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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9. 9

For my teacher, Princess Celestia, whom I do not know how to address in a casual letter.

 

I have done as you have asked. I have already read the book, several times now, and tried to take in all of the lessons to be found therein. It is a lot to take in at once. I had no idea what Twilight Sparkle had gone through to get where she is. I shall make some effort to go and speak to her when I have time.

After our meeting, after traveling home by train, I went to visit Miss Hooves as the evening settled upon the town of Ponyville. We spoke. I tried my best to not be so verbose. I kept my words to a minimum. Miss Hooves was very distracting. At some point, I believe that I began to suffer from sensory overload.

I have arrived at the fear inducing conclusion that I have three hearts to win over, and I am very afraid. She has two foals. One is small, one is large enough to shove her mother out the door to force her mother to talk to me.

I am almost certain that I have missed some vital part of communication due to not speaking pegasus. She kept fluffing and fidgeting, which I am almost positive means something, but I am completely clueless as to what it might be.

I have been invited to a birthday party for one Dinky Doo Hooves. I have reached a crisis point because I have no idea what to bring as a gift. I also have no clue as to the level of formality of said party. It is to be held in the backyard garden of Miss Hooves. I do not think I have ever attended a social function of this sort before.

This is why I never go out any more. Life is entirely too confusing.

Buckminster Bitters, Esquire, Armiger of House Bitter, Scion of the Platinum Lineage.

 

 

The train rocked back and forth as it chugged up the incline towards Canterlot. Bucky swayed in his seat, feeling almost drowsy, but also feeling agitated and panicked. It was afternoon, and Bucky had not eaten. There had not been time. He had been released from work and had gone shopping, looking for a gift, but the toy stores in Ponyville seemed lacking. There were a lot of Princess Twilight Sparkle dolls. There were a few common toys, simple toys, toys that Dinky may have already had, or might be getting for her birthday.

It was a conundrum that had caused poor him to nearly have a full blown panic attack. There were so few toy shops in Ponyville and such a limited selection. It was almost certain that he would bring a duplicate or something unwanted.

And that would cause a bad impression.

Upsetting her foal would not endear him to Derpy.

So Bucky had done the only thing he could do. He hopped the first train to Canterlot and hoped to make it there before the toy stores closed. Surely there would be something unique and worthwhile in Canterlot. Something not found in the common provincial town of Ponyville.

And then once he had found what he was looking for, catch another train, ride to Ponyville, walk home, take care of his various needs, go to bed, wake up, and then go to work. Tomorrow would be Friday. After that, Saturday.

Bucky took a deep breath and let it all out. He looked around him, studying his surroundings, and realised that he was alone in a crowd of ponies. There were a few unicorns in the car, no other pony types, not in this car at least, and none of the unicorns seemed to have any interest in one another. All of them were busy with something solitary. Reading books, newspapers, or a magazine. One seemed to be going through important paperwork, probably something business related. One was frantically carving at a block of wood with a magical chisel, his smile bordering on a manic grin. One mare plinked away on a small portable typewriter that was magically silenced.

Bucky leaned his head against the window and heaved another sigh, causing the typing mare to raise an eyebrow and glare at him. He squirmed uncomfortably under her harsh glare, suddenly wishing he was elsewhere, anywhere but this train car.

Bucky came to the painful conclusion that right now, he found his own kind unbearable.

It was an unsettling conclusion, unpleasant and bitter.

He stared out the window, alone with his thoughts, his mind drifting to the subtle colour variations on the feathers of Miss Hooves’ wings and the way her wheat coloured mane spilled around her face.

He sighed contentedly, drawing another harsh stare from the mare with the typewriter.

 

 

The perfect gift had to be found here. It was the largest toy store in Canterlot, a massive showroom store, and it had a train that was large enough for foals to ride winding through the display areas. Surprisingly, there were very few foals in the store, but plenty of adults, peering at various toys, looking around, generally confused, very much like himself.

“Sir?” inquired a voice.

Bucky turned to speak to the pony addressing him, seeing a salesfilly, who couldn’t be much older than Sparkler. She was frighteningly pink with an orange and yellow mane, and she wore thick glasses with rose coloured frames. “I need a toy. I don’t know what to get. Foal. Young. Small. Unicorn.”

“Every foal I know loves Daring Do,” the salesfilly replied.

“I see,” said Bucky, looking thoughtful.

“We have the deluxe Daring Do doll, it comes with a pith helmet made from real pith and a safari shirt. It costs fifty one bits and it is sure to please,” the salesfilly pitched.

“I dunno, I am not sure if that is what I am looking for, the doll seems nice enough, but… I just don’t know,” replied Bucky, noncommittally.

“The deluxe Daring Do doll also comes with a cloche hat and shawl, as well as a fedora and rugged adventurers jacket so you can dress her up in all of her secret identities. It also comes with a super-secret club membership so the lucky foal will occasionally get written letters from the author of Daring Do herself,” the salesfilly explained in patient detail.

“Sold!” said Bucky, thinking that a foal would go nuts to get a written letter from Daring Do’s author. “Wait, how many letters do you get with the purchase?” asked Bucky shrewdly.

“A minimum of two a year for five years. Most fans usually receive between three and seven, and there is a guaranteed response for two letters mailed in, meaning you will get two personalised letters in return,” the salesfilly answered.

“Hmm, sold. Definitely sold,” replied Bucky.

“Sir, we have a special available with the doll, you can get the entire paperback collection of Daring Do books at a special price of one hundred and ninety nine bits with the purchase of the deluxe Daring Do doll, that is over forty novels at an unbelievably low price,” said the salesfilly.

“I’ll take those as well. Do you take Equestrian Hexspress?” asked Bucky.

“We accept all major credit cards,” replied the sales filly, smiling broadly.

“Think this is a good birthday present?” inquired Bucky, looking pensive.

“I think it is a modest birthday present,” the salesfilly admitted, looking hopeful.

“Hmm, that’ll have to do. I am not sure what else to get and I doubt I could lug half of the store back to Ponyville,” said Bucky, thinking out loud, watching a giggling old mare go riding by on the store’s train.

“Here is a card you can fill out for the letters,” said the salesfilly, handing Bucky a piece of paper with a broad smile, preparing to ring him up.

 

 

Rising Star pondered the invitation he had received from Miss Hooves to attend Dinky’s party. The real reason to go of course would be Sparkler.

His muse. His Goddess. She of the confusing come hither stare and she of the stay away from me scowl. Sparkler, the purple pink filly that inspired his prose.

His parents would certainly be glad to have him out of the house. He was a lone poet among a family of astronomers. Truth be told, he would likely be an astronomer as well, or perhaps a cosmologist, but poetry was really groovy and made him appear deep.

What troubled him was, sometimes Sparkler’s verbal outbursts made him think actual deep thoughts, thoughts that scared him. Thoughts about life, the meaning of life, and the purpose of his own life.

And that made Rising Star nervous. The poetry had all started as an act, to attract fillies… In particular, Sparkler. And now, he was trapped in it. There was in fact something poetic down deep in his soul and he felt it sometimes when he looked at her.

The act had become reality at some point. And that made life confusing, and was a pretty deep thought all by itself.

Apple Cobbler was nice, well, Apple Cobbler was fantastic, she was really good looking, but she had all of the depth of a teaspoon. She was good looking, athletic, and always wanted to talk about apples. Apple growing season, apple dishes, types of apples, apples, apples, apples.

Truth be told, they really didn’t have much to talk about between one another. She was an earth pony with earth pony interests, and he was a unicorn, with a slight case of neurosis, nagging deep thoughts, and a burning desire to compose something meaningful.

Poetry about apples had not been meaningful.

 

 

Ponyville was unique, as far as cities and towns go. It was not a pegasus city, it was not a unicorn city, and it was not an earth pony city. It was a city of ponies. It was by far the most integrated city in all of Equestria, and one of the most tolerant, not only of different tribes, but of alternative lifestyles. It was a shining beacon, an example of what a city could be.

Ponies came from far and wide to live here, and yet Ponyville was not a large town. It was a small town, full of small town charm, warm friendly inhabitants, and inviting pre-industrial architecture.

It existed in the shadow of Canterlot, the city of unicorns, the seat of the empire.

And it was something that Celestia was fiercely proud of. Ponyville was her crown jewel, her greatest piece of work, her strongest social experiment ever. And there had been many, some of them failures.

Through careful trial and error, Celestia had worked to secure a guardian for her crown jewel. There had been many attempts. Many students. Sunset Shimmer had seemed like such a sure bet. But Sunset Shimmer had fallen into the pitfall that so many unicorns fell prey to.

And then there had been Twilight Sparkle. Twilight rose to the challenge, became the town librarian, found friends, secured the element of magic, and was now the guardian of Celestia’s most prized accomplishment. It had taken almost a thousand years, but the dreams of the Founders were now showing real fruition in the town of Ponyville. And those dreams had to be protected. They were so fragile. So frail. There was still so much misunderstanding, as evidenced by Bucky’s tale.

It worried Celestia, but it also gave her hope. A little strife was necessary for growth and development. Mistakes had to be made or learning became impossible. She had to allow flaws into her construction, or else it would crumble, a lesson she had once learned the hard way. That had been painful.

She stood on her balcony, looking down, far off into the distance, seeing her crown jewel, and wondering how she could make improvements. Gently nudging Bucky into the path of friendship studies had been a good start. He was hesitant but willing, he had the right stuff, the right raw potential; he just needed friends to make that potential bloom.

She had hemmed and hawed a bit, wondering if she was going too far, but she had finally broken down and sent a private missive to the Element of Loyalty, Rainbow Dash, asking her to keep an eye on Bucky and Derpy Hooves, keeping her informed of their progress. She also sent a copy of the same missive to Twilight Sparkle, knowing that Twilight Sparkle would want to take an active interest in this as well.

It was like using a river to create the perfect canyon, but Celestia was determined to see the Founders’ dreams come true, no matter how much time or effort that it took.

She had all the time in the world.

 

 

 

 

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