Non-Canon - I couldn't write that in the title"I had veered off course while travelling back to Equestria from The Free Lands, and for a few days I wandered like a lost soul across the sky and on the ground as I searched for a familiar landmark to get my bearings with.
"Eventually, I found myself looking upon the remains of Fillydelphia. And I flew down to an apartment block to look for essential items; medicine, food, and clean water.
"When life had turned into this daily struggle, I had reservations about breaking into buildings and homes and taking what I needed. I didn't want to steal what wasn't rightly mine, nor did I want to disturb the eerie, graveyard silence that lingered throughout the land with my scratching around and rifling through other ponies' possessions. In spite of what I kept on telling myself back when this all began, the back of my mind believed that the ruins were the grave markers of the millions of ponies who had vanished, and that stealing from them was the same as desecrating a grave.
"However, as I watched myself get thinner, and found myself in need of things I simply couldn't get any other way, my prudish mindset gave way to survival instinct, and I resorted to scavenging. Now that I thought about it, I was silly to be so ashamed of adapting and trying to survive, especially when I was committing a crime out of necessity rather than a crime out of greed.
"After finding enough pressure in the kitchen and bathroom taps of a few apartments, I managed to fill my canteen and reserve canteen with clean water. A search through kitchen cupboards had given me an honest supply of tinned fruit to last a few days. One apartment had a proper first-aid kit, which went straight into my saddlebag, while another had a sickly-green mix of strong cough syrup and an unopened bottle of 'Nay-Nay Pain Away' pills in the medicine cabinet. With no more room to carry anything else, I left the apartments and began making my way through Fillydelphia's empty streets.
"As I walked through the city, I began thinking about my mission to find the other Elements of Harmony. Finding them was not a desire to reunite myself with the memories of my friends any more, it was now an imperative - without them, I couldn't make this one chance to undo the mess that I was in. But before I could find them, I had to get back to Canterlot and hope I could pick up a trail. And to do that, I needed a map.
"I started looking around at the debris and destruction around me, hoping to spot a shop that might have maps of Equestria. It was then that I realised that something was out of place; doors had been kicked in and trampled over, and window frames had been scratched up by what looked like claw marks. Shops had been broken into and stripped clean, and a branch of Fillydelphia Bank had been gutted.
"Before I could even begin to think about who could've done this, I saw the posters. They were on the walls of looted buildings, in alleyways, and on street corners, and they had all been put up recently. I trotted over to one, and read it.
"'LOOKING FOR LOOT?
COME AND VISIT
"End of an Era Extravaganza"
IN OUR BRILLIANT BAZAAR
IN THE UNDERGROUND HOME
OF THE DIAMOND DOGS!'
"My face went red as I felt myself grow very angry. The Diamond Dogs had come through here, looted anything of value, and were now selling it all on under the banner of preserving the memory of the fall of ponykind. I started kicking my hoof at the ground in frustration, trying to let off steam. I tore the poster off the wall and stomped it into the dirt, only feeling a little better afterwards.
"I sighed and sat on my haunches, staring at the crumpled and torn poster in front of me. 'Why am I so surprised by this?' I muttered to myself. 'They were only fighting Dragons in Canterlot so they could loot what was there, too...'
"A thought crossed my mind, the Diamond Dogs might've taken the other Elements from Canterlot, which meant that they might be selling them in their Bazaar. Whether I wanted to see them or not, I had to find the Diamond Dogs' underground city, and hope that I could get the remaining Elements of Harmony from them.
"And to do that, I needed a map."
Survivor Shy Gallery: [link]
Survivor Shy FAQ: [link]
Follow my Tumblr! (If you want to...): [link]
Here we, after taking way too long, I'm back with a new scene for Survivor Shy.
We're jumping to a different point in the story, here, so that's why Spike isn't present before you start asking. I'm creating this series on the fly, and the scenes I upload are usually out of chronological order, the exception being the three scenes where Spike appears.
That being said, I'm beginning to develop a nice collection of scenes in my head involving Spike, some of which are way too good to let sit. So expect some scenes featuring Spike in the near-future!
Anyway, this scene was originally going to be animated. But it proved to be way too ambitious to do without it taking far too long, so I took the scene and reworked it to be a pretty cool landscape shot. Landscapes are one of my many weakspots, and since I started this series to improve my art skills (and my writing), there are going to be a lot of pictures where I try something new for the first time.
That all said, I'm not 100 percent happy with this, but I'm tired with working on it, and I feel it is still good anyway, just not perfect.
As always, I appreciate comments, feedback, and even questions. So don't hesitate to drop something in the comment thread below (or FAQ if you have a question not specific to this scene)!