The air was no longer tense - for the first time in many years, it was light. Combat no longer flooded the minds of warriors and patriots. Now, it was the time for reconstruction, peace negotiation, and rest. Adora, however, was not used to this peace. As She-Ra, she was constantly active with her muscles: defending the innocent and purging the guilty. Unfortunately for her, there were no more innocents to defend and enemies to slay. This new development required not a sword but a tongue. For Adora, discussions, and debates were not her strong suit, and she left those challenges to her friends who were more versed than her. She sat modestly outside the large tent assembled in the recently grown grass. Quiet time usually results in a period of self-reflection, and now was no exception. Adora played back everything that happened to her as a movie reel - her inner struggle as a martyr, her dramatic fight with Catra, and her acceptance to give in to her desires. Three years have gone by, and these challenges have come and gone. The product of these obstacles was a heightened feeling of happiness: she transformed She-Ra into one that reflects herself, her relationship with Catra grew into love, and she wished nothing but to spend the rest of her years with her friends. An easy smile crept onto her face. What could surpass this adventure?
An unheard voice quickly addressed her wonder. "By the galaxies and celestials, I found you!"
Adora yelped after being hollered in her ear and jumped out of her seat. Turning around, she faced the screamer. He appeared to be of a mystical shape - a body with a translucent tail running down past his torso. The arms were lean and long. His face possessed a single eye like a cyclops that strangely contained a jubilated gaze and no mouth. The skin was blue like the edge of the sea down the horizon.
Witnessing this amalgamation, Adora quickly summoned her sword into form and held it by the handle with one arm. She pointed it at the thing and screamed, "Who are you?!"
The mouthless creature hooted, "Impossible! How could you not recognize me? I am your most favored companion!"
Adora quickly summed that the creature was mad. Catra was her most favored companion, in the creature's words. Her companion list has grown since Catra, and she recognized all of them - from appearance down to their personalities. But never in her life has she seen something quite like him as she continued to look perplexed. "I have no idea who you are," she shouted as she stood up. "Stay back!"
The aqua creature kept approaching. "But my liege, I am reserved to stand by you! It is my sole purpose!" When the sword neared his neck, he wistfully flew around the blade several times. Soon, his face was inches before Adora. "I am yours to command! Whatever you may need, I shall giveth!"
"Hey, step away from Adora!" Adora knew who that shout came from - in a loud audience, she can always reliably discern it. Catra quickly shoved herself between her best friend and the newcomer as the rest of the princesses followed behind. Bow and Glimmer, who exited from the tent last, met Catra at both sides of her shoulder.
"Oh, and here are the other saviors!" Strangely, the creature did not seem set off by the Etherians' hostility as they surrounded Adora. "Ack! I'm getting so embarrassed!"
Glimmer slammed with her staff. "Explain yourself immediately," she commanded with a stern stare. "We are currently busy, and you're interrupting!"
With a clasped hand, he giggled, "It's simple. I came to give you a merry series of gifts, and I would like to start with this!" He flicked his hands into the air as strange, magical dust shot out from them and flew sporadically. They twisted and turned, flipped and flew, galloped and trodded on until they landed on the soft, thriving, newly birthed grass. In their place exploded a variety of items. There were tables with covers on top, an array of plated meals - all of them do not exist in Etheria, and seats enough to please his guests. For the extra mile, there were also ornamentations - candles and trinkets that flowed down the tables. When they finished, the magical creature looped into the air until he arrived at the array of tables shouting, "Come, come! The steaks won't eat themselves!"
Sadly for him, none of his guests were convinced. They were surprised, yes, but when the creature took one good look at his guests, many of them held raised eyebrows. Glimmer gave him an aloof stare and muttered in a somber tone, "Get out." She pointed her staff at the aqua creature. "That's an order."
"Wh-what? But why?" the creatures cried out.
"You are trespassing on the Alliance's territory. I'm not asking you again!" She shoved her staff closers to the creature, which forced him to float backward.
"And you better stay away from Adora!" Catra warned, with her claws unsheathed. Her fangs shined against the radiant sun as she continued, "She has no business with you!"
"B-but she has plenty of business with me! I am indebted to serve her forever!" The creature flailed his arms, defending himself from accusations.
"How do you know her?" Bow accuses as he points a finger. "You don't look like you serve Hordak Prime."
"Hordak Prime?!" The mysterious creature became enraged, contrasting his blue appearance for a raging red - his skin slowly transformed into a red hue. "You know him! Where is he?! I will destroy that elf-ear, tentacle-hair bastard!"
Their arguments were reaching a boiling point, and Adora needed to cool it quickly. She turned around to face her friends and announced, "Everyone, please! Hold on, and let me take care of this myself. I appreciate the help, but I think I can handle this guy."
"Are you sure, Adora?" Catra questioned with a raised eyebrow. "That thing just spawned a whole array of tables with magic! What if he's here to hurt you or something? At least take Glimmer with you!"
"Don't worry, Catra. I'll be alright, and I don't want your meeting to get held up any longer. Besides, I don't think he came here to take me down."
"What makes you say that?" Bow asked inquisitively.
"I don't know. Call it a hunch, I guess." Adora shrugged.
"Well, at least I should tag along! Two against one is better in case it gets out of hand," Catra said.
"Aww, Catra, are you worried about me?~" Adora cooed teasingly. She rests a hand softly on Catra's shoulder.
"Adora, we're dating!" she retorts as she looked away, embarrassed. "What else am I supposed to do?"
"Oh, yes!" the creature exclaimed with joy. "She-Ra found a lover! Oh, it's been a millennium since she fell in love! How long has the bond been held? Where did you meet? Wait! Now I recall!" His rambling, blind to his eyes, has churned the atmosphere into an awkward tone. Adora and Catra glanced at each other as their friends focused their attention on them, too. Being forced into the spotlight was discomforting.
The creature did not hinder his smiling gaze upon the couple, and the situation became even more delicate.
"Alright," Adora finally spoke after dreary silence. "Catra and I will… discuss with our new guest. You guys can head back inside and continue. We'll finish before you know it." With an unspoken agreement, the remainders left Adora and Catra to the newcomer. After the tent flapped behind the last person, Adora resumed. "Now, I would like to move this conversation somewhere private. Are you okay with that?" The creature excitedly nodded. "Nice! Follow me."
"And can you please get rid of the tables and the food?" Catra added. "We didn't ask for a party in the first place." Silently, the creature twirled his wrists, and the spawned objects dissipated into dust.
They didn't travel too far from the tent, nor too far from the camp that encapsulates it as if it was a headquarters. If a passerby was entering, they only need to take a glance to their right to spot two ladies and a genie talking behind a shrubbery.
Adora took a long breath before starting. "Look, I don't know how you think that I know you or that I'm supposed to know you, but I honestly have no idea who you are. However, from the way you approached me, I don't believe you mean any harm. I just want to start over with a simple greeting. Is that fair?" He nodded without commenting. "Cool. I'm Adora, and this is my girlfriend, Catra." She pointed at her feline friend with an open palm.
"Hey," she answered, but with crossed arms. "What about yourself?"
"The name is Biwa," he said, but without his famous enthusiasm.
"All right, Biwa." Adora continued to probe him with questions. "What are you doing here?"
"I came to find She-Ra. I know that you are the current host of the lineage, and since you are the only First One on the planet, I came to find you."
"Wait a minute! You know who the First Ones are?"
"Well, by your definition, yes. The actual term is Eternian. First One is a name given by the people of Etheria, which leads me to this point. I am the jester for the Royal Palace of Eternia. Eternia, by the way, is your birth planet. I know that should answer one of your lingering questions about your history, but I doubt that was ever the case."
"Huh. Well, I guess I never actually asked myself why the word 'Eternia' was so popular," she pondered. Catra shook her head. "Hold on, how did you know that?"
"My role as the jester is quite unorthodox according to conventional standards. You see, I am a magic genie with a grand amount of omnipotence. I am the embodiment of knowledge - the past and the present, but not the future. I know all of the current events and all of what came before them. Distance is not a hindrance."
"Uh… you lost me there," Adora said. "What is it that you do exactly? You said something about being a magic genie, but I tuned out after you said omnipotence."
"I see. Facing Hordak Prime has bored you about anything related to a god complex. I should have seen that coming. Well, to demonstrate, I know that the Heart of Eternia was the spot where you both confessed your love to each other, which was strange. You both spent three years with a peculiar way to flirt with each other, yet you were oblivious to those subliminal messages." Blushed cheeks from both women had confirmed Biwa's assessment, and he continued. "And just before I intruded, Catra was encouraging her friend Scorpia to take the mantle as an impromptu ruler of a soon-to-be-renovated Fright Zone."
"Wow, you hit that on the nail," Catra said. She quickly shifted to a defensive stance. "Isn't that a breach of privacy, though? I almost feel naked now."
"Yeah," Adora agreed. "I'm not too comfortable knowing that someone knows about everything, even secrets."
"To be frank, I realized that was the case just a minute ago," he whispered. Now his eyes were downcast from a neutral standpoint. "I assume naivety has gotten the best of me."
Catra scoffed. "That's an understatement. What do you mean by just a minute ago? We were talking-."
Biwa interrupted, "I'd rather not discuss it." Biwa didn't speak for a pregnant pause. He allowed the awkwardness to linger before Adora and Catra before his face suddenly rejuvenated with energy. "Nevermind that! Adora! I wish to begin my service to you. I can entertain you and your friends with a variety of tales and stories beyond the cosmos! Perhaps I can even heighten dear Entrapta with more science than she can ever dream! Oh, I can even instruct you on how to find your home planet!"
"Stop, stop, stop!" Adora commanded. His barrage was overwhelming her. "Slow down! Look, I appreciate the offer, but we're all currently busy. Maybe someday I'll ask you, but not now."
"You were sitting outside the meeting tent with an idle mind before I arrived," he noted. He also pointed with his finger. "If that doesn't mean you have an open schedule, then I guess the Eternains have changed a lot more than I thought. I know that meetings with diplomacy and politics involved are not your strong suit. You're a headstrong woman! Less talk, more action!" He flexed his arms dramatically.
"Um, " she mumbled. Adora was without words.
Fortunately for her, Catra picked up. "Yeah, but that still doesn't mean she wants you around here all the time. We got plans to head back into space in a couple of weeks." Her tail protectively wrapped around Adora's waist. "Meanwhile, we just want some personal time off."
"Then allow me to word it this way! As a reward for saving the universe, I wish to give you and your friends a way to spend the time. I promise that you will all be a little wiser when you're sailing between the stars once Mara's ship is ready. There is more than the universe to see! Adora, if you take my offer, I'll even tell you all about Eternia!"
"Can't you just tell me about Eternia and skip everything else?" Adora asked.
"No! It's all or nothing! At least give me a chance to prove myself to you!"
The Best Friend Squad already had their universe to explore, and Biwa's offer sounded unnecessary, if not looney. A multiverse? Adora has never heard of such a thing, and she wants nothing of it. But there was the bonus of learning more about her home planet - something that Adora wanted out of the deal. Beyond herself and Catra, there were also her friends to consider. What would their opinion be of learning about a distant reality beyond their current reach from an overenthusiastic, rudely blunt, and eccentric genie? She planned to bring it up during the meeting.
A short moment passed before Adora finally answered. "I'll at least think about it, but I need to discuss it with friends in private."
"But only if you will stop reading our minds!" Catra warned.
"Your thoughts are part of the river in my head that I cannot dam. I couldn't if I even wanted to!" He smiled. He allowed Adora and Catra to return to the camp without following them. He read that they wanted to get away from him as soon as possible, so he implanted curiosity in the brave heroine to ensure that she'll come back if her friends don't. There was not even a need for them to discuss a meeting place.
He knew where to go when she goes looking for him.
The headquarters' tent opened up again to introduce Adora and Catra back into the group. From the looks of it, all of the princesses were still inside, as well as other guests. They spaced themselves out away from the table, indicating that the meeting resolved. Bow noticed their return while holding Glimmer in his arms and shouted, "Hey, they're back!" before moving Glimmer off of his lap to walk over to them. Behind him, she followed, as did everyone else inside the tent. "So? How did it go?"
"It was weird," Catra expressed. "His name is Biwa, a magic genie. He knew the First Ones personally, and he was looking for Adora after we destroyed the Heart of Etheria since she's the only one in Etheria. Biwa can somehow know everything that happened anywhere in the universe like a history textbook. Without us bringing it up, he knew about what we discussed in our meeting before he arrived." She expunged details about their confession. It was a touchy spot that Catra wasn't ready to reveal just yet.
"Couldn't he have been, like, spying on us?" Mermista suggested. "It isn't like the first time we dealt with that."
"Maybe, but I don't think so. Biwa said that he was asleep for a millennium, which was about the same timeframe that Etheria was in Despondos. I may be wrong, but that guy seemed too prideful to lie about his backstory."
"He also said that he knew my home planet Eternia" Adora added. "Biwa was a jester for the royal court there, and he entertained them with his wealth of knowledge." There was a bit of hesitation in her eyes before they moved to Hordak. "Hordak, when you were… fighting against the First Ones, did you recall anyone with the name Biwa?"
Everyone's eyes moved to the abandoned Horde General, who looked tense from their stares. Not only was his hands cuffed by rope, but he was present while the Alliance discussed terms for his war crimes against the people of Etheria. Despite Entrapata's success in persuading her fellow allies to place his custody in her hands as punishment, she could never win over their hearts for Hordak. More than half of the group focused on him with squinted eyes.
He sighed and said, "No. I haven't heard of the creature in my life before. If he was not lying, I guess that he was a clown in the Royal Palace of Etheria. After all, that is what jesters are known for."
Catra began to see the connections. She noticed Biwa's shift from jubilation to indifference while they moved outside of camp, and when they were about to discuss his naivety? He was a strange genie, indeed, but perhaps there was a reason for it. Was he ashamed about it? Maybe she should accompany Adora whenever she wishes to learn more about her planet? That way, she'll figure out more of the mysterious Biwa.
It was something she set to the backlog of her mind. "Anyway, Biwa made an offer to us: he wants to continue the role he held on Eternia but under Adora's wing. He's also offering the rest of us the same opportunity."
"What does he mean by that?" Scorpia inquired.
"He wants to show us the things that he's witnessed throughout his lifespan, and he emphasized in particular about outside of this universe," Adora elaborated. "He used to do this kind of work back on Eternia, and now he wants to do it again but with us."
The answer drew out a long silence for everyone to digest. Finally, Glimmer said, "Well, what did you say?"
"I said that I wanted to talk it out with you guys, but to be honest…," Adora said. She almost continued her line of thought, but she found herself needing to reset. "Biwa stated that he would tell me about Eternia if I accept. If he's right and he's been there, then- I would be able to figure out my past. I never knew who my parents were or what the First Ones were like, and I want to know who they were. But Biwa won't tell me if I also don't accept his service."
"That's the thing I don't get," Catra replied. "If Biwa craves to be an informant for Adora, why does he try to bite more than he can chew? I could care less about what he has to offer cause I got what I need right here." She pulled Adora closer to her with an arm. To her surprise, much of the room were nodding in agreement, even Mermista.
"Regardless if we accept or not, we'll be busy over the next few days," Glimmer said. "While you two were gone, we decided that we would host a festival right here tomorrow."
"And we were hoping that we would head back to our kingdoms right afterward," Perfuma added. "I need to take account of our new mystical friends here on the planet - especially the new plant life."
"I would have accepted, but I already have a lot of objectives to do with Hordak, such as his clones and the ship," said Entrapta. "I don't think I have time to stick around, although the idea of a multiverse is exciting!"
"I think Netossa and I would like to head home after the festivities," Spinnerella explained. "You can go for it if you want, Adora, but I think we're going to sit this one out."
Adora nodded in acceptance before turning to Glimmer and Bow. "What about you two?"
Glimmer glanced at her boyfriend before sighing. "If Biwa doesn't take too much time, I guess I could humor him."
"I suppose we'll make it a Best Friend Squad thing," Bow added. "Count me in!" He probably agreed only to keep Glimmer company.
With her Bright Moon friends, she glanced at her girlfriend. "Catra?"
She paused for a moment before answering, "Sure. I can't leave you alone for too long."
"Then it's settled," Glimmer announced. "Meeting is adjourned! We'll see you guys tomorrow for party prep."
Now that she's free, Adora intended to return to the same spot she talked with Biwa, hoping that he stood still. She was the first to exit the tent, followed by the Best Friend Squad when a large, blue smile surprised her. "Adora! Catra! Glimmer! Bow! Good of you to accept!" Biwa proclaimed with animation. He even dared to shake each of their hands as he pronounced them. "I understand your plans for the week, so I will let you be! I have something to show you when you return to Bright Moon!"
He was about to flip his wrists into the air and snap his fingers when he suddenly froze. "Oh, and one more thing: stop saying First Ones! They're called Eternians!" He resumed his gesture, and with a snap, he vanished into dust!
The Best Friend Squad looked at each other confused. One thing was clear, though: they were not looking forward to what Biwa had in store.