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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Feeling the tickle of feathers on his nose, Sentinel opened one eye. He saw the fuzzy outline of Boadicea and somehow, even in his miserable state, he managed to smile, even if it was only just a tiny bit. Diamond Tiara was still with him, but he could feel her squirming as she woke up.

“Hello, Fearless Leader… sleep well?” Boadicea tilted her head, exaggerating her avian nature, and moved her beak a scant inch away from Sentinel’s nose. “Just like a real leader… slacking off, napping with a nice pink pony, while the rest of the crew do all the real work. Harrumph.”

“No… I… no…” Sentinel’s stammering protest fell upon deaf ears, he heard a soft squawk from Boadicea and watched her fluff out with laughter. “Dirty birdy.”

“Leave him alone, he’s having a rough day,” Diamond Tiara said to her friend as she tried shoving the busy bodied cat-bird creature away from her.

“Rough day?” Boadicea somehow managed to look amused, even with most of her face being a hard, unmoving, rigid beak. “Is that what we’re calling this catastrophe?”

“Yeah, Sentinel woke up and decided that his good, wonderful life just wasn’t worth it, so he committed himself to the biggest feck up in history and chose to ruin it!” Diamond Tiara rolled over and lay snoot to snoot with Sentinel, the blanket being the only thing separating them. She saw the colt beside her cringing.

“Catastrophe?” Sentinel said in a weak voice.

Boadicea gave an enthusiastic nod. “I am half cat,” she whirled around, revealing her pert kitty backside, “and this is my ass!” Boadicea hiked up her tail, revealing everything that could be seen back there, her backside inches away from both Diamond Tiara and Sentinel. “My father, Lugus, is going to rip everything off from back there, and he is going to mount it on the wall as a trophy!”

“Oh… shut… up…” Diamond Tiara breathed.

“I don’t get it,” Sentinel said, not fully awake and feeling confused.

“Cat… ass… trophy.” Diamond Tiara reached up, planted her hoof on Boadicea’s lithe bottom, and tried to shove the exhibitionist griffoness away.

Refusing to be shoved away, Boadicea instead rubbed her backside against Diamond Tiara’s hoof, made a yowling sound, and the fur along her spine stood up as she made the universal feline signs for begging for more butt scratchies.

“It’s a sign of trust when they show you their butthole,” Sentinel said to Diamond Tiara.

“Ugh, both of you… sometimes I can’t believe I’m involved in this!” Diamond Tiara closed her eyes and continued to scratch Boadicea’s backside.

 

 

“You know, all that time spent taking care of our siblings is paying off,” Dinky said to Sentinel from across the table, “Piña and I were able to fix a meal without too much trouble. Nothing burnt and no smoke. We even kept Sweetie Belle from burning down the kitchen.”

Sweetie, sitting beside Dinky, went from white to pink.

“So we are rapidly approaching the Crystal Empire, moving along at a breakneck speed. The headwind gave way and now we have a powerful tailwind pushing us forward.” Scootaloo shoveled in a bite full of baked beans, smacked her lips once, then twice, chewed once, mashing a few beans, and then swallowed.

Apple Bloom, who watched Scootaloo shovel in more beans, narrowed her eyes and gave the orange filly beside her a dark look. “Pegasus ponies… ugh.”

“What’d I do?” Scootaloo asked around a mouthful of baked beans.

“What you always do,” Apple Bloom replied, feeling no need to say anything else about the issue.

“I don’t know which end smells worse… try being around a lunar pegasus with carrion breath… ugh, meat eaters.” Diamond Tiara took a bite of baked potato and began to chew on it as she gave Sentinel a thoughtful stare.

“Rumble’s parents make him eat cloves of garlic to keep parasites away.” Sweetie Belle poked at her food with her fork and then looked over at Apple Bloom. “I miss Rumble already. It’s for the best that he’s not here though. Flitter and Cloudchaser together would probably destroy him.”

“Oh, sweet destruction, how I long for thee,” Piña said. The filly was slumped down in her chair and eyeing the food on her plate. “I think this is the one that is going to do it. Bon Bon and Berry both have threatened to spank me for a long time… there’s been a few swats, maybe a slap or two, but this time, I think they’re going to paddle me, probably with a brush. You know, maybe we shouldn’t go home… just keep flying and find a new place to live. We could make Sentinel our leader.”

“No. We’ll go home and face the music.” Sentinel’s voice left behind a palpable tension in the air as each foal present at the table squirmed.

“Applejack once made me go and fetch her a switch. It was awful, I had to go and pick my own switch… I had to chose what I was going to be whipped with. It was terrible!” Apple Bloom wiggled in her chair and reached down to rub her backside with her right hoof.

“But did you deserve it?” Boadicea asked.

“Yeah… yeah I did,” Apple Bloom replied. “I lied. After that, I lied again. Then I lied about lying. Then came more lies. I got a switchin’ for each lie I told, and after feeling the switch come down on my fanny for the sixth time, I knew that I wanted to be an honest pony like my sister.”

“Wow, that’s harsh… I had no idea,” Sweetie Belle said to Apple Bloom.

“The switchin’ really didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would… I was actually more hurt when Applejack, Big Mac, and Granny Smith all told me that they didn’t trust me no more. That hurt more than all the switchin’ in the world. I think I would have taken a hundred more lashes from the switch that I picked for myself than hear those words again. At least with the switching, it’s over with and done and you can go and move on with your life.” Apple Bloom felt the sting of tears in her eyes; she reached up with her right foreleg, sniffled, and then rubbed her eyes with her fetlock.

“So you admit that you had it coming.” Boadicea’s black eyes glittered as she studied Apple Bloom.

“Yeah, I had it coming, and truth be told, I always felt like I deserved more. I felt so guilty. I kept thinking that if Applejack had just laid into my bottom with a switch, I might have felt better about everything. That feelin’ lasted for about a week or more.”

There was a moment of tense silence around the table as each foal and one griffoness stared at each other, stared at their food, each large, worried, terrified eye saying what words could not say.

It was Sentinel who broke the silence. “If it comes down to corporal punishment, I will offer to take each lash upon my own back for each of you. I will be the one to pay for this mistake. It is the least I can do.”

“Nope… if it comes down to lashing, whipping, switching, whatever you call it, I’m with you, Sentinel. I chose to get into this. I could have walked away. Just like when I stowed away and joined Bucky when he went off and was almost killed. I knew what I was doing. And that trip turned out for the best. Me and my piano wire were needed.” Boadicea turned her stare upon Sentinel and her crest rose. “You’re going to make a good king someday though, offering to take everypony else’s punishment. That’s the kind of nobility that this messed up, crazy, insane world needs.”

“Thank you,” Sentinel replied, bowing his head.

“You know, if Twilight, Rainbow, or Flash were to give me a spanking, I… think… It think it would show that they really are my parents—”

“Scootaloo?” Sweetie Belle looked at the pegasus filly, blinking with confusion.

“Really, I think it would be the hardest thing that they would ever do… I think it would kill Rainbow Dash, and I know that she’d cry about it, probably off somewhere private where nopony could see her. I think it’d hurt her real bad… but if she endured that… just to teach me a lesson and make me a better pony, it would mean that she loves me.” Scootaloo’s face contorted and the pegasus filly began to sniffle. She wiped her nose, set down her spoon in her other hoof, then, letting out a choked sob, she lept down out of her chair and fled from the dining area, gushing tears as she departed.

Dinky, after watching Scootaloo run away, looked around the table at her companions. “Anypony remember when things were simpler and we used to talk about what was better, the slide, the swing, or the tether ball?”

 

 

“Sentinel?” Piña approached her brother, the sounds of him whispering to himself audible in her ears. He was sitting, alone, in the prow of the ship. “Sentinel, something is wrong, I can feel something wrong. Talk to me.”

Sentinel turned his head, his mane whipping in the wind. He looked at his sister. Piña, sweet Piña, she was his rock. He gulped, thinking about what to say, and then looked down at the red glowing horn he had clutched in his folded fetlock.

“I can hear him whispering to me,” Sentinel admitted to his sister. He shook his head. “He wants me to jam the horn into my head. He kept making promises about power, but now, he’s just torturing me, telling me who he’ll let live. It hurts, Piña, it hurts. This horn just keeps getting heavier in my grasp… I think it is sapping my strength.”

“Gimme,” Piña commanded.

“No!” Sentinel’s lips curled back from his teeth and he growled.

Piña, undeterred, extended her left foreleg, and then, using her earth pony strength, she clobbered Sentinel, catching him a solid blow across the cheek. Sentinel, sitting on his haunches, was flipped over onto his back. He hit the deck with a heavy thud. The horn flew from his grasp, arced through the air, glittering, gleaming, emanating a menacing red glow, and Piña snatched it out of the air.

“Hmm,” Piña said as she held the horn. She looked down at Sentinel, who was recovering and rubbing his cheek. “Interesting.”

“Everypony that loves me just keeps slapping me… Piña, that really hurt.” Sentinel gave Piña a wounded expression. “Ow…”

“This thing is pure concentrated badness… Sentinel, you’re lucky that I didn’t give you a hoof-zap for sassing me… never do it again… you need to trust me,” Piña said to her brother. “I can hear it whispering too—”

“You can?” Sentinel stood up and flexed his jaw. Piña was strong.

“Yeah,” Piña replied, “and right now, it’s disgusted. It’s sickened that a mud pony is holding it. It’s demanding that I put it down and I can hear it whispering about all of the horrible things it is going to do to me.” The pink filly smiled and squeezed the horn in her fetlock. “I think I’ll hold on to this. Grandpa is… well, he’s an arse.”

“It doesn’t bother you?” Sentinel gave Piña an incredulous stare.

“Naw.” Piña shook her head. “It doesn’t want me sticking it in my forehead. I can hear it inside my head… my touch is burning it and making it feel unclean and dirty because of my mud pony taint.”

“Piña…” Sentinel, overwhelmed, had trouble taking in everything. He was still woozy from Piña almost smacking his face into next Tuesday. “Piña, you are amazing.”

“Damn right I am.” Piña’s eyebrow lifted. “Don’t you ever forget that. I’m here to help you… I don’t know how useful I am, but this, this I can do. I can carry this. I like hearing the voices begging and pleading with me to put them down, offering me everything I ever wanted if I will just toss the horn away.”

Sentinel, almost crying, grabbed his sister and embraced her. He kissed her cheek, and then, feeling relieved, he pulled her close, and he did not let go. For whatever reason, Piña was immune to the darkness that was concentrated within Sombra’s horn. “Pink ponies are the best ponies.”

“Yeah, I know.” Piña wrapped her free foreleg around Sentinel’s neck and held on to her brother. “We’re gonna get through this somehow… together.”

“Thank you, Piña.”

 

 

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