It had been a week or so since their encounter with Dr. Maelstrom and V.I.L.E. Although the online V.I.L.E. chatter had been quiet, Peridot had picked up some unusual energy readings in Japan, an island nation loosely populated like Rizalia but unlike its nearby neighbors of China, Eastern Russia (including part of Siberia), and the Unified Korean Republic (UKR). Since the former Palanquin of Pink Diamond in the UKR, the Shooting Star Shrine in China, and the Galaxy Warp in the Tunguska Sea were only nearby Gem locations, the Crystal Gems seemed to doubt that these readings related to Gem activity. Carmen sensed it had to do with V.I.L.E. and wanted to follow up on this lead. Since there were no warp pads in the immediate area, not everyone could go on this mission. In order to ensure that Beach City stayed safe, Steven and Connie would stay behind to continue interrogating the captured V.I.L.E. henchmen, while Garnet, Amethyst, and Bismuth would help them. As backup, Lapis and Peridot would stay at the Galaxy Warp, staying on call in case Carmen, Pearl, and Adora needed help on their mission since the place they were going, Yokohama, Japan. Ivy and Zack would stay alongside Carmen, and she would always have her “secret weapon,” Player, to help. Since they didn't know what was out there, they needed to tread as carefully as possible. They didn't know if this had been a trap set up by V.I.L.E., especially Silky Snapper or Dr. Gunnar Maelstrom, or someone else entirely. They aimed to find out.
The plan went into motion. Lapis and Peridot warped to the Galaxy Warp while Adora, Pearl, Carmen, Zack, and Ivy flew in a private jet paid for by money they had stolen from V.I.L.E. This allowed them to directly fly from Beach City without layovers in San Francisco, California, and Honolulu, Hawaii, if they had left from Empire City. They landed in Yokohama, where the readings were the strongest. Adora and Pearl heard Peridot's instructions on their earpieces, while Carmen, Zack, and Ivy waited to hear what she said. Adora recounted that the reading came from a nearby crop of buildings, pointing at the Ohtori Academy. Ivy released Red Drone to investigate before they went any further. Before the drone could get anywhere near the walls of this vaulted academy, something or someone knocked it out of the sky. This confused them. Who would want to stop them? As they walked through the Yokohama streets, they found the damaged drone lying on a city street. Looking around, they saw a flash of bright color, a gas cloud some kind, and then darkness. A 36-year-old woman, whose flowing pink hair blew in the wind, had sprayed sleeping gas on them, as she didn't want to knock them out with her fists. Taking out the vegetables, she had bought at the Yokohama farmers market, in her wooden cart, filled with hay, she threw them in, along with the drone, putting the vegetables on top, and covered it with a blanket. As she wheeled the cart out of the town, this did not arouse any suspicion. They were bound to Miura, which sat at the very end of a peninsula, surrounded on three sides by the Pacific Ocean. While it seemed unlikely that V.I.L.E. had kidnapped them, who would want to disrupt them? And why? The question continued to linger in their subconscious, as they continued to be incapacitated.
A few hours later, they awoke to the pink-haired woman looking at them inquisitively with her piercing blue eyes. She stood outside her home, designed in the traditional Japanese style. It had internal shoji screens serving as its internal and external walls, which acted like curtains letting in the right amount of light, filling rooms with warm and soft light, while absorbing heat and moisture, weathering the snowy and rainy seasons. Before they could even introduce themselves, this woman cheerfully spoke to them.
"Hi! I'm Utena Tenjou. Sorry I had to knock you out back there, but the place you were traveling to must be avoided at all costs. That academy is an awful place of evil spirits and thoughts. So, I thought I'd save you all the trouble."
Stepping out of the house's front-facing fusama, a sliding panel that acts as a door or wall, were two figures. The first was a brown-skinned Indian woman with long purple hair and green eyes, looking about the same age as Utena although actually thousands of years old, named Anthy Himemiya, and Utena's partner. The second a small monkey with a ring on its left ear, named Chu-Chu, their pet. They both bowed and proceeded to introduce themselves, each in their own way, with Anthy inviting everyone inside for some tea.
Coming into the house, and past the lush garden, across the veranda (also called engawa), they could see the wonders of Japanese carpentry and a name plate inscribed with the following characters: ウテナとアンシーの家 (The house of Utena and Anthy). They were amazed when Anthy told them that the wooden frame of the house, or wagoya, was held together without nails! They left their shoes at the main entrance of the house, the genkan. Anthy put their shoes in a nearby cabinet, called getabako, and showed them to the next room, further inside the house, prepared with a pot of tea. She knew the house's hidden storage spaces, also called oshi-ires, tenbukuros, and jibukuros, by heart. As such, she could retrieve futons, byobus to partition rooms for privacy, storm shutters (amado), to protect the home from the elements, just like the beautifully colored and tiled roof with gutters, and other materials, with ease.
This living room, or ima, was filled with light pouring through ornate wooden carvings, which she called ranma. They were directed to sit in an area reserved for guests, or the tokonama, with artwork on the wall, an ikebana flower arrangement, and photographs of Anthy and Utena smiling together, enjoying themselves. They could even sit in front of the artwork or photograph, as they were guests of honor. The floors were made of firm but springy rice straw, known as tatami, with a short-legged table, a chabudai, in the center, with nearby cushions, zabutons, to sit on. They were relaxed and calmed by the scent of the tatami mats. Since it was the late spring, there wasn't a need for relaxation under a small table, or kotatsu, covered with a thick blanket and an electric heater. Nor did they need to sit around the traditional Japanese hearth or irori. If they came in a different season, this would be more useful. Unlike other homes, no cats roamed around, although plenty of tea, Japanese chess, otherwise known as shogi, and an incense burner (koro) were at the ready. The house also had a traditional washitsu room set aside for their sleeping, with washi lampshades, a bathroom, with a washing area and soaking tub, and toilet (with its own room), although they wouldn't be traveling there yet.
Pearl, Adora, Carmen, Zack, and Ivy were ready to hear what their guests had to say. Anthy, who had barely spoke, calmly answered Adora’s demand to know why they had been brought to their house. Since her time as a witch, whom served as a passive and servile "rose bride," she had formed a strong moral compass, becoming more firm and resolute. Even so, she acted in a dignified manner, choosing not to fight anyone or engage in arguments, wanting to resolve disputes as peacefully as possible.
"What Ms. Utena said, earlier, is right. The academy is horrid place. My estranged brother Akio still runs the school like his little fiefdom, toying with the lives of the students who go there, manipulating them in every way possible. Luckily Chu-Chu and I were able to leave. After traveling for over nine hours and walking 42 kilometers, I met a reformed Ms. Utena, who sacrificed herself to save me, a noble act indeed, and I realized the error of my ways. Since then, we have lived together in this wonderful house."
Her response left Adora speechless as it did Pearl, who couldn’t muster up the self-confidence to say anything. So, Carmen stepped in. She explained that they had detected a strange energy signature in Yokohama and traced it to the academy. Their intention wasn’t to fight but rather find out why this was happening. Calmly walking over to the table, Anthy chuckled, telling them there wasn’t a need for such a fuss, as they had all the tools right there. She pressed a button and they were sent into an underground bunker beneath the house. They could see screens, showing surveillance footage from areas across the academy, covering almost all of the walls. One wall looked different. It had a plaque with the abbreviation REZU, listed in small letters as “Rezubian Electronic Zip Operator,” a funky name. Utena smiled that the “green one” would be able to help them, more than her “blue friend,” telling Zack, Ivy, Carmen, Pearl, and Adora to stand back and let her and Anthy do the talking. Pushing a violet button with white labrys superimposed on an inverted black triangle, a screen opened up. None other than Peridot appeared, on her tablet, with the Galaxy Warp behind her and Lapis standing by her side. She had grinned and seemed gleeful to talk to them.
“Utena, Anthy...and Chu-Chu! Long time, no see! It’s always a pleasure to hear from you both. What can we help you with today? It’s probably something technical, right?”
Utena told Peridot about how she had brought some visitors back to their house after she saw them trying to get into the academy, possibly ruining “their plans.” Then Utena showed the faces of Pearl, Adora, Carmen, Zack, and Ivy, to which Peridot let out a scream of “you guys?” She shook her head, admonishing them, telling them they were specifically ordered to contact them about any trouble. Taking this all in and annoyed that this secret REZU channel had been revealed to “normies” who weren’t part of their group, she asked Pearl if they had found anything. She recounted that they didn’t have a chance to explore anything because they had been knocked out by sleeping gas. Grumbling at what she saw as their incompetence, she declared that this would be done “her way” instead, wishing she could be there in person. Lapis reminded her this wish could happen since they could fly from the Galaxy Warp to Miuru. Even so, she felt glad that they had met her (and Lapis’s) friends, it just embarrassed her it happened as part of a mission rather than something more informal. She privately thought Utena’s tactics were rash since it wasn’t necessary to knock them out with sleeping gas, but she didn’t want to create a rift with her relatively new friend. So, she held her tongue.
As Lapis and Peridot prepared to depart from the Galaxy Warp, she instructed Utena and Anthy to turn on all the scanners connected to every camera so any anomalies could be detected, and that they would be there in a few hours. With everyone looking at the cameras, Carmen asked to go to the bathroom. Anthy graciously allowed her out of the bunker and into the main part of the house, showing her the way to the toilet. Once she saw that Anthy had gone back into the bunker, she began speaking to Player, telling him everything.
“Player, this is gonna sound wild, but me, Zack, Ivy, Pearl, and Adora, were kidnapped and brought to the house of these two women, in their 30s, with a small pet monkey. Even weirder, they have this whole underground bunker built, presumably thanks to Peridot, that greenish Gem you talked to in that shack. They have all this surveillance equipment and all sorts of technology. I’m not sure they will get the full story. I’d like you to do some searches for “Utena Tenjou,” “Anthy,” and “Chu-Chu,” the residents of this house I’m staying in, along with digging into the story and finances of the Ohtori Academy. There is always the possibility V.I.L.E. is behind these spiked energy readings.”
“Red, I’ll do that right away! If there is anything else you need from me in the meantime, just let me know, as I’d be more than willing to help you figure out whatever is going on.”
As she made her way back to the ima, she knocked on the tatami mats, and ground, hoping someone would hear her, as there didn’t seem to be any way in. Utena came up and welcomed her back, inviting her to join the rest of them in the bunker. Carmen agreed, and descended back into the floor. Even though she wanted to tell Zack and Ivy that she had talked to Player, the worried looks on everyone’s faces stopped her in her tracks. Other than Adora, Pearl looked the most frightened. She screamed and pointed, asking about “those things.” She explained that it seemed they devoured everything in their path, attaching themselves to a host, and changing it into a gooey substance which eventually hardened. With everyone had been paralyzed in fear, watching the pink stuff expand like a virus, taking over buildings, and possibly humans. Carmen had a plan, but it required them getting a sample of “those things.” Ivy got out of her funk and agreed to help Carmen, as did the rest of them. Utena wanted them to think this plan over in its entirety, a sentiment echoed by Pearl and Adora, so she printed out pictures of the surveillance footage and brought everyone back to the ima. The tea had remained relatively warm, even through all this time in the bunker, thanks to a heating element beneath the tea pot.
Examining the photographs, Pearl noticed something: a pod, on its side, in the background. It had an open pink dome, with pinkish beings, the “things,” swarming out. Below it was what looked like a face with two black eyes and mouth drawn with a straight line. This seemed strange, but she surmised it meant these beings were aliens from another planet. This thought sounded like a hackneyed conspiracy that humans would tell themselves, using “aliens” as a crutch to describe those they are incapable of understanding, seeing them as “foreign” and “strange.” Even so, the theory seemed plausible because she had never seen anything like it, during all her years on Earth. The pod’s design looked different than anything the Diamonds had built and Carmen doubted that “V.I.L.E.” was behind it. No one else noticed these small details, they just drank the tea Anthy had prepared for them and looked in horror at the photographs. Secretly, Anthy and Utena wanted the academy to be swallowed up by these beings, but they did not disclose this to anyone but themselves.
After talking a little among themselves and drinking the wonderful tea, they were ready for action. Anthy wanted no part of it, because she didn’t want to confront her brother again, but Utena wanted to go along. Chu-Chu waved as she left the house, with Anthy wishing her good luck and kissing her on the cheek. While they could have traveled the “traditional way,” Utena wanted no part of that and knew, by now, where the rail line went, as she followed it to the market week after week. To get there, she encouraged Zack, Ivy, Carmen, Adora, and Pearl to jump into a freight car with her. Pearl wasn’t sure at first, but Adora pushed her in first, and she followed, excited to try something new. Carmen used her grappling hook to pull herself in, while Zack and Ivy came in a different way. They were off to Yokohama and then the academy.
An hour or so later, they arrived in Yokohama, and walked toward their destination. Apart from the students running in fear away from the academy and down the city streets, no sound could be heard. While Utena recognized Souji, she paid him no mind, she saw her best friend, Wakaba, whom she had talked with over the years, whom had graduated from the school but returned for special projects occasionally. Happy to see Utena, she spoke in a terrified tone, trembling, she shouted about the “things” turning people into a gooey substance. While she wanted to know more, Wakaba didn’t want to talk because the “things” might catch up to her, so she continued running. This seemed awfully odd to Utena, as Wakaba, from what she had observed, had never acted in that way, only having a happy and cheerful nature.
They approached the gates of the academy, which had been thrown open. As they walked in, they could see buildings had been dissolved and turned into gooey structures which were hardening, as had people. Without having the ability to do anything, Utena could see horrors before her. For instance, Juri was in the process of being turned into a red and blue gummy bear. Already, she could recognize that Nanami had been turned into a maple taffy candy, Kozue into a bluish gum drop, and Keiko into a black jelly bean with dark brown spots and a dark green inside. Even worse, Kane was now a black and white salty liquorice candy with yellow hair, Kyouichi a green and purple gumball, and Shiori a purple and white stick candy (often colored red and white with the name polkagris). Furthermore, Mitsuru, the nice boy she knew from the academy who had helped Nanami, even though he had been clearly mistreated by her, had turned into licorice, a mix of black, yellow, and green! Miki had changed into a white and red candy, with spots of blue and yellow, resembling, in some ways, peppermint bark. Even Akio had been transformed into a brownish candy with purple, red, blue, and yellow on the inside, looking like a churchkela. The rest of them were not affected as emotionally by this disgusting scene as she was, looking at them before her. Traumatized, Utena broke down, crying, and wondered why it had to happen to people she knew so well. That left Carmen, Ivy, Zack, Pearl, and Adora left to stop these beings, obviously having some essence of candy.
They devised a plan: go directly for the pod. Carmen used her grappling hook to get the roof of a nearby building, followed by Pearl jumping from rooftop to rooftop, while Zack and Ivy went in with Adora to the pod, hoping to recover a sample as the invasion could only be stopped if they could figure out what these beings were. Running at breakneck speed to the pod, some of the things tried to latch onto them, but they were easily be brushed off. Once at the pod, Zack, Ivy, and Adora tried to lift it, not part of the original plan, but it was too heavy. Pearl and Carmen on nearby rooftops, offered their help. Carmen, thinking she had firm footing, latched onto the pod with her grappling hook, but its weight started to pull her down the roof. Afraid she would fall off and hurt herself badly, she let go. Getting the pod seemed a lost cause, but getting a sample seemed to be possible. Pearl took out a box which could be set at 250 Fahrenheit because candy balls are hard but pliable. She came off the roof and picked up one of these candy beings and put in the box. As she closed the box, it made a loud enough sound that the other candy beings turned around and looked at all of them. They knew this wasn’t good. Explaining their predicament, Carmen told Player to do something to help them, but he could do nothing because electricity to the whole academy had been disabled, gummed up with some substance. Pearl then took charge.
“We have to run out of here as fast as we can so these beings don’t catch us. We don’t want to become figures in their weird and twisted museum. If we stick together, we can ensure that no one is left behind, no one is swallowed up by this monster of sorts.”
As they ran together, the candy people closed the academy’s front doors, locking them in. Pearl helped Adora up to the firm solid candy wall, while Carmen used her grappling hook. Since she couldn’t pull up anyone else because she would fall back inside the academy’s walls, she told Ivy and Zack to climb. As they neared the wall, the candy beings were getting closer and taking control of more of their bodies, turning them into candy, despite their best efforts. Ivy almost seemed within Carmen’s reach when she fell back to the ground. Being the strong man, Zack tried to save her, but there wasn’t any use. Ivy had been changed into Ivetise, a candy with little reddish orange topping, black, blue, and red caramel stripes on the side, and had a white-colored body, reflecting her usual appearance. She looked like Betise de Cambrai candy. In the process, Zack began to change. He cried “I’m sorry, Carmen, but this is the end.”
The candy beings completely engulfed his body and he became Zacpeito. Resembling a Konpeito candy, this transformation had turned him into a small reddish sphere, made of toffy, with pimples, reflecting his freckles, and two light blue eyes. Carmen felt like Utena when she saw her friends swallowed up and changed. She couldn’t move. Player asked her what was going on, but she didn’t say a work because she had been traumatized.
When all hope seemed lost, Lapis and Peridot came in from the sky, with Lapis picking up Adora and Pearl, while Peridot using her new jetpack to grab Utena and Carmen. They flew back to Miura, where they could relax in Utena and Anthy’s house with tea. As they were leaving, they observed that the academy had begun fully turning into candy! They could hear a disembodied, appealing, and silvery voice emanate from the pod with a message of compassion and genuine kindness, unlike this invasion of candy beings.
“As your princess, I order you to stop at once, only building within the confines of your walls. I will come in due time to inspect your progress on this new kingdom, as I hope to expand my eternal empire. That is all.”
The beings replied with “yes, princess” in unison, and refocused their efforts on constructing buildings, while the voice faded away. For Lapis and Peridot, who had just arrived, the creation of this “kingdom” was disgusting and weird, seeing it as the outgrowth of an autocratic and selfish attitude to colonize other planets without knowing if they were inhabited. Little did they know but this voice was an automated broadcast from the pod, only sending a signal back to a world far away. In the meantime, the pod deployed walking security cameras to ensure the area’s safety from possible intruders when the princess came to visit.
As Lapis and Peridot arrived in Miura, with Pearl, Carmen, Utena, and Adora, the friendly faces of Anthy and Chu-Chu greeted them. Asking how their mission went, Utena cried on her shoulder, telling her of the horrors and how everyone had been turned into candy, including her brother, Akio. She exclaimed with shock and surprise. “Oh my!” She realized that nothing could be done on her own since she had forsaken her powers as a witch years ago when she left the academy. Even though she secretly felt glad that the academy and everyone inside it had been reformed into something different, thinking about it made her sad, perhaps because she recalled fond memories there, mainly with Utena. She still remembered abuse by her brother and other members of the Student Council like Touga but they were deeply repressed. She could also see, on the other hand, that one of their new guests, Carmen, had a look on her face that resembled Utena. Knowing the signs of trauma from her own experience, she recommended that Carmen take a bath, since she had, expecting their return, filled up a tub with hot water. She jumped at the opportunity because she only had the same luxury when while she stayed at hotels across the world using V.I.L.E. money she and her team had stolen.
The soaking tub wasn't like anything she had experienced. Instead of being used to make you clean, it had a different purpose: helping you relax, emphasized by its depth, since you could sit upright with the water coming up to your neck! This tub had a different shape, a square shape, and was made of a wood known as the Japanese Cypress, giving off a distinct evergreen scent. Others were made of plastic, stainless steel, or other materials. Her worries bubbled away. She meditated on the loss of Ivy and Zack, who became cute candy beings. Although she didn’t know how Player would react, she felt it she had to tell him what had happened. So, while lying in the tub, she called up Player and began talking to him.
“Player, you probably heard, through my earpiece, the screams of horror during our mission to Ohtori Academy. I’m sorry I didn’t talk to you then, but the events traumatized me so much that I couldn’t say anything. But, now that I’ve mellowed out, I can tell you as much as I can bear and get it off my chest. Me, Adora, Pearl, and this new woman we met, Utena, got out unscathed, thanks to Lapis and Peridot. Unfortunately, Zack and Ivy didn’t make it. They were taken over by the candy beings and turned into pieces of candy themselves. I just thought I’d let you know because I’m still pretty broken up about it.”
“Red, that’s awful! Take as much time as you need to process all of this. We will have to reassess where we go from here, but I can comfort you with the fact that V.I.L.E. isn’t behind this. Nothing in the records of Ohtori Academy indicates that. There are only reports of a strange, mystical force around the castle itself. I couldn’t find much on Utena or Anthy, only indications they were former students at the academy, that Utena’s parents died at an early age, and reports of a person like Anthy using witch-like powers to protect her brother.”
Player’s voice sounded much more melancholy than normal, as he realized the gravity of the situation, but he tried his best to remain sane and rational, always looking out for Carmen’s best interests. He had one more card to play. He told her that while the recording he picked up as they left the academy seemed automated, not giving him any clues, he had found something definite from surveillance footage taken at the academy and in the surrounding area. The pod had fallen from the sky a day or so before, like a meteorite. He picked up some classified chatter afterward on government sites about how satellites had spotted the same object in space. He could, as such, generate a trajectory of its route through the solar system, but this exercise was not worthwhile because it came from a planet so far away that it likely sat outside the Milky Way, perhaps in another dimension entirely!
Carmen understood this and told him she needed some time off to process the events that had just transpired, which he understood. He told her that he’d keep her informed, as always, about V.I.L.E. activity, and said he’d respect her wishes. As she continued to enjoy her time in the bath, letting the hot water fill her pores, she felt at peace. A few rooms away, Anthy, with Chu-Chu, continued to lead Peridot and Lapis on a tour of the house. Peridot remarked how “beautiful” and “well-kept” the house looked, compared to the barn they had lived in, with Lapis responding with a snort and snicker in agreement. Anthy beamed at their comments, glad that they appreciated the clean house.
Utena drank some tea while sitting in the house’s ima and talked to Pearl and Adora about their lives. Explaining how she met Anthy, saving her from her sadistic, manipulative brother Akio, she asked how Pearl and Adora had met. To her, they had a vibe of being very close to each other. She had met previous couples on REZU, apart from Lapis and Peridot, so this always became part of her calculus, with growing acceptance in Japanese society of those called “doseiai-sha” in recent years, unlike in the past. Pearl explained how she had traveled with her friends, the Crystal Gems, to Etheria, by accident, and ended up in front of the war council in the Bright Moon Castle. Adora laughed about it, recalling their absurd behaviors, how they fought, but got to know each other better in a land of tranquility, and expressed their admiration outside the kingdom of flowers. Now, she declared proudly, they could be who they wanted to be, on Earth, without the trappings of a princess or sole responsibility to “save” a planet. Grinning, Pearl added that she appreciated this experimentation and who Adora could become, unlike anyone she used to know in the past. She asserted, however, that they were just friends, not having a romantic connection like Lapis and Peridot. Utena seemed to think that such talk was only because Pearl didn’t have the words to correctly describe the relationship between them and hadn’t connected with others on REZU before.
Carmen had finished her bath and came out recharged. Now, Utena could do the same thing, letting the waters roll across her skin and take away her fears. Almost taking the place of Utena in the ima, Carmen began drinking tea, which made her feel better about herself and allowed her to focus her energies on what needed to be done in the days ahead, seeing forward rather than looking back. Lapis and Peridot joined Pearl and Adora in the ima, while Anthy went to tidy the house some more, and pick vegetables from the garden before the sun had set on the horizon, with the help of Chu-Chu. Pearl, looking at Lapis and Peridot, holding hands together, asked them how long they had “been together.” Peridot bowled over, rolling on the floor at the hilarity of this comment. When she had gotten over that, she proceeded to give Pearl a major reality check, with Lapis chiming in after her.
“Seriously, how did you not see this? We have been together ever since we’ve lived in that godforsaken barn. Don’t you remember seeing us both kiss when we fused in Mystacor? You don’t have to hide your attraction for anyone. We’ve heard from Steven about the relationship you had with his mom, Rose, and it seemed pretty intimate.”
“Same-sex attraction is nothing to be afraid of. It shouldn’t be repressed. It’s something that lovely and should be celebrated, like Utena and Anthy, whom we met online while looking around for groups to be a part of while chilling together in the barn, do a daily basis, or by all those we video chat with on REZU every week.”
This talk flustered Pearl a bit, as she didn’t expect this response, telling them she wasn’t looking for a relationship, just a friendship with other people, something that Lapis and Peridot told her was ok, as you had to take everything at your own pace. Adora listened and didn’t say a word. Peridot then came over to Pearl and Adora and whispered in their ears. She told them to not say a word to Steven about their video chats with same-sex couples on REZO, as it should be “their little secret.” They both agreed and promised to stay quiet on the subject.
As the sun set on the horizon, and Utena returned from refreshing bath, she helped Anthy show Pearl, Adora, and Carmen to their sleeping quarters, where futons and tatami mats were available to sleep on. Utena and Anthy walked, with their hands clasped together, to their bedroom. They soon fell asleep, tired from the long day, with their heads touching and grins on their faces. Pearl, Adora, and Carmen each slept on their own futons, in the guest room, not saying a word to each other before drifting off into their dreams.