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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—and in the final war, the final act of conflict between Clan Pickled and House Avarice, their armies never met upon the field. The conflict was almost bloodless, with the only grievous injury being caused by one Berry Punch of Clan Pickled, who started the war with one Primrose Propers, member of House Bitters, which had been a major house within House Avarice.

Sentinel sighed, his eyes half closing, and he closed his history book. The history books never told the full story, like how the war had still been going strong. Berry Punch didn’t declare the war, it was being fought on the Shetlands, the ponies there being preyed upon by the crystal lich, who had been Buckminster Bitters of House Bitters, from a previous generation.

He had been there for that war. No mention of that in the history books. An insane lich looking to ascend so that he might become something greater. Berry Punch never broke the cease fire, she had brought the war into the open, but the history books neglected that little detail.

Hunched over his desk, scowling, Sentinel stewed, hating his history lessons.

 

 

“I can’t figure out if I am a failure,” Sweetie Belle said as stared at Sunset Shimmer. “I mean, all of the other unicorns are taking magic classes together and doing just fine. I keep messing up and making a mess of things.”

Taking Sweetie Belle’s words into careful consideration, Sunset Shimmer gave thought to how to best reply. The foal was frustrated, hurt, and feeling dejected. Sunset Shimmer could feel the pressure upon her. A few ill-chosen words could wreck a lot of potential.

“Sweetie Belle, you have a unique gift… wait, let me put this another way.” Sunset Shimmer’s face became serious and stern. “You share a unique gift with your sister, Rarity. Rarity is one of the most gifted telekinetics that Twilight Sparkle has ever seen. And you have the potential to be just as good, just as great as your sister. Now, your sister, she had a passion that drove her, a desire create, and her sewing took a lot of meticulous detail, fine control, and effort. Rarity taught herself and developed her own talent. Are you with me so far?”

Nodding, Sweetie Belle hung on Sunset Shimmer’s every word, her muzzle scrunched from concentration.

“Good… your sister learned fine control so that she could master her art. She puts a lot of love and passion into what she does. Her heart goes into every stitch, every fold, the way she shapes fabric into art.” Sunset Shimmer paused and thought about what to say next, flogging her brain for what she hoped were the right words. “Levitating jellybeans is not the greatest form of motivation. You need to find something that inspires you, something that you love to do, so it doesn’t feel like work when you experiment and learn new ways to use your telekinesis. It will feel like a natural extension of yourself. You probably won’t even realise that you are improving, getting better, it will just happen as you pour your love and your magic into your work.”

“Oh.” Sweetie Belle’s face became blank of all expression.

“You’re fighting to learn right now and having a lot of trouble. It’s frustrating and you hate it. But if you were doing something that you loved, the frustration would melt away.” Sunset Shimmer gave Sweetie Belle an encouraging smile.

“I think I understand… but what do I do?” Sweetie Belle asked.

“I don’t know… but you need to figure it out,” Sunset Shimmer replied.

 

 

Tilting his head back, Larch looked up at the tall figure looming over him. Long, serpentine, and bulging in the middle, Discord was an imposing figure and Larch could not help but feel a little afraid.

“You have a most unusual talent,” Discord said, looking down at the dark purple grey foal.

“I know.” Larch’s eyes were wide. He hadn’t seen Discord up close. “I really should be in class so I can learn to make sense of the world so I can make something of myself.”

“Oh, what fun is there in making sense?” Discord asked as he waved his paw in dismissive gesture. “Anyway, I am sent here on behalf of your pony godparents. You have been excused from your classes. You are going to be set upon by a herd of mares and quite possibly loved to pieces.” The draconequus began to giggle and his whole body shook with mirth.

“I don’t understand—”

“No, you don’t, and the outcome of your ability to understand is unknown. Mares are mysterious creatures. The love of them will make you act irrationally. It will make you do things that are completely out of your character. They will make you feel things that you have no desire to feel… it is really quite awful and I have given it a lot of thought; I still don’t understand it. Worse still, you have an interest in Piña of all ponies… she is going to do awful things to you because of her incessant need to know everything and how her motivations overlap with your talent. There are entire civilisations whose stories are lost and you could recover them… but you aren’t even aware of your own potential, are you?” Discord leaned down, stretched out his neck, placed his long distorted muzzle close to Larch’s face, and narrowed his eyes. “The world is full of bones and there are a lot of forgotten stories…”

Larch gulped, blinked, and then took a step back from Discord.

“Want to come with me to Ponyville Larch?” Discord asked.

“Okay, I guess,” Larch replied.

Discord’s eyes narrowed. “We need to get you ready for the dance. There is going to be all kinds of chaos and confusion there, and you are going to be a part of it. Tell me Larch, have you ever thought about wearing a nice dress? As Buckminster has discovered, they are quite comfortable.”

“Why would I want to wear a dress?” Larch blinked and tried to figure out what was going on. “This is getting kinda weird.”

“Why wouldn’t you want to wear a dress? I mean, come on… so comfortable and frilly…”

“I don’t understand what is going on,” Larch said.

“Oh, don’t worry Larch, you’ll find out soon enough!” Discord began to cackle and drew himself back up to his full height.

 

 

Sighing with satisfaction, Bucky examined the signs he had printed. This was bound to cause quite a stir at the dance. He glanced at Violet, who was rolling her eyes while shaking her head, and then back at the signs he had printed.

“Bucky, you are an awful pony,” Violet said as she gave Bucky the stinkeye.

“Perhaps,” Bucky replied as his grin split apart his face, revealing a number of sharp teeth. “But this was necessary as a public safety measure.” He tapped his talon finger upon the signs that had been printed.

Snorting, Violet tossed her head back and walked away. “I work for an awful pony.”

The signs were perfect. Safety yellow background, a black alicorn silhouette that was no one could mistake was Princess Twilight Sparkle, standing in an odd pose. Overlaid over Twilight Sparkle was a red circle with a slash running though it and beneath the image were the words, “NO DANCING!” in big bold print.

“But Violet… the department of health and public safety insisted that I put up warnings!”

 

 

Feeling nervous, a little sweaty, and a little hungry, Sentinel stared down at his school lunch for a moment. He knew what he needed to do, but doing it was proving difficult. Diamond Tiara was getting irritated with him. He glanced over at the pink filly and then at the griffoness sitting beside her. He sighed, looked down at his lunch, and then back at Diamond Tiara.

Sentinel ate a few bites of his lunch, tasting nothing, swallowed, and then set down his fork. He cleared his throat and saw Diamond Tiara give him a hopeful look. “Um…” Sentinel felt his courage slipping away. “Boadicea…”

“Yes, Ensign Sentinel?” Boadicea cocked her head and looked at Sentinel.

Diamond Tiara began to titter and Sentinel realised that the both of them were having a bit of a go at him. They had no intention of making this easy on him, and it was clear they had been planning.

“No ranks in school,” Sentinel said in a low voice, glancing around in a furtive manner.

“Sir, yes sir,” Boadicea replied.

Beside the griffoness, Diamond Tiara covered her mouth with her hoof and began to giggle. She leaned over on her friend and her blue eyes twinkled as she laughed. She glanced at Boadicea and then back at Sentinel, giggle snorting behind the hoof that covered her mouth.

His ears pinning back, an unwanted whine escaped Sentinel’s lips. This wasn’t going very well at all. “Boadicea, I, uh…”

“Yes?” Boadicea leaned over the table and looked into Sentinel’s eyes.

Sentinel found himself staring back. Boadicea’s eyes were black. He had never seen anything like them before. Black irises with black pupils in the center. Her feathers were black, shiny, and bald, patchy places were clearing up. She was becoming sleek, healthy looking, and much to Sentinel’s surprise as he stared at her, attractive. Her beak, which had been black and rather dull looking when he had first met her, was now shiny, almost a mirror finish.

“Didn’t your mother teach you not to stare? I know that Yew Wood climbs me like a tree if I do it,” Boadicea said.

Sentinel blinked and jerked his head back. Diamond Tiara’s giggles made his ears burn. He cleared his throat again. “Um, well… Boadicea, would you like to go to the dance with us? Diamond Tiara and I, we, uh, well, us, we would—”

“I would like that very much,” Boadicea replied, cutting in and saving Sentinel from any embarrassing stammering. “Or should I say, ‘sir, yes sir’ to acknowledge our agreement?”  

“Boadicea, don’t… he’s flustered… look at him. I think he just noticed how pretty you are,” Diamond Tiara said as she nudged her friend. “And make no mistake, you’re pretty.”

Slumping down, Sentinel gave the two females a nervous, sheepish grin.

 

 

“What are we doing here?” Larch asked, looking at Sweet Apple Acres.

“What is necessary,” Discord replied. “You need to get permission to take Babs to the dance. Applejack and Silver Shill are with Rarity, waiting for you there, and that’s going to be an awkward scene if ever there was one.”

“But why are we here?” Larch asked again.

Discord lept up the steps and knocked on the door, banging his talon knuckles upon the wood. He stood there, humming, waiting, and Larch stood on the porch, not knowing what was going on.

“Yes?” Granny Smith said as she pulled open the door.

“Now Larch, remember your manners, be polite, be respectful, and ask the nice Apple family matriarch if you can take Babs to the dance.” Discord stepped aside, bowed, and gave Larch a mischievous grin.

“Um, ma’am—”

“Oh, I like this one, he’s well mannered,” Granny Smith said, interrupting Larch. “And he’s handsome too… a little scrawny and underfed though.”

Clearing his throat, Larch tried again. “Ma’am, I’d like your permission to take Babs Seed to the coronation dance, if that would be okay. Might I please have the privilege of doing so?”

“Oh my, he’s a charmer,” Granny Smith said, shaking her head. She looked up at Discord for a moment and then turned her wrinkled face back down towards Larch. “This’ll put a burr in Applejack’s tail. You have my permission to take Babs Seed to the dance. You make certain she has a nice time.”

“Thank you, ma’am,” Larch replied and then heaved a sigh of relief.

“You look too thin… come in and have a slice of pie,” Granny Smith said.

Looking up at Discord, Larch asked a silent question with his eyes. He saw Discord nod.

“There is always time for pie.” Discord reached down and gave Larch a gentle shove towards the door. “We’d love to come in for pie.”

 

 

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