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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“There hasn’t been any word in the papers for days,” Piña said in a low, squeaky voice. She stared down at her half eaten school lunch, her eyes wide, and her ears drooping. Such was the misery upon her face that the pinkness of her pelt somehow seemed less vibrant.

Sitting beside Piña, Larch reached over, wrapped his foreleg around Piña’s withers, and then the colt pulled her close, wrapping both forelegs around her in a hug. He rubbed his cheek against hers, and did not care that others in the cafeteria were staring.

Sitting on the other side of Piña, Babs also leaned over. She grabbed hold of the pair and completed the Piña Colada sandwich. She pressed herself against Piña, closed her eyes, and thought of those she loved that were gone from home.

 

 

“They’re so cute together,” Sweetie Belle said as she prodded Apple Bloom in the ribs. She looked over at Babs, Larch, and Piña. The filly blinked and then heaved a sigh. “I like watching other ponies in love. It makes me feel good about life.”

Bent over her lunch and an opened notebook, Apple Bloom did not respond.

Angling her head so she could see over Apple Bloom’s forelegs, Sweetie Belle stared down at the opened notebook. “Whatcha working on, Bloomie?”

“Looking over my notes from my meeting with Spitfire and Rising Star. All the stuff I wrote down. Ideas I had. I can’t work on everything, so I am trying to decide what is important and what I can let go,” Apple Bloom replied.

Nodding, Sweetie Belle began humming to herself as she took a look around the cafeteria. Scootaloo, Rumble, and Boadicea were off at their own table today, being loud, laughing, all while throwing food at one another. Sweet Pea, the little blind filly was having lunch with Growler, but she was always having lunch with Growler. Garnet and Rowanne were having lunch with a filly named Little Slip.

Overcome by her thoughts, Sweetie Belle blurted out, “You know, Apple Bloom, we should have a day where we sit down and eat lunch with a stranger, a pony that you don’t know very well, so you can get to know them better…”

 

 

Worried, Ripple surprised Bittersweet with a kiss, a gentle peck on the corner of the mouth. She moved herself into Bittersweet’s field of view, smiled, and looked into Bittersweet’s eyes.

“You did good,” Ripple said with with both her lips and her ears conveying her message. “Is it getting easier?”

The donkey’s eyes narrowed. She took a step backwards from Ripple and shook her head. Bittersweet drew in a deep breath, held it for a moment, and then let it out a little at a time. Her ears began to move in a rapid manner. “I get scared when I have to be the center of attention. I don’t like it. I couldn’t do this class without you. I keep worrying if the foals in the class are listening. If they are paying attention. If they look away for even a moment and miss something, I start freaking out. I keep worrying that they are just there for the class so they can slack off and not have to work.”  

Ripple took in everything that Bittersweet’s ears had communicated. She was the only pony around who could understand Bittersweet when the donkey’s ears moved at full speed. She let everything sink in and then she gave thought to what to say so she could make Bittersweet feel better.

The donkey stepped forwards, planted a kiss on Ripple’s nasal bridge, then she stepped backwards so she could see any response that Ripple made, her eyes wide and hopeful.

“That might be true, we don’t know for certain yet, but I think that everypony that is there wants to be there to learn. Sweetie Belle is our best student I think; she wants to learn the ear language so she can do her job at the hospital better, on the odd chance that she runs into a deaf donkey. In time though, I think a lot more ponies will know ear language and the deaf and dumb will have a voice. This is how it starts. Brave donkeys like you make the effort to teach, and then you have to trust in the goodness and decency of those around you.”

Bittersweet, who had watched Ripple’s ears moving, now had trouble seeing as her eyes began to glaze over with tears. Nostrils quivering, tears brimming in the corner of her eyes, Bittersweet lunged forwards, wrapped her foreleg around Ripple’s neck, and clamped her muzzle down upon Ripple’s muzzle in an aggressive, needy kiss. Bittersweet delighted at how Ripple’s hind legs wobbled, then buckled, forcing Ripple to sit down, and then the donkey got her other front leg around Ripple’s neck. She felt Ripple’s forelegs slide around her barrel. Ripple’s lips somehow still tasted like banana pudding from school lunch and Bittersweet settled in for a steamy makeout session in the empty classroom where she had taught class.

Some things could not be said with words, only actions.

 

 

Looking through the camera viewfinder, Lyra Heartstrings tried in vain to find a more flattering angle for Bandua. The little hippogriff had fur and feathers now. She was vulture headed, which caused a great deal of discussion among the griffons. Bandua only had a few feathers upon the top of her head, feather shafts with a few scrawny strands. Bandua was a tawny tan colour on her feline parts, looking a good deal like Bucky, and had black feathers.

“She’s hideous,” Magpie said to Lyra as Lyra continued to try and find a more flattering angle. “No matter which way you turn the camera, she will remain hideous.”

Bandua, who was holding her head up, peeped. She blinked, her grey eyes bright and curious as she looked at the world around her. Her tail, tiny as it was, twitched. She was still small, so very small, not much larger than a cantaloupe melon. Reaching out her talons, she swiped at the folded corner of the blanket, peeped once more, and then turned her head to look up at Lyra.

Lyra chose this moment to snap a picture, sans flash. Holding the camera, she wondered how the picture would turn out. Opening her beak, Bandua hissed, then peeped, and Lyra felt a strange maternal instinct for the tiny, revolting looking creature.

“You’re cute!” Lyra said in a chirpy voice to her daughter. “And if Bon Bon was here, she’d smack me for lying.”

“Bandua does have a remarkable tail,” Magpie said to Lyra.

“Really? I can’t tell.” Lyra turned and looked at the griffoness.

“It is over half of the length of her body. Large tuft. By griffon standards, her tail is a thing of beauty,” Magpie explained.

“So wait, you mean to tell me, on top of everything else that Bucky has to worry about, he has to worry about little griffon cubs checking out Bandua’s backside because she has a pretty tail?”

Magpie shrugged.

The tiny cub let out a yowl as she tried once more to stick her claws into the blanket.

 

 

“I don’t know that I’m comfortable with this,” Diamond Tiara said as she slipped Sentinel’s glasses into her coat pocket. She looked over at Loki and Scorch.

“It’s his choice. He wants to learn how to fight. Heifer Aestus is going to teach him.” Loki, sitting on a wooden bench, settled in and got comfortable.

“But this is full contact,” Diamond Tiara retorted in a shrill voice. “He is going to get hurt. Bucky would never allow this—”

“Just like Bucky never allowed Lugus to give Ripple a good thumping?” Scorch asked.

Sullen, feeling angry, Diamond Tiara fell silent. She looked at the tall minotaur holding a long wooden sword and a large wooden shield. She looked over at Scootaloo, Boadicea, and Rumble, all of whom were running laps while being chased by both Flitter as well as Cloudchaser. She huffed out a steaming cloud of breath, filled her lungs with cold air, and then, feeling her blood beginning to boil, she settled in to watch.

 

 

Eyes narrowed, Sentinel watched his giant opponent, trying to figure out when she was going to strike. The wooden sword was long, had good reach, and it stung a whole lot when it made contact. Aestus was skilled in getting the flat of the blade to cause the maximum amount of sting.

“All you have to do is disarm me,” Heifer Aestus said. She waved her sword. “I must say, you’re quicker than I thought you’d be.” She lunged forwards and made a downwards chop with her sword.

Grunting, Sentinel dropped and rolled out of the way, rolling forward. He ended up behind the big minotaur cow, got to his hooves, and made ready to deliver a kick to the back of her legs.

The big minotaur’s shield came sweeping down and broadsided Sentinel, smacking into him with titanic force, and sent him flying. He tumbled down into the snow, wondering how the big cow could be so quick. He saw stars in his vision.

“I thought you were smarter than that!” Heifer Aestus shouted as she raised her shield.

Shaking his head, Sentinel realised that he had no time to recover. She was charging. He rolled out of the way just as the massive wooden sword sliced down into snow where he had been lying just a second before. It would have hurt had it struck him, it would have hurt a lot. He was just on his hooves as a powerful kick connected to his ribs, the minotaur’s hoof flying out right where Sentinel had rolled to.

It was an excruciating moment of learning as Sentinel had the wind kicked out of him. Gasping, struggling to fill his lungs with air, Sentinel lept away, his wings flaring out to give him additional lift. He landed almost twenty feet away and let out a strangled, gurgling gasp.

Baring his teeth, Sentinel let out a hiss.

“Your supernatural tricks don’t work on me, colt,” Heifer Aestus said as she waved her sword around. “But I bet your fillyfriend has probably pissed herself.”

Roaring, still half winded, Sentinel charged. The long wooden sword came in for a slashing chop, he avoided it, but did not avoid the shield bash. He was sent flying backwards and crashed into the snow, landing on his back.

Looking up, he saw the giant coming to finish him off. He had no doubt that she would smash him right in his guts. He feinted a roll to the left, and then went right. The sword sliced into the snow where he had landed, and then he was smacked again with the shield, a glancing blow.

“You tried to be clever.” The big minotaur cow wasn’t even breathing hard. “You’re learning!”

As Sentinel lept away to get some distance, the sword struck him a glancing, stinging blow on his left foreleg. He landed, limping, trying not to put weight on his leg. He thought about yielding. All he had to do was say the words and the training match would end.

Snarling, he launched himself at Heifer Aestus. He avoided the swinging sword and this time, when the shield came crashing in for the follow through, he attacked the shield. He sunk his teeth into the wood and bit down with all of his strength. The wood splintered. Heifer tried to shake him loose from the shield, but Sentinel hung on, flapping back and forth like a rag doll. He reared back with his right front hoof, focused all of the strength he could muster, and punched forwards. His hoof struck the wood and caused it to explode into splinters. The shield shattered, half of it dropping away. Sentinel landed down in the snow, got his balance, and then lept away so he could recover.

“What you lack in skill, you make up for in sheer viciousness.” The minotaur cow raised her sword in salute. “I am impressed.” She tossed away the broken half a shield. “Play time is over.”

Before Sentinel had time to react, Heifer Aestus was all over him. Her sword was everywhere all at once. A flurry of blows rained down upon him, and no matter which direction he went, the sword seemed to find him. One blow struck him in the head hard enough to cause him to see stars. In between the many painful blows, Sentinel heard shouting.

The next few seconds were confusing, and Sentinel had trouble making out what was happening. There was a pink blur, more shouting, a pained cry, and then the furious assault with the sword ceased.

Trying to figure out what had just happened, Sentinel could see the sword on the ground. Beside it, Diamond Tiara stood, her lip curled back as she let out a furious equine snarl. Her ears were pinned back against her skull and her tail was hiked high to match her aggressive stance. Her eyes were narrowed, angry, she did not look like the Diamond Tiara that Sentinel knew.

Heifer Aestus stood hunched over, rubbing her knee and limping. She grinned down at Diamond Tiara. She extended her left hand and pointed at the pink foal. “I like this one. She has spirit. She’s a kicker. I think I’m going to need ice for my knee.”

Loki took a step forwards, but Scorch stopped him. “Let her calm down. Give her some space. I think she just discovered something new about herself.”

Sentinel allowed himself to fall over into the snow. The cold felt good against his body. Everything ached. He took a deep breath, held it, let it out, and then took another. He rolled over onto his back and let his wings fall open. He saw a pink face appear above him, and two worried looking blue eyes.

“I don’t know what came over me… I got scared… I’ve never felt like that before,” Diamond Tiara said in a shuddering whisper.

Sentinel’s breath came wheezing out as Diamond Tiara threw herself down on top of him. He felt her forelegs around his neck. He could feel her cheek against his throat. He reached up with his right foreleg and wrapped it around her.

“I’m sorry, I don’t know what came over me,” Diamond Tiara said in a small, fear-filled voice. “You were hurting him and then I don’t know what happened.”

“I thought Sentinel was vicious…. I was wrong…” The minotaur cow rubbed her knee, wincing. “The pink one is the dangerous one. I haven’t been kicked like that in centuries.” She sat down in the snow. “Remind me to never turn my back on that one ever again.”

 

 

 

 

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