This story continues the Crystal Gems's trek and their quest for rest and relaxation....
|BANG! BANG! BANG! A loud noise resonated across Adora's bedroom. Amethyst had transformed into a mallet and was banging herself against a large metal cylinder which Peridot was levitating in the air. Adora couldn't stand the racket, covering her ears and head with a pillow. Glimmer yawned and grumbled. "It's too early to wake up. Just...five more minutes," using her sparkling cloak to cover her face and head, muffling the sound and reducing the light that reached her eyes. Bow, on the other hand, got up, stretching and observing the spectacle unfolding before him, with Steven and Connie joining him. While Amethyst and Peridot were having a lot of fun making this racket, everyone else, especially Glimmer, Adora, Bow, Steven, and Connie, did not feel the same. Lapis was deep asleep, like Garnet, and snoring loudly. Pearl was awakened by the sounds echoing across the room. Unlike the others who had been woken, she didn't mind because she had another one of those weird dreams where Greg was dressed up in Rose's clothes with pizza coming out of his mouth.
After everyone had been woken up by Peridot and Amethyst's racket, with Lapis and Garnet woken up by the other gems, they made their way to the castle's dining room where the kitchen staff had prepared a breakfast. Since four of them, Pearl, Garnet, Lapis, and Peridot, did not need to eat, and six of them, Steven, Connie, Amethyst, Adora, Glimmer, and Bow, enjoyed or appreciated food, it was easy to prepare a meal. Amethyst devoured her food. Turning to Glimmer, she inquired about the day's plans.
"So...sparkle princess, what do you have planned for us today?...since we are your guests...We would like to relax before helping you fight those evil people...you call the Horde."
Glimmer heard Amethyst loud and clear. She excitedly answered with a chirp.
"I have a place in mind: we took Adora there since she was under so much stress."
She paused, moving herself closer to Amethyst. She continued.
"I'm thinking of Mystacor, a city floating in the clouds...while its invisible to the naked eye, it is the home of the planet's sorcerers and one of the safest places to unwind."
Bow excitedly interjected. He was overjoyed to hear Glimmer mention this because it had been a while since he had been there.
"Yes! Mystacor...is the best! You...really have to go there."
Peridot let out a cheerful squeal. She would get more time to talk to Bow about tech stuff, although he was still getting used to her, and wasn't as keen about this. Amethyst, Pearl, Adora, and Lapis were intrigued, willing to give Mystacor a try. Steven and Connie were perhaps the most enthusiastic, hoping it was just like the calming waves and warm sands of Beach City which they had grown to love over the years.
To get there quickly, Amethyst transformed herself into a helicopter. Everyone but Lapis and Peridot got inside, traveling together. Lapis gave Peridot a piggyback ride, like she did for Steven when they explored the Earth many months before for place she could live, whose water wings flapped through the wind. Peridot seemed to enjoy this more than Lapis, although she didn't mind because Peridot was much lighter than Steven or his dad, Greg. Inside the helicopter, Steven, Connie, and Adora cracked each other up, giggling about their looks, jokes, and whatnot. The others inside, Garnet, Pearl, Bow, and Glimmer, sat in repose, not saying more than a few words to each other.
They soon reached a cliff, with the steep drop down the ravine obscured by clouds. Amethyst turned into a bird, readying herself to fly to Mystacor's entrance. Glimmer and Bow jumped into the clouds, giving everyone, but Adora, a scare. While Pearl, Garnet, Connie, and Steven ran around in terror, thinking Glimmer and Bow had plummeted to their deaths, Peridot matter-of-factly stated the same, almost like she was making another log in her recorder.
"The human lifeforms jumped into a mass of water droplets, which they call "clouds." The drop is incalculable but if they continue at their current velocity, they...will reach the bottom of the ravine in less than five minutes...plummeting to their deaths" she lamented.
To their surprise, a grass-covered floating mountain, a boulder of sorts, burst through the cloud layer and came up the cliff edge. Glimmer and Bow, standing upright, smiled, with the Crystal Gems relieved. Steven, Connie, Garnet, Peridot, and Pearl stepped into the boulder, standing on the lush green grass, while Lapis and Amethyst followed from above. It was only a matter of time until they all were inside Mystacor's protective grid, riding the magic boulder through the clouds!
They were greeted by Castaspella, who had some reservations about the Crystal Gems.
"Welcome to Mystacor, fellow travelers! I hope you enjoy your stay!"
Glimmer reassured her about them, as did Adora. As they walked forward, Pearl, Garnet, Steven, and Connie were fascinated by the sorcerers casting spells. The last time Adora, Glimmer, and Bow had come there, dark spirits commanded by Shadow Weaver had invaded, trying to bring Adora back to the Horde and the Fright Zone. Luckily, they had failed. It was different this time: no dark spirits had followed them. And, instead of leading them on a tour, Castaspella left them alone to their own devices. They proceeded to walk to one of the Kingdom's most relaxing places apart from the peaceful cloud beaches and tranquil gardens.
Once they arrived at the healing hot springs, Glimmer acted like a guide.
"And here we are at the steam grotto! These hot springs are filled with magic minerals which sorcerers use to cleanse themselves of worry...before they perform big ceremonies." She then provided further encouragement. "Loosen up, let your hair down, and make yourself comfortable."
While Adora, Bow, and Glimmer stripped down to their undergarments, stepping into one hot spring, Amethyst, Pearl, Garnet, who didn't change what they were wearing, went into another. Steven and Connie also stripped down to their undergarments, wearing boxer briefs and a two-piece suit with a bikini respectfully, were joined by Lapis and Peridot. While Lapis didn't change her appearance, since her clothing was already suited for water, Peridot took off her visor, which kept her hair in a pyramid shape with a small electromagnetic field. It made her pale chartreuse hair messy, like how Amethyst wore it, covering one of her eyes, although it wasn't as long. The visor, or goggles as you could call them, also kept the hair out of her eyes and was used by Peridots, such as herself, to do jobs without discomfort. You could hear snickering from Garnet, an "oh my" from Pearl when she saw this new hair style, Amethyst shouting "NERD!" at her, and Lapis a bit shocked as it was something she hadn't seen before. Steven and Connie said "Aw" together in unison. While Peridot was a little embarrassed, they were all at peace. It's no surprise that when Steven and Connie held hands, and Steven's gem lit up with a pinkish light.
What happened next amazed Adora, Bow, and Glimmer, while surprising Lapis and Peridot since they were not expecting it. Steven and Connie fused into one being! This was something the "Best Friend Squad" had never seen. They were jealous they couldn't do the same. Before them was Stevonnie, a non-binary fusion over 28 years old, 75% human and 25% gem, with dark purple hair, tied up with a scrunchie, and black eyes. They had an athletic build and light brown skin, wearing a pinkish one-piece suit. This differed from Stevonnie's past appearance on the Jungle Moon when they wore a pale brown jacket over top a red shirt with a yellow star in the middle, shorts, a backpack, and a custom-made sword on their back in a rose-colored scabbard.
A voice blurted out.
"Sorry...I didn't mean to fuse...it was an accident." They looked at their clothes in disgust. "I'm wearing...this? Ugh...I can't even fit on that jacket."
Lapis let out a snort and then a belly laugh. Rather than thinking of her previous abusive fusion with Jasper, she tried to lighten the mood.
"You look ridiculous...It's...hilarious."
Stevonnie, embarrassed, was ready to un-fuse over Lapis's comment. But, at the last second, Garnet interjected, reassuring Stevonnie and giving Lapis the evil eye...with all her eyes underneath the visor.
"You look beautiful the way you are. There is no reason to change yourself to...make other people feel better about themselves."
Inquisitive, Adora and Glimmer asked what was going on, while Bow blithely laid in the hot spring. Garnet explained she was a fusion of two gems, Ruby and Sapphire, which she had mentioned to Castaspella and Spinnerella in Bright Moon. She told them how fusions require love, trust, communication, and stable mindsets free from worry and guilt. Relationships had a physical manifestation in two or more beings fused together, with the tone of the relationship between those fusing determining whether the fusion is stable or not. A fusion can be, she added, based on friendship, romance, or even something sexual, and is fundamentally a choice, with consent. This gave Peridot, who had a secret crush on Lapis, an idea.
"Lapis, would you like to give fusion a try?"
Lapis grasped Peridot's hand tightly. In a stern but fixed way, she coyly agreed.
"Sure, it's worth a try. If Steven and Connie can do it, why not both of us?"
They stepped outside the hot springs and began their fusion dance, producing something extraordinary. About the same height as Stevonnie, this new fusion, which surprised everyone, but especially Adora, Glimmer, and Bow, had turquoise-colored skin. Her mid-length lime green bushy hair had blue highlights, and bangs covering part of the forehead. Apart from her blue-green eyes, a dark blue-colored tongue, and an inverted triangle gem on her forehead, there was a teardrop-shaped gem on her back, also colored turquoise, and a see through visor pointing upward like two interconnected right triangles, only for show unlike Peridot's visor. Her clothes were a mix of Peridot and Lapis's clothing styles. She had on a very dark grayish cyan halter crop tank top, of a single color, with a yellow star in the center. She also wore very dark cyan puffy pants with dark blue stars on the knees, a pale chartreuse ribbon at the wasteline, around the pants, and matching sandals.
More of her abilities came from Lapis, meaning she had turquoise water wings which could turn into fists while she also had Peridot's ability of ferrokinesis combined with Lapis's ability to control water. She could now levitate and control not only metallic objects but all those composed partially or completely by water, which included human beings or anything composed like a human being. It also meant either one of her gemstones could project a bright light, simultaneously or individually, serving as a flashlight, she could bubble objects in bluish-green bubbles, was immensely durable, could project her memories on mirrored surfaces, and had pathokinetic resistance. Furthermore, she could, due to Lapis's abilities, form water bubbles, create water clones of her enemies, change the state of matter of water (turning it to ice or perhaps even steam), generate water from her gems, and had enhanced strength! She could also summon thunder and lightning, in localized areas, against her enemies.
While it seemed this fusion was strong, it was actually a little unstable. Lapis had visions of Jasper, bringing back emotional trauma of their abusive fusion, and shouted in pain.
"I'm sorry...I'm not ready!"
To everyone's shock, Lapis and Peridot were thrown apart violently into their own original forms. Peridot was displeased the fusion didn't work. She sighed.
"Well, when you are ready...we can fuse ourselves again and call ourselves "Amazonite," although I know you would like the name of "Meep Morp" better."
Lapis put out a hearty chuckle. She now thought of them being together like the art installations she and Peridot made when they lived together as bunkmates in the barn.
"Peridot, I'll be willing to give it a try...later. I just don't want to hurt anyone I care about, like you, like I hurt Jasper."
It was simple. Peridot wanted to fuse since she had been unable to do so with Garnet. This embarrassed her because Steven, Pearl, Garnet, and Amethyst could all perform fusions...but she couldn't...and thought of herself as deficient.
Everybody was in their respective hot springs. Stevonnie, sitting beside Lapis and Peridot in their hot spring, tried to calm down Lapis.
"Take your time...once you are cool and collected...your fusion can then be strong and stable. If you let guilt and negative feelings drag you down, a fusion will fall apart...It's going to take time and if fusion upsets you, then avoid it. That's completely okay."
Lapis, cheerless and moody, cried. Her tears came out like a little waterfall.
"I want to fuse but...I am utterly terrified, Stevonnie, of what will happen. What if..."
Stevonnie understood her sentiments, her doleful nature, and that she was shamefaced the fusion didn't work out. Sympathetically, he turned to Lapis.
"I know how you feel. You did something awful and no matter what you do, you can't reverse it...but that doesn't mean you are a terrible person...you are good, Lapis, I know it, and Peridot feels the same way."
Stevonnie stopped speaking. Contemplating what to say next, they tried to still be understanding.
"At some point, Lapis, you will need to move on and forgive yourself for your fusion with Jasper."
Lapis beamed. What they had told her built up her confidence, but she was still woeful. She replied to Stevonnie.
"I know it's hard, but I'm going to try."
They embraced each other, with Stevonnie and Lapis's gems lighting up. They were fusing and didn't even mean to! They didn't need silly dance moves or graceful moves the other Crystal Gems had mastered for fusion. The power of friendship had brought them together.
This new fusion, half human and half-gem, hesitated.
"What?...I...didn't mean for this to happen."
There was a pause. Recognizing their predicament, the fusion spoke once more.
"Wait...it's okay. I'm fine!"
Peridot let out a scream of "Aaaaaah!!" Garnet, Pearl, and Amethyst looked with amazement. Peridot directly addressed the fusion itself.
"Um, Stevonnli...Stevolis...are you ok?...Garnet, Pearl, Amethyst, wha...t...do you call that?"
Garnet smirked. Lapis, part of this fusion, was intrigued, realizing she could be comfortable fused with Peridot as Amazonite. The fusion opened its mouth once more, giving itself a name.
"We are Stevolinnie, combining the names of Steven, Connie, and Lapis."
Amethyst was radiant and wild eyed. She joked with Stevolinnie about this new name, thinking the name had been chosen because of Steven's love for pizza. She was cut off by Stevolinnie, telling her it was much simpler: it was just a catchy name, although...pizza was so...tasty, at least to Steven and Connie, although Lapis didn't feel the same way since food was not always appetizing to her. However, Lapis did have secret love for food and eating, but she didn't share it openly, with Peridot not telling Lapis's secret to the rest of them.
But what did Stevolinnie look like...anyway? When Steven and Lapis fused in the past, by accident, the fused being, which some called "Chalcedony," was light purple-skinned, with magenta-colored hair, with a light purple star on the left side of their head, wearing a multi-colored top piece, sitting above a purple-colored gem in the stomach, and had four arms. That fusion combined Lapis's laid-back personality with Steven's loving, caring one, although its short existence put into question what possible newfound powers or abilities they gained. As Sardonyx had told Stevonnie, every fusion gains something new, whether a weapon or a new power. This was the case for Stevolinnie, and it manifested itself in this fusion's appearance.
This fusion, of three beings, looked different than the fusion of Steven and Lapis. Due to Lapis's skin complexion, it had magenta-colored skin, with long flowing dark brown hair. They wore stylish poofy purple pants, combining Connie and Lapis's clothing styles. They would have been wearing a white t-shirt with a purple star, taking from Steven's clothing style, but he wasn't wearing a t-shirt at the time of Steven and Connie's fusion. Instead, this fusion wore a sporty blue tank top over top the rose gem on her stomach, while the water droplet on their back was able to breathe. Apart from their gold-colored sandals, with gold wings attached like the Greek god Hermes, their water wings were light purple and were were huge, like those almost like a falcon or hawk, allowing them to support the extra body weight from four arms. Since one of Steven's abilities was electrical interference and Lapis had power to control water above and beyond what Mermista or Frosta could do, they could electrify water in such a way as to create a surcharge. The water, in a sphere, stream, or whatever form, would be filled with millions of volts of lethal electricity which Stevolinnie could throw at any enemies.
Lapis now knew she could fuse with another being, Peridot or even someone else. Steven and Connie honored her wishes to unfuse with them, meaning that Stevolinnie reverted back to Stevonnie. While Lapis unfused, Steven and Connie had no reason to do the same, as they were enjoying themselves. With all the fun (and experimentation) over fusion over, the only two fused beings remaining (Garnet and Stevonnie) the other Crystal Gems and the Best Friend Squad were now letting themselves go, as their worries seemed like they floated away in the hot springs. They breathed deeply, focusing on the warmth hitting their skin, their bodies lying perfectly still, staying together in the same place, letting the memory of their past fight in the halls of Bright Moon castle fade away. This was a break they all needed from the battlefield, tranquil and beautiful places whether Bright Moon, the base for the Princess Alliance, or the Earth, the pale blue dot and base of the Crystal Gems.
As they all loosened up, in their hot springs, Amethyst noticed something. Pearl was gone. Bow and Glimmer also looked around. Adora was missing too. Bow, worried sick, called for her.
"Adora...where are you?"
However, they were both unwinding to such an extent, they didn't want to get out of the hot spring. Glimmer was even not very concerned, even though she was usually, sometimes to an extreme degree.
"She'll be fine...just give her five more minutes, then we'll go and look for her."
Amethyst felt differently. Since she looked up to Pearl, she was perhaps even more disturbed than Bow was over Adora's disappearance.
"Man...Pearl, where do you go off to this time?"
Garnet wryly smiled. With her future vision, she could see many possibilities and had a good guess of what they might be doing, remembering Adora carried around a magical sword on her back. Lackadaisically she told Amethyst, lifting her visor and then putting it down again, "they'll be fine...trust me." She proceeded to submerge herself further into the hot spring. Of course, Amethyst was having none of this and wanted to find out what was going on.
"Ok...Garnet, but I still want to know what they are up to."
She turned herself into an eagle, which soared above, landing on a nearby pillar overlooking a tranquil garden where Pearl was teaching Adora. Amethyst watched intently.
"Adora, I'm so glad you agreed to do this...we're going to have such a fun time!"
Adora grumbled but knew this was best. Pearl heard this, but she still thought she could make Adora an even better fighter.
"Although your swordfighting is good, it is a little sloppy. Perhaps this will help you...enhance your techniques."
She summoned a few Holo-Pearls, version 3.000001 holographic (and translucent) blue-tinted version representations of herself, for Adora to face, which were less lethal than previous versions. Flat and hollow mechanical voices rang out across the garden. "Do you wish to engage in combat?" Adora answered "affirmative" and lunged at them with her magical sword. She was able to block their blows as they lunged at her, changing her sword into a shield. Pearl was fascinated by this ability to change weapons, which was not possible, even for Gems like herself. She watched as Adora went on the offensive, quickly cutting down the Holo-Pearls.
Pearl was pleased, digging into her pouch. She put a Pearl Point on her wheeled chalkboard, which had "Pearl Points" written in flowery cursive at the top, on the row titled "Round 1."
"Adora, that's one Pearl Point for you!...Great job beating those Holo-Pearls!"
Glad to get the encouragement, Adora was cheery. She mentioned how the sword she held, the Sword of Protection, could transform her in an instant into She-Ra, an eight-foot tall warrior, which would be a much easier form. Remembering the fight from before, while still trying to remain supportive, Pearl told Adora, "I know you could transform, but...fight in your original form because...transforming into She-Ra might not be an option everytime you need to fight...so, let's try this one without your sword." Adora shivered. She was afraid. The sword was her friend and her ally. She remembered back to the Princess Ball when the sword was taken by her villains, who kidnapped her friends. As such, it had been some time she had fought without her sword. Pearl handed her an adult saber to use instead.
"Use this saber...and try fighting the Holo-Pearls again...Ok...let's start round 2!"
Just as the round began, Amethyst flew away, back to the steam grotto, ready to tell the rest of the gang about what she had seen. She could hear Round 2 ending in the distance. More mechanical voices cried out. "Defeat accepted." Not wanting to hold back, Amethyst told them all about Adora's training with swords. Bow shrieked. "I told her not to play with swords! Let's make sure she's ok," ready to bolt out of the hot spring. Snickering, Amethyst tried to calm him down.
"She's fine...dude...chill out and enjoy the hot spring, man."
Glimmer was not in the mood to join him and get out of the hot spring, so Bow sat in the water, grumbling. No one else seemed concerned. Stevonnie also tried to calm Bow down.
"I've trained with Pearl before...she just wants the best for her. She won't do anything to hurt Adora."
Lapis, Peridot, Amethyst, Stevonnie, Bow, and Glimmer had enough of the hot springs since they were feeling like shriveled up raisins. Everyone put on their clothes back on and marched to the tranquil garden where Adora was finishing up her third round of swordfighting training with Pearl. Due to the fact the clothes Steven and Connie wore came together in their fusion, they unfused temporarily to put on the rest of their clothes. Afterwards they held hands and shouted "Jam Buds...For Life!," fusing back together. No one, but themselves, knew what it meant, so it was almost like an inside joke. As everyone walked over to the tranquil garden, they could hear Pearl's authoritative voice.
"Adora, you did great today...you've made so much progress...getting a Pearl Point on every single round....impressive!"
Happy with Pearl's praise, she put her sword in a scabbard on her back and shook Pearl's hand.
"It's an honor being trained by you...I appreciate you doing this."
As she turned around, she was surprised by everyone looking at her. She blushed since she didn't expect anyone to be there. "What are you all...doing here? I was just finishing up with some training with my new...friend, Pearl," hugging her tightly. Sarcastically, Amethyst let out a yelp. Rolling her eyes, she mumbled that she "never" would have expected something like this to happen.
Taking charge, Pearl told them the next item on their "schedule" was the cloud beach. "R&R is nice but it has to be organized and regimented! To the cloud beach!" with Adora pointing in the same direction. They each blushed, with Pearl's blushes bluish and Adora's were reddish, at each other's jokes, flattery, terrible puns, and teased each other. Since they were further ahead from the rest of the group, neither one could hear Stevonnie asking Amethyst and Garnet what was happening between them. "It's flirting, Stevonnie," Amethyst told him. Stevonnie's eyes filled with wonder. They replied to Amethyst's observation in a loving and understanding way. "Aw...that's cute." Bow and Glimmer did not feel the same way, shaking their heads. Glimmer mentioned that someone else had been close to Adora in the past.
"When she was in the Horde, there was this slender and tan-skinned feline woman, Catra, who slept at the base of her bed...sometimes, so she says. They apparently had some sort of rivalry."
She groaned, continuing, "Catra is now a Force Captain leading the forces against us...but I don't know the nature of their relationship...but emotional tensions are still bubbling below the surface."
She ruminated about Adora. What was happening between Adora and Pearl felt different than a sort of relationship, if any, Adora had with Catra.
"But...this is new. I haven't seen this sort of intimacy before...I'm a bit surprised by it to be honest."
They soon reached the cloud beach, with Glimmer carrying some towels for everyone to use. She suggested they all lie down and let the gentle clouds, and sand, course through their toes, let their cares melt away, like a wise yoga teacher. All of them laid down on towels, even Adora and Pearl, looking at the sky above while holding hands, something which no one could see but them. While they all could get massages or walk through tranquil gardens, lying on the cloud beach was even better. There was no fighting, no battles, no wars to be won or lost in this quiet and serene atmosphere. Stevonnie sat up, taking out the thick diary Angella had given Steven and Connie in Bright Moon. It was emblazoned with the title The tale of Rainbow Quartz and Pink Diamond. In some ways, this diary was like Buddy Buddwick's diary, although it had many more illustrations than words. One of these illustrations was titled "The Glowing Castle." In the appended description, the diarist wrote that while they couldn't get inside the structure, they saw three figures enter through an underground passageway. The following page showed these figures. One was obviously She-Ra, although not the one Adora transformed into when she shouted "for the honor of Greyskull!" and the other two were...Pearl and Rose Quartz. Stevonnie was confused. "Mom was...here?" This left Steven so disconcerted he wanted to unfuse, but Connie calmed him down. She promised Steven they would confront Pearl together, as one fused being. As they approached her, they tried to be as gentle as they could."Pearl, sorry to disturb you...but what's the deal with...this?" thrusting the page showing an illustration of herself, Rose, and She-Ra in front of her. She was a little embarrassed Stevonnie had mentioned this, with blue blushes on her cheeks. However, she was glad this illustration had been shown to her because she didn't want to keep anything from Steven or even Stevonnie.
"Stevonnie, that illustration shows me, Rose, and She-Ra...It was thousands of years ago and Rose wanted to bring me somewhere I'd enjoy...she wanted to explore other worlds...it was before she had chosen to rebel against herself and permanently cast off her form as Pink Diamond...and be Rose Quartz forever...I had such a fun time...after an ordeal through some enchanted woods she brought me to this crystalline castle...where we met a glowing warrior who called herself She-Ra. Apparently, Rose and this warrior had met before...Stevonnie, I don't see how this relevant"
Stevonnie turned the page. He pointed to the illustration titled "The Glowing Castle."
"Where you ever...here?"
Pearl thought back. She could recall such a place.
"I remember it well. Inside, there was this being, a bit like a hologram...it...called itself Light Hope...for some reason it was very friendly to us."
Still holding Pearl's hand, Adora shot up. She had been only loosely listening, intrigued when she heard the words "She-Ra" " and "Light Hope." She was very inquisitive.
"What are you saying about Light Hope and She-Ra?"
Stevonnie showed Adora the book. Studying it over, they asked about the castle and those in the illustration. Grinning, she gladly responded.
"Yes...I've been there multiple times...it's the Crystal Castle...on this planet...and Light Hope is its facilitator...who has taught me how to fight as She-Ra."
She scratched her head, commenting she had had never seen the woman in a flowing dress, but she recognized Pearl, and seemed to think the She-Ra depicted was Maura. Many eons ago, Maura, the previous She-Ra, was cast away when she moved the planet to the Desparado dimension, with the Sword of Protection taken away from her after this foolhardy act. It had been left for Adora by Light Hope to find and form a connection.
Adora's explications astonished Pearl.
"That means...this is the planet of...Etheria...I still remember the name...I didn't recognize it because it looks so different compared to what it looked like thousands of years ago. It was even more full of life then...I thought the dimensional gateway was disrupted...or at least Rose thought so when her friend, She-Ra, went beserk and moved the whole planetary system."
Adora patted Pearl on the shoulder. She held no resentment or anger against her. She then spoke to her softly.
"I don't blame you for not recalling this was the same place you had been before...we're all learning all the time and memories get jumbled up...I just hope this will bring me one step closer to finding out...who I am...why Light Hope chose me to be She-Ra."
Just then, Castaspella barged in, announcing a banquet in their honor had been prepared by her staff. It was ready and steaming hot. The wafting tastes made Amethyst's mouth water. She licked her chops, announcing to them all, "it smells so good...let me at the food!." Glimmer implored Castaspella they had to go.
"Sorry, Aunty, we need to go on this quest thingy...we can't stay for dinner."
Castaspella turned to Glimmer. She would have no such talk. But she still tried to be accommodating.
"Don't you want to eat before your journey?...I'd love to eat a meal with you all...learn about and from all of you." After looking at all of them, she added the words "...of different shapes and sizes."
Just as Glimmer was about to answer, she could hear the clanging (and smashing) of plates, forks, knifes, and spoons in the distance. There were cries of terror in the distance.
"It's a purple tiger...and its eating all the food!"
Pearl, Garnet, Stevonnie, Lapis, and Peridot all cackled. They all knew who was responsible and Pearl snickered, telling them so.
"Oh, Amethyst...you were so hungry...you turned into a tiger...to devour such food...I've never seen that before, but I'm not at all surprised."
She said this as a being who found eating of food disgusting and horrifying.
Amethyst, in the form of a tiger, sauntered back over to them, her mouth covered with mashed potatoes. Turning back into her usual form, she spoke.
"Sorry I ruined the meal for you all...but the food was...so good...I couldn't stop myself!"
Sighing, Castaspella let them go on their merry way and continue their quest. As she walked away, Adora stood front of the group, with Pearl at her side, ready to lead them forward. "Onward...to the Crystal Castle!" This stirring statement inspired Bow. Quickly thinking he shouted a phase Sea-Hawk, a man he had a man-crush on, had used with great fanfare in on their previous quest: "Adventure!" Lapis carried Peridot, holding on like those on piggyback rides, everyone else got in the helicopter, Amethyst had transformed herself into, once again. They were leaving the tranquil and hidden kingdom of Mystacor. They were off to the mystical and mysterious Crystal Castle in the Whispering Woods...