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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Canterlot. Rising Star stood inside the room that he and his family would be staying in while the spring session was in order. The room was large, without being too large, had a few simple furnishings for comfort, and a single large bed, which Ripple was already testing by jumping up and down on, while trying to get Bittersweet to join her.

Bittersweet, who had seemed to hit a streak of maturity, had filled out a bit. She was no longer quite so thin and slight—oh no, she had put on a little weight in all of the right places, her neck had grown a little longer, her cheeks a little chubbier, and she had perfect, shapely legs that distracted her herdmates.

Standing beside the bed, Sparkler’s head bobbed up and down as she watched Ripple bouncing. Ripple too, had grown up a bit, had matured a bit just in time for spring. While Bittersweet had grown a little softer, a little rounder, a little plusher, Ripple had grown more muscular, more defined, and her lithe body now had long, well muscled legs.

“Hey, I’m hungry,” Loch Skimmer announced as she stood in the corner of the room watching her sister jump up and down upon the bed. “And watching Ripple jump is making me tired. Ugh, Ripple, how do you do that? We’ve been on our hooves all morning.”

In response to Loch Skimmer’s question, Ripple shrugged mid-bounce.

“Is everypony settled in? Because if we are, I’m going to see Sentinel, Dinky, and Piña.” Rising Star looked around him at his collection of mares, feeling more than a little protective now that they were in less than familiar surroundings.

“I wanna see Daddy.” Loch Skimmer’s ears perked. “And maybe get something to eat. Food would be good. Hey… hey, Rising, you need to feed to me. It’s your fault that I’m as hungry as I am.”

Eyebrow arching, Rising Star looked at Loch and then over at Sparkler. “How much can she eat in a day, anyhow? She had breakfast… twice and then enjoyed brunch.”

“We’ll get something to eat in the castle when we go and see Dinky, Piña, and Sentinel. We’ll just turn Loch loose and let her graze.” One of Sparkler’s eyes closed as her face spasmed and she stood there, defiant, trying to make the involuntary shuddering stop.

Coming up beside Sparkler, Bittersweet nosed the filly lost in the throes of the Shivers and then gave her a full body bump for good measure. Her long ears stood up and she stood, mute, her expression worried.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” Sparkler said as she opened her closed eye. “Let’s go. I wanna go see a few ponies I love and Loch needs food. Let’s get out of here.”

 

 

Canterlot was a very different place. Bucky didn’t quite know what to make of it. Twilight Sparkle had remade the mountain and now work was being done to fix everything that had been broken during the change. This was not the city of his foalhood, but was now something else. There could be no doubt though, the city had changed. It was an intangible change, something one could feel without ever quite knowing what it was exactly, unless everything involving the bizarre situation had been explained by somepony with a Twilight Sparkle level vocabulary.

This was one of Twilight’s great works, something she would be forever remembered for. Twilight Sparkle, Princess of Friendship, Master Harmonist, Restorer of Balance and Order. Bucky sighed. He would be remembered for far less pleasant things. The wind blew around him, carrying with it the scents of a city that knew privilege.

A gaggle of griffons flew overhead, little griffons, and Bucky thought of Belisama. Thinking of Belisama caused Bucky to also think of Bandua, and he missed his cub that did little more than lay around and peep. The griffons all changed directions as one, moving with an eerie fluidity. It amazed Bucky that griffons could fly the way they did, moving as one in the air, without command, without instruction or direction. The gaggle swooped about, flew to a lower level of the castle, and then, one by one, darted through a window.

No pegasus maid or steward was ever so efficient in their tasks.

“Bucky?”

Ears lifting beneath his hood, Bucky turned to the sound of Agnetha’s voice. The griffoness did not appear to have Beauregard with her and Bucky could not help but feel disappointed. His claws tapped upon the stone crenulations where he stood. No longer a terrestrial based mammal, Bucky was not constrained to places that had easy to reach walkways.

“I wanted to speak with you,” Agnetha said in a low voice, “before you heard it from others. I wanted to let you know how important it is to me.”

“What?” Bucky asked, wondering what was going on.

“Princess Celestia is considering granting a state of minor princesshood upon Boadicea for slaying the Hag. Equestrian princesshood.” Agnetha’s crest rose and her predatory eyes locked onto what little bit of Bucky’s face she could see beneath his hood. “Now, before you protest this, or try to dismiss it as Boadicea just doing the right thing, there are a few things I’d like to make clear to you.”

“I’m listening.”

The wind gusted, ruffling Agnetha’s feathers, but Bucky’s cloak did not move in the slightest, appearing as unmovable as the castle’s fortified walls. The pair stood, staring at one another, Bucky’s expression unseen, unknowable, while Agnetha had narrowed eyes and a raised crest.

“I want this to happen. There are those who still doubt that we are equals here in this land. Those who feel downtrodden… there are those who still have very little hope.” Agnetha’s talons flexed and her claws scraped against the stone. “It pains my heart to see my subjects this way. I want what is best for them… they need to know that we are equals.” Agnetha took a deep breath, then continued, “I do believe that Boadicea being made an Equestrian Princess would go a long way towards smoothing over the last few ruffled feathers. Yes, I am aware that this is a political gambit. Yes, I know that you loathe politics, which is probably going to make you like this whole thing even less. But I am requesting that you allow this to happen.”

Saying nothing, Bucky stood there, silent.

“Our griffons need to know that they have a future here. They need to know that if they serve this country, they will be rewarded. They need to see that their loyalty, their devotion, and their hard work will pay off with a promising future. They need to see what is possible for those who make sacrifices.” Agnetha’s head lifted a little higher and the feathers around her neck fluffed out a little more. “You have an obligation to look after our future.”

Slumping, Bucky nodded. “I will allow this to happen without protest.”

“Thank you.” Agnetha’s flinty stare softened and the griffoness let out a sigh of relief.

“That little hairball keeps me awake at night. I don’t know who she is going to strangle with piano wire next, or if she is going to steal something from the armory, or what she is going to do to my son. I love her dearly, don’t get me wrong, but she worries me.” Bucky turned his head and looked down upon Canterlot below him.

“She carries the hopes and dreams of our kind. She has been touched by Hearthfire. I think we can safely say that she is our future queen. Knowing that she is there allows me to sleep better at night.” Agnetha moved a little closer to Bucky and looked down upon the city with him.

Far below, a carriage clattered over the cobblestones, out delivering bread to the local restaurants. Bucky watched it for a moment, saw how it rocked back and forth over the bumpy road, and then turned to look at Agnetha.

Seeing the proud griffon queen, Bucky could not help but feel hopeful.

 

 

“And he does have good looking nurses.” Loch Skimmer reached out and touched Sentinel’s foreleg as she looked at Rising Star. “I’m starving, remember?” She batted her eyelashes at her husband.

Diamond Tiara began tittering as an embarrassed grin spread over her face.

“How does it feel to be a hero?” Rising Star asked Dinky.

The filly did not reply right away. She was painting with watercolours and a grimace of concentration was upon her face as she tried to make a realistic looking bank of pine trees. After a few stabs with her brush, she looked up at Rising Star, blinked, and shrugged.

“Other than still having a bit of a headache, I don’t feel any different.”

Scowling, Sparkler sat down beside her little sister and then began to study Dinky’s painting on the easel. She looked at Dinky for a moment, then back at the easel. Her scowl softened and her ears splayed out sideways. “Is that Spike?”

“Yep.” Dinky nodded. “He’s off having an adventure, doing happy dragon things. He’s not finished yet. No green frills.”

“Say, that looks pretty good. You’re really becoming a fantastic painter, Little Sis.” Sparkler ignored Loch Skimmer’s frantic whimpers for food.

“I find that it keeps me calm and leveled out.” Dinky pushed her smoking cap back upon her head, glanced at Sparkler, and then relaxed just a little. She leaned against her sister, holding her brush in her telekinesis, and looked at her painting. She pointed to an as of yet unpainted section. “Over there, I’m going to paint Peewee, the phoenix that Spike rescued and returned to its parents. I thought they could use a reunion.”

“Dying…” Loch Skimmer’s stomach made a loud gurgle. “Oh, death comes upon swift wings. I am about to expire.” She waved her hoof in front of her mouth as she tried to suck in her stomach. “Dying…”

A pale white earth pony draped beneath a black cloak, who stood watching, unseen in the corner of the room near a pot of petunias, rolled his eyes at Loch Skimmer’s words. He didn’t even have wings… at the moment. He wouldn’t be coming to collect her until one hundred and fourteen more years had passed, when she would quietly slip away while having a party to celebrate the prestigious feats of reproduction she and her offspring would commit during her lifetime, and she would have two hundred and forty one great, great, great, great grandfoals, and Loch Skimmer passing along her love of sex and pregnancy to each and every one of them.

She would die three days before two hundred and forty two would arrive, a filly, who would also be named Loch Skimmer, in honour of her randy, fun loving, perverted grandmother, who loved life so much that she couldn’t stop making more of it, passing on her randy, fun loving, perverted, ‘I love life so much I can’t stop making more of it’ genes.

Realising that he was needed elsewhere, the pale white earth pony vanished with a sigh of regret after snuffing the life force from a pot full of petunias, fulfilling his purpose, and doing exactly what his cutie mark, a wilted petunia, told him to do.

“Need food…” Loch Skimmer pointed to her mouth with one hoof and danced around on her other three hooves.

“Hey, the petunias in the corner,” Piña said as she pointed to the large, bright orange decorative flowerpot, “they all just died.”

“I guess they didn’t get enough water.” Diamond Tiara trotted over to the now wilted petunias and looked at them, noticing their faded colour. “Either they didn’t get enough water or Bodi has been peeing in the houseplants—”

“Hey, we griffons provide many valuable services, watering houseplants is just one of them.” Boadicea fluffed out and pointed at the petunias with one extended talon while Sentinel started to laugh. “But that is not my handiwork.”

“Fresh Meat, did you terminate the petunias with extreme prejudice?” Ripple asked.

“No!” Boadicea shook her head. “I didn’t do anything, honest.”

Sentinel let out a wheeze and his eye closed as he sank back into the pillows propping him up in his chair. The colt managed to let out a few more chuckles, then fell silent as he focused on breathing.

“I think Bodi is innocent,” Diamond Tiara said as a wide grin spread over her muzzle.

“And what makes you say that?” Ripple asked as she looked at Boadicea.

“The petunias weren’t strangled to death or stabbed,” Diamond Tiara replied. “This doesn’t fit her modus operandi.”

“Her what?” Ripple blinked, confused, and shook her head as other ponies in the room began laughing.

“Her usual way of doing things.” Diamond Tiara turned and looked at Boadicea. “If she was the flower killer, these flowers would have known a violent, horrible death. But these flowers”—Diamond Tiara gestured at them with her hoof—“these flowers died of natural causes, I think.”

Ripple glanced at Boadicea and then back at Diamond Tiara. “Fine, I’ll take your word as an earth pony,” she said with mock seriousness. Ripple’s ear twitched and she struggled not to laugh.

“It’s weird to hear Sentinel laugh,” Sparkler said from where she sat with Dinky. “I like it. Let’s keep making him do it.”

Loch Skimmer, who feared that death would come at any moment, let out a whine and flapped her wings. “Ugh, I’m never going to get to eat.”

 

 

 

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