It had been a few days since Quartz had arrived in his new reality, and he was finally settled in, though the looks he was getting from the residents of Beach City were still a bit unnerving. Namely in that they didn t seem to care, once he had re-introduced himself as Quartz, the adult form of Steven Universe. Sure, they were a bit awed by his physical changes, but they apparently chalked it up to normal, as after telling him he was pretty different now, they dropped it and treated him as they always had, albeit with a bit more respect, owing to his new-found maturity.
It was a very moving experience for Quartz, so used to people either fawning or trembling at him, praising and cursing his name in the same sentence. It had actually brought him to tears a couple times, which, of course, had made Sandy at the Big Donut coo at how cute he was.
This morning found him down on the beach, clad only in his short sarong as he moved through his morning stretches, then his workout routine; one thousand push ups, one thousand sit ups, a two mile sprint, and, now that he had an ocean readily available for his use, a feverish swim a mile out and then back. By the time he had returned from the water, panting heavily from the strain of it, his whole body was positively glowing pink with the rushing of his blood beneath his skin, and his gem was pulsing with a pleasant glow in time with his heart.
He dropped to the sand and began carefully wringing his long tresses out, a small pool of water forming behind him. After he had cooled down, and his glowing had died down, he stood with a stretch, enjoying the minor release of tension built up in his muscles from the workout. As he paced back towards the house, every window and crack in the building lit up with a flash of blinding white light.
A bolt of fear lanced through him for the barest moment as he began to dash forward, his mind only catching up and relaying that it was the teleportation matrix activating as his hand gripped the door handle. He calmed his racing heart, a smile forming on his face as he realized what it meant; Garnet must be back from her mission.
He opened the door and stepped in, finding Garnet indeed returned, talking to Amethyst while Pearl analyzed a small figuring depicting the lunar goddess holding a crystal. Garnet stopped talking abruptly at his entrance, cutting off abruptly mid word. She quickly darted over to him in a blur, her fusion breaking and Ruby and Sapphire appearing to latch onto him in a hug. Hi Rose Quartz, we missed you! They chorused to him, large smiles splitting their faces.
He dropped down to their height and looked them over, scrutinizing them for injuries. Finding none, he gave them a warm smile and pulled them into another hug. Im glad your back, and unharmed. He told them, placing a kiss on each of their foreheads, making them glow with blushes. He stood back up and moved over to Pearl, his own eyes joining hers in scrutinizing the statuette.
Isnt this the Moon Goddess figure that is supposed to reside in the Lunar Sea Spire? He asked her, turning his gaze to Pearl in question. Pearl opened her mouth to reply, then froze, surprise clear on her face. I- Yes, it is, h-how did you know? She asked him, eyes darting to his gem for a moment. He nodded, confirming her suspicions, Yes, it told me, I have access to her memories, well, some of them.. he trailed off, a blush coloring his cheeks, one quickly mirrored by Pearl
R-right, well, the Lunar Sea Spire is rapidly deteriorating in its absences, and I calculate that it will collapse into the sea if the statuette isn t returned to its pedestal by midnight. We were about to leave to replace it, i-if you want to come along? Pearl explained, seeming a bit sheepish with her offer. Amethyst and Garnet, who had re-fused after greeting him, both looked a little shocked at the offer, but nodded vigorously in agreement.
He smiled beatifically at them, Of course, I wouldn t want any of my girls getting hurt on a mission without me! He told them. With a twitch of his nose, his clothes changed, becoming the armor of the ancient Spartan Hoplites; a battle skirt of pink, gem-like scales, a curaise of a solid pink quartz, detailed with finely sculpted abs and a gentle swell over his pectorals, furthering his androgenous looks. His feet were covered in pink quartz boots, a deep pink cape formed from his curaise, dropping to his heals and detailed with an embroidery of a rose in bloom. Cradled in his arm, a Spartan helm with a large, pink crest traversing from fore to rear.
More than one female gulp was heard at his change of clothes and he grinned. Well? I m ready, lets roll! He exclaimed, dropping the helm onto his head and striding over to the warp pad. There was a general rush as the other gems hurried over to the pad to join him, and before long, they were being lifted in a nova of white light, and hurtling through space towards the spire.
They arrived in a flash of white, at the ruins of the spire. The pad was situated in a receiving building off the main spire, and over grown by vegetation. All around them was the sweet tang of sea water, and the rushing of swiftly moving water. The disrepair of the ancient tower brought a tear to Pearl s eye, and shocked Amethyst, who had known, on an intellectual level that the tower would be in disrepair, but hadn t quite expected the severity of the damages.
Before they could step off the pad, there was a hiss, and a large, glittering white, shrimp-like creature, crystal shrimp, Quartz mind provided him with, was flying at them, a mouth full of teeth set on latching onto Garnet. Before the tall gem could react, Quartz tower shield reappeared, flashing into existence in time to bash the small creature away.
With a small twirl, and a flash of pink, a long, savagely bladed spear appeared in his hand, and thrust forward, past the shield, to pierce the shrimp, killing it with a shriek and a puff of white dust. Crystal Shrimp infestation. Nasty blighters must have moved in when the last gems left. Quartz told them, naturally assuming the role of leader, and pressing forward, off the pad.
As he moved, his spear flashed in and out, destroying a hoard of the crystalline beasties. Pearl stared after him, undisguised lust in her eyes, while Amethyst just stared for a moment after him, before drawing her whip and getting to work along with him. Unseen behind her sunglasses, Garnet s eyes were all three trained on Quartz, Red and Blue in admiration, and the Purple, calculating. That was a very British thing of him to say she thought, before charging after the others towards the Spire.
They waded through more and more of the crystal shrimp, the air heavy with their dusty remains, until they came to the spire itself. The bridge that had once connected the aging spire to the reception center was long corroded away, nothing but rubble on either end.
Quartz examined the gap for a moment, as Pearl explained that the vortex holding the spire aloft was too strong for them to jump over. Taking a few steps back, and lengthening his spear, Quartz charged forward, lodging the tip of his spear in a crack in the stone and using it to pole vault over the expanse. At the zenith of the vault, he felt the vortex begin sucking him down, and he shifted his weight just slightly, giving the shaft of his spear enough tension to throw him the final couple of feet into the spire.
The gems stared after him, Pearl being the first to follow, performing his same move with her own spear, and landing cradled in his arms on the other side. Next was Amethyst, slinging her whip over the gap, to miss her intended target, an exposed support beam, and be caught by Quartz. He wrapped the whip around his arm and jerked, launching her over the gap and into his waiting arms.
She stared at him again for a moment, wide eyed in surprise, be fore blushing and vanishing her weapon. "Th-thank you Quartz." She murmured to him, fairly glowing a pale purple. He just gave her a small smile and released her, letting her seperate to stand with Pearl, who was split between giving the purple gem a territorial glare, and examining their next obstacle.
Before Quartz could perform any more heroics, Garnet seemed to flash from existance, and reappear at his side, having dashed over the gap faster than his eyes could perciev. He gave her an appreciative look, then turned to the rushing channel of water seperating them from the stairs to the top of the spire.
Just as Garnet was preparing to punch a support pillar into a bridge, he touched her shoulder, pausing her. His tower shield re-appeared, quite tall this time, and he laid it over the gap. It was a simple solution, but it didnt endanger the spire's structural stability.
Garnet flushed with mild embaressment, and they all crossed. Half way up, Quartz and Garnet were stopped, looking out over the sea from the excellent vantage provided by the window they were at. Amethyst and pearl however, were bent over, clutching their knees and gasping for air, very winded from the seemlingly endless trek of stairs to the zenith of the tower.
It took almost another hour before they reached the peak, punctuated by various stops to clear out crystal shrimp infestations. With a reverent air, Quartz took the statuette and lovingly placed it on its pedestal, just as a lance of moon light dropped from the sky.
The crystal clutched in the statuettes hands began to gently glow, before brightening near blindingly. A moment later, a flash of light burst from it, enveloping the roof of the spire and slowly traversing its many floors. The warm, gentle light of the Lunar Goddess once again filled the spire, healing the entropy of the ages and evicting the many nasties that had taken residence.
Before the Gems' very eyes, the spire repaired itself, fallen or missing pieces of stone returning to the rightful places. When the ritual had completed there was a light, ringing tone throughout the spire, and they all felt a feeling of great gratitude well in thier hearts.
Quartz gasped, nearly dropping to his knees as his sensetivity to emotions was nearly overwhelmed by the feeling. "Th-the G-Goddess, sh-she is g-grateful, f-for our r-restoration of h-her spire!" He gasped out, his heart pounding. There was a pulse of moon light around the spire, as though the construct itself were agreeing with him.