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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It was becoming harder and harder for all of Twilight’s friends to be together in the same place at once. They all had lives now, marriage, family, businesses, responsibilities; somehow, they still found time to be together, like they were now, gathered inside of the cosy confines of the library tree.

Feeling a little afraid, Twilight had an enormous task ahead of her; cleanse Canterlot. She had been preparing for a long while now, her preparations had been interrupted by an unexpected trip up north. Now, she was overburdened once again, expected to deal with everything, including the appearance of Hearthfire, a phenomenon not seen for the past one thousand years. There was so much to study, so much to do, and she still had to prepare for the spring session of the Stable of Representatives.

“Twilight, you okay?” Pinkie Pie asked.

Nodding, Twilight replied, “I’m fine, just a little distracted.” She turned and looked at her friends, seeing worried faces, concerned looks, love, care, and affection were creased into each face. “Are there any questions about what we’re going to do?”

“Just one,” Discord replied, “what am I doing here?”

“Discord, you are the chaos that we need to bring harmony to the system.” Twilight looked at Discord; he still had Fluttershy’s leg and cutie mark. He would be forever touched by kindness.

“Twilight, is there something you’re not telling us?” Discord asked, his eyebrows wrinkling. “You know you can tell us anything, right? It seems oddly specific that you’ve requested Cheese Sandwich and I to attend this meeting.”

For a moment, Twilight thought about holding it all in, but her mouth had other plans. Everything just spilled out in a stream of honesty. “Discord, I’ve been having strange dreams lately. Lots of them. And I talk to strangers in these strange dreams. Sometimes I talk to alternate versions of myself. Sometimes I dream about the Observers. I was told to make certain that you and Cheese Sandwich both were there with us when I try this, because the spell will fail otherwise. I just guessed as to the why you would need to be there, Discord.”

“Twilight, these dreams… you’re not alone… I have them too.” Discord’s eyes narrowed. “I’ve seen another version of myself… I became a pony and I never found out why.” Discord lifted his head up higher and then looked down at Fluttershy beside him as he heard her taking a deep breath.

“Bucky has strange dreams too. He tells me about them when we have our meditation time together. He’s seen a draconequus version of himself and of you, Twilight,” Fluttershy said.

“I know.” Twilight blinked and then shook her head. “Back to the important subject at hoof. This spell is going to be draining for all of us, but I am confident that we’ll pull through. If everything goes right, we’ll strip away the negative emotional residue left in Canterlot. I don’t know what that will do exactly, but it can only do good things. If we are successful, we’ll be going to Fillydelphia next.”

“I still don’t understand how this works,” Applejack said.

“Applejack, over time, in certain places, the same feelings over and over can leave behind traces of themselves.” Rarity’s lips puckered together for a moment in a thoughtful expression as she tried to think of an example. “Take Sweet Apple Acres… there is a feeling of home there, a feeling of peace, a good feeling when you go there… that’s probably not your mind playing tricks on you and you having good feelings by association… there probably really is a feeling of peace there because of all of the generations of Apples that have made that homestead what it is. You can feel all of the love and appreciation put into the land.”

Rarity took a deep breath and then continued, “Canterlot is no different. A lot of bad things happened there. Madness, dark magic, murder, jealousy, anger, hatred, all of those bad things that happened in Canterlot have left behind a stain. All of those negative feelings remain, influencing those who still live in Canterlot, having a profound effect upon the weak willed and the weak minded.”

“Explains how Twilight and Buckminster turned out the way that they did,” Discord said, rubbing his chin.

“What?” Twilight blinked, shocked by Rarity’s outburst and confused by Discord’s remark. “Also… Rarity… how?”

“I’ve been studying, dear.” Rarity gave her friend a wink.

Clearing his throat, Discord responded to Twilight’s inquiry. “It is as Rarity said, this residue of negative emotion most affects the weak willed and the weak minded.” Discord extended his lion’s paw and pointed at Twilight. “You do not have a weak mind… as for Bucky… his willpower…” Discord shook his head from side to side.

“Like the day that he fended off all of Ponyville when Dinky made a mess of that spell and turned herself into a target of loveable, huggable, squeezable affection,” Pinkie Pie said.

“Or his recent brush with vampirism and the tight spot he found himself in with Sunset Shimmer.” Rarity looked at Twilight and then at her companions. “His brutish stubbornness is an asset and I for one appreciate it as one of his finer qualities.”

“Or going to Canterlot when we tried to help him after all of that happened.” Twilight’s gaze dropped down to the floor, her head feeling heavy and she now felt tired. She drew in a deep breath, filling her lungs with air, her barrel expanding, and she lifted her head to look at her friends once more. “The train leaves in a few hours. Be prepared. I don’t know what is going to happen, but I suspect that this will be draining. Thank you, all of you, all of you are the best friends a pony could ask for.”

 

 

The apartment was clean, far cleaner than any apartment lived in by teenagers should be. Berry Punch remembered how things were, how bad things had become, and seeing everything now, Berry Punch could not help but feel a bit of pride.

“Loch, where are you, Violet said you weren’t in school today, I’m worried,” Berry Punch said as she moved through the apartment.

“I’m in here,” Loch replied, her voice coming out of the bedroom.

Picking up her pace, Berry hurried through the open space of the living room area and passed through the door to the bedroom. She paused upon entering and looked at Loch Skimmer, who was buried under blankets, only her head was visible, resting upon a pillow.

“How’s my filly?” Berry asked as she approached the bed.

“Having a rough day… everything hurts… I’m constipated and nauseous and I just didn’t feel like dealing with the world today,” Loch replied.

“I understand.” Berry Punch climbed up into the bed and sat down beside Loch. “You’ve been having a pretty easy go at this so far, but bad days are expected.” Berry smiled, reached out her foreleg, and stroked Loch Skimmer. “How’s life at home?”

“We’re good… I think we’re all happier now. We still squabble sometimes, but we’re not hurting Ripple anymore… she’s gotten better. Her mood is nicer… and it is nice living in a clean apartment.” Loch Skimmer sighed and rolled over onto her back. “I feel so ashamed for how everything got out of hoof. I still feel bad about it. I never meant to hurt my sister and I know that my sister never meant to hurt anypony.” She looked up at Berry, her expression worried. “How is Daddy?”

“Better. Still medicated and acting a little weird after his little episode. He’s asleep again, which is good. He has an egg now. You should come by the house and see it. Bucky is acting like a pegasus and he and Derpy are nesting together.”

“An egg?” Loch Skimmer pushed down the blankets and looked up at Berry, her expression one of confusion.

“It’s complicated. I’ll tell you more later… that’s not why I’m here. I’m here to get you out of the bed and get you moving… don’t worry, you don’t have to go to school. I know you feel lousy, but you wanna get out and go somewhere together?” Berry Punch gave Loch Skimmer a hopeful smile.

“I dunno.” Loch Skimmer shook her head. “I really don’t feel good—”

“Then come and spend time with me in the house. I miss you… please?” Berry Punch gave Loch Skimmer the saddest expression she could muster, which was pretty sad, all things considered.

“Okay, I’ll come to the house with you.” Loch Skimmer, a victim of Berry Punch’s Berry sad expression, turned away, unable to keep looking.

“That’s my filly…”

 

 

Derpy, sitting in the nursery, was engaged in a contest of wills with Cadance. The grey pegasus and the pink alicorn eyed one another, and Cadance had a very sour expression upon her face. Cadance did not like Bucky’s egg, not one bit.

“Cadance… the egg needs love.” As Derpy spoke, she watched as Cadance’s lip curled away from her teeth in a terrible scowl. “I know you’re having some issues with this, but like it or not, you have a new sibling.”

Her ears pinning back, Cadance snorted and stared at Derpy. Her furious scowl became a sullen pout and the stomped her little hoof in defiance. She leveled her gaze at the egg that Derpy was sitting beside.

“Cadance, don’t you dare wake up your father,” Derpy said in a low voice. “Or your other siblings. You be nice.”

“No.” Cadance made another sour face, this one far worse than the one before, and she looked as though she had just eaten a lemon. Afterwards, she turned around and then marched out of the room, her hooves clicking upon the wooden floor.

Sighing, Derpy watched as Cadance left, feeling sad and worried about future trouble. Cadance was very upset about this and Derpy wasn’t sure what to do. She thought about everything that Bucky had said, about how Cadance and Shining Armor would have foals in the future… that was the future and it didn’t help Cadance right now. Cadance was downright testy and behaving in a way that Derpy had never seen before. Under normal circumstances, Cadance was sweet, well mannered, and even tempered.

Now, she was just acting like a foal.

Derpy’s ears perked, standing straight up. The grey pegasus realised that she had been taking Cadance’s well mannered behaviour for granted. Cadance was a foal and she was supposed to have moments when she misbehaved. Cadance had been such a perfect little filly for so long that Derpy had almost forgotten that Cadance was a foal.

The grey mare smiled, feeling better about everything. Cadance was just going to have to scratch her mad spot and get over it, somehow. It was understandable, but this was not acceptable behaviour. Derpy looked down at Crisis and saw that the egg was moving a little, the sides and the top of the egg bulging.

It was going to be strange, having a foal that hatched from an egg, but Derpy was okay with it. She didn’t care where Crisis came from, Crisis was Bucky’s, and by extension, at least in Derpy’s mind, that made Crisis one of her foals. Love knew of no boundaries and there would be no favouritism in this herd, that much was certain.

Turning her head, Derpy looked at the pile of foals in the middle of the room, laying on a cushioned quilt. Brandywine, the big chubby one, was in the middle of the pile, and her siblings were stacked around her. Dizzy was drooling all over his sister, Ditzy. Little Barley was laying on his side, curled up into a little fuzzy ball, and seeing him made Derpy’s breathing go shallow. She loved them all so very much that she had trouble putting it into words.

A zebra filly passed through the nursery door and Sukari came to a stop. She studied her siblings for a moment, silent, saying nothing, her scarred face somehow looking wise, maybe even aged somehow. A bright yellow ribbon had been tied into her mane again by somepony or somebirdy.

This was another that Derpy loved and she hoped that Sukari would come closer. The zebra filly didn’t say much, but she was affectionate now, not quite as shy and skittish as she was. According to Doctor Mawu, she was healing. The house had a strong atmosphere of love and affection, which was just what the zebra filly needed to bloom.

And bloom she had. Derpy thought about those first days when Sukari had first come home and felt a heaviness in her heart. As Derpy watched, Sukari approached the newborns, moving with a near silent grace, her hooves making almost no sound. Sukari was stealthy and Derpy had some faint worry about Sukari growing up to be sneaky and devious.

But growing up would come later—for now, Sukari was just cautious. The filly crossed the padded quilt, leaned her head down, looked at little Barley, and then laid down beside him, folding her legs beneath her and easing herself down.

Ears perking, Derpy’s head swiveled when she heard knocking on the front door. She wondered who it could be and felt excited, she liked having company and loved showing off the newborns. She was a proud mother and never missed a chance to show off her young.

 

 

 

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