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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Bucky was almost back to his room when the tears started. It was a few at first, and then a chuffing sob, and then he very nearly collapsed upon the floor. Rising Star and Sparkler were busy carrying Loch Skimmer, and it was very difficult to get everypony safely into their quarters.

Derpy and Berry both had seen their husband cry before, but never like this. He cried like a kicked foal, deep horrible sobs that were utterly incapacitating. Berry had the presence of mind to understand that this was healthy on some level, his pain hadn’t manifested as a panic attack or a total shut down, but knowing it and seeing it were two indispensably different things.

Bucky curled into a fetal position on the bed and continued to wail pitifully, and Berry gently tried to comfort him with a soft touch, trying to touch the places that were the least injured.

“Watch him,” Derpy commanded. “I have to go take care of something.”

“You are leaving?” Berry asked.

“Just for a moment,” Derpy replied, and then she was gone, flying out the door, one eye closed so she could see properly.

The grey mare flew down the hall with astounding speed, down some stairs, down the length of hall leading to the dining hall. She peered around and found nothing. She went careening down the hall at breakneck pace, went through the doors, and peered out into the courtyard. Still full of ponies, but not her target. She turned and headed back inside, her wings beating frantically, and she cracked her fetlocks in a most disturbing way.

She burst through the throne room doors a few moments later, a grey blur, and without a single word of warning, flew at her target like a dart. She connected solidly with one front hoof, sending Keg Smasher flying backwards, flipping over, and landing on his back.

“Och, stay back!” the prone stallion commanded to his guard as he tried to shield his face with his forelegs.

“You son of a bitch,” Derpy growled. She unleashed a flurry of blows, some of which Keg Smasher blocked, others connected solidly with his jaw. “My husband has done nothing but help you, and this is the thanks you give him? You broke him!” One particularly hard punch landed solidly and there was a sickening crunch.

“YOU COWARD!” Derpy screamed. “You know you have to stay here and rule. So you made Bucky bear the horror of your terrible act, knowing that he would leave someday and take the fear of what was done with him!

Derpy’s hoof slipped past Keg Smasher’s defenses and connected solidly with his snoot. There was another terrible cracking sound as the ridge of his nose broke.

“YOU HURT HIM! INSIDE! YOU BROKE THINGS! NOW TAKE YOUR OWN PUNISHMENT!” Derpy hollered. One hoof moved, it was blindingly fast, as only a pegasus hopped up on magically charged adrenaline could be. It connected with the side of Keg Smasher’s jaw with a crack that echoed through the throne room. “BECAUSE OF YOU HE IS DISFIGURED ON THE OUTSIDE AND ON THE INSIDE!”

Derpy rose into the air, her forehooves bloody. She glared down at the pegasus below her, and in the ultimate of all pegasus specific insults, pissed on him to establish her own dominance. It was a crude and terrible act, usually reserved for the worst of foes. Stories say that Commander Hurricane pissed on several dragons he had vanquished, and more than a few griffons. Pissing on your enemy, while alive or dead, was considered just about the worst thing any pegasus could do.

Finished, Derpy landed, extended both wings, and then presented her middle central primary feathers in the second worst of all pegasi insults. The guards were standing in wide eyed shock, completely unable to take in what they had just witnessed. The mare had just shot their Laird a double birdie after laying him low.

Keg Smasher lay on the ground groaning. He turned his head to one side, spat out a tooth, hawked in the back of his throat, and then spat out a large gout of blood and several more teeth. “Aye, I suppose I deserved that,” he grumbled.

Derpy stomped stiff legged towards the door, lifted her tail, farted, and then stormed out of the room, leaving behind one battered pegasus with a broken nose and several missing molars, a group of shocked guards, and a large puddle of piss.

Past the doors, she took wing and then flew off to be with her family, feeling much better now that she established a new pecking order of the flock on this island.

 

 

Sparkler looked down at her mother and her mother’s bloody hooves. She didn’t know what had taken place, and she wasn’t sure she wanted to know what had taken place. Her mother was broody and was hugging Piña and Dinky fiercely, something that made both of the foals feel better and calmed the outraged pegasus.

“We need to get ready,” Rising Star announced quietly.

“Ready for what?” Sparkler inquired.

“School,” Rising Star stated.

“After everything that just happened? I don’t think anypony is up for it,” Sparkler said flatly.

“But it needs to be done. Especially after what took place. So pack up, grab our materials, and let’s head for the dining hall,” Rising Star said patiently.

“I don’t know if this this a good idea,” Sparkler protested.

“Look, we owe it to those foals to make a difference, and our time here is limited. We must make every day count, even the bad days. Now come on, I am not asking, I am telling, so grab our stuff, grab Loch Skimmer, get Ripple, get Dinky, Piña, and Sentinel, and we will head to the dining hall. And ponies will bring their foals, even with everything that has taken place this morning, and we salvage what is left of the day. Am I understood?” Rising Star announced.

Sparkler did not reply. She glanced briefly at her parents. Berry was still comforting Bucky. Bucky was still curled up and crying. Derpy was trying to comfort herself by comforting others. Sparkler stomped a hoof and lunged forward, kissing Rising Star passionately, leaning in and giving him the sort of affection she felt he deserved.

“You’re right,” she agreed after pulling away from the kiss.

“I am not sure I am up for school today,” Loch Skimmer said weakly.

“Tough,” Rising Star retorted abruptly. “You were just going to lay in the bed anyway, might as well be learning something.”

Loch Skimmer scowled, but then her face softened. “The distraction would be nice,” she admitted.

Thistle did not comment, but pranced in place nervously.

“I will come with you,” Derpy said. “Berry, try to get him out and about. Even if it means being a little rough with him. Don’t let him sit in here and stew.”

“Good idea,” Berry said as she gently trailed a hoof over Bucky’s belly where he wasn’t sunburned or horribly chewed on and then burnt. Her touch was having its usual effect on Bucky.

“What is it with earth ponies?” Derpy asked. “You and Bon Bon both. Ever notice that?”

“You’re right. I wonder what it is?” Berry asked.

Piña broke free from Derpy, squirmed over to Bucky, and gently placed her hooves on a spot on his barrel where she wouldn’t hurt him. “Feel better,” she soothed. “We need you.”

The unicorn did not reply. His remaining eye was shut and he continued to cry miserably.

“Let it out,” Berry said. “Just get it all out, better than how you used to hold it all in,” she whispered into Bucky’s ear. “This is a good moment for you, you finally have let yourself show a little real weakness around us.”

“I cry all the time,” Piña sniffled. “It feels good to let it out.”

“Come on, hurry up, quit dragging your hooves,” Derpy said.

Piña reluctantly shuffled off towards the door, Dinky following after her, and Sentinel marching behind them both. Ripple strode beside Sentinel, trying to mimic his unusual walk, holding her head high. Her face was still stained with tears, but she was determined to establish herself within her new herd. The slight looking filly was also charcoal grey like her older sister, but had a light blue mane and tail instead of straw coloured.

Derpy leaned down over her husband. “Spend some time with Berry. Maybe spend some time in the brewery. Or just some time together. I love both of you,” Derpy said as she planted a kiss on her fellow-wife and then her husband.

Loch Skimmer watched the display of affection. “My father and my mothers never behaved like that,” she commented in a low voice.

“Learn from our example,” Derpy stated. “Be good and gentle to your husband. He is a good colt.”

“She’s right,” Berry replied. “Behind every good stallion there is a good mare or a herd of good mares. Well, in a family sense. You get the idea.” She planted a kiss on Bucky’s twitching ear and continued to rub his belly.

Berry watched as the crowd cleared from the room, leaving her alone with Bucky. She listened as their hoofbeats echoed down the hall, and eventually the room was silent. She let Bucky continue to cry, content to be a good wife and soothe her husband.

 

 

The sky still threatened rain as Berry led Bucky gently along, occasionally nosing him. He still hadn’t spoken a single word, and his remaining eye was dull and glassy. He was dull and listless as he moved slowly through the grass, the cool air soothing on his fevered skin, but painful on his eye socket.

The stallion seemed inconsolable and Berry wasn’t sure what to do.

“Bucky, maybe we should consider accepting Thistle into our herd. I know we could talk Derpy into it. And then maybe we should go. This place is getting to us all. Even me,” Berry stated.

There was no reply. Bucky continued to move mindlessly through the grass, wobbling about unsteadily, still looking vacant.

“This is an awful place. It does bad things to ponies,” Berry commented.

Bucky continued to be near catatonic, and he stumbled through the grass, his face strangely blank. He was walking in wide disoriented circles, kept moving only by Berry’s nudges.

“Bucky, damnit, say something to me!” Berry shouted.

The stallion fell over into the grass and began to sob again. Berry eased herself down beside him and rubbed him gently along his lower barrel. Berry felt Bucky’s snoot press into her neck and she could feel his hot heaving breath as he wept.

“Feck everything… I hate this place,” Berry muttered. “Just let it out. Let everything out. Don’t let it poison you,” the mare cooed as though she was talking to a foal. The grass was damp all around them and there was no sun. The skies were grey and full of clouds which were turning darker and darker. The air reeked of ozone and not from unicorn magic. A wild storm was brewing, like the ones that occasionally blew out from the Everfree and it promised to be interesting. The air was also filled with the smell of moist earth, old rotten fish, sewage from the castle, and the sweetness of the grass. The wind whipped Bucky’s jet black mane and tail all around them, and Berry’s own raspberry coloured mane also rippled in the breeze, not having been styled or cared for in quite a while.

“Do you need me Bucky? Derpy told us to spend time together… I know you are in a fragile state right now, but I am sure we can find a way for you to have a release,” Berry offered.

There was no reply, Bucky just continued to lay there, unresponsive and weeping. Berry did feel his leg brush up against her briefly though. She rolled him on his back and began to rub his belly and his barrel, avoiding any places with cauterised bites. The grieving stallion responded somewhat, looking up at her briefly, before closing his remaining eye and succumbing to his sorrow once again.

“It is everything hitting you all at once, isn’t it? In such a short time, you were married, your life changed, you came here, lost your eye, and now I don’t even know what it is that you’ve lost, but it was something important to you… and everything is coming apart right now, isn’t it?” Berry asked as she rubbed her hooves in slow lazy circles along his flesh. “Try not to think about what you’ve lost. Think about what you have gained. You have two mares that love you, and there will probably be a third soon. You have two little fillies that adore you, you are everything to them, you have a young colt that sees you as a father even if he doesn’t want to say it and would rather remain your squire… and then there are Sparkler and Rising Star. Sparkler came to you last night for a reason. You don’t know it but Rising Star watches everything you do and listens to every word you say. Loch Skimmer and Ripple both seem comfortable around you and trust you… even after the events of this morning. Surely you can take some comfort what you have gained,” Berry said as she leaned down and kissed Bucky on the underside of his jaw and then planted a few more for good measure.

The first raindrop splashed down, cold and wet. Then a second one struck Bucky on his navel. And then, the torrent opened and the storm began to rage, instantly drenching the pair. The rain was cold and soothing, and washed away much of the unicorn’s hurt, both inside and out. He looked up at Berry, whose mane was plastered over her eyes.

“Never again,” he whispered as lightning crackled overhead.

 

Author's Note:

Multiple breaking points have taken place.

Now that the breaks have happened, the pieces can start to be put together and things can start being a little happier. From here, we begin our dramatic upswing and the arc of recovery. There are going to be a few more bad incidents along the way, but most of the worst is now over, so everybody can breathe again and not dread the next chapter.

The arc of recovery is going to be an arc of discovery and growth, and there will be some major shifts in a number of characters. Good shifts. We can already see Rising Star asserting a new role. Sparkler has the foundation for growth. Dinky and Pina both will be experiencing some shifts. Loch Skimmer and Ripple will be fleshed out in the next arc. Derpy is becoming the hostile short tempered one and Berry of all ponies is becoming the quiet voice of reason.

The next arc will be focused on evolution and adaptation.

Oh, and the development of combined arms being brought to the Isles. Can't forget that. Combined arms are what makes the world go round.

 
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