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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“Sir, the donkeys have started arriving in Ponyville. Rising Star, Sunset Shimmer, and Written Sound are preparing themselves for the project. I think you are going to be pushed aside, sir, Sunset Shimmer is looking to test her abilities,” Violet said, reading over the morning report.

“Good. I’ll put up token resistance and make them fight for it,” Bucky replied.

“Very good, sir.” Violet nodded. “Sir, Sunflower Showers says that the crown will be ready in a few more days. Sir, Celestia is very insistent on the coronation being held in Canterlot.”

“Not happening,” Bucky said as he poured black rum into his coffee. “How is our crisis?”

“Sir, nothing new to report. The past few days have been uneventful. No sign of the rumoured alicorn anywhere. Celestia is most thankful that you have looked after Tourmaline for the past few days. Celestia’s attention has been quite focused and she fears that Tourmaline would have felt neglected,” Violet replied.

“Any word on Twilight Sparkle’s opinion on the coronation?” Bucky asked.

Violet lowered down her notes and looked Bucky in the eye. “Twilight Sparkle is of the opinion that the coronation should be held here, in Ponyville. She likes the idea of having a school dance for the coronation. She is looking forward to attending.”

“I have you now, auntie,” Bucky muttered to himself. He took a drink of his rum spiked coffee, grinned, and then held the cup in his talons rather than his telekinesis.

“Sir, I know you have been very busy, but Celestia is very insistent… how is the progress going on the solution to—”

“Violet, I don’t have an answer just yet. I am aware that there are many reports of working guns overseas. I am aware that my gunpowder golems aren’t working out as planned. I am working on a solution but I don’t have one yet. I can only imagine that they are shielding their ammo, enchanting it for protection, or have changed some fundamental aspect of what makes it what it is as gunpowder. Something has changed and I don’t know how to fix it.” Bucky heard the tendons in his talons creak as he gripped his coffee cup.

Violet’s hard expression softened. “Sir, you’ve already done so much… I have the utmost confidence that you will find a solution.”

“We face competent foes, Violet. They are not mindless villains who sit idle while waiting for the hero to arrive and wreck them. The gunpowder golems were a good idea while they lasted, and they have made a world a somewhat safer place. Native sources of gunpowder are controlled. In this, I have succeeded. I don’t know what to do next…”

 

 

Gritting his teeth, Sentinel placed one hoof in front of the other and took a shaky step forwards. He wobbled, almost lost his balance, and stuck out his other front leg to keep from pitching forwards.

Nearby, Belisama watched, her talons flexing with nervous energy. “Keep going.”

There was a delay in his legs and Sentinel found that even simple movement was difficult. At least he was walking unassisted. It was like walking through deep water as he pushed his way forwards, and he took a few more steps.

Sukari moved to Sentinel’s side, nosing him to get him moving. Her blue eyes were wide with worry and her tail swished around from nervous twitches, as if fighting off a swarm of invisible flies.

As Sentinel took another step forwards, he tripped over his own leg and started to topple over onto Sukari. The zebra yearling braced her legs, gritted her teeth, closed her eyes, and strained to keep Sentinel upright. She stomped and kicked and pushed until Sentinel had regained his own balance.

“Thank you, Sukari,” Sentinel said as he focused on remaining upright.

“No fall.” Sukari remained at Sentinel’s side, her expression one of worry.

“Come on Sentinel, the full length of the hall… you can do it,” Belisama said, coaxing Sentinel along with a wave of her talons.

 

 

“I think that this will work out better for all of us,” Flash Sentry said as his head nodded.

“An eight hour shift for each of us.” Thunderlane’s nostrils flared. “I think this works out better than the two of you trying to deal with twelve hour shifts.”

“I agree,” Sparkler said. “I can arrange my schedule to work from four in the afternoon until midnight. This would  get me home to be with my family, give me some time for school, and a bit of time for myself.”

“I can manage midnight until eight in the morning.” Thunderlane looked at Sparkler and then at Flash Sentry. “And I guess that leaves from eight in the morning until four in the afternoon for you, Flash, if you are agreeable.”

The orange pegasus’ ears perked forwards and he leaned over his coffee cup which sat on the table in front of him. “This will make Twilight and Rainbow real happy.”

“Crime is down,” Thunderlane reported. “But that is likely because it is so darn cold. I suspect we’ll see more when the spring comes. The last incident that got serious was a while ago, but Blossomforth and Orange Swirl dealt with it.”

“Big Mac is quitting come spring. Between the apple farm, Cheerilee being fat with foal, and Apple Bloom, he is worried that he doesn’t have enough hours in the day,” Flash Sentry said. “I’ll be sad to see the big fella go. He was a great crime deterrent and a gentle spirit.”

“We do have potential new cadets though. Grisabella has asked me a number of times about police work. She’s a hunter griffoness. War veteran. She’s capable and she’s fit.” Sparkler looked at the two pegasi sitting at the table with her. “We have other ponies interested too… it’s about time that others took some interest. If things get interesting in the spring and summer, we’ll need every warm body we can muster.”

“Not everything is rosy.” Flash Sentry reached out with his hoof and pushed a folder forward. “This just came in from Canterlot. They want the Ponyville police department to take on the responsibilities of the foal protective services… the Canterlot agency is spread too thin and can’t keep sending agents to Ponyville to investigate and collect foals.”

“We’re not qualified,” Sparkler said, shaking her head.

“Well, you see Sparky…” Flash Sentry looked Sparkler in the eye. “You went and rescued a few foals from a bad spot, and you did a damn good job. You even found them emergency shelter. You did everything by the book, or so the social workers seem to think, even though you had no idea what the book was. They look at what happened with Singsong and Brass Note as a rousing success, and proof that Ponyville police department is capable of looking after foals.”

Cringing, Sparkler continued to shake her head. “One good deed is enough to screw a pony over.”

“We’ll need to find a pony or a griffon or two that can look after foals and we’ll figure this out,” Thunderlane said as he eyed the folder. He gestured at the kitchen around him. “We still have this house, which Derpy is oh so gracious to let us keep using. There are bedrooms upstairs. Worst comes to worst, if we have to pull a foal out of a bad spot, we bring them here and find a worthy foal sitter until we figure out what to do.”

“We’ll need beds.” Sparkler picked up a pencil and began writing down a few notes. “Also, we must make certain that daddy never, ever, under any circumstances sets hoof in here if we have foals with a hard luck story. He’ll try to take them home and all kinds of bad things might happen.”

“Bucky can let go of a foal if he has to, there is Diamond Tiara.” Flash Sentry pushed the folder over to Sparkler and gave her a teasing smile.

“Daddy let her go with the knowledge that he’d be getting her back later as a daughter… most likely,” Sparkler replied. She tapped the side of her head with her hoof. “She’s still his where it matters. Have you ever seen him spending time with her? He has this crazy sense of obligation to her because Filthy Rich was daddy’s friend.”

“Well, no, I can’t say that I have.” Flash Sentry’s smile faded. “Anyhow, we need to look out for potential cadets with foal care skills. Our budget has been increased, but it’s still tight.”

“If we take care of the community, the community will take care of us,” Thunderlane said.

 

 

Raising an eyebrow, Sunset Shimmer looked at the rock that had been used for target practice. A chunk was missing. Her head made a slow turn as she looked over at Sweetie Belle. The filly was rubbing her temple and there was a halo of smoke around her head.

“That was great!” Firelock cried.

“That was pretty impressive,” Sunset Shimmer said as she nodded her head. “Firelock, you are going to work on your pyrokinesis. Sweetie Belle, you’re going to work on your telekinesis with me. I’m going to toss jellybeans at you. And I want you to catch them with your telekinesis. You and Firelock will get to eat all of the jellybeans you can catch.”

Looking up, Sweetie Belle saw a jellybean incoming that she was not at all prepared for. Reaching out with her mind, she caught it somehow before it hit the ground. She thought of her big sister, Rarity. Rarity could levitate hundreds of items at the same time. Another jellybean was incoming and Sweetie Belle pushed the distraction out of her mind as she caught this jellybean mid-arc. Comparing herself to her sister would only cause nervousness, and Sweetie Belle couldn’t do magic if she got too nervous. Two more jellybeans were tossed at the same time, and Sweetie caught them both.

Holding several jellybeans aloft, Sweetie Belle realised she had to concentrate upon them or else she might drop them. She had to keep them moving somehow so she could keep herself focused on them. They formed a circle around her head and began to move in a slow orbit. She had seen her big sister Rarity do this when Rarity was holding up a lot of items. The slow moving circle smoothed out the worry in her mind and it was easy to maintain. She caught several more jellybeans without incident and then moved them into orbit with the rest.

She could keep going like this for a while.

As Sweetie Belle kept her jellybeans in orbit around her head, Firelock had ignited. Her mane and tail were now ablaze, along with her hooves. A stream of fiery darts flew from her horn and collided with the stone that had been set up for target practice.

“Impressive.”

Sunset Shimmer turned to towards the sound of the voice and saw Rising Star. She could see him studying Firelock. She smiled as Rising Star approached.

“Hmm, Sunset Shimmer, I do believe I might have to try and steal away your student,” Rising Star said in a somewhat amused voice. “Firelock, right? How would you like to learn how to turn your fire into a force of creation?”

The filly’s fiery darts ceased to fire. She looked up at Rising Star.

Lowering his head, Rising Star dropped himself down to eye level with Firelock. “You blaze brightly, but your flames sputter. You need more control. Allowing your anger to fuel your flames is good, but it is not a steady burn. Passion will also make your flames burn brightly, but also steadily. What makes you passionate?”

“I dunno…” Firelock replied.

Sunset Shimmer turned her attention back to Sweetie Belle, whom she had been tossing jellybeans to this whole time. The filly was sweating with concentration and her whole body trembled. Sunset knew that a few more jellybeans would make everything she was holding up come tumbling down. Sunset smiled. “Sweetie Belle, you’ve done well. Set them down upon the table over there, you and Firelock can divide them when we’re done here.”

“I’m just a filly… I don’t know what I want to do just yet,” Firelock said to Rising Star.

Sweetie Belle levitated the jellybeans over the table and then stood in the snow, feeling too hot. Her horn ached a little bit, but not too bad. She hadn’t failed. She was showing a lot of improvement over her telekinesis once she let go of a good warm up destructive burst.

“Firelock, how would you like to come inside the foundry to have a look around and see what fire can do?” Rising Star asked.

“Firelock, this is a great opportunity for you… even if you’re not interested, it never hurts to have a look and learn a little bit.” Sunset offered the foal a reassuring smile. “Rising Star is a good pony and he can be trusted.”

“I’d like to have a look,” Firelock said as she looked first at Rising Star and then at Sunset Shimmer.

“Good… you go with Rising Star and I’m going to stay here and have a talk with Sweetie Belle about magic… good luck, Firelock.” Sunset Shimmer lifted up her hoof and waved goodbye.

Taking off at a trot, Rising Star headed for the forge, and Firelock took off after him, her portion of the jellybeans forgotten in her excitement.

“Sweetie Belle, you and I are going to talk about advanced telekinesis…”

 

 

 

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