As I said, I never made it back to my apartment.
Fate had it in for me too much. I did however make it back to the complex where it was located. It was there I noticed something very odd and it was also there that I performed an amazingly stupid stunt.
As I got closer to my apartment, I noticed something odd dangling from the strung up power lines leading into the main building. It looked from afar like a particularly fancy piece of cloth. I at first dismissed it as nothing of importance and kept walking towards my door. However my eyes kept getting drawn back to it. It looked particularly fine and as I neared it looked as if it had some jewels hanging from its corners. However it had gotten hung up dangerously close to one of the transformers. Un-daunted I climbed the stairs of the flat gray building to get an even better look at it. The cloth was covered in intricate spider web-like patterns at key points; I noticed were more of the odd jewels. The overall color of the cloth was a deep royal color with the pattern in what looked to be golden threads. All this came down to my razor-sharp mind is: Whoaaa! Snazzy!
Naturally I decided to drag the thing down. Somebody had either lost something that probably cost more than my car, which actually isn't saying much, or my apartment complex had royalty visiting that had just lost their napkin. All I knew was I had to retrieve it if anything to get a better look.
My vantage point from the second story seemed like the better location to try and retrieve it from. However I needed something to try and reach out to it with. Not completely brain-dead, I cast my eyes about for a piece of wood or some other non-conductive material. At the same time, I made sure noone was around to witness my stunt. Oddly enough even the couple I always heard talking through the very thin walls, which rarely seemed to shut up and even more rarely ever left to complex for any reason outside of near starvation were absent. All the vehicles were gone. Even the always-blowing winter wind was still. The apartment felt more like part of an abandoned ghost town, than my normally snug home away from home.
Eventually my roving eyes came to rest on an abandoned utility cart left in front of room 206. Odd, Raymond the Janitor almost never left his cart alone for more than five minutes. Oh well, negligence to the rescue yet again. I jogged up to the cart and grabbed the broom off of it, making a mental note to return it quickly before he got back. The old coot is pretty stingy about thing like that. Now armed with my trusty weapon, I sauntered back down the hallway, footsteps ringing off the concrete floor and ceiling.
Once back at my vantage point, I tried reaching for the cloth again. It took about 3 tries to even touch the infernal thing, my inability to judge distances well striking once again. So then I had an excellent idea that seemed to come right out of a book. The Darwin Awards, to be honest, under the section, "Stupid things people do but still somehow survive."
Leaning as far out over the railing as I could I made one last go at it. Finally! The broom made contact with the cloth. Using the brush end I was able to catch the cloth on the fibers at the end and lift it off. Here is where I made the one phenomenal mistake that would shape my life forever.
After I got the cloth off the line, I brought the broom back over to me. At this point, I had perched my self on the rail my back to the drop below and brought the broom head close to examine my prize. It was royal purple in color and the pattern was in gold as I had noticed before. It was about the size of a handkerchief and seemed to be made fine cloth, like silk or something equally fine. The crystals were in little brackets affixed to the cloth at specific intersection points in the pattern. In the center was one giant one, an intriguing light blue color. To make sure I wasn't getting fixated on some random piece of bling, I decided to reach up and touch the center jewel to make sure it wasn't plastic or some cheap knock off material like cubic zirconium.
The moment my hand touched the cool blue stone, a bolt of pain jolted through my body. It was like every single nerve in my system was being struck by lightning! Normally your hand would jerk back from the muscle spasms, however my fingers had apparently never been told this as they were clenched over the stone in an electrified death hold.
My balance on the railing at that point was shot and I started to tilt back, unable to maintain my balance with my body in lock down.
The pattern on the cloth flared to life with an intensity I had never seen anything take. It was as if the sun itself was lending its full unyielding power. The intricate curving lines with the keystones intersections were seared into my mind and my eyes with an intensity it's after image continued to overwhelm my sight. The effect was like having some arcane roadmap burned into your brain while remaining just as incomprehsable.
Finally it was too much for my poor body and I proceeded to tip backwards over the rail backwards. Still blinded by the after image and reeling from the seizure, I felt the shift in balance and the sensation of free fall. My vision finally cleared up for me to see my body had rotated just enough for me to see the rather unforgiving asphalt rushing up to greet my face.
Moments before impact though I felt the surging sensation return and I felt as if my body was being yanked. Unfortunately the direction I was being yanked was the direction I was already headed: down. The after image of the pattern flared back to full intensity moments before impact this time completely taking my vision with it.
With a snapping discharge and a crash akin to a peal of thunder ripping through the air, a unicorn mare materialized above her new point of impact and promptly face planted into it. Bouncing up a bit from the impact, she came up short on something and proceeded to run face first into the unyielding surface again.
Dazed from the impact and wondering how she was still alive, the unicorn decided to just lie there for a moment and catch her breath. Her eyes remained shut against the visual assault the cursed cloth had wreaked upon her, the unicorn simply sat there and tried to pull herself together.
Finally, eyes still closed, she decided to make a mental checklist of all the parts of her that weren't broken. Both arms and both legs seemed fine. Her head she wasn't so sure of. It was sensitive to touch and doing so unleashed a whole new wave of pain. Maybe a fracture or hopefully a concussion, she pondered. "At least I landed on something I don't use that much," she croaked out.
At last she decided to open her eyes. Then promptly closed them again only to open them a second later. Experimentally, she blinked several times and then squinted her eyes at the impossible sight before her. Yup, still there. Instead of finding herself lying on the asphalt parking lot of her apartment complex and gazing at the amazing sight of a four lane highway near Atlanta, she instead found herself staring at an awesome vista that nothing could have prepared her for.
The surface she stood on wasn't flat asphalt but was instead a curving golden surface. That wasn't what caught her attention though it was the view beyond. To her left, instead a parking lot, she found towers and spires on a lower level than her, though once she considered that, the unicorn figured the surface she was standing on was the roof of a tower and from the height, likely the tallest one. Looking back she found the other towers as well as the one she sat upon were actually part of the same building, like a palace or cathedral.
To her right however was a sight almost guaranteed to give anyone acrophobia. In that direction was what looked to be a several thousand-foot drop to a valley floor far below. Scooting away from the edge a bit, she looked into the valley. In the distance she could make out the lights of what was either a very small city or a fairly large town. Looking up the unicorn was astounded by a beautiful view.
Despite the impossibility of it instead of being early morning as it had been at home, here then sun as about to set, bathing everything in rich, fiery, warm orange hues as it disappeared over the horizon behind her, bring in the twilight hours. This accompanied by the beautifully designed if eccentric palace and the mountains to her left, the heart stopping drop to her right and the lights of the little town in front of her as well as the incoming night complete with a full moon far beyond briefly stole her breath away with it's majesty.
After staring at the sight for a while she finally called her brain to order. Yes it was pretty, she admitted, beautiful even, but there was something far more appealing to her, which was the idea of not sleeping on the roof of a freaking castle god-knows-where with deadly drops on all sides, with the drop to her right being the worst. She needed to get down and soon before night made it to dark to move safely.
Getting up however she noticed something quite wrong. First of all, she couldn't move. Second, standing up was putting a heck of a strain on her back. So she decided to sit down again. However doing so she noticed something quite bizarre. When she put her hands down to steady her she heard a very distinct clopping noise. Looking down solved that mystery real quick. She had hooves instead of hands.
With a strangled noise escaping her throat, the frightened mare made a panicked check of all her limbs, which did indeed end in hooves. This maneuver, however coupled with her jerking movements, as she looked herself over brought far closer to the edge of the tower. With one final movement to look over her shoulder, the unicorn plummeted off the edge of the tower.
Another blinding burst of pain arrested her fall much earlier this time. Dangling by the tail she had never had before, which had somehow been caught on the tower, the unicorn swung from side to side like a furry pendulum. A loud squawk of pain escaped her before she heard something that took her quite off guard.
Voices floated from within the tower on the breeze to her ears.
"Perfect," she muttered. "Not only am I a freaking horse, but now I'm upside down by my new tail and I have an audience. Here's hoping I'm not in Mexico."
Looking up (down for anyone right side up) she noticed a small balcony extending from the ivory white tower and the voices were obviously nearing the entrance since only now she could make out what they were saying.
"Celestia, sister, doth thou truly believe that anyone could truly harness the power to break not only the Veil, but to also be able to initiate a long distance teleportation spell through it?"
The lone unicorn dubbed that feminine voice with it being so loud, confident, and even a tad arrogant "Miss Imperious." Another feminine more mature voice, confident and motherly responded.
"Luna, I share your doubts, but I truly do believe that with a magical anchor on the other Side, they could conceivably be able to pull off such a feat. I'm quite astonished they were able to not only penetrate the Veil, but also establish such an anchor so quickly."
The first voice returned, sounding concerned. "True it is quite a feat, but however the implications of that rogue experiment are quite…disturbing. While a long range teleportation spell can be useful, why couple it with a spell powerful enough to penetrate the magical field that permeates this plane of existence?"
A pause in the conversation was enough to shake the lone mare. She'd been so intent on the conversation inside she'd forgotten about her awkward positioning. The amount of blood rushing to her head was making her head throb with pain.
Still she could see some good coming from it. First off, unless the voices came outside, she was safe from discovery. Before she'd have gladly taken discovery in stride as long as it got her off the damn roof. Now? After hearing something that sounded vaguely like a conspiracy that very likely involved her, the talking horse? It may have simply been the excess of blood that was running through her poor abused head, but that sounded more than a little suspicious.
Now she wanted to just get down and find a way back to home. And preferably a way back to being a primate as well. First she needed to actually get back up to the roof to disengage her tail, as the amount of blood pooling in her head now was starting to make her a little loopy. "I'm Batmane!" she rasped, barely able to hold back her laugh.
Without warning the balcony door swung wide open. Two indistinct shapes emerged from the palace interior. The larger of the two was practically white in color, while the other being almost blending in with the newly emerging night. Both had nebulous hair and…. tails? The mare barely concealed her gasp.
The two creatures below her were almost the same as her except they had horns and wings. The white one with the multi-colored hair was looking over at the other with a mild look of reproach in her eyes. She finally spoke revealing herself to be the second more mature speaker.
"Luna, while I agree that we must be careful in how we use our magics, you mustn't become too cynical of what our ponies are attempting to do. I agree the use of those two spells in conjunction to each other is indeed odd, we mustn't jump to conclusions yet."
The midnight blue creature briefly bowed her head "I know, sister. It is just that I do not want to run the risk of potentially drawing something here. We both know that this world is dangerous enough for our subjects without inviting whatever may exist on the Other Side."
The conversation briefly stopped as they both gazed out at the countless stars beyond. "Oh Luna, You have outdone yourself tonight"
The dark horse practically preened. "Thank you sister. It's always nice to have someone to appreciate your work, even if it is just one."
The one known as Celestia gave her sister a teasing look. "Yes, if by just the one you mean, me, Twilight Sparkle, the entirety of the Equestrian Astronomers Guild, and all the ponies making ready for the Winter Solstice Celebration, then I guess it is one." Luna playfully buffeted her elder sister with her wing, "Silly you know what I mean. The one that matters, you. It's something I should have realized long ago."
The lone unicorn took the ensuing hug between the two sisters as an opportunity to end her temporary career as a piñata. Swinging her legs back and forth, she eventually built up enough momentum to grab the roof with her teeth. The tiny clacking sound of teeth on the gold leaf clad roof covered by a fresh wave of laughter from the two sisters below.
With her new mouth hold, the mare was able to drag herself up once she got her two front hooves on the rim. The mare lay there for a while, allowing her blood to redistribute itself a little more evenly. Once she felt well enough once again she inspected her tail to see just how it could get so thoroughly stuck as to support her entire weight for what seemed an hour. What she found shocked her.
Whatever spell brought her here obviously didn't work well with whatever spell was used to turn her into a pony as her tail wasn't stuck underneath a shingle or caught on a support. The last few inches of her tail was merged with the roof itself. After a moment of deliberation she set to work gnawing on the strands of hair to free herself. It was tough going as she quickly found out that the individual strands were surprising robust. Finally she raised her head in triumph and swished her newly liberated tail with its newly shaggy end from side to side. Screw split-ends, she was finally free.
Still there were many questions about herself and this strange place she found herself in. Questions like "Why am I a horse" and "Where is this place" assaulted her mind. She'd noticed before that her coloration didn't fit with the equines of her home. Her coat was a cream color and her tail as she couldn't help but notice was a few shades lighter than the dark alicorn's coat below. Looking back over the sides of the tower she realized that her situation hadn't really changed. Despite her overwhelming urge to just shout out to the two winged unicorns below, she stayed her tongue.
"I don't know what they are, who they are, whether I'm trespassing just by being here, or if they are the reason I'm here in the first place," she reasoned before stifling an immense yawn that threatened to expose her to the two below.
"I NEED sleep." She grumbled to herself. With no place to go, but down, the unicorn mare quietly got as close to the center as she could and decided to do what she'd always done in a situation with no immediate answer: Sleep on it and brainstorm in the morning. Ignoring the fact that she literally just had breakfast, the sleepy mare settled down for the night, praying it wouldn't rain.