February 10th, 2013 @ 4.30pm:
-Updated story excerpt for upcoming release of chapter on FimFiction.
June 16th, 2012 @ 2.12pm:
-Updated to correct missing or barely visible details. Also remembered to apply a layer I missed off in the first export.
-Story excerpt tweaked to include further details.
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I shouldn't have come to Canterlot.
The whole city was burning. Dragons roared and flew all around, raining fire down on anything they saw as a threat. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Diamond Dogs were pouring into the town and scurrying across the streets.They must have come through the abandoned mines Twilight told me about,
I concluded, keeping my eyes and ears trained to spot the slightest hint of danger. There were no Diamond Dogs taking the road up the mountain, and it would explain the bottomless pits scattered throughout the city.
I huddled myself under a pile of rubble, the remains suggested there used to be a café here. Now, however, it was nothing more than bricks and bent rebar, with twisted iron suggesting there used to be some fancy chairs and tables outside.
This couldn’t be Canterlot. Not with the chaos and fighting going on all around me.
A dozen armed hounds bounded past my hiding place, heading down the street. I saw one of them look up and skid to a stop, and one by one the rest did the same. I peeked out from my cover, and felt every muscle in my body freeze.
A green Dragon dropped down from the moonlit sky, crushing a building under its enormous form. The group of dogs split off from each other; some dug themselves to safety, while others fled into buildings or back up the street towards me. The Dragon opened his colossal maw and breathed fire up the road. Somehow, I found a way to break my horrified stare and duck back into cover, narrowly escaping the heat of the Dragon’s flames with just a light scorch on my coat. I heard the dogs howl in pain. Before I could think I was peeking out again to see if they weren’t badly hurt. I saw them flee around a corner, the fur now burnt off their backs. I hoped they wouldn’t be too far from help.
I twisted my head around to catch sight of the Dragon. The massive beast had crushed a jewelry shop, and was now picking through its contents, stealing anything valuable. I’ve got to get out of here, before I get caught up in this.
I shimmied out from my temporary shelter, and stood up in the open. This was crazy. If I froze up now, I’d be in terrible danger. Calm breaths, one step at a time. My quivering legs steadied themselves and shut out images of the Dragon breathing fire at me. Just be quiet and careful.
The Dragon continued looting, and seemed oblivious that I was creeping across the road behind him. Silent prayers escaped my lips, begging for me to not be spotted while I crossed into an alley.
Now comfortably within the shadows, I let out a tense sigh. I wasn’t too far now, I could see Canterlot Castle. Some of the beautiful towers had been destroyed, and I could see some parts of the Castle had been partially sacked – likely abandoned by the looters when the two factions met one another.
I hurried myself along, constantly twisting my ears around for any sounds to hide from. The clattering of spears and armoured Diamond Dogs filled my head, along with the rumble of Dragons flying overhead, and the sound of dust being pushed in their wake. Everything I heard was a threat, but I had to decide which threats were worth hiding from if I wanted to make any progress. How I wished I was in the comfort of a meadow or in my own home! This pressure wanted me to snap, but I couldn’t let that happen. I couldn’t let my friends down.
I finally met the perimeter wall of the Castle, and quickly dove into a bush to plan my next move. I didn't want to fly. Not with the Dragons circling around the city. Being spotted by them, seeing their sharp claws and jagged teeth come for me was a nightmare I didn’t want to live through.
My eyes scanned around, my ears still twitching and twisting at every roar, crash, and cry. There was no other way in that was safer. Flying over the wall was the option I had.Just a few seconds, that’s all I need.
My wings pressed themselves closer against me. I’m doing this. I can do this.
The opportunity came - a lull in the battle. The Dragons disappeared into the night, flying over a different part of the city, and not a single lumbering shadow of a Diamond Dog could be seen. I held my breath and leapt out from the bush. I struggled to unfurl my wings, my heart racing at the precious few seconds dwindling away.Come on, come on!
A roar rang through my eardrums, and I flinched, whipping my head up. The distant silhouette of a Dragon was approaching. I was running out of time.
Instead of hiding again, I forced my wings to unfurl, and stiffly made them work. The Dragon was getting closer; he was going to see me!Hurry!
I leapt into the air, pumping my wings in a panic. I sailed over the wall and dove back down the other side, crashing into the ground. There was nowhere to hide on this side of the wall.
I rolled onto my back in a daze, just as the massive body of the Dragon flew over, blocking out my view of the moon and stars. I froze up. My gaze followed him in terror, expecting him to turn around at any moment and chase me. Instead, the Dragon carried on. Maybe I was lucky and he didn’t see me.Why did I do that? I didn’t need to take that risk!
I picked myself up and made sure I hadn’t dropped anything from my saddlebags, and then broke out into a full gallop across the Castle’s lawn. I was almost there; I just had to find where my friends were hiding. Hopefully they had a plan. Hopefully Twilight knew what to do. Everything was going to be okay.
I rounded a blind corner straight into the sight of a brown Dragon with crimson scales running along his spine. He held in his arms a hoard of priceless treasures, all of which seemed worthless to him as he dumped it on the ground, narrowing his icy eyes at me.Oh no.
There wasn’t enough air to fill my lungs, I was being strangled by my own fear. The Dragon craned hi neck down, leveling his eyes to my petrified stare.
“Do you dare trespass on Dragon territory?” He growled at me, smoke puffing out of his nostrils.
I squeaked and started to back away, which only angered the Dragon more.
The Dragon kept his eyes fixed on me, and took in a breath.Run! Oh goodness, run!
I spun around and galloped away. The Dragon roaring and breathing fire after me, I swung round a random path, escaping with just a lick of flames on the back of my hind legs. I heard the Dragon roar again and take to the air.
Moments later, I saw the Dragon fly straight over me. “Trespassers will not be spared!” The massive creature vowed.
I kept on galloping, trying to find a place to hide. But how could I hide when he was watching my every move? I shut my eyes tight, squeezing out the only tears I was going to let myself shed. No, those thoughts were poisonous. I couldn’t believe them. There had to be a way.
The Dragon suddenly dropped down from the sky, and landed in front of me with a massive crash. I struggled to keep my balance as the ground shook violently. The beast had cut off my path! With no time to stop and change direction, I barreled towards him. He breathed fire again, and I threw myself airborne. My wings barely caught me and hoisted me clear, the heat singeing my hooves. I pumped my wings as hard as I could, making twists and turns I had never trained to do. I had to dodge the Dragon’s attacks if I were to get past him. I narrowly missed his claws as he swatted at me, and flew over his shoulder.
Out of my peripherals, I caught a glimpse of the Dragon's tail, but far too late to react. I was smacked out of the air, launched off over a few buildings before crashing through a massive window. My body flared up with sharp pangs as the shards cut into me. I hit the floor, screaming at the shock and burning sensation of glass cutting me up. Finally, I came to a rest among the remains of the shattered window. I closed my eyes and kept them shut, so I wouldn’t see the end coming.
Moments later, I heard the roars of the Dragon and the great beats of his wings as he flew over the building I had been thrown into. The windows rattled and chattered as the giant beast flew overhead, as terrified of the creature as I was. I opened my eyes a crack to see. The Dragon had lost me - for now.
Knowing I didn't have much time, I tried to clamber onto my hooves. Intense pain washed over me, and I cried out in pain. This was worse than the cut on my foreleg, this was worse than the bruises from the train crash. I could see my blood.
I forced myself upright, biting my tongue and shuddering at every throb. I limped over to my saddlebags, the crash had knocked them off of me and scattered my supplies onto the large floor.
I concentrated, clearing my head of the agony and trying to not panic at the sight of my blood. I gathered my belongings together, and set to work on dealing with the worst of my cuts. I grit my teeth together as I pulled shards of glass out of my wounds, and poured water over my cuts from my canteen. The blood mixed and faded, washing onto the floor, leaving a reddish pattern of swirls in the resulting puddle.
A roar shook the building, and I spun around where I stood. I haven’t got any time for bandages.
I thought as examined the worst of my cuts. I just hope these will heal by themselves soon.
I heard the Dragon fly over again. He wasn’t going to give up. I watched his shadow loom over the windows, hoping he wouldn’t see the broken one. My gaze fell upon the surviving windows. They were stained glass windows, and in the moonlight I could see my friends, I could see Spike, Discord too.This is Canterlot Tower! The Elements of Harmony are stored here!
I started to run again, this time making my way for the end of the long hall. The most secure room in Canterlot was the same room the Elements of Harmony were kept in. If everypony needed a place to hide, the vault-like protection of the Elements’ room was a great choice.
I skidded to a stop. The door that protected the Elements was open; and a chest and a dozen items lay in front of me.
All six of the Elements lay strewn across the floor, and among them were the crown, shoes, and chest-plate that belonged to Princess Celestia.No…
I was looking at the very last place the Princess was before she disappeared.Oh no, please no.
The Elements were not with my friends.
I was the first pony to find the Elements, a week after the disaster took everypony away. Twilight wasn’t in Canterlot, nopony was - nopony except for me.I’m the only pony left in Equestria.
I ambled up to the Elements on the floor. Tears fell down my cheeks, but I didn’t care to stop them. The burning pain a few moments ago was replaced by an empty numbness that made my legs feel heavy and cumbersome.
Everything I had hoped for was not going to happen. The whole time I had the truth in front of me; the desolate towns, the thousands of ponies mysteriously gone – how could I have fooled myself into believing that my friends and the Princesses had pulled through like I had?
There was nothing I could do to help them. I had the Elements of Harmony right here, but only one bearer was here to wield hers.
Slowly, I leant down to collect everything I could carry. A series of crashes and splintering glass stopped me. I whirled around, and saw the large hall I was be filled with dozens of Diamond Dogs climbing through the windows. Some were small and armed with spears, others carrying empty sacks, and a small number of them towered above the rest, brandishing their freakishly long claws.
I took a few steps back, feeling hundreds of eyes all focused on me. I was exposed.
Before the dogs charged forward, their eyes turned upwards just as an enormous cacophony or smashed stone filled the room. I felt the heat on my back first – the breath of the beast.
Hesitantly, my own gaze followed the Diamond Dogs. The brown Dragon I had fled from towered above me, sitting where the most secure room in Canterlot used to be. He narrowed has glare at the scores of Diamond Dogs in the room, many of whom where readying their weapons and howling.
I looked down at my hooves, at all the golden items and shiny gemstones they all lusted after. This was the worst place for me to be stood.
I should not have come to Canterlot.