derpy stated.

“Just seeing what Buckminster sees. I made the right choice and I know it now,” Keg Smasher returned.

“What do you mean?” Derpy asked. “Right choice?”

“About Thistle. I look at you and I know I made the right choice. Don’t get me wrong, Thistle is going to make a great mother, but I know her type. She is always going to be playful and foalish. She is going to want to be friends with her foals, rather than the much harder requirement of being a mother. She is going to make a great mother figure in any herd she is a part of, but she is going to need a real mother figure to be there and put her hoof down. Damn near a perfect herd structure. A strong mother, a playful mother, and an educator, which is what I am guessing that Berry is good at, based on what little I’ve gleaned about her,” Keg Smasher explained. “A small but very functional herd ideal for raising foals.”

“You surprise me Keg Smasher,” Derpy admitted. “You are not the pegasus I thought you were.”

“I surprise a lot of ponies,” Keg Smasher responded. “It is how I deposed the previous laird. I had myself and a few hard cases loyal to me smuggled into the castle here in giant kegs. We popped out and had us a party. He was a right bastard.”

“Do you think you can fix this place?” Derpy asked.

“I hope so lass, I hope so,” Keg Smasher replied.

 

 

 

 

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