"I thought I was prepared for my second visit to Canterlot. I had made a mental checklist Twilight would've been impressed with, and made a plan with a clearer goal than the first one I had when I cluelessly climbed the road to Canterlot. With nightmares keeping me from sleep, and not wanting to dwell on them like how my parents told me, I used the extra time wisely.
"Honestly, what I did have as a plan took no more than a few hours to make. What kept me in and around the Everfree Forest for a couple of days was gathering food and water for the journey, and putting away what reservations I had about looting things I desperately needed. Zecora's hut was now missing a few medicines and brews, and a copy of Supernaturals was also absent. At the time, I told myself that the book would be useful for when I can't sleep, and as I slinked through the ruins of Canterlot, trying to avoid the Dragons and Diamond Dogs still fighting all throughout the city, I kept on telling myself just that.
"'At least I left an apology note behind.' I thought to myself as I passed through a burnt-out shop.
"I pressed up against a wall, beside a doorway looking out over a street. The room I was in was once a jeweller's, it had been robbed of its wares long ago, and the raiders had left behind nothing but shattered glass. At some point, a Dragon had caught the building on fire, leading to the smoke-filled and leaning structure the shop had now become. It hurt to see Canterlot like this, in an even worse state now as it was when I had left it no more than four days ago. There may not have been much damage when... when the shockwave crashed my train, leaving only a small number of towns and hills scorched and lifeless in its wake, the transformation Canterlot had undergone in the weeks that followed was jarring. The Diamond Dogs and Dragons had simply flocked here like scavengers and began picking away at a body until there was nothing left but bone.
"I shuddered as the image flashed across my mind of vultures eating a dead animal. Even to a pony like me, there were some parts of nature that I simply didn't want to think about if I could help it.
"I peered out into the street, checking to see if the coast was clear. I could hear fighting a long way away, but this part of the city seemed to be abandoned, already searched and stolen from.
"I began to trot outside when a great, big Dragon flew directly overhead, scaring me back indoors. It banked off to the right and breathed fire over a part of the city, before coming around and landing near to where its flames had taken hold, well away from me.
"I darted outside and went in the opposite direction of it, making sure it wouldn't spot me. I checked behind to see if the Dragon was coming after, even though its attention was clearly on something else that was throwing spears at it than on me. I breathed a sigh of relief, and turned toward the street I was now on. I let out a muted 'eep' as I stopped myself from screaming.
"No more than twenty hooves away from me was a Hound, sitting down against a wall, with one of its bulky arms rested on the floor while the other was carefully resting over his chest. His eyes were locked onto mine. In an instant, he began to spring up to attack, and I froze in place and closed my eyes, only to hear him gasp for air and sound like he tripped over.
"I cautiously opened one of my eyes to peek, and I saw the Hound laying on the road, breathing raggedly and covering his chest with an arm while being aware of his own claws. He slowly rose up, growled at me, and started backing away.
"Something was wrong. And against my own instinct to flee, I followed him, but I kept my distance.
"The hound growled at me again, bearing his teeth while limping himself backwards, his chest. I noticed that he was dropping gold coins and other looted valuables from ripped pockets, and didn't seem to care.
"'Are you... Are you hurt?' I gently spoke, barely hearing myself over my heartbeats. 'Do you need help?' I wasn't sure what to expect, I wasn't even sure if this kind of Diamond Dog could speak, I knew what I was doing was dangerous, but I was sure he was in pain.
"The Hound stopped where he was, surprised at first, but then he scowled at me. 'I don't need help from puny pony who runs into forest like scaredy cat!'
"I suddenly recognised him, it was the same Hound I had seen in Ponyville and in my house.
"The Hound stood on his hind legs for a moment to flex his arms. 'I'm strong! My hurt will go away! Stupid Gryphon can't keep me down!'
"Griffins? I didn't understand. But before I could ask, he turned his back to me and started going down the street. I hurried up and caught up with him, settling a little closer, but still far away enough to avoid his claws if he were to strike. Every step he took seemed to hurt him, but by the way he was trying to ignore it, I couldn't tell how much. I tried talking to him again. 'Um, excuse me, Mister Diamond Dog. I don't mean to be a bother, but what do you mean by a Griffin keeping you down?'
"He tried to sigh, but has breath was cut short and turned into a gasp. He cringed for a few seconds and then started to speak. 'Stupid Gryphon came down from the sky. Hit me really hard here.' He waved his left paw over his chest, taking care not to catch himself with his claws. "Then it took shiny necklace away and escaped before I could get claws on it. You happy? Now go away!" The hound stormed off, but didn't get very far before listing over to catch air through shallow breaths. I hurried over to his side, abandoning my sense, and pushed him back upright. I stepped back as he turned to look at angrily.
"'What you want... now?!' He demanded, still catching his breath. 'Can't you... just go.. away?! I must find... fellow... Dogs. They will... help.'
"I turned to my saddlebags and quickly pulled out a green bottle with a thick mixture inside. I had taken it from Zecora's, thinking I may need it for myself (the meeting with a Dragon on my first visit came to mind). On the bottle were two labels, one with writing, the other with a picture of a bone. The label read: 'Enaroot Bone Repair - Treats clean breaks and fixes fractures the size of a hair!'
"I put the bottle down by my hooves so I could speak. 'It looks like that mean Griffin has hurt your ribs. I have medicine here that can fix that quickly and make it stop hurting. But you need to take the medicine.'
"'Blech! I hate medicine! I don't need it!' He bellowed, and stormed off again. He cried out in pain as his outburst quickly caught up with him. I picked the bottle up by the cork and rushed over to him. I stumbled about as I held the bottle with my forehooves and yanked the cork out. I dropped the cork to floor, and while still struggling to keep my balance, tried to get him to take the medicine. Without a word, he swung his left arm and held his paw out, barely missing me with his claws, and grunted a 'fine' toward me. I dropped the bottle onto his paw and set my forehooves down on the ground, a small smile creeping onto my face.
"That expression quickly changed to concern as he drank it all down and tossed the bottle on the floor, shattering it. 'Oh my...' I hoped there wasn't a maximum dosage.
"'There. Now I get better, and pony leave me alone, yes?' He said bitterly.
"I nodded and smiled. 'Make sure you get plenty of rest, and you'll get better soon.'
"He looked away and grumbled, I took that as his way of forcing himself to say 'thank you'.
"'If you don't mind me asking, what is your name? I'm Fluttershy.'
"Before he could respond, I caught two shapes round the corner of the street. I looked to see what they were, and saw two Diamond Dogs looking at me. They started shouting 'Get away from him, pony!' and raised their spears as they charged for me. I yelped and took to the air, and two spears were thrown after me, but thankfully fell short as I ascended. I looked around the city for the Castle's towers, and quickly started flying toward them, dropping down to the streets once I was sure I had lost them, and so I wouldn't be spotted by any Dragons.
"I hid myself inside another burned-out building to get my breath back. I was surprised at myself for letting my guard down so easily. Especially near a Diamond Dog that has been looting from Ponyville and now Canterlot, and even chased me off into the Everfree Forest. But, even after all of that considered, I couldn't have just left him in pain and unable to defend himself, not with all the Dragons flying around. All I could hope for was that that bit of kindness wouldn't come back to haunt me.
"I shook my head to clear the thoughts away, I was losing my focus again. I had to get back to Canterlot Tower, where I had last seen the Elements of Harmony, and search for them. The less time I spent getting there, the sooner I could find them, and that meant I could get out of Canterlot sooner.
"I checked outside to be sure it was safe, and ran off into the streets, heading for the Castle's grounds."
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I also took way too long with this.
It's about time I got a new update done, blame my laziness, I do. But at least this scene marks an important point in my progress, as it now allows me to pretty go wherever I please in the storyline and create a scene. But let's not forget the voting thing I started before I finished this. I've collected the tallies, and the winning option is Number 3: The Prologue option! This means that I shall begin working on the Prologue scene next, and get it out as soon as I can. Are you excited to have the Prologue finally coming? You should be. Option 4: The follow-up scene for 'Applejack' was only one point behind, so I'll most likely do that after I've made the Prologue scene.
Anyway, this particular scene was a challenge. I resketched it a few times (which you can see on my Tumblr) because the early sketches were horrible. I'm hoping that this scene is very interesting, because of how much time I spent sketching it until I was happy with it. I enjoyed drawing Fluttershy, if only because I had the perfect excuse to draw a bellybutton on her (they're just cute when drawn on the ponies, okay?), and also have an interesting pose to work with. I hope to one day get good enough at drawing poses to not spend days merely sketching and reworking them, but baby steps.
As for the write-up. I was honestly stumped on how to write for this scene. I knew what I wanted to happen, but it was a challenge to put it all together and not sound stupid, while also being pretty tired. I'm sorry if you catch any errors, and I'll fix them if you report them.
Finally, be sure to tell me what you think! I use feedback as a fuel source, because fizzy drinks, chocolate milk, and Sunny D are seriously lacking in the inspiration department for me. So be sure to leave your comments below!