Jasper sizes up the Gems in front of her. She’s in trouble. Fighting inside Malachite has left her weak, they outnumber her, and the ruby and sapphire are still fused. Still, she’s a soldier, she’s ready to take them on if she must.
Something tugs on her hair. ‘Jasper. Jasper, stop.’ When Jasper looks over her shoulder Peridot is holding an armful of hair, heels dug into the floor with a determined expression. She’s not heavy enough to hold Jasper back, but a rolling attack would squash her.
‘Peridot, get off.’
Peridot shakes her head. ‘No!’ Jasper growls and plucks her up in one hand, then realises that with strong, sharp quartz hair wrapped around her hands pulling her away will cut her.
‘Peridot, now!’ she barks, trying to keep an eye on the other Gems around her. Rose looks dismayed and frightened, the others baffled by this farce.
Peridot flinches and whimpers but only clings tighter. ‘I won’t.’
‘I can’t fight like this.’
‘I don’t want you to fight!’
How can Peridot be this much more trouble at half her regular height? She’s always been loud and demanding, but not rebellious before. How is Jasper going to protect either of them if Peridot persists in hampering her escort? ‘We can do this when we’re safe.’ She tries to drop Peridot, since even with Peridot dangling from her hair she can at least punch. Sharp little teeth sink into her thumb and Peridot manages to wrap her legs around Jasper’s wrist while staying tangled in her hair.
‘I’m safe now! No one here wants to hurt me. Stop trying to fight,’ Peridot yells once she’s no longer using her mouth to clamp on.
The amethyst starts to laugh.
‘Amethyst, stop, this isn’t funny,’ Rose says urgently. ‘What if Jasper hurts her?’
‘I’m her escort,’ Jasper says, nettled. ‘I’m here to protect her from rebels like you.’
Peridot slaps her in the face. ‘You’re a terrible escort. You vanished and I thought I was going to die and now you won’t listen to me.’
Jasper glares at Peridot and watches her shrink. ‘Are you with them now?’
‘I… I…’ For the first time Peridot seems uncertain, gazing wildly around the room, before looking back at Jasper. ‘There wasn’t anyone else.’
‘Don’t hurt her!’ Rose runs forward, only for the fusion to snatch her up in one hand. She wriggles. ‘Garnet, let go, I have to help Peridot.’
Jasper meets the fusion’s eyes and for a moment they understand one another perfectly.
‘This isn’t a good time to fight,’ the fusion says, straight faced. ‘Truce?’
Jasper nods. ‘Until a better time.’