// Omake: Alternate Worlds// Story: Twilight the Traveler// by ilbgar//——————————//
Twilight Sparkle had gone to bed intent on getting up early tomorrow to help the others with the raft, but was starting to wonder if that was the best idea. This was a very strange dream, and she hadn’t eaten anything that she knew gave her weird dreams. She’d found herself on a stained-glass pillar of some kind, depicting herself working with a chemistry set. She didn’t look particularly happy or unhappy, but it felt more like something was missing than that anything was particularly wrong.
Yeah, that was basically how she’d been before some investigations into the supernatural in her world involving a strange triangular being that resembled the one on the dollar bill. She found versions of it scattered across history with a little digging. One thing led to another, and here she was, in a parallel world. She’d been kind of obsessed with getting back at first, but she’d realized she didn’t have the materials or power necessary to do so after a couple years. Getting de-aged and being gotten through to by Sora, Riku, and Kairi might have had something to do with that.
She’d never had friends before, so she was a bit overeager to do what they were doing or planning, which got her in trouble before she managed to reel herself in enough to be something of a voice of reason to the others. Not to say the others weren’t able to figure things out on their own, but Sora and Kairi were very optimistic, and Riku wanted some kind of adventure, finding living in Destiny Islands stifling.
“So much to do… So little time… Take your time, don’t be afraid.” a soothing voice said from everywhere and nowhere at once. A translucent door appeared. “The door cannot be opened for now.” the voice explained.
“So… what do I do to get it open?” she asked. It was a dream, so she should follow it to it’s conclusion to wake up.
A staircase of crates appeared in pulses of light, leading to a pair of chests. “Climb up and pick a chest. The left contains a Potion, for healing your wounds. The right contains a Protect Chain, an enchanted accessory which reduces the effectiveness of attacks used on you. You may only pick one.” the voice explained. Well it was a dream, magic wasn’t that far-fetched.
Hm, it sounded like she’d be expected to fight soon. Potions were useful if they accidentally got too rough with their sparring, but reducing incoming damage sounded better. She chose the Protect Chain, then slipped it on her wrist. She didn’t really feel different, but it might just be because you weren’t supposed to feel the difference. The door slowly solidified from the edges inward, so she climbed down and pulled it slightly open.
Bright light shot out, momentarily blinding her, but she adjusted. The light felt warm and friendly, and she started to walk towards it. The light grew brighter and brighter, then abruptly faded, leaving her on the smaller sub-island connected to the smaller of the two islands that made up Destiny Islands by a wooden bridge. The island kids used this island for playing on after school and on weekends. The sub-island had a Papou tree that they picked sometimes.
She noticed Sora, Riku, and Kairi in a sort of circle around her. The dream must have been using people familiar to her as liaisons of a sort. As if to confirm this, the voice spoke up. “Hold on a moment, would you mind telling me more about yourself?” it asked.
Approaching Sora, she stopped when he asked her. “What do you think is most important?”
“Friendship.” she answered. She couldn’t believe how much of a hole not-having other people in her life had left. Her family was nice and all, but Shining Armor was off at college, and her parents were usually busy with work, author and night guard respectively. Her mother would have a couple hours for spending time with her a week thanks to her deadlines, and her father was often asleep during the day so he didn’t fall asleep on the job, so she only ever saw him awake for his breakfast and dinner, the reverse of her own. Her surrogate family of the islanders felt more like a family in that they were there nearly all the time.
“Is friendship really so important?” he asked, before fading away. Okay, definitely not the real Sora. That was not something he’d ever say.
She went towards Kairi next. Kairi asked “What do you want out of life?”
She had to think about that for a few seconds. She hadn’t really thought about what she wanted to do with her life ever since discovering she almost certainly couldn’t get back to her home world. She studied at the library if no one was around to hang out with, and did activities with them if someone was available, but she never put much thought into her future. She wasn’t really sure what she could do. The islands didn’t have a ton of research opportunities, and she didn’t think she’d find being a librarian very fulfilling. Now that she thought about it… “I’d like to expand my horizons.” Making friends or learning new things weren’t enough by themselves. Neither fully captured her interest alone.
“Is expanding your horizons really what you want?” Kairi asked before fading away.
Riku was the last one. “What are you afraid of?” he asked.
This was another easy one. “Losing my friends.” She’d admit she’d gotten a bit of an abandonment complex, but she’d been ripped out of her old life by what she believed to be a demon (after being tricked into nearly allowing him into her world, which she intentionally botched at the last second, leading to her being sent to another world instead) and she’d been somewhat paranoid before that happened!
“Losing your friends. Does that really frighten you so much?” Riku asked before fading away.
The voice began to speak again. “So, you value friendship. You wish to expand your horizons. You fear losing your friends. Your journey shall begin in the dead of night. It will be long and difficult, but don’t give up, and you’ll come through stronger than before.” it said.
Light obscured her surroundings again, and this time she found herself on another stained-glass platform. This one of Sora with a strange key-shaped sword surrounded by shadowy creatures. Was it some kind of warning?
“Power sleeps within you. Give it form and it shall give you strength.” the voice said. Three stone pillars rose from the platform beneath her feet. An object appeared and began to float over each. A broadsword, a shield, and a staff.
“The power of the warrior, invincible courage, a sword of terrible destruction. The power of the guardian, kindness to aid friends, a shield that repels both good and evil. The power of the mystic, inner strength, a staff of both wonder and ruin. Choose wisely, because in order to obtain, something must be lost.” the voice warned.
Hm, she’d like to pick the staff, but she didn’t think she’d be able to change her mind after picking one, so she really needed to think this through. She didn’t really want the sword of terrible destruction as that sounded fairly indiscriminate, but she wanted to push people away even less, so she’d choose the staff and give up the shield. Besides, defense was well and good, but sometimes sheer power was necessary. You couldn’t always avoid or negotiate with your problems. Inner strength was also good, as power was useless without the will to wield it, and worse than useless without the proper direction to use it for the right reasons.
She chose the staff, which disappeared into sparks of light, and gave up the shield, which was consumed by shadows.
“You’ve chosen the staff and given up the shield. Your path is that of the black mage. One who wields magic for destruction. This does not make you evil, but be careful not to cause harm without meaning to.” the voice said.
Suddenly little shadowy creatures appeared around her, the same as those that had been surrounding Sora. They had yellow eyes, but were entirely black beyond that. Their antennae and clawed hands twitched at random. They sort of looked like dogs and were roughly the same size, though there was definite insect influence in their forms. The staff reappeared in her hands. Luckily she was familiar with this type of weapon as it was what she used in the spars the islanders got up to for fun.
“You’ve gained the power to fight the shadows. Beware the forces of Darkness, they would see your light snuffed out. Keep it burning strong.” the voice warned.
She had developed decent combat reflexes and was reasonably skilled with the weapon in her hands, so they wouldn’t have been that tough if they weren’t able to sink into the ground and become temporarily invincible. Besides, there were only five of them, nothing she couldn’t handle. She was almost as fast as Riku, so it usually took at least two of the others to fight evenly with her. Though she was physically the second-weakest of the quartet that made up the core group of her friends otherwise. Death by a thousand cuts was her preferred combat strategy.
Kairi didn’t spar often, or even do much physical work. She sort of served as the group’s leader or at least organizer. Then again, Kairi’s slingshot tended to be a pain to fight if someone else was keeping her opponent occupied, so having one of the others as a partner gave her a bigger advantage than just their fighting ability.
Anyway, the shadows got destroyed one by one, until she was alone on the pillar again. She didn’t relax though. If they could sink into the ground and act like normal shadows, who knows what else they could do?
“Watch out for sneak attacks, the shadows are fond of those.” the voice warned as a batch of 7 shadows appeared in their shadow forms. She was forced to jump out of the way of an attack from behind, but another shadow clawed her leg. She felt a spike of pain, but there was no wound.
“Okay, definitely not a normal dream.” she muttered. She fought off the shadows, and then took a closer look at her leg where she got scratched. It looked none the worse for wear, but she felt a little bit off. Like some of her energy was sapped against her will.
9 shadows appeared this time, and she was getting a little bit concerned. How long would this go on? She’d start getting tired soon if she didn’t get a break that lasted more than a minute, and while the shadows weren’t any stronger individually, there were a couple more each time she beat a round.
Once she beat them, she stopped and thought things over. She’d felt a strange power boost about halfway through the second round, and it was abruptly a little easier to dodge the shadows and to destroy them. What was that? No seriously, what the hell was that!? Killing weird shadow things gave her a sudden power boost? How did that work?
Her internal rant was interrupted by the arrival of 11 more shadows. Seriously, where were they even coming from? For that matter, if this wasn’t really a dream, then was this going to affect the real world? She wasn’t sure how she felt about getting power-ups she didn’t understand.
One of the shadows dropped a Potion, but 13 more showed up seconds later. She was starting to think that they’d keep coming after her until they overwhelmed her through weight of numbers. Worse, it was starting to work. Speed was an advantage sure, but the more enemies there were, the more numbers ate at it. Plus, she was starting to get tired from fighting almost non-stop and that was making her slow down. Now she had two of the power-ups to worry about too.
The next batch had 15 of them, and they were stronger. Like, a lot stronger. Then she got another power boost while she was fighting them and they weren’t quite as hard to beat. Still, if they got any stronger or more numerous then she might not be able to take them on alone.
Of course, exactly that happened with the next batch. They piled onto her and started clawing at her. A pool of shadowy ooze spread beneath her and started dragging her down as the shadows kept her from trying to escape. Just as she got completely submerged, she found herself on a different pillar with a picture of four symbols. She felt strangely… refreshed. What was going on? Shaking her head and resolving to look into this once the dream was over, she examined the symbols.
One looked like a crossed-out heart with a cross sprouting from the bottom, while the second appeared to be the bottom of the first turned upside-down and turned off-white. The third looked like a stylized heart, and the fourth was a black, pointed version of a heart. What did they mean?
“The forces of Light and Darkness have been clashing ever since both came into existence. You will be at the center of the latest struggles. Remember that Darkness is no more evil than Light is good, it all depends on the user. Still, users of Darkness tend to leave shadows in their wake…” the voice explained.
Twilight noticed that her shadow looked darker than it should. What was really weird was that since the pillar was the only source of illumination, her shadow shouldn’t show up on it in the first place, and until now it hadn’t. However, it was not only there, but getting darker. It started to look like the shadows from before, until a small pool of shadow ooze appeared, and it clawed into the three dimensional world. She took a defensive stance. This one felt different from the other shadows.
The others had only beaten her with numbers and by exhausting her. She’d have wiped out individual shadows twice as strong as that final group with little trouble if she was fresh, but there were 17 of them and she was exhausted, which left her unable to fight them off. This thing felt strong though.
Her shadow rushed forward, almost seeming to teleport. She barely blocked the extremely fast attack. It was stronger than her too. She deflected the strike, feinted to the right, then struck from the left. Okay, it fell for that, so she was smarter than it. She pulled double-feints when she could, but it seemed to be getting faster and stronger as she dealt damage, and she had no idea how much more it could take. It also seemed to be starting to learn how she fought, as it was falling for feints less and less.
One hit had left her on the ground, momentarily-dazed. She recovered just in time to avoid the follow-up and land a combo attack. It threw her off after that, and did teleport this time. She dodged the first strike, but it teleported again and she barely blocked, which left her open from behind when it attacked again. She rolled with the hit, but still felt woozy. She hurriedly used the Potion she’d gotten off one of the shadows. They could be swallowed, or poured on a wound to heal it, though she used the former since she didn’t have any visible wounds.
At this rate, she was going to lose. She dodged another teleporting backstab and knocked her shadow away from her, it sprang back up like nothing happened and charged her. She dodged and managed a passing strike, but it turned on her and smashed an attack into her guard. If it got much stronger then she wouldn’t be able to block anymore. She decided to go on the offensive. Defending and attacking when the opportunity presented itself wasn’t going to work much longer.
She dodged the next strike, then started pounding away at her shadow. She got attacked in return, but she pushed on. She was barely conscious when she finished it. She collapsed to the floor as her shadow sank back into it’s pool of darkness. The pool began to spread, and she forced herself to her feet. She was only able to get up because beating her shadow gave her another 2 power-ups. Even so, she didn’t have the strength left to fend off the tentacles of shadow reaching from the expanding pool for long.
She did notice that when she destroyed a tentacle it made the pool shrink slightly, but she didn’t have the energy to destroy tentacles fast enough to slow the spread of the ooze by very much. Eventually she was backed to the edge of the pillar. There was nothing but an abyss down there, so she really didn’t want to fall off the pillar.
She got her feet caught in shadow and her staff was ripped from her hands by the tentacles, disappearing as it left her grasp. She struggled in the ooze, but she started sinking anyway. She instantly lost feeling in anything that sunk more than half a foot in the ooze, like it stopped existing. That hadn’t happened with the other pool of shadow. It was cold and somehow managed to convey darkness through her sense of touch, it was very uncomfortable and slightly disturbing.
“The Darkness seeks to smother the Light, while the Light seeks to extinguish the Darkness. Who’s to say either one is in the right? No matter which you side with, something will be hostile to you. In the end, the most powerful weapon of all, which neither Light nor Darkness can fully understand, is the Heart.” the voice explained as she sunk up to her waist.
“No matter what happens, remember that your Heart is the single greatest weapon in existence. Nothing is a suitable substitute or replacement. Nothing is worth trading it for. Nothing can equal a Heart in value. Remember that.” the voice finished as shadows consumed her.
She started awake, falling out of bed. She lived with Sora and his family, and if she was honest she might have a thing for him. She was more concerned about the dream right now though. She could tell that the power-ups were still there, and checking her wrist informed her that she still had the Protect Chain. That wasn’t just a dream, but what was she supposed to do about it?
She decided to do what she usually did when something confused or intrigued her. She got out a pen and paper.
‘Dream Report 1
Last night, I had a strange dream. It involved living shadows and strange symbols. I had to fight my own shadow after defeating roughly 60 smaller and weaker shadows. Normally I’d write it off as some sort of dream logic scenario for conquering my inner demons, but the events and objects I acquired in the dream have translated to the real world.
Assuming the events of the dream are real, I have a multitude of questions to answer. What was the identity of the mysterious voice I heard? Where did those events take place? How did I get there? What was the significance of choosing between the sword, shield, and staff? What were the shadows and how do they relate to my own shadow trying to kill me?
In addition, I acquired an item called a Protect Chain. It is enchanted to increase the wearer’s defensive abilities. If it exists and functions as it was explained to, then magic must exist, which explains a few things about Bill Cipher’s abilities, which I had previously assumed were either common to his type of being, or were a result of prolonged time spent in the Nightmare Dimension. Is it possible to travel to other worlds/dimensions using magic instead of specialized technology? Could I use magic to return to my home universe? I know that this is not my home reality because upon arrival I was de-aged to about 4 biologically. That would only happen if I ended up in a different reality. Specifically, parallel worlds. The same would not happen in alternate universes or other dimensions.
I have to wonder why this happened now as well. Is there something coming that I need to be prepared for? I can’t prepare for something if I don’t know what I’m supposed to be preparing for. All I can do is be on guard for strange circumstances. I don’t even have a timetable for when this supposed event might happen, so for all I know it could be today or in six months.
What’s more, I’m probably going to have to recalibrate all of my equipment if I want to experiment on the Protect Chain to discover the enchantment’s inner workings. I don’t have the time to prepare in such generalized terms when I’m also supposed to be working on the raft with my friends.
We’d like to see other worlds. Riku and Sora want to go on an adventure. Kairi wants to find her original world, not being from this one either, and that’s no small motivation for the rest of us. Myself, I just want to see other worlds for the sake of seeing other worlds.
My curiosity hasn’t dimmed in the slightest from the mishap that led to my getting displaced from my home reality. Rather, knowing that there are probably an infinity of worlds has increased it. I want to know. Facts, people, everything in between. I’m honestly concerned about how much it’s consumed my thoughts of late. It’s unhealthy to obsess, though I don’t think I’m quite at that point. Certainly I’m not a good person to judge my mental state, no one should try to do so really, but I doubt I’m a raving lunatic.
At any rate, I’ll finish this report here since I’m due to go to the smaller island to help the others with the raft. I’ll continue this later.’