Amethyst stared upward at the threatening skies and crackling energy beings as they loomed ever closer.
“Omigosh — I have to stop them!” she said. “Maybe I can reason with them. I mean, they accepted my offer of letting them get small bits of magic on an annual basis instead of waiting to take everything after my death.”
“Your death will be the beginning!” shrieked a wraith-like creature that swooped down to confront the pair. “When you die, Gemworld will die with you, and we will reclaim our elemental magic.”
Amethyst moved her hands rapidly and formed a purple defense dome around her. The magic separated her from the screeching Ancient One, but she had no illusions that it would hold for very long.
“I didn’t bring that Nabu here on purpose,” she said. “He’s gone now, anyway. I don’t want Gemworld to be torn apart by the battle between Order and Chaos. Won’t you please believe me? Can’t we go back to the deal you guys already accepted?”
Prince Garnet watched the exchange between a young woman he admired and the mystical beings he had served for decades. She might just persuade them, he thought. I’ve never seen anyone stand up to them in my long years of service. This young woman is remarkable.
The Ancient Ones suddenly surrounded the embattled Princess of Gemworld as her words spurred them into a frenzied outrage. “We waited for Citrina to die, but the old crone refused to breathe her last for eons!” screamed one of them. “Now she had tied this land to your lifespan, and we will not wait a moment longer!”
“I warn you now,” said Amethyst, “you may not have Gemworld. I won’t let it die no matter what you say. I don’t know if I’m a child of Order or not, but I know what to do. I recall exactly what Citrina told me before her death. What she did then, I’m going to do now!”
A purple energy surged through the girl, enveloping her lithe form until she no longer appeared to be a woman but rather assumed the form of a dazzlingly beautiful display of purple, violet, and pink energies in a vaguely humanoid shape.
The Ancient Ones flickered in and out of view as if the elemental passion unleashed by the heroine gave them pause.
The winds roared, and the ruined temple shook as if a giant had tried to hurl it from the craggy heights of the Stormy Peaks. Prince Garnet drew his cloak around his shoulders, hesitating as if he was uncertain what to do.
His eyes widened with shock as the world around him suddenly blinked out of existence. Then it was quiet once more, and Amethyst returned to normal even as she sank to the ground and gasped for air.
“Princess?” cried Garnet as he rushed to her side and helped her rise. “Are you hurt? What did you do?”
“I did what Citrina did before her death,” the Princess said triumphantly. “She recreated the Gemworld and linked its survival to my life. I just did the same thing, but I didn’t pass its mystical bond to any one person. I spread its connection to the sacred heartstones of the royal houses of Gemworld. It doesn’t matter if I live or die now. The Gemworld will survive as long as even one single royal house and heir still lives.”
The Ancient Ones re-formed and hovered over the duo in silence for a moment. Then a screeching voice echoed from within the jagged energy bolts that continued to flash around the temple. “You tricked us all! Never would we conceive that a being of power would willingly divest herself of total power in such a way. How can we claim this world with its very survival — its heartbeat, if you will — now tied to perpetually renewing lineages from multiple human families? Will our wait never end?”
Amethyst smiled weakly and said, “As I told you before, you don’t have to wait. I offer you the same deal as before. Take small bits of magic on an annual basis as a payment of rent. Garnet will act as your agent again. I also pledge that Gemworld will be forever closed to the true lords of both Order and Chaos. If Pantagones did live here and used my father in any way, his presence never troubled your kind before, and Citrina certainly never told me such a story. It may have all been a lie to make me choose to serve Order, but I promise that — as long as I live — Gemworld will never be a battleground or sanctuary or prison for either side again. When I recreated the Gemworld, I also made sure that there was no place here for Order or Chaos. I used the last of the increased power I had to make sure the real agents of those forces can’t enter here ever again.”
The Ancient Ones moved closer, and the winds died down. “So be it — the bargain stands!” they cried.
Prince Garnet smiled broadly and said, “Well played, Princess. May we meet again.” He vanished with his masters, and a weary Amethyst leaned forward and pressed her face against her knees as she sobbed softly.
Finally, she wiped her eyes and stood up. Her eyes had been restored, but she no longer possessed the level of power she had gained when Citrina linked the dimension to her life. She also felt better, because no matter what the truth of Nabu’s claims about her true parentage had been, when she recreated the Gemworld she had made certain that Citrina’s version of her origin was now the only version.
She could no longer alter Gemworld’s very history in such a way, but she could still be what she had been upon her earlier visits to the realm. She was not now the only life force that sustained the realm, but she was as she had always been — one of the royal heirs empowered by the mystical gemstones that fuelled the power of each royal house. She was Amethyst, heir to the late Lord and Lady Amethyst, and she was Amy Winston, daughter of Herb and Marion Winston. It was more than enough.
“I’m sorry, Doctor Fate, or Nabu, or whatever your name is,” she said quietly. “I may have been a really powerful person ’cause of this Order thing, but I love Gemworld as it is now. I loved it as it was when I first came here. Order and Chaos may fight all the time all over the universes, but I couldn’t let my home become just one more prize in somebody else’s war.”
She smiled once more as she saw several small creatures peering over the temple ruins. The small beings were gnomes, pixies, and fairies. She had loved such fanciful creatures as a girl, and the sight of them here now after all the storms and threats made her laugh with girlish pleasure.
“Now this is the Gemworld I love,” she said as she concentrated, opening a portal to Earth in front of her. “I’ve got to go home now,” she said before stepping through the portal. “Mom and Dad will have blown their tops after all that Crisis stuff. But I’ll be back. I’ll always come back here.”
She had won a major victory and had put an end to certain perils. She had also answered certain questions to her own satisfaction. Sadly, her troubles had just begun.