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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Endovelicus Pharmacological Research Labs was dark. Most of it anyway. The darkness made it easier. There were well lit places where the guards congregated, but to save money on electricity, many of the lights were turned off at night, leaving behind islands of light scattered in a sea of darkness.

Fever Cure took to his shadow nature much better than Mask did, even though Mask had already figured out total mastery over the changeling illusion aspect of his magic. It was Fever Cure who led the way, sometimes pulling Mask down into shadow when Mask was having a bit of difficulty.

Peering around the corner and into the hallway ahead, looking both left as well as right, Fever Cure whispered, “There needs to be a better way. Some legal means for the government to investigate big businesses upon demand.”

“The Stable of Representatives will sort this out, I have faith in our budding democratic values,” Mask replied, also whispering. “This is great, being able to see in almost total darkness.”

There was no reply from his companion. Fever Cure had gone silent once more, and dove into shadow. He floated down the hallway, able to see the defensive alarm wards on the floor. Stepping on them would activate them, but right now, he didn’t have legs, so there was nothing to worry about. He was little more than an amorphous mass of shadowstuff.

Bringing up the rear, Mask followed along, but struggled staying in shadow long enough to make it down the length of hallway. He became solid in a safe place, landing upon the floor, glad to rest and stand upon solid hooves once more.

“You can feel the very wrongness of this place,” Fever Cure muttered in a hissy whisper, his voice held scarce volume in the dark. It was just the mere the suggestion of a voice, a hidden whisper, the rustling sound that one hears in a dark room and then wonders what might be lurking in the dark with them.

Mask remained silent, but agreed. Something was wrong with this place, but he couldn’t understand how he knew. But he could feel it as they got closer to the research labs, the place they had not been allowed to go when they had cased the place earlier.

After observing the area ahead, Fever Cure said, “There is no security.”

“They don’t expect anypony to make it down into the basement past all of the security upstairs,” Mask replied.

Nodding in the dark, Fever Cure shadowdove and then made his way ahead…

 

 

Seeing Sentinel standing in the doorway, Derpy patted the bed beside her with her hoof. She watched as he entered, looking around, sniffing, and how he loped to the bed. He didn’t quite walk like other ponies. Derpy realised that he had grown a bit since they had first met, and Sentinel was a little larger. No doubt, he would be hitting his big growth spurt soon.

Sentinel was careful leaping up onto the bed, making certain he did not disturb Cadance or Bell Heather. He nosed Cadance, who was half awake and half asleep. After sniffing her, pressing his muzzle against her neck and snuffling a few times, he did the same to Bell Heather, who giggled at her brother’s soft, loving touch.

“They’re growing,” Sentinel said as he turned around in a circle a few times and then settled down onto the bed beside his mother, Derpy. “All of my father’s little girls are accounted for and seem happy.”

“How are Sukari and Harper?” Derpy asked.

“Lyra, Dinky, and Piña have created a bedtime theatre to tell them a bedtime story. There’s puppets and everything,” Sentinel replied. He watched as Bell Heather crawled towards him, then collapsed upon his foreleg, slobbering all over his fetlock. He didn’t mind. He had his own slobbering issues, and it would be hypocritical to complain about the slobber of others. “Bon Bon is extra huggy tonight. I didn’t think she would ever let me go.”

Cadance meanwhile had closed her eyes.

“Bon Bon has mommy hormones,” Derpy said. “Where is Thistle? She’s been gone for a while now, I haven’t seen her for what feels like hours.”

“She’s upstairs with Yew. Yew misses Lugus and can’t stop crying. Broom, Thistle, and Boadicea are trying to cheer her up before she dehydrates herself. I think Yew has mommy hormones pretty bad.” Sentinel pulled Bell Heather closer and then nuzzled her velvety ear with his muzzle. She was soft, warm, and had that delightful foal smell that made Sentinel feel weird, aggressive, and protective, a sensation that Sentinel quite enjoyed.

“How is Luna?” Derpy watched as her foals loved one another and she felt her heart warm. Every mother wanted to see her foals get along. Sometimes in a herd, there could sometimes be problems between foals, or so Berry Punch had read and Derpy had listened.

“Luna and Erebus are upstairs with Barley. Barley is trying to teach Erebus how to talk better. I think Erebus is going to end up with a funny accent. Luna has the latest medical digest, something about neurology and brain development, written by some brain surgeon minotaur living in the Sea of Grass after he fled his home in Minos. Luna was telling me about it, she thinks his findings will change everything we think we know. The brain has bits called mirror neurons and they can have something called quantum entanglement happen. Something about spooky action at a distance… quantum consciousness... I did not understand half of what Luna was saying, but she seemed excited about it.”

Feeling confused, Derpy shook her head. She didn’t understand anything that Sentinel was saying. She blinked and did not know what to say or where to even begin to on a reply. She opted for another approach; changing the subject. “How is Diamond Tiara?”

“She’s missing Coco and Rarity, but she likes Hondo and Cookie. They both love her. Hondo treats Diamond Tiara just like he treats Sweetie Belle and makes no distinctions between them. It makes Diamond Tiara’s life a little easier. Earlier today, we talked about her therapy.” Sentinel rubbed the side of his head against Bell Heather and left behind a faint somewhat musty smelling oily patch on the foal’s pelt, but was unaware he had done so.

Derpy sighed and felt a sense of satisfaction in knowing that those she loved were okay. It was getting harder and harder to check up upon them, and she depended on others like Sentinel to keep her updated on the goings on within her extended flock.

“How are you holding up?” Sentinel asked, giving his mother a worried expression.

“I’m managing. The twins are giving me a hard time. I’m missing Bucky. I’m scared for him and Belisama, I want them both home with me and I want to know that they are safe.” Reaching out a foreleg, Derpy hooked her hoof around Cadance’s middle and pulled the foal over.

Cadance let out a sleepy whimper of surprise, realised she was about to be hugged, and when she was close enough, she wrapped her forelegs around Derpy’s muzzle, giving the grey mare a squeeze. Derpy remained with her face pressed into Cadance’s belly, and Cadance clung to Derpy’s face.

“Somepony go fetch Lyra! I can’t get out of the bathtub on my own!” Berry Punch cried from the bathroom in a somewhat frantic sounding voice. “I’m waterlogged and I’m stuck!”

“I had better go fetch Lyra.” Sentinel gave Bell Heather a quick kiss upon the cheek and then extracted himself. “I’ll be right back.”

 

 

“I feel like I’m dying,” Fluttershy said. The sunny yellow mare sniffled as she lay in the bed, her head resting upon a well fluffed pillow, and her pastel pink mane spilling all around her neck and shoulders.

Discord reached out and wiped Fluttershy’s nose with a tissue. “The doctors think you are having some kind of allergic reaction to something. You’re not dying, don’t say that. You can’t die and I cannot bear to live even one second without you.” Discord leaned in a little closer. “Somepony has to take care of sweet little Lunacy. She’s cranky.”

“Where is my sweet little foal?” Fluttershy asked as she made a weak effort to lift her head and looked around. After a moment of straining, she gave up and fell back against her pillow.

“Rarity has the adorable little psychopath—oh, and don’t worry, Lunacy has her happy helmet on. Rarity is safe and sound,” Discord replied. He reached out his paw and stroked Fluttershy’s cheek, noting that she felt damp and clammy. “You’ve been like this for hours—”

Discord fell silent as the door opened. Turning his head, he saw a tall white figure enter, followed by two shorter figures. “Celestia… Twilight… fellow chimeric chaos creature.”

“I was worried.” Bucky approached the bed first and then stood there, not knowing what to do or say. Reaching up with his talons, he touched Fluttershy’s paw and stood there in silent support.

“Discord, I wish you wouldn’t call Bucky that.” Fluttershy peered up at her mate and even in her distressed state, she somehow managed to look a little peeved.

“What? He’s not a pony anymore… I don’t know what he is, he’s not like us… he is, well, he is a lot like us but not like us and—”

“Discord!” Fluttershy’s scolding tone silenced her husband and her draconequus mate slumped by her bedside.

Bucky’s sole response was to laugh, and as he was doing so, both Twilight as well as Celestia exchanged a glance with one another; with Celestia raising one eyebrow while Twilight’s lips pressed into a straight, thin line.

“I think I would feel better if I could just sneeze.” Fluttershy sighed and rubbed her oversized stomach. “It is like that feeling when you fly and gain altitude and you need your ears to pop but they just won’t do it so you keep yawning…” Fluttershy’s words trailed off and she lapsed into a moment of silence as she continued to rub her stomach. “Ooh… everything hurts. All my muscles are tense.”

“The doctors say that your vitals are good, or at least they think they are. They were a little concerned when your pulse began to pump out a funky rhumba, but that is just your draconequus nature having a little fun with the doctors.” Twilight Sparkle moved closer to her friend. “Some of us have changed so much. Bucky is not what he was once was. You’ve become a draconequus—”

“You’ve grown a whole lot taller,” Fluttershy said to Twilight and gave her beloved friend a warm, reassuring smile. “And you sprouted some wings too. Life is all about changes Twilight… those of us who go along with the changes that are to come will do better than those who don’t.”

“I don’t understand what you mean.” Twilight Sparkle looked down into Fluttershy’s red and yellow eyes, trying to grasp the meaning of what Fluttershy had said.

“Learn from the trees Twilight… the supple tree bends and flexes with the wind. They grow tall and strong. But the old proud trees grow rigid and stiff. They no longer bend or bow when the winds come. Instead of flexing and going gracefully with the wind, they stand resolute in defiance, and when the winds come, they break.”

Twilight nodded, now understanding Fluttershy’s words.

“I have accepted my changes.” Fluttershy’s eyes glanced over at Celestia and then back at Twilight. “Bucky has chosen to uproot and now he rides the whirlwind. Discord has chosen to put roots down.”

“Fluttershy, you have changed,” Twilight said, lowering her head. She kissed her friend upon the cheek. Twilight felt a nagging sense of worry blossom in the back of her mind. She didn’t like the way that Fluttershy had looked at Celestia. Twilight began to wonder if perhaps Celestia had grown old and proud; at least, that seemed to be the unspoken implication. Twilight’s heart lept up into her throat when Fluttershy let out a pained moan and then squirmed in the bed.

Not knowing what else to do, but knowing that Fluttershy believed that sneezing would make her feel better, Twilight Sparkle reached out and tickled her friend’s nose with the tip of her wing.

The effect was immediate. Fluttershy gasped a few times, her eyes squeezed shut, she started to giggle from the tickle, gasped again, and then with a blast of almost hurricane force, Fluttershy sneezed.

An explosion of snot rocketed out of her nose, much like a cannon firing off a round of mucus. Twilight Sparkle was instantly drenched from the neck up, and also her wings. Bucky was caught in the outer edges of the blast. Celestia and Discord, who were standing at the foot of the bed, got the worst of it. The geyser of snot that shot out of Fluttershy’s nose coated the wall in a slick layer of gunky, chunky mucus and the ceiling too, leaving both a draconequus as well as an alicorn silhouette upon the wall.

Twilight Sparkle felt an instant sensation of regret for what she had done as she stood there dripping, covered in hot sticky goo.

“This is not the worst thing that has happened to me,” Bucky said in a dismissive voice.

Recovering, Fluttershy felt a weight on her barrel and her stomach. Blinking, she looked down and saw a snot covered something. It was slimy… and it moved. Fluttershy came to the slow worrisome realisation that she felt empty inside and her stomach was no longer as big as it was. She had shrunk a little. Fluttershy heard a gurgle.

Celestia, soaked with snot, recovered her senses enough to assess the situation. “I think Fluttershy has just given birth… and Twilight… please, never, ever, under any circumstance are you to assist a draconequus giving birth by tickling its nose while I am standing in the blast zone… am I understood?”

 

Author's Note:

Little did Twilight Sparkle know that history would record this as one of her greatest accomplishments. Discovering the method of draconequus midwifery.

 
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