A Neopian's Intro to the Multiverse
It's the end of the Faeries' Ruin plot. Faerieland has fallen out of the sky and now resides on Neopia. Hanso, Brynn, and the rest of the band of misfits have taken down Xandra, who has now been petrified and is under the watchful eye of Queen Fyora. The Faeries have all been changed from stone and have started slowly rebuilding. All seems as it should.
Elsewhere, Hanso, Brynn, and the group are lying in a prison cell being watched by Wraiths, the Faeries are all still stone statues, and Xandra has taken the throne of Faerieland. And this is actually how it is, not just some elaborate prank.
Wait, hold it, how is that even remotely possible, I hear you asking. How could the exact opposite of what we all know happened, that being Xandra being defeated, happen? That might be what you think happened, and it did, as far as we can see. However, it is entirely possible for Xandra to have succeeded in her plot to overthrow the Faeries. It just did not happen where we were able to see it. In fact, there are many, many different realities, each in their own universe. This is called the Multiverse Theory, and I warn you, this will get very complicated.
You see, every single decision you make happens. You are only aware of the one you see yourself. Take this as an example: Say you are trying to decide whether to buy a Faerie Paint Brush or a Royal Paint Brush to paint your pet. You eventually decide on one and then paint it that color. That's what happens in this universe. In another universe, you instead buy the Royal Paint Brush and then paint your pet with that. Both of the universes had you making the decision, but as for the actual decision, that's when the universes diverged from each other.
In fact, each decision you make results in a separate timeline. Building off the previous example, say after painting your pet , you have to make a decision on what to do next, be it eating or playing a game or whatever. Any of these actions can be done in a different universe. But then you have to make a decision on what to do after that. Another option, another set of alternate universes.
But what happens if you first have options A, B, and C, then have options 1, 2, and 3, and then finally have options Do, Re, Mi? There are a total of 27 potential paths you can take with these options (I already did the math). That would mean that there are 27 more universes stemming from this single decision. Or are there?
Let's go to another example, the Altador Cup. There are 18 teams you can decide to support. That would mean that there 18 universes from the tournament, one where you choose each team. But it gets even more complicated than that, so bear with me. In each of those universes, you would then decide how to support the team, what games to play, the right clothing to wear, and so on. Each of these decisions could happen in their own separate universe. There are countless ways that the events could occur, which won't be listed here because they aren't the point. The point is that there are countless universes which sometimes only have very slight differences than others. There are literally an infinite number of universes, each having their own variations, as small or large as they may be.
It is physically impossible for someone to know exactly what happens in another universe. One can make as many predictions as they want, but they won't be able to witness it with their own eyes. It makes the concept of alternate universes quite difficult to fully explain or understand. But in a concise manner, know that even the most absurd things could very likely be possible within an infinite number of universes that Neopians will never see. There could very well be universes where there is a world made entirely of jelly. Or even more absurd, universes where Neopia is just the world in some kind of game where players take care of Neopets, dress them up, and play with them, all using some kind of advanced computational machine to do so. We would never know.
The rest of this Neopian Times issue is focused on time travel. Thinking about it in a straightforward manner, time travel is fundamentally impossible. If you go back in time to change something in the past, say, stopping any war between Meridell and Darigan Citadel, you actually wouldn't be able to. Here's where the concept of time travel fails, and this gets very complicated. You go back in time to stop the war and are successful in doing so. However, in that case, the war would have never happened and you would have never gone back in time in the first place, so the war would happen. Yes, this is confusing, but it makes sense when you've put many insomnia-fueled nights into thinking about this.
Without any external factors, time travel fails as shown in the above example. But it can be explained, to a certain degree, using the multiverse theory. You go back in time in one universe to prevent the war. This now causes a new rift. When you prevent the war, a brand new series of universes form. There are still the universes where the war occurs, the one you initially came from. But now there are an infinite number of universes where the war never happened. Assuming you were able to break the fourth dimension and travel through time to do something, you would still only be able to use your time machine to go back to the universe you originally hailed from, meaning you wouldn't have changed anything in this universe. Instead, there would be another branching timeline with its own universes where the war never happened. It all gets very convoluted quickly.
I'm not going to go into any other problems with the principle of time travel here because I'm sure you are all very confused after reading this. This might have actually been a topic a little too complicated for Neopets, so it'll end here. I'd just like to thank you for taking the time to read this article, at least in this universe.