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.
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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.