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


69. 69

Lunch was a simple affair. Mostly the leftovers from breakfast, some fried oatcakes, and there was some delicious bean and barley soup which caused Derpy to recall fond memories from when Dinky had been an infant. After lunch, the herd had split up, with Bucky no longer able to remain upright and needing to lay down. Berry, Derpy, and even Thistle had gone to join him, and they had taken the foals, Dinky, Piña, and Sentinel.

This left Rising Star and Sparkler by themselves, now free for the afternoon.

Early afternoon.

Sparkler giggled as she felt Rising Star’s lips moving up her neck. She leaned into him, feeling his warmth, not even minding that he was something of a stinky pony. Never mind the fact that she was probably a stinky pony as well. Mutual stinkiness was no match for love.

The pair stood in a small alcove off of the main courtyard, a tiny nook just large enough for several ponies to duck inside and get out of the rain if need be. At one point, there had been a tiny market tucked away in here, but it was long gone, now only a memory to the oldest of those on the isle.

Sparkler teasingly blew into his ear, which caused the colt’s body to stiffen and one of his hind legs kick the stone floor. “Bad filly,” he scolded breathlessly. “Does the bad filly want to go for a walk with me?” he asked.

“Yes, the bad filly would love for a chance to stretch her legs,” Sparkler replied. “The bad filly loves you a great deal, and hopes you understand just how much she loves you,” she breathed teasingly into Rising Star’s ear.

“I would do anything for you,” Rising Star promised.

“Anything?” Sparker replied, licking her teeth seductively.

“Yes, anything,” Rising Star answered. “You have but to ask.”

“Then love me, that is all I ask for… for now,” Sparkler stated.

Rising Star planted a firm kiss on her cheek, and Sparkler craned her head to press her cheek into his lips. The pair stood there for a moment, very close to one another, standing chest to chest, their forehooves touching.

“No more lapses in judgment,” Rising Star whispered.

“No, no more lapses in judgment. We both have big plans for the future,” Sparker agreed. The filly pulled away first, turning and heading out for the courtyard, leading the way. She flicked Rising Star with her tail as she departed.

Rising Star caught a whiff of something that made him feel excited from the tail flicking, and he moved to follow Sparkler, moving to take his place at her side. He brushed up against her briefly, and then flicked her with his tail, which had not been trimmed in a while and was getting long.

The pair moved through the courtyard together, their hooves clattering over the cobblestones, ponies nodding and even bowing to towards them as they passed. Sparkler gave it no thought and bowed her head slightly in return, not understanding the effect she had when she did so. She did not understand her social status as Bucky’s daughter, and the effects that it had upon the ponies around her. She did not understand that she was just as much as a symbol of hope as her father was, as word had spread about her role in the raising of the new tower.

Rising Star was also equally clueless to the level of respect being offered him.

The pair passed through the gate, turned, and began to walk along the outer wall, away from the actual wall, and keeping an eye on anything being poured out over the wall. An emptied chamberpot respected nopony and the rain fell on both the just and the wicked.

Sparkler broke into a run and Rising Star took off after her, both of them laughing as they ran at a full gallop, their hooves thudding upon the earth as they bolted. The field was full of tall grass and wildflowers. Not too far off, the first of the farmers fields began, and the one closest to the castle looked like oats.

Spring had faded and now it was summer, and the sun was very warm. It contrasted sharply with the nights, which were bitterly cold, but the summer nights were warmer than the winter nights, which were brutal.

All of Sparkler’s old insecurities were gone. She no longer wished she was a pegasus, or lamented that she didn’t have wings, she was finally comfortable in her own skin, and she reveled in being who she was as she tore through the field at top speed, with Rising Star in hot pursuit. Today was the perfect day for a chase. Not that one was needed. Rising Star had already caught Sparkler in the most meaningful way possible. She was his by word, if not yet by deed. It had been his love that had made her finally feel comfortable in her skin, and Sparkler had grown as a pony because of his words and gentle affection.

There were other ponies out running through the fields enjoying the summer sun, the ones lucky enough to not have to toil all day. The clouds drifted by overhead, the local pegasi doing very little to control the weather here. There were just too many other things that needed to be done.



Later that afternoon.

“I must confess, I feel myself growing very attached to all of you,” Thistle said in a hushed voice. “I was very scared when Keg Smasher said I had to marry into your herd. I  sort of figured I’d be a broodmare or a servant and nothing more. I didn’t know that all of you would be so kind.”

The two mares and the filly exchanged glances with one another. Bucky was asleep, worn out from the long morning and some magical experimentation in the brewery, and the foals were napping near him. Berry and Derpy sat on one sofa while Thistle sat on the other.

“I’ve figured out that part of both of your agreement was for Thistle to come and spend the day with us every single day,” Berry quipped in a low voice, trying not to wake the sleepers.

“Yes,” Derpy agreed, shifting in her seat and then leaning on Berry. She wrapped her forelegs around her fellow wife and pulled Berry close. She breathed in Berry’s scent, catching a faint whiff of arousal. “Bucky got you flustered, didn’t he?” Derpy asked in a very low whisper.

Berry nodded in reply. “Somepony is watching us,” Berry coyly announced.

“Like what you see Thistle?” Derpy asked.

“Actually, yes,” Thistle whispered in reply. “I had always seen rutting as a means to an end… I wasn’t aware of… this.

“Curious about being with a mare?” Berry asked.

“Well, uh-” Thistle began.

“Sure she is,” Derpy interrupted.

Berry raised her eyebrow quizzically at Derpy . This wasn’t like Derpy.

Thistle squirmed, looking flustered and embarrassed. “I am open to the idea of being with a mare,” she admitted.

“Well that’s good, hey, is there something I’m missing?” Berry asked, getting a peculiar feeling.

Derpy suddenly squeezed the earth pony hard enough to squish the air out of her, and Berry gasped. As Berry panted for air, Derpy moved in and planted a kiss with powerful levels of suction upon Berry’s lips, destroying Berry’s ability to ask further questions. Derpy pushed Berry down upon the sofa and settled her weight upon her, grinding her barrel against Berry’s. Derpy carefully brought a leg into play, sliding her hind leg along Berry’s lower belly, trailing over every delicate place below Berry’s navel, making the plum coloured mare hiss with delight.

Thistle squirmed in her seat and licked her lips, feeling an odd moist sensation deep within her nethers. A fire ignited in her loins and warmth spread through her belly. She watched as Derpy continued to dominate Berry, and with each moment began to realise that there was more to sex than just making foals. It excited her. She had only been kissed a few times, it more or less as an afterthought, but she had never been kissed like the two mares were kissing one another, and she felt strangely empty upon having that realisation.

Her entire sense of sexual culture was being torn down and rebuilt brick by brick, and Thistle was eager and willing to learn more.

Without meaning to, a faint lustful cry escaped Thistle lips, which caused Berry and Derpy to stop making out, both mares pausing to look at Thistle.

“Go to her,” Derpy whispered in Berry’s ear. “Just a kiss, nothing more, think you can handle that?” she asked in a very quiet whisper.

“I thought you felt she was too young,” Berry replied in a soft whisper.

“Play between mares is different than between mares and stallions,” Derpy explained in hushed tones. “This can’t hurt her.”

“Good point,” Berry said, squirming free of Derpy’s embrace. She flopped off the sofa, crossed the room to Thistle, and then climbed onto the sofa next to Thistle. “Are you comfortable with this?” Berry asked.

Thistle licked her lips, looking around nervously. She nodded briefly, looking scared. She opened her mouth to say something-

And Berry never gave her a chance. In a second, she was on Thistle, her muzzle pressed against Thistle’s muzzle, her forelegs around Thistle. The smaller filly was easy prey for Berry, who pushed her over and pinned her. One hoof slipped free from around Thistle’s neck and slid down her neck, over her barrel, and finally she rubbed her hoof in a slow lazy circle over Thistles’ rounded belly. Thistle mewled with pleasure under Berry’s affectionate kiss, and one hind leg began to twitch.

Finally, Berry pulled away and both the mare and the filly were left gasping.

Thistle fanned herself with her hoof, and then used her other hoof to fan an entirely different set of lips. “Confound it I am hot all over,” she muttered.

“What about now Thistle, do you think you will be able to hold to our agreement?” Derpy asked.

“Oh yes,” Thistle heaved.

“So what is this agreement?” Berry whined.

“Our business, for now,” Derpy replied. “Sorry.”

“Thistle, don’t make me torture the answer out of you,” Berry warned.

“Don’t you dare,” Derpy warned in a loud whisper.

“Oh please torture the answer out of me,” Thistle giggled quietly and coquettishly. She wiggled against Berry in what she hoped was a seductive manner.

Berry planted a soft gentle kiss on Thistle’s cheek and patted her belly. “One day you will find out what a kiss feels like in other places,” Berry whispered hotly.

Thistle gasped and felt a tight pull in her nethers.

“Derpy, I think I did my job too well, she’s dribbling,” Berry reported in a low voice, hoping that the sleepers would not awaken.

“Get over here Berry, let’s leave her with something to think about,” Derpy instructed.

Berry did as she was bid and retreated, leaving Thistle alone and flustered, Thistle’s cheeks as red as apples. Berry climbed up into the sofa and was immediately pounced upon by Derpy, who pulled their bodies tightly together and then lay still. “I love you,” Berry whispered into the pegasus’ ear. “But I would love you more if you would just tell me what the agreement is.”



Even later that afternoon.

“Loch Skimmer, slow down, stop crying, take a deep breath, and try to tell me what is wrong.” Sparkler instructed, gently stroking her friend. She wrapped a foreleg around Loch Skimmer’s neck and hugged her.

Rising Star glanced around nervously, a very distraught pegasus filly named Ripple clinging to his leg, bawling her eyes out, her condition even worse than her older sister’s.

“Loch?” Sparkler soothed. “Talk to me Loch,” Sparkler coaxed.

“M-m-m-marriage,” Loch Skimmer stammered.

Sparkler felt her heart sinking.

“For Ripple too… I can’t think about what is going to be done to her,” Loch Skimmer wailed. “We’re being traded for food. The farmer is really cruel, he whips his mares and makes them pull plows.”

Sparkler felt sick suddenly, a hot wave of nausea washing over her. She pushed herself away from Loch Skimmer and a moment later, she was throwing up in the grass and gagging, her legs wobbling and threatening to give way beneath her.

Rising Star was at her side in a moment, giving her something to lean on, Ripple still clinging to his leg.

Sparkler gagged again, heaved, and then spewed out the rest of her lunch, vomit shooting from her mouth and her nostrils. She shook her head, strangling, trying to breath, her airways gunked up with hot chunks. Finally, she snorted and cleared her nose, then drew a shuddering breath.

“You gonna be okay Sparky?” Rising Star asked in a very worried tone. He was so scared that he sounded almost foalish again, every bit of maturity gone from his voice.

“Rape,” Sparkler gasped. “Ripple is a foal.”

Ripple did not reply, but continued to bawl, never once letting go of Rising Star, her face buried into his leg.

Sparkler made a loud “HURK!” sound and then dry heaved for a while, her eyes bloodshot and her legs trembling.

“Please be okay Sparkler, I am so sorry for bringing this up, but I had to tell you. I won’t be coming to school anymore,” Loch Skimmer said, her voice hitching somewhat and her tears still falling.

Sparkler raised her head, anger clouding her features. For a moment, she looked very much like her adopted mother, a storm passing over her face. She coughed and spat out the remains of the vomit in her throat and then took a deep breath.

“Rising Star, you said you would do anything for me,” Sparkler said. “Did you mean that?”

“Of course Sparkler, I wouldn’t have said it otherwise,” Rising Star said.

“Good, we’re forming a herd,” Sparkler said.

Ripple let go in a hurry and stumbled away. “I don’t wanna!” she bawled.

Loch Skimmer tackled her sister and pinned her down. “No, you listen to me Ripple, stop, stop… STOP!” she cried as she pinned down the screaming filly. “He won’t hurt you, he’s not that type, look how sweet he was with Sparkler.” Loch Skimmer paused and looked up at Rising Star. “Look, you can do whatever you want with me and I will not stop you, but you PROMISE ME that you will not touch my sister, and I will agree to this,” Loch Skimmer offered.

“But I don’t want to touch you either, I really don’t know you!” Rising Star retorted.

Ripple began to calm slowly, her face pressed into Loch Skimmer’s neck.

Sparkler gagged again, her stomach still roiling with worry.

“Look, I’ll do this because it is the right thing to do and I couldn’t live with myself if I had a chance to stop a filly from being… being…” Rising Star began to gag himself, feeling quite sick with revulsion. He staggered away from Sparkler and heaved a few times, almost vomiting but managing to hold it together. “By the stars I hate this place,” he cried after a long painful heave.

Sparkler composed herself, her rage making her spine stiff, once again looking very much like her adoptive mother. She stared down at the two pegasi in the grass, feeling an odd sense of responsibility for both of them, and wondered if this is what her mother felt about Berry. And maybe Thistle.

“Ripple, you are under my protection,” Sparkler said. “I will not allow harm to come to you.” Sparkler’s mind underwent a subtle shift, acknowledging her own authority, cementing her position as the alpha female. She stood protectively over both of the pegasi, her horn glowing. “Anything I can’t deal with, my father will deal with,” Sparkler stated.

“So how are we getting married?” Rising Star huffed.

“Keg Smasher,” Sparkler said. “Come on, we’re going.”

“What if he says no?” Rising Star asked.

“Then I grab a wing and begin twisting until he agrees,” Sparkler said forcefully, gritting her teeth, now sounding very much like her mother, her voice one of command.

“Come on, both of you, Ripple, you can ride on my back if you would like. You don’t look well,” Rising Star offered.

Ripple smiled faintly, her face soaked with tears, her eyes puffy and also bloodshot. She nodded, unable to reply with words, and her big sister Loch Skimmer eased Ripple onto Rising Star’s back, where the filly straddled him and wrapped her forelegs around his neck, holding on so she wouldn’t fall off.

Sparkler stood silent, trying to take everything in, understanding on some level that the ponies here believed Ripple to be adult enough for marriage because she had experienced estrus. But Ripple was small and delicate, and very much underdeveloped, likely due to malnutrition.

“I have my own conditions,” Sparkler announced.

“Those are?” Loch Skimmer replied.

“Both of you are to continue school. I will not have illiterate herdmates. There will be no foals, not for quite some time. Ripple is to be treated as a foal, not a fellow-wife. She will not have a say in herd issues, and will be subject to our authority. She is to be loved, protected, and respected as a foal would be,” Sparkler instructed.

“Agreed,” Loch Skimmer said.

“Okay,” Ripple whispered, hiding her face in Rising Star’s mane.

“We will sort out all of the other details between ourselves,” Sparkler said. “Now let’s go,” she instructed.



Very late in the afternoon

“Fecking aye, you want me to do what?” the giant pegasus asked.

“You heard me,” Sparkler replied.

“Och, your mother is gonna-”

“My mother is the least of your worries, you should worry about what I am going to to do to you… and before you think about threatening me, remember who my father is… you have no options. I will tear the wings off of you like a fly if you don’t give me what I want, and you are in no position to say no,” Sparkler threatened, completely unconcerned that she was one third of the size of Keg Smasher.

“Damnit lass, this is why I am afraid of your mother, I’d expect this sort of outburst from her!” the pegasus roared.

“Look, I know I can’t fix everything here,” Sparkler snapped, “but I do know that I can prevent at least one foal from being raped and maybe sleep a little better at night!”

Keg Smasher rubbed his head with his wings, his eyes were closed and he looked troubled. “Look lass, life here is different and hard. I am working on changing things, but change is slow and things are the way they are,” Keg Smasher said, trying to diffuse some anger from the situation.

“Wait… how young is your youngest wife?” Sparkler demanded, stomping up and getting into Keg Smasher’s face. She stood nose to nose with the giant pegasus, looking up at him, completely fearless, and her horn glowed with alarming intensity.

“Woah, now you stay out of my business or I will risk your father’s wrath and give you a good thumping,” Keg Smasher retorted, now beginning to bristle with anger.

“Do it,” Rising Star said, his horn glowing. “I’ll teleport away your filly wrecking pecker,” he threatened. “It’ll be real messy too, I’ll take it balls and all!”

“SHITE!” Keg Smasher swore, backing down. “Look, I’ve taken a few young wives but I’ve never touched them until they were older… can we stop threatening to tear off wings or geld somepony please and be reasonable?”



Several guards moved around the throne room, unsure of what to do. A fight between the armiger’s daughter and the Laird left no easy side to pick. It was safer to stand around and look like you were doing something.

“Give us what we want, and we can all walk away from this happy,” Sparkler said.

Keg Smasher groaned and pranced around on his hooves. “Ripple, do you feel safe with these ponies?” he asked, his anger gone and his tone surprisingly gentle. “Do you think you can trust them?”

Ripple nodded.

“No lass, I want to hear you to say it,” Keg Smasher instructed. “Now come on, be a good wee filly,” he said in a soothing voice.

Ripple whined and buried her face into Rising Star’s mane.

“Look lass, I have a filly about your age, and somepony doing something with her scares me something awful,” Keg Smasher confided. “So this is for my own peace of mind. Do you feel safe with these ponies?”

“Yes sir,” Ripple said in a very small voice.

“Fine then,” Keg Smasher announced. “You’re all married.”

“That’s it?” Rising Star asked.

“My word is law,” Keg Smasher replied.

“We accept,” Sparkler said after drawing a deep breath. “We’ll have another ceremony when we get back to the mainland. My mother is going to want to make sure I have a proper wedding.”

“YOU BE GOOD TO HER!” Keg Smasher snarled with bellicose fury at Rising Star, trying to reclaim some of his lost sense of authority. He did not make clear which filly to be good to.

“Thank you,” Loch Skimmer said timidly.

“Lass, you look after your sister. See that she is happy,” Keg Smasher instructed.

“I will sir,” Loch Skimmer said.

“We’ll, don’t just stand there like a bunch of slack jawed nitwits, you have to kiss another. And I hate to bring it up, in fact I feel like a real shite about bringing it up, but you are going to need to think about consummating this marriage. If their father challenges this union, it will be your only recourse,” Keg Smasher said in a very low voice. “I’ll give my word about Ripple being bred, but the rest of you have to go about it honest. You’ll need to sort that out.”

“How will they know?” Sparkler asked.

“I have you locked in a room overnight and the next morning some very skilled midwives have a look at your dainties to see if you show signs of being bred the night before… they’re damn good at what they do,” Keg Smasher replied.

Sparkler blushed, Loch Skimmer suddenly found her front hooves quite fascinating, and Rising Star found something very interesting on the ceiling. Ripple was still hiding her face in Rising Star’s mane.

Rising Star, realising he had a task ahead of him, maneuvered around and kissed Sparkler, a quick nervous kiss on the lips. He turned to Loch Skimmer, smiled, and then planted a swift peck on her cheek, making her blush almost invisibly under her dark grey pelt. “Look, we’ll sort this out,” he whispered to Lock Skimmer. “But please don’t feel threatened by me.”

“I love you Rising Star,” Sparkler whispered in a low voice. “And yes, we will sort this out.”



Early that evening

Sparkler paced about the room, nervous, unable to sit still, feeling frightened. Loch Skimmer and Ripple had gone home to say goodbye to their parents, and had insisted on going by themselves. Now, sundown was approaching and her herd was not together. Tears welled in her eyes, and she felt like she had failed.

She still had not told her parents.

She glanced at Rising Star, who was sitting by the fire, jerking whenever there was a noise. She looked at the window, and the shadows were getting longer.

“Father, I need your help,” Sparkler said, her emotions finally cracking.

“Sparkler?” Bucky asked.

"Sparkler, what is wrong?” Derpy questioned.

“What happened Sparky? Berry queried.

“Look, I don’t have a lot of time to explain, but there are some ponies I need to collect and make sure they are safe and secure before the sun goes down. My herdmates,” Sparkler replied.

“WHAT?” Derpy screamed, leaping on Sparkler and driving her to the floor. She stood over her daughter, one eye closed, the other focused on Sparkler.

“Look, mother, I am sorry, but they were being traded for food and Ripple is even younger than Thistle and bad things were going to be done to them, they were going to be traded to a mean farmer that whips his mares and makes them pull plows, and Rising Star and I were married with Loch Skimmer and Ripple because we didn’t want them getting raped,” Sparkler babbled in fear.

Derpy began to slap Sparkler with her wings, spitting out wordless mutterings, her face purple with rage. She slapped and slapped, each slap a stinging reprimand on Sparkler’s hide.

“Mother don’t be angry with me for getting married,” Sparkler begged.

“I AM NOT ANGRY WITH YOU FOR GETTING MARRIED! I AM PISSED WITH YOU FOR NOT COMING TO ME! IF YOU WOULD HAVE TOLD ME EVERYTHING I WOULD HAVE HELPED YOU! I AM FURIOUS WITH YOU FOR NOT TRUSTING ME!” Derpy shrieked. She collapsed on Sparkler and squeezed her, the punishment over. Both mother and daughter clung to one another, sobbing.

Rising Star watched them but said nothing. His eyes glanced at Bucky.

“Derpy, that’s enough. Time is of the essence. Sparkler, we need to bring our herd together before the sun sets. Derpy, Berry, stay here with the foals. Sentinel, watch my little ones. Rising Star, Sparkler, we are leaving. NOW,” Bucky ordered.

Derpy gave one last squeeze to Sparkler and then let her go. “Bring our family back,” Derpy said tearfully.

“I am sorry, you are right, I should have trusted you,” Sparkler apologised while her mother wiped away her tears with her wings. “Please forgive me mother,” Sparkler begged.

“Already forgiven, now you need to go,” Derpy said, now scrubbing at her own eyes with her foreleg. “Bring back your herdmates so I can protect them.”

“We are going,” Bucky commanded, heading for the door with his stiff legged gait. “Our herd sleeps together or we don’t sleep at all,” he barked.

Sparkler kissed her mother one last time, kissed Berry, waved at the others, and left to follow her father. Rising Star scooted after his wife, aware that Berry and Derpy were staring at him.

“We’ll be back soon,” Rising Star promised.

He shut the door behind him.



Just a little later that evening.

Bucky approached the door of the stone cottage where Loch Skimmer’s family lived, two of Keg Smasher’s guards following behind him. The big burly pegasi were in a bad mood. Earlier, they had watched Bucky’s daughter in a shouting match with the laird. Now, they were helping her.

It was never easy being a guard.

Bucky did not knock, he simply battered the door open with a magical blast, nearly tearing it from the hinges as he did so. He was greeted with screams and a bellow as he entered the door.

“WHERE ARE THEY?” Bucky demanded, using the royal Voice.

A group of mares were clustered in the corner, a few small foals peeping out, all of them piled on straw.

“I gave my word,” a pegasus growled. “I gave my word and my bitch daughter made me break my word.”

“WHERE ARE THEY?” Bucky demanded again, still using the voice. A foal squealed in terror.

Loch Skimmer pulled free from the pile of mares, Ripple following behind her. One of Loch Skimmer’s eyes was swollen shut and she limped on three legs. “I tried to come to you,” she whimpered to Sparkler.

“What did you do?” Bucky asked the pegasus, his quiet voice now far more terrifying than the royal Voice he had used previously.

“Oh shite, somepony has set off the armiger,” one of the guards muttered.

“Come here,” Bucky said to Loch Skimmer.

Loch Skimmer meekly complied. Bucky lifted her face up with one foreleg, looking at her carefully, observing the quarter moon shaped gash under her eye.

“You bucked her in the face. That curve would match the curve on your hind hoof I think,” Bucky said in a small quiet voice that tremored faintly.

“His other hoof got me in the foreleg,” Loch Skimmer murmured, swooning with pain.

“Come here,” Bucky commanded, not waiting for the stallion to comply. He pulled the stallion forward by an ear, making the pegasus cry out in pain. “How could you harm your own flesh and blood like this? Is this what you think your word is worth? Give me one good reason why I shouldn't turn you into an ash pile right now.”

Bucky struggled to control his rage. He thought of Dinky, and of a lesson not long ago about about power. Real power was the ability to do something and then not do it. Bucky gritted his teeth.

“Fair is fair,” Bucky growled. His horn flashed.

The stallion went flying across the room, slammed into a wall with a violent thud, and then slid to the floor. He writhed, squealing with pain, clutching his face with his forelegs as his hindlegs kicked in the air.

“I hit you with about as much force as you struck your own flesh and blood with,” Bucky hissed. “You did this to her… how do you like it? I am not going to kill you… but I won’t stop my daughter or my son from doing it.” Bucky turned and stormed out of the cottage.

The pegasus writhed and flopped around on the floor, braying and yelping with pain, still clutching his face.

“I should kill you,” Rising Star spat. “You struck my wife… but my father left me a good example.” With a flare of his horn, he gathered up Ripple and placed her on his back. “Sparkler, help Loch Skimmer, one of the guards can carry her, I am sure they won’t mind.”

“Be glad to sir,” one volunteered.

Sparkler helped Loch Skimmer onto the guard’s back using her magic, and then turned and faced the pegasus still on the floor. “I love my father a great deal, but I also respect the lessons my mother taught me,” she snarled. She crossed the room, her legs stiff, her horn flaring with an eye burning light. She whirled around once she reached the pegasus, she hiked up one hind leg, and then brought it back sharply in the stallion’s groin.

A high pitched keening whine filled the cottage.

“Touch my herdmates again and my mothers and I will stomp your bones into jelly,” Sparkler warned. She spat on the stallion and stomped off, glaring at the mares in the corner. “Shame on you all. Mares are supposed to look after one another,” Sparkler scolded. She stormed out the door and slammed it shut behind her.

The sun would be setting soon. There was still enough time to get back to the castle if they hurried. The group moved as fast as Bucky could walk, and Bucky cursed every step of the way, feeling horribly conflicted about what he had and had not done. As they walked, Bucky tried to comfort Ripple, even though he did not know her. She was just a year or two younger than Sparkler, but small and delicate.

Ripple took well to Bucky’s kindness and felt comforted riding on Rising Star’s back. She heaved a sigh of relief, thankful that her nightmare was over.



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