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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In his talons, Bucky held his own modified copy of the Krammler & Klein pistol that he found on the derelict vessel. A grim expression was upon Bucky’s face as he inserted the magazine into the grip with his telekinesis. Looking up, Bucky saw Scorch, who was in earth pony form. Scorch did not look happy.

“Nitrocellulose rounds,” Bucky said, holding up a brass casing for all to see. “Magically modified. Ten millimetre rounds. These will come in several variants. There are a limited number of revolvers that will use an extended casing with a higher propellent load.” Bucky set down the bullet upon a table and looked out at his audience, his griffons along with some unicorns. He felt Belisama shift upon his back, her warm body upon his spine was reassuring.

Raising the pistol, Bucky took aim, looking down the sights, drawing a bead upon the mound of earth in the distance. His talons held the gun steady. There was a sharp report when he pulled the trigger, causing several griffons and unicorns to jump.

The target had a hole in it on the third rung from the bullseye.

“You’d think you’d be a better shot, being the embodiment of war and all,” Belisama said, her words causing some nervous laughter from the crowd. “It’s the pistol design. I don’t like it. The design is too light and the recoil is too much. The revolver is a much better design, has less recoil, and is far more accurate. Plus, it never jams.” Pulling a revolver out of its sheath, Belisama lifted it, took aim, her beak opened as she concentrated, and with a pull of her talon finger, she fired.

There was a neat hole on the edge of the bullseye, touching the first rung. Belisama sheathed her gun and then smoothed out her feathers with her talons, looking very smug as she sat upon Bucky’s back.

“Today is a live fire exercise. We must conserve rounds, so firing today will be limited, only a few shots for each of you. Today, you will make a choice if you wish to have a magazine fed pistol or a revolver as your sidearm. A rifle will also be issued to you as well, which is also chambered for ten millimetre. For those of you uncomfortable with firearms, high powered crossbows will be issued. The crossbows are of Scorch’s own personal design, and they are of exceptional power. I have looked them over myself, and they are weapons without equal.”

“The crossbow is also mostly silent!” Branwen shouted so the crowd could hear her.

Activating the safety, Bucky then set the magazine fed pistol down upon the table. He didn’t much care for the design either, and agreed with Belisama’s assessment. He liked the solidity of a good revolver, the simpler design, he shared Belisama’s opinion that the revolver was a better gun, even if it was slower to reload.

Plus, in a pinch, the heavier revolver could be used to beat somepony to death.

“My griffons… listen to me,” Belisama said in a loud voice, her eyes wide and her expression fierce as she sat upon her husband’s back. “We have been given an opportunity… we can reclaim some of our honour as griffons. We have been asked to protect our friends, our neighbors, our hosts, these good ponies that have offered to share their home with us! We can help restore the good name of the griffons! We can show the world that we are a good and honourable species!” She drew her revolver from its sheath once more and held it over her head for all to see. “And perhaps, if we are lucky, we can restore a little trust in these! Use them well, use them honourably, and treat them with respect! We have a lot in common with the gun, in that we have come to be reviled… we have an obligation to show the world that guns can be used for good purposes! Like it or not, guns are a part of our heritage. Up to this point, nothing but bad things have been done with them, leading the world to hate us and hate our guns, a well deserved hatred after everything that has been said and done.”

Belisama’s eyes narrowed and she looked out upon the crowd, still holding the massive revolver over head for all to see. “As queen, I will see faith restored in my griffons and our heritage, and I demand that you help me!”

Wincing, Bucky was overcome with the sound of the audience exploding with applause. There were caws, squawks, whistles, various bird calls, hooting, screeching, a veritable cacophony of sound.

Belisama pulled the other revolver from its sheath and she held it above her head as well. “This is Huginn, and this is Muninn,” she said, holding both revolvers aloft. “These will be voices of my subjects. Woe to those to who threaten the freedom of those we hold dear! We little griffons, we know the pain of oppression, and we will never allow it to happen again! Not to us, not to our friends, not to anyone!”

 

 

Rubbing his temple, Bucky tried to ease the thudding inside of his skull. Too much sound, too much excitement, and too much stress. He lifted up a glass of naval strength gin, emptied it, poured another glass, and set it down upon the table beside his chair so it would be ready when he needed it.

There was a soft knock upon the farmhouse library door.

“Do come in,” Bucky said, realising it must be someone who wasn’t family, because family would have barged right in. He rubbed his nasal bridge with his talons and blinked a few times, trying to get rid of the starbursts swimming in his vision.

“Hello,” Fluttershy said as she floated through the door. A shawl was wrapped around her neck and something was slung in the shawl. She smiled, looking nervous, and her red eyes looked merry. “I brought you a visitor… be careful, she bites.”

At that moment, Bucky felt his heart in this throat. He looked at Fluttershy, not certain what he was feeling, overcome by the events of the day, the gunfire, the cheering, and now this. He grabbed his glass of naval strength gin and emptied it. The burn in his throat was the only thing that made sense during this long and uncomfortable moment.

“Discord named her Lunacy… I wasn’t too happy about that but he kept calling her that, he adores her, and I suppose from a draconequus point of view, Lunacy is a pretty and endearing name, but it might not endear her to ponies,” Fluttershy said in a nervous, halting voice. “I would have brought her sooner, but I know you’ve been busy and she hasn’t been very well behaved. She’s… she can be a teensy weensy bit cranky.”

Drifting over, Fluttershy reached into her shawl and pulled out a small bundle wrapped in a blanket. She cradled it for a moment, kissed it, and then reaching down, she handed it to Bucky, looking very apprehensive as she did so.

There was a feral hiss from within the blanket and Bucky began to feel more than a little alarmed. He cradled the bundle in his forelegs, the gin still burned the back of his throat, and with his telekinesis, he pulled the blanket back, revealing a tiny foal.

A tiny foal wearing a muzzle over her muzzle. Raising his head, Bucky looked up at Fluttershy, his eyebrow lifting as he glanced at her.

“Oh, it’s necessary… she bites. Angel Bunny got too close and Lunacy almost chomped him. She can be… she can be a little cranky,” Fluttershy replied, answering Bucky’s silent, unasked question.

Looking back down, Bucky looked upon Lunacy. She was small, blue, her mane was a darker shade of blue, and her eyes were icy blue. The foal hissed again and began to struggle against the blanket swaddling her.

“She responds to kindness, just like any other foal. If you hold her, sing to her, and be gentle with her, eventually, she calms down just a little bit and she isn’t so violent. I’m confident that love and kindness can overcome her nightmare nature. It worked for Discord,” Fluttershy said, hovering closer. She reached out her paw, placed it upon Bucky’s neck, and then planted a soft peck upon Bucky’s cheek. “It also worked for you,” Fluttershy whispered into Bucky’s ear.

“She’s flesh and blood.” Bucky lifted Lunacy up in his forelegs and looked down at her in amazement. “She’s an earth pony?”

“Well, you made a little earth pony body out of ice, no horn or wings. A little chaos magic and a little love and a teeny, tiny part of you made her real,” Fluttershy replied. She reached down and touched Lunacy with her paw. “She is made out of your flesh and blood, in a sense. And Celestia’s. And mine… and there is a tiny bit of Discord in there as well. The good part… not to worry.”

Bending his neck, Bucky kissed Lunacy upon her forehead and was rewarded with a savage snarl, followed by a feral growl. Perhaps it was a good thing she was wearing a muzzle over her maw. He kissed her again and then shivered when the foal let out a seething screech of hatred. “Daddy loves you…”

“I’m going to show her to the rest of her mothers… you’re okay with sharing, right? I mean, she is your cub, but she’s going to need a certain type of upbringing and—”

“Fluttershy, I trust you with her care. Try not to worry. Just be careful not to put your own foal in danger,” Bucky said, interrupting Fluttershy. Holding Lunacy in one foreleg, he reached out his talons and touched Fluttershy’s rounded stomach. He felt the mare freeze at his touch and he started to pull his talons away, realising he had made a mistake.

Reaching down, Fluttershy grabbed Bucky’s talons and pressed them up against her stomach. “You just startled me, that’s all. I trust you.” She nudged Bucky’s talons so that they would rub against the curve of her stomach. “This foal isn’t going to be like Discord and I. She’s going to be mortal… don’t ask me how I know. It bothers me a little. I don’t have to worry about ever growing old, but she will. That makes me sad. Already, every day is precious.”

“I know the feeling,” Bucky said in a pained voice.

“I know you do.” Fluttershy looked into Bucky’s eyes with her own red and yellow eyes.

 

 

Heaving a sigh, Bucky watched as his wives fawned over Lunacy, gathered around the bed, all of them wide eyed. Derpy scowled, it was clear that the grey pegasus didn’t like the muzzle, but she did nothing to remove it. Berry touched the foal with her hoof. Thistle cooed at the foal, trying to make gentle sounds to soothe her, while Bon Bon and Lyra stood together and watched. Belisama, who had come in from outside, sat on a pillow and studied the foal.

“This is kinda confusing,” Berry said. “The parenting thing I mean.”

“It is my hope that if she can be made a little nicer, she can come and stay with all of you on visits,” Fluttershy replied, looking at Berry with a soft, reassuring expression upon her face. “I’m counting on all of you to make her feel loved, even if it is very difficult. She can be a little… cranky.”

Luna, who stood in the doorway, glanced at the foal, her expression fearful. She had said nothing, nothing at all, but had remained silent. She moved from the door, went to Bucky’s side, and pressed up against his leg.

Realising that Luna was scared, Bucky planted his hoof on her backside and shoved her forwards, towards the bed, realising that she was a part of this in her own way. When Luna scrambled backwards and clung to his leg, Bucky sighed.

“Keep her away from me,” Luna whispered.

“Luna, isn’t that what you wanted? To be loved? To not be feared?” Bucky gave Luna a nudge. “Of all ponies, you know how much it hurts to be rejected just because ponies fear what you are.”

Looking up, Luna looked Bucky in the eye. “Damn you, Buckminster, damn you and your reasonable nature…”

From the bed, from the middle of a group of mares and one griffoness, there was a blood chilling hiss followed by a snarl. Derpy, a creature of intrinsic goodness, pulled the grumpy foal into an embrace and gave her a squeeze, ignoring the fearsome snarling that came from the tiny terror.

“I cannot deal with this,” Luna said in a strangled voice as she fled, running out of the room as fast as her legs could carry her. “I am sorry, I need time to think about all of this.”

Watching Luna go, Fluttershy let out a sad sigh. “Poor Luna, she is still so hurt. I wish I knew what to do to make her feel better.”

“We need to get her to love the Nightmare,” Bucky replied, looking up at Fluttershy.

 

 

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