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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Squirming, Bucky tried to wiggle free from Lyra, but she redoubled her grip on him. She was brushing every inch of him while Bon Bon kept kissing his cheeks. Celestia’s spell had not worn off and he was still stuck in the body of a yearling. The whole day had been rather trying, but as it was with most punishments, it wasn’t all bad. He had spent time with his fillies, a bit of time had been spent with Sentinel, and he had been cuddled to the point of annoyance by his wives. Lugus had somehow not laughed and treated the issue with seriousness, even though Bucky just knew that Lugus was going to be laughing about this in private.

Holding up the brush, Lyra used a simple cantrip to remove all of the tan coloured hairs in the bristles and caused them to fall into the trash bin beside the bed. Thistle was holding Bell Heather, murmuring something into the kelpie filly’s ear. Derpy was resting, half asleep, it had been a long day and she had worn herself out looking after the newborns. With Berry gone, Derpy had taken on most of the work herself, even though there was plenty of help to be had. The grey pegasus enjoyed the work and did not complain. Belisama was sitting at the head of the bed, plucking her autoharp, trying to coax out a new tune that she said was lurking inside of her head.

“It’s getting late,” Bon Bon said and then yawned. The earth pony mare stretched a bit, moving her head from side to side, and then rubbed her neck. “I have a lot to do tomorrow. So much to do in the shop.”

“When are we going to make the offer to Helia?” Lyra asked as she resumed brushing Bucky. The green unicorn looked satisfied, happy, she had a content smile on her face and she made a faint hum as she worked.

“Offer to Helia?” Thistle looked up from Bell Heather, looking curious.

“We plan to make Helia a partner. Business is good, real good, we’re making a significant profit now, and Helia has stuck with us through thick and thin,” Bon Bon replied.

“Plus, she has Cygnus to look after.” Lyra made short, even strokes with the brush along Bucky’s neck and watched with amusement as one of Bucky’s hind legs began to twitch. “Helia can fly… Bonnie and I are planning a delivery service. The hospital wants fresh donuts, chocolates, and candies.”

“I’m glad that things are finally working out,” Derpy said in a half awake, half asleep voice. “Maybe when the newborns aren’t so demanding, I’ll help with the deliveries. I have good references and a good work history.”

“I thought you wanted to work in the brewery?” Lyra asked.

“I do,” Derpy replied, her eyes closed, “but I also want to deliver candies. I can work now because I want to, not because I have to. I can do whatever I want.”

“I have noticed that with our herd, all of us have a lot more individual freedom.” Bon Bon’s brows furrowed as she reached out and touched the side of Bucky’s face. “We can try new things. Make businesses work. We have a bit of a safety net if failure happens. I don’t think Lyra and I could have gotten my candy business back up and running all by ourselves. Do you think that this is what the nobles were afraid of? Us commoners getting a leg up through hard work and pooling our resources together?”

“Sure seems like it, Bonnie,” Belisama said as she plucked a string a few times.

“If one looks at the different families in Ponyville, the herds are doing better than the monogamists.” Lyra dragged the brush down Bucky’s spine and watched as he wiggled on the bed in front of her. “Look at the Cakes. They have an extended herd now with Pinkie Pie and Cheese Sandwich. They’ve done nothing but prosper. Thunderlane and his family are now very well off. They’re about to buy a new house. There are a bunch of families I don’t know and they’re all getting ahead in life. I’m kinda surprised by all of this, actually.”

“A stallion and a group of mares can make more income than one stallion and one mare. Plus there are all the things that ponies don’t take into account. Foal care, for one. Foalsitters and nannies are expensive. So are housekeepers and cooks. But with a larger family, it is easier to spread the work around and if you sort out your work schedules, you can make sure that somepony is always at home to look after the little ones.” Bon Bon looked up from Lyra brushing Bucky and tried to encourage Bell Heather to cross the bed and come to her, making clucking sounds under her tongue.

Nodding, Lyra rolled Bucky onto his left side and began to brush his right side. “Even without Bucky’s royal stipend, we’re wealthy. Berry Punch and Barley both make more bits than we need. Now that Bonnie and I are making a profit,  the bits are just piling up in the bank. As for Winterworx—”

“Winterworx just secured a five million bit contract for medical supplies for the country of Fancy.” Belisama put down her autoharp, smoothed back her crest, which sprang right back up, and looked Lyra in the eye. “Every single one of my griffons is going to be wealthy… most of us won’t even know what to do with this many bits.”

“Bucky, you didn’t tell me about this contract.” Bon Bon frowned, her muzzle wrinkled, and she scooped up Bell Heather, pulling her close and giving the foal a squeeze. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“It slipped my mind,” Bucky replied, being honest.

“How does five million bits slip your mind?” Bon Bon asked.

“I don’t give a crap about money.” Bucky closed his eyes as Lyra brushed an itchy spot. He was shedding his heavy winter coat and this felt good. He had given up all pretense of resistance. “Really, I just don’t care. It’s a resource. I have what is important to me all around me.”

“I don’t think the bits ever really mattered to Bucky,” Derpy said, opening up her eyes and lifting her head. “He walked away from his family fortune to be his own pony. And the gift he bought for Dinky… he didn’t think it was very much money at all. I think this is one of those things where we have different perspectives on what is important. If I was still a single mother, I’d think that five million bits is pretty important.”

“I’m getting paid twenty seven thousand bits a year to be Ponyville’s water inspector… is that good money? I don’t even know. I’m a kelpie from the Shetlands.” Thistle gave her fellow mares and her teeny, tiny husband a sheepish look.

“It is a little bit above average for a common city employee, but Thistle, that is not considered wealthy by quite a stretch. It is comfortable money though,” Bon Bon said to Thistle.

“I was getting twenty two thousand and eight hundred bits a year working for the mail service.” Derpy smacked her lips, yawned, and shook her head, trying to be rid of her sleepiness. “I’d sometimes get extra as a performance bonus. The pay isn’t bad, they’ll hire almost anypony that has wings, and all you’ve got to do is get the mail delivered while occasionally dealing with a pony-eating spider.”

The pegasus fell silent and her head turned. So did every other head in the room. Bucky’s egg wobbled in its nest and the sides moved as though something on the inside was kicking. The rubbery egg was now almost twice the size it had been when it had been delivered, it was stretched out, and during periods of movement, one could make out a head, four legs, and a body inside the egg. Lyra had been the first to spot a tiny horn nub that was visible now as the little head inside the egg probed about, as though it was trying to use its horn to stab its way through its egg prison.

“Egg!” Bucky shouted, bounding up off of the bed and bouncing over to where his egg was.

“Is she hatching?” Lyra asked, scooting over the bed and following Bucky. “Do you think she’ll come out all gross and slimy? Will be she be a bug? How do we hide her and what she is from others? I have so many questions and I—”

“Lyra!” Bon Bon’s exclamation silenced Lyra and Bon Bon pulled Bell Heather even closer. The kelpie in her forelegs was watching the egg with wide eyed interest and Bon Bon tried getting closer for a better view.

Now wide awake, Derpy had lept to the side of the egg and now had her nose an inch away from it, her bad eye was closed, and she was watching everything with her good eye. “Should Crisis be hatching this early? Is this normal?”

Bucky shrugged. He didn’t know. He wished that Tourmaline was here. He felt swimmy headed—the combined emotions of his wives around him was almost overwhelming. His fears, his worries, his concerns about Crisis were put to rest. The love around him spoke volumes. Crisis would not be an unwelcome addition.

“I bet all the love that Cadance radiates made Crisis gestate faster,” Lyra said as she bumped into Derpy and stuck her nose close to the egg. “Do you think we’ll need to feed her?”

“Tourmaline eats,” Bucky said, now curious about Crisis. He didn’t know how developed she would be. They might have to experiment, or, if necessary, Bucky would find a way to get in touch with Queen Chrysalis, which might be just what the bug wanted.

Within the egg, something squelched as the side of the egg stretched. One stubby little leg was extended and the rubbery egg was stretched tissue paper thin. Inside, Crisis kicked and fussed, causing the egg to wobble within its pile of blankets.

“Should we help her?” Derpy asked, her good eye narrowing. “It’s very confusing. I want to help her, but a part of me says that she has to be strong enough to escape her own egg.” The pegasus watched as both of Crisis’ hind legs kicked out together but did not rupture the stretchy egg.

Reaching out his talons, Bucky touched the egg, not aware that he was holding his breath. His eyes were wide, and, still having the body of a yearling, Bucky had the perfect body for the expression of foalish wonder upon his face. He heard sounds from within the egg and his ears perked forwards. He heard something that almost sounded like a whimper and the squishy sounds of Crisis kicking around whatever fluid filled the egg.

It was at that moment that Bucky had something of an epiphany. He had no brothers, he had no sisters, and while he had witnessed the miracle of birth as an adult, he had never seen it as a foal. He didn’t know if it was intended or if it was by mere coincidence, but Princess Celestia had done him a favour. In this small body, the world was so much larger. The stairs were steep and foreboding. The bed seemed so much higher up. Everything around him was intimidating and huge. He had endured a major shift of perspectives this day and had seen the world in the same way that his foals saw the world every day.

And now, he was watching as Crisis escaped her egg and made her way into the world. His eyes narrowed as Crisis pushed her head against the shell, and then his eyes widened as she tried something else, pushing outwards with her forelegs.

“Come on… you can do it.” Lyra touched the egg with her nose, hoping to coax Crisis out. Instead, Crisis punched her eggshell and Lyra’s snoot. The unicorn mare jerked her head back and rubbed her nose, her eyes crossing as she looked down at the egg. “The little scoundrel has a mean left hook, look out.” Lyra’s ears perked as she heard both Bon Bon and Derpy giggling. “Really, I mean it, look out… she’s stronger than you might expect.”

With a somewhat flatulent sound, Crisis’ horn poked through her shell. Much to Bucky’s surprise, it was white. He blinked, not expecting Crisis to be white. He had expected something black and chitinous, like Tourmaline.

“She emerges.”

Turning his head, Bucky saw Amaranth in the doorway. She had a serene smile upon her face. He watched as she approached, and as she drew near, he returned his attention back to his egg.

“Crisis… Crisis the Demolisher… the first of the flutter ponies.”

“What are you going on about?” Bon Bon asked, her tone sounding somewhat irritated. She gave Amaranth a curt look as the enigmatic earth pony settled in beside the egg.

“You are witnessing the birth of a new tribe… a new species of pony. This is a momentous occasion.” Amaranth drew in a deep breath, her sides expanding. “A tribe of pony bred for war, much like the lunar pegasi. Fierce, but gentle protectors. Capable healers.”

“She’s a weapon?” Lyra asked in a low whisper.

“She is made from Bucky’s essence,” Amaranth replied as her smile broadened, “she has her father’s desire to protect, to defend, and she will have his capable talent for destruction. She is the first of her kind. Queen Chrysalis is growing an army just like her, but they will emerge from their eggs as adults, ready to fight when Bucky makes his excursion. Queen Chrysalis plans for mischief though.”

“Mischief?” Bucky asked, looking worried.

“Oh, nothing too terrible.” Amaranth reached out and stroked Bucky’s face as Crisis continued her struggle to break free. “Chrysalis plans to hatch quite a number of flutter ponies and then leave them in baskets on the porches and stoops of ponies everywhere. She has suffered a crisis of conscience and is now seeking to make some sort of amends. She offers a gift of healing and protection.”

The tear in Crisis’ eggshell grew larger. Bucky heard a grunt from within the egg. A muzzle popped out of the hole and Bucky could see that it too, was white, just like the horn, and covered in greenish yellow ooze.

With a pop, the muzzle slipped back in the egg and a jet of goo came squirting out. A moment later, the muzzle appeared again, peeking out a bit, and as Bucky watched, he saw Crisis’ mouth open. He saw a flash of sharp looking serrated teeth and he could see the little mouth biting down on the rubbery egg shell. Crisis began gnawing on the egg and Bucky came to the slow realisation that she was eating it, or trying to. The opening grew a little larger.

“Crisis the Demolisher.” Derpy’s wings fluttered against her sides. “Why can’t she be Crisis the Cuddler or Crisis the Giggler?”

“Because… during a conflict set in the far future, she will prove herself as her father’s daughter. Like Bucky, she will know the weakness of her enemies. She will be the wreck and ruin of all those who dare threaten Equestria and the peace of this world. She is the Foal of War, the first , and worst of the flutter ponies.” Amaranth lifted her head and looked Derpy in the eye.

Crisis’ mouth opened wide as she tried to get her maw around the egg and Bucky could see that she had two rows of teeth, one behind the other. Her teeth weren’t quite fangs, but not the square teeth of equines either. Each was serrated, rounded, and came to a bit of a point. She nipped away bits of egg shell and chewed them up. Bucky felt a little disgusted and queasy as he watched Crisis eating her own egg and slurping up gooey, slimy yolk.

“Those teeth,” Belisama whispered, watching in awe as Crisis nipped away more egg.

An ear popped out of the egg, causing those watching to become even more attentive. The ear was fuzzy, hairy, it was white and pink flesh could be seen on the inside. A stubby horn was beside it, and a dark teal mane was plastered to the foal’s head. Slime dribbled down the sides of the egg. Crisis’ other ear popped out, shooting upwards and sending slime flying as the ear catapulted it away towards the ceiling.

With a wet splattering of slime on all those present, Crisis’ head popped free from her egg. Her eyes blinked a few times, her eyelids fluttering, and then her eyes opened to reveal stunning pale green irises. Her pupils were not slitted, nor where they round, but oval. The foal looked around, making burbling sounds, little snot bubbles blowing out from her nostrils and popping with wet splats. Yellow green slime dribbled down from her face. She had a pelt, a beautiful white pelt, and once she was cleaned up and free from the ooze, she would be striking, brilliant white. Her mane was teal coloured, dark on the top of her head and getting lighter down her neck. After looking around for a bit, she resumed trying to eat more of her egg, her maw opening wide and revealing her strange shovel shaped teeth.

“She’s perfect, I don’t care if she grows up to be a demolisher,” Derpy said as she wiped away both tears and slime from her face.

“She’s a pony… she doesn’t look like a changeling at all.” Confused, Bon Bon blinked and shook her head. “I don’t understand. Is this illusion?”

“Nope,” Bucky replied, not knowing how he knew. “This is how she is. Look at her, look how wonderful she is. I wonder if she’ll eat her whole egg.”

“She’s no different than the newborns, if you ignore her teeth. She’s about the same size and everything. It’s hard to believe that she hatched from an egg.” Thistle reached out and with a light touch of her folded fetlock, caressed Crisis’ cheek. The foal made a strange gurgling sound and leaned her head into Thistle’s tender touch.

“She’s amazing, just like the others. Quick, somepony go and get a camera. We need to snap pictures of this moment.” Derpy leaned her head forwards and sniffed the foal. She paused, mid sniff when Crisis turned her head and sniffed her in return. “She’s looking at me.”

From the nursery, there came a cry which was soon joined by others, the sounds of hungry foals waking up and wanting to be nursed. Derpy sighed, shaking her head, and her wings flapped against her sides. “I swear, we just fed them.”

“Teeny tiny newborns have teeny tiny stomachs. Harper wanted to be fed almost every hour, just like clockwork,” Lyra said as she tore her gaze away from Crisis and looked at the nursery door. “We’ll bring them all in here so we can keep watching.”

“I’ll go fetch the camera,” Belisama said as she got up. “I bet that Bandua will be wanting something to eat as well.”

Crisis, making happy sounding gurgles, continued to eat her egg, looking both disgusting and adorable as she gnawed upon the rubbery cradle that she had been born from.

 

 

 

 

 

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