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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Sprawled on the floor, Bucky basked in Cadance’s love. It was hard to describe the feeling. The past few days had caused him considerable change. It was more than just a knowledge of the presence of love. It was difficult and complex. For Bucky, just being close to somepony in his family was enough to kill off the cold, lonely ache… and the all consuming need for warmth. Whatever Chrysalis had done to him, it had killed off the emptiness that Sombra’s fell shadow had left inside of him.

Glancing at her father, Cadance had a disturbed look upon her face. Her ethereal mane drifted like a lazy cloud around her head and her wide eyes blinked as she looked at her father. She shook her head and her nose crinkled.

“Cadance…” Bucky crawled over the floor, getting a little closer. He let out a sigh as Cadance tried to wave him away with her forehoof. “Cadance, Chrysalis fixed me… I feel better… she did something nice.”

Letting out a tiny sigh, the alicorn foal rolled her eyes and relented. She scooted herself over to Bucky and lifting her hoof, she booped him on the nose. Her expression changed to one of irritation.

“You and Sukari both… I could huggle-juggle both of you all day,” Bucky said.

“Huggle-juggle…” Cadance managed to get the words out. A faint smile appeared on her tiny muzzle.

“Bucky… shouldn’t you be getting ready? Spring ceremony!” Lyra called out from the other room.  

“Daddy silly,” Cadance said in a matter-of-fact voice.

Harper, who came bouncing around the corner and barreling into the living room, came to a skidding halt but her mass of curls kept moving forwards due to momentum. She went blind, squealed, shook her head, and tried to clear her vision. “We going somewhy.”

“Yes, Harper, we are going somewhere.” Bucky stretched out his legs and let out a low groan.

“Somewhat?” Harper asked, looking confused.

“No, Harper, some where.” Bucky smiled at both of his present fillies.

“Somewhen.” Harper began nodding, her head bobbing, her floofy-poofy orange mane rocking back and forth on her head.

Cadance blinked and looked at her sister. “Harper silly.”

Harper, who had been smiling, paused and became serious. She gave careful consideration to Cadance’s words, turning them over in her head, lifting up one front hoof and tapping upon her chin. After a moment, she nodded. “Yup, silly.”

“Bucky, stop lazing about and soaking up love! We need your help! I will fix you a chocolate cake all for you if you’ll help us!” Bon Bon shouted from elsewhere in the house.

“Oh, that’s an offer I can’t refuse, excuse me,” Bucky said as he picked himself up off of the floor. “Come on fillies, we have work to do if we’re going to make it to this spring ceremony.”

 

 

“I dunno about this,” Bucky grumbled, mostly to himself. This was turning into a parade. Derpy had insisted on going, she wanted out of the house more than anything. The newborns were packed into the wagon with the two new mothers and some of their older siblings. The Raptors milled about, armed to the beaks, and a nervous Ripple paced around, her war shoes clicking. Cadance was sitting in a prominent spot on the wagon, looking very much like the Empress that she was.

Dinky, wearing her purple smoking cap, was nervous. She paced around, twitching, her tail whipping about. “How did I get talked into this?”

“Somepony has to go first,” Piña replied. She looked around. “Sure are a whole lot of griffons.”

“Well, this is a big deal to them. A new spring, in a new land, with a new, fresh start.” Belisama looked around at the various groups of griffons that had gathered around the wagon. Some of them were armed. She left some words unspoken; it was too nice a day to recall the attack upon the farm, but the little griffons would never be caught unawares ever again.

“Where did the time go?” Dinky asked. “It was only a week ago that both twins were born and Daddy—”

“Mama!”

“Sorry, Mama went off on an adventure.” Dinky’s brow furrowed. “I remember when a week used to feel like forever.”

“You grow up and things change, Dinks.” Sparkler smiled down at her little sister. The purple pink unicorn made an unsteady, shaking pronk and landed at Bucky’s side. She leaned in, stuck her muzzle inside of Bucky’s hood, gave Bucky a kiss, and then body bumped him. “You’re getting better I think.”

“I feel better,” Bucky said to Sparkler.

“I think you’re putting on some weight.” Sparkler tried to look at her father, who was bundled up beneath his cloak, trying to determine if he looked a bit more fleshed out and not so bony.

“Do you really think so?” Bucky asked.

“Your cheek has some softness again,” Sparkler replied.

Basking in the glow of his family, Bucky felt his legs trembling. He wanted to get better. He had been unaware of just how miserable he was. He looked around, trying to count heads, and then asked, “Where is Minion? I do not see Minion…”

“Your Minion is still having trouble putting on all that armor,” Bartleby replied from where he was sitting on Trixie’s back. “Rising Star is helping her look presentable.”

“Trixie must admit, the Shimmering One is almost too much hotness to handle in all that armor.” The blue unicorn began to fan herself with her hoof. “The spring is far too warm, Trixie demands a return of winter!”

Obliging Trixie’s request, Bucky conjured a snowball and tossed it at her. It struck Trixie on the horn, causing the mare to stand there and stare at Bucky. After a moment, she laughed.

“Trixie thanks you! That was cold and refreshing!”

“The Great and Powerful Trixie is getting too nervous and needs to calm down,” Bartleby said, patting Trixie’s neck.

“Trixie is fine… fine, Trixie tells you. She is only going into Ponyville, a town that hates her and remembers her cruelty. Trixie has no concerns and is nowhere near having a breakdown!” More nervous laughter and a bit of a cackle spilled out of Trixie’s mouth.

“Mares.” Bucky let out a snort and looked at Sentinel.

“Yes Father, mares.” Sentinel looked confused, not quite knowing what his father was going on about.

“Aye, mares.” Barley pulled a silver flask out from his quilted vest and passed it to Trixie. “Social lubricant… have a nip!”

“Trixie shall partake of a nip, whatever that is!”

 

 

The road into Ponyville was somewhat muddy from a recent scheduled rain. Pegasi flew overhead, the Ponyville flock revelling in the spring, and there were chases going on, winged fliers darting from cloud to cloud as Spring Fever infected the local pegasi population.

Quite a few pegasi sat in the trees on either side of the road, singing, whistling, warbling out a spring tune, leading nature in singing a song of creation. Loch Skimmer, who happened to be on fire once again, joined in, whistling as she walked beside Bittersweet.

“No embarrassing, perverted plumage displays,” Sparkler said as she looked at both Ripple and Loch Skimmer with worry that was clear and easy to be seen in her eyes. The purple pink filly craned her head around to look at her mother. She was surrounded by pegasi and Sparkler knew what pegasi did come spring.

“Hey, check out my wingspan,” Ripple said, moving her ears as she spoke so Bittersweet could understand her. Ripple flared out her wings, extended each primary, and then fluffed out her feathers enough to reveal tantalising flashes of healthy pink skin beneath her perfect plumage.

“Stop that, you perv!” Sparkler demanded, turning a darker shade of purple pink. From the side of the road, there was hooting, whistling, and enthusiastic whinnies as Ripple continued her shameless display. She remembered the shameless display that her mother had put on, trying to get Bucky’s attention. Her cheeks burned like a furnace and she grinned.

“Look, I have perfect feathers… so silky and smooth!” Ripple said, her ears moving and making complex gestures to translate her words.

“You ain’t got nothing,” Loch Skimmer said to her sister. “My wings are on fire.” The burning pegasus unfurled her wings and waved them around, trailing streams of blazing fire.

“Oh, that’s not fair!” Ripple extended her wing and with a fluid motion, she slapped Loch Skimmer in the face.

“NO!” Bon Bon shouted, glaring at the two sisters. “There will be no mortal combat today… you two… don’t even start!”

Ducking their heads, both sisters glanced at one another and then looked at Bon Bon.

The gathered griffons were getting into the act, prowling like the little cats that they were, showing off their wings, and yowling to get in the mood for spring. Belisama, sitting in the wagon, unfurled her wings and struck a pose.

Spring had sprung.

 

 

There was quite a crowd. Bucky, feeling nervous and overwhelmed, didn’t know what he was feeling. There was just too much to feel. It hit him like an ocean wave and threatened to sweep him away. He didn’t know where his own feelings ended and where the feelings of others began. Is this what Tourmaline felt? How did she deal with it? Bucky almost felt drunk.

There was love in the air, so much love. New foals had been born. New couples were forming. Biological imperatives, aided by pheromones, were in full force. It was difficult to even remain standing for Bucky. Even though he felt wobbly and a little drunk, he felt strong.

Feeling as good as he did, Bucky did the unthinkable. He pulled back his hood from his head in broad daylight, not caring that he might get scorched. He didn’t see the worried looks or frightened glances. He had his illusion up, maintaining his terrifying appearance, his jagged fulgurite horn and green sunstone eye, elements of himself that no longer existed. Much to his surprise, he hardly did so much as smoulder. It was painful, sure, and the light dazzled his eyes, but it was bearable for the first time in a long time.

Overcome by the emotions around him and the feeling of spring upon his own body, Bucky reached out grabbed himself a mare, which just happened to be Lyra. He dragged her in, plunged his muzzle up against hers, and went in for the kill. Lyra resisted at first, confused, scared, nervous, but her defenses melted. She went limp and Bucky had to hold her up. He wrapped his left foreleg around her neck and with his tongue, he explored every available inch of the inside of Lyra’s mouth.

When the kiss ended, Lyra collapsed into heap in the grass, giggling, gasping, and fanning herself with her hoof. Looking very pleased with himself, Bucky sat down, yawned, and then stared at Bon Bon, giving her a saucy look.

“Mama?” Harper poked Lyra with her hoof.

“Mama’s fine… Mama’s real fine… Mama is happy,” Lyra said, her voice little more than a murmur. “Mama is going to lay here in the grass.” Lyra grabbed Harper, pulled her close, and gave her foal a hug.

“She gobbled you face,” Harper said in a low whisper, looking up at Bucky.

“Yes, yes she did,” Lyra replied as she closed her eyes.

“Suki looks scared.” Harper tried to wiggle free of her mother’s grasp.

Lyra’s horn ignited and she pulled Sukari closer. The zebra filly almost leaped into Lyra’s embrace, glad to be held. She closed her blue eyes and cowered. Lyra, feeling wonderful, began to hum, knowing how Sukari loved music.

 

 

“Some of the fine mares and stallions of the Ponyville Police Department have set up a kissing booth,” Dinky said as she looked around at the massive crowd. “That’s a pretty good way to raise money… I guess.”

“Poor Blossomforth, nopony is standing in her line.” Sparkler watched as Sunshower Raindrops leaned forwards and gave a stallion a quick peck on the cheek.

“Her hobbies include wrestling, hoof-fu, and punching other ponies until they explode.” Rising Star snorted. Blossomforth had been a guest at dinner more than a few times.

“YEAAAAH!”

“How cute, Snowflake had a customer.” Sparkler sat down in the grass, her legs trembling, and tried to make the spasms in her face stop. “He gets lonesome.”

“I like Blossomforth.” Ripple’s head bobbed as she listened to the polka music playing in the background. “I too, like punching ponies until they explode.”

A sour expression settled over Sparkler’s face. Ripple and Blossomforth got along a little too well. It was scary, disconcerting, and Sparkler held a secret fear that the two of them would decide to go on a spree some night, perhaps after alcohol had been involved. Both of them were flexible acrobats and had exceptional combat skills. It was reasonable to assume that Sparkler might need to call in the Royal Guard for backup.

Rising Star nudged Sparkler and leaned his head down close to her ear. “Trixie won’t stop giggling.”

Sparkler looked up at her husband and her ears pinned back against her head. “Have you ever thought of becoming a paladin?”

“Me? When would I find the time? Stable rep… all the work I do… my family… nope. I’m happy Sparkler. I’m doing what makes me happy. I have all I need in life. I have a few pretty mares, a good job, I perform a valuable public service… and I’ve started engraving poems and verses on all my projects, which satisfies my need for artistic endeavour. I’m not paladin material. You might be.”

“Naw… I’m going to keep doing police work until I die.” Sparkler leaned on her husband and watched as Ripple walked around on her front hooves with her hind hooves held high in the air. “But I do want to help in the school. Once I’m a little older and I finish my education, I’m going to help out. I’ll be… a hall monitor!”

“Can you give me detention?” Rising Star asked.

“I dunno, did you bring some gum, and if so, did you bring enough to share with the rest of the class?”

 

 

A roar came up from the crowd when Princess Celestia made an appearance. The regal white alicorn stood tall, her head high, and her wings unfurled. Princess Twilight Sparkle stood at her right while Princess Luna, encased in armor, stood at her left. Buckminster, Lord of Winter, fell into place beside Princess Luna, wearing his armor and wrapped in his cloak. Princess Apple Bloom took her place beside Twilight Sparkle, wearing her wooden crown. Empyrean Paladin Sunset Shimmer, not a member of the ruling royalty, but a sworn Defender of Equestria, moved into place just behind both Princess Celestia and Princess Twilight. Her golden armor gleamed like the sun itself.

The only ponies missing were Prince Keg Smasher and Emperor Shining Armor.

Glass Slipper, unconcerned with pomp, circumstance, or social standing, chomped down on Rainbow Dash’s leg, wiggled free from the pegasus’ grip, and then moving at a brisk trot, she joined her mother, Twilight Sparkle on the wooden platform, grinning at the ponies as she ducked behind her mother’s leg.

With a sheepish grin, Twilight waved at the crowd, cleared her throat, and then said, “We’re very close. I’ve been away from home a lot a lately… she’s been wanting to see me.”

“I’m not a princess,” Glass Slipper announced in her squeaky voice. “But I could be.”

“Princess Twilight Sparkle, I believe that you have an announcement?” Princess Celestia looked down at Glass Slipper, gave the foal a wink, and then looked at Twilight, giving her former student a broad smile.

Nervous, Twilight cleared her throat. “I, Princess Twilight Sparkle, would like to announce the formation of a new guard unit, the Aurora Guard. They will be present to serve and protect the Stable of Representatives when they are in session. Please, all of you, reveal yourselves.”

In front of the wooden platform, a group began to gather. There were a few ponies, but not many. The crowd began to gasp as a flock of griffons gathered and stood at attention. One of the ponies present in the group was Sparkler. She stood tall and proud among the assembled group.

“I had to find a group of guards that I could trust. It was a very difficult task. I mean no disrespect, but after the many troubles that were had with the Royal Guard, I had to look elsewhere. These griffons that you see, they wish to safeguard our budding democracy. They realise that our futures are intertwined. They have a vested interest in making sure that the Stable of Representatives meetings go well and that progress is made. I ask that you treat them with respect. Sparkler Doo Hooves, as I am sure that many of you recognise as one of the three heads of the police department here in Ponyville, will also be heading the Aurora Guard. They will function as a special police force with full powers of arrest. Interference of any kind with our democratic processes will not be tolerated and the full force of the law will be brought to bear.” Twilight looked around the crowd, her expression hard, her eyes narrowed.

“Interference of any kind, any sort of disturbance of the Stable of Representatives while they are in session will be met with thirty days in stone,” Princess Celestia said to the crowd. “Afterwards, you will be placed on trial and may face further consequences. There will be zero tolerance for those who wish to bring harm to our democratic processes.” She glanced over at Princess Luna and Buckminster, Lord of Winter, her gaze lingering upon them for a long moment before she looked back upon the crowd. “During said trial, your background will be thoroughly examined to determine if you are part of some greater threat. It will be unpleasant. You will not like it, I assure you. Our future must be protected at any cost.”

Much to Twilight’s surprise, the crowd began to cheer. She stood there, confused, bewildered, having expected a very different response to the draconian announcement about law and order.

Princess Celestia lowered her head and placed her lips near Twilight’s ear. “I told you… the little ponies just want to feel secure again. For too long, there has been too much uncertainty.”

Hearing Celestia’s words, Twilight nodded, having received yet another lesson in rule from her teacher. She smiled at the crowd, bowed her head, and glanced over at Bucky. She could not see his face, it was obscured beneath his hood and his manifested umbral armor. The sound of cheering and stomping hooves was almost too much to bear.

Twilight felt the beginnings of a panic attack grip her. Still grinning, she felt Glass Slipper hugging her leg. She needed to be away from the crowd. She felt herself start sweating.

“If you will all excuse me.” Twilight felt her voice crack. “I need a moment to compose myself.” Saying nothing else, she exited from the wooden platform with Glass Slipper clinging to her leg.

 

 

 

 

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