Lisa stared at the ceiling. Long, spindly shadows crept across it in the moonlight.
The time of Princess Luna.
Lisa turned over. The Princess of the Night obviously wouldn’t be dreamwalking out here in the real world. Who knows if she’s even real in the first place?
She closed her eyes. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful for the most part. After the whole talk she had with Professor Argall, there really wasn’t much else that she’d done.
There wasn’t much else to do, anyway. Samantha and Grace kinda made sure of that, though it was certainly more of a positive than anything bad. Volunteers and other people from outside of town were now handling whatever needed to be handled, so the idea of helping with things such as rations again was out of the question. Not that the ration buckets everyone got were even close to running low yet, anyway.
Beyond the walls, she could just barely hear the muffled conversation between Samantha and Timothy. This was… what, the second night of them talking this late? What did they even talk about, anyway? It couldn’t always be about the simulations, right? Timothy did say that he talked with Samantha pretty often in his downtime while they were in Equestria, but even then, what was there to talk about? Maybe real life stuff? It’d explain why she could occasionally hear Spike’s voice echoing through the castle when they were supposed to be sleeping… though, how Pinkie got into the castle when it was locked and secured for the night remained a mystery to her.
And then there was that whole thing about being ‘one of the original developers’ of the simulations, too. There was definitely a good number of things that she clearly didn’t remember still, and that was one of them. Maybe she could ask Timothy sometime about it. He seemed to remember things better when it came to stuff regarding their past.
Lisa pushed the thought aside. There was also quite a bit that she still didn’t remember about her parents, either—her ‘real’ ones, that is. Professor Argall did mention her parents in Equestria earlier, but he didn’t seem particularly comfortable when it came to discussing whoever their counterparts were. The way he kept dodging her questions, and the fact that he’d apparently adopted them years ago—were her real parents dead? It’d make sense, with how he acted and all. Or maybe they were just far too distant to matter in her life in the first place. Maybe she could ask Samantha about that instead. Timothy probably knew as well. Heck, those two were probably closer friends here in the real world than she was with Pinkie back in Equestria!
Come to think of it, how many friends did she have? Obviously, there was Pinkie and the rest of the girls, Sunset, Starlight, the Princesses… maybe Discord, but that’d be a stretch. Of course, there was also her family, and maybe Moondancer.
And when it came to the real world, all she really had was Timothy. Samantha too, though there were some pretty noticeable differences between how she and Pinkie acted. Samantha just wasn’t as energetic compared to Pinkie. Or chaotic, for that matter, though that was probably for the better, considering how she’d been trying to keep things together following the disconnection.
Then again, Pinkie had a knack for planning as well, so there was that going for Samantha when it came to similarities. As for the rest of her friends…
Lisa sighed. Chances were, they never existed. Maybe they happened to be in a different town instead, but something deep down told her that the only real one was Pinkie.
Again, so much for being the Princess of Friendship.
“Rise and shine, Lisa!”
Lisa opened an eye, yawning as her brother poked his head through the door.
“C’mon, time to wake up. Man, you’ve been sleeping in more these past few days than I ever did back in Equestria! It’s… what, eleven in the morning now? At least there isn’t much to do today, so you’ve got plenty of time to slurp oatmeal.”
She chucked a pillow at him.
“Well, anyway, don’t forget to brush your teeth.” Timothy grinned. “Gonna get myself some breakfast in the meantime.”
He shut the door again.
Another day, another breakfast. Not oatmeal this time, though. Today felt more like a pancakes kind of day.
Lisa’s eyes wandered over the crowds of people mingling in the room. Not that there was really any chance that she’d recognize any of her other friends if they were here, anyway. Samantha was sitting with Grace pretty close by, though.
Now then, onto the pancakes. She could already smell the sugary batter as she approached one of the counters. Her brother was already there at the waffle iron.
“Oh, hey there, sis. No oatmeal today?” Timothy nudged her. “I heard there’s raisins and brown sugar for the oatmeal now, if you still want it.”
“Nope.” She grabbed a paper cup and began to dispense some batter into it.
“You’re making waffles too?”
Lisa shook her head. “Nope. Pancakes.”
He walked away. Lisa poured the batter onto the griddle. While she was far from any sort of top chef back at home, at least she wasn’t nearly as bad as Sweetie Belle when it came to cooking. Like, how does one set fire to a bowl of cereal in the first place? And completely on accident, at that!
She flipped the pancake.
“Are you really planning on eating all of that?”
Lisa nodded, sliding her plate onto the table. She pulled the slice of bread from her mouth. “It’s called I’m hungry.”
“Even the cereal? You didn’t even get any milk for it.”
Another nod. Timothy snorted, returning to his plate of waffles. To be fair, she didn’t exactly have enough hands to carry a milk carton on top of everything else. Probably could’ve balanced her toast on top of the cereal box, though.
“Oh! I just remembered something—” Samantha looked up from her food. “Lisa, do you remember Emily?”
“Emily?” Lisa raised a brow. “I… uh, no, I don’t. Who does she play as in the simulation? I might know her as a pony. Is she here in Snowbush as well?”
Samantha shook her head. “No, she isn’t. In fact, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t even have an account for the simulations. I let her try logging in as me a while back, but she didn’t seem all too interested. I can say that the three of us were pretty good friends back in the day, though.”
“So…” Lisa scratched her head. “What does she do, then? And why are you bringing her up, anyway?”
“Just thought I’d let you know about an old friend, Miss Princess of Friendship.”
“Ha ha. Very funny.”
Samantha stifled her giggling. “But… yeah, in all seriousness, I was thinking it’d be interesting to let you know a little about what happened to the people you used to know. Even though Emi didn’t really like the simulations themselves, she did say that she liked the base lore you wrote for Equestria. Heck, she even told me last time we met that she’s writing a novel based off of that old lore! She’s a historian by day, though. Creative writing’s just her side-hobby.”
“What what?” Samantha cocked her head.
“The novel. It’s… based off of Equestria?”
Samantha gave a quick nod. “Yup! She didn’t tell me all that much about it, though, so all I know is that it’s called ‘Splintershard’, and it’s some sort of fantasy-adventure story. Equestria serves as the backdrop for things like the setting, if I remember correctly.”
“It’s just… well, the idea that I even had friends before the simulation, besides you, of course—it’s a little puzzling to me, that’s all. Me as Twilight Sparkle was incredibly antisocial early on.”
Samantha shrugged. “Yet here I am, telling you about another old friend you had before all of that happened. Y’know, if you really want to, you can maybe stick around a little longer once the simulations go live again. Learn more about your past and stuff. Of course, you’re definitely free to head back to Equestria once things are done and over with, if that’s what you want. Speaking of which…" She pulled her phone out of her pocket, taking a moment to swipe through something. “At the current rate of repair, things should be fully operational again as soon as tomorrow.”
“Do I have any say in this?” Grace chimed in. “’Cause, Sam, you did not mention anything about the repair work finishing that early when we were talking earlier.”
“Wha—yes I did!”
“Sure you did.” Grace stood up, empty plate in hand. “Well, I’m gonna pester you about that later, that’s for sure. I’ll let you and Lisa talk for now since I’m irrelevant.”
Lisa watched Grace walk away. She turned back to Samantha. “So… you were asking about whether or not I’m going to reconnect tomorrow?”
“I’m still thinking about it, but I’m definitely leaning a little more toward sticking around outside of the simulations a bit longer. I wanna learn some more about myself first. Where’s Professor Argall, by the way? Doesn’t he normally follow you around?”
“Nope. He likes eating alone. Told me he prefers to eat when it’s nice and quiet.”
Lisa’s gaze landed on her now-cold pancakes.
“Looking for a new pillow, Lizzy?” Timothy leaned over, a smug look on his face.
“Wha-no!” Lisa stuck her fork into her pancakes. “You know that was one time! And besides, you… you—”
“Go on.” Timothy gestured.
“You have a very obvious crush on Rarity!”
“I just think she’s cute, that’s all.”
Samantha snorted. “Really, Tim? You never told me that! And we talk almost every night!”
“Didn’t you take ages to grow out of your bottle, too?” Lisa cocked her head. “I remember tha—"
Timothy stopped chewing his waffles. “Hold on, that never happened in the simulation.”
“It… didn’t?” She scratched her head. “I swear I remember it from somewh—”
“Real life,” Timothy grumbled. “Also, please never speak of that again.”
Lisa set her fork down. She needed a moment to let this sink in. She… remembered something? And from her life before Equestria, at that. Maybe more of her memory might begin to return.
“Oh, I almost forgot!” Samantha gasped. “Lisa, I have some clothes I want you to try on! You already saw Tim wearing his set, but up until now, I kinda forgot to give you yours. Stay right here!”
“Oh? Uh… thanks!” Lisa blinked. “Though, why bother bringing us new clothes if we’re most likely going to be rejoining the simulations in a few days’ time?”
“Why wouldn’t I? It’s just a nice thing to do, that’s all.” Samantha stood up. “Now, hold on while I get you something better than that scratchy-looking hospital gown.”
Lisa stared at her reflection. The clothes Samantha brought were alright—certainly nothing as fancy as what Rarity would’ve brought had she been here, but still more than comfortable enough. Not that she particularly cared about what they looked like, anyway.
Though… what Samantha said about Equestria earlier—base lore? And to think that she—Lisa Garnet, wrote it all out just to live in it as Twilight Sparkle…
Also, the whole thing about Emily apparently using it as the setting for a novel; that was a little odd as well, though it’d certainly be an interesting story to read.
“How’s this, Lis?” Samantha peeked out from behind her. “I tried my best to tie it into a ponytail, but your hair’s still pretty long. It’s an improvement over how it was before, at least.”
“It’s nice. Thanks.”
“Hey, you’ve been staring at your reflection for a while now. You feeling alright?”
Lisa shrugged. “Yeah, I’m fine. It’s just… I’ve got a lot on my mind, that’s all. Especially regarding the idea that Equestria at its most basic was some little thing I wrote ages ago.”
“Yeah, I gotta admit, it was kinda weird how obsessive you got over it and other parts of the simulation back then. At least you’re past that now.” Samantha brushed some lint off of her friend’s shoulder. “By the way, how do you like the clothes? I tried to pick them based on what I remember you used to like before the simulations, since, y’know, ponies don’t normally wear clothes and all.”
A smile began to return to Lisa’s face. “Yeah, I like the clothes. I think I would’ve preferred my hair a little shorter, though. I’m fine with a tail dragging on the ground at times, but I don’t think that it’s a good idea to have hair from my head doing the same.”
“Psh, it’s not that long, Lis. And besides, I don’t have a weed whacker to cut it for you anyway.”
That got a chuckle out of her.
“Could I have some time to myself once you’re done? I just want to think about some stuff in private.”
“Oh yeah, sure.” Samantha stepped back. “Have fun picking off the rest of the lint!”
Lisa watched her friend wander out of the restroom.