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 getting himself comfortable, Rising Star had a good look at the small table that was his workspace. Somepony had included a mirror and it took Rising Star a moment to figure out why—it would be useful for Bittersweet to be able to read his lips, so long as he kept his head at the right angle. There was a permission button and a light—pressing the button would put in a request to speak and the light would let him know that it was okay to do so.

There was also a button for voting. He glanced at Bittersweet beside him, then had a look around the room. Other representatives were settling in and Rising Star saw new faces. There were a few donkeys now, one minotaur, two diamond dogs, and a couple of hunter griffons. Nowhere near enough representation for the minority groups, but it was a start.

Rising had himself a good long look at the Aurora Guards, Princess Twilight Sparkle’s Guardians of Democracy. Little griffons were posted all over the place, very much like housecats populating a library. They sat on shelves, on tables, on ledges, they were everywhere and had every angle covered. They had pamphlets, etiquette guides, a list of things on the agenda, there was all manner of helpful information that the guard could pass out to curious visitors.

Then there was Sparkler, who looked completely innocuous while sitting on a large, fuzzy, cushion that was a subdued shade of dusky purple and had dark blue fringe around the edges. Rising Star liked the new additions. The little griffons were not quite as distracting as guards in heavy armor. They were unobtrusive and Sparkler, well, Sparkler was easy on the eyes and Rising Star liked having her around. Ripple was around here someplace, but she had been posted outside near one of  the entrances.

Rising’s thoughts drifted to Loch Skimmer, who was off keeping Sentinel company. As Rising Star passed the time, waiting for the session to start, he scanned the crowd looking for faces he knew, and he was rewarded. He spotted Applejack and Silver Shill almost right away. He saw his parents, Galaxy Guide and Shining Star. He saw his adopted siblings also sitting with them, Brass Note and Singsong, both of them no doubt getting a crash course in the inner workings of the democratic process. He saw a number of other foals in the audience. Seeing them gave Rising Star a feeling of hope and a determination to do the best job he could. He was trying to make a better future for them, that was the point.

Near silence fell over the expansive room as Twilight Sparkle entered, flanked on all sides by a gaggle of little griffons, guards with the weapons for democracy. They had booklets, folders, dockets, and were armed with all manner of information. Twilight herself was wearing her diadem and a somewhat crooked pair of reading glasses were perched upon her nose. As Twilight entered, there was some good natured hooting from a rainbow maned pegasus sitting in the crowd with a little green crystal pony filly and a dragon.

A low murmur began to fill the large room as Twilight strode down the concourse, a happy sound of muffled voices speaking to one another, but trying to be polite. The murmur turned to gasps as Princess Celestia appeared upon a balcony, high up above, and the white alicorn waved down at the crowd. Rising Star smiled, he couldn’t help himself, everything about this felt right.

As he sat there, grinning, Bittersweet beside him, he felt a bit of a cold chill go creeping up his spine as the room fell silent. Without knowing how he knew, Rising Star knew that Bucky was now here, though unseen and unnoticed. He looked around, his ears twitching as a faint whispering from a few ponies restored the murmur of excitement. He wondered where Bucky was and he looked around, wondering if there was an aversion spell that was keeping Bucky all but invisible. After a few minutes, the crowd’s infectious happiness returned as if nothing at all had happened. He saw Scorpan appear on the balcony with Princess Celestia.

On another balcony, there were a group of esteemed visitors, very important entities, not all of which were ponies. One was a wizened old griffon with piercing eyes that Rising Star knew all too well. Another was a minotaur that Rising knew, Heifer Aestus. The others, Rising Star did not know, but he knew they were important. The immortals were taking an interest in politics, all the more reason for everyone present to be on their best behaviour.

“Okay everypo—er, whoops!” Twilight Sparkle let out a nervous chuckle. “Everybody… everybody… okay everybody, I’m calling this session to order. Let us begin working towards a better, brighter future. Let us be on our best behaviour. Let’s try to make some progress today, okay?” Twilight looked around the room at the gathered crowd. “If you need any help, require assistance, or need some information on one of the issues we’ll be addressing today, please, quietly ask one of the Aurora Guard. They are here to serve you. I ask that you give them the respect that they are due and that you comply with any and all of their requests.” Twilight’s head turned and she looked at Sparkler. “Really, I must insist on that last point. There will be order in this assembly and that is all I have to say upon the issue.” Twilight cleared her throat and then smiled. “Now, let us begin!”

 

 

“—and the Monogamist Party has plead their case on why they should get extra votes and gain a protected minority status. Would any of the gathered representatives care to address this issue or offer a counter argument? Would anyone like to address Mister Elm?”

Rising Star coughed to clear his throat and felt a nervous shakiness as he pressed the address button. The morning had been uneventful, by and large, and this had been one of the most productive sessions ever. There was a feeling of progress, of a job well done.

For the past twenty minutes or so, Mister Elm had made an impassioned plea that the monogamists were now an endangered minority and needed some means to compensate, in this case, through extra votes, in order to be able to compete with large herd families.

For Rising Star, it was all bunk. It was a ploy, at least, it felt like a ploy. He was sure that the monogamists felt threatened in very much the same way that some straight ponies felt threatened by homosexuals—it was different, therefore, it was bad. In truth, there was no real difference and Rising Star resented the fact that part of his job was potentially having to legislate bedroom behaviour and personal preference.

It was, in the immortal words of Scorch himself, a whopping load of minotaur shite.

Much to Rising’s surprise, the light blinked on. He hadn’t been expecting it to do so. He would have thought that one of the older, wiser, more experienced representatives would be allowed to speak first, to offer a rebuttal or a criticism of the proposed request. Feeling a little nervous, Rising Star now had to find the right words to say. He took a deep breath.

“Mister Elm, my name is Representative Rising Star, and I am one of the very ponies that you call a degenerate to society.” As Rising Star spoke his ears moved as he tried to put his words into ear language. Beside him, Bittersweet’s ears moved with smooth, fluid grace, a flawless performance, and Rising Star could see her in the mirror.

He cleared his throat and continued, “In all honesty, those of us in herd marriages have more of a right to claim a protected minority status. We are few in number and we exist as a fringe group, separate from the acceptable norm. We haven’t asked for protective minority status though, and there is a reason why.”

Rising Star allowed a pregnant pause to happen and he waited to allow the tension to build. He looked around and saw that he had everyone’s attention. Reporters, audience members, even one alicorn princess now hung on his every word. He felt nervous and his stomach squelched.

“We polygamists have not formed a political party,” Rising Star said in a booming voice that carried through the room. “There was talk about it, even a few attempts made to get one going, but those all died out. Forming a political party would only create an ‘us versus them’ mentality that does no good for anypony.” Rising Star lifted his head, but kept his mouth clear in the mirror. “We are not your enemies, Mister Elm. We are not out to get you. Not a one us is secretly planning to covertly convert your foals into polygamists. We do not have an agenda to get rid of standard marriage. You still outnumber us by vast, unknown numbers.”

Pausing, Rising Star took a deep breath, and then went on, “While our family structure is quite unlike your family structure, we are not so different, Mister Elm. We want the same things, we do, really. We want good schools for our foals. We want a promotion of family values, because believe me, herds really are about family. We’re not just perverts and sex fiends, but we’ve chosen to live in an extended family arrangement for practical purposes as well.”

A low murmur went through the crowd.

“A political party should not be founded on personal sexual or familial preference. Who you are and what you do in your bedroom or in the privacy of your own home should not be the foundation for your political platform. That is a personal, private choice, and as a representative, I resent that I must attempt to legislate personal, private choices. Monogamy, polygamy, gay, straight, polyamorous, and even interspecies couples or herds… we should all have the right to create a family structure of our own choosing without fear of threat, reprisal, or the interference of others… I do not want to be the one who interferes with another’s personal lifestyle choices.”

There were a few gasps from the crowd and several flashbulbs went off as reporters snapped pictures. Rising Star waited for the crowd to settle and he scanned the audience, trying to get a feel for it. After a moment, his gaze fell upon Mister Elm and he could see a thoughtful expression upon the earth pony’s face.

“Why must we focus upon our differences? Why can’t we work together to create a future that we can all share and enjoy? We really do want the same things, we share many of the same values, why must we draw a line in the sand and separate ourselves because of what amounts to a personal choice on lifestyle? Why do you feel threatened? Why do you feel the need to try and curtail us and our efforts? What do you hope to gain by having extra votes? Why would you want to restrict our future?”

Mister Elm cleared his throat and looked around, realising that every eye in the place was focused upon him. He lifted his head and the pale brown pony let out a nervous cough. He looked around, his ears folded back in a submissive posture.

Licking his lips, Mister Elm stood there in thunderstruck silence, his eyes wide, and Rising Star waited for some kind of reply. The two stood staring at one another, and the tension in the room became palpable, like the electric tingle in the air when a thunderstorm was brewing.

“My good Representatives, on the behalf of the Monogamist Party, I would like to rescind our request to become a protected minority status—”

Mister Elm was interrupted by furious booing and jeers from the audience, as well as the loud stomping of many hooves. All at once, many griffon heads turned and focused upon the source of the disturbance, and little avian eyes focused upon a crowd of ponies all sitting together. Sparkler also turned her baleful, stony gaze upon the crowd.

Much to Rising Star’s relief, the crowd quieted down and order prevailed.

“Furthermore,” Mister Elm continued now that it was quieter, “I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you… your perspective was refreshing.” Elm let out a sigh, looked around him, was almost blinded by a popping flashbulb, and then returned his attention to Rising Star. “I would also like to publicly renounce my political platform—”

Elm waited for more jeers and boos, but none seemed forthcoming. There were, however, a lot of furious, rage filled glares. He ignored them. “I think we’ve become part of the problem. At least, I think I’ve become part of the problem.” The earth pony shook his head and looked sad. “Representative Rising Star, if I might request something from you?”

“Sure, go ahead, I am ever your servant,” Rising replied.

“When this assembly is over, could we talk? Maybe discuss how we could work together? Instead of focusing upon our differences, perhaps we could focus on what we have in common?” Mister Elm gave Rising Star an expectant look.

“I’d like that.” Rising Star nodded. “When we conclude today, come and find me. We’ll have dinner together.”

“Thank you, Representative Rising Star.” Elm bowed his head, smiled, and then gave an apologetic glance to Princess Twilight Sparkle. “I’m done here, I don’t want to take up any more of your time… I’ve done enough harm already.” With a sheepish grin, Elm began to back away so he could go and sit back down.

Feeling eyes upon him, Rising Star looked around, and then looked up. He could not help but notice that Princess Celestia was staring at him. There was no question about it, he could feel her piercing, curious gaze upon him. Feeling a little self conscious, Rising felt his frogs get sweaty.

“Next on the agenda… Crown standards and government regulation of reconstruction efforts in our major cities… building practices and enforcement of standards…”

 

 

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