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April 15, 2013
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Survivor Shy - 'No, wait!' by Mattatatta Survivor Shy - 'No, wait!' by Mattatatta
And so begins the general mindscrew that Survivor Shy will be... (welcome to my imagination by the way)

No a lot to say about this, other than I find bellybuttons adorable on cartoon ponies and her mane and tail went through four drafts on the sketch phase to get it on the road to looking this awesome.

I hope my perspective isn't a total fail, sorry if it is. But hey! I tried!

Oh and tail censorship, yup. Now you cannot unsee, you dirty human xD

Survivor Shy Gallery (every illustration inc. non-canon): [link]
Survivor Shy on Fimfiction (current iteration of the ongoing fanfic): [link]
My Tumblr (Anything I draw, inc. things I don't post here, are posted there): [link]

WORDCOUNT WARNING: 3K Chapter excerpt below, please mind your scrolling finger.


In mere moments, I was no longer in the castle. I kept my eyes closed, listening carefully to the gentle hum that had replaced the buzzing of bugs and rustle of leaves. The old and damp smell of the castle’s floors and wall, along with the refreshing scent of healthy leaves and flowers in the breeze, all vanished and were replaced by dense, odourless air. I took a gentle breath. It was still alien, like the rest of the world that had been manufactured around me in the span of a few seconds. I could feel my mane falling to my sides and spilling across the gelled floor pushing against me. I could feel the very mood of the space change from that of the wild and ultimately dangerous Everfree Forest to something that had been given physical form inside my own mind by magic.

“Fluttershy?” whispered a gentle voice. A saddened sigh escaped me in response. I didn’t want to talk to her right now.

The humming echoed inside my chest, shaking the weight I had pushed into my gut. I tightened my eyelids shut. Nopony needed to see what was buried, nopony could be hurt if I kept it in control and found a better use for it. But there was nopony to hurt. The pressure rose. Tears started to build.

“I’m sorry, Fluttershy. I know you’re angry,” the mare’s voice apologised. “But it was not without the best intentions.”

You lied to me. I couldn’t speak. If I opened my mouth there would be no stopping it, and I shuddered at the thought, and the temptation, to just let it out – to just scream and scream at the voice until the world around me shattered and swallowed me whole. You told me everypony was okay, but they’re not. They’re all gone.

“I cannot say anything more about it, little one. The risk of worsening your condition by speaking too freely is all but a guarantee now.”

But you led me on. You made me want to remember because of what you assured me. The last two meetings came to mind. The soft words about how the mare was my friend, about how everypony wanted to know what had happened to me in the last few months – even the deliberate use of magic to soothe and calm me – had all been used to make me willing to go through whatever it was that I obviously didn’t want to remember. I don’t want to go through the heartache again. I don’t want to remember any more.

“I know how it feels, Fluttershy-“

With a grunt I clenched my teeth, and tears started to slide down my cheeks. How can I believe you? I’m sorry, but I just can’t do it anymore. My friends, the little fillies and colts, even little Spike… Oh Celestia, why did I have to remember any of that? Why do you want me to relive another second of it?

There was a pause in the space. The dense air somehow felt even heavier; the floor seeming like it was sagging under the stress.

“I can’t answer that.” the voice said.

My breaths became ragged and desperate; the floodgates were threatening to burst. I had never been this angry before. I had never felt this betrayed or used. Each breath I took I held onto for as long as possible. I had to keep my emotions under control.

Please. Leave me alone. I need to be alone.

I thought I heard the voice stumble on her words. “I wish I could, Fluttershy, but the spell allows me to see and hear everything, you know that already.”

Then end the spell, I immediately thought.

“Fluttershy!” she gasped, “Doing that will wipe away not just the memories you’ve recovered, but even things from much further back! The damage it could cause-“

I couldn’t control myself anymore. It was too much. In a split second I was off the floor and airborne – staring through glassy eyes into the vast collage of greys and splotches of colour. “Let me go!” I heard myself beg. “Just let me go!” My wings didn’t wait for an answer. As fast as they could, they whisked me up through the shimmering planes and increasingly cluttered collections of shapes. Through misty eyes I saw blurs of colour and distortion whooshing past, but I tore through without paying any attention; I had to get out. There was nothing that I wanted more than being free.

The voice’s screams pierced through, trying to slow me down, “No, Fluttershy! You mustn’t leave!” A blue strip formed out of the formless sky and lunged out for me. I dived down steeply, narrowly missing its touch. The mare yelled again, but this time she was angry, and more tendrils flew out of the abyss after me. “Do you not realise what you’re doing? Stop this instant! Fluttershy!”

There was no turning back. I couldn’t control myself, I couldn’t do this anymore. I had to get out – I had to get out now. Forgetting everything would set me free; I wouldn’t be a prisoner inside my own memories.

There was a spark off to my right, and from it came an inky darkness spreading through the air and fusing with everything it touched. I turned my head towards it, not slowing down for a heartbeat, and watched it mix into somepony’s face. Wait, it was not a pony, it was a Diamond Dog. He was staring straight at me, his yellow teeth showing through a smug and menacing grin.

“Seize the pony!” he cried. “Take her away to the mines!”

The blood drained away from my face, and the pain spurring me on turned into pure terror. With a yelp I turned my head away, flapping my wings as fast they could move to escape. The world around me was no longer grey, it was dark and suffocating. Flame torches dotted the path I flew along, though the light fell on nothing but the forelegs in front of my face. With nowhere else to go, I followed them – they had to lead somewhere, right?

Behind me I could hear the bloodthirsty howls and barks of countless dogs in pursuit, almost drowning out the furious chants of the hunters, “Capture the pony! Tie her down!”

“Why are you doing this?” I screamed over the vicious howls. There were no explanations, only more dogs joining the chase. The chanting grew louder and louder:

“Capture the pony! Tie her down! Send her to work deep underground!”

An iron cage rushed out of the shadows, trapping me inside. The door slammed behind me, announcing what the Diamond Dogs wanted to hear. In seconds the cage was surrounded by dozens of pairs of eyes and sets of grinning teeth. The barks and cries of the hounds rang in my ears, their chant a victory song.

“Capture the pony! Tie her down! Send her work to deep underground!”

My eyes darted from side to side, my hooves hopelessly pushed against the bars. I was trapped. “No, No! Please let me go!” the words barely reached my ears, drowned out by my sobs and the roar of countless dogs peering inside the cage with satisfaction. I hid behind my mane and hooves. This was a nightmare, a horrible nightmare!

I slammed against the walls, again and again, each impact causing the vision to flicker and arc around me. I kicked harder and harder, knocking the breath out of my own lungs. The dogs’ song tried to cut through me, but I wasn’t going to give up. With one final buck, my hind legs broke through, shattering the vision into pieces. I glanced around, catching sight of the dogs fizzling out into nothingness. The sounds died with them, and in moments I was drifting in an endless expanse of bright light and silence, staring at the hole I had opened and been sucked through. Had I escaped? Had I broken free from the spell?

What spell?

My ears twitched, and I spun around to face the source. There were voices, panicked and frightened. I threw my wings down, twisting my body around in the space and propelling me forwards. Gradually the voices became clear enough to understand them.

“What’s going on? Why is this happening?” said a young mare’s voice – or maybe it was not a pony? I couldn’t tell. “She’s in pain. You’ve got to stop!”

Me? Is she talking about me? What was I listening to?

A cold, wet cloth strip was wiped across my forehead, and the shock stirred my senses. I may have been flying in… I don’t know where, but I was aware of another place entirely. I could hear skittish steps scraping on a wooden floor, a number of metallic, shimmering rings in distinct tones, and someone to my far right grunting as if they were lifting something heavy.

“Fluttershy!” another voice rang out, much closer than the last and with a raspy tone fitting for a colt.

He knows my name. How do I know him?

Something gripped my left foreleg, holding on tight and refusing to let go. Four points dug into my leg, and though it hurt, it felt… Welcomed. Everything in my mind went blank, and I brought my gaze to my leg. There was nothing visibly there, but I could feel it. It was as if it were a ghost holding onto me. My wings fell out of sync and left me floating in the light, but I barely noticed. All I could concentrate on was the feeling of another being’s warmth travel up my leg, and the chaos assaulting my ears growing into a crescendo.

“Who let the twerp in here?” A gruff voice called out.

“Let go of her!” another voice joined, falling in with a scuffle of hurried steps. “Waking her would hurt her even more! The spell must not be broken!”

“But she’s struggling!” The boy’s voice snapped back. “She’s already being hurt! Something’s wro-Hey! Let go of me!” There were sounds of struggling, and the grip around my leg tightened. “Just. Let. Me. Sit with her!” he growled. “No!” My leg felt like it burst into flames, the four points digging into my fur before vanishing entirely. I winced and shot a glance at my leg, revealing not a single scratch, but the pain was real. I heard a gasp, and in minutes I felt the wet cloth move from my head to my leg. The coolness of the water mixed with the heat, quickly putting it out.

“Take him outside and calm him down. Everyone else, give us some space.” a mature voice ordered. Sounds of shuffling echoed in the room, all heading to a certain point in the room and fading away. There was a light thud as a door latch fell into place, muffling the voices outside. A steady beat on the floorboards came up to the left side of the bed I was resting on, adding a rhythm to the ringing still playing on the right. My ear twitched and swung around, being tickled by someone’s breath. “Relax, Fluttershy,” the mature, suddenly soft voice cooed. I felt a tiny shock pulse through my veins, occurring in time with a new harmonic tone joining the first. The symphony was not for me to hear though, and was quickly lost entirely under the sudden weight and drowsiness tugging on my muscles. “It’ll be all over soon,” she promised. “Stay where you are.”

Where was I, anyway? Wait… How did I get here?

I turned around in the vast space, and saw a thin blue strip snaking over to me. It was emerging from a hole that had been made in the seemingly endless field of light. Did… Did I come through there? Did I make that hole? The strip reached for me and took a hold of my foreleg – in the exact same place as it was held before. It hooked itself around and tugged gently, pulling me back to the hole it had come from. I didn’t know where I was going, but I didn’t want to go yet, I wanted to know who the voices were.

“No, wait!” I called out, I tried to move my wings and resist, but they didn’t move at all. I peered out into the distance - the awareness I once had already missing – and reached out for something to grab hold of. It was no use. I was going where the strange strip of colour wanted me.

I passed through the broken wall, straight into an unusual, but really familiar, collage of grey and splotches of colour. The hole closed up after me, and quickly disappeared among the clutter of shapes and glimmering strips and flat planes. I remembered this place, I had been here before; but when?

A sharp breath shot into my lungs and stayed there. I felt my head fill with a rush of memories. I nearly forgot everything! The memory spell, what had happened to Equestria, Canterlot, the dragons and dogs, Zecora – everything!

“And you are very, very lucky I managed to bring you back before it was lost for good, Fluttershy,” the unseen mare’s voice said breathlessly. “I hope you have changed your mind after all of that.”

I nodded at the vast nothingness. I had.

“Did you find something enlightening?”

I gazed at my foreleg, at the blue strip that was still guiding me down to the platform below. Minutes ago I had felt someone hold onto me tighter than a newborn critter, but why couldn’t I remember who it was? I swallowed a lump in my throat. What would’ve happened if I awoke as clueless as I am now –or much worse? I didn’t want to begin to imagine.

“Hmph, I should’ve guessed,” the voice said flatly as I touched down on the conforming, transparent floor. “After all, it’s unlike you to be selfish.”

Those words stung more than they should’ve, and in a second my heart felt heavy chains wrapping around it. The blue strip released me and drifted back in the mishmash of desaturated colours, vanishing from sight.

“Now,” the unseen mare said. “Shall we go on? There is so much I want to ask you about.”

I lay myself on the floor, sighing. I felt horrible for losing my temper, but at the same time, I was thankful I had. I had found a new reason to keep remembering what I had gone through, and this time it was something I knew that was real and true. What do you want to talk about? I asked silently.

There was no hesitation in the listener’s voice. “What you discovered in the Freelands – hundreds of miles away from Equestria. Before you remembered everything from your first visit to Canterlot, you remembered being led into the Freelands region by your own Element; the Element of Kindness. You do remember that, correct?”

I did. I remembered the depression I felt, but only now did I understand why I felt that way; I remembered watching countless dragons fly over me, heading in the direction I came from; and I remembered being guided underneath an ancient ruin, deep underground into a dark and dank corridor. What about it in particular? I thought, knowing that the listener would hear me.

“What was behind that stone door? What did you find inside? What were you looking for?” The questions were coming too quickly for me to answer.

“I… I don’t think I knew what I was looking for. I was just following where my Element wanted me to go.”

The listening mare was not convinced. “Hmph, so you followed phenomena that nopony had ever seen before, crossed the border into The Fang, and travelled to the Freelands without ever knowing what it was you were being led to?”

I nodded. As far as I knew, that was the truth.

“Did you at least leave the ruin feeling like it was worth your time?” the listener quizzed.

I don’t know. I shook my head, trying to find anything that would jog my memory. I can’t remember right now.

“Well then…” the listener trailed off. I looked up into the grey sky above me, searching for an answer that she was looking for. Hues of pinks and deep blues gently bubbled to the surface, before mixing away and being lost in the grey fog.

“Perhaps there was something to read; a mural or a book,” the mare’s voice piped up. “Or maybe there was somepony there?”

My mouth opened to say ‘no’, but the words never made it to my throat. My hooves felt clammy in their soles, and my ears drooped down under the weight of the icy chill that shot up the back of my neck. My wings jittered, unsure of the swirling feeling in the pit of my stomach. Was I supposed to flee or rush forward? The vast space around me wasted no time in constructing itself into a dark, damp tunnel while I trembled in place.

“Ah, it seems I triggered something,” the listening mare’s voice echoed somewhere distant. I stared ahead, straining my eyes to see inside the dark space the memory had constructed around me. A stone door appeared at the end of the tunnel, and cautiously I walked up to it, certain that I had seen this door before. There were six depressions worn into the pale rock, each with a different symbol emerging from it. Together, they orbited around a carved spiral shape with two stars slightly off from its center. One of the orbiting markings glowed with an arc of magic jittering and jumping between it and me. I looked down, and as I did I felt the soft, long locks of my mane fall away and leave behind a shortened, dirty mop. Around my neck was the source of energy; the Element of Kindness.

The listener’s voice tickled my ears, and I tried to listen out for her, foolishly hoping I could escape this fragment I didn’t feel ready to re-live. My saddlebags swung down over my sides, tucking my wings underneath them, and the coarse, dirty bandage I had around my leg rubbed into my skin. In moments I was completely absorbed in the vision, and planted firmly inside my memories.
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Chrismilesprower Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
NOOOOO!! Fluttershy! *pulls her to safety and gets taken instead*
Jax1776 Featured By Owner May 26, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Me: *tosses a Thermal Detonator and grabs Fluttershy as it explodes, sealing the tear*
Fluttershy: Thanks..I was scared...
Me: *hods her close* Don't worry, Fluttershy. You're safe..
FS: *smiles and nuzzles into my neck*
hooon Featured By Owner May 23, 2013
:icondiscordismadplz: Hey you, leave Fluttershy alone !
CMoretzfan19 Featured By Owner May 8, 2013
this reminds me of momma fluttershy... fluttershy don't go into the light! :(
Karach0s Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2013
You know, ever since you mentioned that the story doesn't happen in "real time" but is merely a recollection, the tale lost (at least for me) some of its suspense. Because you see, if the story is merely a recollection, then the reader has a good reason to assume that Fluttershy succeeded in her quest.
Obviously, there are still so many questions left: who holds Fluttershy captive in her spell (of course we all know it's Evil Alicorn Twilight Sparkle anyways :D), why do they do it, or how did she manage to restore Equestria, and so on and so forth. But the fact that she already has saved ponies seems to be - at least for now - undeniable. ;)
I have yet to see reasons behind handling the story this way (and I'm sure have a set of good ones that will blow the readers' minds when they are finally revealed), but before I do I'm afraid I'm going to question whether or not the choice was a fortunate one. ;)
Regardless, I'm always looking forward to a new chapter. ;)

Below are some examples of me being uncouthly picky. :D

"The voice shouted after me, her voice filled with worry." <- Not only is a voice female, but it also has a voice (!) of its own. ;)

"After all, it’s not like an Element of Kindness to be selfish." <- It would make much more sense if the story was about the Element of Generosity. ;) I understand what you meant (and I'm sure other reader do too), but the choice of words is rather peculiar here. After all, the opposite of kindness is cruelty, and selfishness goes in par with generosity.
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's essentially a first draft, so I will take what you've said into consideration and work on improving it.

I don't want to imply that there are ponies alive, because it does ruin the story. However, it strikes me as rather ignorant to assume that ponies are the only creatures that can wield magic. Then again, I haven't really gone to much effort to suggest who else it could be besides ponies. Hmm... I'll need to give it some thought. It all ties in to the multiple possible endings obviously, so I have to make sure these episodes outside of Fluttershy's memories reveal certain clues that don't really say much at all, but definitely muddy the waters enough to keep the possible endings as vague as possible.

It's established from the very beginning of the fic (the official beginning on FimFiction, aka the Prologue) that something pretty big happened to Fluttershy towards the end of her journey. There is a party deeply interested in what she went through, and they are using a very complex and dangerous spell to bring about a very rapid recollection of Fluttershy's lost memories. This alone should establish from the very outset what you feel this later excerpt detracted from the story.

The later excerpt above simply expands upon things, and renews Fluttershy's motivation to carry on doing what the voice wants. Before, Fluttershy was motivated because she believed her friends were waiting for her, and that her memories were key to helping everypony. But after learning in her memories that her friends and the rest of ponykind are gone, Fluttershy lost that motivator, and tried to break herself out of the spell - even if it meant worsening her amnesia. However, she learnt that doing that won't only hurt herself, but she will hurt someone "on the outside" that seems to care about her. Now Fluttershy is motivated to keep recovering her memories, because there is clearly a tangible reward for doing so.

I should work that into the actual chapter... Need to explain this better to readers.

Another thing I should do in my revised draft is suggest less-than-noble intentions of the voice. The voice is supposed to have started subtly going against her word to not influence Fluttershy, pushing her to remember specific things. She's already showing a willingness to restrain Fluttershy, but it needs to be a lot more questionable I reckon. That would go a long way to muddying up the possible ending of the story, and finally make these particular scenes worthwhile.

Honestly, I hate these scenes. But it's the only in-universe way to tell this story and have the freedom to leap forwards and backwards in time. Ironically, there has only been one instance of this happening (excluding the diamond dog fragments from this excerpt), and frankly it needs to happen again, and more often. This chapter would be a better time than any to do this.

This chapter is going to be a difficult one to write...

I'll start rewording those phrases you pointed out, they are pretty bad as they are. I reckon the issue with the selfish comment is because I was thinking more about Fluttershy's personality than her Element when I wrote it. Fluttershy is very selfless, but her brand of selflessness isn't what the Element of Generosity stands for. At the same time, the concept of Fluttershy being selfish has nothing to do with whether she is a paragon of Kindness or not. It's another fail on my part, because I've basically torn down that separation in that badly phrased sentence. For the selfish comment to work, it has to be directed to Fluttershy as a pony and not as a living embodiment of an Element. So it would have to read something like: "After all, from what I've been told, it's unlike you to be selfish."
Karach0s Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2013
"I don't want to imply that there are ponies alive, because it does ruin the story."

So you're right, I did assume they were ponies, but they could have been anything - from Zebras, to deer, to seaponies, to griffins, to dragons, to phoenixes, to Saddle Claus' reindeer. :D However, I wonder if such assumption isn't the first one that comes to mind, even if you did not specifically mentioned it. I wonder what you could do about it, though. Doesn't Fluttershy herself think of them as ponies? They are only voices, after all. Would she not familiarize them with her own species?

Regardless of this, I remember the first chapters of Survivor Shy (not chronologically first, but rather first published). Fluttershy was so alone, quite literally the last sentient being alive in whole Equestria. Or at least, so it seemed.
Do you remember those times? ;)
Then, of course, came animals, diamond dogs with their societies, dragons and even Spike. Who knows, perhaps I'm just missing those times that Fluttershy was completely alone. But now I know it was never the case (story-wise, because if those are her memories, it means that she had to live through those situations, after all) - there was always that pesky voice in her head, quite literary her un-riddable companion. ;)
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The problem I had with the very early entries in the series was that there was ultimately nothing to build off of. Fluttershy was stuck in post-apocalyptia and NOBODY was there to even consider caring. The conflict was there, but so was the resolution; Fluttershy would just live out the rest of her days in solitude, waiting to die.

That's not a very good story in my opinion. However, Razed Rainbow did a story like that and it was really good. But in that story, Fluttershy wasn't truly alone until she destroyed the creature hunting her - and THEN she was truly alone, and THEN the story ended. The initial entries for Survivor Shy were basically arse-about-face.

So in came antagonistic Diamond Dogs, in came Dragons flying overhead, and in came jacked up weather patterns. It was a start, it gave Fluttershy's world an ambient danger to constantly face and overcome, but it did not give any of it a reason for being or a higher purpose to serve. Why did her life become this? What was she doing about it? What had she done about it? Was there a specific goal in this story, an objective that would at least offer Fluttershy some closure? I had the peanut butter, but I didn't have the bread.

So in came the events that caused this transformation to the land, and in came the initial ending for the whole story. There! A sandwich! A complete sketch for the whole story. But it still wasn't good enough for me. My standards grew, and so did the detail and scale of the story.

Now, the story has grown and grown from its initial roots. It's not a hollow existence Fluttershy lives, it's now a difficult and dangerous (and infinitely more interesting) life. Debateable if it was a good direction, yeah, but I've gone too far to turn back now, sadly. There are a lot of characters now, but Fluttershy will still find herself on her own. After all, she could meet Buffalo, Griffins, Dragons, Diamond Dogs, and patchwork Elephants, but it still wouldn't erase the fact that Fluttershy is a lone pony, and possibly the last of her kind. I reckon that'll be a recurring thing in the fic should Shy make friends. No matter who she is with, she will still feel alone. Fluttershy's home will always be the old Equestria.
Karach0s Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2013
"I've gone too far to turn back now, sadly."
Why so sad and who the heck said you should back down? ;) Do press on and steer that boat in which you carry your readers. Poor, unsuspecting chaps, though. :D

That said, the completely wiped-out post-apocalyptic Equestria, where Fluttershy has no one but animals to talk to, has its unique charm and appeal. Would you mind sharing that RR's story title? I would like to give it a peek. :) Sounds up my alley.

Words of the wise: one needs representatives of the same species only when he/she plans to raise a family. Friendship laughs at species boundaries which it can easily traverse. ;)
^ Yeah, I just made that up, so you could hardly call them words of the wise. :D
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The story is called "And The Wind Blows", here's the [link]

I reckon you're just catching me at a tough time. Survivor Shy has been going for a year now, and I'm no closer to finishing it. Plus the current chapter progress is going painfully slowly (but I've just about got through the hard parts, and because of the recent struggling with the writing I've been feeling unwilling to draw until I've sorted out said writing.
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