In the Main Library of the Friendship Castle, Twilight Sparkle was busy setting up the World Mirror. She had already sent word to Sunset and her friends she was coming over for awhile.
Spike decided to stay in Equestria this time. With no threat needing attention, he didn't feel like being stuck as a dog for however Twilight was staying.
For the rest of the Mane 5, this was becoming normal now. But for Starlight Glimmer, this was her first time to actually see the mirror in action. Twilight had explained to her of course.
But seeing it work was a totally different thing. She had already promised Twilight in her reasearch on the portal when they had the chance. Now she couldn't wait.
The portal was soon open. Giving everypony a final glance and a "I'll be back in a few days", Twilight stepped through.
Even as she did though, everyone saw a wave of some kind come out of the mirror. As it passed through them, they all saw something that would stay with them for a long time.
A city in ruins. Under attack by something they couldn't see. But they all felt it. Vast, powerful and, something else they couldn't put a hoof on.
Spike and Starlight shared an uneasy look. It reminded them of the so called Ashlands Timeline they had seen during their misadventures through time. But this felt like, more than that.
Applejack was the first to break the silence. "Y'all saw that. Right?"
Everyone nodded. "What. What was it?" Fluttershy asked.
"I'm, not sure." Rarity said. "It felt like a wave of magic. But it wasn't any magic I've ever heard of."
Starlight nodded. "That, was a kind of magic. I'm all for new magic. But this isn't anything like I thought was even possible."
"So what are we supposed to do?" Rainbow Dash asked. "Twilight went through at the same time that did."
"Not much we can do." Spike said. "Unless you guys wanna go too?" No one volunteered. "Then I say we wait. Maybe it was nothing and Twilight's fine."
He gave the mirror another look. "Besides. If anything did happen, she has friends over there that can help her."
Figuring he had a point, having done it several times, the girls decided to wait it out.
None of them knew it then, but that would be the last time any of them saw Twilight Sparkle for a long time.
Twilight felt something was wrong the moment she entered the portal. What it was she couldn't tell. She just hoped it was nothing.
When she finally stopped spinning and noticed where she was, three things immediately came to mind.
"Wait. This isn't Canterlot Hight."
"Why am I still a pony?"
And last but not least.
"Huh. I'm floated in mid air."
Right before gravity reasserted itself.
"Gahh!" Was all she could say before she hit the ground with resounding tump and splash. Picking herself up, she took stock of where exactly she was. Whever it was, it was in rough shape.
Huge piles of rubble littered the ground. Farther up the walls windows let in a steady stream of water. Several doors led off into rooms or corridors that led to who knew where.
The ceiling looked like it had intricate reliefs carved into it but from down here Twilight couldn't be sure. Looking up, Twilight saw the portal shimmer before it vanished.
Seeing that made her new reality crash home: she was in a strange world, who knows where, and her only way home had just closed on her. How long before it opened again, or if it ever would...
Twilight wiped away the tears that threatned to fall. "No. Crying won't get me anywhere." She said aloud. It helped her calm down a little. But not by much.
At this point though she finally noticed how cold the room around her was. Looking into the middle of the room, she found a bonfire that still put out smoke. With how wet it was, it was a miracle it even lit.
Nothing a little Heat Spell could fix. Next to the smouldering remains was a small stack of firewood. Perfect.
Within a few short minutes, Twilight had a nice little blaze going and she began to warm up immediately. Sighing, she sat down next to it and let it warm her.
For a time she just sat there, watching the flames dance and letting her mind wander. Occassionaly she would look around the room, taking in more and more of it.
She admited that whoever or whatever had created this place knew their craft well. It reminded her of Canterlot in a way.
But way more wet.
She chuckled at the thought as she again turned to the fire and lost herself in it. Right now she needed a plan. Assuming she could find a way out of here, then what?
This was a world she had no knowledge of. Unlike the Human World though, she doubted she'd find local versions of her friends. If the fact that she was still a pony was any inication. So then what?
For a time she lost track of the world outside her immediate vision. How long she was like this she didn't know. At some point, Twilight nodded off.
When she came too the fire had gone out, and the cold had returned with a vengeance. Groaning at her own inability to pay attention she ignited her horn to add another log and restart the blaze.
Before she had a chance to though, an almighty boom rocked the chamber. Yelping and juming a good five feet in the air in shock Twilight looked around the room, waiting to see if it came again.
A few minutes later another boom resounded around the chamber followed soon after by the sound of falling rubble not too far away.
Coming back to the ground, Twilight waited, hoping that whatever had caused that was gone now. After a few minutes of nothing happening, she relaxed and turned back to the fire.
Just before she could apply the spell, she heard the rubble in front of the doors behind begin to move. Looking around, she could see that something was trying to move it out of the way.
As she watched, the last thing she expected to see pushed their way into view. But he wasn't like the ones she knew. His skin was lighter in tone and his clcothes looked like nothing she had ever seen.
When he saw her though, his eyes grew larger in suprise as he pulled what seemed like a red hued sword from his back.
Twilight threw her hooves up, hoping to show she was harmless. "Wait! I'm not a threat."
He blinked in surprise. "You. You can talk?"
Twilight huffed. "Of course I can talk. Why? Can't ponies here?"
"I don't even know what a 'pony' is." He replied.
Twilight gulped a little, but stored that little bit away for later. One look at how he carried his blade showed he knew how to use it. "Look. Can you please put that down? I think we got off on the wrong hoof here. I'm Twilight Sparkle."
Still looking somewhat unconvinced, the youth put the sword down nonetheless. "Tidus. Don't suppose you know where we are?"
Twilight smiled sheepishly. "Sorry. I don't even know how I got here. Wherever here is."
Tidus did smile a little at that. "That makes two of us." Walking further into the room he soon spotted the wood pile. "Don't suppose you have a way to get this started?"
Twilight smiled. Igniting her horn she added a few more logs and lit them ablaze. Immediately the room began to warm up. Sitting down she took Tidus's look as he had never seen magic before.
His question proved it. "How did you do that?"
Twilight grinned. "Magic."
Tidus just shook his head in surprise as he sat down with her. "Well, however you did it, thanks. This place is freezing."
For awhile two sat there in silence, deep in their own thoughts. Twilight was still trying to digest all she now knew of this world. While not much yet, it was still enough to get her mind working.
Tidus meanwhile was trying to make heads or tails of his new companion. She was definitely strange. But the longer they sat, the more he began to think otherwise.
He was a stranger in this world too. No thanks to Auron and Sin. Eventually he nodded off into a strange dream.
Twilight watched him ddze off. Shaking her head she turned back to the fire and her own swirling thoughts. Eventually she too dozed off again.
Never noticing the pair of eyes that watched them both from an upper story balcony.
Some time later she woke with a start. Looking around she noticed the fire had gone out on them. Tidus though wasn't looking at it, but something above them.
Before she could ask what was wrong, he looked over at her and whispered "We're not alone." And pointed up.
Looking in that direction, Twilight felt her stomach drop. What it was she didn't know. Vaguely though it resembled a stick insect, but much larger. Other details were lost with distance. It's eyes seemed to glow.
Before either of them had a chance to react, it began skittering around the balcony before launching itself directly at them. Just in time they jumped out of the way as it landed between them before rising in an obvious attack posture.
At this range Twilight could tell for sure it was a predator. It radiated an aura of malevelonce few others had. Which also made reasoning with it seem out of the question. With that she took stock of what they had.
Good news was that the two of them had it surrounded front and back. The bad news was that she didn't know if any of her spells would work on it. None were designed for combat, on top of being in a nww world.
Levitation and teleportation was all that she could think of that might be able to do something as she ducked a swipe from one of its pincers. There was alos that lazer attack she used at the wedding too.
Any other thoughts were put on hold as the thing attacked them both in hernest now. Tidus managed to doge most of the swipes while getting in a few swipes of his own. But the thing just shrugged them off.
Twilight finally aimed with a spell blast to the back of its head. That got its attention at least while giving Tidus time to recover and land another blow.
This went on for what felt like hours, but was only a few minutes, the two of them alternating between Twilight's magic and Tidus's sword skills.
Eventually Twilight felt her magic begin to run low and this thing was still going. "This isn't working." She said as she doged another pincer swipe. "We need a new plan."
Before Tidus could respond, another set of doors was blown off its hinges. Looking back, Twilight saw five or six figures enter the room, all of them pointing weapons of some kind at all three of them.
One stepped foward, gesturing with her hand. Twilight didn't know what she meant, but she seemed willing to help. And they could use all the help they could get.
"You're on our side? Cool." Tidus said before turning back to their problem. The newcomer nodded before taking something from their belt and tossing it at the thing. The resulting explosion rocked the room.
When the smoke cleared, the thing was still standing. But barely now. Charging her horn, Twilight put all of her magic into one last shot. This time the attack worked.
The thing let out a screach as it collapsed, finally dead, before breaking into a light show that quickly disapered.
Letting out a breath she hadn't known she was holding, Twilight looked up in time to see Tidus grabbed and held at knife point by one of the figures.
"Fryd ec drec?" One said in a strange language.
"Y fiend! Eh rishy tekieca! Oac! Ed ec cu!" The other said in the same thounge.
"Fa gem ed?" The first asked.
"Fyed. Frydev ec rishy?" The one who helped them finally stepped in.
"Dra yna dra cysa eh tadyr." One replied.
"E vunpet ed! Fa pnehk ed fedr ic." Their friend replied while she walked over to Tidus. Leaning over, she whispered something to him before punching him in the stomach.
He was out before he hit the ground.
Twilight was annoyed now. "Hey!" She shouted as she ran over. She was stopped when they turned their weapons on her.
They turned to what she assumed was their leader. "Fryd ypuid drec?"
By now Twilight was shaking in her hooves, all that had happened to her coming back with a vengeance she looked down those barrels.
It must have shown because her gaze softned a little as she replied in perfect Equish "She comes too."
They only nodded as they gestured for Twilight to follow them. Twilight could only nod as she fell in line with them.
Just what had she got herself into now?
Some time later Twilight found herself on the deck of some kind of ship. Tidus had been dumped next to her, still out cold.
For the next while all she could do was sit there and try and admire the view of the sea as it passed by. Her thoughts were still a jumble over everything, and the ship was not helping.
She did know one thing though. Twilight Sparkle and the sea did not mix as her stomach was doing flip flops.
Eventually Tidus began to stir. The guards must have heard him for both turned around and shoved him back down.
"Hey that hurts!"
"Hu sujhek rayn?"
Just as Twilight was about to step in, a door opened behind the guards. Out stepped two figures. One she recognized from earlier. The other was new, but by the others defered to him, he was most likely their leader.
"Caynir res!" He said. Both pulled Tidus hup, and Twilight followed suit. The man began making an odd series of gestures with his hands. Ones Twilight didn't understadn.
"Right, whatever." Tidus summed it up best for them both.
"Tu oui hud cybayg?" The replied with an obvious confusion as he pulled out a necklace of sum kind and repeated the gestures.
"I said I don't understand." Tidus shot back.
"Ehcumala!" One of the guards replied as he pointed his weapon at Tidus's chest.
The girls stepped in at this point. "Fyed!" Before she turned back to them. "He said you guys can stay if you make yourselves useful."
Tidus gave her an incredulus look. "You, you understand us?" One of the guards then hit him in the back of the head. "Alright, I'll work!"
Twilight took a few seconds longer to decide. "Me too."
That seemed to calm them down as the girl began to explain what exactly they were going for.
"We found some ancient ruins right beneath us. It's not active now, but there should still be some power left. We're gonna go ddwn there and activate it... and then we should be able to salvage the big prize!"
Twilight and Tidus could only murmur in agreement. Twilight though was interested. Ancient or not, any chance to study more of this world was something she wouldn't pass up.
"Okay, let's get to work!"
Tidus smiled. "Roger!" and ran over to the side of the boat. Giving a thumbs up, he jumped in. Everyone gave him a dead pan look.
The girl turned back to Twilight. "You can swim right?"
Twilight nodded. Igniting her horn, she cast a Water Breathing Spell on herself before joining her at the side and jumping in alongside Tidus.
Together they began the long swim down to the ruins. Even from this distance though, Twilight could see they had been down here a long time. Centuries for sure. Up close she could see whole sections were gone.
Swimming inside, they found the way blocked by some kind of door. Not for long as Tidus swam over and began pounding on what looked like the control panel. It soon opened into a circular chamber with another corridor on the other side.
This one had no blockage as they swam through it. In the center was what looked like some kind of generator that the girl pointed to.
Seeing this as her chance to prove she could pull her weight, Twilight shot a bolt of electricity into it. Sure enough, after a few shakes, lights began to activate all over the structure.
Getting a nod of thanks as they returned the way they came, Twilight was beginning to wonder what was next when something massive entered the room with them.
Up close it looked like some kind of squid or octopuse, but on a much larger scale than she had ever seen. It too had that same glow to its eyes, showing it wasn't natural in some way, and it was blocking the exit.
This one concerned her. She had no idea how effective her spells would be underwater. The one bit of good news, as she doged a tentacle, was that they had it outnumbered 3 to 1.
Figuring they were getting nowhere just floating there, Twilight chaged her horn and fired. The beam hit it dead center, but seemed to have no effect other than to annoy it.
Tidus followed up with a slash from his sword and the girl hit it with one of her explosives. Both also seemed to have no effect. It did however cause the thing to swim to the other side of the room.
While this did give them some breathing space, Twilight didn't think it would be that easy. Sure enough a moment or so later it charged back at them. None were hit, but it sent them spinning wildly.
This gave it enought time to launch another round of tentacle attacks. This time one hit Twilight on her side and sent her spinning into the wall with a thud. Hard enought to make her see stars.
The girls saw this, and pulled what looked like a capsule out of her pack and tossed it to Twilight, motioning that she should drink it.
Twilight obliged as the girls turned back with another explosive. It wasn't the most plesant thing Twilight had ever drunk, but the effect was amazing. She hadn't felt this good in a long time and the pain was gone from her side. Mad now, she fired another beam at the creature when there was an opening.
Thsi time she saw that they were doing damage, as it again retreated to the other side of the room. Figuring it wouldn't hurt to try, Tidus began indicating a pincer movement with his hands. Both she and the girl nodded as he swam around to the front and they went to the rear, confising the creature.
A few more minutes, and the thing again disolved into the same light show as the earlier thing had. Twilight finally let out a breath she hadn't know she was holding. Neither of her companions were hurt too bad, and another round of the same drink had them all back to normal.
Swimming out a hole in one wall, a series of light activated all along the structure, giving some much needed brightness to this underwater world.
Swimming down with the others, Twilight finally saw what they had, presumably, been after. From up here it looked like an airship. But not like one she'd ever seen in Equestria. Much larger for one and with a different design. But she chalked that up to being in a different world.
Some time later, they all returned to the ship. A few of the others had arrived before them and were talking rather excitedly about something in their own language.
"Fa vuiht dra airship!" One said.
"Dra naluntic fana nejrd!" Another said as Tidus and Twilight followed them to the door.
"Huf, ruf du tynyk ed ib?" The first said again as the door opened. As it did, one turned and pushed Tidus back out.
"Hey!" Tidus replied in annoyance as the door began to close. "Hey we helped out didn't we?"
No one seemed to be listening as the door closed on them, locking them both out.
Again, the two of them lay on the deck not really doing anything. Twilight tried to admire the view of the sky passing by. It was a beautiful sight to be sure.
But nothing was the same. The stars, the constellations. Everything. It just didn't have the same effect as Equestria.
"Uhh... hungry." Tidus grumbled again. It was starting to drive Twilight crazy everytime he said that. She was hungry too, but you didn't hear her complaining about it.
She was just about to say something about it when the door opened again and the girl from before returned carrying what looked like a tray of food. She gave Tidus a good kick to get his attention.
When he did, his eyes lit up. "Whoa! Right on!" He said as he began to dig in. Pretty soon though he began to choke on it. Luckilly the girl noticed and handed him a jug of water. One he happily drank with a sigh.
"It's cause you eat to fast." She said kneeling down next to them. Tidus nodded, stood and walked a bit stretching before he turned back to her.
"Helloe there. What is your name?"
"Rikku." She replied.
"Whoa, you really do understand me!" Tidus replied before doing a little victory dance and chuckling. He reminded Twilight of Pinkie Pie in a way. "Why didn't you say so earlier?" She asked.
"I didn't get a chance to. Everyone thought oui were a fiend." Rikku replied.
"Uh "We"?" Tidus asked.
"Oh. Oui means you." Rkuu replied.
That didn't clear much up. But it was a start. "Who are you guys anyway?" Tidus asked.
"We're Al Bhed, can't you tell?" Rikkus replied, before turning in surprise. "Wait. You're not an Al Bhed hater are you?"
"I don't even know what an Al Bhed is." Tidus said, and Twilight couldn't agree more. She knew about different ethnicities from her time at Canterlot High. Maybe this was one.
"We're you from?" Rikkus asked.
"Zanarkand. I'm a Blitzball player. Star player for the Zanarkand Abes." Tidus replied with obvious pride.
Rikku looked confused. "Did you, hit your head or something?"
Now Tidus was annoyed. "Um ypu guys hit me."
Rikkus has the sense to look sheepish at that. "Oh right. Do you remember anything before that?"
So Tidus told them both his life story up to now: life in Zanarkand, Blitzball, and an attack by something called Sin. He ended by saying how he and a friend had been enguled by a light before he woke up outside of where Twilight had entered this world.
Part way through though, Rikku had gained a solemn expression. Tidus saw it as soon as he finished. "Did I, say something funny?" He asked.
"You were near Sin." Rikku replied with some shock. This set all kinds of alarm bells off in Twilight's head. Something was up. Tidus nodded though. "Don't worry, you'll be better in no time. They say your head gets funny when Sin is near. Maybe you had some kind of dream?"
Tidus was confused now. "You mean I'm sick?"
"Because of Sin's toxin, yeah."
"Yeah. There is no Zanarkand anymore. Sin destroyed it a thousand years ago. So no plays Blitzball there." Rikku replied.
Tidus was visibly shocked. "Wha, what dd you a thousand years ago? But I saw Sin attavk Zanarkand! You're saying that happened a thousand years ago? No way!"
No one said anything for a time after that. Rikku looked thoughtful while Tidus was more annoyed than he could remember for some time.
Twilight though was deep in thought. Something about this didn't feel right. She didn't believe either one was lying, but something wasn't adding up. Whatever it was, she had a feeling this, Sin, had something more to it.
"You said, you play Blitzball?" Rikku asked suddenly. Tidus nodded. "You know, you should go to Luca. Someone might know who you are, or you find someone you recognzie."
Tidus looked unconvinced. "Luca?" Rikku groaned in exasperation before tapping him on the shoulder after a moment.
"Okay. Leave it to me. I'll get you to Luca promise!" He gave her a surprised look. "You'd rather stay here?" He shook his head. "Okay. I'll go tell the others. Wait right here." Before turning and leaving.
Part way to the door though, she turned around with a serious expression. "Oh, and one thing. Don't tell anyone you're from Zanarkand okay? Yevon says it's a holy place. You might upset someone."
Both he and Twilight nodded as she left. For awhile afterwards, neither spoke, both trying to digest all they had been told. Twilight was worried about what the reaction to her would be. Tidus could fit in fine. But she stuck out like a sore hoof.
And assuming this, Yevon, was as powerful as Rikku made it sound, she didn't know what that might mean for her. She could only hope that they might be reasonable.
Tidus though looked even more annoyed now about something. "No way!" He finally yelled before kicking something.
Whatever he kicked seemed to rock the whole ship and sent them both falling to the deck with a thud. Off in the distance, something blasted out of the water as two guards came on deck, as now whatever it was rapidly approached the ship.
"Sin!" One shouted.
"Sin ec lusa!" The other replied.
"Ihtan ic! Ihtan ic!"
Whatever it was, it sent a wave of water over the deck. Twilight had no time to react before she was washed overboard.
The last thing she saw was Tidus jumping in after her before everything went black.
And Twilight knew no more.