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Survivor Shy - Philomena by Mattatatta Survivor Shy - Philomena by Mattatatta
Brand new Survivor Shy scene, revealing the beginning to the latest chapter. I'm pleased with myself for dedicating today to getting this picture done and the chapter started. I aim to get the next illustration I need to draw done soon, and the chapter out not long after.

I'm going to Unicon in Las Vegas! So if you're going, be sure to keep an eye out for my screen-handle on the badges while you're there. No, I'm not selling anything. I'm going as a standard convention go-er, though it'll be my first time heading to a convention - among a number of other firsts.

Before I head off on the 21st for Nevada, I want to get this chapter out and maybe the one after that (since the following chapter is a "breather" chapter). We'll see, eh?

As usual, please leave your comments and feedback on both the artwork and the story excerpt! I appreciate any and all thoughts you share with me.


Survivor Shy Gallery: [link]

Survivor Shy on FimFiction: [link]

My Tumblr (low activity, mainly artwork only): [link]


=~=

A phoenix! I was sure of it! But where was the sound coming from?

My vision slowly faded from blinding white to a dull grey. My eyes strained, trying to find the exotic bird. I twisted my head left and right, taking in my surroundings. A rocky wall to my right towered into the mist, and a grassy ledge to my left opened up to a vast expanse of fog and sheer drop below. This was the road to Canterlot, along the sheltered side of the mountain.

If I’m here, then that means… My gaze drifted to my hooves and caught sight of my chest. I don’t have my Element yet.

Wait. I’m remembering my journey to Canterlot!


The dense fog gave way to a piercing gold light, and like a shooting star it flew overhead at great speed. The phoenix let out another cry, this time in triumph, as its blazing form curved around to land. My jaw fell open at the sight, and not a muscle twitched as the large bird extinguished its flames, and landed on my back with a hunter’s precision.

Warmth radiated from the phoenix, chasing away the mist surrounding us, and bathing me in her gentle glow. She looked relieved, and gave a quiet coo to me.

“Philomena?” I whispered.

She nodded to me.

My heart leapt up in my chest. “It really is you! What are you doing out here? Did Princess Celestia send you? Are my friends okay? Is everypony safe? Does anypony know what happen-”

Philomena screeched for me to hush, and raised a talon toward me, showing a capsule attached to her leg, emblazoned with Princess Celestia’s Cutie Mark.

“A message?” I frowned as the phoenix hopped off my back. She looked at me and nodded, and I carefully opened the capsule and pulled out the rolled up parchment inside. Before I unravelled it and started reading, I pulled an apple from my saddlebags and gave it to Philomena to thank her. She sliced into the fruit with her beak and started munching ferociously. When was the last time she ate?

I pulled my stare from Philomena, and carefully unrolled the message. Before I had even revealed the whole message, I was already processing it.

My Dearest Cadence,
Please have your subjects search the library again. I know that we’re close to solving this mystery, but I fear that time is not on our side. Send Philomena back with any information you discover.
Kindest regards,
Celestia.


This didn’t make any sense. Why had Philomena delivered this to me? Princess Cadence was in the Crystal Empire as far as I knew. And I wouldn’t be able to reach the Crystal Empire any faster than a phoenix, or a dedicated Pegasus messenger – even with a tail wind.

I raised my head up to look at Philomena, who had rapidly reduced the apple to a core. She turned her head to me, her eyes warning of bad news. I almost abandoned my question before I started it.

“Philomena, when did you leave Canterlot with this message?”

The phoenix let out a saddened cry. Eight days ago.

That was the day before the spell struck. I could feel my stomach wringing itself as I spoke again. “Did you reach the Crystal Empire?” I asked, to which Philomena nodded in response. “When was that?”

Her fiery eyes lost some of its heat. Seven days ago.

“Did you see a shock wave sweep over Equestria while travelling there?”

Philomena nodded, and let out a series of short cries. She didn’t turn back when she saw it. She came back after finding the Crystal Empire without any ponies, after waiting in case somepony showed up. Philomena returned a day ago, her message undelivered until now.

I nuzzled Philomena’s beak, trying to hide the suffocating feeling in my chest. “It’s going to be okay, Philomena. I-I’ll get to the bottom of this.” I lifted my head up and looked upon the road leading up the mountain. “Or maybe the top.” I tried to chuckle, but it came out as short gasps. My eyes welled up.

Deep breaths, Fluttershy, stay calm.

“We’re going to Canterlot.” I said evenly, brushing my bandaged leg over my eyes.

Philomena leapt up and screeched in alarm. Canterlot wasn’t silent like the rest of Equestria; it was overrun with strange creatures. When I asked what the creatures were, Philomena struggled to describe them, eventually settling on “Big dogs that walk on two legs”.

I thought of the hound I fled from in Ponyville. I thought of how his massive claws came inches from slicing me in twain. I shuddered.

“We can get past them if we’re careful.” I assured - more to myself than to Philomena.

Philomena shook her head. There was more. There were Dragons, too.

A familiar lead ball dropped into the pit of my twisted insides. I swallowed down what was pushed up.

I looked directly at the phoenix, and shakily said “I have to go to Canterlot. My friends are stuck in there and need my help. I can’t let them down.”

Philomena unfurled her wings, her body of striking reds and oranges shimmering and glowing brightly. She tried to reason with me; if she went, they would see her. Both Dragons and Diamond Dogs had chased her out of Canterlot already.

“I understand, Philomena. Could you wait for me somewhere?”

She shook her head at me, pointing an extended wing into the mist with a screech. Snow front moving in. Too harsh for a phoenix to weather.

I stared off into the grey sky. I pointed my ears to the breeze and felt it nip at the tips. The temperature was colder than it had been, but I couldn’t believe that winter weather would be coming before Fall had even started. I didn’t want to argue, though, I was running out of time to reach my friends before something happened to them.

I wish it didn’t have to be this way.

“Are you sure you can take care of yourself, Philomena?”

The Royal Bird closed its wings and nodded deliberately. She was confident, or good at keeping things secret, because I thought I saw her shiver. I looked down at my hooves, noticing the unravelled message waving in the breeze, and began rolling it back up.

A thought popped into my head.

“If you ever change your mind,” I said as I placed the message back inside the capsule. “And the weather allows it, you can head for the old castle ruins in the Everfree Forest. I spent a night there, and it isn’t too far away from Ponyville – just be very careful of the Timberwolves, okay?”

I ran my hoof under the rare creature’s jaw, thankful for the few moments of company since the disaster over a week ago. I felt my mouth curve into a reassuring smile, and thoughts of being brave and hopeful followed.

Philomena saluted with a wing and took off into the mist, her body’s warmth quickly trailing after her. A shiver ran up my spine. Had the wind always been this cold?

I watched Philomena circle above, her body quickly igniting into a molten orange that shone through even the thickest patches of the mist. I followed her with my eyes until she disappeared entirely from view.

Alone again.

I turned to face the path to Canterlot, if I kept a quick pace, I could reach the city by nightfall. If the city was that overrun by Diamond Dogs and Dragons, then the darkness and buildings would help me slip past them all. I would find my friends soon, and together, we would find a way to solve this.

What about Princess Celestia? Would she be there?

I couldn’t imagine her letting Canterlot be invaded by Diamond Dogs or Dragons, but if it was just her, Princess Luna, and my friends in Canterlot, perhaps she wouldn’t have had a choice. And because of the Dragons, Philomena wouldn’t have been able to find the Princesses when she returned, and couldn’t say if there was anypony in Canterlot other than the Diamond Dogs in the streets.

What did those Diamond Dogs want? What did the Dragons want? Who or what had caused that powerful spell in the first place? I wanted to know. For the first time in my life, I felt the pull of curiosity lead me. Ushering me on to Canterlot, to a definitely dangerous place, and I was okay with that.

I need the truth. I thought, though a pang in the back of my mind warned that it was different truth I was searching for. It warned of a truth that was driven much more by morbid curiosity, rather than fearless desire. I blinked away the thoughts, and my attention fell to the present.

I took a deep breath, and started to trot up the misty path.

I had to get to Canterlot.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconschorpioen007:
schorpioen007 Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2013
Amazing
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks
Reply
:iconschorpioen007:
schorpioen007 Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2013
Anytime ^^
Reply
:iconkimberly-aj-04-02:
Kimberly-AJ-04-02 Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013  Student General Artist
She's fine, but where's Princess Celestia?
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
She's gone, I'm afraid.
Reply
:iconiwuvwoona:
IwuvWoona Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Yay, Philomeena!
Reply
:iconsilverrattler:
SilverRattler Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
"
Deep breaths, Fluttershy, stay calm."

Keep calm and flutter on.

I'll have to finish reading this when I'm nnot dead tired :)
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The excerpt here or the chapter on FimFiction? :)
Reply
:iconsilverrattler:
SilverRattler Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
You mean there's more?? :iconcubsimbaplz:
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
An ongoing fanfiction, full of illustrations. Take a look:
[link]
Reply
:iconsilverrattler:
SilverRattler Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Holy fart! 30,000+ words?? I know something that's going to occupy a lot of my time. ;)
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This story is probably going to be pretty long on word count, but I doubt it'll hit ridiculous levels by the time I finally reach the last few chapters.
Reply
:iconsilverrattler:
SilverRattler Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I guess there's my answer. YOU write the fiction. :)
Hopefully it HOOKS the reader. Have you received much positive feedback regarding your story so far?
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The story has been getting more and more popular with each chapter release, it's pretty awesome to see it grow like that.
Reply
:iconzaiali:
zaiali Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013
Go save your friends fluttershy! :D
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Heroic fanfare?
Reply
:iconzaiali:
zaiali Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013
uuh . . .I don't really have any instruments to do so . . .
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh well, it wouldn't fit the excerpt that comes next, anyway.

(Art is old, I recently re-did the writing.)
[link]
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:iconzaiali:
zaiali Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013
Okay :D
Reply
:iconthejacoblb44:
TheJacobLB44 Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013
Hmm cool can't wait to read the chapter. A breather chapter will be even more interesting since fluttershy has next to no friends atm
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well... It's only a "breather" chapter because it occurs between two major, action-loaded chapters, and focused on Fluttershy recovering from her last misadventure and preparing for the next.

On top of that, she'll have a revelation to contend with that completely changes everything she's doing and what is keeping her going.

So yeah, not much of a breather per se, certainly no rest for the wicked.
Reply
:iconthejacoblb44:
TheJacobLB44 Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013
Flutteryshys not wicked:(
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No, she's not. I guess the figure of speech doesn't work, then.
Reply
:iconkarach0s:
Karach0s Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013
Now I'm clueless. o.O But let's break it all down one by one. ;)

Firstly, I rarely comment on pictures because I don't know shi- crap :P about drawing. But this one I really like. I have no idea why, but I find it very well-done. I'm not sure why, but I like Fluttershy's face in this picture very much. And the proud posture of Philomena. ;) Are those orange circular lines around Fluttershy and Philomena some sort of light effect given out by the phoenix or is it some sort of dust or mist?
The only thing that I could pick on is Fluttershy's wing, which looks kinda like it was broken and glued back to the rest of the pegasus' body. But, as I mentioned, I don't know crud about drawing so maybe it's all correct and I'm just being a nitpicker with a huge sight defect. :P

But let's get back to the story (that's the part where I'm shamelessly going to force some information out of you :D).

Firstly, when does this scene take place? After the bit you published last week, in this cave Fluttershy visited? Or is it before going into the far lands altogether? I have to admit you lost me here. ;)

Also, this is the first time I remember you mentioning Crystal Empire (but my memory has been proven to be full of holes like Chrysalis' legs). But, if I remember correctly, you began writing the story long before season 3 started. If so, kudos for implementing more canon facts into the story (but don't go overboard and make an alicorn of Twilight-
.
.
.
[spoilers and overblown conspiracy theory ahead]
WAIT! I KNOW! It's so obvious. God, why haven't I thought of it before? All this time I clung onto my ridiculous theory of Celestia going mad and wiping Equestria with a solar flare. While it has been Twilight all along! I get it all now. Her alicornification disrupted the natural balance of things, destroyed the magical leylines of the world and consequently wiped every creature with cutie mark from the face of Equestria. God, how could I have been so blind? It all fits, see? Especially since Twilight's last experiment made her friends exchange their cutie marks. It's so obvious now! :D
[end spoilers and overblown conspiracy theory]

So while Luna and Twilight were searching the libraries of Canterlot (if I remember correctly) while the disaster struck, Cadence and Celestia were all cozy-shmozy in the Crystal Empire, probably engaged in some wild threesome with Shining Armo- Khem, let's leave it at that. ;)

The fact remains, however, that 3 (make that 4) princesses were divided in two pairs and made their research separately... Interesting. [spoilers again]They were probably searching the way to un-alicornify Twilight in order to save the world and obviously failed miserably. So it's up to Fluttershy to travel Equestria and gather a million gems to buy the un-alicornification spell from the suspicious Diamond Dogs dealers of their newly-founded Gameloft C.O. Yes, I recently picked up Gameloft's MLP game and finally get what all those gems jokes were all about. :D[spoiler end]
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The light effect is a combination of dust and mist reflecting Philomena's resident glow. In my mind, the Phoenixes in FiM transform themselves into literal birds of fire to protect themselves from attackers, and to self-propel themselves through the air at greater speeds. The downsides are that a blazing Phoenix is easily spotted, and is too hot to handle unless the bird extinguishes his/her flames. Philomena, being a Phoenix that has lived as Celestia's pet for countless regenerations, knows that ponies are not fire proof, and performs the necessary precautions before landing on one.

I spent a long time trying to make Fluttershy's wing work. The trouble is that her wings connect betweem her withers and where her saddlebags sit. At this angle, with her wings closed but resting over her bags, it makes the angle of wings not run parallel to her body, but angle a little more outwards. For Flutters' left wing, it should point more towards the viewer. However, I couldn't find a clip from the show that best depicts this kind of angle. In fact, in one episode I looked in, there was a shot of Fluttershy facing completely away from the camera, but the animators didn't include her wings - she was basically an Earth pony for a few seconds because the animators didn't want to spend any time drawing her wings closed at that angle. In the same episode, Dash had many back-shots that would've given me an example of drawing wings at the angle I wanted to depict, but she always had her wings unfurled and spread outwards.

Another thing to note is that whenever the ponies in the show wore saddlebags, Pegasi would have their wings tucked under their bags unless they needed them out. But with them tucked away like that, they seem more difficult, if not impossible, to open. It would seem that the animators sacrificed some details and perspectives with closed Pegasi wings because it would be much harder to do otherwise. Being someone else entirely, and a personal perfectionist, I didn't want to make the same shortcut, so I struggled for an hour with different wing designs until I found one that worked best. It isn't perfect, I know, and it can look detached, but without any references to go on from the show, and a basic grasp on perspective, I reckon I did okay. It does need improving in future.

This scene takes in a different point in the time line. I was hoping that Fluttershy's narrative would explain that the story had completely changed location and point in time:

:iconfluttershysadplz::iconspeechbubbleplz: If I'm here, then that means... I looked down at my hooves, and caught sight of my chest. I don't have my Element yet.
:iconfluttershyshockplz::iconspeechbubbleplz:Wait. I'm remembering my journey to Canterlot!


I guess I didn't make it clear enough.

I've referred to the Crystal Empire in the Prologue chapter for Survivor Shy. Factoring in minor canon after I first started writing the story has been pretty simple. However, I'm splitting Survivor Shy off from the show so that it can take a definite alt-universe route. To put it simply, the Season 3 finale will break the fic if I place the events of Survivor Shy after it. I do not want to even attempt to rewrite the story and redraw Twilight's only appearance in the fic to reflect this new piece of canon. This fic, it's planned ending, and the revelations uncovered throughout the story are simply not compatible with Twilight becoming an Alicorn before the story begins - if it all.

I never anticipated Twilight becoming a princess in the entire show, let alone in the time it took me to make this fic, so I never made any safety guards or backup plans for it when coming up with the story. Maybe some parts of the finale I can use in the fic (and the episodes in Season 4), but the fic officially branches off from the show's canon universe sometime during Season 3, before the finale.

Consequently, that also voids your theory. Also, Celestia was in Canterlot the whole time, hence why Philomena was sent from Canterlot as a messenger.

Speaking of Celestia's whereabouts, I rewrote an earlier scene and updated the excerpt on deviantArt, just for you (and anybody else) to read. [link]
Reply
:iconkarach0s:
Karach0s Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2013
Another one (of my wild theories) bites the dust. :P
Still, it would make an interesting reason as to the end of the world as ponies know it. :D

I'm starting to get lost in this story, that's not a good sign. ;) I will have to finally read it at fimfiction to clear everything up.
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm amazed even I have kept such a good track of my story, there's a lot of things I have to consider at once.
Reply
:iconkarach0s:
Karach0s Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2013
Yeah, you have to keep a pretty detailed list ther-

HEY! You changed (well, altered might be a better word ;)) your avatar! It's like... It's like you went to a beauty salon and remodelled your face or something. :D
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah, just decided to redraw my ponysona of sorts and make an updated avatar. I've had the old avatar since around April, so it was about time I made a change.
Reply
:iconkarach0s:
Karach0s Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013
It's like a new hairstyle. It makes you look younger. And I mean, like, lots. :D
Reply
:iconbakuflint:
Bakuflint Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Professional Artist
Good Job. :)
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks
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