"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."
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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 quietly crept my way towards the silhouette of the air yacht under the cover of the falling snow. Canterlot had dramatically become colder, and as I climbed aboard the anchored vessel and questioned whether it was right to steal it, I reminded myself that there was no way I was going to be able to walk down the mountain without freezing or being attacked by the Dragons and Diamond Dogs in and around Canterlot, and flying out of the city was out of the question with the strong winds forming and poor visibility.
"I dropped my saddlebags onto the deck, and began releasing the ropes holding the balloon down. Suddenly, it rose upwards sharply, and the yacht was jerked a few hooves into the air as it was caught between the balloon and its anchor. I climbed back aboard the yacht, and released the anchor from the ground. Now free, the yacht ascended quickly and silently, and was caught by a crosswind and blown over Canterlot. I peeked over the rail at the city below. Compared to the last time I visited, the city was now much more quiet. With the exception of the few fires still burning, and the faint shapes of Dragons flying around below, Canterlot seemed to have been largely abandoned by both of the warring races, leaving a ghostly shell that was now being buried ever so slowly in snow.
"I rose above the clouds, losing sight of the world beneath, and was finally greeted by the rising Sun. I allowed myself to breathe a sigh of relief, glad to have reached the safety of the sky.
"I heard rumbles, and at first I thought it was my stomach, but then a flash caught my eyes. I looked ahead of the ship, and my eyes widened in fear. Dead ahead, was a massive multicellular thunderstorm, and the ship was sailing on the wind straight into it.
"'Oh... My...' I said to myself, and I rushed into the cabin to the pilot controls. I attempted to steer the yacht, but I couldn't get the ship to alter its course, I was at the mercy of the wind.
"I rushed back onto the deck, to collect my saddlebags, when a bolt of lightning struck the balloon. The deafening explosion scared me into a tiny ball on the deck, and I was too afraid to move as the storm became much more violent, shaking the air yacht around and assaulting it with hail and lightning. The balloon ignited and started to burn, and I knew then that the ship wasn't going to survive this flight."
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First scene out of five for the next five days, and I barely made it. I can't hang around for long, because I need to get to sketching tomorrow's scene right now.
I decided to try a different approach with this scene. I at first wanted to show the viewer the storm, but then changed my mind because the viewer couldn't see Fluttershy's face, and I like to leave her expression visible so that a viewer can read her expression. However, I also needed to show what she was so afraid of in the picture. So I decided to take a more comic-book style approach to it by including the thunderstorm in a separate pane. I like the result, AND I managed to make sure she had all the accessories she's supposed to be wearing on her the first time around. I need to correct my last submission when I have time because I forgot her bandage in it. It'll probably see correction this Saturday, since my weekdays are booked solid on drawing new scenes!
Oh, and one last thing: Survivor Shy is now on FimFiction! It'll soon be current to my dA, which means it'll be perfect for those of you who frequent FimFiction to easily track this story! Plus, it might help me achieve a feature on the site, you never know!
Edit - Ohey, wassup EqD! If you guys don't know, this FB group was mentioned in an earlier Nightly Round-up. Although it was pointing out a contest, it nonetheless was pretty much a mention of the group. That's when I joined and already I was welcomed happily by the admin and everything! A few mentions, nibs of chats, and I was requested to try and make a cover photo for the group and here it is!
Here, is the group that this banner was made for - [link] - Come join us if you got a FB account!
Here are the previous WIP versions I saved - [link]
300+ layers, I wouldn't know, Paint Tool SAI apparently has a 256 layer limit which I reached as I got to the shading part so I had to flatten a lot of stuff.
Started the sketch like 36 hours ago from now, of course I slept like twice, and I kinda got distracted by Minecraft a few hours both of those days too, I really got to a point where my current drawing style has become a habit . . !
I like this special request, I got to practice character interactions, draw lots of ponies, and do a confirm on some filter effects I used on that last drawing 'MLP - Butterfly'!
There are so many 'first-time-drawn' too . . . ! I haven't drawn a lot of these characters before.
Oh gosh I'm sorry Philomena, I didn't know about the fact that group cover photo resolutions are different from normal profile ones so uh . . . sorry about the cut-off over at the group page.
My Little Pony : Friendship is Magic series and characters belongs to the Hub & Hasbro