• Published 24th Dec 2018
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My Little Universe: Season 8 - EquestrianKirin



New Alicorn leader, New Diamond entorage, same old adventures.

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The Games of Era 3

Amongst the members of the Harmony Gems, as everything was getting underway, Lapis, Garnet and Pearl both were taking their time to go around the place, as that day's festival was just about in full swing. It was a bit to make this all work and put everything together: setting up the activities, scheduling events, so on so forth but with all that said and done it was all looking pretty nice. Typically this wouldn't be anything new for the Crystal Gems or Elements of Harmony, but this festival was something special.
Homeworld's Era 3 Festival. And for the first time having any festival on Homeworld that broke away from the normality and formality of it all, it was doing pretty good so far from what the group can see. In the case of these three, the two were taking a stroll through the heat of the place, seeing numerous Gems … well, try to work things out. Many weren't too familiar with the games, but there was plenty of ponies to help out with that after some gathering with the Elements of Harmony. These games also came with prizes, naturally, which Lapis won quite a few things after going about the place and Garnet getting a prize of a cowboy hat.

"You've barely played any games since we started. Don't you want a prize like this?" Lapis encouraged, showing Pearl what looked to be a cockatrice plushie.

"I'm all good, thank you Lapis," Pearl said, gently pushing away the plushie toy.

"Come on, it's a festival, the least you can do is play in what you make," Lapis pointed out. "Didn't you spend all day making all the attractions with us? You even made sure you did the most when we're making out the list."

"Don't worry Lapis. Pearl will change her mind in just a bit," Garnet reassured.
Before Pearl could asked what, the three began to pass by a little something familiar off not too far away, in the form of a eerily familiar Las Pegasus attraction. Garnet was right on point, to put it simply.

"Excuse me for a moment," Pearl said. Lapis couldn't help but chuckle and Garnet just smiled as Pearl went right up to the attraction. She only played this out one time before, but that was a time she was ill-experienced in the art. But now she was prepared this time, and knew darn straight what to do. She just cracked her knuckles, and with a slam of her fist …

"CONGRATULATIONS!"

"Thank you," Pearl simply said with a smirk. Nothing like some good reward in a one-punch game.

"That was quick," said Lapis.

"Well it's not that hard, I mean if a filly can do it so can I," Pearl said. Guess even Pearl had a slight ego in her she liked to keep in check. Garnet took a look around them at the festivities.

"You know, once upon a time this would've been such a rare possibility. Homeworld opening up and trying something new like this. But looks like Homeworld's more than ready to open up now," Garnet said, as she watched a nearby set of Quartz soldiers duking it out in a game of whack-a-mole, the Amethyst beating the Topaz by a hair and celebrating the victory.

"I guess it is," said Lapis, "... Hey, speaking of which, you've seen Steven and Pink Diamond? I haven't seen them since the starting Royal ball."

"They told me they're gonna try to get Twilight to join us," Garnet said.

"Wait, I thought you and Pearl already did that, didn't you?"

"About that …"

(quick flashback)

"Twilight?"

Garnet and Pearl just arrived into Canterlot castle, though it wasn't exactly the best sight once they actually got there. For the alicorn, Twilight Sparkle was once again stuck with the royal guards yet again. The two had clearance to go in thank goodness for that, yet the guards just managed to give Twilight her schedule for the day.

"Hey guys," said Twilight tiredly, "what's up?"

"Another list of duties?" Garnet said, seeing the fairly long list. Before the tired alicorn could reply, the royal guards stepped in.

"It's the essentials, madam, you understand," one of the guards stated.

"You keep saying that. Twilight, we want to invite you to the celebration back on Homeworld. Want to come?" offered Pearl. Twilight looked to the list for a brief moment, trying to see where she could include such a thing. However this list had so much already. Unfortunately, Twilight rolled up her list and got to her hooves.

"I can't. There's nothing here that leaves me with anything to do," Twilight replied, "Hopefully I can make time to see you by … some time."

"Some time," repeated Garnet, not sounding all too impressed with the results.

"I-I'm sorry, but I gotta go," Twilight replied, and before either could get another word in Twilight started trotting towards the front door, the two guards following her in hoof. Twilight didn't have the nerve to tell them that the list actually had been getting a lot smaller, despite it being as long as the carpet.

"Twilight, wait a minute," Garnet said, grabbing Twilight by the tail before she could pass, "You've been working hard for weeks now. It's time for you to take a break. Trust me, it's for the best."

Twilight thought a break would be a good idea, but the guards had to intervene.

"This isn't optional; a princess's duties wait for no one," the guard advised. Garnet crossed her arms.

"So going to Homeworld for a celebration on behalf of the Diamond Authority isn't part of her royal duties?" Garnet questioned. One of the guards grabbed the list again.

"Not on the list, it isn't. My apologies, but it's not going to happen," the guard insisted.

"It's ok, guys. Uh, maybe when my list isn't so big," Twilight decided, before going off to handle said list.

"Twilight, wait!" Garnet called, but it was no use. She didn't even had time to say goodbye before rocketing off.

(end flashback)

"Still?" Lapis gasped. "I'm starting to wonder if those two guards are even bothering to give her a break anymore. I mean did she get anytime to do anything else lately?"
They weren't sure how to answer that. Sure Twilight Sparkle technically had time off during the whole convocation a bit back, but far as they were concerned that was about it. Even with their efforts too, it didn't seem like Twilight's work was gonna calm down anytime soon.

"You don't think she might go too far with all of her new duties, do you?" Pearl wondered. Garnet saw the possibilities of such things, but she REALLY didn't want to think about that. She just sighed.

"I really hope not. … Maybe Steven and Pink can bring her around when they catch up with her. For now, let's just try to enjoy the festival," Garnet decided, starting to go off ahead. Pearl and Lapis looked to one another, only hoping that Garnet might be right. But that was something for later when they meet up.

After all, this is Homeworld's first festival, they might as well enjoy it.

The Game of Garnet

Amongst the many games all set up, there was one that some of the homeworld Gems found pretty easy to cope with. And it was one of these matches that was getting underway: Gems vs. Ponies. Rainbow Dash and Applejack verses a pair of willing Rubies (in this case, familiar faces in Doc and Army).

"Coming high, RD!" Applejack warned, her signature bucks kicking the incoming ball good and high. The flying Pegasus shot straight upward right for the ball, and gave a good ol' fashion swing of the hooves to rocket it downward.

"No you don't! Ruby, battle formation!" ordered Doc, the ball coming in right at her. Army cracked her knuckles and when Doc knocked the ball to her, Army gave a good warrior cry before punching the ball clear over AJ and RD's heads! Even the speedy Pegasus couldn't grab it in time to stop the ball from flying.

"YEAH! HOMEWORLD RULES!" Army exclaimed, fist in the air on their victory.

"Well that's another ball off to … heck, where do they end up after those hits?" Rainbow wondered.

"For first timers, you sure got this volleyball game down," Applejack said, heading over to Doc and Army.

"Well what can I say?" shrugged Doc, "I wasn't made the leader of this squad for nothing."

"Don't think that has anything to do with what I said."

"Is it our turn yet?!" called an innocent yet eager voice, in the form of Leggy off nearby. Eyeball sat alongside her waiting patiently for the word to be called on their turn.

"Y'all can play soon as Rainbow comes back with the ball," Applejack reassured. Though Rainbow was still having some trouble finding where the ball went off to. This was about the fifth time this happened, but while the four times were left a bit fruitless, the fifth time was the charm as they saw Garnet come back with Rainbow Dash with the ball in hand.

"Alright, Garnet, you got the ball! Thanks," said AJ.

"It bounced off my head, but you're welcome. Here you go," replied Garnet, giving back the ball. "I can see the volleyball game is going well."

"Whelp, the Ruby Squad's been keepin up," AJ explained, "They sure catch onto new things fast. Eh, by the way, is that a Gem type thing er …?"

"Our Ruby only took ten minutes to learn guitar, so I'd say it is. The other Rubies learning well, I imagine?"

"Learning well? Hay, they've been winning games left and right since this festival started! And it's only been like, what, three hours since we ended that intro ceremony?" Rainbow Dash said.

"Hey, we still playing?!" Doc shouted, reminding them of the game itself. Garnet couldn't say she was surprised, speaking as part-Ruby herself. Garnet then got an idea.

"Eyeball, Leggy? You two want to have a round with me?" Garnet offered.

"That's not our names. … But sure," said Eyeball. Leggy was surprised.

"Oh! We just … start? I thought we waited until they were finished," Leggy said, unsure about this only for Eyeball to pull her along to the next area. Garnet smiled and got to position across from them.

"You just needed another opponent to play, that's all," Garnet said.

"And what're we supposed to use for a ball?"

Garnet got that covered too with a new kind of trick (plenty of time between the Everstorm and now meant some new tricks were bound to come up). In this case, Garnet got her hands together, and started rubbing them for some good friction. A few sparks began to light up, and soon an electrified ball started to form in her hands. Some pressure and sparks later, the electric ball started to turn solid and from the fire and ice, created a balanced up, lightweight dry ice ball.

"... OKAY!" Leggy concluded.

"Where do these tricks even come from?" Rainbow HAD to ask.

"It happens," Garnet joked. Not that they disagreed with that statement, but it had happened before. Many times, actually.

"Game on."

And with a hit of the ball, Garnet's game began. Now on the surface it didn't really seem too fair: two against one, but Garnet proved to be quite the opponent and skill in this game against the two Rubies. Leggy and Eyeball may have had a slight advantage in getting their moves in, with either Eyeball or Leggy covering ground and knocking the ball, but Garnet with her enhanced skills and experience was winning the day. In one of the hits, the ball went flying way up in the air with Garnet's uppercut hits.

"Where'd it go?" Leggy wondered, running side to side trying to get the ball coming down. Even with her one eye, Eyeball just spotted the ball coming down towards them, and it was one of those moments when acting had to come before thinking. Eyeball was suddenly using Leggy's head like a platform, jumping off of her to kick the ball good and high. The ball launched off even higher, but that just triggered Garnet's signature volleyball move.
And Garnet wasted no time in jumping straight up and slamming the ball right down towards the ground! While any sane person would get out of the way, Leggy was still trying frantically to catch it, running around back and forth as Eyeball stood firm in the face of such odds. Leggy accidentally ran into Eyeball during this, but the Gem did not even budge. Eyeball then made a … curious move.

She angled her head, and the ball struck dead center. The angle then launched the ball clear across the horizon. Garnet had to react fast on this one, her fingers just barely grazing the ball and slowing the launch so it was more understandable. Her fingers flicked the ball just back over, just pass the line.

"Garnet wins," Garnet stated.

"Wow, that's amazing!" Leggy said, as Eyeball was checking to see if the hit burnt off anything. Garnet was about to get the ball and continue when -

"Lemon Jade?! AGAIN! Split up now!"

"Anyone else hear something?" Applejack asked, her ear flicking on the distant yelling. Garnet heard it loud and clear.

"I'll only be a moment."

The little game was halted for just a little bit as Garnet went over to investigate. She tossed the ball back to the other players of course, though her interest was more onto the noise in question. Turned out as well that she didn't have to go too far around the next bit of road to see what all the ruckus was about. Three Gems, two being ridiculed rather harshly by looks of it. The two in question were regal looking Gems, Jades presumably by the insult she heard earlier. They stood side by side as the third Gem was shooting them down, Garnet already feeling a rough taste in her mouth.

As for the Jades, the Jade Gem on the left had a greenish yellow hue, her hair spiked upward in two, and with a dark yellow dress that flowed to the floor. The other jade was similar to this, but her hair was in a bob cut, with her color more minty green hue and dark green dress. As for gemstones, they seemingly mirrored one another: the left one with a right cheek Gem, and the right one with a left cheek Gem. Their diamond insignias contradicted eachother too: the left one yellow diamond, and the right one blue diamond.
As for the third Gem, who looked more boy than girl surprisingly, stood over the two with clear authority. He dazzled in a orange hue, looking like an Agate in a way. The outfit was a typical Agate uniform, strong insignia of yellow diamond loyalty.
As Garnet watched, it was clear their boss was not happy with either of them.

"This is the twentieth time Lemon Jade came out from you two!"

"S-Sorry, sorry, we thought that. Well, since it's the festival -"

"It doesn't matter what event it is, I will NOT have two of my Jades mess around fusing just for the sake of it! I have to deal with Off-Colors all day long as it is, I don't need two of them standing right behind me, got it?"

Poor Jades. Even if mockery over her own fusion was a bit rare, that didn't make this concept too foreign for Garnet to hear. Plus hearing this "Lemon Jade" get such ridicule by her boss during such a fun time just left Garnet with a horrid taste in her mouth, fist clenching. Both Jades just stood there as their boss left, one of them even with tears in her eyes. The other one found it informal but was disappointed as well.

"That clod," Garnet thought. She waited a bit until the boss went away before she started going over towards the Jades. Both Jades didn't really realize it was Garnet until the emotional one looked her way, nudging her formal friend.

"Garnet," whispered one of the Jades, both Jades quickly looking formal again, even including the diamond insignia as if she were a Diamond-level respect figure. The history this fusion made specifically deserved such respect, but Garnet wasn't there just to get that.

"Now, now, no need for that," Garnet said, hand raised. Both Jades looked to one another and grew a little more casual as Garnet went over to them. The formal Gem cleared her throat.

"Uh, nice to be in your presence," she said, "Are you enjoying the uh … event?"

"I'd rather hear how you two feel about the festival. I think that's a bit more important to listen to," Garnet encouraged with a warm smile. both Jades looked to one another briefly before complying.

"It's alright," said the emotional Jade, "Pretty new too. I uh, don't know what half of these uh … things, are or do. Hehe."

"You'll figure it out," Garnet said, a few warm giggles herself. the Jade just nodded, but while both Jades appeared to be alright, the emotional Jade still had at least one tear in her eye. Garnet brought out a hand and gently wiped it away with her finger.

"Your boss was wrong to snap like that," Garnet stated.

"You … you saw that," said the formal Jade.

"Yeah. I saw." Garnet didn't mean to, but she felt her fist clench again, the mockery of fusion and instructions given to the Jades repeating in her mind. Also noting how it was Sapphire's gemstone hand doing this, not Ruby.

"It's alright, really," said the formal Jade, "He's right. We shouldn't of fused so abruptly like that."

"It's … unformal."

Garnet didn't answer at first, thinking about what these two were saying. She may not be a Zircon, but she wasn't blind to the kind of treatment these two Jades had to juggle around thanks to the whole fusion thing. She adjusted her shades before looking to them.

"Listen. He may not seem like someone that enjoys fusion, but that isn't true with everyone. I for one think that if you enjoy fusing together, then that shows how close you two really are to eachother," Garnet explained. The Jades were actually surprised to hear that, even if she was a Crystal Gem far as they knew. As the emotional Jade was blushing, the formal Jade tried to recover herself.

"You're just saying that. I mean, how many Garnets are allowed to fuse with their own crew anyway?" the Jade said. Garnet paused, but then chuckled.

"So you think I'm just another Garnet, huh?" Garnet said. While she didn't seem angry or insulted, the emotional Jade did take it as such.

"Sorry for insulting you," the emotional Jade said before things could get out of hand. But all that did was make Garnet chuckle. Might as well get Nora the cat out of the bag, and she began that by removing her shades to reveal her three eyes.

"T-Three?"

"Haven't seen a Gem with three eyes before? It's okay, my friends needed to get used to this when we first met too," Garnet said, though she didn't sound really guilty about it, or even remotely sad for that matter.

"But how can you have another vision sphere? I mean, you're a Garnet, and Garnets don't -" the formal Gem stopped talking when Garnet showed her palms to them both, showing them all the evidence they needed. Two gemstones for two Gems. Now they could argue it was just two Garnets fused like Lemon Jade, but Garnet had that covered too.

"Here's Ruby. And here's Sapphire."

"A Ruby and a Sapphire? Has that ever even happened before?" asked the emotional Jade in astonishment. Such a contrast in ranking Rubies and Sapphires typically shared with one another, the idea sounded pretty much impossible. Garnet straightened up, giving them both a smile of reassurance.

"W-Well … it might be fine for you on Earth. But …"

"That it doesn't exist anywhere else? And did your boss tell you that too?" Garnet asked. The Jades turned away, which confirmed Garnet's suspicion. These ideas were mostly from their boss, and not themselves.

"Don't ever believe that you're alone. There're many others like you - We're like you. He thinks that this can only exist on Earth, and yet here you two are enjoying fusion just the same as me and others do. Every moment you live as yourselves, you prove that everyone's free to be who they are. And you can show everyone that freedom. If you'd like."

"... You sure that's the answer?" the formal Jade asked.

"You tell me."

The Jades were silent. Freedom? Was that the word used in their fusion? It was a bit hard to figure out officially, but Garnet seemed to reassure them that. The formal Jade felt her fellow Jade gently hold her hand, a smile on her face as that speech surely touched her emotions. And with a returning smile, Garnet took a step back as both Jades began to glow.

Lemon Jade wasn't gonna stop that easily after all. And she was sure pleased.

"I knew it! I knew I wasn't the only one!" she beamed.

"Now that's more like it. Be true to yourself," Garnet said.

"AGAIN?!"

Oh boy. Lemon Jade flinched on hearing that voice, turning around fast just to see their boss just come back again, him only finding them fused once again. And he was NOT happy about this.

"You can't be serious, I turn my back for a whole two minutes, not even that, and you fuse again? Split up at once!" he demanded. At first Lemon Jade seemed ready to do just that, but the words Garnet told her flowed through her mind, and it was just enough to keep herself together and fused.

"What?"

"Can we stayed fused, please? I like being fused, it feels great!" Lemon Jade admitted. This just made her boss angry.

"Fusion isn't just so you can "feel great", and you know it. What, you two too weak to even stay apart now?" Their boss retorted. The Jades recoiled a little bit, but then the boss saw Garnet standing there.

"And someone saw you too, how wonderful! Jades, why do you do this to me? How do you think that makes me look?"

"S-So. So this is about you," Lemon Jade said, shocked even she said it to him. In fact, the boss hesitated briefly, but then raised his hand to actually hit them! Garnet had to go in at that point, getting in between Lemon Jade and their boss.

"Leave them alone," Garnet instructed, "You don't need to lash out at them like this."

"You don't need to get involved," the boss instructed. "Now get out of my way and let me deal with my Jades before anyone else sees them like this."

"And what is so wrong with that? What is so dangerous about them being this way that they should be punished for it?" Garnet questioned. This was making him mad again but tongue-tied too. what exactly was so bad anyway? His hesitance lasted just a little too long for him to properly recover.

"This festival is supposed to show everyone at their best, for all to be free and enjoy being themselves. And if they feel at their best when together like this, then they should be allowed to," Garnet firmly stated. Lemon Jade agreed with every word, but kept quiet as she waited for their boss to say something. He looked stunned to put it lightly.

"W-Well … I uh …"

"Please, sir?" Lemon Jade asked, hopefully, "Just for the Festival?"

Their boss took a deep breath.

"... Fine. Only for the festival, I'll let you both do this. Watch yourselves though, will you?"

"Thank you!" Lemon Jade beamed, suddenly hugging her boss with a big smile on her face. A bit quick, but how could she not be happy with that news? Their boss grew flustered a little bit, but a promise is a promise, and he held himself back from getting mad at them for it. Garnet meanwhile was feeling pretty good for Lemon Jade.

Another fusion now free to express herself. At least for the festival.

The Game of Flint

"We have a winner!"

Much like Lapis and her games, Fulgurite was on quite a roll herself in all this fun, with this prize being a good ol' baseball cap. She and Amethyst were so close, but Fulgurite won her out right in the end (what would you expect from a speed demon gamer?). Too bad one of the Gems wasn't as thrilled about it, as he was just keeping watch just in case someone would end up into trouble.

"Yo Flint, you gonna try this or are you gonna just stand there all day?" encouraged Fulgurite.

"I'm perfectly comfortable where I am, thank you," Flint insisted, casually observing from not too far away. Observing was what he had been mainly doing since this whole festival had gotten started, even with offers to actually do something by, well, everyone at least once. Fulgurite and Amethyst looked to one another before going for round two on the next game, Flint just looking around at what was going on. There was the two Gems sure, but the ponies with them he saw were helping some of the Gems go over some of the games, some even giving a lecture here and there on friendships and a bit of equality (not as bad as she used to be, but still sprinkled in there).

"Whelp, that's the seventh time he said no. I swear, he's just a lump on a log sometimes. How can we get him to do anything," Amethyst sighed. Not that she can fully blame him for ending up that way, but it was still annoying to think about. Fulgurite glanced his way, but she noticed something else too.

"Maybe we don't have to," Fulgurite insisted. Didn't take much longer until Amethyst too saw what was going on, yet Flint didn't really seem to notice much yet. Another Gem. She looked like a Peridot somewhat, but slightly taller, more yellow and white than the green colors most Peridots would be known for.

"Hello," she then said. Flint didn't acknowledge her at first until his eyes catch her standing there. He also saw at least two others behind her, one which pushed her forward as if to urge her on.

"Can I help you?" Flint asked. The Gem felt a bit uneasy at first, but her friends insisted for her to try and tell him something … in spite of his naturally intimidating look.

"Yeah, hi. You're Flint right? The Crystal Gem Flint?" the Gem asked. A bit of an odd question, if Flint were to be honest.

"Not many other Flints I know these days. How come?" Flint asked. The Gem smiled, but he can tell she was trying not to be too intimidated.

"Oh. Well, we've heard that you're very good at marksmanship, and … well, we were kinda hoping that you can give us a few tips," the Gem said.

Oh this moment was too good to pass up!

"He'd love to!" Fulgurite suddenly said, right by his side.

"What? But -"

"Oh, thank you! I think your pony friends set up this thing called a shooting gallery not far from here. See you there!"

Well so much for a choice on the matter. The trio of Gems, now expecting him to go off and do that with them, went off towards said shooting gallery. Fulgurite and Amethyst kept their smile as they went, and when they were out of sight, their smiles were directed towards Flint with a knowing grin. They knew what they did, much to Flint's dismay.

"Very funny," Flint groaned.

…….

Well, as much as he didn't expect it, it was off to the shooting gallery for him. Not his original plan, but he didn't had that much time to use his pistol aside from blasting White Diamond with it, so some target practice can benefit both him and the three Gems in question. The shooting gallery in question didn't look too different from your typical marksmanship gallery: a few distant range targets set up and (surprising for Flint to see) some guns set up. These were BB guns sure, but he never considered ponies capable of using this kind of weapon, nevermind even HAVING them.

"Must've got some human stuff too," Flint thought once he checked the BB guns in questions.

"Ok, so where do we start?" one of the other Gems asked.

"Oh, well let's see what we got first," Flint said, picking up one of the weapons in question. These looked a bit more like a fake gun for a carnival than anything legitimately deadly - thank the stars - and the particular model wasn't really complicated either, it being a standard hunting rifle. As he was checking, the three Gems got their weapons and were about ready to begin. A bit eager.

"Ok Flint. Just get them through the basics, and everyone should be fine," Flint thought, before clearing his throat.

"Ok, everyone line up along the border line, and show me how you aim your weapon," Flint instructed. The three nodded and began heading into position. What happened next though took Flint off guard: all three moved in unison once they lined up, taking said rifles, even giving them a single spin before they aimed their weapons forward, already in the correct position and everything.

"Huh. You already got the basic idea down."

"Wait, we do?" one of them asked surprised, the other two were surprised by it as well, but Flint kept his composure and went over to them.

"You three got the weapon raised at the right height, aimed correctly, your positions …" Flint went to one of the Gems and nudged her foot inward while looking to the other and straightening her shoulders so it was more comfortable for her "A small bit of work. Make sure your firm in your stance before you shoot."

"Oh, ok will do," said one of the Gems. She thought she got it and readied to fire. But all it took was one trigger for the blowback to knock her off her feet and onto the ground. Lucky Flint was there to catch her before she could fall on her head.

"See what I mean? If you can't keep a firm stance, you're just gonna bet blown off your own feet everytime you make a shot," Flint explained, getting her standing upright and helping her get a better stance. A few nudges, some fare posturing, and soon she was up and at the ready again.

"Try again now," Flint said, moving out of the way. The Gem aimed again at the target again, and the shot rang out once more. The shot still ended up knocking her a little, but she stayed on her feet this time, the BBs from her gun getting a decent shot onto the target.

"YES," she said with a smile. The other two armed up, trying to follow her lead and then gave a good shot themselves. That didn't mean it was a perfect practice, one of them still stumbling back. Surprising though, the three were making pretty good shots for trying to learn a thing or two.

"Wow, I got really close," one of them said. Flint started to ponder on these three as he helped the third get back onto her feet. She felt a little bugged that she ended up falling.

"You ok?" Flint asked. The Gem found her feet again.

"Yeah I'm fine. Dang, the other Citrines make it look so easy."

Citrines? These three, thinner and smaller Gems were actually a type of Quartz soldier? As she got back to position, Flint had to consider his options.

"Citrines. …"

"Yeah, we were … kinda in the ground too long. You know how it is," said one of the Citrines. Considering Flint worked with a number of stunted Gems already, that wasn't too far out of the realm of possibility. Citrines, as far as Flint was aware, were a bit bigger like typical quartzes. Not as muscular perhaps, since they were more firearm than brutality, but still these three were still small in comparison.

"OK, that makes more sense," Flint thought. "Guess this also explains how they got position so easily with those weapons of theirs."

Flint then saw one of the Citrines was focusing a little bit more on her stance than aiming her weapon right. Seeing two of the other Citrines stumble back on shooting made her a little bit more concerned in that department. Flint sighed and went to her side, his arms holding the weapon.

"Make sure to keep your weapon up and at the ready. If you leave yourself distracted, you won't have time to even make a shot," Flint instructed. The Citrine brought it back up as instructed, but still trying to get her feet steady.

"Sorry, I just don't wanna fall over."

"Well you won't do well if you keep your legs so stiff," Flint said, nudging her legs so she'll relax a bit. Not too much, but enough where it won't be stiff as sticks. "Keep your muscles strong is fine, but if they're too stiff and focused on, you'll just stumble."

"Oh. … This is a lot more complicated than I thought," the Citrine admitted meekly.

"Don't worry, no one ever truly masters their technique even if they're born with it."

"Born with it?" the Citrines asked. Flint realized his mistake.

"Eh, made with it I mean," Flint corrected. Being on Earth for so long some ideas kinda slipped away after a bit. The Citrines got it down after that, and Flint went over to them, getting one of the BB guns for himself.

"Here, watch how I do it," Flint instructed. So, the three Citrines stepped back and watched the teacher present how it was done. Flint got into position with the Citrines watching in attention, but as he raised his BB gun up and in position, the Citrines had a look of astonishment at this Gem, starry eyes and all. The Citrines though had less of a learning look, and more of an admiring look to them as Flint was presenting and explaining how to properly aim, stand, and of course fire the weapon. All this done, and Flint only needed one look to actually see how much they were paying attention.

"You got it?" Flint asked.

"Yeah," said one of the Citrines, though she wasn't thinking. Flint could read them like a book, and decided to test them.

"OK. Then tell me what position you're supposed to stand when firing a weapon as such?"

"That's easy: … whatever it was you just did."

"Which is …?"

"... ehh …"

Flint sighed.

"You just want to hang out with me, do you?" Flint confirmed.

"No, that's not true, it's just you … looked so cool just now," admitted one of the Citrines. Flint paused for a moment, but quickly recovered. It felt odd that someone would just wanna hang out with him that didn't know him for years, but since he was put in charge of training these three, maybe this wasn't so bad.

"Okay, come on, re-aim your weapons and try again," Flint sighed. The Citrines went back into position fast, Flint making sure each one was in their correct stance this time. Flint didn't need to hear that these three just wanted to have him for company. But in a way, he didn't mind. And in the moment, he was finding that he was enjoying this a little bit.

Amethyst and Fulgurite had to give themselves a high five when they were seeing his enjoyment.

"We did ourselves good today," said Amethyst, giving a thumbs up to Fulgurite.

"Jade'll be happy to hear this. So, wanna so have a celebratory check up on the derby?" Fulgurite offered.

"Yeah, why not? I think Flint's gonna be busy for a while," Amethyst decided. So, as Fulgurite and Amethyst went off, they both took one more look towards Flint and the Citrines. Sometimes someone needs a push in the right direction.

The Game of Lazuli and Pearl

Even with so much activity going on around the festival, there were still some spots where activity was a bit more calm down. Lapis Lazuli and Pearl were taking this opportunity to check this part of the festival out while the others were basically too busy with keeping track of the events or just playing around in the games.
Compared to much of the other parts of this festival, this part looked to be the most formal part of it (and in the case of Homeworld, the most comfortable and familiar thing), with a royal ball style setting. Since the Sessile was still out "getting mended", a new kind of music was brought out to the event in the form of the Canterlot royal quire. One might recognize them from the Grand Galloping Gala, and they were providing the right kind of music for the Gems to listen to.

"Even in a festival like this," Lapis said. "It looks the same as any other formal party. Can't they try to be more open?"

"I know, but we have to keep something comfortable for Homeworld," Pearl replied.
As the Gems were still dancing in unison - it was like working gears more than dancing - Lapis and Pearl went on in after Lapis placed her prizes aside. With Lapis Lazuli alongside Pearl, the two Gems fit very much like a glove. As there were some Gems dancing to the music (if it could be called dancing), other aristocratic Gems were handling some small talk.

"Nice choice of music," commented Pearl, seeing the quire off nearby. But the Gem was soon directed elsewhere.

"Pearl, look at that," Lapis said eagerly.

"Lapis, Pearl, over here!"

Waving her hoof was, and probably figured much, Rarity. But it wasn't just her there, as some of the Gems were also there with her. Pearl needed a minute to recognize her, but Lapis knew the red Ruby from anywhere. This Ruby was one of the Ruby squad, Navy, and she was looking very high-class with some of Rarity's help.

"Hey Rarity, and HEY Ruby. You're looking festive," Pearl complimented with a smile. Navy couldn't be anymore happier about it herself: Rarity designing the dress to her exact likeness. To sum it up, she was a Ruby in Sapphire clothing, with a hint of orange and red smoothing into the main blue.

"I've taken the time to make a new design for just such an occasion: Flaming passion!" Rarity said, the name made out in her usual dramatic fashion. Navy even did a ladies' bow, lifting the sides of her dress as she did so.

"Good as always, Rarity. And you, Ruby, you look perfect in that dress," Lapis complimented, giving her a wink and gun fingers.

"I know! Doesn't it look magnificent? My dream of being with the high class is FINALLY real!" Navy beamed, twirling in her dress like a giddy prom queen. And hearing that from someone as naturally beautiful as Lapis Lazuli, that was quite a compliment to receive, making Navy feel even more happy. Seeing Navy happy was a pretty good thing, but Pearl looked on to the actual dancefloor ...

"Pearl?" Rarity asked.

"Oh sorry. It's just, I mean, doesn't this look a bit lacking to you?"

"Lacking how? We went through how the royal ball works and worked it into this part of the festival," Rarity said, even levitating one part of the to-do list she had given to her prior to the festival's start.

"Yeah, I know. Guess I've just grown so used to seeing party balloons, streamers, and everything else Pinkie Pie does to her parties. They could at least try to be a bit more open to the idea, but it looks no different than any other royal ball Homeworld did before," Pearl explained as they were looking to the display in front of them. Not even the dancing was all that energetic now that she pointed it out. Navy didn't seem that bothered by the fact, not too familiar with being in an actual situation like this, but this did get Lapis to think a little bit more on it. Soon, Lapis Lazuli started to come up with a little idea herself.

"Psst. Rarity," Lapis said, signaling Rarity to come over. Lapis whispered her little plan to the unicorn, and the unicorn was more than happy to comply. As she went to handle her part of the plan, Lapis Lazuli smirked as she went towards Pearl, bringing her hand out.

"Shall we?" Lapis offered. The clever Pearl already started putting two and two together.

"Let's do it," Pearl decided.

Navy was curious about their plan, as both Lapis Lazuli and Pearl started going out onto the dance floor. By this point, Rarity had reached the quire and the crowd found that the music was starting to dull down. The somber tone shifted to a more energetic and lively piece of music, and little by little the other Gems started to notice two dancers in particular, doing what looked to be a special mix of a tango, and battle training, the two dancers circling eachother with one hand presenting to one another, with a spin and change in direction with the music beat.

Lapis Lazuli and Pearl were taking their time to shine.

"Everyone's watching, Lapis," said Pearl.

"Don't worry about them, Pearl. Right now, it's just you and me."

Just the words to comfort Pearl. Their goal soon became clear as the two continued dancing together, letting the music take control of them both. Their dance began with the simple circular movement from earlier, but soon it started to turn more elegant and energetic. For Lapis, once a second full rotation was done, Pearl released her and she started spinning fast in a sort of flamingo-style dance as Pearl followed suite almost exactly. They both kept in tune with eachother, the session starting to pick up speed in their duet dance. Their dance was filled with twirls, summersaults, and flips with the grace of the best known dancers of the world. In the dance, with the music got into one dance pose after another, some even adopting some dance moves from their other fusion dances.
One notable dance move was Pearl and Lapis back to back, and Lapis spinning before Pearl tossed her up into the air good and high. Lapis came down head first, using Pearl's open hand to grab and hold herself up, and as she spun herself back upright to her feet, Pearl was swung right over her head, Pearl landing gracefully on her tip toes before spinning again, making both Gems spin like tops before catching one another in their arms. It was around here when their gemstones started glowing.

"Ready?"

"Ready."

And just like that, they finished off their routine with a signature display: Lapis making one more twirl, falling back into Pearl's awaiting arm in a pure Tango pose. And thus, the fusion commenced.

Spinel was now in center stage.

"W-What in the stars?!"

"A fusion?"

"B-But they can't do that!"

These comments flew around, but Spinel and her calm mind didn't get too bothered. Spinel took a breath, her arms lowering as she looked on to the audience around her. Both sides knew how controversial this was to just casually do, more evident by the shock on many of the Gems' faces.

"Who is that?" Navy asked Rarity.

"That, my dear, is Spinel," Rarity replied.

"Spinel …" As Spinel was letting the group sink in what they were seeing, Navy began to go over towards the fusion. The other Gems around her seemed a bit troubled seeing a fusion like this, some turning their gaze away but others were left awestruck by Spinel. No one else had ever heard of a Spinel Gem before and in all honesty … she didn't look that bad either. Some were actually blushing.

"Spinel?" Navy said. The fusion looked down to Navy with a kind of comforting look, much like a particular diamond.

"Hello, Ruby," Spinel said, hand gently placed on Navy's head. Navy was just to marvel at the fusion for a bit, a few of the Gems starting to come over to her.

"You two … okay?" asked one of the Gems. Spinel smiled.

"Never better."

The Game of Emerald

"Eh … E-Emerald? S-Shouldn't I at least be in the palace? ……. Or somewhere that isn't so unnatural?"

Despite how Sessile was feeling about the whole thing, Emerald made sure to bring her out into the open of the Homeworld Festival. Emerald though was treating this really as nothing too weird, even having a simple picnic around a good part of town with Sessile. He wasn't alone of course, joined by Jade for some "levity" in the behavior side of things.

"No, I think this is appropriate," Emerald shrugged, nibbling away on a snack. He wasn't as big a eater as Amethyst, that didn't make the concept that foreign to him. Sessile though could feel that other Gems were glancing her way. Jade went over towards Emerald.

"I know you want to help her Emerald, but I think you're going a little bit fast. Maybe we should try to slow down a little bit?" Jade suggested, concerned for Sessile's situation. She even saw a set of Gems not too far away murmuring to one another about seeing what they figured as a gem object out of the palace this far.

"It's called "comfort zone" girl," Emerald said, "You gotta walk outta it if you are gonna try new things. Besides, no one's making any complaints, haven't they?"

"I guess not, but -"

"Well, okay then, no problem," Emerald cut in, "Hey, you wanna have a taste of this guys? They're a proper batch actually."
The kind of food emerald was trying was actually a bit of vegies he got from AJ's farm, some of which are a bit fairly new. The exact item he was presenting to them though was a pepper of some sorts, and while Jade wasn't all that up for it, Sessile was a bit less wary and more curious.

"Taste? … You … consume these?" Sessile wondered.

"Sure you do, that's what they're grown for. Here, try one. Oh uh warning: it's pretty hot," Emerald said, placing the pepper in one of her "hands". Sessile looked to the red object for a bit. She had been seeing Emerald eat up these for a bit, so she at least she some idea of how to do it … too bad her hands won't reach her mouth as she tried to do so.

"...…. I can't do it," Sessile sighed. She wasn't surprised though, since she couldn't do much of anything like this.

"Got you covered. Just open you're mouth," Emerald said, getting the pepper.

"Emerald, wait, maybe not that," Jade suggested, "If you want to feed her at least have something that isn't as harmful."

"I've seen humans eat these all the time," retorted Emerald, "if they can handle it so can we."
Before Jade could get another word in, Sessile managed to get a bite into the pepper. She simply copied what Emerald did, but …

"...…. I … I don't think anything's "taste"ing. Sorry," said Sessile.

"Wha? Oh hogwash, let me see that," Emerald said. One bite with him though, and …

"AAHH!! WATER, WATER, DON'T JUST STAND THERE!" Emerald exclaimed, the burning sensation of this pepper in particular driving him up a wall, rushing back and forth as he felt his tongue on fire. Sessile wasn't sure if she should blame herself for this or not, and Jade could just sigh. She felt sorry for Emerald sure, but sometimes …

"hehehehehe~"

As Emerald found salvation with some juice for their picnic, a set of giggles was just heard from not too far away.

"Uh oh," Sessile thought. And then a group started to come their way. Emerald got himself calmer by this point, the burning sensation no longer burning in his mouth. Soon though, he took a look over to what kind of crowd was coming over towards them. These Gems were fairly tall, about Garnet height actually so they made the three feel a bit small. They all look similarly green colors, and their outfits fitted a look of a captain or pilot. Their gemstones seemingly close to the same shape as Emerald's stone, which only meant one thing. …

"More Emeralds," Jade thought.

"Well, well, well, if it isn't our little friend. How nice to see you," one of the Emeralds commented. This one in particular had her gemstone right over her eye much like Diopside or Eyeball Ruby, expect on the other eye in compared to them both. And her smile revealed an impressive set of canine teeth, edged and sharp like a vampire's fangs. Emerald felt a shiver.

"Just hang low, I got this," Emerald said to Jade and Sessile as he went right over to the other Emeralds. Looking at him, he just looked so different compared to the other Emeralds, and the others knew it.

"Eh, so THIS is that other emerald you told us about," remarked one of the other Emeralds.

"Told you," the leading emerald said. she then turned to the CG Emerald, seemingly presenting her party. "These are some newer pilots. I've been telling them about you, but they wouldn't believe me."

"New flyers, eh? Whelp, you see me now, and now you're a believer," said CG Emerald, looking confident and cocky as usual, "Don't fond at me all at once, there's plenty to go around."

"HAHA! He's just as cocky as you said he'd be!" one of the Emeralds laughed. And just like that CG Emerald lost his mojo.

"And just as full of himself as always," remarked the one-eyed Emerald. And suddenly Emerald found himself in a tough spot. The other Emeralds, which Jade and Sessile thought were just playing with him, were now going around and encircling him, making initial contact impossible without going through one of them first. Emerald's confidence was starting to dwindle, though he kept that until a cool face.

"Easy ladies, easy, let's not be too hasty," Emerald insisted, but his words were more on deaf ears.

"You haven't changed a bit," said one-eyed Emerald, "even from your days in the war and you still act like an idiot."

"Wait a minute. Doesn't he look like one of those other aliens?" one of the emeralds remarked, leaning in closer to him.

"Which one?"

"Those green ones that kept shouting "BUOO" all the time."

"The Kongolins?"

"OH MY STARS, he does look like a Kongolin!" And just like that the other Emeralds were laughing at him. Jade and Sessile were left to just watch Emerald getting mocked by them like this, Sessile covering her mouth and plenty of her face as Jade was getting more worried over him.

"Emerald …?" Jade wondered.

"Look, he's even got their spikes," one of the Emeralds said, her finger fiddling with one of his hair spikes. Emerald kept his cool, but did move the hand away.

"They call it a good ol' mohawk on Earth, and your boy's trying out the look," CG Emerald said.

"Does that explain this weird cuff dust you have too? You don't even look like a pilot!" one of the Emeralds pointed out. Emerald was slowly getting bugged.

"Well at least I don't have teeth that can poke a vision sphere out! See?!" retorted CG Emerald, even opening his mouth to show his decent looking choppers compared to the sharp edged teeth of the Emeralds. Unfortunately this only got them laughing at him again.

"OH STARS, you got bum teeth!" mocked one of the Emeralds.

"Yeah, they're called "normal" teeth, and it's also called "presentable"," CG Emerald said, and for a brief moment they looked like they were humbled by this remark. Unfortunately it didn't last for too long.

"Since when do Emeralds worry about that? I remember you were just as stern and commanding as any other Emerald. But you got a shorter fuse, of course," the one-eyed Emerald said, her hand on his head to compared height. Emerald was getting more and more bothered by all of this trouble, and it seemed that every time he got one thing to say, they just swung right back. Well, with a crack of the neck, it was time to go for the throat.

"Mock me all you want to, but your boy's was right on top of the ranking during that Gem war: TOP. STAR. Right here! and don't you forget it!"

"Oh really? Is that why you were left behind on Earth when they made that call?" remarked the one-eyed Emerald smugly. Emerald ran out of ammo.

"... Well, that's all I got. Thoughts?" Emerald shrugged.

"Here's a thought: this whole hairstyle's stupid," one of the Emeralds said, hand on his spiked hair. This was more than enough for at least Jade to take, and after gathering enough courage.

"Emeralds!" Jade shouted. This caught their attention quick.

"No Jade, I got this under control!" Emerald insisted, even if he was being held upside down by this point.

"Oh, what's this?" one of the Emeralds asked, giving off a rather intimidating smile with those sharp teeth. This did give Jade a shiver, but she tried to keep her composure.

"Don't you think you should be setting a good example for Emerald instead of belittling him in front of … his … friends?" Jade's confidence started to sink as the intimidation the Emeralds were giving her. Their Emerald never had this kind of spook when he tried to intimidate (nor did he try to intimidate).

"Belittle? Him? I don't think he can be anymore little," the one-eyed Emerald mocked, holding Emerald like one would with a fish.

"Now, girls, she's got a point. Let's see if we can set a good example for him.~"

"Oh clod."

…….

And next thing he knew, his spiked hair was replaced with a similar look to the other Emeralds. The Emerald group did leave CG Emerald alone after that to be fare, but their calling card just wasn't leaving Emerald amused all that much.

"You should be setting a good example," Emerald repeated.

"I'm sorry," said Jade, "I didn't think they'd jump like that."

"Yeah, because they clearly weren't jumping before," Emerald replied, busily trying to rework his hair back into the way he wanted it. Jade and Sessile weren't sure what to do for him now, but Emerald did get his hair back to normal.

"Well, on the bright side, at least they left you alone Sessile. I don't think they'd shut up seeing you with me," Emerald remarked, trying to find the good part in being humiliated like that. Sessile paused.

"You did that … for me?"

"Well, someone had to. … Eh, you two think you can keep this quiet? Peridot won't ever let me live this down," Emerald asked.

"If it makes you feel more comfortable," Jade replied.

"Thanks. Dang, I'm gonna need a good victory lap after this," Good enough for Emerald, as he was going back to some more cooler snacks for the picnic. Jade meanwhile was thinking over what just happened, keeping an eye on Emerald. Eventually a thought crossed Emerald's mind.

"The shooting gallery! Eh, Sessile, Jade, I gotta go and find an opponent for a bit, catch you later," Emerald decided. and with that, Sessile and Jade were left there as emerald started to go off.

"He did that for her, huh ..." Jade thought. "You're doing more than you think, Emerald."

The Game of Steven

"So, Twilight's not in Canterlot … again. So, now let's try the Off-Colors."

That was the idea Steven had mainly planned after he and Pink Diamond went through their key portal from the city of Canterlot off to the barnhouse on Earth. It was disappointing of course, the Alicorn off to who knows where with no time to actually talk to them, but there wasn't too much he nor Pink could do about it now, especially with her not even there to talk to. They continued chatting once they got to Earth, Steven riding on Pink Diamond's shoulders (which became a common thing actually).

"You know if there's ANY TIME she can take a break, Steven? She seems to never have any time for anything lately," Pink Diamond asked as they went along, a bit bugged that she was still off doing something else.

"I hope soon," replied Steven, "I know she the new Equestria princess and all, but even they need some time off. … She didn't even tell us where she went off to."
Steven felt a bit left out. Sure not every danger had both her and him together, but at the least the years before gave them a bit of time together so they wouldn't be too distant.

"Well I don't know about you, but I did not spend an hour setting up that magical display for nothing. What's a magic show without magic?" Pink Diamond griped.

"At least Starlight Glimmer and Trixie agreed to come," Steven said, trying to cheer Pink Diamond up. Not that she didn't like that at all, but an alicorn doing magic would've given a much bigger "WOW" persay.
The two kept walking along through the countryside, until eventually the two started to see the barn not too far off. The barnhouse had their own kind of activity going on, with much of the Off-Colors, Lars, and Sadie just hanging out together. It was just some chat with one another, Sadie getting to know the Off-Colors a bit better, and it was during this that Tiger's Eye noticed the two coming their way first.

"Hey guys!" Steven called, waving to them.

"It's Steven!" said right Rutile.

"Steven's back!" added left Rutile.

"I predict that Steven and Pink Diamond will return back to Earth and grace us with their presence," said Padparadscha, as the two were now right by the group.

"Already happened," thought Rhodonite, but they were just as glad to see them just the same. Steven hopped off of Pink Diamond's shoulders.

"Hey, Steven," said Lars, "How're things going? Heard you were just on another space mission lately," Lars asked.

"Oh yeah we were: a lot of space travel with friendship lessons and space monsters in it," summed up Steven. "Actually, part of it's why I wanted to come by."

"Ah ah ah, WE wanted to come by," corrected Pink, hand on Steven's head playfully.

"I'm glad you're just back home alive. When they told us you were gone off in space, with White Diamond … OH, I couldn't stand it!" Rhodonite said. Of course she would be anxious about the entire trip.

"What is it you couldn't stand?" asked Tiger's Eye, only annoying the perma-fusion a bit before she looked to the two Diamonds, "So, you said you wanted to see us?"

"You bet: we want to invite you all back to Homeworld for the Era 3 festival," announced Pink Diamond, "we got all sorts of things set up: party games, prizes, bunch of booths, all kinds of party things!"
The Off-Colors and company only got a vague idea of this thanks to Ruby stopping by their barn, so this explanation was simply adding more to it.

"A Homeworld festival? I'm not too familiar with how this Gem stuff works, but don't you guys not celebrate like that?"

"Not unless it's something big, little human," said Pink Diamond with a wink. While the "little human" comment wasn't necessary, the point was still there.

"Us? … Are you sure about that?" Rhodonite asked.

"Of course we are," said Steven, "The festival is about being free, being yourself, and to have fun. and I see a perfect example of all three right in front of us!"

"I don't see anything wrong with it," said Lars after some thinking, "I don't think you guys really had a time to have fun yet, have ya?"

"But will they not mind fusions?" Flourite asked.

"I dunno, but they didn't mind Garnet staying fused so I think they can handle seeing -" Pink Diamond suddenly stopped herself when referring to Fluorite again. Rhodonite, maybe, but Fluorite? "... well ……. maybe."

"Reassuring," Rhodonite said. But still, this didn't deter Fluorite, and with Padparadscha riding with her, she went over a bit.

"We're willing to give them a chance, if they're willing to give Gems like us a chance," Fluorite concluded.

"I can't believe you're inviting us to go to the festival!" beamed Padparadscha. The Rutile Twins looked to one another briefly, but eventually they began going over to Pink and Steven.

"This will be our first time seeing Homeworld like everyone else. I wonder what it's like," said left Rutile.

"Lars, you and Sadie want to come with us?" right Rutile offered, looking to Lars and Sadie.

"I might need to ask my parents first," Sadie replied. And by extension, Lars needed to do that too. He didn't want to worry his parents all over again, especially after that Everstorm incident leaving him … well, down for the count as it were. Tiger's Eye hopped down.

"Already on it," Tiger's Eye said, going into the barn for a moment and looking through what items were available to use. As she was doing that though, Rhodonite was feeling more and more troubled all over again.

"Rhodonite, you wanna come?" Lars asked. Rhodonite started to feel a cold sweat come up over her. The idea was really starting to become a worry for her: what if this didn't work? What if they won't be accepted? What if they end up getting into trouble and sentenced for being poofed?!

"Uh, I-I just remembered I have some … very important business to take care of! Excuse me," Rhodonite said … as she went inside a nearby closet.

"What business could you have in a wardrobe?!" Tiger's Eye snapped, seeing the coward hiding in the closet, and hoping she wouldn't be involved in this any further. However, Pink Diamond wasn't gonna have it and opened up the closet, getting Rhodonite to come out.

"Come on, don't freak out, and let's have some fun!"

"P-Put me down!" Rhodonite demanded.

"Pink, wait," Steven said, going over to her, "If she doesn't want to go she doesn't have to."

"But don't you want them to come?" Pink Diamond asked.

"Sure I do, but I don't want to make them. That kinda ruins the whole point on the whole "free to make your own choice" idea for the festival," Steven replied. Rhodonite gave a big sigh of relief as Pink Diamond placed her down reluctantly.

"Alright, you're the boss," Pink sighed. Rhodonite got back up to her own feet, only to be startled again when Tiger's Eye came back to them with what looked like a scrounged up phone.

"Got something for ya Sadie. I've seen you use these before, so go ahead," Tiger's Eye suggested. It wasn't exactly an iPhone, but still a phone all the same. Tiger's Eye left her with that.

"I'll catch up with you guys in just a bit," Sadie said.

They might as well go off on their way then. With Rhodonite and Sadie waiting it out there, Steven and Pink Diamond started to go off with the other Off-Colors not too far behind them. It was a bit of habit, but Fluorite was the one that gave her friends a ride.

"Okay, everyone ready?" Pink Diamond asked.

"Right behind you," Fluorite said.

"Let me just unlock the door," Steven said, getting the portal key out and getting it out into the air. It wasn't that hard to get the key working, and then made a huge door big enough to let them all in. The Off-Colors were getting pretty excited for what was in store for them, if Steven and Pink Diamond were right. The magic door opened up good and wide, and bit by bit the group went right on through.
From the barnhouse, the portal opened up to the very heart of Homeworld itself, in the form of the throne room. And who was the first one the Off-Colors met when they walked in that throne room? ...

"... Whelp. We're cracked," Tiger's Eye said.

"No, I know what you're thinking but she's here to help. Off-Colors, meet White Diamond. White Diamond, meet the Off-Colors" Steven "introduced".

Though, introduction might not be the right word. The Off-Colors and Lars knew darn well who White Diamond was, even if looking the way she did right there. Yellow Diamond and Blue Diamond weren't present at the moment, leaving only White Diamond standing there and looking to the Off-Color group.

"... Hello," White said, sounding a bit less sure of herself than usual.

"AAH! It's White Diamond!" Padparadscha suddenly screamed, making Lars stumble off his own feet from the shock and White Diamond actually taking a step back.

"No Padparadscha, it's okay," insisted Steven. White Diamond tried to keep together, though even with her white makeup covering as well as it could, Tiger's Eye began seeing a tiny little detail.

"Hold on … is she … blushing?"

"They still see it!" White thought, hand on her cheek as if trying to hide that same blushing again.

"White, it's okay, you can show it," Steven said. "We're all friends here, there's no shame in it."

White Diamond paused briefly, looking to the Off-Colors for a moment. They did look a bit curious, but not disgusted all too much with the blush on her face. White was reluctant, but her hands did eventually begin to wipe away the blush, revealing the full pink coloration on her face. The Off-Colors were left stunned.

"Off-Color …? Like us …?" wonder the Rutile twins.

"This is so embarrassing," White thought, as she looked down to the Off-Colors. The others took a bit to take this in, but gutsy Tiger's Eye just had to get a closer look for herself. Before anyone could say anything, she bolted forward and started climbing up White Diamond's body (freaking White out a little), and the agile Gem got right up to her face.

"Hmm … yep, it's a real blush," said Tiger's Eye, "You feeling alright?"
White Diamond covered her face, though it did knock Tiger's Eye off in the process, the Gem grabbing White's arm.

"This is ridiculous. Just come back in a minute, and I'll be better presentable," White insisted. She went to turn away, but she found Fluorite had already moved in her way. White Diamond kept her hands up, but Fluorite reared back onto her final back legs, actually standing fairly tall. Tall enough to reach White's hand and gently move them away.

"None of us asked you to go. You don't have to leave if you don't want to."

"B-But I'm not ready. I know you're Off-Color and all, a-and you're more used to this but -" White Diamond stopped when she saw Fluorite's understanding eyes. It was something she didn't notice before, but there was something that made her more comforting as she looked to her eyes.

"There's nothing wrong with being … different, from everyone else," Fluorite said. White Diamond looked away from Fluorite towards Steven, who himself had a smile and a thumbs up in agreement to Fluorite. White needed to get her act together if she was gonna try to be better at this.

"I … alright. I just need to calm down," White concluded, trying to ease her mind to do just that.

"So basically this is Rhodonite again?" Tiger's Eye asked Steven.

"She's still a bit new to this Tiger, it's gonna be a bit until she's used to it," replied Steven.

"Eh, okay if you say so. You're the one that went with her, not me," Tiger's Eye shrugged.

Steven and Pink Diamond stood aside, as White Diamond was being spoken to by the Off-Colors, both sides having a sense of caution but curious about one another. White wasn't gonna go on a killing spree now, not in the middle of the festivities. Lars went over to Steven, giving him a sort of playful punch to the shoulder. White Diamond may have some way to go, but this was a good start.

…….

"Oh clod, t-they're back already?! Whatdowedowhatdowedowhatdowedo?"

"We're almost done with the transfer, just go tell Grogar what's up."

"And have him mad at me, you tell him!"

"Oh be quiet and help me with this."

Author's Note:

"Tales of Ba Sing Be" anyone?

I'm gonna be blunt, this chapter was a little harder to work with at first, because I kept trying to do a singular story while still trying to fit all these details in. It wasn't working for some reason, don't ask why. So I made this sort of mini-story thing and it works much better. We'll get back to the plot, I swear.

So, let's just leave it here and let's see what happens now, shall we?