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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After putting Erebus down upon the floor, Princess Luna watched as the little colt went scrambling off to explore the house. Her ears folded back against her head as she turned and looked at Berry Punch, who looked grief stricken. Luna’s eyebrow raised and she took a deep breath.

“So let me get this straight… the pony that I love and will be marrying soon has taken it upon himself to look after a filly that has gone mustang and has locked himself up in a room to care for her?” Luna’s piercing eyes focused upon Berry Punch’s, and a puzzled expression crept over her face.

“Yes.” Berry Punch nodded her head. “And I was hoping that you might be able to help her. She wasn’t always like this. When I saw her last, she wasn’t like this at all. Now she hardly even knows her name. Berryshine became distrustful of other ponies during the collapse. She retreated back into the hollows of the Haint, far, far away from everypony, and made moonshine. The only reason why anypony even knew she was dead was because she failed to make a delivery and the buyer went looking for her.”

“I see.” Luna’s head turned and she watched as Erebus went trotting past on wobbling legs, his stubby wings flapping, with Cadance running after him, a determined look upon her face. Somepony was going to get tackled and then maybe thumped. It served Erebus right and Luna did nothing to stop the coming conflict.

She had come here to spend time with Barley, see Crisis, and have a little downtime. Alas, it was not to be. Barley was busy and something demanded Luna’s attention. Luna understood what needed to be done. “I shall do what I can to help, but you must understand, this is not something that is easy to fix. Only time will fix what is wrong with Berry Pinch.”

“I understand, thank you,” Berry replied as a squeal filled the air. “She got him… good for Cadance.”

Hearing hoofsteps, Luna turned and saw Sentinel, who was approaching her in the most submissive posture that one could imagine. His ears were drooping, his spine sagged, and his wings hung from his sides. He looked pathetic and miserable, almost as if he was going to prostrate himself on the floor at any moment. Luna hoped that he wouldn’t.

“I’ll let you two talk,” Berry said, backing away, her ears perking forwards. The earth pony, after having backed away, trotted off towards the sound of a colt squealing for mercy. It was too close to bedtime for Cadance to get all worked up from horseplay and Berry Punch planned to put an end to it.

“Did you get my message?” Sentinel asked.

Eyebrows furrowing, Luna looked down at Sentinel and gave him an imperious stare. “I did. I suppose that you have something to say about your request?”

Cringing, Sentinel nodded. “I don’t deserve a public ceremony. I didn’t do what I did for the benefit or protection of others, but for my own selfish needs. Everything just sort of happened and I just happened to be along for the events that took place. I do not want a public crowning or knighting.”

“You know what I think—”

Sentinel let out a whimper at the sound of Luna’s voice.

“—I think a little colt is too much like his father and is looking for an excuse.” Luna’s expression softened. “But I also understand how overwhelming all those things can be and I respect that.” She saw Sentinel lift his head and she felt something in her heart soften. “I was thinking about having Princess Apple Bloom act in an official capacity and grant you your knighthood. Maybe a very small ceremony with just you, your friends, and a few family members. Would you like that?”

“Very much so,” Sentinel replied, all too aware at how squeaky his voice sounded right now. He cleared his throat, feeling anxious, licked his lips, and looked up at Luna. “Thank you, thank you very much.”

“I expect good things from you,” Luna said to Sentinel, her voice gentle and kind.

“I’ll try not to disappoint you… I’ve done it once and I never want to do it again.” Sentinel bowed his head, but his posture was now showing confidence. His spine was straight, his wings were folded at his sides, and his ears now stood upright. Lifting his head, he looked up at Luna, his eyes wide with adoration.

“Go and keep Erebus company and save him from Cadance. I need to go speak with your father…”

 

 

“There you are, I was wondering where you went. I should have known.” Luna stood in the nursery door, looking at Tourmaline and Bucky. Between them was a brilliant, almost dazzling white foal. Tourmaline appeared to be so excited that she almost seemed to be beside herself.

“She’s like me!” Tourmaline said in an excited voice as she looked up at Luna. “But she’s not like me… she’s strange, but I like her.” The changeling foal looked at the other changeling foal for a moment and then turned once more to look at Luna.

“I suppose the three of you can all have secret conversations now about changeling stuff.” Luna strode forwards, giving a nod to Derpy. “Buckminster, how are you adjusting to… your changes?

Shrugging, Bucky replied, “I dunno.”

“I feel as though I owe you an apology. I have already apologised to the Shadowbolts. It seemed like a useful adaptation at the time and it made all of you very strong during the war—”

“Luna,” Bucky said, interrupting, “try not to worry about it. We didn’t know. It is being fixed now, before any real harm was done. Magical experimentation is fraught with danger.” As Bucky spoke, Tourmaline pressed her muzzle against his cheek and gave him a kiss.

“I have been second guessing myself a great deal as of late, wondering if some of the things I have done have been worth it. I have not been myself. Mistakes have been made and I do not know how to atone for them. I have been in error.” Luna lowered her head and pressed her nose against Crisis, who let out a squeaky whinny.

“Go and be with Barley… I think he needs you.” Bucky, overcome with strong feelings of affection, lifted his head and nosed Luna just below her ear, causing the alicorn mare to jerk backwards. He saw her look at him, startled by his affection, and then, after a long moment of giving him a blank stare, Luna smiled.

 

 

Stepping out of the shower, Sentinel gave himself a hearty shake and smiled. He had woken up this morning feeling a bit more like himself. That brief moment with Princess Luna the night before had lifted his spirits, and he had spent time with his newborn siblings, who had had themselves a sleepless night. He let out an echolocation whistle of happiness as he stood dripping on the floor of the bathroom. Last night, there had been no nightmares of Sombra, and Sentinel wondered if Princess Luna had something do with it.

Standing in front of the sink, Sentinel combed back his mane, trying to get out the tangles, and thought about getting it cut. It was getting shaggy again, his mane grew so fast. He knew that if he asked, Lyra would trim it. He put it on the list of things to do today. It was the weekend, no school, and while he had some homework to do, he was looking forward to the two days of rest, if there was any rest to be had. He suspected that he was going to be put to work.

He smiled at himself in the mirror, picked up his glasses off of the counter, pinching them between his thumb and central knuckle on his left wing. He slid them on his face, adjusted them, and then made a very serious ‘I know what I’m doing’ face, just to see what he looked like. His glasses made him look older and more capable.

“Hurry up in there, you have a visitor!” Bon Bon shouted through the door.

Sentinel grinned, feeling hopeful. Spending the day with Diamond Tiara might be nice.

 

 

Feeling a little surprised, Sentinel looked at Flash Sentry and Thunderlane, his visitors. Both were wearing caps and badges, having come here in an official capacity. He took a deep breath, feeling nervous, wondering what was up.

“Hello Sentinel… we’re here to speak to you about some community service,” Flash Sentry said while trying to look friendly. “Don’t worry, it’s nothing too bad, but we do need your help. We have a missing foal that we’re hoping you can help us find. We need your sniffer.”

Sentinel blinked and focused all of his attention upon Flash Sentry.

“The foal seems to have snuck out some time last night. Her name is Sand Piper and she’s a little unicorn. She’s about five. Her mother discovered that she wasn’t in her bed this morning. Her father thinks that his little trouble maker slipped out in the wee hours of the morning or just before dawn to do a little exploring, this isn’t the first time this has happened, but last time, last week, she was discovered by a neighbor who was out doing some chores in the wee hours of the morning.” Flash Sentry’s face became one of solemn concern.

“We can’t find her, we have the flock looking for her, but she’s little, mischievous, and good at hiding. The pegasi we have looking for her haven’t seen her. We’re hoping that you can save us all a whole bunch of trouble and sniff her out.” Thunderlane took a step forwards, a hopeful expression on his face. “Just think about how relieved her parents would be to have her back, Sentinel.”

“Of course I’ll help,” Sentinel said to Thunderlane, “how could I not?”

“Good.” Flash Sentry looked relieved, but still had a father’s worry upon his face. “Sand Piper is little for her age, slight of build, light brown, and has a bright yellow mane with even brighter orange streaks. No cutie mark.”

“Hang on, we’re coming!” Dinky said as she came charging down the front steps.

Thunderlane shook his head. “I dunno about this—”

“Sentinel is gonna need us,” Dinky insisted. “That little filly is going to be scared and scared little fillies are going to be scared of strange colts.” Dinky went stiff legged, looking very much like a little pegasus. “I can also ask the bugs for help.”

“She can, that would be helpful.” Sentinel glanced at Dinky, then looked at Flash Sentry and Thunderlane. “Look, we’ll stay together. I think things will go better if we all work together. With my nose and Dinky’s bugs, we’ll find Sand Piper in no time.”

“Ask your parents,” Flash Sentry said, “and if they allow it, I’ll allow it. For the record, I think this is a good idea. We have a very freaked out mother right now and one very scared father and I think they’ll be happy to know that we have a very capable search team.”

“You up for this Piña? I know you’re sad, but maybe this well help you.” Dinky turned and looked at Piña, who was standing on the porch. She saw Piña sigh and then a halfhearted smile appeared on Piña’s muzzle.

“I’ll help.” Piña looked at Dinky and Sentinel. “I’d do it even if it wasn’t community service. I got lost once and I was so scared… Berry found me… nopony even realised I was missing, but she knew.” Piña felt a case of the sniffles coming on and her head dropped. She stared down at her front hooves.

“While you three are looking, we’ll tell the air patrols to ease off. Sand Piper might know that she is being looked for, but she might come out where you three can find her if she thinks it’s safe.” Thunderlane puffed out his cheeks and exhaled. “Foals… scaring their parents… sometimes I hate being a parent.”

Sentinel could not help but feel a pang of guilt from Thunderlane’s words. He cringed.

“Glass Slipper likes to give Twilight the slip in Canterlot castle… it drives Twilight nuts, but when it happens to Rainbow Dash… she turns into a real hot mess with lots of tears,” Flash Sentry said.

Yep, Sentinel thought to himself, I’m being raked over the coals.

“And when Scootaloo got gone, poor Rainbow—”

“AAAAAAAAAAARGH! I’m sorry!” Sentinel cried out.

Eyes narrowing, Flash Sentry nodded. “You should be. Ever seen a nesting pegasus suddenly missing something from her nest? It isn’t pretty. I hope that you never find out what that’s like.”

Sentinel, unable to look at Flash Sentry, turned to look at his sisters instead. “Come on you two, let’s go get our parents’ permission before we go out… we don’t want to upset the nest.”

 

 

 

 

 

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