I was just a little kid, still learning how the world works, when it appeared in the sky over Spira. It was a colossal black sphere with numerous glowing gemstones rotating around it like a miniature solar system. Just as the Crusaders were preparing to investigate via airships, the sphere imploded and the gemstones fired off into the distance. It felt like the whole world shook that day. One of those gemstones, a sparkling green one, touched down in the center of Besaid Village where I was born and being raised. No one was hurt, but everyone could sense a sinister aura from it. The monks took it into the temple, in hopes that if it did turn out to be dangerous they could keep the threat isolated and sealed away. Of course, ten years passed and nothing happened… as usual in Besaid… to tell the truth I’ve been finding myself bored lately… with everything… blitzball, fishing, even swimming… makes me wish… something would happen. Anything.
It was a sunny day on Besaid Isle. A teenage boy with light brown shoulder-length hair was sitting at the altar just outside of the village. He was dressed in black running shoes, blue jeans with two black belts one of which bearing the emblem seen on Tidus’s pants as a belt buckle, a black turtleneck tank top, and black gloves. At his side was a sword bearing a blue-colored blade meant for self defense.
“Hey, you gonna just sit there all day again? Nothing’s going to change if you don’t take initiative, ya?” Wakka asked the teen as he approached.
“I try but every time either Aunt Lulu or mom and dad shut me down… ‘stay home’ they say… ‘you aren’t ready’ they say… while they go sphere hunting and Aunt Lulu teaches Karin magic…” the teen sighed.
“True. It’s a bad idea to go against your parents’ wishes, even if you don’t agree.” Wakka spoke rubbing the back of his head trying to think of encouraging words.
“I’m fifteen now… I want to see what’s out there…” the teen told Wakka.
“Listen, Val, we got a tournament in a week or so.” Wakka spoke with an epiphany on his mind.
“Yeah, and?” Val asked skeptically.
“So, why don’t you come with us? We’ll work real hard on the village’s problems so that your parents and Lu have absolutely no excuses to keep you in the village come tournament time.” Wakka suggested with a grin.
“You really think it’ll work?” Val asked standing up.
“I’m about 99% sure. What do you say? We’ll start with the temple, since it’s in the worst condition.” Wakka answered extending his hand.
“At this point anything’s worth a shot. Beats sitting on this rock all day that’s for sure.” Val smiled firmly taking his hand.
The two made for the village, but when they entered something felt off. It was like the temple was giving off an evil presence. They went to investigate to find the door sealed with priests chanting at it.
“What’s happening?” Val asked one of the idle priests.
“The crystal from ten years ago suddenly roared to life! Fiends we’ve never seen before began to appear and attack. Those of us out here are those who managed to escape.” the priest answered.
“Let us in, we’ll deal with ‘em.” Wakka ordered.
“Alone? Without support?” Lulu asked as she approached them.
“I’m not alone, I’ve got Val. You’re welcome to lend a hand too, ya?” Wakka answered.
“Mom, mom, can I help too?!” a girl’s voice piped up.
A girl with long orange hair a few years younger than Val then came sprinting up. She was dressed in grey knee-high boots, black tights, a long-sleeved black short dress parted in the front so her legs are visible, and a pointed black hat with a tonberry plush situated in the band. In her left hand was a staff with Besaid’s emblem in the center of the tip.
“You aren’t ready for fiends yet. Stay here and only act if you need to.” Lulu ordered the girl.
“Valefor gets to help…” the girl whined looking at her feet.
“He’s older than you are and has proven that he can handle fiends. Knowing one spell does not mean you can hold your own in battle.” Lulu explained to her.
“Karin, listen to your mother. I’ll play some blitz with you later to make up for it, okay?” Wakka told her.
“Promise?” Karin asked.
“Promise.” Wakka nodded with a reassuring smile.
“You’re sure about going in there?” the priest asked.
“Let us at ‘em.” Val nodded.
The priest gave the signal and the others released the seal on the door. The trio then rushed inside of the temple. The fiends waiting for them there were indeed strange. They almost looked like humans and fiends trying to become one entity. Some were even wielding weapons. Wakka had the fliers down easy and Lulu made short work of the elementals. Val’s time to shine came as he displayed his agility and swiftness in taking down the faster fiends. Once they were clear they headed into the Cloister of Trials.
“There’s even more of ‘em!” Wakka exclaimed as fiends charged toward them.
“The crystal must be the source of them.” Lulu stated.
They slayed the fiends and continued inward. More and more kept coming, it was like a fountain. They reached the Chamber of the Fayth, where the crystal was stored, and saw a man in a full suit of black and red armor wielding a blood red sword holding a tied up and gagged young priestess girl by her short brown hair.
“One of the trainee priestesses!” Wakka gasped.
“You’ve been approved… be on your best behavior over there.” the man chuckled before tossing the girl onto the crystal causing her to disappear as if she were disintegrated.
“You monster!” Val roared charging the man.
The man turned on a dime and grabbed his blade with his bare hand stopping it dead. He then lifted Val by his sword and he could see red eyes staring from inside of the helmet.
“I pity your eyes, boy… I once suffered a solitary life like you… as a gesture of kindness, I will give you the sight of something unusual as you so desire.” the man told Val before tossing him on the crystal.
Val felt like his entire body was being ripped apart as blue and white flashed before his eyes. Everything then went black, and all at once vision returned showing the Chamber of the Fayth completely empty. He scrambled to his feet to find his form had changed! He was no longer a human, but a four-legged drake of sorts with blue scales! Val couldn’t talk anymore either - what happened to him?!
“Another one?” a voice spoke.
“Not like the last one, this one must be a boy.” a second voice spoke.
Two bulky muscular knights in silver and red armor approached and manhandled Val with ease. They pulled him through what appeared to be a massive temple of sorts. He was then tossed into a large room with colossal braziers burning with blue flames. Unsteadily getting to his feet, he spotted a dark-skinned woman with pure white hair reaching the floor and a curvaceous well endowed figure ahead of him.
She was dressed in a dark grey and black gown with a long V in the chest partially covered up by red chord in an X pattern. Her ears were long and pointed with four gold earrings on each ear bearing the colors of fire, water, thunder, and ice in dangling gemstones. Her eyes were a ruby red with a regal yet unassuming gaze. She knelt down and stroked under Val’s snout gently.
“You poor thing… transformed by this world’s dark magics. Fear not… soon your entire world will be mine and you shan’t have a care in the world.” she spoke softly.
Transformed?! Where is this place?! I still have a million questions!
“I can tell that you are distressed, but please try to be calm as your friend…” she told him gesturing to the left.
Tied up and gagged similarly to the girl who vanished was a anthropomorphic pink rabbit girl dressed in burlap clothing. The only thing that didn’t seem to transform was the necklace given to priests and priestesses of Besaid around her neck tipping him off as to who it was. In a panic Val headbutted the woman alarming the guards giving him the opportunity to flee out of the temple… but it wasn’t Besaid outside of the front entrance.
Where am I?! Uncle Wakka! Aunt Lulu! Someone! Anyone!
Val panicked as he ran through the odd castletown before him. The monstrous-looking townspeople called to him as he fled that it was dangerous outside of town. Even the landscape had changed! Instead of a tropical island he was now on a continent with a really bad storm going on! The fiends he passed were more demonic than normal too, worsening his panic!
I’m dreaming! That’s it! This is all a bad dream!
Val reached a beach and began hitting his head on a rock. After five slams on it his new drake cranium smashed the rock to bits without leaving a scratch on him. In a panic he looked for more rocks when the woman from before caught up with him accompanied by the black knight from before.
“How sad… it seems he can’t appreciate a gift given by a superior being…” the woman spoke with a sad expression.
“He will adjust soon, my queen. I am sure he will make a fine servant someday.” the knight told her.
Val backed up from them panicking even more. It felt like his heart was going to explode from all of the things he was processing at once. Just as he found a path to run a green rabbit girl leapt down putting an amulet around his neck.
“Return to your own world and warn them of Queen Saria! Warn them of the Inverse World!” the rabbit girl spoke quickly before touching him with a pure white sphere making everything go white for Val, and made him feel like he was being ripped apart again.
All of a sudden he felt like he was in water… and then he couldn’t breath. He flailed and eventually surfaced in the water just outside of Besaid gasping for air. Coughing he spotted land and swam as fast as he could. He was human again!
“There he is!” Wakka called as he and Karin ran full speed over to help him get on land and catch his breath.
“Are you okay?! What happened?!” Karin asked in a panic.
“Another world… a queen… she’s coming…” was all Val could get out before losing consciousness from exhaustion.
When he came to he found himself lying on a somewhat fancy bed. He looked to his left and a young black chocobo was staring at him making him sit up fast from shock. The room he was in was completely foreign. There were lots of machina parts and tools laying around though.
“ Ra'c uin uhmo mayt .*” a male voice spoke in Al Bhed outside the door.
“ Ed'c cdemm gethybbehk !*” a female voice cried.
At that moment the door opened and a young man with very long yellow hair held in a ponytail entered. He was dressed in thick black boots, baggy purple pants with many pockets, a dark brown tool belt with a large number of tools in it around his hips, a form-fitting high-collar black long-sleeved shirt hiding his mouth, safety goggles, and brown leather work gloves. Right behind him was Rikku, someone Val recognized!
“Aunt Rikku!” Val exclaimed standing from the bed.
“Hi Val, sorry about the abduction…” Rikku chuckled apologetically.
“Abduction? Where am I?” Val asked.
“Aboard the airship. You see, we’ve been trying to unravel the secret behind that other world, and boy did we hit the jackpot with a deep sea ruin. The queen you raved to Wakka in your sleep about is over 1,000,000 years old! She predates Sin, even Yu Yevon!” Rikku explained.
“ Damm res ypuid dra tadyemc ymnayto .*” the young man spoke to Rikku.
“I’m getting to it!” Rikku scolded him.
“Want to introduce me…?” Val asked nervously.
“Oh right. This is my little boy and your cousin, Sven, but most people either call him Tinker or Fixit thanks to his natural talent with all things mechanical. He doesn’t speak Spiran very well though… he was always more concerned with tinkering than being bilingual.” Rikku introduced him and Sven simply nodded.
“So this is his room then?” Val asked.
“You guessed it. He installed the room himself, but he didn’t stop there. Everyone that’s a regular crew member has their own personal room now. The Airship’s bigger now too so we can fit more loot. I can’t tell you how proud I am.” Rikku answered with a beaming smile and Sven quickly fled the room.
“What’s with him?” Val asked her.
“Awe, he’s shy. I’m still trying to get him accustomed to me bragging about him. He usually stays on the ship so people normally don’t compliment him directly. The collar on his shirt is so people don’t see him blushing, but he’ll never admit it.” Rikku giggled.
“Are mom and dad here?” Val asked her as he stretched.
“They’re explaining what happened to Wakka and Lulu. Shortly after they left Sven came back onboard carrying you over his shoulder. I didn’t know he’d left. They should be back shortly once they figure out you’ve been taken though.” Rikku answered.
Riku then led Val to the bridge where Brother, Buddy, and Shinra were lounging around. The black chocobo then came barreling from behind and trampled over Rikku.
“Shinra! Control your chocobo!” Rikku cried.
“She’s just a kid. She doesn’t listen to anyone. It’s also not my chocobo.” Shinra shrugged.
“How’d you get a black chocobo anyway?” Val asked Rikku.
“An egg got mixed in with our loot one day. No clue how it happened, but it hatched by the time we found it so it was a little late to hand it off somewhere. Of course then Yuna went and named it getting attached…” Rikku answered dusting herself off.
“What’s wrong with a chocobo pet?” Val asked her.
“Chocobo’s get big, for one. Plus they’re expensive to care for and need room to run around. An airship is no place for a chocobo.” Rikku answered shooting a dirty look at the chocobo.
“Actually Sven is working on a deck-level range for her to run around on so she’s out of our hair. He got a lot of artificial grass and bags of fertile soil along with growing mats not too long ago.” Buddy told her.
“He will not!” Rikku objected.
“ Duu pyt. E vehecrat ed drec sunhehk.* ” Sven spoke as he entered the room.
“Did you consult anyone about this…?” Rikku asked him.
“ Brother. ” he answered.
“Of course you did…” Rikku sighed dangling her upper body.
“She only objects because she keeps getting run over.” Buddy snickered.
“I’ll show you getting run over…” Rikku threatened shaking her fist.
“Did Len run you over again, Rikku?” Yuna’s voice giggled alerting them to Yuna and Tidus being on board.
“Yunie! Control your bird!” Rikku cried as the chocobo once more ran her over to get to Yuna so she can pet her.
“Len, don’t run over Rikku, that’s not very nice.” Yuna gently scolded the chocobo while scratching under its chin making it kick its foot with joy.
“So is anyone going to explain that other world?” Val asked.
“It’s parallel to Spira, and at one time was directly connected. Anything that happened there happened here and ice versa, but Yu Yevon’s constant summoning of Sin caused a rift to separate our worlds. With Sin gone the rift began closing and is now closed enough that our worlds are making contact again.” Shinra explained in detail.
“That queen of theirs is trying to take over Spira.” Tidus added.
“The problem is… we turn into fiends whenever we go to that world. It was a miracle that we escaped last time.” Yuna sighed.
“There are portals going to that world all over Spira now too. In the sky, on the ground, and on the sea. It may not look like it, but the world’s in total discord.” Shinra told them.
“We’ve got a problem…” Buddy piped up.
“What’s that?” Yuna asked curiously.
“Portal dead ahead! It’s pulling us in!” Brother cried trying to steer the ship.
“Not good!” Buddy cried trying to help him steer.
The space in front of the ship began to warp in real time. A bright light blinded everyone, and in an instant they were soaring through the sky of another realm… and everyone but Val had been turned into a Fiend…