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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Her eyes narrowing, an aggressive scowl spreading over her muzzle, Piña Colada leaned forwards in her chair and studied the map in front of her on the table. Ghouls and Grottos was hard and her griffon spelunker was in some trouble. There were lots of undead to clear out of the mine. Studying the map, she saw a choke point that could be defended, but Dinky was going to have to get her demolitionist diamond dog into position to throw firebombs.

“Do you think Daddy will be okay?” Dinky asked.

“He just left,” Piña replied, “I don’t think he’s even in danger, yet.” Piña was worried too. She had a bad feeling about this one and she didn’t want Daddy to go. This was too nice a Saturday to fall prey to worry.

“I’m gonna maneuver my minotaur miner over here, near this choke point,” Babs said to her companions at the table. “Larch’s pack pony will need to be defended, so I’m adopting a protective stance with my last action point. I have my pick axe hackmaster plus five ready.”

“It’s hard playing an earth pony in a role playing game… why did I let you talk me into doing this again? I mean, I’m already an earth pony and I—” Larch fell silent when Babs placed a hoof over his mouth and he went cross eyed trying to stare at it.

“We needed a pack pony so we can go deeper into the endless grotto.” Babs gave Larch a teasing smile. “Now, if you are a good little pony, I’ll give you a carrot.”

As Larch began chuckling, Dinky slouched in her chair, a worried expression upon her face. She studied the location of her diamond dog demolitionist and saw the choke point on the map. Saying nothing, she moved her character token to a spot near the choke point, but also took cover behind a large rock.

“Dinky has fifty percent cover,” Lyra said as she looked at the guide. “Larch gets a defensive bonus. Piña is in the open with no cover. Babs is getting a ferocious defender bonus with a chance to go berserk if Larch is harmed. As for Sentinel, I think he’s asleep.”

Snorting, Sentinel awoke at the sound of his name. His surviving eye opened and he coughed, then yawned. He looked around, not quite knowing what was going on. He looked at the map on the table, blinked, and then looked at Lyra with a confused expression.

“Have a rough night, Sentinel?” Lyra asked, sounding a little worried, but still smiling.

“I had trouble sleeping… bad dreams… couldn’t keep little ones safe… too many,” Sentinel stammered. “Too many foals… too many… things kept coming to try and steal them.” Sentinel let out a whining yawn, smacked his lips, and stretched  his wings. “I’m gonna put my zebra alchemist right here.” Sentinel pointed to a spot on the map with his wing tip. “It’s elevated slightly, right?”

“Yes it is,” Lyra replied. “Sentinel gets an attack bonus for throwing potions from higher ground and his range is increased by two tiles.” Lyra’s ears stood up straight and her expression became one of comedic terror. “The sounds of the undead draw closer. The cavern is filled with moaning and the shuffling of many undead feet.”

The game was interrupted by the sounds of wailing coming from the nursery. Sentinel, who had been half asleep, was now wide awake. He sat up straight in his chair, one ear twitching, the corner of his mouth convulsing with each wail that reached his ears. Dinky let out a groan, closed her eyes, and covered her face with her front hooves. Piña heaved an exasperated sigh. Babs looked around the table and then slumped down in her chair. Larch placed his front hooves over his ears and tried to block out the sound.

“You know, I never thought I’d say this, but I think I’d rather play outside,” Piña said.

“When one cries, they all cry… ugh!.” Dinky let out a snort and rubbed her face with her hooves as her ears twitched from the sounds of little foals crying.

“Ach! Crivens! Ya wee little blighters had tae all shite yerselves all at once, ya wee, no good, good fer nuttin’ teat nippers!”

Hearing Barley’s voice, Sentinel cringed and wondered how the little ones did that. They were fed on a schedule and somehow, by some horrible miracle of nature, the little ones frequently had synchronised group poops as Piña called it. A terrible stench drifted into the dining room where the game had come to a pause, and Sentinel saw both Dinky and Piña’s faces contort into expressions of disgust. Larch covered his nose. Babs began to fan the air with her character sheet.

“That’s another group poop,” Piña said in a strained voice as she struggled not to breathe. Gasping, Piña fell out of her chair with a dramatic cry and lay on the floor, playing dead. “I failed my saving throw.”

“Piña’s dead,” Dinky remarked as she looked down at her fallen sibling. “This game is over… that smell is not going away any time soon.” Waving her forelegs, Dinky’s horn glowed and the little filly winked away, vanishing in a flash of purple light.

“Larch, grab Piña and we’ll make a break for it,” Babs said, suggesting a course of action. She watched as Larch lept down from his chair, tugged Piña up into a sitting position, and then got her flopped over his back.

Babs jumped down and took off beside Larch, leaving Sentinel and Lyra alone with one another. Lyra, realising the game really was over, gave her son Sentinel a soft smile and with her hoof, she gestured in the direction of the stairs.

“I’ll clean up here, why don’t you go into your hidey hole and have a nap?” Lyra asked as she began to put everything back into the garish looking cardboard box titled, The Caverns of Caustic Evil. As Lyra started putting things away, she watched as Sentinel let out a sleepy yawn, slip out of his chair, and stumble off.

Without even being able to say why, Lyra Heartstrings was ridiculously happy.

 

 

Dinky felt her pulse quicken when she saw the cherry red curls and she wondered what Twist was doing at the school on Saturday. She hurried her pace, hoping to catch up to the filly before Twist disappeared inside. Dinky suffered a strange sense of worry and she wondered if she smelled pleasant, a part of her wanting to smell nice for Twist.

It did not take much effort for her to catch up to the filly, who was weighed down by a heavy bookbag. Dinky, trying to be nice, lifted Twist’s bookbag in a levitation bubble, and smiled when Twist turned to look at her.

“Whatcha doing at the school on Saturday?” Dinky asked.

Seeing Dinky, Twist let out an excited snort. “There are baking classes!” Twist had long ago stopped being shy or worried about her lisp around Dinky. “Not school classes, just baking classes… and I like baking.”

“Oh… neat.” Dinky paused and looked around. After gathering up her courage, she took a step closer to Twist, who smelled of peppermints. Of course she smelled of peppermints. Dinky inhaled and felt her heart start thumping in her barrel. “Maybe I could help you put something in the oven…” Dinky, realising what it was that she was saying, how it sounded, fell silent, and was mortified.

Twist began giggle-snorting, she made loud honking sounds, and she wasn’t embarrassed to be herself around Dinky. She held none of her laughter back. Grinning, she nosed Dinky and stood close as Dinky’s blush intensified into a dark, ruddy purple.

When Twist brushed up against Dinky’s side, Dinky’s purplefication intensified. Dinky’s mouth went dry and the smell of peppermint made her feel giddy. She leaned against Twist and felt Twist’s curly tail brush up against her hind legs. Twist was a little older, a little more developed, and Dinky realised, Twist was perfect.

“Dinky, you know how you like magic?” Twist asked.

Mouth too dry to reply, Dinky nodded.

“Well I like baking… what you want to do with magic, I want to do with baking. I’m going to be the best there is and my name will be remembered for what I do,” Twist said in a low, lispy, nasal voice.

Twist’s voice was the sweetest sound that Dinky knew. She could listen to it all day. She nodded again, because it felt like she should nod to show that she was paying attention. Daddy had said that listening was a good way to be irresistible. It wasn’t hard to listen when you liked what you were hearing. Dinky wanted to hear Twist talk about baking.

“I don’t want to be late… do you want to come with me?” Twist asked.

Dinky nodded again, now reduced to the functionality of a bobble-headed doll. Feeling brave, feeling adventurous, Dinky leaned her head over and gave Twist a fuzzy-wuzzy muzzle-nuzzle. Feeling Twist’s soft pelt against her own sent chills down Dinky’s spine and made her horn feel tingly.

Together, the two fillies walked off to Twist’s Saturday baking class, side by side, looking very much like the perfect couple.

 

 

Hearing a squeak, Sentinel opened his eye as light spilled into his hiding space beneath the stairs. He let out a shrill squeal of echolocation in annoyance, but then fell silent mid squeak when he saw Sukari.

The little zebra filly stepped inside, pulled the door shut behind her, and then with a soft thump, she turned on the faint night light that had been placed under the stairs just for her. It was dim enough that Sentinel didn’t mind.

He grunted when Sukari headbutted his side, and then with a grudging yawn, he scooted over just a little bit so the zebra filly would have room to lay down. She turned in a circle three times, chasing her tail, and then flopped down. Sentinel felt Sukari’s small head resting upon his spine and her neck was pressed against his left wing.

“Story?” Sukari asked.

Sentinel sighed, then yawned, feeling sleepy. Why did it have to be story time? It was sleepy time. He debated the issue inside of his head, not sure what to do or what story to tell, and as he sat there thinking, the door opened again.

This time, there was an outrageous explosion of orange curls and Harper shoved her way into Sentinel’s cubby. It was now getting crowded in here. Sentinel groaned and suspected that his cubby wouldn’t be his cubby much longer.

“Much many screams,” Harper said in a matter of fact voice. She shoved Sukari over, causing Sukari to grunt, and then Harper flopped down against Sentinel and Sukari. She gave Sentinel one slobbery kiss and then gave Sukari both a hug and a soggy kiss. “Little ones all squirty. Walls got painted.”

“What?” Sentinel’s sleepy eye opened wide and he lifted his head.

Harper stuck out her tongue, blew a raspberry, and then said, “Little ones have hurty squirts. Brown rainbows everywhere!”

Disturbed, Sentinel didn’t like what Harper was saying. Not at all. So that was why the stench was lingering. He dropped his head back down upon the cushion, yawned, and then let out a soft squeak when Harper began kneading his neck with her front hooves. He went limp and let the sleepy sensation he had overtake him.

“Story?” Sukari asked again.

Now feeling guilty, Sentinel wondered what to do. Sukari asked for so little. A kiss now and then. A hug. A cookie. A place to hide. A story. Her needs were simple. He was an awful pony for only thinking of himself and his selfish, sleepy needs.

“Once upon a time, there were three little ponies,” Sentinel began, his muzzle wrinkling as he concentrated. “There was an earth pony, a pegasus pony, and a unicorn pony. They were all friends and when they grew up, they departed ways so they could each go out and find their fortune.”

“Ooh…” Harper gasped as she settled in beside Sentinel.

“So, the earth pony, he settles in and he founds a farm. He grows… turnips, yeah, that’s it, he grows turnips. It’s a nice farm and the little pony, he builds himself a house out of mud, straw, and sticks. It’s a little crude, but the earth pony, he likes it.”

“She likes it?” Harper asked.

Sentinel sighed in defeat. “Yes, she likes it, Harper.”

“So, one day, as this pony is working in her fields, she sees a manticore come charging out of the trees and she panics, because a manticore is a terrible foe. So the little pony runs into her house and closes the crude wooden door so she can hide from the manticore.”

Whimpering, Sukari wrapped her forelegs around Harper and clung tight to her sibling.

“So the manticore, he charges up to the house made of mud, straw, and sticks, and he shouts, ‘Little pony, little pony, let me in!’ in a terrible, booming voice. And the little pony, she’s scared, but she tells the manticore, ‘Not by the hairs of my chinny chin chin!’ This of course, angers the manticore, because manticores like getting their way.” Sentinel let out a yawn, shook his head, and tried to clear his head of his sleepiness.

Blinking his eye, he continued, “So, the manticore, wanting a delicious meal of pony, throws back its head and roars, ‘Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in!’ And the big bad manticore does just that. He huffs, he puffs, and he blows the little pony’s house down.” Sentinel paused and gave thought to his next words, wondering if he should have the manticore eat the pony or not.

Harper, who was being suffocated by Sukari, was too busy with her sibling huggle struggle to correct Sentinel about the manticore being a she.

Sentinel, deciding that the pony should live, continued with his tale, sans pony death. “So the little pony, she runs away and she escapes, leaving the hungry manticore all alone and frustrated. So the manticore, who did not have a delicious pony lunch, takes off into the sky hoping to find an easy meal.”

“Oh noes,” Harper said as Sukari squeezed the stuffing out of her. “Manticore needs zap. Bad monsters get zap. Harpy zap them.”

“So, the pegasus pony, she makes a house out of clouds and she’s busy decorating her new home with Wonderbolts posters when the manticore shows up. She hears a knock at the door and she asks, ‘Who’s there?’ and the manticore makes his dreadful reply, ‘Little pony, little pony, let me in!’” Sentinel paused and he asked the two fillies beside him, “What do you think the little pegasus pony says to the manticore?”

Harper shrugged and Sukari let out a whimper.

“The brave little pegasus pony, she tells the manticore, ‘Not by the hairs of my chinny chin chin!’ Now, upon hearing this, the manticore lets out an angry roar, and do you know what the manticore says in reply?” Sentinel waited for the fillies to respond.

Sukari closed her eyes and shivered next to Harper, who now looked quite concerned for the safety of the ponies in this story. Electricity arced between Harper’s ears and through her frizzy curls.  

“I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in!” Sentinel growled in a terrible voice that caused Sukari to squeal. “And that’s what he did, too… he huffed, and he puffed, he blew the cloud house into fluffy pieces. He gave chase to the delicious looking pegasus pony, hoping to gobble her down and eat her, but she flew off and escaped.” Sentinel feeling some sort of colourful embellishment was needed, made up some details on the fly. “The pegasus pony, she was pink, and every monster knows that the pink ponies are the most delicious. They learn it in monster school.” The colt thought about Diamond Tiara and had a warm feeling creep up his neck.

In the dim cubby, Sukari gulped.

“Now, the third pony, the unicorn, she builds herself a tower out of stone, and she magically fortifies it. Her home is a fortress unassailable, because unicorns tend to live in defiance of nature, rather than live with nature, no houses made of mud or cloud for unicorn ponies. The earth pony and the pegasus pony, they come running to the unicorn pony, shouting about manticore attacks. The unicorn, sensing a moment for glorious tribal unity, lets the earth pony and the pegasus pony into her home and she serves them tea and biscuits.”

“That’s nice of her,” Harper said in a cheerful but worried voice.

“And as they were having tea, the manticore shows up!” Sentinel’s ears perked when both fillies let out shrill squeals of terror. “The manticore, he shows up, bangs on the reinforced plate steel door of the unicorn’s tower, and do you know what he says?”

“Something dumb?” Harper replied in a worried whisper.

“Little pony, little pony, let me in!” Sentinel said in a menacing growl. He paused and allowed the fear to settle in a little deeper. “And do you know what the unicorn says in reply?”

Harper shook her head and Sukari buried her face into Harper’s obnoxious orange curls. The little zebra was quaking with fear and each breath was a whimper of terror that slipped out from between clattering teeth.

“The unicorn, she says nothing in reply, because she was too busy casting a spell. Furious about the earth pony and the pegasus pony losing their homes, the angry unicorn casts a firestorm spell that makes it rain explosive brimstone down upon the manticore. The manticore learned a hard lesson that you don’t mess with ponies who stick together and he got exploded into ooey, gooey bits—”

“Gooey bits!” Harper shouted as she bounced up and down.

“Yes, he got turned into ooey, gooey bits and the unicorn was really, really angry because her tea got interrupted, and that’s just rude.” Sentinel stretched out his head, nosed Harper, and then gave her a soft kiss. “And Harper, this is what you must do as a unicorn. If you see your fellow ponies in trouble, you give whatever is bothering them a zap!”

“Harpy can zap!” Harper replied as a manic gleam filled her eyes, causing them to glitter in the faint, dim light. She gave Sukari a squeeze and the crazed glimmer in her eyes intensified. “No touchy touchy zebras! Harpy zap!”

“Yes, Harper… protect the zebras, to… be a good unicorn and make sure your tower of safety is available for all. Turn no one away if they come to you for help.” Sentinel yawned and let out a tired whine. “Now, I’ve told you a story. Let me sleep. Hush up, both of you. Be good fillies.”

Laying his head down, Sentinel closed his eye and listened to the sounds of Sukari’s teeth chattering together, feeling quite happy and satisfied about being a big brother. He treasured his sisters, and truth be told, sharing his cubby wasn’t so bad. He yawned again, and felt the gentle tug of slumber upon his consciousness.

 

 

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