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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Bon Bon, who had been unable to sleep, pulled Lyra closer. Between them, Harper remained in a fitful, restless slumber. It had taken forever to get Harper to go to sleep after the traumatic experience of the enema and the aftermath that followed. Bon Bon wished that Bucky was here; Bucky had always been the one who had a knack for making Harper feel better, even when she was in her most inconsolable states. Bucky had always been the one who would stay up all night and sit with Harper, rubbing her to soothe her aching stomach. For all of Bucky’s faults, of which there were many, Bon Bon forgave him because of the comfort he brought to Harper.

When Lyra began to whimper in her sleep, Bon Bon stroked her neck. Lyra continued to kick and fidget in her sleep, but then quieted after several moments of stroking. Lyra, after confronting some of her past, was now in a place of stability and happiness that Bon Bon had not thought possible. Lyra was creative, full of life, and perhaps most of all, Lyra had found some sense of peace. Lyra had opened up to other ponies. Lyra now had in depth relationships with ponies other than Bon Bon. Lyra was able to laugh and carry on with an entire herd. Lyra had grown. The Lyra that Bon Bon held now was not the Lyra she had fallen in love with. This Lyra was different. This Lyra was developing a real sense of strength. This Lyra had hopes and dreams again. Bon Bon brushed Lyra’s mane out of her face. This was Lyra, Harper’s mother, a fierce creature that had rediscovered herself and had grown strong from tragedy.

 

 

“Do you think that Harper is going to be okay?” Ripple asked her brother, Sentinel. She watched as Sentinel stretched his wings and made ready for a long distance flight to Canterlot.

“When I left last night, she was doing better. They’re just keeping her for observation,” Sentinel replied. He heard a shrill whistle and turned to see what it was. He saw Loch Skimmer prancing through the snow, her head high.

“I’m coming with you. I want little sister and little brother time,” Loch Skimmer said as she approached. Loch Skimmer flared out her flaming wings. “I’m feeling pretty good today… I want to have a little fun. Please, please don’t tell me no.”

Ripple looked at Sentinel and saw him shrug. Turning her head, she looked at her sister. “It’d be great if you could come with us. You could use the exercise. You’ve been looking a little pudgy lately.”

Loch Skimmer froze mid-step. “Oh… you went there… so that’s how it is.”

Now grinning, Ripple pranced over to her sister’s side and wrapped her wings around Loch Skimmer’s neck. She pulled Loch Skimmer closer and gave her sister a kiss on the cheek. “There’s just more of you to love—”

“Stuff it!” Loch Skimmer shouted, cutting Ripple off. “Stuff it, stuff it, stuff it!” She tried to pull away from Ripple, but Ripple held on and refused to let go. Loch Skimmer, unable to pull away, refused to make eye contact with her sister and turned her head away.

“Both of you are silly.” Sentinel shook his head and adjusted his saddlebags. “We have invitations to deliver. We need to be going.”

“He called us silly!” Loch Skimmer’s eyes narrowed as her head swiveled around to look at Sentinel. “Ripple, he called us silly… are we going to take that?”

“No!” Ripple whirled around to face Sentinel.

Sentinel, not knowing what was going on, stood staring at the two sisters, his expression one of befuddled bewilderment. He watched as Loch Skimmer scooped up a snowball. “Hey… what are you—” Sentinel’s words died out when the loose snowball hit him in the face. It was more slush than anything. He shook his head, trying to get the wet snow dislodged from his face. A second later, another snowball hit him. He backed away and then was pelted with another snowball. He covered his face with his wings and decided to wait this out.

 

 

“Harpy’s butt explode.”

Reminding herself that it was very, very important not laugh, Lyra nodded. Harper was being serious. Lyra struggled to keep a straight face and from the looks of things, Bon Bon was have a rough go at it as well.

“What Harpy’s butt explode?” Harper, sitting on the bed, looking up at Lyra with wide, curious eyes. “What… butt… words sound same.”

“Why did your butt explode?” Lyra’s whole body spasmed as she tried not laugh. “Well, you see Harper, from the time you were little, you had chronic colic. You have a problem with your tummy.” Lyra paused when she heard a faint ‘pfffrth’ sound, her ears perking forwards. “You couldn’t go poopoo and your insides were all stopped up and the nurse had to give you—gah! Harper!” Lyra covered her face with her hooves as her eyes began to water. The strong taste of eggs filled Lyra’s mouth.

“Eggy!” Harper shouted. After a second, Harper fell over on the bed, lying upon her back, all four legs kicked up into the air. “Harpy dead now. Harpy no live. Nope.”

“Oh, Harper!” Bon Bon, sitting in a chair in the corner, began to wave and fan her front hooves around. “Oh, that’s worse than Sentinel.”

“Bonnie, I’m blind,” Lyra said as she rubbed her eyes. “It burns! I’m right here at ground zero… help me, Bonnie!”

“I’m going to find out what is taking them so long to serve Harper breakfast,” Bon Bon said as she took the golden opportunity to escape. She dropped down out of her chair, crossed the room, and then was gone, coughing as she passed through the door.

“Harper, you horrible little fuzzball, you’ve killed Mommy!” Lyra covered her face with a pillow and focused on not breathing. The air felt thick somehow, as though it could be chewed rather than just inhaled.

“Harpy killed Harpy.” Harper gagged, rolled over, and then coughed. “When does smell come from? Why causes smell?”

Lyra, coughing into the pillow, was unable to answer.

 

 

Ahead, Canterlot was shrouded in a heavy layer of foggy, freezing mist. It was cold at this altitude, the sort of bitter cold that burned the lungs. Sentinel flew into the fog undaunted, Loch Skimmer and Ripple right behind him. A series of whistles, clicks, pops, and squeals filled the air as Sentinel cut loose with his echolocation, trying to pierce the fog. Canterlot was all but invisible.

“Sentinel, I can’t see… I’m kinda worried about this, Sentinel,” Loch Skimmer said in a voice that sounded as though it held more than worry. “When we punch through the fog, let’s go get an early lunch. There is this restaurant I heard about, a place called The Gilded Filly. It’s by the rail station.”

“How do you know about Canterlot restaurants?” Ripple asked her sister.

“Um, Rising Star told me about it,” Loch Skimmer replied.

“Oh.” Ripple, blinded by fog, followed close behind Sentinel, but also relying upon her fine-tuned sense of precognition. Ripple sensed that Loch Skimmer was lying to her, but Ripple figured that Loch Skimmer had her reasons. Loch knew better than to lie about anything. Ripple made a note to get down to the bottom of the issue later.

Sentinel did not reply. He drifted through the fog, flapping his leathery wings, and letting out a neverending stream of echo-sounds. He could smell the city below him. The scent of burning wood and coal. The scent of coffee. The scent of baked bread. The faint scent of perfume borne in the high mountain wind.

There were buildings ahead, objects, Sentinel could sense them. He eased his descent, and then, he dropped through the fog. Visibility improved a little bit, allowing him to see for maybe a hundred feet. He could see Canterlot below him. He saw the main gate and he could see the rail yard.

“What’s the place called again?” Sentinel asked.

“The Gilded Filly,” Loch Skimmer replied. “It will have a golden filly on the roof.”

“I think I see it.” Sentinel banked and made ready to land in the road. There were very few ponies out and about. There was fine freezing drizzle coating everything in a glaze of ice. Extending his legs, Sentinel braced himself for what was sure to be an interesting landing.

He landed hind legs first, his hooves sliding and scrabbling over the icy cobblestones. He dropped down his front hooves, bent his knees to absorb the impact, and continued to flap his wings for balance. He was confident that this landing was going to be a success right up to the point when Loch Skimmer plowed into him. Sentinel realised that she was falling.

His first thought was that Loch Skimmer was pregnant; his second thought was that Loch Skimmer had once saved him. He doubled his body around, fell on purpose, and kicked himself underneath Loch Skimmer just as she went face first towards the ground.

Loch Skimmer fell over onto Sentinel’s side, and Sentinel’s body cushioned her fall. Sentinel’s forelegs wrapped around Loch Skimmer’s neck, arresting her momentum, and keeping her from pitching further forward.

Behind them, Ripple made the perfect landing, folding her wings and dropping down. She didn’t slide once, but came to a halt, watching as Sentinel grabbed Loch Skimmer. There was no denying it, Loch Skimmer was a clumsy doofus and Ripple was tempted to say something about it.

“Thanks, Sentinel.” Loch Skimmer got to her hooves, almost slipped again, and then steadied herself. She watched as Sentinel got his hooves, gave himself a shake, and then, when Sentinel was not expecting it, Loch Skimmer kissed him on the cheek.

“Aw, I couldn’t let you fall,” Sentinel said, becoming bashful. “Let’s go eat. I brought some bits in my saddlebags.”

Loch Skimmer smiled. “Oh, those won’t be needed.”

 

 

When the door opened, Sentinel was met with a blast of heat and the scent of delicious food. He stood in the doorway for a moment, sniffing, then stepped inside, following after Ripple and Loch Skimmer, who had gone first. Sentinel didn’t even have a chance to get his bearings before he was tackled by something.

Something pink.

“Sentinel!”

The colt felt two lips press up against the corner of his mouth and two forelegs wrap around his neck. Pink filled his vision, and then something black as well. He felt feathers tickling him.

“Surprise, Sentinel,” Loch Skimmer said as she began laughing.

“How?” Sentinel asked as he was squeezed by both Diamond Tiara and Boadicea.

“Well, I talked to Loch Skimmer and told her my plan, and Loch Skimmer flew over to Rarity’s house and told Rarity, and then Loch Skimmer flew back and told me, and we took a train to Canterlot,” Boadicea replied, explaining everything.

“Good news, darling… I have scheduled a brunch date with Sapphire Shores. She is here now… I will get her to help you.” Rarity smiled down at Sentinel and batted her long eyelashes. “Sapphire and I needed to discuss business anyway. I’m positive she will help you if I ask her. There is a table waiting for you, Diamond Tiara, and Boadicea… Coco and I have our own table.”

“And Ripple and I will have a nice brunch together as sisters,” Loch Skimmer said, looking pleased with herself. “Ripple, you probably figured out I was lying to you earlier… sorry about that.” Loch Skimmer saw her sister smile.

Checking out his surroundings as Boadicea and Diamond Tiara continued to squeeze him, Sentinel asked, “Where is Sweetie Belle?”

To which Coco replied, “Oh, she is helping Apple Bloom work on a historical memorial to Granny Smith.” Coco paused for a moment and then brushed up against Rarity. “Young love is something to be treasured. Look at them Rarity. Look how happy they are.”

“Oh, they are just so precious!” Rarity pulled a small camera out of her bag and then snapped a photo just as Diamond Tiara was kissing Sentinel upon the cheek. She then turned and took a picture of Loch Skimmer and Ripple. “Sisterhood… a most treasured bond.”

 

 

“I don’t know if I can afford this,” Sentinel said in a low voice as he looked at the menu. “Even the soup and salad are expensive here.”

“Oh, no worries.” Diamond Tiara made a dismissive gesture with her hoof. “I’m paying for this. I have more than enough, trust me. I’ve been working, helping Rarity and Coco. They pay me for my help.”

“There is meat on the menu,” Boadicea said from behind her menu. “I’m surprised.”

“Rarity tells me that griffons run this restaurant. They serve the usual pony fare, but also serve fish and chicken dishes.” Diamond Tiara, who was staring at her own menu, lifted her eyes so she could see Sentinel and Boadicea. “Feel free to order anything you’d like. I don’t mind, honest. The sooner I get used to this, the better.”

“I’m in the mood for chicken.” Boadicea set her menu down. “Lugus makes fantastic chicken. He smokes it in the smokehouse and does something to it.”

“I’ve had it.” Sentinel looked over at Boadicea. “Father isn’t sure that he likes chicken. But I like chicken. Bones and all. They’re crunchy.”

“You can’t eat chicken and not eat the bones. That’s wasteful. And if I waste anything, Lugus goes all angry birdy on me.” Boadicea giggled, reached over, and patted Sentinel. “Yew Wood loves to tease Lugus when he starts acting like a papa bird.”

“Coco goes ballistic if food gets wasted,” Diamond Tiara said. The pink filly rolled her eyes. “Sweetie Belle and I can’t leave the table unless everything is eaten. Coco says that food is too scarce for most ponies and wasting food is immoral and wrong.”

“Oh, here comes the waitress… does everypony and everybirdy know what they are getting?” Sentinel asked. “I think I’m going to go for the whole roasted chicken, stuffed with winter vegetables and served on a bed of rice.”

“Oh, that sounds good!” Boadicea nodded her head. “I have no idea what winter vegetables are though. But it sounds good. I like rice.”

Diamond Tiara returned to her menu. “Rice sounds good… I think I’ll get a rice dish of some sort...”

 

 

Sipping her water through a straw, Ripple looked at her sister. Loch Skimmer was gnawing upon a crusty yeast roll. Ripple had ordered the lasagna primavera, not knowing what to order. The menu held far too many choices, and Ripple had felt overwhelmed just looking at it. Glancing around, Ripple saw that the booth that she and her sister were sitting in was private.

Clearing her throat, Ripple summoned her courage. “Loch Skimmer?”

“Yeah, Rippy?” Loch Skimmer replied between bites of yeast roll.

“I can talk to you about anything, right?” Ripple looked Loch Skimmer in the eye and watched as Loch Skimmer swallowed her bite of yeast roll.

“Of course. We’re sisters forever.” Loch Skimmer’s face split into a wide, toothy grin.

Ripple’s mouth went dry and she took another sip of water. She stared down at the basket of yeast rolls and sucked in a deep breath. She steeled her nerve, and then she said, “Bittersweet and I have planned out our first time. The first day of spring… Hearts and Hooves day.”

“Oooh… romantic.” Loch Skimmer’s eyes narrowed.

“I was wondering if you could give me some advice… Skimmy, I’m so scared that I’m having nightmares about it.” Ripple glanced at her sister for a moment and then looked away as she began to rub her front hooves together. “We don’t have a clue about what to do and I am so scared.”

“Rippy, first off, relax.” Loch Skimmer’s grin vanished and the charcoal grey pegasus filly became quite serious. She leaned forward and looked at her sister. Lowering her voice, Loch Skimmer said, “If you are scared, spend lots of time talking about it. Talk to Sparkler. Talk to me, just like you are doing now. Talk to Rising Star… as awkward as it might be to do so, he’ll appreciate you talking to him. And talk to Berry. She can give you advice. She can help you.”

“Okay.” Ripple gave her sister a little nod and somehow managed to look Loch Skimmer in the eye. “I want Bittersweet to be happy. I don’t want her disappointed with our first time together. I always expect so much out of myself and I want Bittersweet to be ridiculously happy.”

“Rippy, the first time is going to be clumsy and nothing will go as planned. Just… try to enjoy it. Take it slow, figure out what feels good, and don’t rush into anything.” Loch Skimmer picked up another roll. “Have you talked with Doctor Mawu?”

“Yes.” Ripple nodded. “Doctor Mawu asked me to keep a journal from now until Bittersweet and I do something. She wants me to document my feelings, my anticipation, and my anxiety. I can’t seem to write anything down and I’m starting to worry about it a lot. I’m frustrated and angry that I can’t figure out a journal entry worth writing.”

Loch Skimmer sat back in her plush, cushioned seat, contemplating her sister’s troubles. Ripple was one for action, not words. If Ripple had a weakness, it was a lack of expression. Loch Skimmer wondered how she could help her sister.

“Loch, help me… I’m freaking out again and I don’t want another episode,” Ripple whispered, looking her sister in the eye.

“Rippy, how about this… you sit down with Bittersweet and you both work on your journal entries together. I don’t think Doctor Mawu will mind.” The more Loch Skimmer gave thought about this, the more it made sense. “Bittersweet is your expressive side. The two of you are like two halves that make up a single whole. Sort of like how Sparkler is the brains of the outfit between her and I. Let’s face it, I’m not the yellowest bit of corn in the turd.”

Ripple’s eyes went wide and her nostrils flared. After a moment, Ripple began to chortle. She covered her mouth with both front hooves as she tried to suppress a laugh.

 

 

“Sentinel, right?”

Flustered, Sentinel could only nod. Sapphire Shores was pretty. Very much so. He looked up at the mare who stood by his table, smiling at him. Something about the way she looked at him made him want to squirm.

“I understand that you were about to give up your date with these two lovely females to keep a promise you made some time ago,” Sapphire Shores said in a voice as smooth as silky velvet. “Consider my services engaged.”

“Thank you, Sapphire Shores.” Diamond Tiara looked up at the singer with a worshipful expression. “I have all of your albums. I listen to them often… when I’m troubled, they give me hope.”

“Rarity has told me a little about you… I’m glad that my music makes you feel better. It is why I do what I do. And I’m the best at what I do… making ponies—” Sapphire Shores paused and looked at Boadicea. “—And griffons feel good. I sing the blues so they don’t have to.”

“Th-thank you,” Sentinel stammered.

“Oh, you are most welcome,” Sapphire Shores said to Sentinel.

 

 

 

 

 

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