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 minutes seemed to turn into hours as Luna stared at her sister. Now alone, standing in a teacher’s lounge, Luna, Barley, and Celestia looked at one another in silence, neither Luna nor Barley knew what to say and Celestia had made no response at all, other than a request to go somewhere private.

“Sister, please, hear me out—”

“Luna, please, give me some time to think. I am trying to come up with the right words—”

“So you can keep Barley and I apart. I understand.” Luna hung her head low and her ears fall back against her skull. “So be it, sister, if this is how you want it—”

“Luna, stop.” Celestia’s tone of command was unmistakable. “I had no intention of saying no. I lack the ability to put my feelings into words. I apologise if you took my silence the wrong way. I wanted to say just the right things, I wanted to smooth things over between us.”

Still tensed, still in a defensive crouch, Luna wasn’t certain if her sister was being sincere or just saying what Luna wanted to hear now that Luna had shown that she refused to take no as an answer. Looking up into her sister’s eyes, Luna thought about giving her sister a good chewing out, just on general principles.

And then, Luna realised that she was being just a little unreasonable. Her ears perked forwards and she lifted her head. One eyebrow raised as she peered up at her much taller sister. Luna’s own paranoia had almost caused her and her sister to come to blows again.

“I am very sorry, Luna, I just do not know how to respond… there is so much I want to say, so much I wish to express, but I am at a loss to put everything in my heart into words,” Celestia said, explaining her lack of communication. “Even though I expected this, I must confess, hearing you actually say it put me into a state of shock.”

Looking upwards, Luna gave her sister a wary stare.

“I see that I have hurt you… I am sorry, please forgive me Luna.”

“I am the one at fault,” Luna replied. The smaller blue alicorn filly shook her head. “I was being paranoid and unreasonable.”

“And you had good reasons to respond the way you did. I have been unbearable and unreasonable myself in the past.” Celestia lowered her head. “Forgive me.”

“I would very much like to call your sister my wife,” Barley said, his voice almost a whisper. “I don’t care about her being a princess or any of that malarky, but I do love her a great deal… I’ve come to understand that lately, watching her as she flounders through this foalhood of hers.”

“I will agree to this but I have stipulations,” Celestia said, looking at Barley and then at Luna. “Gentle stipulations, so please, do not worry or fret.”

“I have my own conditions as well.” Luna stepped backwards from her sister and took a step closer to Barley.

“I would like that either Twilight Sparkle or Bucky perform the wedding—”

“But sister… I wanted you to do it… why—”

“Luna, I am sick of performing weddings… I want to be a bridesmaid.” Celestia gave Luna a pleading look and hoped that her sister would understand. “I have grown tired of being the center of attention all the time.”

Licking her lips, nervous, Luna nodded. She took a deep breath and then said, “I can agree to that… I do not want a public wedding. I do not want the Canterlot elite showing up to stare down their upturned muzzles at me and judging me with their eyes. I want a small, private ceremony, free from the public eye. I want this for myself and for Barley.”

“That seems reasonable.” Celestia nodded.

“No press.” Barley’s face had a stern expression. “I mean it, I don’t want to be bothered on my wedding day. If they come, if this gets out somehow and they come, I will set them on fire. See if I don’t.”

“He will,” Luna said, lifting her foreleg and pointing at Barley. “This is part of the reason why I love him.”

“So a clandestine wedding, free of the press, done in private. I can agree to this, it seems very reasonable,” Celestia said.

Smiling, Luna looked up at her sister. “And I would be most agreeable to having you as my bridesmaid.”

“I would be glad to call you brother,” Celestia said to Barley, her voice soft. “Thank you, for all you have done to make my sister happy… for this, I am grateful…”

 

 

The nervous feeling of nausea had returned. Apple Bloom looked over at her sister, who stood with Silver Shill, then at Granny Smith, then at Big Mac who stood beside Cheerilee, and then at Babs, who was sitting at a table with Piña and Larch.

She felt Princess Celestia’s wing against her backside, nudging her forward. Every eye was on her. The filly cleared her throat, which felt parched, it felt so dry that she feared it crack or rip open. Every ear in the room was waiting for her to say something.

Shoving his way past Applejack, Rumble made his way to Apple Bloom’s side. Following Rumble’s example, Sweetie Belle broke away from Coco to also join Apple Bloom on stage. Knowing she was needed, Scootaloo stepped away from Rainbow Dash, Twilight Sparkle, and Flash Sentry, all of whom were rather sweaty and could not stop giggling.

Feeling her best friends crowd around her, Apple Bloom found her strength and her legs stopped threatening to buckle beneath her. She was pushed forwards towards the microphone by Scootaloo and Rumble, who shoved her along, and Sweetie Belle adjusted the microphone for Apple Bloom.

“This was an accident,” Apple Bloom began in a somewhat fearful squeak. “All of this was an accident… I never set out to become no princess, I was just following an idea. I wanted to make certain that everypony could be fed.” The filly, nervous, cleared her throat. “I could not have done this by myself, but I suppose that is kinda the point. I didn’t have the magic I needed to make this possible, so I had to depend upon my friends. All of them. So many ponies helped me. It took all of us, it took so many talents and skills, it took all three tribes to make this dream of mine a reality.”

Apple Bloom looked into the eyes of the crowd and was overwhelmed by all of the faces she saw staring back at her. “Very much like Princess Twilight Sparkle, I am here where I am right now because of friendship… my friends pulled me through and made this possible. I owe you, I owe all of you, and I have been placed into a position of responsibility because of everything you did for me. I want to be your servant… I am here to serve you.” Apple Bloom paused, blinked away tears, and then continued: “When I joined up with Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle, we formed the Cutie Mark Crusaders because we wanted to find our destiny. We did… but it took a lot of time. Looking back on it, looking back on all of the time we spent together, I realise that I learned everything I needed to know to become what I am today because of our adventures. I learned responsibility. I learned determination. I learned about courage and conviction. I learned a few really hard lessons too… like when my friends and I became Gabby Gums and we caused all that grief and misery… from that, I learned to treat others how I wish to be treated, and I learned about humility… I still feel real bad for that folks… I’m sorry. That was mighty dumb of me.”

The crowd was silent.

“To wrap this up, I would like to say this… my crusade is only beginning. My friends and I have already done the impossible once, and now we know that we can do anything together. I have a world to change… either you can help me or you can get out of my way. Not only do I have my fellow crusaders, but I have an army!” Having said what she wanted to say, more or less, Apple Bloom waved at the crowd and gave them a smile.

Spike was the first to begin the applause, clapping his clawed hands together. Others joined in, stomping their hooves, and then came the whistles, the hoots, the hollers, and then the room exploded into deafening noise.

Standing behind Apple Bloom, Princess Celestia smiled as tears began to slide down her cheeks. She had another agent of change to help her with her still blossoming vision…

 

 

“Do you really think that Apple Bloom will change everything?” Piña asked Larch.

Larch did not reply right right away. He sat, silent, with Piña on one side and Babs on the other. He scratched his head. “I dunno… I want to say yes.”

“We earth ponies…” Babs’ words faded out and her stare became vacant.

“Babs?” Piña reached over and gave Babs a gentle shove.

“Oh… sorry… I don’t know what happened there, sorry.” Babs shook her head and blinked a few times. “Weird… anyway, we earth ponies, we have our own way of doing things.”

Piña felt concerned. Babs got like this sometimes when talking about earth ponies. She seemed far and distant. Not quite herself. She could see Babs trembling and the filly started to look a little sweaty.

“Twilight Sparkle and Bucky… they were both born in Canterlot… they’re unicorns… unicorns…” Babs faded out again.

Reaching over once more, Piña gave Babs a prod. It was almost like Babs was waking up or something. Piña watched as Babs blinked and looked startled. “Do you need some fresh air, Babs?”

“No, I’m fine… what was I saying? I started thinking about the moon there for a moment… I don’t know why… but I was feeling really nervous and out of sorts and I don’t know why but I started feeling really afraid and then I thought about the moon and then I felt better… I think I’ve had my head in my astronomy textbooks for too long. I really want to go and study with Princess Luna in the summer… I think all of this study has made me flakier than a pie crust... weird, huh?” Babs shook her head from side to side and then continued: “Twilight and Bucky have done a great job… they're off to a great start… but that doesn’t change that they both come from high society. Apple Bloom comes from the very bottom… she’s one of us earth ponies… I think she’ll be a big help to Twilight and Bucky…” Babs began to look sleepy for a moment and blinked, her eyelids becoming heavy. “Good unicorns… the right unicorns… good unicorns that can be trusted… good unicorns… who are kind to earth ponies.”

“Babs? You’re acting funny again,” Larch said as he prodded Babs with his hoof.

“I gotta stop studying so much… I was just thinking about the moon again. And the stars. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m fine, really. Too much time studying.” Babs turned her head and looked at Larch. “There are good pegasi and good unicorns. I thought about that when I thought about about the moon. We have to trust them that they will do right by us.”

Piña, seeing Larch was almost snoot to snoot with Babs, gave Larch a gentle shove, pushing him into Babs. She watched as they bumped muzzles, and after a moment, it turned into a noisy smacker of a kiss. Piña felt a strange new sense of accomplishment.

“You kissed me.” Babs looked Larch in the eye.

“Piña pushed me…” Larch’s voice held a trace of panic.

Babs nodded. “I say we grab her and give her a kiss on each cheek. What do you say, Larch?”

Shrugging, Larch replied, “Okay.”

 

 

 

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