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December 31, 2012
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Survivor Shy - Fighting A Losing Battle by Mattatatta Survivor Shy - Fighting A Losing Battle by Mattatatta
Night had fallen in the Everfree Forest, and around me I could feel dozens of pairs of eyes watching me in the dark shadows of the trees and bushes. I kept up my pace, moving as quickly as I could among the chaotic and wildly overgrown foliage. With only a simple lantern lighting the way and scaring off the creatures lurking in the darkness, I wasn't certain if I was heading the right way, or deeper and deeper into danger.

At last, the trees and bushes parted and opened up to a familiar gorge, with a wrecked rope bridge draped down one side of the cliff-face. On the other side of the sheer drop, I could see the spooky remains of the Old Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters. I checked to make sure my saddlebags were secure, bit down harder on the lantern's handle so that I wouldn't drop it, and carefully unfurled my wings. A ghostly rendition of Pinkie's sing-song advice echoed in my mind, "You can make it if you try with a hop, skip, and jump!"

I felt my focus shatter and I slumped down onto my haunches. Tears began to form in my eyes, and I tried to blink them back, only to hear a distant shout of Rainbow Dash saying "Suck it up, Fluttershy!" which was the final straw.

I dropped my lantern onto the grass in front of me, and buried my face in my hooves, sobbing. I couldn't do this, not without my friends. I had not seen them ever since I woke up in a train wreck hundreds of miles away from home. Ponyville was a ghost town, my cottage was too dangerous to go back to, and I had seen not a single pony over the past week. And now I was in the middle of the Everfree Forest in pitch darkness after being chased by a terrifying Diamond Dog with massive claws. I should have tried going to different town, or Zecora's hut, rather than wandering deeper into the Everfree Forest, but I thought of the ruins first, and went here without a second though. It was too late to do turn around, now, it was too dark to stay outside any longer.

I heard growling behind me, and I leapt up onto my hooves and whirled around to face the source of the sound. I heard another growl, this time closer, followed by the beats of something running towards me. I didn't waste another second to grab my lantern and jump into the air, pumping my wings as hard as I could just as Timberwolves came charging out of the bushes, snarling and leaping after me, just barely falling short of catching me in their jaws. I flew over to the other side of the gorge, dropped down to the ground and kept on running. I heard the wolves howl, spurring me to run fast. I was sure that they couldn't jump across, but I wasn't going to wait and find out for certain.

I galloped up the mossy steps and forced one of the heavy wooden doors at the top open, I squeezed in the gap between the two doors, and pushed the door shut once I was inside, dropping the moss-covered bar into place and locking the door. I stepped away from them, making sure that they were truly secure, and then spun around to check for any other ways the literal woodland creatures could get in. There were windows with missing glass, but the ledges were too high for the Timberwolves to reach. Once I was sure that I was safe for the time being, I slowly sat myself down and put the lantern I still had in my mouth on the floor. I gave myself a few minutes to dried away the last of the tears still in my eyes, and waited until I stopped shaking in fright.

I picked my lantern up and started roaming through the dark hallways of the Old Castle, the place where my friends and I defeated Nightmare Moon oh so long ago. In spite of the time that had passed, being here made it feel like it had only happened a few days ago. I walked slowly, and found myself walking into a large room, probably the highest room left standing in the ruins. This was the Throne Room, the exact place where Twilight faced off against Nightmare Moon alone, and stood her ground long enough for the rest of us to find her.

I walked up to the remains of the pedestal that the throne once sat on - long since left discarded off to the side of the room to rot for a millennium - and sat on my haunches near the first step. I gazed over the vast space, remembering the showdown that took place here. It must have been terrifying to have been alone with Nightmare Moon. She was bigger, far more powerful, and very dangerous to everypony. But Twilight didn't run away, in spite of the odds, she did all she could to protect the Elements of Harmony, it was the only chance we had to defeat Nightmare Moon, after all, and we were lucky to have found Twilight when we did.

I blinked as a thought crossed my mind. I was fighting a losing battle alone, too. And no more than ten minutes ago did I consider giving up. I couldn't do that to Twilight, I couldn't just give up because things were looking bleak. I owed that to Twilight, to all of them. I had to hang in there.

I rested my head down to sleep, and promised myself that everything would be okay.


=~=

View all the artwork in the Survivor Shy Gallery! [link]

Read the Fanfic on FimFiction! [link]

Follow My Tumblr! [link]

Happy New Year, everypony!

To celebrate the start of another year, I've finally got a new scene to upload, AND a brand new chapter for Survivor Shy to release! So be sure to check out FimFiction to read the story there!

I had fun drawing this one, everything, except for the Timberwolves, seemed to just come together without any hassle. I went completely freehand on this one, rather than using the lineart tool to make insanely crisp lines and edges, because, believe it or not, I actually take twice as long to even draw a line close to how I want it to be when using the lineart tool, whereas just using the pen takes no time to do, and editing is easier for me.

I wanted to make a new image to replace the now-obsolete scene "The Old Castle" [link] since the artwork for that was old, and it was terrible (The perspective sucked). So in this piece, I originally wanted to draw a new angle for Fluttershy walking in the Castle, but since I also wanted to include some perspective, I saw an opportunity to draw a partner image that used some perspective in its shot, where it was more appropriate. So, not only do we get a nice scene of her in the Castle, there's also an action shot from moments before that we didn't see before, but really should have.

Now then, as usual, I'd love to hear your feedback, both for the art and the story. I do enjoy wild mass guessing and long comments, because I'm a chatterbox, myself. Just look at this description, it's full of rambling.
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:iconxshadowxo:
xshadowxo Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2014  New member
OMG FLUTTERSHY IS SO CUTE WHEN SHE'S A FILLY :C
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:iconsupernormalman:
SuperNormalMan Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2013
Not to worry, folks; I'm certain that, at some point, Fluttershy will become an Iron Woobie.
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
She might be applicable for that trope, but I'm not deliberately aiming for it.
Reply
:iconsupernormalman:
SuperNormalMan Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2013
Well, we all know how badass Fluttershy can be when she has to be.
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:iconsilverrattler:
SilverRattler Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
what happened to her pretty long hair?
I just noticed that it's all short and dirty. :C
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
She cut it short to tidy it, and so it wouldn't hinder her while travelling.

[link]
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:iconsilverrattler:
SilverRattler Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
That was both the saddest thing I've read and seen in a long time...

I can't stand to see Fluttershy cry. :C
Reply
:iconfraeya:
Fraeya Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Aww man, it's been a while since I commented! I don't recall if I changed my username before or after I first started watching you, but I used to be AnnaKatlena1. And I had a different avatar then, too. Idk if you remember me; I gave a little critique on a chapter a good while back during the summer, I believe.

I'm so sorry that I haven't commented since; I always meant to but rarely found the time thanks to college courses—and now here I am about to start yet another semester! Break was too short... :omg:

Enough about me. I liked this chapter a lot! Memories of cheerful friends making Shy break down really broke my heart; wonderfully executed there. Then, her memories (specifically of Twi and Nightmare Moon's battle) inspire her to keep going.

I just noticed there may be potential to bring in something interesting here, if you haven't seen it already: how her memories are both detrimental and supportive. Shy's memories can either drive her and give her strength, or remind her of her losses and weaken her—given the situation. There could be tension and even clashing between the two possibilities, good and bad, and it may torment her emotionally and psychologically. How does it affect her struggle to find the strength to journey on? Will she even begin to dread thinking about her friends, since it might cause her to stumble in a moment of weakness? Imagine that it must reach a breaking point; maybe Shy must find her resolve in one way or another: believe in her friends, or accept a new life, move on, and start anew. (Will she succeed or fail in what she chooses?! :wow:) Maybe exploring this might give you an interesting turn of events! Or maybe I'm just over-thinking things wayyy too much, yet again. :XD: You don't have to take me seriously ;) It's your story, write what makes you happy! :huggle:

Oh, and I have one itty-bitty critique. Really, it's very small: when Fluttershy enters the ruins. I know ruins were mentioned; just want to clarify, is that what she entered? I don't know how close the ruins are, but it just seemed to me that the steps sort of appeared out of nowhere... maybe include something like how she pushed herself further and further—where are the ruins?—then, There they are! I can imagine her heart skipping a beat when she realizes that she's coming right up on safety's doorstep.
IDK; what do you think?

Oh! Happy (belated) New Year to you; I hope 2013 treats you wonderfully. And congratulations on having this featured in FimFiction! I certainly think Survivor Shy deserves a lot of attention :D
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
(one mis-click later)

It's probably the main internal conflict of the story, Fluttershy trying to balance acknowledging the disaster and her natural, instinctual response to loss (to put it scientifically), with her hope and determination that drives her to look her reality in the eye and work to change it back the way it used to be. On the one hoof, she's got the world around her saying that she cannot undo what has happened, and that she is deluding herself. On the other, she has a belief that she has a chance - if a slim one or an imagined one - to find the truth behind the disaster, and discover a way to make things right again.

If she refuses to accept her new life in pursuit of her wish to restore Equestria, she also refuses to accept the death, metaphoric or otherwise, of her friends. This all leads to her grief being left unresolved, and growing doubts to fester as time goes on. If it turns out that she is wrong, the world will come crashing down on her so hard that she likely wouldn't come back from it.

If she accepts post-disaster Equestria to be her new home, and that she is the only pony left in existence. She will eventually stop grieving, and adapt to her new life. With her past no longer haunting her, she would not be likely to fall prey to danger and risk losing her mind at the worst moment. Basically, while it's a bleak life ahead of her, it's also the least risky. But if it turns out that she was wrong to give up, and realises it, she would start self-loathing pretty badly, her reaction would be far more severe if it's too late by the time realises her mistake, because then, in her mind, she is now the one responsible for the complete destruction of Equestria - since she did nothing about it.

It's a conundrum in a way. Neither option has the best set of advantages or chance of best possible outcome. Fluttershy cannot commit herself to either one, and so her goals often have different motives behind them, up until she finally commits and her goals change.
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:iconfraeya:
Fraeya Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I'll respond to both with this comment! And sorry that it's late; college is top priority and it sucks up all my time...

These story lines are really good and well thought out. Having a Catch-22 usually has a good success rate and can turn out some of the best stories, if handled with care. I've really got nothing else to add, although that part about Spike choosing a path was really interesting. I haven't read much Survivor Shy yet so I don't know, but it seems like he's matured a lot. I can give you some advice in psychology, although again, IDK how educated you are in that field. If you would kindly bear with me for a moment... Studies show that when pushed to a stressful situation, we tend to revert back to our natural-born responses to situations, and not so much the ones that are learned by nurture/environment. A study with baby monkeys showed this: the baby of an anxious mother and the baby of a calm, laid-back mother were swapped. How much behavior was hereditary, and how much was learned? Before swapping, they had an examination to see how the babies reacted to certain touches and sounds. The baby of the anxious mother flipped out, and the other was calm. After swapping and waiting for a while, there were noticeable changes in behavior. The anxious baby was more out-going and calm, and the laid-back one often stayed near the mother. But when that same examination was conducted again, with the same noises and touches, the babies each reacted the same way as the first time: the anxious one freaked out again, just like the first time. So the tendency shows that in stressful situations (or perceived to be stressful), one can revert back to hereditary nature and respond that way. For Flutters, the strength of the Mane 6's friendship was particularly strong, so it might take a rather extreme predicament to get her to lose herself and revert back to the way she was before meeting her friends.

IDK, just something to stir the pot a little :D Out of curiosity, how much study do you have in psychology? I enjoy talking about it a lot. I just have a minor in it (plus some personal study on the side), but my teachers were exceptionally good and taught well, so it's more than just a minor to me :aww:
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