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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What remained of the day felt almost as though there was a hint of spring. The sun was shining, it was above freezing in the city of Baltimare, and a warm, balmy breeze blew in off of Horseshoe bay. To celebrate the day of almost spring, Mask sat outside of a small hole in the wall bistro, sitting at the black wrought iron tables upon a black wrought iron chair, sipping tea from a cup that was far too oversized for tea, a cup so large that it was almost comical.

It did not stop Mask or Fever Cure from enjoying their beverages with lunch however. A few dirty dishes sat on the table between them and an empty wineglass sat in front of Mask. Fever Cure was reading a thin pulp magazine with a picture of Princess Twilight upon the cover and a large question mark beside her.

The pair seemed like any other ponies around them, even the dark sunglasses they wore didn’t seem too far out of place. It was bright, sunny, and there was a good bit of glare this winter’s day.

“You know, Endovelicus Pharmacological Research Labs is a very wealthy place… the marble tile, the fountains, everything trimmed in brass… we’re messing with somepony’s money. Somepony is going to be irate,” Mask said to his companion.

Still looking at his magazine, Fever Cure replied, “As we do this, I am forced to ask how much privacy does a private cooperation deserve?” The unicorn paused and turned a page with his magic. “We let the noble houses go unchecked and look what happened there. This company was owned by Avarice. It is a large, powerful entity and it has an obscene amount of power. I must confess, it concerns me a little to be sticking my snoot into their business.”

“It concerns me that they test on animals… I’m an animal.” Mask took a sip of tea and then continued. “Seems wrong somehow. Cruel. The kennels we saw today… disturbing.”

“Well, you are a pony animal. And a unicorn as well. That makes you privileged. No doubt they would love to not only test on cute little bunnies, but earth ponies as well. The way they looked at us today. I wanted to drop my disguise and let them see me as a unicorn.” Fever Cure shook his head. “That was awful. I mean, I know there are some problems with tribalism, but those unicorns made me feel lower than dirt.”

“So when are we going back to have a better look around?” Mask asked.

“I say we at least take a day to take in everything we’ve learned and make a good plan,” Fever Cure replied. “You know, if they do have changelings in there somewhere, they are testing on ponies… in a sense. They’re not so different than us. The changelings I mean.”

“Before this is over, I fear I shall be beset with moral outrage and righteous indignation. Also, it is likely that I’ll have a strong urge to strangle somepony. So help me I’d like to indulge myself in a good throttling…”

 

 

“Goodbye Little Slip, don’t be a stranger,” Diamond Tiara said as she watched her friend go, waving her hoof at the departing filly. After a moment, Diamond Tiara turned to look at Sentinel. “It was a good group therapy session today.” Diamond Tiara tore her gaze away from Sentinel and watched as Garnet Targe reunited with Rowanne, the ever silent griffoness, who had been waiting outside of the office.

“I’ll try not to be a stranger,” Little Slip replied as she hurried away. “See you at the spa… I guess. I still don’t know if I’ll go.”

“You need to go!” Diamond Tiara shouted in reply.

“Spa?” Sentinel cocked his head and looked both adorable and befuddled as he gave Diamond Tiara a quizzical look.

“We’re all going to the spa so we can be indulged, pampered, and maybe learn a bit of self acceptance. It is supposed to help us with our self esteem and let us know we’re worth something,” Diamond Tiara replied, looking at Sentinel and feeling her heart fluttering. “I talked about you… again… it is only fair that I mention this.”

“I don’t mind,” Sentinel said, shrugging as he looked into Diamond Tiara’s blue eyes.

Diamond Tiara took off at a trot and Sentinel followed, falling in step beside her. She took a deep breath, tossed her head around to get her mane out of her face, and then the little pink filly remembered to smile so she didn’t look so serious and stern.

Down the hallway they went together, Diamond Tiara bumping into Sentinel a few times as she walked, brushing up against his side, knowing that she was flustering the poor colt with each touch. They passed through a study alcove, went down the hall, and then stepped outside through the doors, with Sentinel opening the door for Diamond Tiara.

She paused for a moment to look around, looking for familiar orange, and it did not take long to find what she was looking for. She found an orange pegasus and a black griffoness talking to one another. Diamond Tiara took off, walking in such a way that it made her tail and her mane bob in a perfect manner.

“Scootaloo! Boadicea!” Diamond Tiara called out as she got closer.

The griffoness waved and Scootaloo almost tackled Diamond Tiara, rushing up to give the filly a hug. Scootaloo seemed excited and her grin stretched from ear to ear. After hugging Diamond Tiara, Scootaloo bounced in place, unable to contain herself.

“What’s going on?” Sentinel asked.

“Rumble!” Scootaloo replied, her eyes bright and flashing.

“What about Rumble?” Sentinel looked around and then his eyes fell upon Boadicea as he realised that the griffoness was staring at him. When he looked at her, she did not turn away, but kept staring.

“Rumble has permission to join us for Raptor training. We’re gonna break him down and make him hard, like Fresh Meat and I. He wants to be a police officer… or at least he thinks he does, and he wants to be a good bodyguard for Apple Bloom,” Scootaloo said.

“Where is he now?” Diamond Tiara asked.

“He’s talking with Loki and Ripple… Sentinel… can we make him run until he pukes?” Scootaloo grinned a manic, half crazed grin.

“Huh?” Sentinel looked away from Boadicea, startled by hearing his own name.

“Somepony likes somebirdy,” Scootaloo said in a teasing voice as she gave Sentinel a playful wink. “And I happen to know that somebirdy likes somepony—”

“Shut up, Table Scraps!” Boadicea fluffed out, her fur and feathers sticking out in all directions. She glowered at the orange pegasus filly and then gave herself a good shake, trying to smooth out her plumage as well as her pelt.

“This is gonna be awesome,” Scootaloo said as she continued to bounce in place.

 

 

“Where mamamama?” Harper asked, looking up at Thistle with wide, curious eyes.

“Gone,” Thistle replied, having the sort of patience that only a mother could have. Harper had been asking this question all day. Thistle already knew the questions that were sure to follow.

“What gone?” Harper sat down and looked up at Thistle, looking very serious and concerned. Her orange mane seemed a little droopier than normal.

“Why is he gone?” Thistle sighed and then felt bad for Harper. “He’s gone because he has a job to do. He’ll be gone for a little while. I don’t know how long.”

“Harpy no like this.” Harper’s brows furrowed and her eyes narrowed. “Mamamama come home. Now.”

“Harper, honey, we’d all be happier if Bucky came home right now,” Thistle replied.

The frustrated foal took Thistle’s words about as well as could be expected. She sucked in a deep breath, held it, her cheeks bulging, and then fell over onto the floor, refusing to breathe, which was Harper’s way of protesting almost any situation she didn’t like.

The frustrated kelpie sighed. Harper would hold her breath until the foal started trembling and she would either start breathing or pass out. If she passed out, she would start breathing after she passed out, so her melodramatic theatrics were almost harmless, but painful to watch nonetheless.

“Harpy explode,” Peekaboo said as she watched Harper holding her breath.

The build up pressure in Harper’s small body intensified but had nowhere to go. Harper began to tremble and her nostrils flared as her lip quivered. Harper refused to breathe though and held on with grim determination.

Without warning, Harper farted, the backed up pressure escaping out of the only orifice it could find. There was a wet fizzling sound and then Harper let out her breath with a huff; afterwards, she started panting while fanning her hoof in front of her nose.

“Serves you right,” Thistle said as she backed away from Harper. “You’re a little stinker… oh goodness Harper, what have you been eating?”

“Mangos,” Harper replied between heaving panting breaths.

“Phew! Stinky pony!” Peekaboo cried as she took off at a gallop, clearing out of the living room.

Cadance, who was napping on the sofa, awoke, lifted her head, and her nostrils crinkled in disgust. “YUCK!” She stuck out her tongue and shook her head while rubbing her nose with her fetlock. Cadance rolled over onto her back and did her best to look as though she had died.

“Harper, you killed Cadance!” Thistle pointed at the limp pink alicorn foal on the sofa.

“OH NOES!” Harper closed her eyes, ran in wild circles, and then smacked into the end table beside Barley’s chair, colliding with a thump. She bounced away, opened her eyes, and rubbed her head. She approached Cadance, who had not moved.

When Harper got close, she stood there, looking worried, dancing from her right hooves to her left hooves, back and forth, anxious about the very still pink foal sprawled out on the sofa. After an agonising moment, Cadance moved, her foreleg extending and she booped Harper on the nose.

Harper, who was relieved, heaved a sigh and then sat down as Cadance giggled. Cadance slid off of the sofa, rolling over as she did so, wrapped her forelegs around Harper’s neck, and gave Harper a big, wet, slobbery kiss on the cheek as she plopped down upon the floor.

“Miss daddy too,” Cadance said, leaning on Harper, holding tight to Harper’s neck.

“Mama,” Harper said in a sad voice that lacked the energy to start an argument. She lifted one foreleg and wrapped it around Cadance, and both huddled together in misery as they tried to comfort one another.

Peekaboo came back into the living room, looked around, and then dove at Harper and Cadance, tackling them with a hug. Thistle watched all of this as it happened and felt a little better.

“Who wants some banana pudding?” Thistle asked and then looked around for Sukari, who she did not see. She guessed that Sukari might be in Sentinel’s hidey hole under the stairs.

“Puddin’?” Cadance looked up and gave her full attention to Thistle.

“Yes, you can have some pudding… but no sticking your muzzle down in the bowl and trying to blow bubbles. Picking dried pudding boogers out of little filly nostrils was not a fun time for Lyra,” Thistle replied.

“Boogies!” Cadance cried and then began to giggle as she clapped her front hooves together and making a foalish amount of noise.

“Booger pudding?” Peekaboo asked.

“No… no booger pudding.” Harper shook her head and looked disgusted.

“No, Peekaboo, please, don’t show us how you can stick your tongue into your nostril!” Thistle turned away to avoid the sight, just knowing that Peekaboo would try to do it.

“Did somepony say booger?” Broom asked as she came into the living room. She looked around and spotted Peekaboo. “Aye, right then. Oi.” Broom shook her head. “Some foals.”

“How is Yew?” Thistle asked.

“I is fine,” Broom replied, and then had herself a bit of a chuckle. “Yew is okay, but she won’t be getting out of bed any time soon. She’s got herself a bad case of the queasies. I came down to fetch her some soda crackers and some salted broth.”

“I bet missing Lugus is making everything worse,” Thistle said.

“And Yew Wood be right.” Broom gave the kelpie a lopsided grin.

 

 

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