• Published 10th Dec 2020
  • 1,396 Views, 72 Comments

Pony-Me™ - TheMajorTechie



What happens when you realize that your life is a simulation? Well, you put the headset back on.

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4 ◈ Explore.

“Sam?” Lisa scratched her side. “How long is it going to be itchy like this?”

“Give it a day or two.” Samantha shrugged from the front seat. Just be glad that those things were designed to be easily removed. We’d kinda need to put you in a hospital for surgery if they weren’t. Wouldn’t want that over a roadtrip, would you?”

Lisa shook her head as she moved her hand to her neck. “No, not really… but it doesn’t mean that I have to like it.”

“Probably shouldn’t be scratching so much, either.” Samantha’s eyes peered at her from the rear-view mirror. “Especially not there.”

“Hmpf.” Lisa folded her arms. She glanced out the window. A cursory glance at the mirror showed that her friend wasn’t looking. Slowly, she began to snake a hand down to her side and—

“Saaaam, Lizzy’s gonna scratch herself again.” Timothy punctuated with a cocky grin aimed at his sister.

The glare she spotted from the rear-view mirror was enough to stop her again. “Fine then.” Lisa planted her cheek into the seatbelt. “I’m taking a nap.”

~~~

Twilight hummed idly to herself, sifting through the stack of papers on her desk. Raindrops quietly tapped on the window, accompanied by the occasional distant drum of thunder. She paused to rub her eyes. Who knew that princess-ing would involve so much paperwork?

Actually, scratch that. She did.

She set down her hoof and reached for her quill.

“Lis?” A quiet knock tapped on her door. “Lisa?” Her father opened the doo—

Wait.

Lisa?

Twilight blinked. The man at the door was clearly a human, yet… She looked down at her hooves, only to find hands.

“That cough of yours getting any better yet?” Her father set the cup of tea down on the desk. “It’s been going on for quite some time now, don’t you think?”

She had a cold? Twilight—no, Lisa eyed the cup of tea. It did look rather enticing. And come to think of it, her throat did feel a little scratchy for whatever reason.

Perhaps she did have a cough.

Her father pulled a spare chair to the desk and sat down. “Busy with homework?”

Homework? Since when did official Equestrian… her eyes landed on the page in front of her. Sure enough, nothing on the page indicated that it was anything remotely close to what she’d been working on before. Nevertheless, she gave a singular nod in response.

“Your friend Sam stopped by earlier. Wanted to know if you were planning on hanging out sometime soon before school starts again.”

She brought the mug to her lips, sipping her drink. It was… surprisingly sweet, much unlike the bitterness she’d been expecting.

“I put honey in it, just how you like it.” Her father smiled. He stood up and pushed his chair in. “Don’t forget to bring the cup down to the sink when you’re done, ‘kay?”

Bring the cu—huh? She glanced about the room. Somehow, without her noticing, the grand study of Twilight Sparkle had been reduced to a mere bedroom.

This was a dream, wasn’t it?

She set her mug down and pulled one of her worksheets closer, scanning over the problems one by one. Did these always look so easy?

Then again—she turned to the door—if it really was just a dream, why…

The rumble of thunder interrupted her thoughts.

“You really need to watch out for those potholes more, Professor.”

Huh?

“Are we gonna stop somewhere for lunch soon? It’s getting pretty close to noon.”

Lisa spun around. Where was her brother’s voice coming from? Was that part of the dream as well? “Timothy?” she murmured, standing up from her chair. She made her way to the door. If her little brother was trying to prank her again, and in a dream, no less—

“Sorry, Tim. We won’t be seeing any rest stops around anytime soon.”

And now it was Samantha’s voice! There’s no way this couldn’t have been a dream! Still, it wouldn’t hurt to try and find them before she woke.

“Tim? Sam?” Lisa opened the door. “You there?”

Nothing.

She set her hand on the railing at the top of the stairs.

The downpour outside continued to pound relentlessly against the roof.

Samantha’s voice echoed once more through her head. “Careful now, the roads here are narrower. We’re hugging the canyon walls.”

Still, dream or not, this was admittedly a little weird. She began to descend the stairs, taking a turn at the bend and continuing downward to the bottom. In front of her was a tidy family room. Some noise turned her attention to the kitchen on her left.

“Slow down, Argall. I know you saw those falling rock warnings.”

Her father stepped out of the kitchen with a cup of his own. “There you are, Lis!” He hummed before taking a sip. “Was wondering when you’d be coming down. I was gonna ask Zoey to call you down and help get ready for dinner.”

“…Zoey?” She cocked her head.

Her father returned the confusion. “…Yes? Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten about your own older sister.”

“Olde—huh?” A stream of muddled words was all she could manage for a moment. “I thoug—”

“Oh hey, you’re already here.”

Lisa spun around in time to spot another girl peeking out from the living room behind her.

“Well, with both of you here now—” Her father returned to the kitchen. “—Zoey, Lis, mind setting the table? Mom’s working late today, but she should be back soon.”

“But what about Timothy?” Lisa furrowed her brows. Weren’t dreams meant to draw off waking experiences? “Don’t I have a brother?”

“Brother?” Her father snorted, keeping his attention on the wok on the stove. “Lis, I think you should take a nap after dinner, alright? I’ll check to see if you’ve got a fever later.”

“Remember seeing those waves in the rock when we first traveled through here?” Samantha’s disembodied voice once again surfaced in the girl’s head. “You were a whole lot younger back then, but I’m pretty sure you were just as fascinated by them back then as you are now.”

That did it. This was a dream, no doubt about it. As far as the voices go, though… maybe the sounds around her were making their way into this dream?

“Lisa, you okay?” Her father set down his spatula. “You haven’t really moved for a little while.”

“Hey, sis.” A phantom hand jostled her shoulder. “Are you really gonna sleep through the whole trip? At least do some sightseeing with us!”

Why couldn’t she wake up, though?

“…Lisa?”

She felt herself getting nudged again.

“Hey.” Timothy’s voice echoed in her head. “Lizzy, you alright there?”

~~~

A soft whimper rose from Lisa. She opened a groggy eye, staring first at Timothy, then at Samantha and Argall. She closed it again.

Finally, she was awake.

She slowly raised a hand to her face and rubbed her eyes. “How… long was I sleeping?”

“An hour or so, give or take,” Timothy answered. “You kept making noises and moving your head, though. Were you dreaming about something?”

Lisa gave a weak nod, fumbling for the clasp of her seat belt, though the numbness on the tips of her fingers made it far harder than it should’ve been.

“Whoa now, take it easy, Lis.” Samantha’s face appeared behind Timothy’s shoulder. “You don’t need to rush. We’re just parked on the side of the road.”

She tried to turn her head, though the most she could manage was a small tilt toward her brother and Samantha. “It’s hard… to move.”

“Hm.” Samantha gasped, snapping her fingers. “The transmitter. I can’t say for sure, but it’s possible that you might’ve knocked something loose while scratching in the area that it’s implanted in.”

“Knocked something loose?” Lisa mumbled. “How could that happen if it’s implanted?”

Samantha shrugged, shooing Timothy to the side. “I guess to put it simply, the transmitter is tapped into your nervous system. It’s how you’re able to move around without a controller in the simulations. Scratching in just the right spot or a little bit too hard might’ve knocked something loose. Think of it as short-circuiting something.”

“I’m short-circuiting myself.”

“Mm-hm.” Samantha nodded. “That’s how I’m seeing it, at least. It’ll probably have to be removed so that this doesn’t happen again, though that means that if you want to rejoin, you’ll—”

“No.”

“No?”

Lisa shook her head. She could feel a bit of strength beginning to return to her already. “I want to see more of this world first. I’m not ready to go back yet.” She reached for her neck, stopping as Samantha’s glare hit her in full force. “Right. No scratching… what’s the transmitter like, by the way? I don’t remember ever feeling any chip or whatever back there.”

“Ehh, it’s more a patch than a chip, to be honest. There’s a little conductive tattoo that goes over it to serve as a backup connection to the headset as well.”

“Oh, okay then.” Lisa averted her gaze from Samantha as she scratched her side.

“I know you’re scratching, Lis.”

“I know you know, but it’s so itchy!” Lisa grumbled, folding her arms. “Hey, if we see a rest stop with a convenience store, could I get some of that anti-itching cream for bug bites?”

“And food!” Timothy added.

“Yes, yes, we can get both of those.” Samantha stepped back. “Though, I don’t know if something meant for mosquito and tick bites is going to do any good for you, Lisa. But, if you think it might help, then I’m not stopping you. In the meantime, we kinda have to get back on the road, so just… stop scratching anywhere close to those two spots for now, ‘kay?”

“Fine.”

“Argall! You’re driving now!” Samantha climbed into the front passenger’s seat. “Lis, you wanna talk a little in the meantime?”

“Sure.” Lisa scooted a little to make room for Timothy. “So… I guess things started off pretty normal, though things got a bit funky when I suddenly stopped being Twilight Sparkle. I also had a sister, I think, and...” She scratched her head. “Oh, and Timothy didn’t exist in the part of the dream where I was human. Either that or he became the sister in my dream.”

Timothy let out an amused grunt as he shut the door.

“A sister, huh?” Samantha hummed. “That’s interesting. You remember her name?”

“Zoey.”

“…Zoey?”

“Yeah.”

The van rumbled to life beneath them.

“…Huh. Strange.”

“Strange?” Lisa cocked her head.

“Mm-hm. There’s this kid that works the front desk back at HQ named Zoey. I think you might’ve met her before, a loooong time ago. Just—” Samantha began to pull the van back onto the road. “—don’t worry about it for now.”

Author's Note:

It's been a long while since I've updated this story. Let's aim for the home stretch now, shall we? :twilightsmile:

Comments ( 6 )

What is Samantha hiding?!

11270412
next chapter will be mildly twisty methinks

The plot thickens! We'll see how things move on from here, I guess. This new character may shake things up a little.

There's still something deeply unsettling about being in Twilight's position... An existential horror... It's hard to really describe. But it can be felt every time I read this fic.

So, we're in the home stretch? It was definitely a unique, interesting experience! I kinda wonder even how you cap something like this off... The introduction of Zoey feels like it's gonna do something. But we'll see.

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