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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“Hello, my name is Raven, and I am Princess Celestia’s personal assistant. How are all of you doing? Feeling better? Is everypony and everybirdy comfortable? We’re going to be talking about some very important grown up stuff, so I really do need everypony’s and everybirdy’s attention, thank you.”

Little heads turned and looked at Raven. Dinky adjusted her smoking cap, made herself comfortable, and glanced at Piña. Piña, eyes focused on Raven, looked curious and her ears were pitched forwards in attentiveness. Boadicea, sitting beside Sentinel, looked up from grooming Sentinel’s shaggy pelt and focused her attention upon Raven. Sentinel, who had both pillows and Boadicea propping him up, blinked his remaining eye and tried to look at Raven. Diamond Tiara sat watching Raven with eager, curious eyes.

“All of you did a very brave thing.” Raven’s eyes darted to the figures sitting in the corner of the room. Bucky sat between Bon Bon and Lyra, looking pensive and anxious. “Not only have you slain the Hag, but you have returned the city of Hoofington to us.” Raven cleared her throat, shuffled her notes, and then smiled at the foals. “Let’s see, where do I begin… ah, I know.”

Raven shuffled around more notes and pulled a sheet of paper out of a folder. “Here we go,” she muttered to herself. She raised her eyes and focused on Boadicea. “Princess Celestia can’t stand for something with good potential to go to waste. Hoofington is a tiny village with good potential. It is in a unique location, situated within the Everfree, it is very near to the old Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters, and it is just a few minutes of flight from the farm that you call home.” Raven gave the foals a big smile.

In the corner, Bucky cleared his throat.

“Now, recently, there was some unpleasantness that happened… an airship was stolen, there was a bit of trouble, and I understand that there has been some debate on how to punish all of you. After some discussion with relevant parties, Princess Celestia has found a wonderful, novel solution to a whole host of problems.”

Crest rising, Boadicea let out a peep, Piña groaned, and Dinky let out a troubled sigh.

“We’ve decided that we’re not going to punish our heroes. No, you’ve become assets. You’ve shown that you have talent, skill, and potential. And Princess Celestia can’t stand for something with good potential to go to waste. So, as of this moment, all punishment due for the airship theft incident has been rescinded. This goes for Apple Bloom and the others as well, I’ll be passing along all relevant information to Applejack and Silver Shill, as well as other parents involved in his fiasco.”

Every foal and griffon cub in the room heaved a sigh of relief and Piña let out a little laugh of triumph, glad to be free and clear of trouble. Dinky closed her eyes and smiled. Diamond Tiara bounced up and down in her chair.

“We’re going to reward you,” Raven said in a chipper, cheerful voice of doom.

Something about the way she said it made every foal and griffon cub in the room cringe, and from the corner, a faint, manic cackle could be heard coming from Bucky, a giggle from Lyra, and a low, husky chuckle from Bon Bon.

“I can feel my plothole puckering,” Piña whispered to her sister, Dinky.

“We’re in the deep doo,” Dinky replied.

Raven took a deep breath, her smile broadened, and an almost gleeful, but horrible gleam in her eyes made the foals and the cub in front of her shiver. “Hoofington will be cleaned up. It will be rebuilt. It will be renamed… Princess Luna suggested Griffonwood, and that is likely the new name.” Raven pointed her hoof at Boadicea and nodded her head. “And you… yes, you, you are going to be crowned as a minor Princess of Equestria. Griffonwood will be your city. You are going to learn the responsibilities of rule.”

Boadicea, frozen, did not move, appeared not to be breathing, she did not make a sound, and her large, black eyes were unblinking.

“The good news is, you will have your friends to help you. Apple Bloom is also in need of lessons on rule. So you, and all of your friends, you are going to form a city council and you are going to make Griffonwood a thriving, comfortable city. The griffons will have a city of their own, a place to call home, and they will be surrounded on all sides by the Everfree, giving them adequate hunting grounds. While your friends will be helping you, make no mistake, Boadicea, this is your city, and will be until the day you die.”

“Bodi?” Diamond Tiara looked over at her best friend and confidant, feeling worried, Boadicea had gone still for far too long.

“We’ve been rewarded,” Dinky said as she let out a nervous laugh.

“Yes you have. You’ve done good things. Wonderful things. You’ve rid the world of Sombra, and now the Hag is gone as well. We no longer felt it was fair to punish such brave, courageous heroes. The three ruling heads of Equestria, Princess Celestia, Princess Luna, and Princess Twilight Sparkle, all felt that punishing you was a hasty, terrible mistake done out of anger. Prince Buckminster was also consulted about his feelings on the matter and after a brief discussion, a mutual agreement was reached. Good foals, and cubs, who strive to be heroic, will be rewarded for each act of heroism performed.”

“I’m never leaving the house again,” Diamond Tiara grumbled as she slumped down in her chair. “And Sentinel, if you ever have a stupid idea ever again, I am going to slap your face into next Sunday.”

“Griffonwood will be very important for the future of the griffons. We want them to feel at home here. While Vanhoover has a very high griffon population already, it is not a city they can call their own. Griffonwood however, will be a griffon city through and through, and Princess Celestia feels that it would be a good thing if Apple Bloom assists you Boadicea, so that she will have much needed and valuable experience in city management, not just for ponies, but for griffons as well. We must keep an eye upon our shared, mutual future.”

From the corner, the manic cackling continued, and Dinky turned her head to give her father a dirty look through narrowed eyes.

“As for you, Prince Sentinel, as the Future King of the Griffons, Griffonwood will be your seat of power. The Everfree will be your demesne. Princess Luna is still looking into titles, but you will be the warden of the Everfree, and responsible for the fish and wildlife management. There is only so much land available, and as such, so much food, but the griffons need a way to hunt and fish for sustenance. I suspect that your fish cutie mark will be quite useful in the years to come. This is a job that fits you perfectly.”

Sentinel moaned and made a feeble gesture with his right foreleg, but he said nothing.

“Doesn’t it feel good, rising up, facing life’s challenges, lifting yourself up from mediocrity, doing heroic deeds, and becoming responsible?” Raven smiled a smile that was every bit as ruthless and horrible as one of Bucky’s manic rictuses. “With every problem you face, with every adventure you think about going on, we want you to ask yourselves, ‘how much responsibility will this get me?’ The good news is, we have a lot of responsibility available and waiting, and we live with the hope that a few brave, worthy souls will be found that can take it all on. The more exceptional talents a pony or a griffon shows, the more responsibility they will be rewarded with. So by all means, be young! Be reckless! Be brave! Be courageous! Go out and have adventures!”

From the corner, there was a thump, followed by Lyra gasping, “Bucky!”

Turning her head, Piña saw Bon Bon trying to lift her father from the floor. He was clutching his sides and had his eyes squeezed shut. Piña loved her daddy, of that there could be no doubt, but right now… right now this minute… right now, she hated him just a teeny, tiny bit. He was enjoying this far too much. Her muzzle crinkled and she turned her attention back to Raven, who was shuffling her notes again. She realised this was only the beginning…

 

 

Derpy blinked a few times as she tried to take everything in. She was confused, worried, and uncertain of what to do. She focused her good eye upon Doctor Mawu and saw that the good doctor appeared to be tired, a bit worn down. She heard Berry Punch sigh beside her.

“I don’t understand,” Derpy said as she shook her head.

“What isn’t clear?” Doctor Mawu asked.

The grey pegasus lifted her head, thought about Sukari, and then thought about Berry Pinch. She had trouble understanding everything that had been said. She took a moment to think about what to say, so she could be as clear as possible.

At last, Derpy spoke.

“Sukari was half feral and she was able to be around other foals. We were able to get her trust… why is Berry Pinch different?” Derpy let out a little wicker, grimaced, and shook her head. “Both have been abused. Both have had bad things happen. I don’t understand.”

“Both are very different foals,” Doctor Mawu replied, slumping down a bit in her chair. “Sukari was socialised around other foals on the Shetlands. She was half feral, but still had some of herself.” Doctor Mawu drew in a deep breath, held it, and then let it out in a weary sigh. “Berry Pinch is one of the most staggering cases of neglect I’ve ever seen. She’s gone mustang. She doesn’t talk. She’s gone wild in the most literal sense of the word. This isn’t something that you can just fix with lots of love and patience.”

“But… but…” Derpy’s lower lip quivered. “You’re telling me we can’t ever let her around our other foals?” The grey pegasus looked heartbroken. “You’re telling me she’s dangerous?”

“During one of her panicked states, if she was to kick one of the newborns, it might kill them. She bites… vicious biting. Anything and everything she doesn’t understand, she attacks. Now, while she might be brought back into the herd again, this is not a good place to do it. Berry Pinch needs space. Lots of space. Away from others. She needs caretakers that will be able to devote a great deal of time to her special needs… time you can’t give to her.”

Berry Punch’s head dropped and she stared down at the floor, her ears drooping.

“Mister O’Blivion already has several wounds that required stitches. He keeps making the mistake that she can be reached with soft words and a gentle touch. He’s made no progress at all in trying to domesticate her. In my opinion, it is already beginning to affect his health—he is spending far too much time trying to care for her and too little time caring for himself.”

Lifting her head, Berry Punch felt hot tears rolling down her cheeks. She turned and looked at Derpy, her heart heavy in her barrel. “We need to the right thing, Derpy. She’s family, but we can’t save her. We’re not in a good position to do this and I’m not willing to put Barley or the newborns at risk.”

“No… no… no…” Derpy whimpered. “What do we do?”

“The right thing,” Berry whispered, “whatever that is.”

Reaching over, Derpy grabbed Berry, pulled her close, and began to squeeze her, burying her nose into Berry’s neck, and inhaling, breathing in Berry’s distinctive scent and taking comfort. Berry Punch twisted around until she could return Derpy’s embrace, and the two mares sat, clinging to one another, each trying to offer the other comfort.

“Everything has been so overwhelming,” Derpy said in a low, pained whine that was muffled from speaking into Berry’s neck. “Everything all at once. It’s been too much. I want Bucky back… I need to see him. I need to feel him. I want Sentinel back. I want things back to how they were.”

“I can help you make arrangements for Berry Pinch. There are asylums—”

“No,” Berry shook her head as she interrupted Doctor Mawu. “Not that… I’ll find something else. I don’t know what, but I’ll think of something. I owe Berry Pinch that much. Maybe she can still be saved, just not by us.” As she sat there, her heart breaking, Berry Punch realised just how much she hated her family. Stewing, Berry’s brain had something of an idea. There were family members that she didn’t hate… and where there was family, there was still hope. Berry made a mental note to talk to Violet and gave Derpy a reassuring squeeze.

“I think I know what to do,” Berry whispered, “at least, I have an idea.”

 

 

 

 

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