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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The early morning light was rosy, brilliant, and just now coming through the windows. Several bleary eyed ponies yawned, a few sleepy looking griffons opened their beaks, and the younger, newer royals watched as the elder royals cavorted around the room, acting very much like silly ponies.

“Are you sure you’re not angry with me?” Bucky asked his son, who was sitting beside him. He heard Sentinel yawn, letting out a soft whine as he did so, and Bucky could not help but feel that this was as close as his son came to being ‘cute.’

“I dunno, are you still angry with me about the airship incident?” Sentinel smacked his lips and beside him, Twilight Sparkle let out a low chuckle.

Reaching out his talons, Bucky gave Sentinel, who was sitting on his left, a poke with his folded talon knuckle, keeping his sharp claws away from his son. There was a shocking amount of sass to be found in Sentinel, and Bucky rather liked it.

“I don’t understand them,” Sentinel said as Luna chased her sister Celestia around the room with a large, hairy spider held in her telekinesis. Celestia was pleading with Luna to be reasonable, to not place the big, hairy spider upon her back. “I’m not angry with you, Father, but I don’t understand what took place last night.”

“Sentinel,” Twilight began in a low voice, “do you understand what ‘institutionalised thinking’ means?” Twilight Sparkle wrapped her wing around Sentinel’s back and leaned her head down close to Sentinel’s.

The colt nodded. “A little.”

“Celestia went through a very trying time while she was all by herself. She was almost a prisoner here in Canterlot. She was stuck making things work. For a very, very long time…” Twilight took a deep breath and her voice dropped down to a hushed whisper, “she had to do whatever she could to keep the peace and make certain that she guarded her long term plans. She became very passive in her protests. She lived in fear of causing too much of a disturbance or losing the favour of those who chose to support her.”

Beside Sentinel, Bucky hung his head and closed his eyes.

Twilight continued, “A lot of ponies judge her or condemn her without understanding her, or even making an effort to try and see the world like she does. For a thousand years she had to be very servile and bow to the whims of others. She had to protect what little bit of hope she had for the future. She had to sacrifice everything she had, everything she was, she had to give up the entirety of herself so that she could shelter the tiny spark of hope that she had. She couldn’t afford the risk of upsetting other ponies.”

Opening his eyes, Bucky lifted his head and in a low, pained voice, his ribs still aching, he said, “Now she is having trouble undoing that old thinking. Those old habits. They’ve had a thousand years to set in. Bad things have been done to her. She’s trying… she’s using Twilight Sparkle’s friendship reports to try and rebuild everything, but she is gonna make a lot of mistakes along the way.” Bucky turned and looked at his son. “And you… your duty is to look after her, protect her, and tend to her needs while she stumbles forwards and tries to reconnect with those around her. She’s gonna make mistakes, and sometimes, those mistakes are gonna hurt, but you are going to have to be a good pony and help her along.”

“Princess Celestia needs to be reborn, like Luna was. She needs a good mental reset. She has some mental illness—”

“Twilight,” Bucky said in a harsh whisper, “we agreed to keep that between ourselves.”

“Sentinel is a Prince of Equestria now,” Twilight retorted as she looked at Bucky. “He deserves to know. The more he knows now the better off he will be. He can adjust, take time to think, and plan ahead for the future.”

“Can she hear us?” Sentinel asked, sounding worried.

“No.” A sneaky smile spread over Twilight’s muzzle. “Bucky and I created a new spell together… an improved silence spell that causes a powerful aversion on spoken words. She can’t hear us because she doesn’t want to hear us. Neither can Luna.”

“Both of you are so treacherous.” Sentinel squirmed and let out a whimper.

“Bucky is treacherous, I’m a good, honest, virtuous pony,” Twilight replied. “I’m the Princess of Friendship. He’s the cold hearted Lord of Winter. Together, we plot against the ruling authorities.”

Beside Sentinel, Bucky snorted and shook his head as he rolled his eyes.

“Are you really suggesting that Princess Celestia needs to be reborn in fire like Princess Luna was?” Sentinel asked in a squeaky, foalish voice that was filled with fear and doubt.

“Even Scorch agrees with us. Immortals need new bodies from time to time. Princess Celestia has accrued one thousand years of brain damage. She’s been conditioned far too much and has endured far too much negativity. She needs a chance to be reset, to regrow, to spend time as a foal again, like Luna did, in a warm, loving environment. Give her brain a chance to create new connections and experience new growth.” Twilight ignored Bucky’s cold stare and focused upon Sentinel.

Letting out a squeak, Sentinel lept from the couch from where he sat between his father and Twilight. He turned and looked at the pair of them, a terrified expression upon his face. “I can’t deal with this… leave me out of it. I understand that I have responsibilities to know certain things, but I want nothing to do with this.” Shaking his head, Sentinel hurried away.

Watching him go, Twilight heaved a sigh and said, “That went better than expected. I thought he dealt with it rather well. Think he’ll come around in time?”

Bucky nodded. “I think when Luna speaks to him about it, he’ll be far more receptive…”



Grunting, Piña hefted Brandywine and pulled the foal into an embrace. For a troubling moment, Piña wondered if she should consider Brandywine to be her little sister or her niece. Things got confusing in this family at times. Brandywine, a good natured sort, sat with Piña, her sharp grey eyes peering around the room, and there was something of a smile upon Brandywine’s face as Piña gave her a squeeze.

There was no denying it, Brandywine was a fat little foal, and she had gained some weight since being born. She had round, chubby cheeks and plump, stubby legs. Piña was quite taken with Brandywine, and loved to cuddle her. She glanced over at Dinky, who was having a bit of a snuggle with little Barley. Dinky’s secret was safe with Piña, Dinky liked little Barley the most. Dinky felt a little guilty about it and the two of them had talked about how Dinky felt bad preferring little Barley over Dizzy or Ditzy. Dizzy cried too much for Dinky’s liking and spit up far too often. Ditzy on the other hand, she was bossy and had mood swings. She could be happy one minute, then throwing a tantrum the next.

Little Barley mostly just stayed quiet and burbled a bit when he was being held.

Piña lowered her muzzle down into Brandywine’s mane and inhaled, taking in the scent of milk and the distinctive scent that the recently born foals still had. She rubbed Brandywine’s pudgy, well padded ribs and gave the filly another squeeze.

Dinky, holding little Barley, looked over at the little griffons she heard peeping. Brennus, Bandua, and Beauregard were all together on a blanket on the floor, huddled together for warmth and for comfort. There was something peculiar about Brennus, and that was the fact that there was a little, teeny tiny, stubby-wubby little horn protruding from his head. Dinky, a curious sort, wondered what a hippogriff with a horn was called. A pony with wings and a horn was called an alicorn, but she doubted that Brennus was an alikitten. It was probably just an odd quirk. But Dinky had hopes that she might be wrong and Brennus would be an all powerful alikitten that would go out and right all of the wrongs with the world, a mythical creature with the size and strength of Lugus and all of the magical power of an alicorn.


Ears perking, Piña turned and looked at her sister. She kept a good grip on Brandywine so the plump foal wouldn’t topple over. She rested her chin upon the top of Brandywine’s head and felt peaceful as she listened to the foal’s soft breathing.

“Do you think we’ll encounter the Hearthfire again?” Dinky asked.

Heaving a sigh, Piña considered her sister’s words. She wanted to feel it again too. She wanted to the feel the heady lightness, the rush, the indescribable feeling of happiness that came along with it. Piña had one very dangerous thought; it would almost be worth it go out on another dangerous adventure just so that it might happen again. It was like craving sweets—Piña had tried a taste and it had left her wanting more. She wondered if it was worth the risk.


Lifting her head, Piña looked at Dinky.

“Piña, I’m scared… it’s hard to put into words, Piña.” Dinky gave Barley a squeeze and the little colt let out a cheerful burble. “Piña, what if we’ve already done the most important things we’ll ever do with our lives? We’ve rid the world of Sombra and then we killed the Hag.”

“Would peace and quiet really be so awful?” Piña asked.

For the longest time, Dinky was silent, but after clearing her throat, Dinky replied, “Yes.” A pained expression crept over Dinky’s face. “I want to know I’m doing good, Piña. I want to feel the Hearthfire again too… I… like the way… I like the way it makes me feel. The rush of power… Daddy says it’s okay to love the feeling of power and to crave it, but I should always examine my motivations and my reasons for wanting it. I don’t want it for personal gain… I just want to feel good… and I want to know I’m doing right.”

Sighing, Piña began absentmindedly rubbing Brandywine’s stomach, causing the foal to melt in her embrace, and one stubby, chubby little hind leg kicked and jittered with each circle of Piña’s hoof.

“When I was dancing with Twist last night, I felt weird—”

“Dinky, feeling a little weird in the crotch is normal when we dance,” Piña said. “It means you like somepony.”

Muzzle crinkling, Dinky let out a nervous giggle. “Well, there was that, but I… I felt weird in a different way. Twist is a really good friend. She’s almost blind and she’s kinda helpless. And as I danced with her, I realised how important she was to me.” Dinky sucked in a deep breath and looked Piña in the eye, staving off Piña’s sarcastic remark. “Not just her, but everypony. She’s a helpless, almost blind little filly and there are things in the world that can and will hurt her.”

“And you don’t want to let that happen.” Piña’s head bobbed in understanding of Dinky’s words.

“Piña, bad things are gonna happen… and I’m already messed up. I already have nightmares. I think I’m becoming like Daddy… all messed up from bad things that happen. Since I’m already messed up, since I’m already having trouble, I figure it can’t hurt me to keep going. Keep fighting. If I keep fighting, if I face the darkness, then that means another can have a peaceful, happy life. I’m already messed up, so I’m no big loss.”

Feeling sad, but not understanding why, Piña gazed into her sister Dinky’s eyes. She watched as the corner of Dinky’s eye twitched and she could see the muscles in Dinky’s forelegs bunch up as she squeezed little Barley closer and tighter. Piña realised that Dinky was right—Dinky was already gone.

And Piña understood that she was too.



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