"I decided to avoid going through Ponyville after my close call with the Hound, and instead walked around the outskirts of town. What I could see of it was burned away. Fire had swept over the place and devoured all of the buildings. As the mist cleared, I also noticed that Town Hall was no longer reaching into the air.
"I made my way to my cottage, hoping that my animal friends were safe and sound. When I got there, that hope was dashed. My home had not a single creature nearby nor inside. Instead, I opened my front door to a cold and empty home, and as the silent interior stared back at me, I broke down into tears. I was alone.
"When I couldn't cry any more, I slowly walked inside my house and closed the door behind me, shutting myself into darkness, save for a few gaps in the curtains allowing light to come through. I searched the bird houses and mouse holes, and even checked under my bed upstairs, in a fleeting hope that my friends were simply hiding, but I found nothing.
"It was a crushing feeling, realising that I was on my own. The silence in the house was horrible, and it was cold, as if the very life of my little cottage had been sucked out of it, leaving a hollow and empty husk. I was beginning to feel the same way, through loss and fatigue. I didn't know what to do any more, everypony was missing, my animal friends had disappeared, and the place I used to call home was falling apart every where I looked. I clambered onto my bed and rested my head on my pillow, and quietly sobbed myself into an overdue sleep.
"It was approaching sunset when I woke up from a nightmare, I forgot it almost as soon as I woke up. I slid off of my bed and trudged my way downstairs to the kitchen to find some food. Along the way, I picked up and lit a lantern to make up for the dimming light.
"When I came into the kitchen, I noticed that there was a messy stack of paper on the table, I walked over to it, and looked at the sheets sprawled all over the surface. On every page was an inky print from every animal who was living with me before I left. Birds, cats, mice - dozens of prints of all shapes and sizes occupied every single page. And right at the end of the last page, on the bottom, was a bunny's paw print next to a barely-legible initial - Angel.
"Angel had taken charge, and had left this collection of 'signed' papers behind to show that everyone was okay, bless him. A smile crept on my face, and I felt a bit of pride for a moment for him. He was a clever little bunny, and very brave to have took the lead. I really hoped that he was safe, and had managed to get everyone else to safety, wherever that may be.
"I was interrupted by the sound of voices, gruff and with an accent. I blew my lantern out and took a peek outside a window. Coming up the road was the Hound with a couple of Diamond Dogs following him, carrying empty and full sacks of items. One of them pointed at my cottage, and they all started for it.
"I was in danger, I needed to get out, but I needed to take some things with me. I ran over to my cabinets and dropped cans of fruit, apples, and anything else edible into my saddlebags, and swiped my lantern on my way out. I then ran upstairs and grabbed my scarf and my sewing kit, and hastily took some medicine bottles from my bathroom cabinet.
"I froze the moment I heard my front door being tried. It wasn't opening, and a few seconds later I heard a loud crash as the door was kicked down. I ran into my bedroom and tried to hide, but all of the stuff I was carrying meant I couldn't even fit under my bed. I heard the scampering of paws as the rooms downstairs were searched, and the loud thuds and scraping sounds of something, or someone, big coming up the stairs.
"My heart started beating in my ears, and I felt like I couldn't breathe out of fear of being heard. Terrified, I started fumbling around by the nearest window, trying to unlatch it with my shaking hooves. Just as I managed to open the window, the Hound came through the doorway and into the room. We locked eyes, and in less than a second I had leapt out the window with him following behind.
"I was not expecting to be so heavy, so I fell before my wings could catch me. I tumbled on the ground but instantly recovered, breaking into a full gallop. I had lost some things in the fall, making the load lighter, but by now, my wings were too jittery from adrenaline for me to work properly. Instead, I flapped them to push me along as I made a break for the Everfree Forest.
"The Hound was catching up to me, and he was readying his massive claws to strike. I pushed myself harder, running for my life, beginning to reach the edge of Everfree. As I passed the fringe, the Hound slashed after me, cutting a tree branch in one slice. The branch dropped onto his head, and he stopped chasing me to howl out in pain. I kept running, jumping over bushes and fallen trees, my hooves thundering on the ground as I galloped deeper and deeper into the forest until I couldn't run anymore.
"I stopped beside a large tree and hid behind it, hoping that I hadn't been followed. I focused my hearing, listening intently for a few minutes before my heart beats slowed down and I allowed myself to relax. I fell to the ground and took a deep sigh of relief.
"That feeling didn't last long before I realised where I was, and that I had no home to go to. It was starting to get dark, and I didn't want to risk spending a night in the Everfree Forest.
"I started wandering through the forest, not knowing where I was or where I was going. I was lost, and I knew all too well that being lost in the Everfree Forest was a very, very bad thing. Not even my most scary nightmares could do the frightening creatures I knew were living here any justice.
"While I tried to imagine a cross between a Manticore, Cockatrice, Hydra, and a Dragon, I came across a familiar-looking river, and soon knew where I was, or rather, where I could go and stay for the night."
Follow my Tumblr! (Exclusive previews, questions answered, etc!): [link]
I'm very thankful for the support I'm receiving. I've never poured so much effort into a project like this. Storytelling and illustrating are not usually things I do, but this project has shown me that there is a first for everything, and that people are enjoying what I'm creating. So thanks to all of you for following the series, giving your feedback, or even just being nice and dropping by as you travel through the vast land of the internet. You're all awesome!
In this scene, I spent far too long trying to get the Hound to look right. Diamond Dogs in general I find to be very hard to draw, and I screwed up over four sketches before I had something I could work with. As a result, I didn't come out with it until a day after it was due, made even later by life conspiring against me. But the result of the time I spent on this piece paid off, I reckon, especially since the Hound (who I've named Spoon) looks much better than his first 'official' appearance in "Staying Hidden", which was my first, and very poor attempt at drawing a Diamond Dog/Hound. It really goes to show how I've improved since I began this project, which only serves to encourage to keep up with.
In the writing, well, the first draft I threw up here was fraught with errors, and I'm surprised nobody called me out on them. I've since improved the excerpt and fixed the issues I spotted. So hopefully it's a smooth read now!
As always, leave your comments in the box below. I really enjoy reading theories, feedback, and general thoughts!
The scorching heat of the desert had reached its peak in the middle of the day, while I flew swiftly through the air a few feet above the ground. My wings hurt from the bruises I had and from the non-stop flying for the past few hours, but I was too much in shock to really feel anything. I simply had to find the ponies who had gone missing. Somewhere in the desert there were all of passengers from my train who had left the wreck behind, and I hoped and hoped that they were following the tracks to either Appaloosa or Dodge Junction. But with no hoofprints in the sand pointing in any direction, I couldn't be sure where the others had gone. All I knew was that I was unconscious for a long time, and by the time I had woken up and discovered myself alone, any prints in the sand would've vanished under the breeze drifting over the ground.
I could've gone back to Appaloosa, the train had probably derailed closer to there than to Dodge Junction, after all. But I was afraid that if there were any ponies wandering in the opposite direction, by the time I got to Sheriff Silverstar and got a search party to come out, those ponies would be in terrible danger. And if the few canteens full of water and several other belongings that were still laying among the train wreck were any indication, they were unlikely to have enough water to last more than a day. If everypony had started walking back to Appaloosa, then I'd end up flying all the way to Dodge Junction in a couple of days, but I was sure I had enough water to make that journey.
Back at the train, I had collected up my belongings in a rush, my saddlebags were completely emptied of their contents, and everything, except for the headband the Buffalo had given me, was discarded in one of the train cars, replaced by first aid supplies and some food that I had found aboard the train. I had picked up two canteens filled to the brim with water, one canteen was originally mine - a gift from Appaloosa - while the other was among the left behind possessions that had been strewn all over the place when the train tipped over and left the tracks. Though it hurt to use them, my wings were okay to fly, and once I felt I was ready, I took to the air and began following the tracks toward Dodge Junction, keeping my eyes open for any lost ponies.
Occasionally, my eyes would catch a tiny movement below, and for a moment I'd think I'd found somepony. In a split second of dread, I'd turn to look, only to see a lizard scurrying away or a vulture flying up into the air to follow me from a distance. While I'd feel slightly relieved that I hadn't found any ponies, it also worried me more as I began to wonder if I was looking in the wrong place, especially as it became obvious that I had flown further than an earthbound pony could normally cover - even with a head start.
I decided to stop and take a break in the shade in order to have a drink and rest. I found a shaded spot near the bottom of a small mesa to land by, and glided down to the ground. My hooves barely catching me as the bruises shot up on pain again.
I slowly sat myself down and took a long drink from my canteen, feeling a little bit better sheltered from the sunlight. Nearby, two vultures landed on a rock, making no secret of them watching me. I stood of up slowly, and walked over to them. "Excuse me, but have you seen any ponies come this way?" I asked them.
The two large birds looked at each other in mild confusion, and then looked back at me. They shook their heads to say no.
"Are you sure? No ponies on hoof, wandering in the desert recently?"
They shook their heads again.
"Oh. Thanks anyway." I turned away from them and started picking my things back up. If none of the animals had seen them, then they were either much further ahead, still, or hadn't come way at all. Whichever the case, it was best I kept going, either I'd find them or reach Dodge Junction, and the sooner I did either one of those, the better.
I took a final gulp of water from my canteen before taking off once more, heading out into the afternoon Sun, following the train tracks through the desert. The vultures didn't follow me, this time.
Not a whole lot to say about this one, other than perspective is challenging and a lizard is actually pretty hard to draw without a good reference. Either way, I'm really happy with how the artwork came out, especially with Fluttershy.
Also, you can always count on Fluttershy to approach a creature hoping for her to become its next meal and manage to have a civil moment of interaction with it.
One more scene to draw, and that shall mark the first full chapter to Survivor Shy on FimFiction, allowing me to make a worthwhile rework of the story on that site. I don't want to update the FimFiction entry until I have a Prologue and 'Chapter One' ready. So, dA and Tumblr users are getting first dibs for now!
I had been following the train tracks for almost a week, all the while telling myself over and over again that Canterlot would be the end of my sadness. Everypony would be in Canterlot, all of my friends, the Princesses - all of them waiting for me and worrying about me. I just had to find my way back, and not give up until I was reunited with my friends.
But what about the scrolls? Couldn't they have sent me a scroll by now? I couldn't send them a message myself without a specially-made scroll, but Twilight had Spike, who can send any letter to Princess Celestia, and somehow send letters to me at least. Could he control where letters went or was the letter sent to me specially enchanted by Twilight? My mind wasn't giving me any rest on it, made worse by how I never once thought of asking Spike how it all worked. There had to be a reason, something that made it impossible for them to reach me, that had to be it, and they were probably waiting for me in Canterlot, knowing I would head there as quickly as I could. Whatever explanation I gave myself, it couldn't stop me from worrying.
I had long left the dry and hot desert, following the railroad deeper into Equestria, back to where forests and grassy hills replaced barren lands and sand dunes. I had chosen to walk along the tracks when it started raining, and low rumbles of thunder began rolling through the trees. Stern warnings from Flight Camp teachers echoed in my mind about flying in storms, some of the lectures aimed only at me, and the rest of the group of fillies and colts looking at me, snickering and whispering...
I shuddered at the memory, and carried on walking in the rain. I was hungry, tired, and now getting cold. It was getting dark, and I needed to find shelter to sleep and keep out of the rain. I veered off the path the train track was taking and crossed the tree line into the forest, looking for a warren or a den that I could ask to be allowed to spend the night in. Being back amongst the forests felt more like home than the desert. There were few places that critters really settled into out there, and definitely nothing that I could squeeze into. Here, there were all kinds of creatures living in all these different kinds of homes. I was sure I could find somewhere to stay.
While I slowly made my way through the forest, I started thinking about the last several days. I had saved a lot of time by flying for the majority of the journey, but I had also lost time on searching every town I came across. After countless stops and one empty town after another, I was starting to lose hope that there was anypony between here and Canterlot. And as I assured myself again that my friends were in Canterlot and that the missing ponies would soon turn up safe and sound, I found myself growing less and less able to shake the feeling in my chest that I was lying to myself. What if there weren't any ponies? What if I was alone? What would I do? How could something like that happen? How did this even happen? Dozens of questions were buzzing around in my head, and I didn't have an answer for any of them.
My hoof took a step forward and didn't touch the ground, instead, it kept on going down. And before I could react, I was rolling and sliding down a slippery hill, coming to a crashing stop at the bottom of the hill, rolling into and a large puddle of mud. I screamed in pain as my left foreleg began burning. I sat up quickly and pulled the wounded limb in towards me, biting my lip and closing my eyes tight. I could feel the telltale warmth trickle down to my hoof, and it sticking itself to my unhurt leg. The thought was making me light headed. Walking on three limbs, I limped over to a tree and dropped my saddlebags onto the ground. I pulled out a first aid kit from one of them and set it on the grass beside me. Tentatively, I raised my left foreleg up to see it, seeing a dark stain of drying blood on my coat and more seeping from a really bad cut. I must've done it on a rock hidden in the mud, and though it made me woozy to look at it, I knew what I needed to do.
With a little dexterity, I opened a pack of sanitizing wipes and placed one onto my hoof. I paused, and took a deep breath before I quickly pressed the wipe into the cut. I held it there and grit my teeth, a high-pitched squeak finding its way out as I fought the urge to scream. Tears had formed in my eyes as the pain became much worse, like a bunch of needles were being jabbed into my foreleg at once. I held it there, though, waiting for the pain to ease before I carried on. Slowly, the stinging wore off and I cleaned the dirt away from the wound. Next, I unpacked a bandage roll, wrapping it around my leg a few times before tying it off and tearing the bandage off the roll. The treatment complete, I dropped my first aid kit back into my saddlebags and sat there silently, staring through my tear-glazed eyes at the grass and trees around me, giving myself a moment to relax.
The rain was falling around me in torrents, and the sky was rumbling with thunder and flickering with distant forks of lightning. I closed my eyes and curled up underneath the tree, deciding to give up looking for better shelter and just rest where I was. I wasn't going to get any sleep tonight, not with the weather and being soaked and cold, but at least I could rest my leg and be ready for more walking and flying tomorrow. I couldn't be too far from Canterlot, now.
This right here is the first part of Chapter Two, it is also the first of two images that shall replace the scene "Look For A Purpose".
I feel that the first four images I drew for Survivor Shy are not up to my personal standards now. And so have decided to either update, redraw, or replace. "Look For A Purpose" is being replaced, "Staying Hidden" is going to be redraw, "The Old Castle" is being redrawn, and "Blizzard" shall be updated.
As for this scene and it's excerpt, I'm really damn pleased with the picture. It took me less time than I expected to complete, the only hang up I ad was writing the excerpt. I'm not 100% content with it, so it'll probably go through another draft or something before I compile all the Chapter Two scenes together for publishing on FimFiction.
Anyway, be sure to let me know what you think! I am giving you sneak previews after all!
Here's what it looked like in the first rough draft - [link]
This drawing is so I can practice drawing a lot of objects! So it's kind of rough, there's a bunch of white dots around, I'll fix them later. Went back and did the fixes, should be completed now.
Pinkie Pie, Hot Sauce Bottle, Harmony Necklace, ??? Bracelet, Hoops, Mini-Plush, Invitation Card, Harmonica, Ice Skates, Basket, Party Blowers, Microphone and Stand, Party Cannon, Confetti, Giant Hammer, Saddlebag, Pinkamena's Friends, Jetpack, Cauldron, Table, Crystal Ball, Cupcake, Cake, Butcher Knife, Ball, Giant Robot, Pinkiecopter, Drumkit, Balloons, Welcome Wagon and a random ball.
~144 layers. Surprisingly it took less time than when I did those last two request drawings 'though.
Items chosen are items/gadgets I'd like Pinkie to use in MLP:TPE.
Comment from the Derpibooru upload of this -thanks WatermelonRat (and the occasional others) btw for uploading some of my stuff there- "“There’s no photoshoot like a Pinkie Pie photoshoot.”" -AllTheDamnPancakes
My Little Pony : Friendship is Magic series and characters belongs to the Hub & Hasbro
Trust me, it is a costume of Steven Magnet. Move along... ^^
Who's under the skin? Meet Corduroy, my newest and second OC - no cutie mark, 0x0;. You'll find out more about him soon. Just keep guessing what colour his mane will be. I've been absent from here far longer than intended, but I'll explain why in due course.
UPDATE -- In EQD Drawfriend # 610. Suh-weet! To everyone who fav'd this, thank you! [link]