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June 4, 2013
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Survivor Shy - Letting Go by Mattatatta Survivor Shy - Letting Go by Mattatatta
After about a month of complete inactivity on the Survivor Shy series, I've finally dropped by and got to uploading something new!

The challenge I gave myself with this image was to use an awkward perspective, draw an airship, and to make a remake of the now non-canon scene "Falling" [link], which turned a year old on May 9th this year. Time certainly flies, and ability certainly does increase with practice, eh?

Anyway, this is the only scene I wanted to draw for the upcoming chapter, which I now need to start writing. Unfortunately this also means I have no excerpt to provide in the description as always, but I will eventually add one in maybe 24-48 hours as I get this part of the story drafted and finalised.

I think I should also mention that the sheer amount of wordage I churn out in a chapter has made me reconsider copy-pasting everything from FimFic to among these scenes. I'll still do excerpts, but from now on - if you want to whole story - you shall have to read the full chapter on FimFiction. Survivor Shy has grown from being just a series of images with little to no story behind them, and sadly that does mean that I cannot continue to create obscenely large descriptions because I wanted to put 4k words worth of a chapter into it. The excerpts used to be relevant to the scene, and they should go back to that.

The new chapter shall be out either this weekend or not too long after. The excerpt for this scene shall be added in 24-48 hours. Pinkie Pie promise and cupcake contact lenses.

Survivor Shy Gallery: [link]
Survivor Shy on FimFiction: [link]
My Tumblr: [link]

=~=

*Mind your scrolling finger: 2.7k words ahead*

“You gotta let it go, Fluttershy,” Rainbow’s voice cracked, worsened by countless lectures and commands throughout the afternoon. “We set up down here so that nopony could pick on you, and you even got all these animals here for support.”

I peeked out through the leaves of the bush I had fallen into the fourth time that afternoon. She was right, a small gathering of badgers, rabbits, birds, and squirrels were watching. Some of them were waving tiny flags with my Cutie Mark on them. How they had those flags was a mystery to me, but it warmed my heart to see the animals there for me.

A pair on magenta eyes moved inches from mine, staring into me. “Fluttershy! Are you listening?”

“Eeek!” I leapt up into the air, my wings flailing around in a panic. Rainbow followed me up, gripping me firmly by the shoulders and steadied me.

“Whoa, take it easy!” Rainbow forced her raspy voice to be gentle, but I could hear her impatience. Slowly, my friend took her hooves away from my shoulders and hovered backwards. “There,” she muttered, her voice quickly matching the grin spreading on her face. “You see? You’re hovering like a pro!”

I looked to my wings. They were buzzing almost as fast as a hummingbird’s, but they were in sync. I looked up and down, checking for any ropes or supports holding me up. When no such thing appeared, my gaze levelled with Rainbow Dash and a giddy laugh escaped me. I was doing okay! I was in control and doing fine! And nopony was laughing at me yet.

My ears shot downwards and I stared up at where Flight Camp was. No pony was laughing at me yet. They would laugh at me anyway. They’d find a reason to tease me. I… I was bound to fail again! And all the fillies and colts would be waiting right there to point and laugh, and the grown-ups would shake their heads and mutter to themselves. I’d be kicked out of camp forever! Locked away so nopony would risk seeing a Pegasus who couldn’t fly!

“Fluttershy! Keep your wings going! Fluttershy?” I heard Rainbow call out to me, barely registering her voice as I realised that I was tilting very sharply to the right. With a yelp I scrambled to keep myself level, but I was already steering into a tree branch. I kicked and bucked my legs in the breeze, trying to push myself clear while my wings failed to work with me. Sneers and cruel laughter snaked through my ears, growing louder as dozens of ponies joined in at laughing at the circus act.

Rainbow Dash darted in front of me, blocking the crash course I was making to the branch. She held out her forelegs towards me, her eyes wide and worried. “Hold on to my hooves, let’s take it easy and – hey! Slow down!”

I couldn’t help it, it was like I was drowning and Rainbow had thrown out a life-preserver. I banked sharply towards her, flailing my legs and crashing into her in a bundle. The smaller pony wasn’t able to stay aloft, and we both swung and weaved through the trees as we both tried to regain control. A familiar prickly rosebush rushed up to greet us, and in the last second Rainbow’s wings whipped and tore into the air, pulling the pair of us away from the bush – and right into an oak tree.

I blinked a few times, not quite seeing anything more than blurs and bright lights. Little cries and whimpers surrounded me, and tiny claws and feet poked and pushed against me until I sat up. The animals were looking at me, the faces relieved to see me upright. I pushed a few strands of my mane from my face, my cheeks burning up in an instant, and ran my hoof over a lump on my head.

Something struggled and groaned underneath me, and before I could look down to see what it was, Rainbow Dash pushed herself up and shook me off of her. She spun around, narrowing a furious glare and fresh nosebleed at me.

“S-sorry, Rainbow Dash,” I squeaked. “I… I didn’t mean… I couldn’t…”

Rainbow said nothing. Instead she huffed and turned away, grumbling to herself and checking her wings and the blood on her face.

That was it, she hates me now. I thought to myself. I ruined everything. Everypony knew that I would. She doesn’t want to even look at me right now, I embarrass her so much. I rose onto my hooves, making a small note of the numb throbs spreading along the right side of my body. Maybe it would be a good idea to leave her alone, let her be friends with ponies and griffins that can fly. I bowed my head and turned away silently, mouthing a ‘thank you’ to the little critters just before they started to disperse. A sniffle betrayed me in the last second.

Rainbow Dash let out an exasperated sigh. “Hold it. Get back over here.”

I didn’t dare ignore her, and quietly I walked over to Rainbow Dash and sat down on my haunches, eyes cast downward to the nearest daisy. For a moment nothing else happened. Rainbow Dash kept her back to me while she rubbed her nose and growled at herself, and I started watching a few ants scurry around and climb along the blades of grass.

“We need to talk.” Rainbow finally said, her voice even and controlled. She turned around to face me, but I didn’t look up. “We’ve been doing this for nearly three weeks now. I’ve blown off Gilda several times for you, and I’ve skipped a couple of classes too. Yet every time we do this we end up at square one, and one of us goes back to camp with a bruise or two – or a few thorns from that malevolent weed you won’t let me cut down!”

I lifted my head and opened my mouth to defend the rosebush, but the words died before they could become more than just a few mumbles. Rainbow looked down and shook her head. “I know you can do this, Fluttershy, and it drives me nuts when you get so close but lose it. I thought you had it this time! You were fine for at least ten seconds!”

“Twig would’ve bet that…” I whimpered, quickly rubbing eyes dry.

Rainbow rolled her eyes up at the sky and muttered to herself. Suddenly, she brought her eyes back to mine and thumped the ground with her hoof. “Forget that lump of sweat-batter! Flying isn’t about impressing other ponies!”

I raised an eyebrow at Rainbow. Her eyes softened and her face went blank. A moment later she leant back, rubbing the back of her neck awkwardly.

“Okay, maybe it is a little bit. But the most important thing about flying is to trust your wings to catch you.” Rainbow paused, her mind searching for a way to make her point. I looked at her patiently, and watched as her eyes twinkled. “It’s like this, Fluttershy: Wherever we are, I've got your back, you know that, right?”

I nodded, and Rainbow twisted around so that I could see her wings. “I’ve got your back, but your wings are... like, on your back." Dash’s wings wiggled and shook for emphasis, and Dash tried to bend her foreleg around to point at the base of her wings. It looked a little silly, and Dash must’ve noticed the corners of my mouth twitch, because she put on a grin of her own and began twirling around in mid-air – acting like a dog chasing their tail.

I covered my mouth to stifle a tiny little giggle. Rainbow stopped spinning and centred her gaze on me. I smiled back – a real smile – and felt like nothing bad had just happened between us.

Rainbow gently landed beside me, hooking a leg around me and pulling me into a sideways hug. “Like I said, I got your back. Now all you gotta do is trust your wings do too, and learn to not care what could happen – or what a cloud-sinker like Twig says. Just focus on the present and what you need to do. Act on a whim like a breeze in a storm and roll with the crosswinds, you know?”

I nodded slowly, carefully remembering what Rainbow was saying. Rainbow patted my back and leapt into the air with a whoosh, instantly puffing her chest up and shooting a grin my way. “All right, that’s a long enough break! You feel up for another round?”

“Yes,” I gently said, to which Dash leant downwards and pretended to clear wax out of her ear.

“What’s that? I didn’t quite catch that.”

I frowned, Rainbow knew I didn’t like shouting, but she wasn’t going to let it slide this time. I cleared my throat, and raised my voice a little more. “Yes, I’m ready.”

Rainbow chuckled to herself, “Great, come on! This way!” In a flash she was gone, leaving a vapour trail of every colour weaving through the trees to the open field. Carefully I unfurled my wings and looked back them. I stretched and waved them, and without delay they did what I asked them to do.

“I just have to trust you, that’s what Rainbow said. Well, here goes.” I shut my eyes and hopped up, my wings buzzing and struggling to stay in sync. I concentrated on flapping my wings. Eventually I brought them under a slower rhythm that simply felt easier to do. My hooves didn’t touch the ground for three seconds, five, and then ten. Slowly I opened my eyes, and found myself hovering a few feet above the ground. The animals that were still watching all hopped and cheered with sweet little squeaks, and I smiled back to them in gratitude. Slowly I started to weave among the trees, avoiding each branch carefully and one at a time. Eventually, I broke into the field, just in time to see Rainbow start another move of hers, the “Filly Flash”.

Lightning flashed in my eyes, but it was not from Rainbow. I blinked a few times, finally becoming aware that I was only dreaming while I leant against the front rail on the poop deck. I stood up straight and wandered over to the piloting controls. That was when white flicker lit me up, quickly followed by deep grumbles of thunder.

I turned my head towards the bow of the ship, and looked out into the vast sky beyond the end of the yacht. I rubbed my eyes , checking that I wasn’t still dreaming. Straight ahead, a handful of forks and flashes of lightning revealed a massive collection of thunderclouds looming in the distance. Wind started to howl in my ears, and I felt the yacht kick up in speed and drift closer to the storm. Without a second of thought, I grabbed hold of the wheel and spun it clockwise, banking the yacht sharply to the right. The clouds ran along the port side of the yacht, the bright white beams of lightning dazzling me and thunder resonating in my lungs. The yacht continued to turn, swing around until the storm was to the stern. That was not a good idea, and I learnt that while the wind caught the ship and blew backwards into the thunderheads, letting the storm swallow the ship whole with me aboard.

Instantly tiny spears stabbed and pinched at my face; horrible howls filled my ears, topped only by crashes and booms of thunder; and ozone and humid air hung heavily in my lungs. The ship lurched and swung helplessly, throwing barrels and debris from the decks. I clung onto the wheel for dear life, swinging and slamming into the floor as the wheel spun and tried to wrestle free from my grasp. There was a deafening clamour that was quickly silenced by ringing. Just as a bright, white fork arced and struck one of the cables tying the yacht to the balloon, a deep red device among the dials flared up and shattered. I shot a look at the object, learning that it was a gemstone embedded among the instruments – but not just any gemstone. With another flash of lightning, I could read what the purpose of the stone was; it was an enchanted stone for lightning absorption – and in one strike it had been destroyed.

I swallowed down my heart and drew in a sharp breath. Oh no… Oh no no no! This isn’t good. What do I do? What do I do?!

I started to flick levers and switches. Something had to make this airship go down! There had to be! I had to get out of the storm, and if I couldn’t steer the ship out, I had to bring it down until I could! Images of the ship crashing as a towering inferno clouded my mind. I yanked and pulled at every lever my hooves fumbled over, terrified of the worst coming true. Somewhere I managed to get the yacht to start its descent.

Another ear-cracking boom chased up my spine, but instead of being plunged back into darkness, I was bathed in jittery and erratic flickers of orange. I spun around to look, and instantly backed away from the flames spreading from the corner on the left side of the yacht. Fire had broken out the balloon and ship, tracing the path the undeterred lightning took. Quickly the flames rose, wasting no time to burn wildly out of control in spite of the hail and rain. My worst nightmare was coming true, and soon the ship was going to come crashing down in flames.

I leapt off the front railing and landed on the deck below. I wobbled and slid as the yacht rocked and lurched back and forth with the wind, and quickly burst into the captain’s cabin – where the fire was already spreading into.

Dragging my saddlebags over to the desk, I scrambled to pack everything into them. The map was carelessly crumpled and squashed into storage, along with my lantern. In the other satchel I stashed the Element of Magic before throwing the bags over myself. The crackles and growls or burning wood grew louder and the smoke thicker, and in a hurry I threw my canteen on and stumbled outside sputtering on ash.

I craned my neck around to secure my saddlebags, just as the ship’s support cables snapped. The ship fell away from me, sending me sliding downwards and almost completely over the rail on the port side. I curled my forelegs over the railing, struggling to unfurl my wings and get them to work properly through the nightmarish sounds and terrible shakes wrecking my nerves. I kicked and kicked at the air with my hind legs, trying to climb back up, and slowly my saddlebags began to slide off.

Alarmed, I tried to stop moving, but that alone was not enough. The wind and rocking of the now-sideways airship yanked the saddlebags from me, sending them tumbling down until I couldn’t see them anymore.

I looked down after them. My grip tightened on the ship, and I closed my eyes and whimpered. I can’t go after them! My wings are stuck! I… I’ll crash! Something horrible will happen!

“You gotta let it go, Fluttershy!” Rainbow Dash reminded me.

I shook my head. This is different! It’s too dangerous!

“I know you can do this, Fluttershy,” echoed her voice. “All you gotta do is trust your wings.”

I peered down into the storm clouds. The Element of Magic was falling further and further away from me. After everything I went through to get it, I couldn’t risk losing it now. I slid off the railing until I was dangling by my ankles, and looked up at the rest of the failing airship. I closed my eyes, imagining Rainbow in front of me. “…Like a breeze in a storm, you know?” I whispered. Rainbow's face lit up with a smile and she nodded, not saying another word.

My forelegs unhooked from the ship, and I arched backwards to fall into a dive. For a moment, all I could hear were my ragged breaths and my heart pounding in my chest. Without a conscious thought, my wings threw themselves open, catching me and swooping back to reduce drag. If I was going to get my saddlebags back, I had to catch up to them first.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconfireworksblaze:
FireworksBlaze Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2013
Wait... Rainbow is alive!?
Reply
:icontheluckypegasus511:
TheLuckyPegasus511 Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2013
This is awesome i really wanna how how do you make the shadows and lightning look like this, it looks great.
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
A lot of practice. The basics is to realise that shadows are not black, but simply darker shades of the colour underneath. Multiply layers are the easiest way to get shadows started in digital art, but the colour(s) needed for shading in that layer depends on the picture. Another basic rule to start off on is to never use pure white unless the thing is an intense light source.

And lastly, try to visualise everything as three-dimensional, and imagine how a light source would behave on the scene. Look at real life for even more reference.
Reply
:icondarthwill3:
DarthWill3 Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Poor girl...
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
And now there's an excerpt that might alter your perception of this image :D
Reply
:icondarthwill3:
DarthWill3 Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh my...
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Indeed
Reply
:iconsilverrattler:
SilverRattler Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Yay. Die, fluttershy!
Die slowly in agony after your long struggle to survive. You w er e a survivor, shy, but it's time for you to accept your fate. nopony else was left. Why should you get the chance to live? You must go. Good bye, my fluttershy.
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
She isn't out of it yet, far from it.
Reply
:iconsilverrattler:
SilverRattler Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
She's not? DANG IT! :C
I had gotten my hopes up.
Reply
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