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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Trying to be as quiet as possible, Princess Celestia looked down and saw a miniature version of Bucky. She let out a teeny, tiny, almost imperceptible squeal, glanced at an almost comatose Berry Punch, and then looked back down at the pile of foals with wide eyes that were now shimmering with tears. There was a little grey colt with a black mane that made her heart flutter. He was looking up at her with one amber coloured eye and Celestia wasn’t certain where his other eye was looking. Ditzy was sleeping, her mouth open, and a copious puddle of drool formed on the sheet around her.

And then, there was Brandywine. Celestia looked down at the foal. All of Berry Punch’s power grazing had produced what might be a record setting foal that weighed in at a mind blowing seventeen pounds and a few odd ounces. With the average being five point five pounds and the mere mention of squirting out a ten pound foal being enough to make most mares either faint or squeeze their hind legs together, Berry Punch had a chance to go down in the record books for the heaviest foal on record.

“How are you feeling?” Celestia asked Derpy, her head down low and her muzzle inches away from the pile of foals.

“The pressure is off of my pelvis. I’m feeling lots better already. I’ve already been up and walking around, even though it makes Violet upset. I feel good… real good,” Derpy replied. The grey mare moved around on the bed, her wings twitching, she glanced at the pile of foals and then at Celestia. Lowering her voice down to a conspiratorial whisper, Derpy gave Celestia a wink. “Don’t tell anypony, but I think little Barley Bitters is my favourite.”

The white alicorn nodded. “Mine too. But Brandywine is certainly something.”

“She ripped Berry Punch a new one,” Derpy remarked in a casual sort of way. The grey mare looked Celestia in the eye. “Brandywine weighs as much as triplets do. She’s a big filly and Doctor Gotland, he says that when she grows up, she’s going to rival Big Mac for size.”

“Hmm, I have long given thought to creating a special school for tall fillies.” Celestia let out a low titter. “I cannot stay for long, but I wanted to stop by. I have much to do and there is a lot of work that needs to be done with Twilight for the coming spring ceremony.” Celestia paused and her nose crinkled. She looked down at the foals and saw Ditzy was waking up. “Somepony needs a fresh diaper.”

“Oooh… I get to use my bell and summon Sunset Shimmer.” Derpy, smiling a smile that was filled with the pride of a new mother, turned and looked at a small silver bell that was sitting on the bedside table. “She has a week of diaper duty.”

“What?”

 

 

“Breathe deep and think calm, cleansing thoughts. I want you to think of warm, happy, fuzzy, wuzzy, snuggly-wuggly little foals, because those make you happy.” Fluttershy, sitting upon a soft cushion, drew in a deep breath to lead by example. She heard Bucky breathing beside her, a sound that worried her despite all of the reassurances that he was getting better.

“You don’t want to be a terror of the night… and I don’t either. You don’t want to succumb to your urges… just like I don’t want to suck the juice from sweet… juicy… succulent apples.” Fluttershy fought back the powerful urge to lick her lips as she recalled her own brush with vampirism. Not quite the same as what Bucky was enduring, but the experience had changed her. Fluttershy heard the soft ruffle of feathers.

“You be good. You promised.” Cadance, sitting on the floor beside her father, poked him in the stomach. She blinked a few times, remembering that she had also made a promise to be good and let her father meditate and that she was supposed to keep her eyes closed and be quiet. She settled down, closed her eyes, and ceased poking her father with her hoof.

“It’s not healthy to hate others… we don’t want to feed on hate. We want to love and be kind to others because kindness is good. Remember, deep breaths.” Fluttershy could hear Bucky’s breathing make a faint, almost unnoticeable shift, and he sounded almost as though he was going to sleep. That was the sound that she had been waiting for. He was calm, he was focused, he was in a good and happy place.

There was a deep, satisfied, contented sigh from Bucky.

“We want don’t want to be naughty creatures of chaos. I might be a draconequus now and you are… you are… and you are, well, whatever it is that you are now, nopony really knows what you are anymore.” Fluttershy cleared her throat, a soft gentle sound. “But that doesn’t mean that we have to be naughty. We can can still be mischievous and good.

Cadance cracked open one eye. “Be good. Keep promise.”

 

 

“This emergency meeting is called to order,” Dinky said to her siblings. “This is the day that we planned for. This is the day that we have long waited for. This is our time, this is our hour, this is our time to—”

“Dinky, enough!” Piña looked at Dinky and gave her a grin. “We get it.”

“Berry Punch is laid up and healing. Magpie is an awesome nanny but Bell Heather and Bandua keep her busy. Broom does a lot to help out, but she’s old and she deserves as much rest as she can get. She’s had it bad.” Dinky paused and pushed her cap back on her head. “So, it falls on us. We have experience. We know what we are doing.”

Sentinel rolled his eyes but said nothing. Sisters were silly.

“We need to help out as much as we can. We need to spend lots of time with Harper and Sukari… we don’t want them feeling jealous or left out. We need to help with Bandua, Bell Heather, Brandywine, Ditzy, Barley, and Dizzy—” Dinky sucked in a deep breath after saying all of the names.

“I think that we should get Boadicea to join us,” Piña said.

Dinky, looking hesitant about Piña’s suggestion, looked over at the pink filly. “Oh, I dunno, if you bring up her whole… nesting thing… she gets… um—”

“Cranky?” Sentinel finished. “She wants to be a tough somebirdy. She doesn’t like appearing soft because she’s afraid it will hurt her image as a hunter.”

“But Magpie is a hunter griffon!” Piña pointed out with a wave of her hoof.

“Magpie is also mature, grown up, and okay with her self image,” Sentinel replied.

“Then we need to exploit Bodi’s need to appear tough.” Piña rubbed her chin with her hoof, looking thoughtful. “We need to manipulate her into giving into her budding need to nest and nurture without making her appear to be soft or weak. Sentinel?”

“I’m okay with ruthlessly exploiting her and outright manipulation.” Sentinel shrugged with his wings. “I mean, we’re doing this for her own good, right?”

“Right.” Piña gave an enthusiastic nod. “I mean, it’s not like we’re doing this for selfish reasons or for personal gain. We’re helping others. And Bodi will learn to be a better big sister, which helps Brennus.”

Sentinel nodded.

“We can put Boadicea on nursery guard duty… Sentinel, if you give her a command, she’ll do anything that you tell her… just try to sound all noble and stuff,” Dinky suggested.

“I think that will work.” Piña’s head bobbed as she spoke. “Now, we just need to work out how we’ll bring food back to Berry Punch and feed her. I think one of the best ways we can take care of our new brothers and sisters is to make sure that their mama is looked after. Brandywine ripped poor Berry Punch a new one.”

Dinky cringed at Piña’s words, let out a squeal, and then squeezed her eyes shut.

 

 

Lugus, uncertain of how to proceed, took a deep breath and looked down at Boadicea, who did not look back at him. Her eyes dropped down to the floor and Lugus felt a heaviness in his heart. He looked away from her, looking around the attic, which everypony and everybirdy called ‘the airie.’

There were fresh timbers were the roof had been replaced. Lugus closed his eyes for a moment and tried not to think about the fire and the smoke. He sat down and his tail lay limp upon the well polished wooden plank flooring.

“Boadicea…”

The smaller griffoness cringed and her feathers fluffed out as she assumed a submissive posture. For a moment, she thought about rolling belly up and showing throat. Her claws tapped on the floor, but not enough to leave scratches, which would only get her in more trouble, the last thing she needed right now.

“Boadicea, you’ve become very dear to me. It’s made it difficult for me to be objective,” Lugus said in a low voice. He was unaware that Yew Wood, who appeared to be napping on the bed, had cracked open her one remaining eye. “You are a deadly and capable fighter. When I tried to send you to safety, it was not to insult you or to diminish your skill.” The big griffon struggled, searching for the right words to say. His ability to speak had grown by leaps and bounds, he had once been a griffon of few words, but he had no idea of what to say next or how to fix this.

He saw Boadicea look at him, finally meeting his gaze and looking him in the eye. Her eyes were black and shiny, Lugus had never seen eyes quite like hers. Many corvids had dark eyes, but Boadicea’s were black. It was hard to even see her pupils in the dark voids in the center of her eyes. Her black feathers were distinctive, shiny on one side, and matte black on the other. She tilted her head to one side, looking up at him, and Lugus felt himself disarmed. He wanted to crush her in a tight hug and never, ever let her go, but such a thing would be awkward.

Instead, he reached out with his talons, angling the sharp claws away, and stroked her throat with his knuckles. It was a sign of trust among griffons, to touch such a vulnerable area with something as dangerous as one’s talons. He had done it with Bucky, a silent way of saying that he loved him without all of the embarrassing and awkward stuff that would happen from saying it. He heard a soft peep from Boadicea as he touched her throat, and then, with trembling talons, Boadicea returned the gesture. Lugus could feel her knuckles trailing over his neck.

Instead of being happy, Lugus felt shame. He had once hurt her, smashing her head down into the floor and making her bleed. He had diminished her, showing off his strength, while making her feel so weak and powerless. It was not something he was proud of.

“I am very proud of you and what you did. It took bravery to defy me and it took great courage to face the many enemies we had attacking us. You put yourself at risk to fight alongside Sentinel. I should have commended you, I should have praised you. Instead, I have been prideful and I chastised you.” When the last word left his beak, the big griffon slumped. “When I saw you in danger, I almost lost my nerve… not just you… but Ripple as well. She is my squire, she is expected to fight by my side, but at that moment, all I could think about was keeping you safe… keeping all of you safe. I couldn’t think clearly and it affected my ability to fight.”

Head tilting in the other direction, and her crest rising, Boadicea let out a soft peep.

“I have spent most of my life thinking only of myself. I am a warrior griffon. I fight. It is what I do. It is why I exist. When all of you were in danger… when I could not throw myself into the fight and give myself over to combat, I became very angry. I felt as though I had failed. And I think I might have taken it out on you.”

The pegasus on the bed, who appeared to be napping, her barrel expanded for a moment and she gave a silent shudder, almost as if she was holding back her emotions. Her eye, which had been open, now shut.

Lugus, a creature of swift action, snatched Boadicea and crushed her to him, causing the griffoness cub to let out an alarmed squawk. He squeezed as hard as he dared, trying to tell Boadicea that he loved her with action. He felt her squirming, he thought she was trying to get free, but then he felt two legs wrap around his neck.

Peekaboo, who appeared in the doorway, saw her daddy and her sister hugging. Feeling left out, Peekaboo ran forwards, crouched, and launched herself. Wings spread, the little pegasus yearling slammed into Lugus and Boadicea.

“Hugs… I like hugs. More hugs!”

 

 

 

 

 

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