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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The coronation dance was now less than a week away. The entire school was abuzz with excitement, and there was no doubt that love was alive in the late winter air. Notes with tender words were passed in class and many teachers turned a blind eye to the flagrant violations to the rules, at least just this one. Brave little colts approached shy little fillies in the hall. Courageous little fillies cornered skittish colts that they had their eye on.

For many, this dance would be their first. For others, this dance would be their first big disappointment. There were far more fillies than there was colts, and many began to realise that they had waited far too long to ask. Now, as the day drew closer and closer, there was a scramble to find somepony to go to the dance with.

For some, the situation became quite hopeless…

 

 

Dinky Doo Hooves settled into somewhat battered and beat up looking chair in the student study nook, opened up her behavioural sciences supplemental study guide for her biology classes, and tried to ignore the hullabaloo all around her. More than anything, she was becoming annoyed with the situation in school, and wish that this would just be over. It was difficult to pay attention in class, or to study, or to do much of anything with everypony being all moony eyed over the dance.

It was leaving her in a sour mood.

The textbook, printed in the Sea of Grass and imported to Equestria, was unlike anything Dinky had seen before in her life. Her previous textbooks had very little science in them, not that Dinky had held much of an interest even just a year ago, but now, she was a motivated student. These books were very, very different than the old science textbooks, which had very little to do with actual science. She flipped the behavioural sciences book open to her yellow bookmark, opened her study notebook, and prepared her pencil.

Contrary to the common belief, in the wild, primitive horses were not ruled by a stallion, but by a mare. In this case, the mare was known as the alpha, or the primary, and she ruled over a group of mares known as a harem in biological and behavioural terms. The alpha, or primary, was a mature mare, wise, familiar with the land, where water was, food, and the local dangers. She managed the herd resources, moving the herd from place to place, choosing the best travel routes and doing what she could for the good of the herd as a whole.

Dinky thought of her mother, nodded, and began to scribble down notes, ignoring the hustle and bustle all around her.

The role of the head stallion was to stay on the edge of the herd, to be watchful for danger, fighting off both predators and other stallions. When the herd was moving, it was the duty of the stallion to stay in the rear, watching over stragglers, herding slower members forward, keeping the herd together, and protecting the rear, which was vulnerable. The male was responsible for keeping curious fillies as well as colts from straying too far from the herd as well as correcting their behaviour, socialising them so that they might be better members of the herd.

Lower ranking mares and stallions within the herd did not display this sort of behaviour, but behaved as followers within the rungs of the hierarchy. Hierarchy, once established, was held under most occasions, as the risk of injury from fights was too high, and impacted the survival of all. Being herbivorous prey mammals, their only real defense was numbers, and the loss of even one could tip the scales in favour of the predators.

The filly’s thoughts turned to her own father and she continued making notes.

Flipping the page, Dinky read something that made her pause. Lifting her head, she looked at her fellow students. Primitive horses and equines had a gender ratio of one to five stallions for twenty to thirty mares. Her lips moving, but saying nothing, Dinky began doing a quick headcount of her fellow students around her, most of whom were still hoping to find some lucky, special somepony to take to the dance. Using her pencil, she made a tally in her notebook for every filly and a tally in a different place for every colt.

She watched as the herds of her fellow students moved through the area, counting every head she could, trying to get some sense of the immediate world around her. Even before completion, Dinky began to get the idea that there was something wrong. In no uncertain terms, something was wrong.

After several minutes spent counting heads, Dinky turned to her notebook and began counting up her scratches. In the immediate area around her, Dinky had counted fifty three fillies. She double checked, counting through the marks she had made with her pencil. Fifty three.

Scowling, Dinky looked at the tally marks for the males. Eight. Seven colts and one male dragon. These numbers couldn’t be right. Dinky looked around her, blinking, her ears perked forward at attention. The only logical conclusion she could reach was that she had a faulty sample size… the males had to be elsewhere. Perhaps a count in another area of the school would yield better results.

Scratching the spot just below her ear with her pencil eraser, Dinky realised that even under ideal conditions, with one to five colts per twenty to thirty fillies, there were a lot of fillies that would have no dance partners for the coronation gala. The filly, on the edge of an epiphany, thought of Ponyville. The town had far more mares than stallions. She thought about the discussion about monogamy in her biology class, noting that it was an emotional as well as ethical decision that society had made, and that emotional as well as ethical decisions could override biological imperatives, but risked damaging the balance.

The epiphany lurked on the edges of Dinky’s mind.

Biology didn’t care about morals or ethics. Biology was no respecter of sociological and behavioural advances that changed a way a pony thought, behaved, and acted. Biology simply was. If monogamy was the so called moral choice, a denial of old and some might even say outright primitive equine behaviours, what about those left with nopony at all? Seven colts and fifty three fillies represented quite a challenge for Dinky’s mind to wrap around. Even though her numbers had to be faulty, they still represented society on some scale, and Dinky knew this. She knew this and the knowledge was a painful thing to try and internalise.

If one followed the practice of monogamy as a moral and ethical choice, that would mean seven colts and seven fillies pairing up when they reached adulthood, leaving forty six fillies with no hopes of ever having a husband. Dinky frowned and deep wrinkles set into her muzzle. She began scratching out a little math in her notebook. If those seven colts divided the fifty three fillies, each colt would have seven point five seven one fillies… or just seven as a good round number. Dinky thought of her parents. There was Bucky, her mother, Derpy, Berry, Bon Bon, Lyra, Thistle, and Belisama. That was six wives, but one of them was not a pony. Dinky wasn’t sure she could keep Belisama in her calculations.

The lurking epiphany teased the back of Dinky’s mind.

Either biology was out to get them, or moral and ethical practices were based upon flawed reasoning as well as faulty mental concepts. Using her telekinesis, Dinky snapped her textbook shut, closed her notebook, and stared at her fellow students all around her. Sure, they had the ability to reason now, to ignore their base instincts, they were equines, but they did not have to behave like animals. Primitive behaviours could be ignored. They could choose to be civilised, to be polite, to have rules, to have social contracts, but no matter what they did, they could not escape their own biology. They were herd animals. No amount of debate, no amount of pretty words, no amount of reasoning or impassioned pleas to ignore their base equine nature would change the simple fact that there were far too many mares and far too few stallions.

There was a painful stabbing sensation in Dinky’s barrel as she began to realise just how many broken hearts there was going to be at the coronation gala. Little fillies whose hopes and dreams were going to be crushed. Hopeful fillies in pretty dresses, standing around, attending the dance, hoping there would be just one colt that had not found a date, and the fillies would all be hoping to find a special somepony, and everypony would fall prey to the curse of optimism. The introduction of monogamy into their society brought with it the pressure to find ‘the one.’ That one special somepony to spend your whole life with, to have and to hold, to be committed to and ignore all others. Because so many were raised on this ideal, because reality was so cold as well as brutal, it was something that could only end of heartache and heartbreak.

In that moment, Dinky understood that life was unfair. Not only was life unfair, but practices had been introduced that had made life even more unfair, making life outright cruel for a majority, and making life even sweeter for a privileged few. Dinky was just starting to understand that a filly had to be smart enough, but not too smart, because colts were intimidated by a smart filly. A filly had to be pretty, but she couldn’t be too pretty, because she had be attainable and approachable. There was all of this societal pressure to be perfect; to be just right. Something snapped into place in Dinky’s mind, an understanding of just how cruel life was. If you were one of the forty six fillies that couldn’t get the seven colts available to take you to the dance, society blamed you. You weren’t good enough. You weren’t pretty enough. You were either an egghead or you were too stupid. You were either too perfect or not perfect enough. But one thing was clear; if you weren’t picked, society would see it as being your fault. Society had created an unreasonable set of conditions to go along with its flawed moral and ethical standards.

Dinky felt a crushing weight settle upon her shoulders, and as the weight pressed down upon her, she realised once again that her intelligence was more of a curse. Once you became aware of something, there was no going back to the blissful state of ignorance and being unaware. One could not unring a bell. She wondered how many of the foals around her even had an inkling just how unfair and cruel their lives would be. The filly settled back into the cushions of her chair, the epiphany having left her mind in a state of disarray.

If you were poor, it wasn’t the fault of the society that had created the conditions for extreme poverty, it was your fault for being poor. If you could not find a mate, it wasn’t the fault of the society had created an unsustainable state of monogamy between the sexes, it was because you just weren’t good enough to be included or chosen, you had failed to make yourself more available or more attainable.

Society had created some impossible standards and then placed blame upon those who failed to live up to those impossible standards. Dinky came to the conclusion that the game was rigged. A rigged game was not worth playing, in her opinion.

Feeling very small, very helpless, and very depressed, Dinky sighed. She watched the fillies going by, she heard the idle chatter, the sounds of hooves tapping upon the tile floor, the faint rustle of tails and manes as they brushed up against soft, silken pelts. There was a smell in the air, a smell that Dinky would forever associate as the smell of school. The soft scent of bubblegum. A hint of perfume on fillies who were just beginning to reach the age where they had to worry about body odour. The smell of ink, of paper, and faint hint of sour sweat that lingered in the background.

As much as Dinky loved Apple Bloom as a friend, Dinky wanted no part of this, and she resolved to keep herself away from it. Sighing, she hoped that Apple Bloom would understand, and Dinky wondered how she would explain it to her friend.

The filly stuffed her books into her bookbag, sighed once more, and then got up to go to class.

 

 

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