• Member Since 7th Feb, 2014
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Stories about ponies are stories about people. Every challenge is an opportunity to change. My Patrons let me keep writing, at: https://www.patreon.com/RealStarscribe


Blake and his friends are urban explorers, venturing into some of the most interesting places that the public isn't allowed to see. They deal with dangerous structures, poison gas, and even the occasional arrest. But when they venture into the bony catacombs of Paris, they could never imagine what they'll find waiting for them.

Now the whole group has been thrust from the world they knew, each one cursed with a terrifying new shape. If they ever want to see their home again, they'll have to work together, searching this strange new world for a return worldgate. But while return portals are numerous, finding one that's safe enough to get them back alive is another matter entirely.

Written thanks to the generosity of donations from Lightfox and Canary in a Coal Mine on my Patreon. Edited by my wonderful team of Two Bit and Sparktail. Cover by Zutcha.

Updates every Monday and most Tuesdays. Will update more frequently until Fimfiction catches up to my Patreon.

Chapters (85)
Comments ( 1927 )

It did not look at all like a sewer, but rather an ancient Roman bathhouse hundreds of miles from where any Roman mason had ever worked.

Small gripe, but the Romans built loads of things in Paris, back when it was still called Lutetia.

That is one hell of a start. :twilightsmile:

Can't wait for more.

You wanted to explore strange and forgotten places long unseen by man? Sure thing. Good luck getting back.

Looking forward to seeing where they end up, and what follows.

Excited to see this story go!~

Hmmm. Based on that wall, they may have stumbled across into the mines of Paris. We don't know how old this worldgate is, but given the construction around it, someone knew it was here and it's been here for a while. The catacombs were built in 1810, so it's unlikely that the knowledge of a worldgate and this construction would completely disappear in less than 200 years.

If it is the mines, that gives us a date of no earlier than 1300. This does fit the Renaissance time period that Blake initially suspected for the style.

Alright, a new story! And another great start! Will track at the moment, but if it gets good next chapter (as all Starscribe stories are wont to do), it'll hop over into my Faves shelf. :yay:

Ooooh! This is looking very promising! I’ll be sure to keep up with it and can’t wait for it to hit the featured page later today!
EDIT: looks like my prediction was a little late, while I was reading it hit the featured page! :twilightsmile:

haven't read a word yet, and I have just one question...

how many of the group are males transformed to females?

This is gonna be interesting...

(locked, loaded and saved. ready for next!)

And so a new adventure begins. Let's get the show on the road.

Well this looks interesting! Good start so far! Definitely gonna be keeping an eye on this one!

Zero, which is also the number of transformations that have occurred so far.

That's great! I'm going to share the link with my friends

In addition, I see "before the magic becomes permanent."

Forgive me for reading 《Fine Print》 through a Google translation.There were a lot of details I couldn't read.

So, stay here for a long time. Will they become ponies forever?

And so it begins....

Who wants to take bets on which one goes native first?


Well in Fine Print, it's not that the magic is permanent, but that the worldgate in it will close permanently after a year, what side that protagonist choose to be on when it does close will be his permanent home....

Here however.... well.... it's yet another Equestria Interpretation

Interesting... Looking forward to seeing how this story plays out!

We don't know all the rules for worldgates yet. Given that they share the same magic system, I'm going to put the rules as I suspect them from Fine Print, as well as source chapters for these rules as I've seen them, in this spoiler down here, just in case people here haven't read Fine Print yet. Also, for people who haven't read that yet, go read it, it's great.

Fine Print Spoilers!!

Rule 1: Any human that goes through a worldgate will transform into some form of pony (Most chapters) or pony-adjacent creature (Chapters 47, 53)
Rule 2: When a pony goes through a worldgate to Earth, they transform into a human (Chapter 46)
Rule 3: Anything that is being worn or carried will convert into something that their new form can use (Chapters 2, 6, 47)
Rule 4: Currency, food, and skills do not convert (Chapters 2, 6, 20, 25, 51)

Keep in mind, there are almost certainly MORE rules, but we haven't seen enough to guarantee any.

After the gate? Looking at the artwork (female-ish eyelashes?), at least one?

Rules one and two are likely the same. A sapient will gain the form of an equivalent sapient race crossing universes. It's just that Equestria has a lot more sapient races. Kalvary Kreme donuts might or might not be an indication of something involving food. I wonder if the dollar was backed by the equivalent material (likely gold or silver) a bit is, would that allow for a conversion? I've never seen Tracy bring out a bit.

Yea, I had them separate because of something that was said early on that caught my eye.

(More Fine Print discussion)
On this side, you're human. Over there... humans aren't really a thing anymore. (Chapter 2)

So it is or at least was the case that a human's local equivalent in magic smol horse world was a human.

It could be that they're the same rule, but that line does kinda keep them separated in my mind for that reason. As for Kalvary Kreme donuts, we've seen that the pictures don't 100% line up with the prose so that could have been a stylistic choice by the artist. Arby's didn't convert to a different food (Chapter 20), the produce they bought (Chapter 50) didn't warrant comment, donuts didn't warrant comment, so I'm going with 'Food doesn't become other food, regardless of if edible by pone' as a rule.


Fine Print spoilers:
Janet's transformation certainly proves equivalency between multiple species and a sample size of five (Tracy, Janet, three friends) doesn't discount the possibility that humanity is simply one of many equivalent species in the pool and that none of them were lucky enough to roll it. It would technically be a 1 in x chance to hit human where x is the number of sapient species on the planet. Of course to actually roll human would be silly plot wise and at best turn the story into the usual HiE fare or at worst create a (either terrible or hilarious) situation where a person turns into another person.

I also suspected artistic choice with the donuts then again Aquarium of the Bay is a real place. Could be a slight inconsistency with brand names or maybe it really is hinting at something. Details might be clues. Maybe. But yeah, the brand might change but the food doesn't. Would love to see an Arby's bag go through now.

I get the idea. Thank you for your explanation.

(Anti - revealed plot complete)
I'm a little confused, though,
because Tracy has seen his own bat wings in the human world,(and maybe fangs? I can't remember exactly.)

I set it up in my story like this, because the human body does not have magic, so when a human is affected by magic, the body that has absorbed the magic cannot expel it, that is to say, it is an irreversible action.

Thank you for your collation, this information is very helpful for me to understand the whole story (as well as for my own design of HIE story).

I'm sure there will be more rules for the transition through the portal, look forward to later updates.

You may want to spoiler tag that 2nd paragraph as it occurs very late into the story. It's still not clear if he was seeing those wings because of magic or because of phantom limb syndrome and his brain filling in details. In another case of pictures not reflecting prose, he later specifies that when he looks straight at the mirror, the wings aren't there, which supports the phantom limb theory.

It did not look at all like a sewer, but rather an ancient Roman bathhouse hundreds of miles from where any Roman mason had ever worked.

If by miles, you mean feet, since the Thermes de Cluny is right there in central Paris.

What you said is very reasonable. I think I should reread 《fine print》 from the beginning to the end with the help of a translation software.

(Forgive me for not being able to pass CET-4. The exam is a bit difficult for me.)

True, the worldgate in Fine Print closes permanently, but there is still the possibility for them to open a new one, even if it's unlikely that it conects the same two places.
I think we learn about that in the next chapter. My hope is of at least one, since they are always fun to read, especially their reaction when they learn about their new gender. :pinkiehappy:

Second chapter and the gender swap already happened, lol. Can't wait to see where the bottom of the well leads, this'll be very interesting. :pinkiehappy:

He recognized those jeans, even if they were more like leg-braces, running halfway up the waist but not actually meeting at the rear.

There's a potential multiversal dynamics thesis: "Why Equestria Hates Pants."

This voice was at once much higher pitched without sounding childish.
Like a woman.

Take a shot. :raritywink:

So, they're taking the sensible route... which tells me that returning to humanity isn't as simple as going back the way they came. This adventure's only beginning, after all.

But something must've been wrong with his throat, because it sounded nothing like his voice. Apparently he'd bitten his tongue hard enough to jump two octaves.

Can't wait to see how she reacts when she checks her privates.:pinkiehappy:

So we have a Thestral, a Changeling, a Kirin and a Seapony? :trixieshiftright:

And at least one gender swap as well! Ha!

Ah yes, looks like we have the newest member to Starscribe's special mares club. A bat as well. This will be interesting.

He recognized those jeans, even if they were more like leg-braces, running halfway up the waist but not actually meeting at the rear.

All gates probably have the same properties. I wonder what else the group brought with them that changed.

"I don't know what a bug sounds like," Ryan said, sounding very much like a bug.

It's disappointing that Chrysalis no longer sounds like a bug.

Then her eyes went wide, and she gasped. Kaelynn clutched at her neck for several long, painful seconds. She's drowning.

If only there was a transformation pearl around. That might solve the drowning issue.

Jordan had no desire to see what was under that tail. One face full of alien junk was enough for the day.

It won't be long until Jordan will become conscious about what's underneath her own tail.

Up close, Blake's breath was uncomfortably hot against his skin, like it might burst into flame at any moment. The horse-creature growled at him, every word a threat.

An untrained kirin that's also not secluded. And stress is rising every second. If they can't escape now they'll either have to find some way to relieve the tension or a way to force Blake into submission when he goes out of control. He probably won't listen to reason when that time comes.

Together they sunk into the sunlit spring, guided by a glittering orange fish that was also their friend.


"An untrained kirin that's also not secluded. And stress is rising every second. If they can't escape now they'll either have to find some way to relieve the tension or a way to force Blake into submission when he goes out of control. He probably won't listen to reason when that time comes."

tick, tick, tick...

a strange florescent mineral


Not to mention someone's going to have to start getting lovey dovey real fast, if they want Ryan to live.

Right, I didn't think about their seapony member not having a transformation pearl when they went through. Gills would certainly make breathing air just a tad difficult, especially in a desert.
Let's see if they actually transform back into humans on their way back. Given that this is just the start of the story, something tells me they won't.

Yeah, that, uh... that's a good point. Who's it gonna be? :twilightoops:

With all of Jordan’s descriptions of Ryan being scary I was almost laughing at the idea of Ryan sensing some emotion and turning around to say something like “Why do you look so delicious?”

> Also yes, she's a fish. She can't breathe the air at all. Zero.

Gills are not anywhere near as bad at breathing in air as lungs are bad at breathing in water. If fish find that their water is not oxygenated (or maybe too carbon-dioxided), they will actively come to the surface to breathe. This is not something they prefer to do, but it works.

Anyone remember Surviving Sand Island? This premise is giving me similar vibes.

And I am 120% here for it! Onward, to adventure!

The classic joke of your stories is that your characters are always so hopeful a solution will present itself mere minutes in.

As if anything could ever go that well.

Also, why weren't they marking their path from square one? Arent these people supposed to be experienced at this kind of urban exploration? Yu always mark your path in unfamiliar territory

Huh, interesting. I did not know that. Thanks for the unexpected education, friend!

Somehow I don't think Chapter 3 will be "And they all went home, wondering about the weird place that turned them into horses and fish" :pinkiehappy:

Hey, there’s still time for scribe to provide further explanation or retcon the event as the result of shock and surprise. Right? looks at author

Feel bad that the seapony can't communicate well or be out of water. I hope Kaelynn can find an improvement for this handicap.

Also, the group is heading home...Call me crazy but I doubt it is going to work.

You do know seaponies are really hippogriffs? They just got to find a pearl is all


What, the town in Connecticut? :derpytongue2:

Very intriguing map plotting correspondences between the worlds. That's a lot of portals. The question is how many were destroyed, how many forgotten, and how many sealed away. After all, not only has Earth seemed to have forgotten them, but we're not exactly seeing a lot of Equestrians poking their muzzles in the other way. And whatever gruesome catacomb beastie that is may be part of the answer...

For now, it's probably best to see how SCUBA gear translates to a self-contained above-water breathing apparatus.

This map helps us pin down the time period for the portal even further. New York would not be named as such until 1664. So the area outside the portal is built no earlier than 1300, it would be used until at least 1664, but no later than 1810.

Also, Jordan seems excited to go through this other world where he's a mare. Anything you'd like to share with us, Jordan?

Everybody gangsta 'till that GoPro footage starts getting recommended on YouTube

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