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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Hunched over in his overstuffed and somewhat ratty looking chair, Bucky watched as Violet dumped down a stack of folders and prepared to give the morning report. He held a cup of coffee in his telekinesis and Ditzy mewled in frustration as she wiggled in the chair beside him, demanding his attention. The little pegasus filly was being something of a pain in everypony’s backside this morning, she wanted time with her daddy and was not going to take no for an answer.

“Sir, I have some important news—”

“Let me guess, Gossamer is coming,” Bucky said, cutting in and looking Violet in the eye.

“Sir, Gossamer is here. She arrived early on an airship filled with Saddle Arabian diplomats and trade advisors that came to meet with Twilight Sparkle about the international friendship summit.” Violet adjusted her reading glasses and ignored Bucky’s sour expression. “Gossamer is in Canterlot right now with Tannis and Agnetha. From what I understand, they plan to come here so that the meeting can be held in the mead hall. Yes, the plan has changed.”

“Oh sod it.” Bucky’s ears drooped and he set his coffee cup down upon the table beside his chair. He scooped up Ditzy, who let out an excited whoop, and then he touched his snoot to hers as he looked into her eyes. “You have grey eyes just like mine… well, almost like mine,” Bucky self corrected. “You have your mother’s beautiful gaze.” He gave Ditzy a smooch on the cheek and the little filly began to burble excitedly.

“Sir, I am having the finest of our stock prepared for the mead hall, is there anything in particular that you want?” Violet whipped out a notepad and held her pen at the ready. “Perhaps the botanical infused gin?”

Not replying, Bucky considered Violet’s words as he bounced Ditzy around and the little filly flapped her stubby wings as she basked in her father’s affection. Seconds stretched into minutes before Bucky finally replied, “Break open the big cask of rum that was a gift from the zebras. Have it made ready to be served. I think that should make everyone involved feel friendly and diplomatic.”

“Indeed.” Violet scribbled something down on her notepad. “Open sixty year old barrel of aged rum,” she murmured to herself as her pen scratched. When she was finished, she waited for further instructions.

“Ripple is leaving soon, correct?” Bucky asked.

“Within the hour. The Ponyville weather team has a thunderstorm scheduled to clean the air. Belisama made the decision to leave early.” Violet smiled for a moment as Ditzy giggled and hugged her father’s face. “Sir, delaying them to meet Gossamer would be unwise.”

“I know,” Bucky replied in a huff. “Stuff happens. Events conspire against us. Fire ants threaten a community of ponies—”

“And donkeys. Well, burros, in the local parlance of the San Palomino desert. Princess Celestia was very quick to point out that there are more burros in this community than ponies and that we are doing everything we can to save them.” Violet’s smile turned into a starchy frown. “This is a political rescue. The Raptors are being sent to prove themselves. Ripple loves a donkey. Everything about this situation is politically charged. Queen Belisama has to prove that she is a mighty protector even though she is the size of a housecat.”

“Belisama is a proven knight and a fierce combatant.” Bucky was quick to point this out and his eyebrows furrowed.

“Queen Belisama proved herself overseas on the other side of the world. All eyes are focused upon her now that she is here at home.” Violet, bothered by Bucky’s worried expression, took a deep breath. “Sir, she’ll be fine. Her skills as an alchemist will keep her subjects from being burnt to a crisp.”

Bucky leveled his stare upon Violet. “That does not comfort me. Not at all, Violet. I am very, very fond of my fuzzy-wuzzy cat-bird creature. I am of the opinion that every pony should have a fuzzy-wuzzy cat-bird creature. They’re marvelous. Bed warmers, grooming assistants, something to cuddle when you’re down, they’re ideal. The idea of her being burnt to a crisp makes me want to head south and deal with those fire ants myself.” Bucky buried his face against Ditzy’s tummy and snorted, which caused the filly to squeal and giggle.

“Instead, you get to deal with a far more dangerous situation. Politics. Griffon politics. Hopefully, Gossamer won’t ask for one of your offspring to take part in a pre-arranged marriage or something.”

“What?”

 

 

Surrounded by her herd, Ripple clenched her jaw, took a deep breath, and held her head high. She looked at Loch Skimmer, saw her sister’s smile, and felt her courage soaring. Looking at Sparkler, she felt a growing sense of serenity. Sparkler was her steady rock. Looking at Bittersweet, she felt her heart grow warm—this one, this battle, was for Bittersweet and donkeys everywhere.

Her gaze fell upon Rising Star, and she felt a surge of affection. She loved Rising, even if she didn’t understand the way she loved him. He was perfect. She trusted him and he was so very dear to her. She loved his touch, she loved his kisses, she loved everything about him. She loved his patience and his tenderness with her. He made her feel special and Ripple treasured him, knowing that Rising was a real prize.

As she stood there, blinking, trying to think of what to say, two mares approached. Lyra moved a little faster than Bon Bon did and there was a worried, fearful look in the unicorn mare’s eyes.

Moving with startling speed, Ripple lunged at Lyra, wrapped her wings around Lyra’s neck, and gave her mother a fierce hug, standing neck to neck with the unicorn. She felt Bon Bon press up against her and Ripple closed her eyes, glad to be loved, feeling very warm and secure. These two mares had taught her so much about herself.

“Ripple, I’m so proud of you,” Lyra said in a low voice as she pressed herself against Ripple. “Be smart Ripple, and do what you do best. I know you’ll come home to me.”

“Don’t do anything stupid,” Bon Bon said, already knowing that there was a good chance that a rampant act of stupidity might happen. That was what this family did and to be fair, Ripple was going off to fight giant fire breathing ants. Bon Bon hooked her foreleg around Ripple’s neck and gave the filly that she loved a headlock hug. She gave Ripple a maternal smooch and then gave her another squeeze.

“I love all of you,” Ripple said, aware that Bittersweet could not read her lips at this moment. She knew that she would have to rectify that. “I won’t let you down and I promise I won’t do anything stupid.” Ripple pulled away from Lyra, blinking, and feeling a little misty eyed.

She stepped away from Lyra, grabbed the donkey that she loved with her wings, and pulled Bittersweet close to her. She buried her face into Bittersweet’s mane and ran her muzzle up the donkey’s neck until she reached a long, velvety ear. True love knew no species and Ripple loved the deaf-mute donkey more than words could say.

“Saying goodbye is one of the things that defines this family,” Rising Star said in a solemn voice. “We send those we love into danger so that others don’t have to be put at risk. Ripple, do what you do best. This is what you were born to do. Good luck, Ripple.”

Holding Bittersweet, Ripple took a deep, shuddering breath and blinked away a few tears. Yes, this family served, and Ripple would serve. Lifting her head, she looked over at her herdmates. “Look after my donkey,” she begged, still blinking away tears.

“Hey, make room, I want to say goodbye to my little filly,” Bucky said as he shoved his way into the crowd. He squeezed his way in, rubbing up against Bon Bon, and as he wiggled his way in deeper he gave Bon Bon an affectionate smooch on the cheek.

 

 

Grinning, Flash Sentry stuck out his wing in a sincere salute as he looked down at Scootaloo. Beside him, Rainbow Dash was letting out little distressed moans and Twilight’s wings fluttered at her sides.

Scootaloo seemed beside herself with happiness.

“You’re gonna make me proud, right?” Flash asked.

“Of course,” Scootaloo replied in a cocky voice. “Have I ever let you down?”

A wry smile appeared on Flash’s muzzle and he did not reply. He looked down at the filly and marveled how she had grown. She had put on muscle from all of her training, she was lean, lithe, and well defined. She was growing up so rapidly and Flash felt that he was losing precious time.

“I’m not going to be in any real danger.” Scootaloo could not keep the disappointment from her voice as she spoke. “The ship will be safe and that is where I am posted, along with the other Fledglings. Our job will be to observe and to learn.” Scootaloo looked over to where Archer was saying goodbye to her parents. Archer’s parents weren’t fretful or worried at all, they were overjoyed. Scootaloo felt a slight stab of jealousy.

“You’ll be getting some piloting training. You just pay attention to that. You are going to be the greatest pilot who has ever lived.” Rainbow Dash brushed up against Twilight, sucked in a deep breath, and blinked a few times as she gnawed upon her lip.

“I’m so proud of you.” Twilight’s lower lip protruded and quivered after she spoke and she did her best to smile. Her ears perked forwards and she did her best to keep her composure.

“Spike, keep them distracted until I get back,” Scootaloo said to the dragon standing beside Twilight.

“I will,” Spike replied, looking up at Twilight, who was now sniffling.

“Glass Slipper, come here and give me a hug.” Scootaloo sat down in the grass and made a gesture for the little green crystal pony filly to come forwards.

She swept the foal up in her embrace, kissed her, and then Scootaloo felt her family pile in around her. She was squished from all sides, there were lots of wings and forelegs and muzzles all pressing in around her in an almost suffocating crush.

 

 

“Son.” Thunderlane, his head held high, looked down at Rumble.

“Dad.” Rumble, his head also held high, looked up at Thunderlane.

“You wanted a fight, so now you are getting one. This is the right time for fighting. No more getting into fights at school, no matter the reason. You save that anger up and you let it go on deserving enemies. Not your fellow ponies.” Thunderlane’s eyes narrowed and the stallion glanced down at Cloudstreaker, who was leaning against his foreleg and looking up at her brother with big, tearful eyes.

Standing beside Thunderlane, Flitter, Rumble’s mother, looked down at her colt with fierce pride showing in her eyes. She moved with deliberate slowness, trying to be calm, and she lowered her head down until she was eye level.

“You do as you are told. You follow orders. You do everything you are asked and you do it without whining or protesting. I raised you to be a proud pegasus. You are my pride and joy.” Flitter had to clear her throat before she could continue. “If there is trouble for some reason, you look after your friends. Be the little scrapper I know you can be. You were always a little fighter, that’s why I named you Rumble.”

Smiling, Rumble gave his mother a nod.

Cloudstreaker gave her brother a brave, quivering smile, her eyes shimmering with tears. She let out a little squeak and then clung to her father, sniffling all the while. There was so much she wanted to say, but she knew if she opened her mouth to speak, she would start bawling like a yearling and that would be awkward. Instead, she stayed quiet.

“You’re going to be a part of history,” Flitter said in a low voice. “I don’t know if you understand how important this is. You are a small part of a much greater whole. I really am very proud of you.” The pegasus mare sat down in the grass, extended her wing, and pulled her colt close to her. She lowered her head, pressed her muzzle against Rumble’s ear, inhaled, filling her lungs with her colt’s scent, and then kissed him once. “I always knew I was going to change the world, I just didn’t know how. I thought maybe it would be marriage, and in a way, it has been. I made you… and you are going to change the world, I just know it.”

Blushing, Rumble looked up at his mother, his ears drooping. Then, after he had a quick glance around to see that nopony was watching, his head darted forwards and he gave his mother a quick peck on the cheek. As he pulled away, he watched her eyes widen and he felt warm and fuzzy on the inside as he looked at her face.

Rumble wanted to make his mama proud.

 

 

 

 

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