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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“Aye, lad, ye smell like something that yonder Tartarus belched out.” Barley O’Blivion leveled his gaze upon Bucky, who stood just inside the entryway near the front door. “Ye stink something fierce, lad.”

Taken aback, Bucky peered at Barley and saw the old stallion’s eyes watering. “Hey…” Bucky’s head tilted off to one side. “Just how do you know what Tartarus smells like?”

“Never ye mind, lad!” Barley backed away, cringed in disgust, and made a very polite request of Bucky. “Go and take a shower, ya feckin’ git!” Having spoke his mind, Barley hurried away as fast as his old, arthritic legs would carry him.

Standing in front of the door, Bucky was stunned and did not know what to say. He couldn’t smell anything. He sniffed himself to check, and found nothing. Hearing hooves, his mood brightened. He saw Cadance running down the hall. He could always count on Cadance to be happy to see him.

Cadance was not happy to see him. She came to a skidding halt, her hooves scraping over the floor, and her wings flapping to help slow her down. Wide eyed, she stared up at him from a few feet away, looking disgusted.

“YUCK!” Cadance cried as the first few tears streamed down her face. “NOPE!” Turning tail, Cadance ran away as fast as she could go, which was quite fast. She had long legs for her age.

As Bucky gave himself another sniff, Berry popped into view, sidestepping around Cadance as the little filly streaked down the hall, bawling her eyes out. The earth pony mare made it a few steps towards Bucky, then stopped, her cheeks bulging as she held her breath. Her eyes crossed and she fell over to the floor as though she had been cut down. She landed on her back with all four legs sticking straight up into the air, stiff and unmoving.

“Oh, very funny,” Bucky snapped as he rolled his eyes. Would nopony be happy to see him? He strolled over to where Berry lay, lowered his head down, and touched his nose to her nose. He pulled away when she gagged and he let out a snort.

“Did you go into a sewer again?” Berry wheezed as she struggled to keep from breathing.

“No.” Bucky let heave a sigh of dismay. So he needed a shower.

“No, you went into the special alicorn sewer—”

The muscles in Bucky’s jaw clenched as he tried not to smile. He put about as much effort into it as Berry’s attempt not to breathe. Down on the floor, Berry was turning a darker shade of plum. He thought about grabbing her and having his way with her. Nothing like hot stinky loving.

“—the special alicorn sewer made to withstand the most dangerous and smelly thing in all the world, alicorn princess turds.” Berry gagged again and her eyes crossed. “I hear little hooves… run away, whomever you are!”

Too late, Harper got herself a snootful. She stood in a nearby doorway, her whole body hitching, and a look of utter revulsion upon her face. Harper coughed, gagged, and then managed to say, “MAMAMAMA SMELL BAD!” And with that, Harper began sobbing as though she had been kicked or stepped on.

Mouth falling open, Bucky didn’t know what to say.

“You big meanie! You made Harper cry! She’s had a rough day! Sentinel pelted her with mud and she’s been all moody and now you’ve made her cry!” Berry’s righteous sense of motherhood overcame the stench that had knocked her down, she rolled over, got her hooves beneath her, and stood. After a good shake, she trotted over to where Harper was, and then herded the foal away while little Harper bawled her eyes out.

Now feeling guilty, Bucky stood there, trying to figure out what had just happened. He saw Sukari peek out from around the door, he felt a moment of keen relief upon seeing her blue eyes. He loved her, and she loved him, and surely she would be glad to see him.

“Nope.”

And just like that, Sukari was gone. She took off so fast that her yellow ribbon was left behind. It drifted down to the floor like a leaf falling from a tree. Bucky contemplated his stench and decided that a shower was in order. The tiny shred of compassion that he had left compelled him to spare others, so he teleported himself to the back bathroom, vanishing in a cloud of frost and snowflakes.

 

 

As Bucky stepped out of the shower, he wondered if Princess Celestia was smelly too. She had stood next to him on the shores of the ocean of boiling iron. He felt clean and he assumed that he was now stench free. He dried himself, gave himself a shake, and decided that a test was in order.

Shuffling out of the bathroom, he found what he was looking for. “Hello, Good Lookin’.”

Giggling, Derpy gave him a coy smile. “You need to have a talk with your son.”

“Is that so?” Bucky asked.

“Yeah, Sentinel… needs some help I think.” Derpy blinked and batted her eyelashes at Bucky. Her wings fluttered at her sides and she closed one eye so that she might better see her husband. “He’s a little troubled.”

“I’ll check up on him,” Bucky replied, acknowledging the issue. He closed the distance between himself and his pretty, pretty pegasus. He leaned in and in a husky voice he whispered, “Hey, mail pony, I have a job for you—”

Confused, Derpy jerked her head back. “I don’t work for the postal service anymore.”

A minor setback. Bucky leaned in and nuzzled her neck, which he knew would get her attention. “I’m flirting with you, just go along with it. Pretend you are a postal pony.”

“Oh…” Derpy began to giggle and her breathing quickened.

“Oh my pretty mail pony… I have a package for you…”

“Oh?” Derpy blinked a few times and took a deep breath.

“Yeah, special delivery. I just need to stuff it into your parcel delivery slot and in about eleven months or so, you can deliver—” And just like that, Derpy was gone. Bucky stood there in shock as she bolted away, her wings flapping as she fled into the nursery, breaking her own rule about flying indoors. “Hey, what gives?”

“You smell!” Derpy cried out. “No nookie for you! We postal workers have standards! You’re a job hazard listed under section code 573NCH—putrescent perverts! Don’t you dare come into my nursery!”

Frustrated, Bucky let out a groan and returned himself to the shower. One little trip to Tartarus was enough to condemn a pony.

 

 

Blinking, Bucky wasn’t sure what had just happened. One minute, he was in the shower, trying to scrub himself, and the next minute, Lyra had come in with a poopy foal that needed cleaning. Upon entering the bathroom, the foal, he was unsure of which one, had begun blubbering. The next minute, he was standing on the dock, covered in soap suds, and staring at the lake. She hadn’t even given him the courtesy of an explanation or an apology. Soap ran down his sides and pooled around him on the wooden dock, turning the wood a darker shade.

There was only one thing he could do. He took a few steps and made ready to toss himself into the lake. Just as he reached the edge of the dock, he saw a head pop up out of the water. Much to his relief, he saw Thistle. She would help him get clean.

“Don’t even think of it!” Thistle commanded. “You, you’re polluted!”

“What?” Bucky snapped, reaching the end of his patience.

“YOU STINK!” Thistle shouted. “I could smell you underwater! Don’t you dare set hoof into my lake! I will forcibly expel you with my kelpie powers, so don’t make me do it!” Having said what needed to be said, the kelpie vanished down into the water.

It dawned upon Bucky that with all of his preparations to go into Tartarus, he might have missed a minor detail. He had protected himself from drastic time dilation and deviation, but he had not taken into consideration that the Plains of Woe might have smelled. The fumes there had been toxic. No doubt, Celestia smelled like roses right now, and he wondered if she was having a good laugh at his expense.

It seemed likely.

There was only one thing to do, the only thing that could be done, the drastic option. He had no other choice. He had to go to Canterlot. He was going to have to beg Celestia to free him from his malodorous funk. The very idea of it galled him. But, before he paid a visit to Celestia, maybe he might do a little sightseeing around Canterlot. Maybe, with luck, he could make Celestia come to him. He knew of a perfumery in Canterlot…

 

 

The hard work felt good. Sentinel waited for the cart to be loaded with sacks of fertiliser pellets. He and Diamond Tiara had come clean about their little ruse after they had come clean from the mud. Applejack had been a very reasonable and very understanding pony. She had sentenced them to death by extended labour on the spot, a punishment that Sentinel had felt was fair.

There was a knock on wood behind him and Sentinel took off, pulling the loaded cart with him. He had a fair ways to go to the distant acres where Applejack was planting a field of barley and hops. Pulling the cart was no trouble at all for him and he found that he could have pulled a whole lot more. He wondered if Applejack was being gentle with him.

Diamond Tiara fell into place beside him, a massive load of wooden stakes secured to her back, along with a large wooden mallet. Sentinel could see that she wasn’t straining under the load, so he didn’t worry too much about it. She was smiling, and that made him happy.

He wanted to talk to her, but they weren’t allowed to talk. They had to serve in silence. But that was okay. Sentinel found that he couldn’t get mad about any of this. Applejack had been more than fair in her dealings with them. If he was going to act like a stupid colt, than he expected to be treated like a stupid colt. He found that he was enjoying the consequences.

At least Applejack had allowed them to work together.

 

 

“Buckminster Beauregard Bitters!”

She had to stop doing that to him. The use of his full name caused him a moment of panic every time. Turning his head, Bucky looked up as Celestia touched down in the street. He was just minding his own business and trying to enjoy a cup of coffee. Was that so wrong?

“What has become of the little colt I knew and loved?” Celestia asked.

The eyebrow over his now empty eye socket lifted. Bucky wasn’t about to fall for that. He knew how this game was played. This wasn’t his fault. She had done this. Nearby, a passing bird fell out of the sky. It lay on the cobblestones, stunned, its tiny chest hardly moving. It glowed in a golden light that originated from Celestia’s horn, recovered, and then flew away, still surrounded by a shield of glittering golden magic.

He took a sip of his coffee and ignored Celestia’s theatrics.

“You are causing quite a disturbance,” Celestia said in a firm voice.

“Somepony neglected to tell me that Tartarus leaves behind a magical stench that can’t be washed away.” Bucky looked up from his cup, yawned, and settled back in his chair. Several nearby flowers wilted as he shifted his body, having entered the Dead Zone from his movement.

Wait, was she smiling? Bucky had trouble and was unable to tell. Was she enjoying this?

“You had to come to realise the consequences of what you did.” Celestia’s voice was very calm, prim, and proper.

“And you had to realise the consequences of what you did,” Bucky replied as he began to chuckle. “Nice city you have here, would be a real shame if some stinky pony came along and settled in for a cup of coffee.”

“You sir, are a ruffian!”

Setting his cup down on the wrought iron bistro table before him, Bucky pointed with his talons at Celestia. “You allowed me to go home, stinking! My foals cried. Derpy, my beloved wife, recited postal codes at me as she flew away—”

“573NCH?” Celestia asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Yeah, that one!” Bucky narrowed his eye at Celestia, now certain that she was enjoying this. “Thistle wouldn’t even let me bathe in her lake. She threatened me with her kelpie powers. Now, fix this stench… or else.”

“Or else what?” Celestia asked.

“Or else I will get Discord to turn me into a foal again, and I will come and attend your school—”

“YOU FIEND!” Celestia’s voice echoed through the empty streets.

Bucky waited.

“Very well. I will fix this for you.” Celestia looked around. “Oh, Garçon, I should very much like a cup of soothing chamomile tea.” After a few moments, she realised that the waiter was nowhere to be found. She let out a huff of disappointment and sat down in a wrought iron bistro chair beside Bucky. “Well played, good sir.”

A low, chortling cackle could be heard from Bucky as Celestia began to cast a spell.

 
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