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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Holding Crisis close to him, Bucky tried to think of all the things he wanted to say, the things he wanted to tell Crisis about her mother. It was complicated, more so than most would realise, as Bucky had found out that Chrysalis had not even laid Crisis’ egg. Crisis had been laid by a breeder drone, but she had been created by Chrysalis and then placed into the surrogate, allowed to grow, develop, and then have her egg laid. More than anything, Bucky wanted Crisis to have a sense of normalcy, but he doubted that she would have that.

He worried about what other ponies might have to say about Chrysalis. There were a lot of bad things that could be said about Chrysalis, and saying those bad things would be fair. She had caused much harm and did a lot of wrong during her long, quasi-immortal existence. But Bucky wanted Crisis to know that her mother had the potential for good.

He loved his little cuddlebug and Crisis, perhaps by virtue of what she was, loved everypony and everybirdy she met. Each of the little ones had their quirks, their own emerging bits of personality, and Crisis could only be described as affectionate.

Bucky heard the sound of little hooves, lifted his head, and looked around. He saw orange frizz, then two little hooves came to rest against the edge of the bowl shaped chair he was sitting in. Two little dark purple eyes rose, peering at him. Harper’s indigo face was giving him a quizzical look.

“You sad?” Harper asked in a soft whisper. “Hurt?”

“Yes, Harper. I’m sad and I’m hurt.” Bucky watched as Harper struggled to climb up into the chair with him, but he did nothing to help her. If he did do something to help her, she would only get fussy and demand to do it on her own. She kicked and wiggled as she climbed up, grunted, farted once, let out a sigh of relief, farted for the second time, let out a little giggle, and then Bucky felt Harper collapse against him.

“Why sad?” Harper asked as she settled in beside her Mamamama. She focused her intense purple eyes upon Bucky and Crisis.

“Crisis’ mother is, well, she’s gone.” Bucky watched as Harper’s face contorted in confusion.

“You still here.” Harper went silent as she struggled to cogitate. “Burpy Mama still here. Berry Mama still here. Sama Mama… still here. Harpy Mama still here and so is Bon Mom. Kelpie Mama is still here.” Harper reached up and scratched her head with one little hoof. “Who gone?”

“Crisis had a different… pony for a mother,” Bucky said.

“Crisis… abducted?” Harper asked.

“Since when did you get so smart?” Bucky stared at his daughter with wide eyed amazement. “Adopted. I think the word you want is adopted.” Bucky took a deep breath. “Crisis was given to me as a gift by her mother. Chrysalis knew just what would made me happy.” As Bucky spoke, he heard more little hooves. Looking around, he saw a yellow ribbon bobbing near his chair.

A moment later, Sukari’s head popped up and she too, began climbing into the bowl shaped chair. Bucky helped her, knowing that she wouldn’t mind. She wouldn’t try to zap him like Harper would. Sukari tumbled into the chair and came to rest beside Harper.

“Bell sleeping,” Sukari said in a low voice. “Lonely.”

“Aw, you love Bell, don’t you?” Bucky asked. He watched as Sukari nodded.

“Sentinel busy. Dinky busy. Piña busy.” Sukari let out a flustered huff as she curled up in the chair. “No time for me.” The little zebra filly blew a raspberry and then rested her head against Bucky’s side. “Came to find Baba.”

“I have time for you, Sukari, but you’ll have to share me.” Bucky felt comforted being surrounded by his little ones. The ache inside of his heart dulled a bit. He was very, very thankful for his little ones. All of them.

“Harpy went for walk. Harpy’s insides all shook. Harpy sorry.” Leaning over a bit, Harper’s face took on an apologetic expression as there was a muffled squeal that escaped from her other end. “Oooh… Harpy stinky.”

“Harper Heartstrings… ugh!” Bucky felt his eyes watering and his ears perked as he heard Sukari moan. “I swear, Harper, you and Fluttershy need to form a club or something.”

“Auntie Flutterbug?” Harper blinked, wiped her eyes, let out a gasp, and patted her sister Sukari in an apologetic manner.

More hooves and a groan could be heard. Bucky felt bad for whoever just walked into the nursery. He heard a low voice say, “Yuck.” Right away, Bucky knew that Cadance was near. He heard her little hooves clattering over the wooden floor and then she lept up into the chair to be with him and her siblings. The chair was now getting crowded. Cadance stepped on Harper, who farted again as her insides got squished, and Cadance let out a little cry of alarm.

“Squeeze me?” Harper asked Cadance. “Squeeze Harpy… Harpy hurts.”

Bucky raised an eyebrow and wondered if Cadance would be that foolish. A moment later, his silent query was answered when Cadance slipped her forelegs around Harper and then squeezed with all of her alicorn foal strength.

A trumpeting blast filled the room, followed by another, and then a third. After a moment, Harper let out a gasp of relief, while Cadance groaned in disgust. The stench was breathtaking.

“Harpy feel better,” Harper said as she collapsed against her sister. “Cady fix Harpy.”

“Poor Harpy.” Cadance covered her muzzle with her foreleg.

Still holding Crisis, Bucky looked at his fillies, treasuring each of them, and was very glad to have them. The pain in his heart was easing, as was his worry about his recent deal. He sighed, feeling better, and thought about maybe getting himself something to eat.

“Leg different.” Sukari poked Bucky in his goat leg. “Why?”

Sighing, Bucky wondered how to explain something this complex to Sukari. He took a moment to consider his words, and he thought of everything that Twilight had told him. “Well, Sukari, your Baba was busy trying to rescue some earth ponies from an evil, evil tyrant… a bad pony that really needs to have Bon Bon paddle his bottom with a brush, because he’s that bad.” Bucky paused when he heard Cadance, Harper, and Sukari all suck in a deep breath all at once.

“To rescue those poor earth ponies from the evil Night Stallion’s castle of darkness, I went through a portal, which is like a doorway that opened up into the dungeons below the Night Stallion’s castle of darkness.”

Sukari slipped her forelegs around Cadance, squeezed, and refused to let go.

“Me, and my most devoted Minion, we broke into the dungeons and we stole the Night Stallion’s captive earth ponies away from him in a daring raid. We were attacked by one of the Night Stallion’s guards and there was a terrible battle. Me and the Night Stallion’s guard had a little heart to heart—” Bucky let out a weak laugh at his own joke, sighed, and gave Crisis a squeeze.

“Crisis’ mother was struck down in that fight. She was trying to save others and she passed away while doing good. She was very, very brave at the end. When the fight was over and we had stolen the earth ponies away from the evil Night Stallion, Minion and I slipped away through the portal.” Bucky scowled and shook his head. “But the Night Stallion, he didn’t want me escaping, so he messed with the portal. He redirected it into the Warp. I was able to shove Minion out of the portal before it closed, but I got dumped into the Warp and the Warp is a magical place… a very confusing magical place. The Warp is pure chaos, and it is the wellspring where beings aligned with chaos draw their magic from. Alicorns draw power from the Warp, just a teeny, tiny bit of chaos, as it brings harmony and perfection to their magic. That little touch of chaos allows alicorns to do improbable or otherwise impossible things. Twilight Sparkle doesn’t know it, but she is connected to the Warp. I can sense it now. I’m still connected to the Warp.”

Bucky realised that he had his fillies’ rapt attention.

“So I was stuck in the Warp and the Warp is an engine of creation and alteration. It changed me into something else, because that is what the Warp does.” Bucky gave his goat leg a little twitch. “The Warp giveth, and the Warp taketh away. I lost two legs, but I got two new legs to make up for them.”

“Can you make goat sounds?” Harper asked.

“I don’t know,” Bucky replied, “but your mother Berry Punch can make sheep noises.”

 

 

Nervous, dry mouthed, Ripple approached Princess Luna, who stood in front of Bucky’s tower. A couple of Myrmidons stood near, including the Myrmidon known as North Star, who was now also a Raptor. Ripple had no idea why Luna wanted to see her, but Ripple was worried that she had messed up somehow.

As Ripple drew nearer, she saw Erebus rolling in the grass near his mother, and she could hear his happy grunting. She smiled, she liked Erebus, the little rough and ready colt loved to wrestle and get rough.

“Squire Ripple,” Princess Luna began, “so good to see you. I am in a hurry to see Barley, so I’ll get right to the point. Now is the time for you to earn your knighthood and for the Raptors to prove their worth.”

Ripple froze and felt her guts clench tight.

“To the south, in the San Palomino desert, there is a community being ravaged by fire ants. Giant fire ants. I want you to take your Raptors, all of them, including your Fledglings, and I want you to eliminate this threat. Sentinel is exempt. He will not be going.”

It took Ripple a moment to recover enough to speak. She coughed a bit and then asked, “What about the Fledglings’ worried parents?”

Princess Luna’s lips curled into a satisfied smile. “Rumble’s parents think that a tour of combat might do their foal some good. Archer’s parents are beside themselves and almost exploded with pride when I spoke to them in pony. As for Scootaloo’s parents, they are divided. Flash Sentry and Rainbow Dash acted very much like the pegasi they are, but Twilight… she is unhappy about it. She will allow it however. As for Boadicea, well… Lugus will be joining you.”

“I see.” Ripple nodded her head.

“Slay the fire ant queen and you will earn your knighthood. Your Raptors will be recognised as an official regiment. I wanted Gossamer to meet your Raptors, but the situation has become far too dire. Ponies are dying in the south. The Myrmidons are far too big to go down into the tunnels below ground and fight the ants. The Raptors are an ideal choice.”

Again, Ripple nodded, seeing the wisdom in this.

“You will be going armed and taking your new ship. Keep your Fledglings on the ship and in relative safety. They are to observe and learn. I am positive that Archer will be quite useful in attacking ground based targets, should you encounter them. Never have I seen a sharper eye on any pony. She rivals most griffons.”

“I know.” Ripple, unable to contain her excitement, blurted out a whole string of words. “Archer and Belisama get into shooting contests. It’s amazing. You should see what they can do with crossbows or bows. Archer can shoot Belisama’s arrows right out of the air. She’s amazing and Loki says that she needs sniper training.”

“If she does well during this tour of duty, she will get it,” Luna replied.

Snapping out her wing, Ripple saluted. “The Bittersweet Sparkle is almost airworthy. She is being worked on right now. Once we get the engines working just right, and rework the electrical system, we can be off and do the rest of the work in the air.”

“Fantastic.” Luna gave Ripple a pleased smile. “I know that you will not let me down. I am looking forward to your knighthood. You are going to have a long and illustrious career.” Luna’s brows furrowed and her smile became a smirk. “Now, if you will excuse me, I must go and give Lugus a magical spoon as a gift, and then go and find Barley.”

“A spoon?” Ripple asked, confused.

“Yes Ripple, a spoon,” Luna replied. “A magical spoon that will make Yew Wood quite a happy mare, I would suspect. I fear that the spoon has become an object of love and affection.”

“I don’t get it.” Ripple shook her head and watched as Luna walked away.

A moment later, a very rambunctious Erebus slammed into Ripple’s legs, making his best effort to plow over the much larger teenage filly as she stood there, distracted and confused.

Letting out a battlecry, Ripple gave Erebus exactly what he wanted…

 

 

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