What is sleep?
A way to restore the body? Refocus the senses?
What's the point if all it does is trap the soul? Binding it to the glacial lurch of time?
My limbs are stiff.
My thoughts—even more rigid... like branches caught in the spokes of an absurd machine. One that's just run out of fuel.
Not as if it was ever going down any glorious road to begin with.
Maybe if I was more upfront with Tavi?
Maybe if I shared my feelings more... all of my feelings.
Being mute is no excuse. I'd best hop off that miserable train before it takes me someplace even number than where I am now.
I rub my eyes, sitting up... or at least trying to.
A field stretches before me, wet with dew. The morning smells wonderful.
Mud and grit mix with body odor, and I shudder at the scent of life.
How long have I been out here?
It's only been... one evening, right?
I'm a night owl... as nocturnal as it gets. I should know this.
I brush twigs and dead insect parts out of my mane.
Maybe it's still a good thing that I've decided to lay low in Ponyville during this portion of my life.
The Ponyrazzi would have a field day with DJ-P0N3 waking up on the edge of the Everfree Forest... looking like a wild horse.
At least I haven't stooped so low as to eat grass...
I breathe into my hoof and tilt my muzzle into the magenta cloud.
I scrape my tongue with a fetlock.
Nothing even remotely green lingers in my saliva.
Well that's a relief, at least.
But does it really help to know that there's a specific depth that you haven't fallen to?
Especially after you've already fallen so far?
I sit in place like a fallen toddler.
... ... ...Celestia-damn it, I need a Dr. Pony.
On wobbly legs...
I stand up...
...and am incredibly startled to feel a hoof helping me up into a standing position.
"... ... ...!" I jump back, coming within milliseconds of letting loose a magenta outburst that would have surely knocked me out.
Lyra hops back, shivering. "Vinyl! It's... it's me! It's okay! It's just..." She gulps, waving her forelimbs. "It's just me."
I stare at her. I shudder, teetering from side to side.
"Girl..." She shakes her head, smiling with a brief exhale of relief. "I've been looking all over for you these past two days."
Just like that, my stomach implodes.
I clutch myself, wincing from both pain and embarrassment.
Goddess help me...
"I'd tell you how worried sick you had Bon Bon and I, but... well..." Lyra brushes a hoof through her mane. "We're way past that now. In fact... things are... things are even..."
The tone in her voice is uncharacteristically blue.
I look up to see that her muzzle is wrenched in a guilty grimace. She can't even bother to look me straight in the eye, and that's what worries me the most.
"Mmmmm..." A melancholic whimper, and she shudders. "Vinyl, it's... it's about Octavia. She... she's..." The mare sniffles, and she looks up at me. Ears droop. "I-I think you should come back to the house and see for yourself..."