Pink Lace Agate, though she was having quite some difficulty carrying on without knowing where her Rubies had gone, had followed Pebble's advice and set to learning more about her land and her powers.
She may have been an emotional gem but she still knew how to do her job. The Old Candle Hall was excellent for clearing her mind and had plenty of art and literature to help her focus.
While she didn't understand all the details, she was able to gather that she was something referred to as a 'Heart player,' and that whatever powers she was to develop would be in some way connected to the self, to the true inner self, the 'soul.'
The concept of the soul was difficult for Pink Lace to comprehend at first, but she managed to understand it by conceptualizing it as the light within her gem, the her at the core of her being.
The information she managed to collect seemed to support this view, and she meditated on the concepts, focused her mind inward.
Though she was unable to see it, she began to glow a faint pinkish purple as she meditated, as she dwelled on her values and what drove her. She felt a serene calm as she meditated, and time seemed to melt away around her.
At some point she finally decided to try and test whatever it was she had unlocked. While she was uncertain what her role in all this was, she was quite certain of one thing.
She sought to help others. An Agate's job was to lead others, and while most did so with fear and brutality, Pink Lace was more fond of doing so with kindness. She spoke with the consorts of her land.
The mole like beings were by and large against conversation, so it wasn't until she found a lone child of their kind crying she had a chance. She knelt down to ask the girl what had happened. She frowned as the consort showed her leg, cut and bleeding from a nasty fall.
Pink Lace took a breath and held her hands over the girl's as she once again clutched her leg. She cast her mind back to the feeling she had dwelled on during her meditation. She once again began to glow, and she listened as the girl's cries slowed, then stopped. She opened her eyes and removed her hands.
As the girl did the same.. she saw that the cut was gone.
River ducked under the swing of Meghan's staff, having her own strike blocked and countered.
They'd been at it for some time, going back and forth. Both were getting quite good, better than any standard prisoner would be in any event.
River had noticed muscle developing on Meghan's body, and while she was entirely uncertain what that was or meant, Meghan assured her it was a good thing; her body developing as a result of their hard work.
River explained to Meghan that her kind only changed when they chose to, physically at least, and had demonstrated her shapeshifting ability.
Meghan had been remarkably interested in this, and seemed to have an idea the moment she saw this; though she'd not told River immediately. She didn't mind, more than happy to simply spend time with Meghan while she worked it over in her mind. Finally, the night before, Meghan had revealed her plan.
"You can shapeshift into anything right?" She had asked.
"More or less. Copying actual abilities is rather more difficult, but appearance wise anything goes so long as I don't hold it too long."
River had confirmed. "Then.. we might have a way out of here." Meghan said, "You can shapeshift into one of the guards, or even one of the Kings. Say you're transferring me or maybe even all of us servants. Once we're out we can find somewhere safe."
It.. wasn't a bad plan; its main flaw being that it relied on River being able to speak with authority and confidence; something she was quite certain she couldn't do.
Meghan had pouted, "Don't be so down on yourself. You're stronger than you give yourself credit for. Honestly.. you could probably fight your way out if you wanted, the acting idea is just if you want me to come with you."
River had paused at this. She felt something unfamiliar.. well.. no.. it was not an unfamiliar feeling; she simply seemed to feel it only in Meghan's presence.
She couldn't describe it, not even mentally comprehend it; but she could say something to Meghan. "I do want to take you with me." She said.
Meghan smiled, hugging River close. That strange feeling radiated through River so fiercely she wondered if Meghan couldn't somehow feel coming off of her.
If she did she didn't say it. They'd returned to their routine, readying the plan to go into effect the following night.
But as they trained, the door to their quarters swung open with the force of a cannon shot. As the guards surged in, slamming a cane into River's gut to send her to the ground, it became clear what was happening.
The guards had found out about their escape plan.
They had been monitoring them, as they did for all servants to prevent uprisings. And while it was River's powers which would have been the lynch pin, it had been Meghan's idea; and therefore she was the true one to blame.
So while River was merely beaten by several guards, the others grabbed Meghan, dragging her away. River's eyes began to water, breaking into sobs.
Not from the pain.
She knew where Meghan was going, she had learned from the other servants the highest punishment for those who would trifle with the rule of the Kings of LoFaK. The Great Dungeon.
Olive's drones had only become more powerful.
She'd continued to upgrade and augment them both manually and with alchemy. Much as she was uncomfortable by how arcane the alchemic process was, it allowed her to advance her machines well and truly beyond what she'd have been able to do by hand.
The sentinels orbited her and destroyed anything moving towards her that wasn't white listed; which basically meant everything but gems, consorts, and sprites.
This made the demented consorts that tried to attack her something an issue. She'd nearly been poofed when one of them tackled her and began wailing on her while the drones had been unable to recognize the insane consort as a threat.
The sprite drone had needed to help with that, and after that a new upgrade was implemented; allowing the drones to recognize the crazed consorts and restrain them. Seeing the crusted honey around their mouths, Olive was swiftly able to put together that consuming the honey was driving the consorts full tilt mental.
More specifically, it was the result of drinking the water of the fountain Olive had repaired. It seems diluting it with anything resulted in legitimate mania.
The cracks Olive had fixed must have been allowing the odd water leaking into the odd rivers of honey from which the consorts drank. From there it was easy to determine the cure; simply force feed them the pure stuff. This seemed quite effective at freeing them from their madness, if leaving them very confused and afraid.
Just another problem for a peridot to fix. She chuckled to herself as her drones atomized an odd chrome humanoid. It had been posted at the entrance to some kind of cave, so out of curiosity she decided to search inside. The space was vast, and upon seeing its occupant, Olive realized why.
From the space below her, a serpent unlike anything Olive had ever seen rose. Its body was blue up to the head, where its face was.. indescribable. And for a peridot of any kind to say that... Olive felt suddenly out of depth, like a quartz soldier fighting passed rubies only to find herself locked in a room with Yellow Diamond.
You are a very intelligent being. The entity said.
It spoke with no malice but the fact that Olive could understand its words despite not knowing whatever language it was speaking only unnerved her more.
As such, I do not think you wish to battle me.
"M-most certainly. I believe I'm lost in fact." Olive said quickly.
I am Metis, the denizen of this land. I will be your final opponent here.
"I-I have to fight you?" She questioned, suddenly much, much less impressed with her drones.
Indeed. Unless you accept The Choice.
"The choice? What is it?" She questioned, desperate for any way to avoid battling what seemed to Olive to be power and wisdom in physical form.
There is a being on this land, the ruler of the consorts. She is known as the Jittering Queen. It is she who forces her subjects to continue harvesting and consuming the tainted honey. Killing her would bring freedom yes, but to bring peace, you must repair her mind.
"So.. feed the Queen some of that mind water?"
The water will not fix the queen. Her mind is too broken. You must fix her as you would one of your own machines.
"...And what exactly is that supposed to mean?"
That is for you to decide. You need not attempt if you wish not to. But know this: if you slay the Queen, you must also try to slay me.
And with that, Metis recoiled back into the pit, leaving Olive confused, terrified and frustrated. Olive left the cave, knowing less than when she'd entered. She tried to unravel the denizen's riddles as she walked, her drones still defending her as she contemplated.
Finally an idea came to her. While the water wouldn't help the Queen, it would likely help her.
If the fountain's water focused your mind, she could use it on herself to try and figure out what Metis had asked of her. She took out the vial of water she'd taken and, with a moment of hesitation, downed it all.
There was a moment of stillness, and then Olive's eyes widened as she began to understand so much more than she had before...
Rhodochrosite had been hard at work lately.
With the bloody water and the beasts it spawned dealt with, all that remained to harass the consorts and make them paranoid were the monsters that stocked the land.
The reptilian consorts were were nervous and untrusting of one another, but they were starting to open up more and more these days. Rhodi has a way with tools of course and was fortifying their towns one by one.
But more than that, she had a way with words.
Her reassurances and charming energy was keeping the consorts spirits up, having them out and about and pleased to see one another before the walls were even finished. And when they were finished, the consorts were practically back to a normal functioning society.
She wasn't sure if she had all the towns yet, but was pretty convinced she'd gotten the majority.
She worked tirelessly. With no need to sleep, no sea born blood monsters and the energy of a fusion, she moved like lightning through LoLaF, leaving towns built like bunkers and citizens laughing and cheering in her wake.
She was relaxing now, a luxury she afforded herself only because the MoongoddessSprite insisted she do so.
As she did this though, she heard something in the air. She recognized the sounds of Olive's drones before she saw her little green friend, and was worried Olive was bringing bad news.
She looked rather frantic, holding onto one of her drones like a life preserver as it carried her through the air.
Surprisingly, though, Olive didn't bring news of an issue on her land nor an injured ally. She dove from the drone into Rhodochrosite's arms, hugging her close.
"Woah, what's gone and gotten into you?" She questioned, surprised by the open and aggressive show of affection.
"The Water of Decision." Olive answered matter of factly.
"..Is that a metaphor or..?" Rhodochrosite questioned.
Olive shook her head, giving her fusion friend a dopey grin that looked simultaneously uncanny and adorable on her face, "My land has a fountain, it produces special water. I.. I thought it focused your mind or0or made you smarter. But I was wrong~" She purred the last sentence, the tone making Rhodi blush slightly.
"That so? Well what does it do?"
"It opens your mind~" Olive purred again, "It unclouds it. It.. removes the mental blocks that limit your perspective. Lets you see the true extend of the possibilities you can explore. It lets you see just how many choices you have, lets you truly understand those choices."
Her voice sounded somehow at the same time frantic and completely calm, like she knew what she was doing but was doing it with every emotion that existing burning inside her.
"You alright? You seem.. out of it." She said.
"Oh trust me Rhodi, I've never been better in my life~" Olive said, giving the fusion a look that sent a shiver down her spine. "Now why don't we go.. explore the possibilities together~"
Rhodochrosite's eyes widened as the peridot hopped out of her arms and took her hand, leading her to the nearest inn.
She could hardly believe what she was hearing. But she sure as hell wasn't gonna pass up an opportunity like this~
The fusion followed Olive to the inn; having to stop her passing it by, the green gem so hopped up on magic choice water she seemed almost more focused on the choices than on physical reality.
They hurried to a room at the inn, Rhodochrosite had one waiting for her as it happened, set aside for the local hero who'd been fixing up their planet.
She closed the door behind them, watching as Olive practically pounced onto the bed. She couldn't help but grin at seeing the eagerness in the peridot's eyes.
Rhodi's eyes grew wide as, with a flash of light, Olive's clothing vanished, leaving her smaller olive green body completely exposed. She laid back on the bed, splaying herself out as though posing.
Rhodochrosite could withstand the kind temperatures that would melt tungsten, but her face felt hotter than anything in the world for those first few moments. Her being frazzled didn't last long. The fusion wasn't the kind to shy away; especially not from Olive. Her dropped jaw morphed into a grin.
She met Olive's undressing, her own clothing vanishing as well. While she couldn't quite remember it, Rhodi was quite certain Olive had already seen this particular view; albeit from something of a distance.
Olive's eyes wandered over Rhodi's body, ogling every inch of her body, taking in every firm muscle and plump curve. Rhodi sauntered to the bed, enjoying the look of utter awe on her small friend's face as she joined her on the bed.
"Just lay back and let me show you how it's done~" Rhodochrosite purred.
Olive wanted to object, to be the one pleasing the fusion. As she was the one making the most headway on her land, it should be her being pleased; but she couldn't argue.
Unlike herself, Rhodi had actually learned about this kind of thing from Pink Lace, and would know what she was doing. So Olive did as she was asked, laying back; ready to learn.
Rhodi leaned in, kissing her small friend gently. One hand moved down to hold her as the other traced down her body sensually, rubbing at her slit to warm her up. Olive whimpered, fidgeting. After a few moments, her fingers began to push passed Olive's lower lips, thumb rubbing against her clit.
Olive moaned into Rhodi's mouth, her tongue utterly controlled by the fusion's as pleasure, genuine pleasure began to radiate throughout her body for potentially the first time in her life.
Rhodi felt her own lust grow as she felt the way Olive gripped around her fingers, pushing them deeper and curling inside her to hit more sensitive areas as her thumb grew rougher.
Olive, mind simultaneously on hyper drive and shutting down, reached out to Rhodi.
Despite no actual experience, her hands seem to gravitate instinctively to Rhodi's chest, gently squeezing her soft, plump breasts. It wasn't much, but Rhodi decided to encourage her; moaning into her mouth as the green gem groped her.
Her fingers picked up speed, going from gentle to rough to a blur as they pumped into her. Olive's moans grew in volume more and more, hips bucking against Rhodi for more as she grew closer. To what she didn't know but she was quite certain she wanted to get there.
Finally, Olive reached her peak, letting out a scream as she felt her body so enveloped by pleasure she wondered if she hadn't been poofed by it.
She slumped against the bed, panting heavily with limp feeling legs. She didn't notice Rhodi moving down at first. When her vision returned she saw that the fusion's head was now between her legs.
She held Olive's hips and she licked her lips, "Don't go passing out on me now," She says, "I've got a lot of teaching to do~"