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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A small, slight figure buzzed away from Princess Celestia after a quick touch of its nose to her her graceful ear. In its forelegs, it clutched a juice box and its wings almost appeared to be like a hummingbird. It was small, not much larger than a foal, with a slight, supple body.

“Dipper is such a charmer… telling me that he mistakes my ears for flowers,” Princess Celestia said as she grinned. “He’s a teeny, tiny, adorable little flatterer and I want so very much to cuddle him.”

“What is to be done with him?” Bucky asked.

“Yes, what will be done with him?” Twilight tilted her head to look up at Princess Celestia. “He is unique among pony kind. A flower feeder pony.”  

“I plan to let him live at the castle. He can look after the gardens,” Celestia replied as she watched Dipper zipping along over other ponies’ heads. “Look at him go, look how happy he is… look how precious and valuable freedom is to him.”

“And what is to be done with Vertigo?” Bucky asked, his face remaining neutral.

Shaking her head, Celestia looked troubled. “I haven’t decided yet.”

“Well… we should keep Bucky as far away from him as possible—”

“Twilight, I wasn’t going to do him any harm,” Bucky said, rolling his eyes as he cut Twilight off. “I came to speak to the doctor about his condition.”

“Vertigo soiled himself, losing control of both his bowels and his bladder. His heart rate doubled and so did his pulse. He went into paroxysms of fear and very nearly died from just seeing Bucky.” Twilight Sparkle dropped her gaze down to her contemporary, who was much, much smaller than she was.

“To be fair, little Buckminster is an eyesore—”

“Princess Celestia, do you think this is funny?” Twilight’s gaze shot upwards, her head tilting back. There were two extremes here. Bucky, who was little, and Celestia, who was not little.

“No Twilight, this is a critique of Buckminster’s atrocious appearance and his questionable hygiene. He seems to never comb his mane and his pelt is quite shaggy.” Celestia’s face contained no trace of a smile and she had become as expressionless as white marble.

“Hey…” Bucky craned his head back to look up and scowled. “Belisama spends hours brushing me… I will not have her efforts slighted!”

“Then she deserves a medal for bravery... for taking on an impossible task, trying to groom a naturally disheveled looking pony,” Celestia said in a cold deadpan.

“You… Princess Celestia… you… you just completely turned the conversation away from Vertigo… how do you do that?” Twilight demanded.

“Thousands of years of practice,” Celestia replied, ever the regal and well spoken white alicorn. “Statecraft, Twilight Sparkle, statecraft. Find a use for every single pony that you know. Especially the ugly ones. They make wonderful distractions.”

“Hey!” Bucky’s lip curled back from his teeth.

“Oh hush.” Celestia rolled her eyes and sighed as Twilight Sparkle began to giggle.

 

 

Leaning over the bed, Discord looked down at Fluttershy’s sleeping form. Her body had grown a little longer and so had her now mismatched limbs. Lunacy was sleeping, no mask, pressed up against her mother’s barrel, while Tranquility struggled to stay awake, latched on to a teat and feeding. Tranquility was losing the battle though, and each time her eyes closed, they stayed closed a little longer.

Reaching down, he picked up Tranquility, pulling her free with a gentle tug. He placed her up against his chest, looked around to see if anypony was watching, touched her spine with one paw finger, and then cringed as a thunderous belch filled the room. Only chumps went through all of the hard work of burping a foal the difficult way. Satisfied, he tucked the foal back down into the bed, pressing her against Lunacy.

Reaching out with his talons, Discord pulled the blanket over Fluttershy and the two foals, pulling it all the way up to Fluttershy’s chin. Leaning down, he kissed Fluttershy on the cheek, lifted his head, dropped his head, kissed her once more, glanced around in a paranoid manner, kissed her a third time, and then lifted his head up high.

Satisfied that all was well, Discord drifted away from the bed, towards the door, off to cause a little gentle chaos where he could. In the doorway, his tail lifted, and the tuft upon the end waved goodbye to his sleeping mate.

 

 

“How is the little mate?” Charassare asked, looking over at North Star.

North Star, lifting his head up from his bowl of fish stew, nodded his head, chewing, waiting until he had cleared his mouth to reply. He swallowed and then looked at his fellow Myrmidon. “She’s fine. She is off with her fellow Raptors. Perhaps conspiring against me.”

“She is a former slave you know—”

“I know.” North Star’s face became expressionless.

“How is she adapting to our way?” Charassare asked in a low gravel-filled whisper.

“She will adapt.” North Star looked down into his bowl. “She is a fearless warrior, and she will adapt. She plans to join the Shadowbolt program.”

Charassare looked over at his companion, his eyes narrowing, and his ears pinning back against his head. North Star was one of the last to have been raised by Princess Celestia. North Star had proven himself as a warrior, but had no direction, which was ironic considering his name, given to him by Princess Celestia herself.

Clearing his throat, Charassare then asked, “What will you do now?”

“I don’t know. I could keep fighting in the foreign theatres… I hear that a bunch of us will be heading south to be stationed in Saddle Arabia.” North Star shook his head. “That would take me away from Kiara. We just found each other. I don’t wish to appear weak, but I want very much to stay with her.”

“It is my belief that you should stay with her.” Charassare let out a grunt, which was more of a stifled burp. “Not for any milksop ideal such as love though, mind you. Practical purposes. The two of you need to train as one unit. Some of the other Raptors as well. Endless training is the key to total domination.”

“What comes next for you?” North Star asked and then dipped his spoon into his stew. He pulled up a whole fish head, jammed the spoon into his mouth, and then began chewing.

“I have been offered a knighthood for foalsitting the Shadowbolts and my other actions in this war. I don’t know if I will accept it. Sounds like a headache. Mistress has asked me if I would like to wear a solar disguise and head the initiative to begin replacing most of the day guard with lunar pegasi that look like solar pegasi. I might. I just might,” Charassare replied.

“I’ve heard rumours about vampires… do you know anything about those?” North Star knew that he was taking a risk. Charassare might just get up and give him a good thumping for talking about something that was supposed to be a secret. Or Charassare might not.

The older, grizzled lunar pegasus’ eyes narrowed and his scarred face became a hideous sight. “How much do you know?”

“Only a little. I heard it from Mistress’ lips when she talked to Solar Mistress. I didn’t mean to eavesdrop and I suspect that Mistress wanted me to hear. She knew that I was there and did nothing to prevent me from listening.” Nervous, North Star kept his eyes focused on the table, not wanting to do anything that might upset Charassare.

“We do, in fact, have an infestation of vampires. Dessicated bodies have been found.” Charassare let out a growl. “I fought in one of the last vampire campaigns, the nasty one that happened just before our Mistress returned.”

“I’d like to fight,” North Star said in a meek voice, still averting his eyes.

“Would you?” Charassare leaned over, his muzzle now inches away from the much younger lunar pegasus. “I got swatted away by a tiny little solar pegasus jacked up on blood lust that had bat wings and big frickin’ fangs. Hit me so hard my armor crimped. Broke three of my four legs. He then went and ripped the head off of another Myrmidon, tearing through her armor like tinfoil and pulling away her neck and head as though she was a stuffed doll. That little son of a bitch killed seven of us. He fled when reinforcements arrived.”

North Star gulped and felt sweat beginning to trickle down his neck. “I still want to fight. We have strong allies now. Shadowbolts… and Raptors.”

Charassare’s scowl intensified, his eyes narrowed even more, and then, after several long moments of studying North Star, his expression relaxed. “You know, you make an excellent point. I think I am going to have you transferred.”

Feeling brave, North Star turned his head to look at Charassare. “Well then, I guess I don’t need to decide what to do with myself. I take it that I’ll be staying here, at home?”

Nodding, Charassare grinned.

 

 

Leaning on the deck rail, Lugus heaved a sigh. The wind ruffled his feathers and his long tail twitched in the strong gusts. He looked westwards, feeling homesick for a land that was not his through birth, missing a pegasus that he loved more than he was capable of expressing.

More than anything, he wanted to beg Bucky to take The Scorned Mare and break away from the fleet so they could go home with haste. He was missing Peekaboo something awful. Boadicea needed instruction.

“You look restless.”

Turning around, Lugus bowed his head. “Greetings, Queen Belisama.”

“Lugus, spare me the titles.” Belisama made a dismissive gesture with her talons. “I can’t wait to be home. It is home for us, isn’t it?”

“Yes, yes I think it is,” Lugus replied.

“What’s bothering you, Lugus?” Belisama asked, looking up at the much larger warrior-caste griffon. “You’ve been out of sorts and avoiding everybirdy. And everypony. While we’ve been celebrating, you’ve been out here moping.”

Lugus resumed looking westward, turning away from Belisama. “I did not fight. I acted solely in positions of leadership. I avoided conflict… and I feel like a coward.”

“Lugus… you… you…” Belisama stammered. “You cat brain!”

Lugus, hearing Belisama’s words, slumped over the rail. “Me-ouch.”

“You big fluffy idiot… if you had attended some of the celebrations, you would know what Princess Celestia is saying about you! The fleet has never been more organised! The rescue and recovery efforts were highly successful because of your efforts!” Belisama took a deep breath and lowered her voice. “Your command of everything saved countless lives and made a huge difference in the war. Having you in the field fighting would have been a waste. Lugus, you have a gift for command. You kept everything running like a smooth, well oiled machine.”

Lugus did not reply, but he did feel better. Slumped over the rail, he let his forelegs hang limp and dangle down. He just felt like moping and he clung to his depression, very much like a cub clung to its parent because it didn’t want a bath.

“Lugus, you get to go home… alive and in one piece. Yew Wood gets to have you back. Peekaboo has her papa bird. Your unborn cub will know its father. And you get to continue as Boadicea’s tutor,” Belisama said, trying to cheer up the drooping giant. Reaching out with her talons, she poked Lugus in the sides.

“Belisama… I grew up hearing from an early age that the greatest honour that I could hope for would be to die in battle. It was pounded into my head along with all of the other so called ideals of the warrior-caste. I was supposed to rush into every battle with the hope of dying so that if I lived, victory would be all the sweeter. I now approach the age of thirty. I never made plans for a life this long. And I feel very, very confused about staying out of the fight. I feel conflicted, torn between my ideals and what my heart wants. I don’t know how to reconcile with myself.”

Hearing Lugus’ words, Belisama felt a strange pain in her heart. She thought about everything that Lugus said, realising that she was a little griffon, he was a warrior griffon and both of them came from very different worlds.

“Lugus, I am sixteen years of age. I was born as property. I was a slave until just recently. I was set free and then required to marry for political reasons… and let me tell you, I was scared out of my mind about that. I didn’t know what was going to happen. I was made queen… and there were so many demands made of me. I grew up with no expectations, no hope for the future, and no plans at all other than just surviving.”

Lugus turned his head to look at Belisama.

“Now look at me. I have more demands than ever placed upon me. I still have no idea what I am doing. I still have no idea what the future holds. But I got Bucky… and I have the rest of my pride back home that I love a great deal. You have Yew Wood… you have good reasons to keep going. There are going to be more warrior griffons… some of those little griffon cubs are going to grow up to be big, just like you. And they are going to need somebirdy to teach them the new way of the warrior in this new world that we’re living in. You owe it to them to stick around. You’ve dealt with change better than any other griffon I know… and I need you.”

“Thank you, my Queen. I think that what you have said was just what I needed to hear.”

 

 

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