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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Reading a comic book, Sweetie Belle did everything she could to ignore the needle in her leg. She was okay just so long as she didn’t look at it. If she did, she she would feel queasy and lightheaded. On either side of her, Scootaloo and Apple Bloom were also donating plasma. The blood bank was full of both ponies and griffons, both of which were ‘doing their part.’

“You know, we need to start up our own local chapter of harmony scouts,” Apple Bloom said to her friends. “Cheerilee was reading the newspaper… these harmony scouts do good things, like fix up their community, but they’re all in other places in the world. We need a chapter right here at home.”

“Yeah,” Scootaloo replied. “That would be awesome.”

“But we’re already doing good stuff.” Sweetie Belle put down her comic book and looked first at Apple Bloom and then turned her head to look at Scootaloo. “I mean, we’re here right now doing this.”

“And this is a good start.” Apple Bloom looked around the room and then shook her head. “This is a good start, but this is not enough. My time as a Crusader taught me something. We can do anything if we work together.”

Sweetie Belle thought about her cutie mark. That had not been accomplished with her friends, but alone, doing what she did best. She thought about the hurricane in Baltimare, stowing away and then being put to work. She thought about the immense feeling of satisfaction that came from knowing she had made a difference. Turning her head, she looked over at Rumble, who sat in a different little nook a short distance away, donating plasma with his father, his sister and his mothers. In the corner nook, Bon Bon was chatting with Piña Colada, Babs, and Larch. Sentinel, Boadicea, and Diamond Tiara were donating together. Dinky was sitting with Princess Luna and Dinky had her nose in a book labeled “Teleportation Basics, Book II. Deconstruction and Reconstruction: Mind Your Molecules or Risk Dispersal.”  

“Look at what we’ve done here, girls.” Sweetie Belle looked over at Apple Bloom. “This started with the League of Extraordinary Earth Ponies, but now look at it. Everypony is getting involved. It’s Saturday and look at what everypony is doing.”

Feeling a sense of accomplishment, Apple Bloom nodded and then turned to look into Sweetie Belle’s eyes. “So is anypony going to help me, or am I gonna have to do this myself?”

“I’m in,” Scootaloo replied.

“What do we do?” Sweetie Belle asked.

“More of what we’re already doing,” Apple Bloom replied. “You know, I think it’s time for the League of Extraordinary Earth Ponies to just become the League of Extraordinary Ponies. All of this kinda started there. And now, we just need to continue.”

Looking up, Scootaloo saw Spike approaching, carrying a tray with shortbread cookies and little plastic cups filled with orange juice. The dragon looked quite sad. “Hiya Spike… missing Twilight?”

Setting down the tray upon a table, Spike nodded and then sat down upon a bench. He rested his face in his hands, sighed, and then said, “I miss Glass Slipper too.”

“I’m sure she’s fine,” Scootaloo said to Spike. “Look, I miss her too—”

“Do you?” Spike asked, looking up and raising his head from his hands.

Scootaloo nodded. “Look, I know that she and I don’t always get along, but I miss her.”

“I miss her bunches,” Spike admitted as he began to wring his hands together, his claws making scraping sounds as they dragged across his scales. “I miss Twilight and Rainbow too… I should have gone with them… but I’m here… I’m here…”

“Come here,” Scootaloo said, patting the the empty space in her chair.

Trembling, Spike first looked to the left, then to the right, and then, sniffling, he climbed up into the chair with Scootaloo. As he sat down, he felt her lean up against him and one of her forelegs, the one that did not have the needle in it, wrapped around him. Closing his eyes, he threw his own forelegs around her neck and squeezed.

“I miss her,” Spike whispered.

“I think that sometimes, we all forget how little Spike is… he acts so grown up but he’s really little.” Sweetie Belle leaned over in her chair, extended her foreleg, and then she stroked Spike on the back.

“At least we have Flash,” Scootaloo said in a soft voice, trying to comfort Spike. “He lets us eat ice cream for dinner.”

“She’s in danger and I can’t do anything to protect her.” Spike, who had his eyes closed, began to sniffle.

Scootaloo glanced at Apple Bloom, hoping that Apple Bloom might have something useful to say, but all the earth pony filly did was shrug. Sweetie Belle didn’t seem to have anything else to say either. Scootaloo sighed, now feeling just awful herself, not knowing how to reassure Spike.

“I wish I had gone with her,” Spike said, rubbing his nose with his hand as he spoke.

Sweetie Belle, after a few moments of careful consideration, thought about what she could say that would make Spike feel better, her knack for helping to soothe hurting hearts now kicking in. “Spike, you know, there is another princess for you to look after, and Twilight would be very proud of you for keeping her safe...”

 

 

“You know darling, this is all very flattering,” Rarity said as she waved her well manicured hoof at a group of hooting and howling pegasi standing on the deck of a ship that flew alongside Sol Sempiternus. “We are the object of their adoration!”

“I suppose we are,” Coco said as a blush crept over her face. “Rarity, they painted us on the front of their ship…”

“I know, isn’t it marvelous?” Rarity replied, blowing a kiss at the pegasi on the next ship over. She blew another kiss, then another, and then began to wave while she batted her eyelashes at them.

“Rarity, when I look at that picture, I get all hot and flustered… I can’t imagine what it must be doing to others that view it.” Coco glanced at the image of her and Rarity entwined together in a very sultry and rather compromising position.

“We’re giving them something to fight for,” Rarity said, lifting her head high and flashing a perfect white smile. She flicked her tail and struck a glamorous pose. The chill wind was starting to sting, but Rarity didn’t care. She was having the time of her life. “A noble knight needs a lady fair.”

“Or in this case, horny guardsponies need their fantasy of two hot mares going at one another.” With a shy smile upon her face, Coco lifted up a hoof and waved at the nice pegasi. “You know Rarity, we could give them quite a show.”

“Coco, darling, what are you proposing?” Rarity turned and gave Coco a pouty expression, one perfect eyebrow raised high.

The earth pony did not reply. She stepped forwards, got her foreleg around Rarity’s neck, and then gave Rarity the wettest, sloppiest, muzzle gobbling-est smooch she could muster, causing Rarity to squeal as Coco put everything she had into the romantic and sultry kiss.

The crew of pegasi upon the ship flying alongside them erupted into cheering, hooting, and hollering, and the sound of stomping hooves could be heard above the dull roar of wind.

 

 

“Knight Commandant, I have a few questions, if you don’t mind.”

Bucky turned and looked at the earth pony addressing him. “Captain Sparks, how are you? How might I help you?” Bucky felt Belisama shift upon his back and her autoharp went silent.

The earth pony cleared his throat looked Bucky in the eye for a moment, and then turned away to stare down at the floor. “Is what Princess Celestia saying true? Pegasi that could punch their way through a steel hull?”

Feeling weary, Bucky nodded. There had been so many of these questions as of late. He looked at the nervous earth pony, trying to figure out what sort of pony he was dealing with. The earth pony didn’t look afraid, but nervous. This made Bucky feel a little better. “Augmentation can turn a pegasus into a fierce fighter. Strength, speed, endurance. So yes, we will be dealing with dangerous foes. If we are careful and cautious, they can be dealt with. Princess Celestia’s practical defensive nature is going to pay off. Her school produces some of the best spellbreakers in the world. Do you understand what spellbreaking is?”

“No sir, I do not,” Captain Sparks replied.

“Spellbreakers are unicorns skilled at stripping away enemy protections and augmentations. Princess Celestia does not like training unicorns in her school in combat magic. She focuses entirely upon defensive measures. Abjuration. So we have an advantage.” Bucky gave the earth pony a reassuring smile.

“So why don’t we augment our own troops?” Sparks asked.

“We’re not trained. The only pony who is really well trained in supersonic flight is Rainbow Dash. Taking a common flier and making them fast does not help them. Knowing how to fight at regular speeds is one thing, but using those combat tactics while flying at supersonic speeds would be disastrous. An augmented soldier would need to learn how to control themselves, their strength, their speed, their new abilities, they would need to learn how to fly all over again,” Bucky replied.

Captain Sparks nodded, understanding lighting up his eyes. He raised his gaze and looked Bucky in the face. “I understand now, thank you.” He blinked and his ears pitched forwards. “So in aerial engagements, I guess Princess Celestia’s spellbreakers take out the augments on the pegasi, making them comparatively slow and weak, and they won’t know how to fight without their augments?”

Bucky’s muzzle split into a wide toothy grin. “That is the plan. Our enemy is all about brute force. I strongly suspect that when left without their usual options for the application of force, they will be fighting at a significant disadvantage, giving us the upper hoof.”

Relief became visible upon the earth pony’s face and he sighed. Captain Sparks’ face broke into a worried half smile. “That is a pretty significant disadvantage.”

“It is indeed.” Belisama leaned forward and began to run her talons through Bucky’s mane, trying to pick out a few tangles. “My husband has a gift for knowing the weakness of his enemies. It is a powerful advantage.”

Captain Sparks nodded and his gaze shifted to Belisama for a moment, and then back once more to Bucky. “I will make my crew aware of this. Thank you, both of you.”

“You have an impressive service record, Captain Sparks… the only earth pony on your ship. You lead a crew of battle hardened storm specialist pegasi, all of which are superchargers. They appreciate you for your calm, careful, cautious demeanour, and your ability to fly your ship safely through any storm that might get kicked up by your crew, following after them, shadowing them, and always making certain that their place of refuge is just behind them if something goes wrong. You have been in quite a number of major conflicts and you are one of the most seasoned captains in the fleet,” Bucky said.

“I am flattered that I have caught your attention, sir.” Captain Sparks stood up a little taller and a little straighter.

“I am forming a new high command. Would you be interested in being Commandant Sparks? I am of course asking you to be a Deck Admiral. I need ponies that I can trust. I need ponies of the right temperament and the right moral fibre.” Bucky’s eyes narrowed as he studied the earth pony, watching his body language.

“Sir, I would be flattered and it would be a privilege to serve in that capacity, if you think I am worthy, sir,” Sparks replied.

“Good. Join me in mess tonight and we will discuss this in a more official manner.”

“Sir, thank you, sir, for this opportunity.”

 

 

 

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