Made by the wonderful @cora-ora-ora-zone , this is Silver Pearl herself! I seriously can’t thank them enough for making this for me.
Two months had passed since the metallic gems had formed. The Metallic gems’ base was complete. Howlite was proud of the design. It had everything anyone could possibly want, including room to expand and more space than the metallic gems, who now had 11 members, could possibly use.
Peridot had come up with a weapon that was capable of shattering gems, though not as effectively as she’d hoped. In total, the metallic gems had managed to shatter about fifteen gems, despite Homeworld focusing more heavily on armor. However, several of those had been by poofing a gem, then manually crushing it, which was rather slow and difficult to do mid-combat.
None of those gems had been shattered by Gold Pearl. She was the smallest metallic gem, not counting Emerald’s components, so most of the other gems were used to using their sheer size in strength in battle, and didn’t really know how to train her. She was thankful. She’d managed to send blueprints of the base to the crystal gems, as well as schematics to Peridot’s weapon.
The crystal gems had finished their new desert base, though Desert Glass wanted to add on a few extra rooms. Garnet had pointed out that would make the base more easily spottable, which was not what they wanted. Desert had reluctantly agreed.
Two crystal gems had been shattered or captured, but they were both by Homeworld, so that wasn’t too out of the ordinary. If the metallic gems started attacking the crystal gems, it would be a lot worse.
Rose had started letting certain gems have time with Bismuth’s bubble. It moved after each visit, so that there was no easy way to overwhelm the guards. She worried sometimes that it was too much of a risk, but seeing the look on the gems’ faces after they visited made her sure she’d made the right decision.
Silver Pearl was training under Pearl, and doing quite well. She was still rather timid, but Rose saw her potential and hoped to fight alongside her one day.
The diamonds were making slow progress on healing shattered gems. They had unbubbled two more Rose Quartzes, and told Blue about the project. Pink wondered if the other diamonds had healing properties similar to hers, but the only way to ask would be to admit she had healing powers, which would make unbubbling the Roses unnecessary.
The Roses were getting along wonderfully. Pink made sure to only visit the palanquin when she absolutely had to so they had time to relax without her looming over their shoulders. Pink hoped she could ask to unbubble some more soon, but she was afraid that if she couldn’t produce more results with more Roses, the other diamonds wouldn’t see any use.
Homeworld had also started producing more and more armor. Typically, it was a point of pride to never cover up one’s gem, but the fear of Peridot’s weapon was stronger than that pride. The crystal gems had also started stealing more armor, as they didn’t have Bismuth anymore, so they couldn’t make any. And they needed more because of the threat of the metallic gems.
In addition, Homeworld had recognized a difference between the crystal gems and the metallic gems, as they developed a difference in combat and strategy, it quickly became important to know which one they were fighting against. For example, a gem could deflect most crystal gem weapons by blocking them with their gem, but doing that with a metallic gem would lead quickly to getting shattered.
It was a day like most any other at the crystal gems’ main base. Silver Pearl had just gotten free after training with Pearl. She smiled. They didn’t know how different today would be. She just had to find Rose.
She rounded a corner and bumped right into Rose. Perfect.
“I’m so sorry,” Rose said. “I didn’t see you there.”
“Could I,” said Silver. She looked down at the floor and to the left. “No, it’s silly.”
“What is it?” Rose asked.
Silver looked up at Rose. “Well, if you insist, I know I didn’t know her, but I wanted to see Bismuth’s bubble. There’s been such a fuss made about her and I thought seeing her might demystify her to some extent.”
Rose smiled. “I understand. I have some time to spare, I can accompany you to the bubble.”
Silver nodded. “Really? That’s so kind of you, I know it’s silly.”
Rose smiled. “Not at all. I understand wishing to understand something- someone better, even if you don’t particularly like them.”
“Well,” said Silver, “lead the way.”
Rose warped them to the desert base, and motioned a pair of guards to accompany her. She swept past three more hallways before opening a door and revealing the bubble. “This is it,” she said sadly.
Silver Pearl stepped towards it. “Could I have a moment alone? I know, I didn’t know her, but-”
“I understand,” said Rose. “We’ll be right outside.”
Rose closed the door, leaving Silver alone with the bubble. She smiled. This was her moment. She just hoped she didn’t end up in a bubble next to Bismuth. She gently pulled the bubble down. She cupped it in her hands for a moment and looked at it softly. Then, she put it in her gem. She took an identical Bismuth gem out of her gem. The only problem is that her bubble was grey, not pink. Thankfully, she had already thought of this little problem. Now, for the moment of truth. She took a shaky breath.
“Oh no!” she exclaimed audibly, and fumbled with the other Bismuth’s bubble. “No, no, no!”
The guards barged in the room, as she expected. “What’s the matter?” one of them asked.
Silver Pearl turned around. She hoped she was blushing, a light bronze. She sheepishly held the bubble up to them. “I accidentally squeezed the bubble a little too hard, and, well, I had to rebubble her. I hope that’s alright, I didn’t mean to!”
“Of course,” said Rose, “we’d never fault you for an accident. Well, other than the fact that your time will be cut short.”
“That’s alright,” said Silver. “I think I got a feel for her.” She smiled. “Thank you for letting me visit her.”
Rose smiled. “I hope you have some peace with what I had to do.”
“I had to bubble her too,” Silver joked. “But I’m sure it was a lot more tense when you did it.”
“You sounded pretty concerned,” said Rose.
“I was afraid if I let her out, I’d be considered a traitor,” Silver admitted. She smiled timidly. “The crystal gems gave me everything, I couldn’t imagine betraying them.”
“I’m almost surprised more crystal gems haven’t converted,” Rose admitted. “I think we all want this war to be over as soon as possible.”
“Snowflake can’t hold a candle to you, Rose,” Silver said. “You make us all believe in ourselves, and believe in you.”
“Thank you,” said Rose. “but I really do fear something will happen any day now. Isn’t that silly?”
“Something like what?” Silver Pearl questioned.
“I don’t know, that the metallic gems will shatter one of us, or plan an attack to unbubble Bismuth, or that Homeworld will somehow come out with an even worse weapon than what they’ve been using now. Everything’s been moving so fast, and yet, it feels like this is just the calm before the storm,” said Rose.
“That is silly!” Silver exclaimed. “I think you worry too much. Bismuth will stay in her bubble, and the metallic gems care too much about destroying Homeworld to worry too much about us.”
“You really think so?” Rose asked.
“Of course,” Sliver lied.
Rose sighed. “Thank you, Silver, you have no idea how much it means to hear that.”
Silver smiled. “I’m so glad I’m able to reassure you.”
“Ah, it looks like we’re at the warp,” said Rose.
Silver nodded. “Do you want to activate it, or shall I?”
Rose smiled. “Go ahead.”
Silver activated the warp, sending them back to the main base. She stepped off the warp pad. “I’m sure you’re very busy, thank you for letting me take the time to do that.”
“Your fast thinking on rebubbling Bismuth was very impressive,” said Rose. “But, I do need to talk to Cherry about relocating the bubble now.”
“Of course,” said Silver. “I won’t keep you.”
Rose waved and left. Silver walked a ways away until she was out of Rose’s eyesight. In fact, she waited until she was out of anyone’s eyesight. She pictured the information she’d gathered about the metallic gems’ base, including the location. She hoped she knew it well enough to warp there.
She walked back to the warp in broad daylight, smiling and waving at the gems she passed in the hallways. If anything, she probably looked more confident than normal. But that was a ruse. Her doubts and fears were starting to spiral inside her. But all of that was mixed with the excitement that she could make a change for the better, to help the world be a better place.
She stepped onto the warp pad and warped to the forge. She smiled as she smelled smoke and saw the grey, mountainous path, just as it had been described to her. She walked down it, ready to meet Snowflake, and show her who she’d brought with her. She grinned at the thought of who was hidden in her gem. She’d gotten so far, she began to believe she’d actually made it.
She saw a large, blocky black base. It was so tall and intimidating. She didn’t even see an entrance, but she did see a bright green gem approaching. She ran to catch up with her. “Hi!” she said, breathlessly. “I want to join the metallic gems.”
The green gem smiled at her. “Well hello, I’m Emerald.”
“Silver Pearl,” Silver said.
“It’s an honor to meet you, Silver Pearl. I’m assuming you’ll want to meet Snowflake?” Emerald asked.
Silver nodded. “I’m very excited.”
“Let me open this up,” Emerald said. Her gems began to glow and the solid cube opened to reveal a large door.”
“Thank you,” Silver said, timidly. “How will I get in, though, once I’m a member?”
“Peridot can add you to the system easily enough,” said Emerald. “Come on, I’ll introduce you to Snowflake.”
The inside of the base was much more impressive than the outside. Tall ceilings and dim lighting made the place feel like a labyrinth. Not to mention the amount of turns Emerald was taking seemed to be more than she’d ever remembered having to take in a crystal gem base.
As Emerald and Pearl walked in silence, Pearl wondered about how quiet it was. Walking along even a short hallway in a crystal gem base, she’d run across six or seven gems, at least. Here felt deathly still, her footsteps echoing down the barren corridors.
At last, Emerald and Silver stopped in front of a door. Emerald knocked. “Come in,” said Snowflake.
“New recruit!” said Emerald excitedly.
“Oh?” asked Snowflake. “And what do you bring to the table?”
“I’ve been training intensely in fencing and archery,” said Silver. “I’m still in very good standing with the crystal gems, I’m a very good ear, and-” She smiled. “-I’ve got something else to bring.”
Snowflake’s eyebrows furrowed. “What?”
Silver grinned. She hated to admit it, but she was very proud of herself. She pulled the Rose Quartz bubble containing Bismuth out of her gem.
Snowflake and Emerald’s eyes widened. “Oh my stars,” Snowflake whispered, “Is this?”
“May I?” Snowflake asked, to no one in particular. She looked at the bubble, and then she gently, respectfully, popped it. Bismuth’s gem fell into her hands before starting to rise into the air and glow a brilliant white. A gem with rainbow hair, grey skin, and a blacksmith’s apron reformed in front of them.
Bismuth fell on the ground and raised her fists, ready to fight. Snowflake tackled her in a hug. “Bismuth! I’ve missed you!”
“So, you think we should send Gold Pearl as a spy?” Cherry asked. “Hmm, I wouldn’t say it’s a bad idea, perse, but I don’t understand why we can’t send someone more experienced.”
“I am willing to go,” Desert Glass said.
“Are you willing to shatter gems, if need be?” Pearl asked. “They’ll probably insist on it, especially because you can fight. She’s a lot bolder than you and will most likely fit in better, but she’s also inexperienced in combat and will probably have to spend some time training before they’d make her shatter.”
Desert Glass nodded. “I can understand now.”
“Garnet?” Rose asked.
“I can see this going very poorly,” said Garnet. “But it could also go very well. I’m sorry I’m not much help at the moment. Everything is so uncertain. But I do think it’s a good idea.”
“To send someone or to send Gold, specifically?” Cherry asked.
“Someone,” Garnet asked. “But Gold does seem to be a good option. Cherry, do you know of any other gems who’d be a good fit?”
“Hmm,” said Cherry. “I’d normally recommend Crazy Lace or Biggs for a mission like this, but they were both very close with Bismuth, so I’m already keeping an eye on them. Scapolite could be a good choice?”
Garnet shook her head. “You’re right. Crazy Lace and Biggs were too close to Bismuth for reliability’s sake. I don’t see Scapolite doing as well in the role as Gold Pearl. She can be backup if Gold Pearl refuses, which I wouldn’t blame her for.”
Cherry nodded. “That sounds alright.”
“I hope Silver Pearl won’t feel too left out,” Pearl said. “I just feel like she’s too timid to do well among the metallic gems.”
“She should be fine,” said Rose. “She’ll be an incredible fighter and an amazing crystal gem.”
Garnet nodded. “I don’t see her being too upset at the decision. She might be disappointed, but I think we can make her come around.”
Pearl smiled. “I’m excited to get a chance to train her one-on-one. That is, if it’s alright with you?” she asked Cherry.
Cherry nodded. “She reminds me of how you describe yourself when you first joined the crystal gems. I think you’d know better than anyone else how to get her out of her shell.”
Pearl nodded. “Thank you. Rose?”
Rose nodded. “I think I can spare you for that long. As long as you’re not training all day everyday, of course.”
“No,” said Pearl. “I wouldn’t try. It’s important for her to get well-rounded training.”
“Oh!” said Rose. “Desert, could you start to think about somewhere to build another base? I think we should figure out somewhere the metallic gems don’t know about.”
Desert Glass nodded. “In order for me to assist with building it, it’ll have to be in the desert.”
“That’s alright,” said Rose. “It should blend in.”
Desert nodded. “Sounds like a plan.”
“Is there anything else we need to do?” asked Cherry.
Rose shook her head. “We’re offering the position of spy to Gold Pearl, Desert Glass is working on making a base the metallic gems shouldn’t know about, and we’re working on a more defensive strategy while we see what the metallic gems do,” she said. “Anyone have any objections or anything else they’d like to add?”
“No,” said Cherry “That sounds perfect.”
“Wait,” said Pearl, “I need to inform Silver that I’ll be training her.”
“Right,” Rose nodded. “Anything else?”
Everyone present shook their heads.
“Be aware everyone. Let us know if someone doesn’t show up when they’re assigned someplace, remember they know where we are and they may try to find Bismuth,” Pearl said.
Garnet smiled. “Let’s work for a better future together.”
Rose smiled. “I’m always ready for that. Let’s make the future a better place for all gems.”
“Maybe not for the diamonds,” Cherry joked. “It’ll be a real blow for them to be taken down from their high horses.”
Rose laughed. She knew she’d be happier if they won the war, but she agreed that the other diamonds might not be so thrilled. She hoped that her laugh didn’t come off too uncertain or nervous. Oh goodness, she should say something, shouldn’t she. “It’ll be a real shock for them when we win.”
“Hear, hear,” said Garnet. “Frankly, even some of the elite gems may be better off than they were before.” She looked at the palm of her left hand and smiled. “I know I am.”
“I hope we can help many more gems like you find happiness,” said Desert. “I think that most of them don’t realize how lucky we have it.”
“Homeworld propaganda,” Rose sighed. “I’ve been fighting against it for years, but they always paint us as desolate, defective gems with nowhere else to go.”
“I wouldn’t want anywhere else to go,” said Cherry. “The opportunity to choose my own purpose is something I’d never give up.”
“Maybe we should start more aggressive recruitment instead of battles?” Rose suggested. “If we’re going to lose gems to the metallic gems, we need some new recruits as well.”
“I don’t think we should focus on that for the moment,” said Garnet. “Let’s see about the things we’ve already discussed, then see if that still looks like a good idea.”
“Good idea, Garnet. I don’t want to get ahead of myself,” said Rose.
Garnet nodded. “I think we should get to work. Nearly all of us have something to do. Rose, You’ll tell Gold about her new assignment?”
Rose nodded. “Of course. I do hope she accepts.”
“If she doesn’t, tell me,” said Cherry. “I’ll ask Scapolite.”
“Thank you, Cherry,” Rose said.
“No problem at all,” said Cherry.
Rose nodded. “Well, let’s all get started.”
The gems dispersed to do their various tasks. Rose was grateful that Gold Pearl and Silver Pearl were separate at the moment, even though it’d mean she and Pearl would have to separate. It would be so much easier to tell Gold without worrying about Silver feeling she’s fallen behind.
Rose said goodbye to Pearl and went to find Gold Pearl. She hoped that it wouldn’t be too hard, thankfully she was fully recharged and didn’t need to worry about the amount of time she could spend as Rose.
She found Gold Pearl talking with Yarhil. “Do you mind if I have a moment with Gold?” Rose asked.
“No,” answered Yarhil. “Go right ahead.” She smiled. “Bye, Gold!”
Gold waved. “Goodbye!” She turned to Rose. “What did you want to talk to me about?”
“Would you be willing to spy on the metallic gems?” Rose asked. “I know you haven’t been here for that long, but your spirit is bold, and I don’t think they’d suspect you.”
“Really?” said Gold, “but when I was training, I fell flat on my face. I can’t fight.”
“You can’t fight yet,” Rose replied instinctively. “But you shouldn’t have to. In fact, being unexperienced in combat will make the metallic gems less likely to expect you to shatter.”
“What if they want me to?” asked Gold. “What then?”
Rose looked at Gold, and the sadness in her eyes stood out more than ever. “They’d probably end up shattering those gems anyway. If you must shatter to keep your part in the group, the information you’ll supply will be important enough to make it worth it.”
“To make it worth shattering?” Gold questioned.
“If Homeworld wins, we’ll all be shattered,” said Rose. “And you can conveniently fail, so you’ll never have to shatter anyone.”
“That will-” Gold started.
“Make it more likely you’re caught, yes,” finished Rose. “But it’s what I would do in your situation. I couldn’t bring myself to shatter anyone, for any reason.”
Gold nodded. “You’re right. I can risk the extra chance of getting discovered if it means keeping everyone else safe.”
“Good!” said Rose. “So are you willing to do it?”
“If you really think I’m best,” said Rose.
“You are so unique. I think that you can learn a lot under the metallic gems, even if you have to sort through what’s right. When I watched you fight, I saw a spirit in you that was determined to do the right thing. You are the perfect choice,” said Rose. “Even your reluctance proves that.”
Gold smiled. “If you’re sure, I trust you.”
Rose shined.”Excellent! We’ve never really had espionage before, so we don’t have anyone to train you, so you can get started right away! The metallic gems are located at- oh wait, you’ve never been to Bismuth’s forge. I’ll warp you there and show you where to leave intelligence.”
Gold and Rose walked to the warp. Rose warped them to the warp outside Bismuth’s forge. She lead Gold Pearl to a rock a little ways away from the warp. “Place anything you learn here. Hopefully, the metallic gems won’t expand this far.”
Gold Pearl nodded. “Ok, now where is the base?”
Rose shapeshifted into her smaller quartz form. “Let me show you.”
They walked back to the warp, then followed the path as far as Rose felt safe. “Can you go on alone?” she asked.
“Goodbye, then,” Rose said. “Best of luck.” She shapeshifted back into her normal Rose Quartz form and walked back to the warp.
Gold took a shaky breath and walked forward. She could do this. Rose believed in her. She believed in herself. She just had to act like a rebel. She already was a rebel. This would be easy. She squared her shoulders and smiled, excited to be given this much responsibility.
She walked down the path until she saw some gems. She assumed they must be metallic gems. She ran forward, there was no turning back now. She waved.
“Hey there,” said Snowflake as she approached. “You ready to be a metallic gem?”
Gold nodded. “Yes! I think that you are all truly doing the right thing and I want to join. I’ve only been a crystal gem for a couple of days, though, so I don’t really know how to fight.”
“That’s ok,” said Snowflake, beaming. “We can show you the ropes! Right now there’s only six of us, including you, but we’re going to grow soon! Can you build?”
Gold Pearl shook her head. “I can try, but I really don’t know that much more than what homeworld taught me.”
“And as you’re a Pearl…” Snowflake said consideringly.
“I’m more than willing to do whatever I can though,” said Gold quickly. “I want to show Homeworld I’m more than they ever thought I could be.”
Snowflake clapped her back. “Welcome aboard! Hey Tiger, Howlite, come meet the new recruit!”
Howlite and Tiger’s Eye, who were working on the base, stopped their work and came over to say hi. “Oh hey! New recruit?” Howlite asked.
Pearl nodded. “I thought you said there were two more?”
“Peridot and Emerald are off scavenging for tech,” Snowflake explained. “You’ll meet them soon enough.”
“Well, I guess I should introduce myself. My name is Gold Pearl, and I’m ready to show Homeworld that they can’t push us around anymore! That we can fight back!”
“That’s the spirit!” Snowflake said. “You’ll fit right in.”
“Wait, you’ve never met Bismuth, have you?” asked Tiger.
“No,” said Gold. “I know she’s the reason you broke off, but I frankly don’t know much more about her.”
“Oh man,” said Tiger. “She is incredible. I hope you’ll be able to meet her someday, but in the meantime I can tell you what she was like when I knew her.”
Gold smiled. “Yes! I’d love to learn more about her! She seems really interesting!”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, if we start telling stories about Bismuth, we’ll be here all day,” said Howlite. “Let’s get back to building. Pearl, do what you can, and we’ll see if we can talk as we work.”
“Sounds good,” said Gold. She picked up a tool, hoping she knew what it did. “Let’s get to work.”
The metallic gems and Gold discussed their bubbled leader while they worked on constructing a truly impressive base. They laughed and joked, and Gold felt oddly at home, despite what she was here to do.
Hello! I just found your blog and I have to say, the story is amazing! The characters are pretty on point and just, *chef kiss*
Oh my goodness that’s so sweet, thank you so much! I’m pretty confident with my Rose and Pearl because I’ve thought about them a lot, but I feel like after Nano is over I really need to work on developing Garnet’s voice a little stronger so she’s an actual character and not just a dispenser of future vison. I really appreciate it though, it means a lot to hear people are enjoying my story, thank you so much!
The ship docked outside of the zoo. A pink bubble surrounded Pearl and Pink, which wooshed them down to the zoo’s landing dock for smaller ships. A pair of Jaspers was guarding the door to the zoo. Before Pink’s bubble arrived, they had been laughing with each other, but now they stood straight upright. They both diamond saluted.
“Welcome, My Diamond,” they said in unison.
Pink pushed down the urge to thank them and strode past them as if they didn’t exist. She headed to the room where the Rose Quartzes were held. Fire Agate came rushing up to Pink Diamond. “What are you here for today, My Diamond?” she asked.
“I’m here for the Rose Quartzes,” Pink said. “Yellow and I thought they may be of some use yet.”
“Ah, of course, my Diamond,” said Fire Agate. “Do you need any assistance from me?”
“No,” said Pink. “You are dismissed.”
“Yes, my Diamond,” Fire diamond saluted once again and stood still while Pink strode forward. Pink went to the Rose Quartz room and pulled down three bubbles. “Do you think these will be alright?” she asked Pearl.
Pearl glanced at the Jaspers guarding the door pointedly. “Of course my Diamond. Your choice is excellent, as always.”
Pink mentally scolded herself for letting her guard down. She gave the bubbles to Pearl, who put them in her gem. Pink left the human zoo and went back to her ship. Once they were back on the ship and heading to Earth, Pink sighed. “Sorry, Pearl.”
“It’s ok,” Pearl said. “I understand what we need to do to keep the crystal gems going.”
“I wish I didn’t have to treat anyone like that,” Pink said. “But I’ll get in trouble if I ‘interact with those below my station.’” She sighed. “Now I can’t wait to get back to the palanquin.”
Pearl nodded. “I’m excited to meet them.”
“I wish I could show them my real self and not my diamond self.”
“Last we knew they were loyal to Homeworld,” Pearl said sadly. “They’d probably tell Yellow and Blue.”
“I know,” said Pink, “But I still wish there was some way to be closer to them. I feel like it would somehow make up for everything they’ve been through. I know that’s absurd, but some part of me still wishes-”
“I know,” said Pearl. “You wish you could be kinder to them than they’ll expect, but it would put everyone involved in danger. Is it not kinder to keep them safe, even if they’re slightly inconvenienced by your presence?”
“I suppose,” said Pink. “I just wish I could do more.”
“You’re doing so much already!” said Pearl.
Pink sighed. “I suppose. How close are we?”
“Almost there, my Diamond.”
Pink smiled hesitantly. “I hope they’ll be happy.”
“I’m sure they will be, my Diamond.”
Pink saw the Earth come into view. The ship landed on the ground and docked. Pearl and Pink disembarked.
Pink smiled and ran over to the warp. As soon as Pearl stepped onto it, Pink activated it. She made sure to stand straight and tall as she headed back to her palanquin.
Pink looked behind her to make sure the curtain was closed, then she knelt on the ground. “Pearl?”
“Yes, my Diamond.” Pearl pulled the bubbles out of her head.
Pink reached a finger out and popped all three of them sequentially.
“You should probably stand up, my Diamond,” Pearl suggested. “It’s proper.”
“Thank you, Pearl,” said Pink, and stood as the Roses reformed.
The Roses looked around in shock until their eyes settled on Pink. They all diamond saluted.
Pink straightened up. “You have been unbubbled due to recent developments in the war. From now on, you answer to me, and you do not leave this palanquin. Yellow Diamond and myself have deemed you of possible use. However, you are in the same batch as the rebel leader, and are therefore considered defective. Therefore, any misstep will be considered a grave offense and will be punished accordingly.”
“Yes, my Diamond,” they all chanted in unison.
“Good,” Pink said. She felt horrible. They all looked so scared. Her brow furrowed in concern.
“Is something wrong, my Diamond?” the Rose with her gem on her cheek, asked.
Pink shook her head. “No, I am just concerned. It is nothing for you to worry about.”
“What do you need us to do, my Diamond?” another one asked. She had her gem on her hip.
“Nothing, at the moment,” Pink said. “Yellow Diamond and I want to see if you have healing powers like the rebel Rose Quartz. They could prove useful.” Pink looked at the Roses with concern. There was no way they could relax at all with her around. But she didn’t want to leave them alone again. She had an idea. “I have something I must tend to by myself. Pearl, stay here.”
Pearl looked surprised for a moment, then realization dawned on her face. “Yes, my Diamond.” She diamond saluted.
Pink left the palanquin and went to the moon base to observe the metallic gems.
When Pink left, Pearl relaxed. She smiled. “Welcome back.”
The third Rose, with her gem on the back of her hand looked mildly surprised. “If we’re considered ‘defective’ and ‘dangerous,’ why would Pink Diamond leave us alone with her Pearl?”
“My Diamond knows that you know you’ll be shattered if you even try to attack me,” said Pearl. She hated having to play the part as much as Pink, but she had to make this believable. “Plus, I can always be replaced.”
“Are you going to tell her if we, you know, relax a little?” Cheek Rose asked.
“No,” answered Pearl. “In my experience, she won’t ask, and I know better than to speak out of turn.”
“So, how long has it been since we’ve been bubbled?” asked Hip Rose.
“Approximately five hundred and forty-eight years,” said Pearl.
“So we’re always going to be treated like rebels just because someone else in our batch decided to go rogue?” Hip Rose asked the other Roses angrily.
“We have to understand that the Diamonds’ decisions are far more important than our individual happiness,” Hand Rose said. “They have good reason to believe our cut is defective. We should be grateful we aren’t shards.”
“I suppose,” said Cheek Rose. “It still feels like we’re being held captive, doing jobs we’d be glad to do anyway.”
Hip Rose rolled her eyes. “I’d be willing to shatter that rebel Rose, just for ruining all of our good names.”
“I’d be glad to do it if I was ordered to,” said Hand Rose, “But I’d rather let Pink Diamond have the honor. She’s had to go through so much because of this rebel Rose Quartz.”
“Pink Diamond shouldn’t have to get her hands dirty like that!” Cheek Rose exclaimed. “She’s a Diamond, she’s too graceful for that.”
Hip Rose nodded. “I suppose, but if I were her, I’d do it, protocol or no protocol.”
“That’s why she’s a Diamond and you’re not,” said Hand Rose. “The diamonds have a grace and dignity that we could never imagine.”
Pearl smiled. She thought of the amount of times she’d seen Rose fall flat on her face. Rose was clumsy and sweet and didn’t care what anyone else thought of her. Pearl suddenly realized why no one suspected Pink of being Rose. Everyone thought so highly of the diamonds that thinking of someone so carefree, so kind, so accepting, someone doing everything completely antithetical to what the diamonds were supposed to do, as a Diamond was completely outlandish.
She supposed Pink could be graceful, but it always seemed more of an accident than anything else. When she was trying to be graceful, she always ended up messing something up. It was nice. It seemed like Pearl knew her better than anyone else. Pearl started to wonder when Pink would come back. The quartzes had a chance to get to know each other. It didn’t seem like they were too upset, considering everything that had happened to them. Trying to convert them to the Crystal Gems seemed like an impossible task, however. They had too much bitterness at Rose for their situation, not that Pearl could blame them.
Pearl realized that she hadn’t been listening to the Roses for the past few minutes. She tried to zone back into their conversation.
“So I guess we’ll have to get to know each other well,” said Cheek Rose. “We can’t go anywhere else, and it seems like Pink Diamond will be in and out.”
“Not that we could be close with her,” Hand Rose added. “We’d never be able to offer anything valuable to her.”
“Of course,” said Cheek Rose, “but we could watch her. I’m sure watching her in motion is absolutely incredible.”
“We probably wouldn’t understand half of what she does,” said Hand Rose.
“And if we did, we might be accused of spying for the Crystal Gems,” said Hip Rose.
“Pink Diamond would never wrongly accuse us!” said Hand Rose.
“I mean, the Diamonds did order us all bubbled for being in the same batch as the rebel leader,” said Cheek Rose. “Not that I’m doubting the diamonds,” she added quickly. She sighed. “What if we are defective?”
Hip Rose smiled. “Then we’re defective together.”
“And we can still do our very best to serve the Diamonds,” said Hand Rose. “It doesn’t matter if we’re defective if we keep ourselves accountable.”
“Besides, it’s not like we could do any real damage,” said Hip Rose. “She’s easily replaceable,” she said, gesturing at Pearl. “And if you really think that three quartzes could scratch a Diamond, I think you’re terribly mistaken.”
Cheek Rose smiled.
Pink Diamond pulled back the curtain to her Palanquin. The Roses immediately straightened up and saluted.
“Pearl,” Pink said. “Follow me.”
“Yes, my Diamond.” Pearl followed behind Pink to the warp.
Pink and Pearl warped back near a crystal gem base. Pink shifted into Rose.
“Do you want to talk about the Roses or get Garnet, Cherry, and Desert Glass to discuss the metallic gems?” Rose asked.
“I think we should talk about the Roses first,” Pearl said.
Rose nodded. “Let’s find a private room. I’m very curious as to what they had to say.” she started running to the crystal gems’ base.
Pearl followed Rose. They arrived at the crystal gem base and walked to a private room.
Pearl sighed. “Please don’t leave me alone with them again.”
“Oh no!” Rose exclaimed. “Was it that bad?”
Pearl nodded. “I think we tend to forget how Pearls are treated by Homeworld gems. I was an object, a piece of furniture.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Rose said. “I keep thinking that every gem would be a crystal gem if they had a chance. I completely forget that they’d act like you weren’t even there.”
“It’s ok,” Pearl said. “I learned a lot about them.”
“Are you sure?” Rose asked. “You seem upset.”
“No, I was completely on board with the idea when you said it,” Pearl reminded her. “I can tell you what they talked about. They were mostly mad at you, Rose, and talked about how you should be shattered and how unfair it was they were bubbled for so long.”
“That’s fair,” said Rose. “I mean, imagine if they knew I wasn’t even a Rose Quartz. That they were bubbled for nothing.”
“They seemed pretty loyal to Pink Diamond,” said Pearl. “I think they’d be very conflicted.”
“So am I,” said Rose, “so I don’t blame them at all. Did they say anything else?”
“Not really. They seem to be getting along pretty well. I think that they’ll be happy, at least for a while.”
“That’s good,” said Rose. “Shall we go talk to Garnet, Cherry, and Desert Glass?”
Pearl nodded. “Yes. I’ll tell you if I think of anything else.”
Rose smiled and strode out of the room. Pearl followed behind. They found Garnet, Cherry, and Desert, and asked them to meet in a planning room that night.
Pearl and Rose trekked to Rose’s secret armory. At the bottom of the cliff, Rose shapeshifted back into Pink, swept Pearl into her arms, and jumped up. Her floating powers let her leap all the way to the top without climbing.
Once they were at the top, Pink set Pearl on the ground and they walked the rest of the way to the armory. At the center of the armory floated Bismuth’s bubble.
“So you’ve moved it here?” Pearl asked.
Pink nodded. “It was safer. We can find a better spot later.”
Pearl nodded. “Is that what you wanted to talk to me about?”
Pink shook her head. “I saw the metallic gems’ base. They’re at Bismuth’s forge. They’ve recruited Tiger’s Eye, I don’t know if they’ve recruited anyone else.”
Pearl’s hands flew to her mouth. “No, not Tiger’s Eye!” She was silent for a moment. “Before, we never really had to worry about any Crystal Gems defecting,” she said softly.
“It’s nice they have another option,” said Pink, “but it might make us less likely to trust each other.”
Pearl looked at Pink in awe. “I’m amazed by the fact that you think about the fact gems have another option now.”
“I always felt bad about the fact that it was nearly impossible for anyone to leave the crystal gems,” Pink said. “That everyone gave up their entire way of life, that no one could go back.”
“That’s Homeworld’s fault though,” said Pearl. “They have the option to accept everyone, and they don’t.”
“But I am Homeworld,” said Pink. “Look at me. I’m a diamond. I should be able to make some change, and yet, I can’t.”
“That’s right,” said Pearl, “you can’t. It doesn’t matter that most gems think you can, that doesn’t change the fact that you’re doing everything in your power.”
Pink sighed. “It doesn’t really matter, anyway. What matters is that we now have information on the metallic gems. We should probably send a spy to collect information.”
Pearl nodded. “I mean they probably won’t actively try to fight us, right? We probably don’t have to actively collect information on them.”
“I suppose you’re right, but I know everything that there is to know about Homeworld and the Crystal Gems. It’s so scary to have to worry about information for the first time,” said Pink.
“Yes,” Pearl said. “I understand. I know she’s new, but I think Gold Pearl could be a good candidate for a spy. She’s bold, and determined to do the right thing. She’d fit in, but I think she’d also be loyal to us.”
“Really? Not someone we’ve known a little longer?” Pink asked. “It might be easy for the metallic gems to convince her to start shattering.”
“If you’re going to send a spy, they’re going to have to act like a metallic gem,” said Pearl. “And that means they might be forced to shatter in battle. I also think that’s why someone less experienced could be a good call. Gold Pearl doesn’t know how to fight very well, so it’s likely they won’t send her into battle just yet.”
Pink nodded. “Thank you for your insight, Pearl. I think we should ask Garnet’s advice, and perhaps Cherry’s. She knows most of these gems better than anyone.”
Pearl nodded. “Bringing Cherry and Garnet into the planning room is a good idea. Anyone else you can think of?”
“Hmm,” Pearl said. “Maybe Desert Glass? She’s a good strategist.”
Pink nodded. “Good idea, thank you Pearl.”
Pearl smiled. Pink still felt completely different than Rose, but she liked feeling like she did well. Pink’s praise was so genuine. It felt like she truly believed Pearl was the smartest gem in the world. She was so perfect, Pearl just couldn’t understand.
“We should probably get some of my tears while we’re here,” said Pink. “No point in disappointing the diamonds.”
Pearl nodded. “I don’t know exactly when they want you to meet up again, we should probably check on that soon. It won’t be good if they can’t find you.”
Pink nodded. She strode to the armory activation and placed her hand on top. A horde of glass bottles rose up. She strode forward to hold one. “This seems good. All I have to do now is cry.”
“Can you do it?” asked Pearl. “I know it’s hard to cry on command.”
“Thank you, Pearl,” Pink said, “but I think I can manage.”
Pink thought about how powerless she was. She thought about all of the planets that had been destroyed by Blue, Yellow, and White. She thought about all of the gems that had been destroyed and would be destroyed. She thought about everyone she hurt, about everyone she left behind. She thought of the shame she’d feel if White ever caught on to what she was doing. Slowly, a tear began to run down her cheek. She made sure to catch it in the bottle. “Do you think that’ll be enough?” She asked.
Pearl nodded. “Catching that much from an enemy leader is impressive.”
“Oh gosh how are we going to explain how we got them?” Pink worried.
“I’m sure they won’t ask, my diamond,” Pearl reassured her.
“But what if they do?”
“The crystal gems kept this somewhere, and I was able to steal it?”
“I suppose,” Pink said. “But what if that unravels? This is all so risky.”
“Just think about being able to heal shattered gems,” said Pearl.
“It will all be worth it,” agreed Pink, “but in the meantime, I can’t help but be scared.”
“I understand,” said Pearl. “I mean, no matter what happens, the diamonds most likely won’t harm you permanently, but I’m disposable.”
“-To them,” Pink finished, when it appeared Pearl was going to leave it there. “But I doubt they’d spare me either, after everything I’ve done.”
“You’d know better than me,” said Pearl. “Of course, now we have to worry about you getting captured or shattered by the metallic gems, too.”
“I’m sure they’d love nothing more,” said Pink. “Which is part of the reason we need information from them. It’ll be less suspicious if Rose sends a crystal gem than if Pink sends a homeworld gem.”
Pearl nodded. “That’s a good point. They’re probably more likely to be cautious of Homeworld than the Crystal Gems.”
“I really stretched myself today,” Pink said sadly. “I don’t think I can go back.”
“Really?” asked Pearl, “Even after Rainbow?”
Pink nodded. “I used a new form to disguise myself when I visited the metallic gems’ base. I guess I’m not as used to it so it takes more effort to maintain.”
“Hmm,” Pearl said. “Maybe you could convince the other diamonds to let you unbubble some Rose Quartzes to see if they also have healing powers?”
Pink grinned. “That’s genius, Pearl! I can fake it so it seems they do, and that way we’ll be able to release some of those poor gems who were imprisoned for looking like me. Let’s request a meeting right away!”
Pearl nodded. Pearl and Pink left the armory, floated down the cliffside, and walked back to the warp. Pearl warped them, and they snuck into the palanquin, despite the extra guards. “Do you think the direct diamond line in the moon base would be the best option?”
Pearl nodded. “They might not approve of an in-person visit, and you just need a quick bit of permission.”
Pearl and Pink walked to the warp and warped to the moon base, closely followed by Amethyst guards all the way up to the warp. When they got to the moon, they hurried up the stairs. Pink sat in her throne. “Pearl, would you please?”
“Yes, my diamond.”
Pearl activated the direct diamond line, which led straight to Yellow. “What is it, Pink?” Yellow asked. She already seemed slightly annoyed, but Pink figured that wouldn’t get much better.
“I got the tears,” Pink said. “They seem to work as rumored, but there’s no way to get a larger supply-”
“Thank you, Pink,” Yellow said, cutting her off. “I appreciate the update.” She reached to turn the call off.
“Wait!” Pink exclaimed. Yellow drew her hand back. “I was calling because I think unbubbling the Rose Quartzes, at least a few of them, that we have in the zoo, could help us understand if they, too, have similar healing powers. Of course, we’d keep them in a small area so that they couldn’t do much damage, even if they were defective.”
Yellow nodded. “Unbubble three and keep them in your palanquin. Let them know that if they’re seen outside your palanquin they will be shattered. Let them know that if they try to injure you or your Pearl in any way, they will be shattered. Let no other gem know you’re doing this,” she ordered.
“Not even Blue?” Pink questioned.
“Not even Blue,” Yellow affirmed. “It’s better to keep this as small as possible, for now.”
“Thank you, Yellow,” said Pink.
“It’s a good idea,” Yellow complimented. “Is that all?”
“Yes, Yellow,” Pink said.
Yellow reached over and hung up the call.
Pink squealed, picked up Pearl, and spun in a circle. “Isn’t it great, Pearl?!” She set Pearl down.
Pearl smiled. “I’m so proud, my diamond.”
“I was actually able to do something!” Pink squealed. “We have to go let them out now!”
“Yes, my diamond,” said Pearl.
Pink scooped Pearl up and floated to the bottom of the base. She set Pearl down and Pearl activated the warp to Pink’s ship. Pink stepped inside.
She started to run, and the ship moved with her. She jumped into the air, and fell clumsily to the ground. She laughed. “Well, I got it into the air.”
“You’ll do that gracefully yet, my diamond,” Pearl told her.
Pink grinned. “I don’t care! I can’t wait! How long do you think it’ll take?”
“A few moments, my diamond,” Pearl informed her. “It shouldn’t take too long.”
Pink threw her head back “Ugh! I just wish I could free all of them!”
“Perhaps if Yellow sees this as a success, she’ll let you continue with the rest.”
Pink suddenly froze completely upright. “Wait, how am I going to sneak out of the palanquin without letting them know my secret? There’s no reason for ‘Pink Diamond’ to be gone so frequently.”
“You can pretend to go to the moon base, my diamond,” Pearl said. “Or anywhere, really. Warp somewhere as Pink, then shapeshift when you get there.”
“Goodness Pearl, how didn’t I think of that?” Pink questioned.
“We probably should’ve been doing that this whole time,” said Pearl.
Pink pressed her face up against the glass. “Come on, ship. Come on, ship. Come on, ship!”
“We’re nearly there, my diamond,” Pearl said. “If you want, I can chart our flight path for you.”
“Would you, Pearl?” Pink asked, spinning around to look at her.
“Of course, my diamond,” said Pearl. She projected a dotted line connecting Earth to the Zoo, with a blinking light representing where the ship was at the moment. It was about 2/3s of the way to the Zoo.
Pink grinned. “We’re so close! Are you excited?”
Pearl looked at Pink’s beaming face. She couldn’t help but smile too. “Very, my diamond.”
“How do you think I should introduce myself? ‘Hi, I’m Pink Diamond, but of course, you already-’” she huffed. “No, not dignified enough.” She tried again. “‘Greetings. You have been given a new assignment. The rebel Rose Quartz has healing powers that we would like to replicate. We have unbubbled you, for the time being, to study these healing powers. In the meantime, you are not to leave this palanquin. As Rose Quartzes in the same batch as the rebel leader, you are considered defective, and any misdeed will be heavily punished.’ Is that too intimidating?”
“No, my diamond,” said Pearl. “I think that’s precisely how they’d expect you to treat them.”
“Ugh,” said Pink, “I don’t want to mistreat them.”
“But anything else will seem suspicious,” said Pearl. “It’s hard. But I think the best thing for now is to keep them, and yourself, safe.”
“You’re righ- I see it!” Pink said. She saw the human zoo. She felt a pang of guilt as she thought about all of the humans imprisoned there, but gave her hair a poof and stood up tall. She could put on her Diamond act long enough for this visit, especially since she’d get to free some Roses.
Rose stepped off the warp pad. She knew she wouldn’t be able to access the forge without Bismuth, but she could still look at it, as a reminder of the friend she’d lost. She headed down the path, only to hear voices and the clanging of rock. She stopped. What could that possibly be?
Oh. Of course the metallic gems would set up near Bismuth’s forge. Well, taking a break from shapeshifting was out of the question. In fact, being Rose probably wouldn’t stop her from being shattered. She thought about turning back, sending a smaller gem to scout the forge out, but decided to do some looking herself.
However, she figured it wouldn’t make sense to take more risks than necessary. She traded out her dress for a typical quartz uniform and her hair for something shorter and choppier. She felt it, and felt disappointed about how similar it felt to her hair as Pink Diamond, but she couldn’t stop and worry about that now. They’d probably immediately figure out it was her, anyway, all other Rose Quartzes had been bubbled, but she could at least try to pretend she had run away from Homeworld and hid. She didn’t have an excuse for why she wouldn’t have joined the crystal gems, but, she supposed, she just wouldn’t get caught.
She took a cautious step forward. She was well aware that there weren’t many good hiding spots. The rocks were mostly small and scattered, and there were no trees or plants. She was scared, but she was too curious to stop now. What were the metallic gems up to?
She continued edging forward, trying to be careful not to be seen or heard. She peeked around a corner and saw Howlite, Snowflake, and Tiger’s Eye working on a blocky base. Wait, Tiger’s eye? She hadn’t gone with them originally. Rose realized with sudden horror that she hadn’t seen Tiger’s Eye since that morning. She was normally on the guard force, but Rose had assumed she’d been on a small hit-and-run.
Rose blinked. She couldn’t focus on that now. She should look at what else she could see about the metallic gems and their base. It was made of black cubes sticking out of the mountain at odd angles, some were stacked on top of each other, some seemed suspended on nothing, but Rose figured the base must be taking up the entirety of the inside of the mountain. It was rather big for just four- no, five, gems. They were planning on expanding.
Rose wondered briefly if they’d try to recruit more from Homeworld or the Crystal Gems. If they recruited from Homeworld, it could help the Crystal Gems by dwindling Homeworld’s forces and bringing more gems to fight them. However, if Tiger’s Eye was anything to go by, it would probably be quicker and easier to recruit from the Crystal Gems.
Speculation could be done later, Rose thought. Could she overhear anything they were saying? No, the noises of the base being built were too loud. She wondered if she could or should send someone as a spy. The metallic gems were the only faction that Rose didn’t have endless information on at her fingertips. Then again, she figured having spies on the Metallic gems and not on Homeworld would seem pretty suspicious.
She stood and watched from a good distance for a while, being extraordinarily careful not to be seen. She eventually decided people would be worried about her, and quietly moved back to the warp, getting less cautious as she was further away. When she got in front of the warp, she shifted back into her normal Rose Quartz form. She felt exhausted. She supposed she’d have to rest soon.
She warped back to the base and made her way back to the training room, chatting with various gems along the way. When she arrived, Pearl grinned. “Rose! How was it?”
Rose smiled. “Excellent. Cherry’s not back yet?” she questioned.
“I asked her if I could take over for today. Gold and Silver here are making so much progress, I figured switching teachers would be harmful for them,” Pearl said.
“Thank you,” Silver said timidly.
“I mean it,” said Pearl. “You both remind me of when I first joined the Crystal Gems, timid, a bit unsure, but ready to make a difference. In fact, I think you’re ready to fight Rainbow.”
“We’ve met her, right?” Gold asked. “She was the one who carried us out of the Reef.”
“We’re not ready to fight her!” Silver exclaimed. “She was so tall!”
“Relax,” said Rose. “We wouldn’t be trying to actually fight you, just show you some techniques you can use against bigger gems. Or fusions, especially now that the metallic gems have split off.”
Pearl nodded. “Fighting a fusion can feel completely different from fighting even a single large gem.”
“Alright,” said Gold. “I’m willing to try.”
“Silver Pearl?” Rose asked gently.
“You don’t have to if you don’t want to,” Rose said.
Silver looked determined. “But I do want to! I’m scared, but I don’t want to let that stop me.”
Rose grinned and looked at Pearl. “Shall we?”
Their dance was different this time. They had swords, and they used them in their dance, so it looked much like fighting to anyone who didn’t know Rose and Pearl well. They clashed and flipped. Rose twirled Pearl with her available hand and dipped her.
“It’s great to see you again!” Rainbow said. “Let’s go slow at first so you can learn patterns, then we can gradually speed it up.”
Silver and Gold gripped their swords and got ready.
“I’ll let you attack first,” Rainbow said.
Gold charged at Rainbow, who dodged out of the way, and made a counterstrike with Rose’s sword, which Gold countered. The black pair of eyes swiveled to look at Silver, who was trying to sneak in an attack while Rainbow was focused on Gold.
Rainbow was more comfortable when her eyes were looking the same direction, but during battle, it was often necessary to split her attention between two directions. Rainbow parried Silver and leapt back to take a look at them. They were both advancing on her, but she saw that their balance was weighted forward and they’d both have a difficult time turning around.
Rainbow ran forward between them. Gold nearly fell trying to turn around, but Silver was only thrown slightly off-balance.
Rainbow unfused. “I hope you both understand why keeping your weight underneath you is important,” Pearl said.
Gold nodded. “It’s so hard worrying about form when someone twice your height is charging at you.”
“That’s why you need to drill it until it’s natural,” said Pearl. “So you don’t have to worry about it.”
“Oh,” said Silver. “Is that why you had us fight Rainbow?”
“So you could see why what I’m teaching you is important, yes,” Pearl said. “Rose, would you go get Cherry and make sure she doesn’t want to tell them anything else, I think I’ll be done shortly.”
Rose nodded. “Of course.” Rose hung her sword up and went to go find Cherry, only to be intercepted by Garnet.
“She’ll be in the left planning room out of the main corridor,” Garnet said.
“Oh,” said Rose. “Thank you. Are you taking time for yourself, Garnet? You look tired.”
“It has been hard,” Garnet said. “I think I’m struggling with the fact that even though I have so much more information than I did, I still am missing so much. I feel like I’m supposed to be infallible in a way that I simply can’t be.”
“Garnet,” Rose said. “You are absolutely incredible. Your very existence is beautiful. Believe in yourself. You are the answer, go with your intuition. Never doubt yourself.”
“Thank you, Rose,” said Garnet.
Rose grinned. “I mean it.”
Garnet smiled. “I know. Now, go get Cherry before she leaves the planning room.”
Rose started running in that direction. “Thanks, Garnet!”
She rounded a corner and before she reached the room where Cherry was, she dashed into another side room, and slammed the door behind her. She hadn’t realized how tired she was getting, but she suddenly felt cramped as she rose to her full height. She looked down at her gloved hands. She hated this form. She hated everything about Pink Diamond. She had done so much harm.
Maybe that’s why she told everyone about Bismuth. She didn’t want Rose to be anything like Pink. She sat on the floor, and hugged her knees. She would’ve thought that Rainbow would’ve restored enough that she didn’t need to do this, but she guessed that wasn’t long enough to do much.
She tried not to let her thoughts spiral into self-hatred, but it was so hard. She had messed so much up. She’d made so many mistakes. Did she make anyone feel insignificant today? Maybe that conversation with Ruby had accidentally caused her some pain, Rose realized. She hadn’t even thought about it at the time- she hadn’t thought about Ruby, she’d ignored her. She’d have to apologize. But then what if Ruby didn’t remember the conversation at all?
Rose sighed. Why did she have to spend any time in this form? She wished she could just be Rose all the time. She just wanted to be herself, and now, that was Rose more than it ever was Pink Diamond. She thought wistfully back to when she was first made. She was absolutely horrendous and she was so grateful she had learned, but it was the only time in her life she never felt like she was playing pretend.
Pink remembered the first time she demanded a colony. At the time, she just wanted to be included, she was upset that Yellow was leaving her behind. When was the last time she felt free to speak her mind like that? It was when- Rose felt a tightness in her chest, and tears well up in her eyes as she remembered her Pearl crouching on the floor, covering her eye, Pink imploring, trying to protect her, and White- Rose thought of that creepy smile she had to see at every ball after that. Her first friend, drained of all life, of all soul, and it was all her fault. Begging for Pearl was the last time Pink remembered saying everything on her mind, holding no secrets back.
Pink supposed she should be grateful that she’d learned since then, that she’d learned restraint and how to keep some things inside. But some part of her longed to be able to be her full, entire self with no restraint. But, she supposed, that would never happen now.
She let her hands drop to the floor and took stock. She didn’t know how long it had been, but she was feeling ready to shapeshift for at least as long as the conversation with Cherry would take.
She stood up, her hair brushing the ceiling, and shapeshifted back into Rose Quartz. She smiled. She felt like herself again. She walked out the door and down the hall. She hoped Cherry was still in the planning room.
She knocked on the room that Cherry was in. She heard Cherry say “come in.”
Rose pushed open the door and said “Pearl said she’s almost done with training, so she wanted to make sure there’s nothing else you wanted to do before she dismissed Silver and Gold.”
“Oh!” said Cherry, “Yes, actually, I need to go over a few things before I let them go.”
“Shall we walk back together?” Rose asked.
“Of course,” Cherry said. “I mean, you’ll probably want to talk to Pearl, right?”
Rose nodded. Cherry and Rose chatted while walking back to the training room. Once they got there, Rose waved at Pearl.
“You were gone a while,” Gold noted.
“I got stopped by Garnet,” Rose explained, which was half true.
“Well, I’m glad you’re back!” said Pearl, quickly. “I’ll see the two of you later.”
Rose nodded. “It was lovely seeing you two again. Goodbye, Cherry, Goodbye Silver, Goodbye, Gold.”
Gold, Silver, and Cherry waved and said goodbye.
Rose and Pearl left the room. “Pearl, follow me,” Rose said. “I need to talk to you in private.”
Pearl and Rose headed back to the Crystal Gem base. They quickly told Garnet everything they “overheard,” which included the news about the diamonds turning gems into weapons, and not the part where the diamonds were going to try to heal shattered gems using Rose’s tears.
“So?” asked Rose. “What should we do?”
“This is a complicated situation,” Garnet said. “We need to exercise caution. Tell our gems to be more cautious- that includes you, Pearl.”
“Me?” Pearl said, indignantly.
Rose giggled. “You say that like you don’t know what she’s talking about.”
“I can be cautious!” Pearl exclaimed.
Rose giggled. Garnet looked doubtful. “In any case, I think it would be foolish to focus on the metallic gems instead of homeworld. Homeworld is still our main adversary. The metallic gems share the same fundamental goal as us,” Garnet said.
“Right,” said Rose. “So what should we do about Homeworld?”
Garnet thought for a moment. “That’s for you to decide. The future is cloudy. We need to change fate.”
“That hopeless, huh?” Rose asked.
Garnet shrugged. “Not as bad as when it was just the three of us.”
“You’ve also been getting better at seeing possible paths,” Rose said.
“Your teaching on how to trust myself and look at things I never thought possible helped,” Garnet said.
Rose grinned. “I’m glad! Your abilities are wonderful, and the fact that you figured out how to use them properly is incredible.”
“If only I could figure out which path to go down now,” Garnet said.
“Don’t be too hard on yourself,” Rose said. “You’ve guided me wonderfully up until now, and I know I can count on you.”
“Thank you.” Garnet sighed. “As an advisor, without looking into the future, I’d suggest playing defensive, at the moment. The metallic gems’ entire purpose is to be more disruptive than us, and if Homeworld is focused on developing weapons, they’re not as focused on developing the colony. Until we figure out what they come up with and how to turn it against them, we need to focus on as few gems getting poofed as possible.”
Rose nodded. “Thank you, Garnet.” She grabbed both of Garnet’s hands. “You are truly incredible. You are what caused me to truly believe that fighting for gemkind was worth it.”
Garnet smiled. “I trust you, Rose. Personally, I hate the diamonds enough that I would shatter them if I could, but if you say that’s not what we’re going to do, then I trust that you know best. You believed in me before I believed in myself, so I’ll believe in you now.”
“You really think shattering the diamonds…” Rose trailed off.
“I have a habit of looking at outcomes, then the path it takes to get there,” Garnet said. “Frankly, as long as the diamonds are around, I doubt they’ll let us have control of the planet. But, if I know anything, I know it’s possible to change fate.”
“Thank you for trusting in me, Garnet,” Rose said.
Garnet nodded. “Of course.”
“We should check in on the Pearls from the Reef the other day,” Rose said. “We’ve been in such a hurry dealing with the metallic gems that I nearly forgot about them. They must be having such a hard time fitting in.”
“They should be in the armory,” said Garnet. “I think Cherry is teaching them to use axes.”
“Thanks, Garnet!” Rose exclaimed as she ran out of the room. Pearl followed behind.
Rose and Pearl burst into Cherry’s training session. The Pearls were learning basic fighting stances, but it was very clear they were new to fighting.
Cherry waved. “Hey guys, need something?” she asked.
“I just wanted to see how the Pearls are doing,” Rose said, “so, how are you doing?”
Gold grinned. “Rose! I thought I wouldn’t see you around much, since you’re the leader and all.”
Rose smiled. “I don’t want to leave anyone to feel stranded. I want to be available to anyone, anyone should be able to talk to me.”
“That’s very noble,” said Silver. “I’m adjusting well, thank you for checking in.”
“Pearl, would you mind taking over the training session?” Cherry asked. “I’m trying to get them to figure out what weapon suits them best, so you don’t have to stick with axes.”
“Yes, but why would I need to?” Pearl asked.
“I need to talk with Rose real quick. It should only take a few moments,”
“Okay,” Pearl said hesitantly.
Rose and Cherry went to a side room off of the main armory. “So, what did you want to talk about?” she asked.
“I know you like to think the best about everyone, but I’m worried about your plan on where to keep Bismuth. Between the metallic gems being able to relatively easily raid and get to her, and literally any double-crossing gem being able to access her, it seems risky to continue keeping her in the relative open, even with guards,” Cherry said.
Rose nodded. “That’s unfortunate. I really wished that gems could pay their respects.”
Cherry nodded. “I think safety is our first priority. We can worry about that later.”
“You’re right,” said Rose. “Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Shall we go watch Pearl train Gold and Silver?” She turned to leave.
“Wait!” Cherry said, “that’s not all. I also think we need more guards assigned. Homeworld doesn’t know exactly where our bases are, the metallic gems do. They also know we’re pretty lax on the guards. If they raided right now, it could be devastating.”
Rose turned back around to face Cherry. “Thank you, Cherry. I doubt they would raid so soon, they’ll probably try to get a base established, but I won’t deny that it’s in the realm of possibility. How many more guards do you think we should have?”
“I know it’s ambitious,” said Cherry, “but I think we should double it, at least. Our guards have basically counted on the fact that Homeworld doesn’t know where we are, but the metallic gems know exactly where we are and where everything is within the base.”
Rose nodded. “That means we’ll have to scale back on big wars and focus more on the small hit-and-run missions, but we can do it.”
“Excellent,” Cherry said. “I’ll also work on moving guards so that metallic gems won’t know where exactly everything is.”
Rose smiled softly. “Thank you, Cherry. I don’t know what I did before you joined.”
“Let’s go out, I’ll offer to take back over for Pearl,” Cherry said.
Rose smiled brighter. “Pearl loves teaching. I’m sure she’d be glad to take over so you can work on shifting the guards around, and I’ll move Bismuth.:
“I still want to offer,” said Cherry.
“Of course,” said Rose.
Rose and Cherry went back to the armory. They watched while Pearl demonstrated swordsmanship to the other Pearls. Rose admired Pearl’s determination, the clean lines she formed with her body and the sword as she elegantly fought. She looked so serious, so passionate, and yet she looked like she found absolute joy in it. In fighting, in teaching.
Rose watched her intently. She was truly the most graceful gem Rose had met. That was, until she met Rose’s eyes, blushed bright blue, and fell flat on the floor. Rose giggled.
“Now, don’t do that,” Pearl suggested to Silver and Gold. “Rose, I wasn’t expecting you to be done so soon.”
“Are you alright?” Rose asked.
“Yes, yes,” Pearl said. “I’m fine. Cherry, did you want to take back over?”
“If you want me to,” Cherry said.
“Pearl, would you be willing to stay here while Cherry and I manage some things?” Rose asked.
“Of course, Rose,” Pearl said.
“You don’t have-” Cherry started.
“No, I insist,” Pearl said. “I love teaching other Pearls how to hold their own.”
“Excellent.” Rose said. She waved. “See you soon.”
Pearl blushed, then quickly nodded. “Right.”
Rose strode out of the room, she took a right to head to the room where Bismuth was currently located. She didn’t know quite where to put the bubble but she figured her secret armory would work quite well for the moment. Pearl was the only other gem to know about it, and if Pearl decided to turn against her, she had bigger problems to worry about. Like Cherry said, letting people visit Bismuth was second priority to making sure she didn’t get unbubbled.
She took a breath and entered the room where Bismuth was bubbled. She looked up at the bubble and felt tears well up in her eyes. This was her friend. Now she was just a rock. She was trapped. It was Rose’s fault. She could fix it. Rose reached her hands towards the bubble, then quickly withdrew them. Garnet had said that timelines where she popped the bubble were to be avoided.
But- but, fate could be changed, the future could be changed. But she thought of the hatred in Bismuth’s eyes as she tried to shatter Rose. As she campaigned for shattering Pink Diamond. She couldn’t face that again. And what if Bismuth tried to do something reprehensible again? Rose didn’t think she could bear to bubble her again.
She brought the bubble down and looked at it sadly, then gently teleported it to her armory. She felt her shoulders sink. Something about transferring Bismuth away made it feel more permanent, and all of the memories that she made with Bismuth flooded to her memory.
She headed back to the training room. All three Pearls, as well as several Holo-Pearls ,had swords in hand. Rose thought about how Bismuth had made all of them.
“Rose!” Pearl exclaimed. “Done already?”
Rose smiled. “Yes, it wasn’t long. Can I help with anything?”
“I think I have it handled,” Pearl said. “If you’d want to watch, you’re more than welcome.”
“No,” said Rose. “If I’m not needed, I’d rather deal with some personal things.”
“Alright,” Pearl said. “Maybe we’ll be ready with something you can help with by the time that you’re done.”
Rose nodded and grabbed her sword before leaving the room. She looked at the magnificent craftsmanship. It was truly a piece of art. She’d complimented Bismuth on it when it was first made, but after all of the use she’d gotten out of it, it didn’t feel like enough. Was she reducing Bismuth down to her actions? No, it’s just that her work was important to her. Rose realized where she needed to visit to truly pay her respects and honor Bismuth.
As she was heading to the warp, she was stopped by Morganite. “Rose, are you okay?” she asked.
“Yes,” Rose said. “I’m absolutely fine.”
“Sorry, I don’t mean to bother you, you just look a bit distant,” said Morganite.
“Ah, sorry,” Rose said. “Did you need anything?”
“No,” said Morganite, “I just wanted to remind you I’m here to talk if you want.”
“Thank you, Morganite,” Rose said. “I appreciate the offer, but I think I’m good for now. How have you been doing?”
Morganite shrugged. “Honestly, this anti-elite talk has been scaring me a little. I mean, I’m clearly off-color, but I still fear that if a metallic gem saw me, they’d try to-” Morganite couldn’t force herself to finish the sentence.
“No gem should have to live in fear,” Rose said. “If you want me to ask Cherry to put you on the permanent guard so you don’t have to go into battle, that’s fine.”
“No,” said Morganite. “I can also manage seeming like an elite to Homeworld. I know how helpful that can be.”
“But you shouldn’t have to be afraid!” Rose exclaimed.
“I’ll fight so that gems like me don’t have to face the fear of being shattered. I’m not nearly as scared now as when Homeworld was after me.”
Rose smiled. “You are truly incredible. I completely support you.”
“Thanks,” Morganite said, “I didn’t want to hold you up.”
“No, it’s completely fine,” Rose said. “It wasn’t anything important.”
Morganite smiled. “Well, I’m glad that you’re doing well.”
Rose smiled. “Thank you.” She turned to head back for the warp pad, this time making it without any further interruptions. She warped to Bismuth’s forge and clutched her sword to her chest.
“Pink,” Blue said. It was the day after the metallic gems had formed, and the Diamonds were once again meeting to discuss plans. “You must not allow any of your gems to feel fear. These ‘crystal gems’ still barely pose any sort of threat.”
“One of my spies said that the gems who shatter split off from the Crystal Gems, and are calling themselves the ‘Metallic Gems,’” Pink managed to get in.
“I don’t care what they call themselves. They’re all rebels, and they all deserve to be treated like rebels,” said Blue. “No one will care that the ‘metallic gems’ or whatever aren’t technically the same as the ‘crystal gems,’ our gems will lump them together, as will we.”
“But what if-” Pink started
“I don’t want to hear it, Pink,” Blue cut her off. “Your colony has been enough of a hassle to deal with without mindless speculation.”
“But-” Pink tried again.
“Enough,” said Yellow. “We finally have the perfect opportunity to crush these rebels without making them seem ‘sympathetic’ and you have objections? Really?”
“No, Yellow,” Pink said.
“Good. Starting with this next battle, we will start fitting any rebels we destabilize into weapons,” Yellow said.
“But won’t there be a risk of them turning on our own soldiers?” Pink questioned.
“We’ll take a shard out of them so they won’t be fully sentient,” Yellow said. “They’ll learn better than to stand against us.”
“Be seen as cruel, yes. But as long as the rebels keep shattering gems, it will be perceived as righteous, as it will be.”
Come on Rose, think! She thought of her friends getting poofed and used as weapons against their teammates, their friends. She thought of them silently crying out in pain, longing for freedom. It was her fault. She was the one who took away any chance at happiness for thousands of gems. No, she was thinking about herself again. What could she reasonably suggest, as Pink Diamond, that would help the rebellion?
She could suggest sitting back and watching what happened? No, they wouldn’t listen. She could suggest compromising with- No, they wouldn’t listen. She could try- No. They wouldn’t listen. They wouldn’t ever listen. No matter what she did, no matter what she tried, she was helpless.
“I understand,” she said. Not like this not like this not like this. Could she really do nothing to fight this? Rose, pull yourself together, you run an entire rebellion, surely you can think of something more to say than “Yes, Yellow,” “Of course, Blue,” and “I understand.” But they won’t hear it. And this time, they won’t listen to Rose, either. She felt like burying her face in her hands, but she couldn’t.
“Maybe we could just, let the rebels have-”
Yellow laughed. “Pink, don’t be ridiculous! What would White say if she heard of your nonsense ideas! If we let the rebels have anything here, we run the risk of them thinking they can earn similar victories on Homeworld.”
“Well maybe they should!” Pink felt like screaming, but she couldn’t. She knew better. They’d just call her immature. She might break something-someone again. She looked up at Yellow. “Of course, Yellow, what a silly idea.”
“Don’t worry, Pink,” said Blue, “You’ll learn with time. I made quite a few sub-optimal decisions over the course of my first few colonies.”
“Yes,” said Yellow, “It’s such a shame your first had to go so horribly wrong.”
“I do hope that this colony at least ends up producing more gems than end up getting destroyed,” Blue said. “It would be quite an annoyance if this whole war does us no good.”
“Would we keep fighting at that point?” Pink asked desperately.
“Of course!” Yellow exclaimed. “We can not give in to these lesser gems’ demands. We must show that we are better than them.”
“Right,” said Pink. She felt like a fool. Was there really nothing she could do? She had to talk to Garnet about this. But how? How could she possibly know about this super-secret that only the diamonds had access to. But wait, would only the diamonds have access to it? Maybe she could help spread it to other gems. “I think we should inform our quartzes of this change immediately. That way they’ll know to collect any gems they destabilize.”
“Yes, for once, a good idea, Pink,” said Blue. “We should also ask them to stop trying to shatter, the more complete a gem is, the easier it will be to harness.”
Well, less shattering was good, Pink supposed. She nodded. What else could she do? What request would possibly be granted? She tried not to shudder as she thought of the diamonds’ plan. If there was an entire chip out of gems, she couldn’t heal them. Wait- if the metallic gems were going to be shattering now, there was cause for her to advocate for figuring out how to heal. “Maybe we could figure out how to hea-”
“Nonsense Pink, not this again!” Yellow put her hand over her eyes. “We can’t heal shattered gems, and we’re not going to try to reform rebels.”
“Yellow, wait, Pink could actually have a point this time. If the rebels shatter anyone important, it could be worth exploring if we could fix shattered gems. It would give us quite the edge if we could figure it out,” said Blue.
“That’s what I was trying to say!” Pink exclaimed.
“Manners, Pink,” Blue said. “You cannot continue throwing these senseless tantrums!”
“I’m sorry,” said Pink. “That was a wrongful outburst.”
Yellow nodded. “You may be right, Blue, looking at healing gems we thought were beyond repair could prove quite useful, now.”
Pink wanted to scream that this was her good idea, before the pit in her stomach rose. What if this was a good idea for the diamonds? What if it caused them to win the war? It was all her fault. Everything was her fault. This war was her fault. White was mad at her, she knew. Why did she care? Rose didn’t care about the diamonds, Pink thought. When she was Rose, what Yellow, Blue, or even White thought of her didn’t matter anymore.
“Pink,” Blue asked, “do you think you could direct some of your gems to attempt to get Rose Quartz’s tears? Yellow and I are doing so much for you, this is the least you could do for your own colony.”
“Rose’s- tears?” Pink asked. Did they want her tears to look at her healing powers? What if they analyzed them and figured out they were similar to her aura? Or that they was something only a diamond could make? Was it worth the risk to heal? Yes. Pink thought of all of the gems that had been shattered for her, all of the gems that would be shattered for her. If there was even the slightest chance of being able to fix all of the damage her war caused and still win? It would all be worth it.
“Ugh, nevermind, I’ll do it,” said Yellow.
“No!” Pink said quickly. “I can do it, it seemed like an odd request, but I understand now.” The fewer of Yellow and Blues’ gems poking around her camp the better. She could collect some of her own tears easily enough. Plus, if tests that Yellow and Blue did tied them back to her, she could always claim that something happened when she collected them and she probably ended up contaminating the supply. Blue and Yellow thought so little of her that it would be completely believable.
“Pink, watch your tone,” Blue warned. “But I’m glad you seem confident you can handle this without our help.”
Yellow nodded. “I understand this must be stressful, your first colony going so dreadfully wrong, but you simply have to move past it.”
Pink nodded. “Thank you, Yellow.”
“Remember, if you ever need any advice, we both have run colonies before. As long as they’re not stupid, you can turn to us if you have questions or need advice.”
Pink scoffed internally. What wasn’t a stupid question to Yellow. Everything she tried to do was just an antic, anything she tried to say was a joke. “Thank you, Yellow. I appreciate the offer.”
“Maybe after this is all over you can assist us on one of our colonies, so you can learn how a colony is supposed to run,” Blue said. “It is a shame how quickly this one is going awry.”
“Thank you very much, Blue,” Pink said. “Learning from you would be an honor.” Pink sincerely hoped she’d never see another colony. Earth was her last. She hated having to drain resources from a fragile ecosystem. She hated having to harm humans, and animals, and even plants, just to produce more gems. The carbon based lifeforms of the colonies were no less valuable than gems. She had been an ignorant fool to ever want this. The responsibility, yes. The other diamonds seeing her as an equal, yes. But ever since- well, she had sworn off destruction for good.
“Now is not the time for idle chatter,” said Yellow. “We have business to attend to. I believe that will be all for now. Let us know when you have the tears.”
“Good luck, Pink,” Blue said.
Blue and Yellow took their ships and their Pearls and left, leaving just Pink and Pearl, alone.
Pink sighed. “Well that could’ve gone better.”
“But it could’ve gone worse!” Pearl exclaimed. “You managed to convince the diamonds to try to heal shattered gems! And you managed to get Blue to suggest to stop trying to shatter gems in the first place.”
“-So she could harvest them,” Pink finished. “So she could take a little cut of their very being so that our friends will be willing to turn against us.” Her face crunched in disgust. “Pearl, what if this was a mistake?”
“If what was a mistake, my diamond?”
“Everything. The war, letting other gems join, bubbling Bismuth, telling the other gems about bubbling Bismuth, trusting Garnet with as much as I have, keeping up this charade of fighting on both- well, now, two out of three sides. Was there a way I could’ve kept total control “Pink Diamond’s colony,” letting the Crystal Gems grow without gaining the other diamonds’ attention?”
“Maybe,” said Pearl. “But it’s impossible to know in advance. Most likely if you had tried to keep the Crystal Gems low-profile enough that we wouldn’t catch the diamonds’ attention, they would’ve gotten angry that they weren’t doing enough to stop the diamonds, possibly resulting in them overthrowing you as leader.”
Pink threw her head back in frustration. “Running a colony the way Yellow and Blue wanted me to was so dull and I couldn’t do it in good conscience. But this is so much more stressful! Everything I do seems to have so many ramifications now. No matter what I do, it never seems to be right.”
“My diamond, I think you’d be saying that no matter what path you chose. Garnet says that there’s no ‘right path,’ and she can see them, can’t she? You’re doing so much more than anyone expects of you. You are the most incredible gem I have the honor of knowing, and you are doing everything you can while you can’t get any help in a near impossible situation.”
“I suppose. I guess if it was easy, all four of us would’ve been overthrown long before now. I just wish I didn’t have to help them along the way. It would be so much easier if I could just fight against them fully, not do this back-and-forth nonsense.”
“Why can’t you, my diamond?” Pearl said with sudden realization. “Pink Diamond joining the crystal gems would perhaps be enough to convince them-”
“No,” Pink said. “They’d just be angry. Plus it would mean showing the crystal gems the truth. You should’ve heard the- the hatred Bismuth had for me. The hatred of me I’ve stirred in all of them.” She buried her face in her hands. “Is even that my fault?”
“I care about you,” said Pearl. “And I’ve seen more of you than anyone else. It isn’t hard to love the entirety of you.”
“Even if that were true, they wouldn’t see all of me. They’d see ‘Pink Diamond,’ as the persona I’ve created, not as who I really am. Besides, if I can’t win a war fighting on both sides, how am I supposed to win as the leader of only one?”
“Rose,” Pearl said, “You are a brilliant strategist and a wonderful leader. You know how to inspire gems- and humans, in a way I didn’t think possible. That wouldn’t change no matter what.”
“But is that enough?” asked Pink, “Is that enough for them to see past everything I’ve done?”
“It’s enough for me,” said Pearl.
Pink smiled and looked at Pearl. “Thank you, Pearl.”
Pearl smiled back. It was funny how different Pink’s smile was from Rose’s. Rose’s smile was so pretty and uncomplicated. Pink’s felt more complicated, less genuine. But, Pearl supposed, everything about Pink felt less genuine. It was all an act Pink had to put on for the other diamonds.
“Well,” said Pink. “We mustn’t stall too long. We need to tell the Crystal Gems what we’ve learned.”
“Yes, my diamond,” said Pearl.
Pink strode to the warp pad. Pearl trailed behind. Pink looked down at Pearl and smiled, then she activated the warp pad.
Rose stood on the cliff where she gave her speeches. She took a deep breath and walked to the edge so everyone could see her.
“Gems, tonight I have heard disturbing news. Gems have been shattered by Crystal Gems, gems I trust. Gems I care about. I beg of you all to cease this horrendous behavior. I do not want anything to do with a gem that is so easily capable of harming their fellow gem, even for a cause such as ours. Please. I’m begging you. I will not harm any gem who participated in today’s shattering, but in the future, any gem who attempts to do such a thing will be poofed and bubbled. It pains me to do so, but I cannot allow this to be tolerated.”
Rose hoped that would be enough. She hoped that that would be enough to quell the gems who so badly wanted metaphorical blood. Deep down, she knew it wasn’t. She knew it never would. She should’ve never done this. She should’ve kept it a secret from everyone.
“I welcome any gem who disagrees with me to come up here and make their own speech. I want to understand you. I want to hear what you have to say,” Rose said.
Slowly, deliberately, Snowflake Obsidian stood up and walked forward. She walked to the base of the cliff, then walked up. Garnet and Pearl, who were standing behind Rose, stood aside for her. Rose herself stepped back and allowed Snowflake to step forward.
“Gems. We cannot allow the diamonds and other elites to continue their reign of terror any longer. We cannot allow them to have control over us. And if that means shattering a few gems, sobeit!” Snowflake exclaimed. “If you won’t allow us, then maybe you shouldn’t be our leader anymore!” she shouted at Rose. “This war needs to be won!”
Snowflake Obsidian looked around at the gems below. It was clear she couldn’t convince a majority, but she could probably make a faction out of the ones who agreed with her. “That’s why I’m starting the metallic gems. To show Homeworld who’s really boss! That we can stand up to them! That we will NOT let them push us around any longer!”
She turned to Rose. “Thank you, but I will take my leave now.”
Rose stood tall. “I pray that you will see the error of what you have done. I will let you go. But the Crystal Gems will fight against your Metallic Gems. I hope you can be happy with the divide you caused.”
Snowflake walked down and off the cliff, standing a ways away from the crystal gems. Peridot moved forwards to her, as did Aschamalmite, Emerald and Howlite. “Metallic Gems, let’s find somewhere else. We’re not wanted here,” Snowflake said.
Snowflake and the rest left. They walked until they were out of sight. Rose once again stood on the edge of the cliff and spoke. “I am very disappointed to see our friends go. They were wonderful to have here with us, and they will be dearly missed. Those of you who have decided to stay, thank you. This will be immensely difficult. We will be forced to fight a war against two enemies who will be willing to use extreme measures to defeat us. We cannot give in to them. We must fight. We must continue on. We can still make the earth a place for all gems and humans to thrive. Let us remember what we’re fighting for. For the good of all gemkind, of all humankind, for every plant and animal on this planet. Remember, we are fighting a war for the earth, not against the diamonds. We cannot allow anything to stand in the way of that.”
Pearl stood next to Rose. She cleared her throat and spoke. “When I first joined the Crystal Gems, I did so to follow Rose. Since then, I’ve learned about freedom and choice. About choosing your role for yourself, about being more than what you were made to do. I think all gems should have that opportunity. A shattered gem will never get that chance.”
Garnet now stood between them. “When I first formed, Blue Diamond was going to shatter me, or at least half of me. If I had heard that the Crystal Gems also shattered, I may have never joined. But we don’t. That’s what separates us from the diamonds. No matter what someone does, we’re willing to listen to them. To hear their point of view. Our main obstacle to claiming this planet as a haven for gems and humans that don’t fit into what the diamonds want to be will always be the diamonds. However, if gems are being shattered, some gems will live in fear.”
“No one should feel alone,” said Rose. “No one should feel like there’s no one to help them. We need to step up as a helping hand even more now. We need to stop the metallic gems, and the homeworld gems. This makes our fight harder, but it is still possible. We can do this. I believe in all of you.” Rose smiled. She did truly believe in the gems in front of her, just as she believed in Peridot, and Snowflake Obsidian, and- she frowned. The weight of what had just happened hit her, and she gave a final wave to the crowd before walking down the cliff.
“Thank you, for doing that with me,” she told Garnet and Pearl.
“Thank you for teaching me so much,” Pearl responded. “I wouldn’t know anything about the feeling of freedom without you.”
Rose smiled. “Thanks. The two of you truly mean the world to me.”
“Now, we need to figure out what to do from here,” Garnet said.
Rose nodded. “Right. Strategizing will be a lot more difficult now that we have two opponents to worry about.”
“Homeworld will still be far more important,” Pearl reminded her.
“Of course,” said Garnet. “And the metallic gems probably won’t attack us. They’ll focus on Homeworld. If we’re lucky, Homeworld will focus on them too.”
“They’ll shatter each other,” Rose said glumly. “I wish they wouldn’t shatter anyone.”
“Me roo,” Pearl said. “But we can’t change reality just by wishing.”
“No,” said Rose. “We have to fight for it.”
Garnet, Pearl, and Rose headed back to the base and discussed strategies.
Meanwhile, the metallic gems were establishing a base of their own.
“So, what do we do now?” Aschamalmite asked. “We can’t use the Crystal Gem bases, and certainly not the Homeworld bases, so where do we go now?”
“Let’s start at Bismuth’s forge,” Snowflake responded. “She’s our leader, even if she’s trapped in a bubble. She stood up for what she believed in and what did she get for it?”
“We know,” said Peridot. “That’s why we’re with you.”
“Right,” said Snowflake. “Only Bismuth could activate the forge, but the rest of us can build around it.”
“But won’t the Crystal Gems be able to guess where we are?” asked Howlite. “It’s a pretty easy spot to guess.”
“What are they gonna do, shatter us?” Snowflake asked. “Besides, we know where all of their bases are. We know where Homeworld is.”
“But we’re smaller than even the Crystal Gems!” Howlite said. “We’re only five gems!”
“The Crystal Gems started out as just Rose and Pearl. We can grow. But we can’t if no one can find us. If you can think of a better place, we can settle there.”
“No,” said Howlite, “Outside of Bismuth’s forge is a good spot.”
“And imagine when we unbubble her. The forge can be the heart of the base. It’ll be like us, forged in fire and ready to fight,” said Snowflake.
Peridot grinned. “I like it. Think about what we’ve managed to do already. All we’ll be able to continue to do.”
“We can fight Homeworld like never before,” announced Howlite.
“I’m afraid I won’t be as capable at building things as all of you,” said Emerald. “I don’t even know why I joined. It’s just, the fire in all of your eyes. It’s something I want to get behind.”
“Welcome aboard,” said Snowflake. “Don’t worry about what you can do, we’ll be just as accepting as the Crystal Gems, we’re just going to be willing to do what we need to do to make that change everywhere.”
Emerald smiled. “I wasn’t close with Bismuth, so I don’t know if we have as good of a leader as the Crystal Gems do, but I do know we have a valiant cause.”
“You can stand watch while the rest of us start building,” Aschamalmite said. “We’ll need to make sure no other gems go unnoticed.”
“We should also plan to raid a Homeworld lab soon,” Peridot said. “I’ll need some tech if I want to make anything truly impressive.”
“Luckily, we should have enough material in the mountain to make a functional base,” said Howlite, inspecting it. “I think we should make the majority of it underground, like the forge.”
“Yes! That will probably make it as easy as possible, and also conceal our location to Homeworld and the Crystal Gems,” said Aschamalmite.
“Actually, Emerald, how’d you like to raid a lab with me right now?” Peridot asked. “I think we could probably grab a drill or injector head or something to speed this along.”
Emerald nodded. “Sounds like a plan. Does anyone have any information on where anything is?”
“Shoot, we need spies,” said Snowflake. “We won’t be of much use without them.”
Aschamalmite raised her hand. “I don’t mind my homeworld role, if I’m doing it for a good cause. Plus, basically nobody’s going to ask about where an Aschamalmite came from. We’re just not worth considering for most gems.”
“Perfect. So, for now, I’m the leader, Howlite’s our builder, Emerald’s our raider, Peridot’s our tech whiz, and Aschamalmite’s our spy,” Snowflake said.
“Do we need a recruiter?” Emerald asked. “We can’t do much with such a small team.”
“Right now, I’m planning on helping Howlite with building, but after we have the basics down, we’ll probably switch off on recruitment duty,” said Snowflake.
Howlite nodded. “I’m not as charismatic as you or Rose, but I can certainly try.”
“You’ll be great!” Snowflake asserted. “And if any of you want to switch roles, you can just ask.”
“I think I’m good for now,” Aschamalmite said, and everyone else nodded in agreement.
“Well, if anyone changes their minds, or if we need anything else, we’ll all be in constant communication, right?”
“Of course!” said Emerald. “That’s one advantage we have because of our size. We can meet all together more often, not just for emergencies.”
“And of course, we have to put together a plan to unbubble Bismuth,” Snowflake said. “We’ll need her help.”
“We can work on that later,” Howlite said. “Let’s get the basics together first.”
“Right. Honestly I hope no humans join at this stage. We’re not adequately prepared to provide food, water, or shelter,” Peridot pointed out.
“Plus, with where we’re building, sections of the base will probably be far too hot for humans to withstand,” Howlite added.
“Yet another reason not to focus on recruitment yet,” Snowflake said. “We can do this. We have will and strength that the Crystal Gems, nevermind Homeworld could never dream of. We will be able to accomplish more in fifty years than they have in their whole rebellion. We won’t be afraid to hold back.”
“Let’s fight against the odds, the diamonds and the elites, together!” Emerald exclaimed.
“Together!” the other metallic gems echoed.
While night fell, the diamonds were plotting, the metallic gems were celebrating, and the crystal gems were fretting (especially Pearl). The crystal gem rebellion was unprecedented by itself, but a rebellion against the first rebellion in gem history? That was truly unheard of. New territory was something every crystal gem was familiar with, but this felt out of reach even for them. There was endless work cut out for all three groups. This would not be a simple war, if any war could be said to be simple.
“Pearl, open the curtain,” Pink ordered.
Pearl obeyed, opening the front curtain of the palanquin. Pink smiled. “Blue, Yellow, what an unexpected visit!”
“Pink, follow us to the moon base. There has been a,” Yellow paused, “development.”
Pink nodded. “Of course.” Pink stepped out of the palanquin, and Pearl followed closely behind. They reached the warp pad where Yellow and Blues’ ships were parked.
“Take the warp, we’ll take our ships,” Blue ordered.”
Pink was growing increasingly nervous. Why did they want to talk in private? What was going on? She stepped on the warp as ordered, and found herself standing with Pearl in the moon base.
“Pearl,” she asked. “Do you think they’ve figured me out?”
“No, my diamond,” Pearl replied honestly. “They probably want to tell you the same thing Garnet did."
"I certainly hope so,” Pink said.
Blue and Yellows’ ships landed in front of the base. Pink and Pearl stopped talking and prepared for the airlock to open.
As the air flew out of the base, Pearl was almost blown off her feet. Yellow and Blue, accompanied by their pearls, entered the moon base. “Blue, Yellow, to what do I owe the pleasure.”
Yellow frowned. “It’s not a pleasure.”
“Those ‘crystal gems’ have stooped to a new low,” Blue clarified.
“What low could they have possibly stooped to?” Pink questioned.
“They’ve started shattering gems,” Blue said. “They have thrown any guise of this being for the good of gemkind and made it perfectly clear who they really are.
Pink gasped. Her hands flew to her mouth. Her rebellion, shattering? What had she done, what had she done, what had she done? This was all her fault. If she had been a little bolder as Pink, if she had never let other gems join, if she had never told them about Bismuth. Her lies and truths felt like they were tangling around her like a web, strangling her. What a fool she was to think she had any control.
“Do you have anything to say about the state you’ve allowed your colony to sink to?” Blue asked.
“Anything?” Yellow emphasized.
Pink allowed her hands to come to her sides. She hung her head and let her eyes drift up to look at them. “I’m sorry.” It never should’ve come to this. This isn’t what she wanted. Nothing could ever go the way she wanted. She tried so hard to make things better for everyone, but instead, she just made everything worse.
“This may be a fortunate event,” Yellow said.
“Fortunate?” Pink replied incredulously.
“Yes, this greatly reduces the chance of any ‘crystal gem sympathizers.’ We can use greater force and shatter the rebellion once and for all,” Blue said. “In the meantime, we’ve ordered guards around our palanquins to be increased. We can’t allow them to take anyone important while we formulate a plan.”
Pink’s mind spun. The words ‘anyone important’ rung in her head. Why couldn’t they see all gems were important? No one should be shattered. She shuddered at the thought of quartzes and rubies getting shattered in her name in a battle that Blue and Yellow considered a “victory.”
Blue put her finger under Pink’s chin and raised it to look at her. “I know it’s scary. But remember, they still pose no threat to us. You are untouchable, immaculate. All you have to do is remind your gems of that.”
“Right,” said Pink, dazed. “That’s all I have to do.”
Blue smiled. “This will all be over soon. Then you can throw a ball to celebrate our victory.”
Pink nodded. “Right, of course. They can’t stand up to us.” Pink hoped she was lying, but it all felt so hopeless right now. She thought of the misery of another ball to celebrate her failed war. No, that couldn’t happen. The other diamonds wouldn’t rest until “Rose Quartz” was brought to justice. She’d be forced to reveal herself, and what would they think of that? Especially if they thought she was shattering gems. Come on Rose, focus! Did she just think of herself as Rose? She smiled.
“There we go,” Blue said. “Won’t that be nice?”
“Blue and I will continually update you as things arise,” Yellow said.
“But let’s also plan to meet here tomorrow, at the earth’s sunset,” Blue said. “We can show you what we have planned.”
“And what we intend to do with the shards,” Yellow said. “I have a few projects that can put them to good use.”
Pink’s practice at staying quiet helped as she managed to keep her screaming inside. Why did they have to do anything with the shards? Why couldn’t they just let shattered gems rest? She felt all of her emotions overwhelm her. She felt paralized, like she could no longer feel anything. And yet- she felt she was going to cry. She kept it in, nodded, and said, “I will be excited to hear them.”
“Good,” said Yellow. “That is all for now, Blue and I have some planning to do, but you don’t need to be involved in it.”
Blue and Yellow left the moon base and headed back to their ships. There was nothing holding Pink back now. As soon as the Diamonds left, Pink shifted into Rose and started sobbing.
Pearl put her hand on Rose’s shoulder. “We’ve already made our way through so much, surely-” She was cut off by Rose pulling her into a hug. “Thank you, my Pearl. I truly don’t know what I’d do without you.”
Pearl was speechless. Even though Rose was at about the lowest Pearl had ever seen her, she was still soft and warm and comforting and- Pearl looked up at Rose’s face, her sad eyes filled with regrets. She was beautiful. “Rose, after everything you’ve- we’ve done to protect this planet, we cannot give up now. You can’t see the future, and not even those who could knew the best path. We make the choices we can. We try. And sometimes, that’s all that’s truly important.”
Rose smiled. She stopped crying. “You’re right. Despite everything, we have to carry on. We have to continue. So many gems- so many humans are counting on us. We can’t afford to let them down.”
Pearl smiled and straightened herself out. “Shall we see what Garnet wanted to talk about?” She asked.
“I don’t think I can do it alone,” Rose said, holding out her hand. Pearl took it, hesitantly, and they swirled into an elaborate dance. Rose admired Pearl’s grace, her elegance. Rose wished she could dance as smoothly as Pearl.
Pearl admired Rose’s poise, the way she traveled across the room without seeming to move at all. The way every little move conveyed so much. She wished she could dance like Rose.
There was no rush this time, no one to watch them, they danced for an hour before finally fusing into Rainbow. It felt nice, and also alienating. Their insecurities were combined, but their adoration for each other transferred onto themself. As a result, Rainbow was so much more confident than either Rose or Pearl alone.
Rainbow sat. It dawned on her that she couldn’t warp down fused. She’d have to unfuse. She hugged herself, then started dancing again. She couldn’t let this go just yet. She just needed a bit of time to herself. Eventually, they unfused, with Rose pulling Pearl into a final dip before shifting back into Pink. “Thank you,” Pink told Pearl.
“Anytime, my Diamond,” Pearl responded.
Pink smiled sadly, then walked to the warp. Pearl followed in her train. They stepped on the warp pad and warped outside her palanquin. She walked inside, then immediately shifted to Rose, ducked out the back, and ran to the Crystal Gems’ base.
“What did you want to tell me?” She asked Garnet when she arrived back.
“Rose!” Garnet exclaimed. “I think this is another matter for privacy.”
“Of course,” Rose said. They walked to the side room where they could talk in private.
“I’ve heard the news about some gems shattering?” Rose led.
Garnet nodded. “Yes, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”
“It’s terrible.” Rose said. “I can’t believe anyone would stoop to this low.”
“I saw this as a possibility, but I did not think it would come to fruition so soon,” Garnet confessed.
“What do we do now?” Rose questioned.
“I think you should make a speech denouncing these gems. This will cause division, but it will let gems know where you stand.”
Rose sighed. “You said they’ll break into a separate faction?”
Garnet nodded. “I see it likely you try to poof them to stop the destruction, leading into a three-way war. I also see it likely that you disavow them but let them continue, not actively fighting them, but still not on good terms. That runs a greater risk of more gems switching over.”
“I’m worried about the backlash from the diamonds,” Rose said. “I’m worried they’ll try more aggressive tactics now.”
“The best way to prevent that would be to actively poof and bubble any gem who shatters,” Garnet said. “But unless you handle it carefully, that may not be a popular choice, and it may not even work.”
Rose threw her head back. “No one ever said war would be easy, but I wasn’t expecting to fight friends.”
“I understand. Me neither,” Garnet said. “I know it’s hard, but I think you need to make the decision tonight. Publicly.”
“Who is it?” Rose asked. “Who shattered?”
“Emerald, Snowflake Obsidian, and Howlite, so far.” Garnet said.
Rose nodded. “It pains me to do so, but I think I’ll announce that any gem who shatters will be poofed and bubbled. We cannot allow this. I will give them an opportunity to change, but if they do so again I cannot allow myself to stand by.”
“That is wise,” said Garnet. “But I still fear for our future. I see so many paths, and so few I like.”
“Thank you, Garnet, I know that it’s hard, being able to see all you do and make sense of it,” Rose said.
“It’s so good to be able to see all this. To see a path and choose it. To determine my own future. You gave that to me,” Garnet said. “This is the least I could do in return.”
“Ahem,” said Pearl. “I hate to break this up, but we have a lot to plan for your speech tonight.”
“You’re right, of course,” said Rose. “We can talk all day about how we’ve all changed each others’ lives, but we don’t have time. We need to discuss action.”
“So, in your speech, you will denounce these gems who shatter but say you will allow them one more chance, in case you hadn’t made yourself clear before. That will lead us on a good path, but there are several things that could happen from there. It is likely that Snowflake will make a speech about declaring independence from you. It is also likely she holds her tongue and makes her next move. There is a slim chance she, and others like her, will break into open fighting, shattering every crystal gem they can.”
Rose looked shocked. “How small of a chance?”
“Not as small as I’d like,” replied Garnet. “But I’d say about 1%, and from there it’s just as likely for them to succeed or fail at shattering at least one.”
“Is there any way we could push the odds down?” Rose asked.
Garnet looked thoughtful. “You could ask for anyone with a different point of view to stand and make a speech. That would lower the chance of people biding their time, but increase the chance of a counter-speech immensely, to the point that rising up and shattering is barely a path at all.”
“I think we should take that path. I don’t want any gems shattered in resistance to me,” Rose said. “I don’t want any gems to be shattered at all.”
Garnet nodded. “That sounds like you.”
“Now all that’s left is to follow through,” Rose said.
“Oh,” Yarhil said. She suddenly remembered that Rainbow was part Pearl. “Sorry.”
“No,” Rainbow said. “It is a beautiful building. You’re right. On the surface, it seems like a beautiful place. The best place for any pearl and her ‘owner’ to stay on trend. That’s why it’s so nefarious.”
Yarhil slid off of Rainbow. “So, what’s the plan?”
“There’s only two or three quartzes, do you think you can take one?”
Yarhil drew her sword. “Yes, of course. You’ll manage the rest?”
“Back me up if more approach. If it gets too overwhelming, I can always carry you out.”
“I’ll be fine!” she insisted.
“It’s not a matter of shame,” Rainbow reassured her. “I’ve carried many capable quartzes and other strong soldiers out of a tough situation. Remember, this is a hit-and-run, not a full-scale battle.”
“Right. And half of hit-and-run is 'run.’”
“You’re getting it!” Rainbow exclaimed. “Now, ready?”
“Follow my lead!” Rainbow drew her sword and ran towards the carnelian on the right-hand side of the entrance.
Yarhil dashed to the left. She set her eyes on the carnelian in front of her and forgot all about Rainbow. Days upon years of training with Pearl and the other gems was finally paying off.
“You can’t be here!” Carnelian exclaimed. Surprisingly, she didn’t summon her weapon until it was too late, and Yarhil slashed through her with ease.
Yarhil glanced to the right and saw Rainbow poofing her Carnelian and heading to the one in the middle, who was already rushing towards her. Rainbow flipped over her and poofed her before she had a chance to turn around. She ran into the main building and gestured for Yarhil to follow her.
Yarhil ran in, expecting more guards, but the inside was eerily silent. There were three doorways, each guarded by a handplate. The high arching ceilings were splendorous, and yet, the structure felt immense, oppressive, and empty. Yarhil suddenly realized what Rainbow meant by the terror in this place. She imagined it was worse if you were made there, if you had spent time being taught how to be obedient and always obey everyone else. How you were inferior to everyone. She felt a pit in her stomach.
Rainbow unfused. Pearl walked up to the sensor on the left and placed her hand on it. “Welcome, Pearl,” a voice called out, opening the door. “Are you here for a touch-up?”
“Yes,” Pearl answered. “May my quartz and her pet,” Pearl mouthed 'sorry’ at Yarhil, “watch?”
“That would be no problem at all,” the voice chirped. “Owners are always welcome.”
Rose rolled her eyes, but followed Pearl through the door. Yarhil ran to catch up, then walked behind Rose. “Why didn’t you put your hand on the sensor,” she asked. “Quartzes outrank pearls, right?”
“Yes, but,” Rose said, “I’m a rose quartz. The Diamonds bubbled the rest of my cut for my rebellion, so any rose quartz is a traitor just for being out of a bubble.”
“Ah,” said Yarhil. “That explains it.”
“Shh,” said Rose. “We’re almost there.”
Yarhil wanted to ask where, but whenever a gem had told her to “shh,” it was typically for a very good reason. Besides, Rose tried to give as few orders as possible, so if she was giving one now, it must be important.
Pearl fell back, “My Quartz, forgive my impertinence. You should go first.”
“Oh yes, how dare you?” Rose asked. She strode forward and started to lead the way.
They made their way through the corridor and into a large room filled with pearls. At the sight of Rose, they all did the diamond salute.
“Please, that’s not necessary,” Rose insisted.
“My quartz, remember our orders?” Pearl asked.
“Our orders? Oh, yes, of course, our orders!” Rose said. “We have been given orders from Pink Diamond to relocate you. Please follow me.”
A chorus of “Yes, my quartz"es rang out from the hall. Rose led the way back through the corridor until they reached the main chamber, where they were greeted by a regiment of citrines. Rose reached her hand back. Pearl grabbed it, and Rainbow appeared. She summoned her shield and drew her sword.
Yarhil got ready for a fight. The cluster of citrines advanced towards them. "This is why we were told to relocate you,” Rainbow said, banking on the pearls not knowing fusion was highly illegal.
Rainbow glanced at Yarhil. “This is up to you. I’m not as good as you in tight spaces.”
“Yes, ma'am!” Yarhil said. She rushed forward, taking the citrines by surprise. She took two out with a pair of quick slices. One took a swing at her, but she ducked. She was already two feet shorter than them, so she countered with a low stab. She swung around. She glanced at Rainbow. She was doing quite fine, she was fighting, but managing.
Yarhil needed to focus on the task at hand. Another citrine attempted to kick her feet out from under her. She jumped, raised her sword over her head, and swung. The citrine managed to dodge and Yarhil struggled to regain her balance. The citrine managed to take a counterswipe. Yarhil stepped out of the way. She swung at the citrine and poofed her.
She felt her feet lifted off the floor. She kicked and struggled, but she heard Rainbow’s voice in her ear. “It’s me. We need to get out of here. Now.”
Rainbow seemed less interested in the pearls, meaning something was going horribly wrong. Yarhil climbed onto Rainbow’s back. Rainbow scooped up two of the pearls and started running.
The reef glowed red. Sirens started blaring.
“Don’t sheath your sword,” Rainbow said, “You might need to be my extra arm.” She managed to slide out of the entrance as the building was shutting down, only to be greeted by a practical army of quartzes. Rainbow jumped high into the air using Rose’s floating power. She was able to sail over the entire army, landing softly on the other side. She started running, but now she was being chased.
“Get ready,” Rainbow said. Suddenly, Yarhil was sitting on Rose’s shoulders, being carried swiftly to the right. Rose had her shield on her left, she was still holding the pearl on her right. Pearl was heading left. If they weren’t running for their lives, it would almost be comical how Pearl was holding a pearl nearly her own size under her arm.
Pearl headed into a forest. She was smaller and more agile than the quartzes, even with the added strain of the other pearl. She’d be able to out maneuver, if not outspeed them. She ran in a zigzag pattern, then hopped into a tree, setting the pearl down and letting the quartzes run past. “Are you alright?” Pearl whispered.
The other pearl nodded. “You weren’t given orders from Pink Diamond, were you?” she asked.
Pearl shook her head. “After we’re in the clear, you can go back if you want. I assure you, we won’t hold you against your will. We just wanted to show you another way. You don’t have to serve anyone.” Pearl took a look at the other pearl for the first time. She was silver, with two long strands of hair framing her face.
Silver Pearl smiled. “I’m willing to listen. I do think we should stick to our purposes, though. If we were made to do something, why should we rebel?”
Pearl scoffed. “Why stay with the purpose you were assigned when you can create a purpose of your own? You can still serve someone, if you want, but you get to choose. That’s what the crystal gems are all about. Choice.”
“Choice is dangerous,” Silver said. “You can lose your way in choices.”
Pearl grinned. “But you can find it, too. Even if you choose to do what you were made for, it feels so much better to choose it rather than having it chosen for you.”
“I suppose so,” Sliver said. “But isn’t it dangerous?”
Pearl sighed. “Yes. I have lost many friends to Homeworld’s forces. It’s not an easy path, to cast off everything you were designed to do, but it is worth it. I promise.”
They heard some quartzes down below. Pearl carefully summoned a piece of paper and a pencil. “You have a choice now,” she wrote. She passed the paper and pencil to Sliver.
Silver took it. “I choose to stay quiet,” she wrote. “I choose to stay here with you.”
“They should pass soon,” wrote Pearl. “They rarely stay for long. We’re not worth it, especially since there will be attacks in other places.”
The trees around them rustled. Pearl tightened her grip on her sword. A chrysoberyl burst through the trees and zipped in front of the quartzes. “Your assignments have been changed,” she announced. “Go guard Pink Diamond’s palanquin.”
“But the rebels-” an amethyst started.
“It doesn’t matter now,” said chrysoberyl. “These are your orders.”
“Yes, my chrysoberyl,” the quartzes chanted. They all headed in the direction of Pink’s palanquin, leaving the forest.
Silver Pearl and Pearl dropped down to the forest floor. “Can you run?” Pearl asked.
Silver nodded. “I can follow you.”
Silver and Pearl ran to a clearing where they met up with Rose, Yarhil, and the pearl Rose was carrying. The pearl was sitting on Rose’s right shoulder now, and Yarhil was on her left. Rose smiled and waved.
“Yarhil, Gold Pearl, please get down for the moment. Rainbow will be able to run much faster than any of us,” Rose instructed. Yarhil and Gold Pearl climbed down obediently. “My Pearl, shall we?”
Pearl grinned. Her heart gave a flutter every time Rose called her “my pearl.” It made her feel important. It made her feel happy. She wasn’t Rose’s pearl in the sense she was Pink’s pearl. Her relationship with Pink was so formal, with Rose she could be free. She could do what she wanted. It was strange, and yet, it felt like it had always been that way.
“Anytime, Rose,” she responded. She stepped forward into an arabesque. She let her head go down as her leg flew up behind her. Rose caught her arms and spun her into the air before catching her into a dip. The familiar glow of Rainbow Quartz washed over them.
“Get on,” Rainbow said. “Silver Pearl, climb on my right shoulder. Gold Pearl, climb on my left. Yarhil, I’ll have to carry you.”
As everyone got to their respective positions, Pearl thought “I think you need to be Pink as soon as possible. The quartzes were told to guard your palanquin, so Yellow and Blue might be visiting sooner than we expected.”
“Thanks, Pearl.” Rose thought. “Let’s get everyone back and then make up an excuse to check on that.”
Rainbow stood up, scooping up Yarhil. She ran back to the base, being careful she wasn’t followed by any of the quartzes. When she got back, she set everyone down and unfused. The instant she did, Garnet ran up to her “Rose!” she exclaimed.
“Can it wait?” Rose asked. “I have to check on something really urgent right now.”
“It’s important, but not necessarily urgent,” Garnet said hesitantly.”
“Thanks, Garnet, you’re the best!” Rose rushed off, and Pearl followed close behind.
Once she was out of eyeshot, Rose shifted into Pink and made a dash for her palanquin. She noted the extra security, which would likely meant the other diamonds or some other messenger would soon come. She hoped it would be soon, whatever Garnet had to say sounded pretty important. She didn’t want to make that wait.
She took a deep breath. She had to get ready to act proper for Yellow and Blue. She’d be in so much trouble if she got caught. What if something went wrong? What if they found out which is why they were making this surprise visit? They never made surprise visits. It was always routine “Smile and wave” nonsense.
Pink peeked out through the palanquin, only to see the enormous silhouettes of both Yellow and Blue. She sat on her throne, rolled her shoulders back, and prepared to play the part she was made for.
As Pearl and Rose headed into the base, they were greeted by Emerald. She grinned at them. “Back already? How are things looking?”
Rose smiled. “The war is going well. I received news that homeworld’s second kindergarten is having less-than-perfect results. Of course, there will still be more homeworld soldiers than normal. I hope there’s a good chance we can convince quite a few of them to join us.”
Emerald nodded. “I meant, how are you feeling? That must’ve been such a difficult thing to do.”
Rose’s face darkened. “Yes. It was a hard choice, and I’m still torn up about it.” She smiled. “But I have to stay upbeat for the purposes of everyone. If gems see me losing confidence, they may lose confidence in themselves, and you all are so wonderful.”
Emerald smiled. “You know, having a leader like you is the reason I’m so happy I joined.”
Rose smiled, more genuinely this time. “That means a lot to me. Thank you.”
Emerald laughed “It’s not tough to beat the diamonds.”
Rose laughed along with her, “I still can’t believe they cast aside so many gems for so abstract reasons. You, and gems like you, should be able to live in peace.”
Emerald nodded. “I mean, lucky for us Homeworld won’t accept fusions. Fusion is one of our biggest battle advantages.”
Rose smiled. “Garnet forming is what really convinced me to fight for the freedom of all gems, instead of just for the planet.”
“Just for the planet,” Emerald scoffed. “I can’t believe you were the only gem who was able to see the beauty of this place.”
Rose smiled. “It’s one thing to notice it, and something entirely different to fight for it. Now, I really must get to this-”
“Go, go do your important thing. I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me.”
Rose spotted Cherry, who had come inside since they saw her talking on the hill. She grinned and waved. “Cherry!” she exclaimed, rushing over.
“Rose, Pearl, how lovely to see you.” Cherry said. “You gave a magnificent speech,” she said, addressing Rose.
Rose smiled. “Thank you, I couldn’t have given it without you inspiring me!
“What was it you wanted to talk to me about?” Cherry asked.
“Ah, right,” Rose said. “We were wondering about your opinion of moving a few guard posts?”
“Yes, of course,” Cherry said. “Which ones were you going to move?”
“The pair guarding the central room. We were going to ask if we could move them to the outside of where Bismuth would be kept until the end of the war.”
Cherry nodded. “Every doorway would serve the same function. It would be no trouble. Do you want me to update that now?” she asked.
“I was planning on doing it, but if you’d be willing to-”
“Consider it done.” Cherry said.
“Thank you!” Rose exclaimed. “What else was I supposed to be doing?” she asked herself, as Cherry walked away.
“Find Garnet,” Pearl supplied.
“Of course! Thank you, Pearl, what on Earth would I ever do without you?”
Pearl smiled. “You’d probably be a lot less organized without me around.”
Rose grinned. “Most certainly. Let’s find Garnet.”
“Actually, maybe we should wait here for a moment. Garnet might know we’re going to try to find her, and look for us instead,” Pearl suggested.
“Good idea, Pearl! I would’ve never thought about that.”
Pearl smiled. She was so glad Rose let her have her own, unique ideas. It had been scary at first, but Rose had proven time and time again she wasn’t like the other diamonds. It was funny, but around Rose, Pearl felt free in a way she didn’t know was possible.
Pearl was pulled out of her thoughts when she saw Garnet approach. “Garnet!” she called.
Garnet smiled. “I thought you’d be looking for me.”
“How are things looking?” Rose asked nervously.
Garnet paused. “Let’s discuss this somewhere else.”
Pearl nodded, and Rose led them all into the room where Bismuth’s gem was bubbled. Rose felt a pang of guilt as she saw it floating above them.
Garnet closed the door behind them. “Right now, it appears a faction called the ‘metallic gems’ will likely break off of the crystal gems. Their goals will be like ours, but they will be in favor of shattering homeworld gems. Some metallic gems will want to shatter every homeworld gem they can. Some will want to shatter only elite gems. And others will only be willing to shatter Pink Diamond herself. In most timelines, their official leader is Bismuth herself. However, Snowflake Obsidian will run the faction while they try to get her back.”
“Is there any way to prevent that?” Rose asked tepidly.
“No, not without risking many worse paths,” Garnet told her.
“Oh,” Rose said. “I made the wrong choice, didn’t I?”
“No,” Garnet reassured her. “A better path was up largely to fate. This was the best course. There is no guarantee another path would be any better.”
Rose nodded. “So what do we do from here?”
“I hate to say it, but I think the best thing may be to watch and wait. Keeping Bismuth where she is should be fine, for now.” Garnet looked thoughtful. “In such times of crisis, it’s hard for me to recommend inaction. We need to find out which path we’re on before looking at which path we want to take.”
“Thank you for the advice, Garnet.”
Garnet nodded. “Remember, we can’t lay off homeworld in the meantime. We need to remind them we’re still here and fighting.”
Rose nodded. “I think we should try to interrupt their second kindergarten. We can try to tell the new Quartzes about the war. Let them know we’re here and ready to accept them even when homeworld won’t.”
Pearl nodded. “I think we should do a series of hit-and-runs, instead of a big battle. Hit the kindergarten, maybe send a squad to the reef, to the spire construction. Nothing too important, just enough to cost homeworld more time and resources.”
Garnet nodded. “That’s good. We should send teams of two or three.”
Rose looked towards Pearl. “Do you want to take the Reef with Rainbow and Yarhil?”
“We have to be careful with Yarhil if we’re going to the Reef,” Pearl said doubtfully. “It’s guarded by quite a few quartzes. Besides, there may be powerful gems visiting with personal rubies or quartzes. It won’t be an easy assignment by any chance.”
“Yarhil has made it quite clear that she wants to fight for the planet. We can’t continue to send her on low-risk missions, just because she’s human. She’s trained with us for the past seven years, and is quite skilled. She’ll be able to get past much of the Reef’s security, since she doesn’t have a gem,” Garnet explained.
Rose nodded. “If we don’t believe in humanity, what are we fighting for? Let’s plan the rest of the teams and then inform everyone of the attack.
“Yes, of course,” Pearl said. She began projecting holographic versions of various crystal gems. The three of them planned out the attacks.
They wrote the assignments in gem glyph and posted it on the assignment board. The attacks took place at different times. Garnet had to go inform her partner of their assignment and get ready to go almost immediately. Rose and Pearl had a few hours to spare.
“Rose, do you have enough energy-” Pearl started.
Rose nodded. “Rainbow should recharge it. I should be good until then.”
Pearl looked down at the floor. She shouldn’t ask Rose if they could fuse early, just for fun. It would be improper. Besides, Rainbow wasn’t as recognizable or well-spoken as Rose. The very idea was absurd. Pearl smiled at the absurdity of a Diamond fusing with a pearl in the first place. And yet, she had, time and time again.
“Pearl,” Rose said. “Let’s fuse now.” She grinned. “Would you want to?”
Pearl looked up at Rose in admiration. “It’s like you read my mind.”
Rose held out her hand, and they started the fusion technique Ruby and Sapphire taught them, modeled after the second time they fused into Garnet. It was a dance, a combination of styles, a way of easily syncing up with their partner. Pearl and Rose felt a glow come over them and they fused into Rainbow.
Rainbow smiled. She loved existing. She loved being able to feel Rose and Pearl’s feelings. She continued Rose and Pearl’s dance for a few steps. She sighed. She needed to find someone to take over weapons development for Bismuth. Thankfully, she’d only need to take over Rose’s tasks, since Pearl didn’t have to lead any training today.
Rainbow didn’t look forward to the battle that evening. She was grateful to Rose and Pearl for letting her have some time to herself before the fight. She realized she’d probably have to unfuse at some point in the Reef, so Pearl could talk to the other pearls. Oh well, Rose and Pearl fused often enough that it wouldn’t be long before she made her next appearance.
Now, who should she appoint to weapons? The appointee should be immune to fire, creative- Wait. Rainbow had a horrifying thought. They had built the forge to be used and operated by Bismuth, and only Bismuth. No other gem could operate it. They’d have to either scavange what they could from Homeworld or build a new forge. Well, one less thing to worry about for now, she supposed.
Rainbow walked out of the Crystal Gem’s base. She knew exactly what she wanted to do. She ran to the closest human encampment, and danced with them for hours. She almost missed the attack, but she caught herself just in time.
“Hi!” Yarhil exclaimed. “I always forget how tall you are.”
Rainbow smiled. “Want to ride on my back?” she asked.
“Can I?” Yarhil asked. “I wouldn’t want to pull on your hair.”
“It’s quite alright,” Rainbow explained. “You’ll want to save your stamina for the fight anyhow, right?”
“I suppose so,” said Yarhil, “But what about you, don’t you need to conserve your stamina?”
“I’ll be alright,” Rainbow said. “Frankly, Rose and Pearl are both better fighters than I am, but I think Garnet wanted us to fuse for a reason.”
Yarhil nodded. “I’m excited for my first real battle,” she said.
Rainbow bent down to allow Yarhil to climb her. “I’m assuming you’re scared, too? Remember I have Rose’s shield. If you’re in danger, I can protect you.”
Yarhil climbed on Rainbow’s shoulders, over the scabbard on her back, and asked, “What’s your unique weapon again?”
Yarhil raised her eyebrows.
“I can’t see you, but I can feel you’re not impressed. It’s a lot more useful than it seems. However, yes, I do tend to use Rose’s sword and shield in combat.” Rainbow explained, standing up.
“That makes sense,” Yarhil said. “How many battles have you been in?”
“I don’t remember, honestly. I remember Pearl and Rose’s, and they must’ve been in thousands, at this point. I, myself, have only been in about two hundred or so.”
“‘Only’ two hundred,” Yarhil said mockingly. “Why, I’m being accompanied by a rookie.”
Rainbow laughed. “Are you ready? I can’t promise I’ll be incredibly smooth, I’ve only had someone ride me two or three times.”
“Can you hold my legs?” Yarhil asked. She knew from experience, tumbling off a larger gem was quite unfortunate. She’d hate to make them turn back too soon.
“Of course,” Rainbow said. She grabbed her legs and started to run towards the Reef.“
They arrived at the Reef after about twenty minutes. Rainbow didn’t mind making the run every once in a while, but she figured Rose would be glad once the warp was installed.
Yarhil looked up at the large, clam-shaped building. "Wow,” she gasped. “It’s beautiful.”
The building was beautiful. Tall, blue walls, with gold detailing, curved into a sloped ceiling. The building was clearly designed for high-class gems, as no architect would waste such attention to detail on anyone lower than an agate.
“It’s horrible,” Rainbow said, curling her nose in disgust.
This blog is participating in NaNoWriMo! Expect one non-edited, messy chapter a day for the next month. I do have midterms, etc, so we’ll see if I can keep it up, but it’s a fun challenge!
After the speech, Rose and Pearl managed to seclude themselves into Pink’s Palanquin. Rose shapeshifted back into Pink Diamond and sighed. “I’m scared, Pearl,” Pink said. “I think I made the right decision, but what if I messed up? What if they all want to shatter me now?”
“My Diamond,” Pearl said, while Diamond Saluting Pink. “You did not tell Garnet and I Bismuth’s main goal was to shatter you. If you had, I might’ve advised you differently.”
Pink Diamond let her head fall back and let out a moan of frustration. “I really didn’t mean to tell anyone, it just sort of, slipped out. I mean, I was going to tell you once we had some time to ourselves, but I didn’t want to tell Garnet, and I certainly didn’t want to tell all of the crystal gems! How could I be so stupid!”
“You’re not stupid, my diamond.” Pearl paused. “I’m sure I’ve let far worse things slip over time. They’ll probably just forget anyway, and the ones who won’t probably would’ve thought of it themselves. Please don’t worry yourself, my diamond.”
“How could I not!” Pink exclaimed. She laughed, nervously. “I know I said we should act like we’re in front of Yellow and Blue while I’m in this form, but I really want to be Rose Quartz for just a few more minutes. Can you- treat me like you treat her? I know that’s an odd request but-”
“-I understand,” Pearl interjected. “When we’re out there, together, I feel like we’re close, like I really know you. But when you’re- this, it feels like you are my Diamond and I am your Pearl. It’s like all that doesn’t exist anymore. I don’t want it to end either.”
Pink smiled. “When we first started doing this, it was just a mask to get away from Yellow and Blue. A fun disguise for a day. Now, ‘Pink Diamond’ feels like a mask. This is what I was made to be, and yet- it feels so wrong.”
“Rose, you are fighting for everything you get to be one day,” Pearl said, looking away from Pink. “You, just like every other crystal gem, are fighting for the right to be yourself. And that’s terrifying.”
“You know, Pearl, I think you’re the only gem in the entire universe that doesn’t hate me,” Pink smiled, sadly. “Thank you for being here. For doing this with me.”
“There’s nothing, not on this planet or homeworld or anywhere else that I would rather be doing, and not with any other gem!” Pearl exclaimed. “Before I became a crystal gem, I cared so much about what everyone thought of me and if I was doing things right. Now, getting the freedom to define who I am for myself? Thank you for giving this to me.”
Pink sighed. “We should probably talk business again. We have so much to run and figure out and do.”
Pearl nodding, looking back at Pink. “Yes, my diamond. I think your speech was marvelous. Surely the rest of the crystal gems will agree with you.”
“I wish I could have your confidence,” Pink said. “I still feel like with every move I make, Yellow and Blue get closer to finding me out. Every move I make has so many consequences now. It’s exciting, in a way, but it’s more grim. Anything I do could hurt hundreds- no- thousands of gems.”
“But you could also save just as many!” Pearl exclaimed. “Imagine if we succeed. Imagine this world as a haven for gems without orders, gems free to do as they want. A place where humans and gems can coexist. If you remember everything you’re fighting to protect, the risks become a lot smaller.”
Pink smiled. “Right.” She paused for a moment and looked thoughtful. “Where do you think I should put Bismuth’s bubble?” she asked.
The corners of Pearl’s mouth turned downwards. “Hmm. Somewhere respectful. Not on display yet accessible to anyone who wants to pay their respects. We need to make sure it doesn’t look like we’re trying to make an example of her or erase her memory. Where is she kept right now?”
“I think we left her in the room you, Garnet and I discussed whether to tell the rest of the crystal gems.”
“I think we could leave that door open and keep her there. That room is pretty out of the way, and yet easily accessible if you’re looking for it.”
Pink pursed her lips. “You think? What if someone agrees with her and tries to unbubble her? It wouldn’t even take a large faction, just one rogue gem.”
“What if,” Pearl projected a model of the crystal gem hideout Bismuth was currently bubbled in. “We moved these guards,” she shook two guards who were guarding a different doorway in the same hall, “and put them,” she moved them to the doorway to the room where Bismuth was kept, “here.”
“Oh! Yes, that could work quite well! I’ll ask Cherry if she thinks it’s a good idea.” Pink paused. “When’s my next Pink Diamond obligation?”
“Not for a couple of weeks, my diamond. Why?”
Pink grinned. “We can ask her right now!”
Pearl looked shocked. “My diamond, are you really prepared to shapeshift for so long again? We’ve only taken a short break.”
“It’ll only take a few minutes to ask her!”
“But, my diamond, it’s likely other gems will want to talk to you about other things. You don’t want to have to refuse them, do you?”
Pink sighed. “You’re right, Pearl. Is there anything I can do as Pink Diamond at the moment?”
Pearl scowled. “Yellow and Blue DIamond have taken over many of the day-to-day tasks of running a colony, along with a large percentage of the war effort. You could visit the moon base, or check up on weapons operations. However, I think the best way for the crystal gems to win the war is if Pink Diamond doesn’t do much of anything.”
“Ugh!” Pink exclaimed. “I wish we could ask Garnet. But what could I say ‘oh just curious but what could Pink Diamond theoretically do to help us win the war?’ ‘oh look that’s funny she did exactly what you said would help us the most, would you mind telling us what else would help?’ She’d be onto us in seconds.”
Pearl nodded. “Plus, if she looks too hard into you, she might see you transforming.”
Pink leaned on her hand. “You said I could check out things from the moon base?”
Pearl nodded. “I don’t think Rose will be missed for that long, and it would be a perfectly acceptable thing for Pink Diamond to do.”
Pink nodded. “Let’s go. I want to see how- would that be spying? To see how they all reacted to my speech?”
“My diamond, if you were able to maintain your other form for longer, you’d be out there talking with everyone and learning this first-hand. I’m sure it’ll be okay. You need to make the most of your time.”
Pink nodded. “You’re right. Let’s head to the moon.”
Pearl and Pink headed out of the palanquin and walked to the warp. Pink had asked her Quartzes to stand a bit away from the palanquin so she could sneak in and out, but once she got to where they were stationed, they followed her. As they got to the warp, Pink motioned to them to let her go alone. She stood on the warp and she felt herself being transported to the moon base.
Pink and Pearl stepped off the warp pad into the moon base. Pink scooped Pearl into her arms and leapt to the observation deck. Pink then set Pearl down and knelt in front of the observation deck controller. Pink gently tapped the globe-shaped controller and the room lit up with a projection of the cliff Rose gave her speech on.
“Where should we go from here?” Pink asked.
Pearl pointed down the cliff and to the left. “I think I see some gems discussing over there!”
“Good eye, Pearl!” Pink tapped the globe again, and they were in the midst of crystal gems discussing Rose’s speech.
“I feel bad for Bismuth,” they heard Peridot say. “I understand not wanting to just sit around and wait for this thing to be over. I mean, does she really deserve to be bubbled until the end of the war?”
“Exactly!” Snowflake Obsidian said. “I actually can’t believe Rose is against shattering Pink Diamond. I don’t know how I feel about shattering any homeworld gem that I come across- some of those Rubys are just used by the elites, but shattering a DIamond? That should be something every crystal gem should get behind, ‘specially our leader.”
“Quartzes couldn’t understand,” Aschamalmite said. “Us working gems know that the only way to change the system is to get rid of those in charge. Bismuth was right.”
“If only I could figure out how this ‘Breaking Point’ worked, I could probably recreate it,” Peridot offered.
Pearl noticed Pink starting to fret, so she asked “Shall we go see what those gems down the hill are talking about, my diamond?” She hoped that those gems were thinking more reasonably, which would reassure Pink.
Pink nodded and Pearl tapped the globe. The observation deck shifted over to a clump of gems which included Cherry Quartz, Morganite, Jasper, and Ruby.
“So, I don’t know,” Cherry finished, right as Pink and Pearl arrived.
“Yeah, me neither,” said Morganite. “I mean, Rose gave me everything. Without her, I would’ve been shattered long ago now. But I feel like people are going to discard my opinion just because I would be higher-ranking back on homeworld.”
“But you’re off-color!” Ruby exclaimed, “They’d shatter you!”
Morganite nodded. “True, but I still socialized with the other high-ranking gems before they declared me ‘defective,’ so I might be sympathizing with them more than I should,” she explained.
“I don’t think having too much sympathy is possible!” Jasper exclaimed. “I mean, homeworld’s lack of sympathy or empathy is the very reason so many of us defected! They refuse to understand anything outside of what they think is ‘right.’ I understand where Bismuth was coming from, I understand where Rose is coming from. Is either of them right? Who knows! What I do know is I used to fight for homeworld same as anybody else. I can’t shatter my former self. If Pink Diamond is shattered, I’m not going to cry any tears over it, but I don’t think it’s what we should aim for. If we get there, we get there, but honestly bubbling her seems like the better option. Or just getting her to leave us alone.”
“Hear, hear!” Ruby yelled. “When we win the war, I want it to be because we had compassion! We cared! If we start shattering gems, no one is going to join us anymore. Before I joined, the Crystal Gems poofed two of the other Rubies in my squad. If they had been shattered, I never would’ve joined.”
Cherry nodded. “I’m grateful to Rose for making the decision she did. If I had been in her place, I probably would’ve froze enough for her to shatter me.”
“Plus, homeworld has a lot nastier tech than what they’re using right now,” Morganite said. “They’re trying to not make us look too sympathetic and add gems to our numbers, but if we started shattering gems, I’m sure that would be a lot less of an issue.”
Pink set her hand on the globe, turning the observation deck back into a normal room. She sank to her knees to be around eye level with Pearl. “I don’t know, Pearl. That first set of gems seemed awfully confident. I’m so scared about what will happen.”
“Do you have enough energy to talk to Cherry and Garnet?” Pearl asked. “That might give you some extra clarity.”
Pink nodded. “Let’s head back to the palanquin, then back to the base so we can chat with them and everyone else.” Pink was careful not to exclude anyone.
Pearl nodded, and back to the base they went.
“Pearl, Garnet, I have something I want to show you.” Rose felt a pang of guilt, and fear. She shouldn’t say anything. Nobody else needed to know. They’d hate her if they knew what she did. Why was she even telling them?. “Can we talk in private?” Oh her stars she was actually going through with this. She clutched Bismuth’s gem behind her back, and the indent dug into her hand. She should let her legacy stay spotless. She got shattered in battle. That would be better for everyone, wouldn’t it?
Garnet nodded. Pearl stepped forward eagerly. Well, now Rose had to tell them something. And holding something behind her back wouldn’t look good. She could still bail. She could ask Garnet and Pearl to close their eyes and bubble the gem and no one would know. Bismuth would be remembered as a hero for the rebellion. Rose struggled against the urge to squeeze her eyes tight as the voice in her head said, “but that’s not why you want to hide this, do you? You think they’ll all turn on you if they know what you’ve done. How terrible you are. You’re just scared to let everyone know how terribly imperfect you are.”
Rose gathered her senses and led Garnet and Pearl to a side room off of the Crystal Gem hideout they were currently in. The room felt slightly claustrophobic, as the ceilings were rather low for Garnet and Rose, and it was clear this room was only designed for three or four gems at a time.
Rose looked around herself cautiously. Telling Garnet and Pearl was already probably too much. She couldn’t bear to tell anyone else on accident. Rose panicked. Her self-hatred and anxiety hit in. Everything could go wrong. What if they agreed with Bismuth. What if Garnet wanted to shatter her? Oh no, they were staring at her. Of course they were. She needed to buy some time. “Alright, close your eyes,” she said.
Pearl giggled slightly. “Okay, what is this about?” she asked, but she closed her eyes.
Garnet was more cautious. “You really worried me. I hope this isn’t some kind of prank.”
“Are they closed?” Rose asked. Ever since Garnet had started wearing that visor, it made it hard to tell where she was looking, or if she was looking at all.
Garnet nodded. “Yes.”
There was still time. If Rose had a heart, it would be pounding in her chest. She brought her hand out from behind her back. All of her instincts were telling her to lie, to bubble Bismuth and tackle Garnet and Pearl and play it off as a big prank. But she couldn’t. She opened her hand and looked at the rainbow-colored gem lying there. Mocking her. This was the final choice. She could tell them to open their eyes and let them know the horrible truth of what she did, or she could cover it up and preserve Bismuth- no- she was so selfish. Her own legacy was what she cared about. She made a choice.
“Garnet, Pearl, please, open your eyes.”
Pearl gasped at the sight of what Rose had done. Garnet’s expression was hard to read under her visor, but Rose knew she was worried. This was a friend she had- no. She’d made a choice. She couldn’t turn back anymore. Rose bubbled Bismuth so they didn’t have to worry about her reforming.
The silence was deafening. Both Garnet and Pearl were staring at her like the monster she was. She should explain. She needed to explain. But Pearl was the first to speak.
“What happened?” Pearl’s eyes filled with concern as she looked up to the bubble that contained their friend.
Rose looked at the floor. “Bismuth and I went to the forge to review the weapons she made, and she had this, this, thing she called the ‘Breaking Point.’ She said it would shatter gems and that we needed to fight homeworld with a big push in order to stop them. I said no, shattering gems is wrong. We can win this war without more gem shards littered across the earth.” She looked up at Garnet and Pearl, her eyes damp. “The conversation carried on for quite a while-” Rose paused. Should she mention that Bismuth’s main goal was shattering Pink Diamond? Pearl would, of course, realize the ramifications of that, but Garnet? What if she looked into the future and the timelines where she was shattered were the only good outcomes of the war? What if she agreed with Bismuth? Rose decided to omit it.
“-until things got really heated and Bismuth tried to use the breaking point on me. Then I poofed her and told you,” Rose finished.
“Why would she want to use it on you?” Pearl questioned. “Even if you disagreed, I’m sure she would never try to shatter you. It’s Bismuth!” She exclaimed in disbelief.
“I couldn’t believe it either. I don’t know what to do now. Garnet, do you have any advice?”
“Hmm, it looks like there are two choices you could make. You can tell everyone what happened, or you can keep it a secret between us three. I also see a few timelines where you let her go and have a talk with her, but that seems volatile at best, and not the route I would take,” Garnet said.
“So do you think I should let everyone know, or-” Rose didn’t want to say the word “lie.” She would be lying but to say it would make the choice obvious, she paused, thinking of a better way to phrase it, “Preserve her memory?”
Garnet’s mouth tilted to the side as she thought. “I don’t know. I see many terrible futures and many beautiful ones in both paths. Telling everyone will most likely result in more hardship, but it will also be much better than if the truth is revealed through another route. If that would occur, I fear the war would most likely be over.”
“You mean-” Rose started, but Garnet cut her off.
Garnet nodded. “It seems it would be hard to keep the Crystal Gems in one piece. Some would still side with you, but I fear the majority would branch off and try to use their own methods. We would be shattered, each group a small shard, unable to do much on its own.”
“But if I tell everyone,” said Rose, “that won’t happen?”
Garnet looked thoughtful once again. “It still might, but it is one of many possible paths. The only way to keep the Crystal Gems running in the way that they are is to not let anyone know about what happened. But that runs so many dangers.”
“I think,” Pearl paused, “I think you should tell everyone. Most gems will understand that it would be wrong to shatter gems, even if it would get us to the end of the war sooner. We’ve made it this far, it would be a travesty if everything we worked so hard for came crumbling down because of a lie.”
“You don’t think everyone will turn against me?” Rose asked.
“No! I think most gems will trust you more because you told such a hard truth!”
Garnet looked doubtful. “That is possible,” she said.
Rose nodded. “I’ll do it. I’ll let everyone know exactly what happened.”
Garnet put her hand on Rose’s shoulder. “We’ll be behind you whatever choice you make. Now, or in the future.”
Rose laughed. “That’s an awful lot to promise, isn’t it?”
Garnet nodded. “Without you, I wouldn’t exist. You give me the courage to stand against the Diamonds and their tyranny.”
Rose nodded. “I’ll let everyone know when we give our speech tonight.”
By this point, there were multitudes of Crystal Gems, so in order to address all of them, Rose had to stand outside and shout. Still, she wanted to make sure she kept in contact with everyone, and that everyone felt they had a voice. As a result, she kept giving speeches and holding meetings regularly. She was going to give another inspirational speech to keep everyone going. But it seemed she would instead have to tell a rather sad tale.
That night, Rose approached the cliff she did much of her speaking on. Garnet and Pearl were standing behind her. She glanced over her shoulder and gave them a nervous look. Pearl smiled at her and Garnet gave a thumbs-up.
Rose turned back to address the crowd. She looked down at the multi-colored congregation, and it seemed to swirl beneath her feet. Gems from Yellow’s, Blue’s, and even her own court were standing to hear her speak. She closed her eyes and took a breath.
“Crystal Gems,” she started, as she often did. “Today is not a cheerful day. Today, something terrible has occurred. It is my solemn duty to tell you all the truth. Today, we lost a brave warrior. Not to the Diamonds or Homeworld, but to her own impatience and discouragement. Today, I went with her to the forge, and she and I talked at length. Then, she brought out a new weapon she had been working on.
It was a terrible thing. She called it the ‘Breaking Point,’ and its only purpose was to shatter gems, to remove them from existence entirely. I told her that we could not afford to let any more gems be shattered than could be helped, that Homeworld would hit even harder in retaliation, and that Homeworld would be far less likely to hear our demands. She refused to hear me out, saying that shattering Pink Diamond-” Rose paused suddenly, her hands almost flew to her mouth, but she kept them down. She hadn’t meant to tell them that. How could she be so stupid? She had to keep going. She took a short breath, hoping her silence would be mistaken for being shaken up at the event, and kept going.
“-would be the only way to end the war for good, and shattering gems would be the only way to show Homeworld what we’re made of and that we mean business. After a very heated argument, she,” Rose hoped that someday, when the war was over, Bismuth would forgive her, though she doubted it, “she tried to use the breaking point on me. In the end, I was forced to bubble her.
It pains me greatly to recall that event, just as it pained me to do it. I hope that you all will forgive me someday, as, I hope, will she.” Rose panicked. She hadn’t thought about how to end the speech, she had been so nervous to tell everyone what had happened. “My deepest desire, second only to the war being over and the Diamonds leaving the earth alone, is that I could convince her to stay with us, not to give in to the endless frustration. I know that you are probably all growing weary of war, as am I. But we must not give into the temptation of an easy solution that would forever weigh on our gems. You surely must remember when you worked for Homeworld. You were not evil then, and neither are our opponents now. They are misguided, and our goal is not to destroy them, but to either show them our way or get them to leave us be.
So please, when you think of Bismuth, think of the brave warrior and wonderful friend you knew, and not the terrible thing she did in desperation at the end. It was a tremendous joy to fight alongside her, and I hope someday we can show her the society we’ve built, free from the influence of the Diamonds.” Rose finished speaking. She hoped she had made herself clear. She hoped she had made the right choice.