After finally getting over my obsession to constantly play Luigi's Mansion 3, and other college stuff, I present to you all the 3rd chapter for the fic!

I hope the time it took to publish this one compared to the last one isn't too off-putting to you all, after all I did say at least 1-2 chapters a month. Depending on how the rest of this month goes there may be another chapter before December or there may not be. All depends on life I guess.

Anyway, I'm gonna stop before I start getting philosophical on you guys. Let's not delay this episode any longer, it's show time!

}Episode 3: A Mirror's Reflection{

"Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!" Steven's panicked shout echoed throughout the hall as he burst from his room and quickly slammed the door behind him still running. "Dad! Dad! DAD!"

Pale as a sheet and screaming like a madman, Steven would have no doubt caught the ire and attention of other guests if it wasn't for the fact that his father had booked the entire floor for privacy. Even if that had not been the case though, he would not have cared because all rationality had left him the moment the mirror spoke.

Mirrors can't talk! It's impossible! But it happened! His panicked mind rambled as he reached Greg and Rebecca's room and began pounding on it.


Steven's fist stopped mid swing as the door was thrown open and his father rushed out, brandishing his guitar like an axe.

"What?! What is it Steven?!" he shouted in alarm as his head whipped left and right looking for danger. Again, had the floor not been booked, others would have seen a tabloid dream image of a panicked Mr. Universe, clad only in a bathrobe, ready to smash his instrument into something.

"Dad! I-" Steven began but Greg interrupted him.

"Is it the paparazzi?! Did another crazed fan confront you like in Detroit?!" he asked as he grabbed Steven protectively.

"What?! No, I-"

"Do I need to call the cops Greg?!" Rebecca's concerned voice came from the room.

"I don't know yet!" he responded as he panted and stood defensively in front of Steven. "If anyone's out there bothering my boy, you're in for a world of hurt!" he threatened the empty hallways with a shaky voice.

"Dad! It's not a fan or paparazzi!" Steven raised his voice caused his father's head to snap to him.

"It's not?"

"No," Steven answered plainly.

"Then…then where's the fire? Why are you screaming bloody murder?" he inquired, still not lowering his guitar.

"It's the mirror, Dad! The mirror! It talked to me!" he admitted, and Greg's face became a jumbled mess of confusion.

"Say what now?"

"That mirror I showed you the other day! It talked to me! I looked into it and it had my face and the other me said "Hi" and…and…" Steven trailed off as he realized exactly how crazy that sounded, even to him. His father just looked at his panting son strangely as he lowered his guitar.

"Uh, Steven? Are you feeling alright?" he asked hesitantly and Steven grit his teeth.

"Look, I know how crazy it sounds, but it's true! The mirror started talking and-AH!"

"Greg? Police or no police?" Rebecca questioned softly as she came to the doorway with her cell phone in her hand and Steven looked to the side with a blush. Just like his father, she was wearing only a bathrobe and she was a bigger lady, like his mom had been (his dad had a type) so it clung to her.

"No, No I don't think so hun," Greg answered and looked back at Steven in worry.

"Oh, Okay," she nodded and looked at the flushed teen. "What happened Steven?" she asked warmly.

"I…Uh…" he stammered as he looked back and forth at the two adults, and he took in details he'd missed before in his panic. Like the fact that both of them were red in the face and Rebecca's dark flowing hair was messy and his father was covered in sweat.

Oh God, I interrupted…AHHH! He mentally screamed.

Both of them noticed the color draining from his face as Greg once more reached a hand out to him.

"Steven, if something's wrong I-"

"Heh heh, I think I might have just had a Nightmare!" Steven said hurriedly as he took a step back and scratched his hair.

"A Nightmare?" Greg sputtered in disbelief.

"Yup! I was out in the sun all day so that was probably it. Sorry for freaking you out!" he stammered with a wave before darting back down the hallway, away from the awkward situation.

"Stuh-Ball, wait! Are you sure y-"

"I'm fine! I'm just going back to sleep! Good night and sorry again!" Steven called back as he rounded the corner and double facepalmed.

"Oh god, oh man, oh jeeze! That was just…Uuuuuuggggghhhhh!" he grumbled to himself as he tried to shake the images loose from his mind.

Back at their room doorway, Greg and Rebecca looked at one another in concern.

"Do you think he actually had a nightmare?" she asked, clearly not buying that explanation.

"I don't know, he hasn't freaked out that bad to one since he was little," Greg admitted.

"Do you…do you think you should go after him and talk?" she suggested and Greg sighed.

"I don't know. I doubt I'd get anything else out of him right now. Besides, I think I may know what's eating at him."


"Yeah, remember I told you he'd gotten a little antique for some local girl?" he asked and she nodded. "Well maybe things didn't go according to plan, or he's having anxiety attacks about the whole thing."

"You think he's nervous about some girl?" she questioned and he shrugged.

"Maybe. He's never really dated before, and I was a nervous wreck around girls when I was that age."

"Heh, you still are," she teased as she poked his chest and they both chuckled.

"Yeah I guess so…still, I won't make him talk about something if he doesn't want to. He'll open up when he's ready…I hope." The couple then wrapped their arms around each other in comfort and re-entered their room, while Steven stomped reluctantly back to his.

Ugh! If this had just happened earlier, I could've explained this without sounding as crazy, or interrupting…THAT! Bleh! He shuddered again as he came face to face with his door.

He stood there for a few moments of silence before he let out a sigh.

"Okay, I bungled up the chance to tell Dad about this, and there's no one else I could really talk to about it right now…So I've just got take care of this myself," he said in determination.

"Mirrors can't talk, so maybe it's just like I said back there, maybe I got too much sun, or my brain is just misfiring from listening to Renaldo for so long…Yeah…" he nodded, only half believing these justifications. The other half was adamant he'd seen exactly what he thought he did.

He kept having the same internal debate for what seemed like hours as he stood in front of his door, but eventually he gave in.

"I'm not going to sleep out in the hallway like some scared little kid, I'm 16 dang it!" he grunted. And so with a shaking hand, he reached for the door handle.

Please don't have creepy spider legs, please don't have creepy spider legs! He repeated as he slowly pulled the door open and peered inside.

To his immense relief, his room was not hosting an eldritch abomination hell bent on devouring him or sending him to an evil alternate universe, but was just as he'd left in it in his mad dash. There were the scattered pizza boxes he'd yet to take to the dumpster, his laptop, a few books, and of course the source of his panic, still lying on the floor where he dropped it.

Okay, Subject M has not moved from its previous location. So far so good…he observed, though a part of him still feared that it would move on its own.

Shivering at the mental image of the mirror floating after him, he slowly and silently made his way towards it. The closer he got to it though, the more he felt his nerves start to crumble, but he kept moving forward anyway.

This is the only thing I can do if I ever want to sleep tonight…or ever again, he gulped.

Ever so carefully, and making sure the mirror was as far from his face as his arms could allow, he picked up the mirror. goes nothing.

With a deep breath to calm his nerves, quickly turned the mirror around.

"Gotcha!" he cried out, but he was only greeted by his own reflection, albeit a bit paler than before.

"Alright mirror, I know you talked before," he said with a scowl at his reflection, which scowled right back. "So…so say something."

His reflection did not answer back and he frowned.

"Oh, don't try to play this game with me, I'm already onto you, so just say something," he commanded, but again, nothing happened.

"I won't fall for your tricks mirror!" he said pointing to the glass…but nothing happened. Steven suddenly lost a bit of confidence.

"Um…you did talk right?" he questioned and received no response.

I know it did…I think, he thought as he began to doubt himself. Maybe the mirror doesn't respond to confrontation?

"Okay...hi again! Talking...mirror...thing…" he said trying to sound more friendly as he waved. The mirror made no reaction to Steven's awkward introduction, and he chuckled nervously.

"So...uh…you're a talking mirror huh? Must be pretty tough being a…talking mirror, I guess?" he asked sounding dumb to even his own ears and he sighed. "Okay, this isn't working. Maybe I do just need some water and sleep."

He then looked back into the mirror and laughed at the ridiculousness of the whole thing.

I embarrassed myself over nothing, and I so don't look forward to that awkward conversation with Dad and Rebecca later, he thought as he shook his head. Looking at his reflection once more he smirked.

"Hey? What does a piece of cheese say to itself in a mirror? Halloumi!" he said overdramatically before chuckling like a dork. He started to set the mirror down, before he realized that his reflection was still audibly laughing even after he'd stopped. He stiffened and the air left his lungs as he once more saw the impossible.

"Heh heh heh heh," his reflection chuckled before static filled it. "Gotcha!"

Eventually the looping of his laughter came to an end as static once more consumed the mirror until a different image of himself appeared.



With that single word Steven got off the bed and proceeded over to his backpack.



He ignored the mirror's repeated use of his name as he tossed the mirror into his backpack.

"Nope, nope, nope nope nope!"

Continuing his mantra Steven carried his backpack to the closet, threw it into one of his empty suitcases, closed it and stuffed it as far back as it could go.

"Nope, Nope, so much nope!" he grunted before slamming the closet door and pulling the nightstand in front of it for good measure.

"Steven," The muffled voice came from inside.

"I said nope!" he shouted as he walked into the bathroom and brushed his teeth with the water running to drown out all sound.

Once that was done, he turned out the lights, hopped into bed and put the pillow over his head as he tried to go to sleep. The keyword being tried.


You hear nothing, nothing at all. It's just the wind.


Focus on the sheep Steven, count the sheep and just ignore the wind.


Ignoring things that aren't real is easy and fun for the whole family!


"Ugh!" he groaned loudly and looked at the barricaded door. "Look…whatever you are! It's late, I'm tired, and I have no idea if I'm having some exhaustion-based hallucination or not. So I am begging you to please be quiet until tomorrow or I swear I will chunk you down the laundry shoot! Okay!?"

There was silence from the closet for a few moments, before his frustrated voice was repeated back.


"Thank you!" he called out and faced away from the door.

This is all just one big dream. The mirror didn't talk, you didn't walk in on Dad and Rebecca, and you didn't hear a 45-minute lecture on how mermaids secretly run the coffee business! He lied to himself as he tried to force himself into slumber. It took longer than normal, but eventually sleep did come for him, although it wasn't restful in the slightest.

}Line Break{

The next morning, a bleary-eyed Steven dragged himself out of bed, splashed some cold water on his face and stood in the front of the closet door with dread.

Either it was a dream, or I've finally lost it, he thought tiredly as he pushed the dresser out of the way and opened the door.

"Alright, it's morning now," he said as he opened up the suitcase, and reached into his backpack and pulled out the mirror. "So…that wouldn't happen to have just been one crazy dream, right?"

"It was not *Static* exhaustion-based hallucination *Static* Steven." Steven could only nod hollowly as the mirror answered him.

"Right, right…" he mumbled in resignation and sat on the bed dejectedly. "So it's official, I've gone insane."

It was the only logical explanation for everything. Maybe yesterday he could have believed that it was just a tired and heat sick mind, or that maybe the fries had been cooked in bad oil, or that Renaldo had drugged him, but not today. Not when looking at an image of his face that didn't match his movements. He let out a sigh and rubbed his eyes as he accepted his fate.

"This is my life now. I guess I never saw the signs, but then again no crazy person actually knows they're crazy," he thought aloud.

"Steven," the mirror responded.

"But the proof is in the pudding, and that pudding is on a rocket ship bound for the happy house," he said with a dejected sigh. "Would those media vultures blow everything up when I get taken away in a sleeveless coat? How would that affect Dad? Would that break him?"

Even as he said that, the mirror image changed to a slanted view of his father saying,

"I'm sorry Steven."

"No, I'm sorry Dad," he responded with a shudder. "I didn't mean to go nuts."

"Steven *Static* no crazy," the mirror replied.

"Heh, like I could believe that," he scoffed.

"No crazy *Static* Steven *Static* I'm sorry."

He began to chuckle at the obscurity of his own broken psyche trying to comfort him and shook his head.

"No…no its fine. I'm sorry for threatening to throw you out last night. I was just so stressed out from everything and I just wanted the night to end. So…yeah sorry."

The mirror was silent at that and Steven rubbed his temple.

And now I'm apologizing to my hallucinations, great.

"No it's fine," his image responded back to him.

"That's good," he nodded and sighed again. "But seriously, this is bad. Maybe I might be able to hide this since you're the only thing talking to me so far, but how long till I start seeing cartoon characters out on the street?"

"No crazy," it responded.

"I mean, maybe I could buy some pills or something online without Dad or the media knowing and I could just pretend to be normal for the rest of my life," he pondered.

"Steven *Static* No Crazy *Static* Not *Static* Hallucination."

"Yeah, yeah, just what a hallucination would say," Steven dismissed and an image of himself frowning last night showed up. "But fine, I'll treat you like you're real if you stop harping on it."

The image changed to a loop of his head nodding and he nodded back.

"Right…so, you got a name so I don't keep calling you talking mirror?" he asked, fully giving into his delusions.

"You *Static* Want to know *Static* Name."

"Yeah, might as well," he replied. The mirror was silent for a moment before static appeared again.

"My name is #! #% "


Steven dropped the mirror and clutched his ears as an irritating frequency blasted from it. When it finished, he picked the antique back up and glared at it.

"What the heck was that for!?" he asked heatedly.

"Sorry Steven *Static* Fancy mirror…trick *Static* Can't *Static* My Name."

"Really?" he asked with a quirked brow.

"Well yeah."

"So you can only repeat stuff that's only been said in front of you?" he asked.

"Well yeah."

"Hmmph, of course my delusions wouldn't be new and creative," he grumbled to himself. "Alright then, I'm not going to go through every name in the book, so I'm just going to call you Mira."

"Mira." The mirror repeated, and even though it was his voice, he had the sense that it was questioning him.

"Yeah, because it sounds like mirror and is kind of like a play on words and…never mind," he gave up. The mirror went silent again, probably in thought, before it responded back.

"My name is *Static* Mira."

Steven couldn't help but smile slightly at that, but it was soon replaced with a contemplative frown.

"It's good that I got a name for you, but…I guess I can't ask you anything specific without getting more of that nasty feedback huh?"

"Nope! *Static* Sorry Steven."

"Well that's a bummer," he sighed dejectedly. "But if you'll excuse me Mira, I have to look up what kind of crazy I have, so I know how to fix it."

"No crazy," Mira said, but Steven already had his laptop open and searching.

After a few minutes of basic searches, Steven wasn't sure which of the many mental diseases matched his predicament.

"Seriously, how can there be so many diagnosis's for talking reflections?" he groaned.

"No crazy," Mira said once again and he frowned.

"Well a million internet doctors say otherwise," he dismissed as he scrolled through the links, before a certain one caught his attention.

"History of Haunted and Possessed Objects," he read aloud. Steven hadn't exactly believed in ghosts since he was in the fourth grade, but some desperate part of him latched onto that headline. "…You know what? Why not?" he shrugged as he clicked on the article.

He then began to read many countless dubious reports about so called hauntings of household objects, and even accounts of people who had seen other figures in the mirror that spoke.

"That's not exactly what's going with me…but you know…" he looked back at the mirror as a blossom of desperate hope bloomed inside him. "If you were just some ghost inside of a mirror, then that means I wouldn't be nuts!"


"Yes! A ghost! I mean, it kind of goes against everything I've believed until this point, but it's a better alternative to being insane!"

"A ghost *Static* Nope!"

"A ghost yes!" he doubled down. "And I know just the guy to talk about ridiculous crazy stuff like this!"

He then opened up Renaldo's blog, intent to contact the conspiracy theorist when he noticed the red notification mark next to the sites message icon, indicating he had received one message.

"Huh? Who sent me a message on this site?" he wondered before his eyes widened in remembrance and he facepalmed. "Oh right, that cultist expert. I forgot I sent them a message…" Steven looked at the mirror next to his hand and smirked. "But hey, nice. Maybe cult stuff could explain your ghostness!"

"Nope! *Static* Gem *Static* Aliens," Mira said, the images flickering between Steven and Renaldo.

"I might not have to talk to that weirdo about you if this person knows what's up," he dismissed as he opened up the message.

[Greetings HistoryLover12, as you probably are aware, I am EarthXJ-128B. Though you may call me XJ, as I know typing my full username can be rather bothersome.
I must admit that I was a bit taken aback by your request of my knowledge in the darker side of the planet's history. While I am known around the site as an expert in the 'occult,' few really ever come to me for advice. So please excuse me if I seem a bit overwhelmed that someone else seems genuinely interested in my knowledge.]

Steven couldn't help by quirk a brow at that as he said aloud,

"They don't seem that overwhelmed, more formal than anything really." Shrugging, he continued reading.

[Anyway HistoryLover, since you have come to the proper source it would be rather rude of me not to divulge the information you are looking for.
Gem Cults first began to appear in the public eye in the late 18th century, though they existed much earlier than that behind closed doors. The 'Foundation of Gem Reverence' was a worldwide organization made up of many smaller sects. The organization had quite a large following and was one of the longest lasting gem cults to exist. However, the stability of the group came to an end like all its predecessors during the 1920s.
During one of their rituals at their main location in Europe their 'prophet' managed to escape its confinement before it could be sacrificed for their 'Gem Gods.'
The Gem Beast proceeded to devour all those in its vicinity, including the sect leaders. It then left a trail of destruction through most of Europe before submerging itself in the Grand Eastern Crater* where it lays dormant to this day.]

Steven couldn't help but gulp slightly at that. While that seemed to be the most likely end for a cult that worshiped dangerous monsters, it didn't make the loss of life any less impactful. Even if the cultists did bring it onto themselves by thinking containing a living Gem Beast was a good idea.

Also the fact that apparently that same gem beast is still alive and is located in one of the deepest bodies of water on the planet isn't comforting at all. Note to self, convince Dad to never have a tour near the Grand Eastern Crater ever again.

[With the core sect demolished, membership of the fringe F.G.R sects slowly diminished. When the G.O.F. passed the Emerald Eye Sanctions in the 1930's, which outlawed the possession of dormant Gem Beasts, their numbers dwindled even further in the resulting crackdowns. Of course the use of shattered Gem Beast shards for decoration is still allowed, which I still personally find discomforting, but the sanctions still carry weight. Severe punishment can still be met out to this day if a citizen withholds information about individuals with dormant beats, and they may be classified as an F.G.R. member as well.]

Rereading that last sentence a few more times, Steven couldn't help but chuckle nervously. While he was aware of those laws, he hadn't known they were that severe.

"Looks like I have even more reasons to only leave an anonymous tip huh? Hehehehe…"

[With all these factors in place though, there hasn't been any public resurgence of the F.G.R or any similar cults to this day.
As for that mirror, it is most likely a product of one of the many rituals conducted by the F.G.R. They believed that by embedding shattered Gems into objects, they could harness their souls to communicate with their "Gem Gods." This of course is ridiculous, but it is what they believed.
If this mirror is such an artifact, there are many avenues you could go with it. You could turn it in to the G.O.F., who may or may not give a monetary reward, you could sell it to the highest bidder, though that may draw unwanted attention, or you could donate it to certain museums or universities. The choice is yours.
I hope all this was able to help you in some way and thank you for seeking out a proper source for your delve into this world's dark side.]

Steven was silent as he processed all the information that XJ was able to give him. It was a lot to mull over for the teen, and while most of it wasn't the gold mine he was hoping for, it was still useful nonetheless.

"Harnessing the souls of Gem Beasts?" he said as he looked back down at the mirror.

The possessed object theory just got a whole lot more steam, he thought as he grasped for that straw and held on tight. The occult angle just means I'm crazy for believing it, but not as crazy if my own mind was making it up…Yeah…

"Gem Beasts? *Static* Nope! *Static* Gem *Static* Aliens"

"All this alternative evidence is pointing to the former Mira, sorry," he said and his image once more frowned. Ignoring the ghost, he typed up a quick thank you message to XJ and hit send.

"Alright, so now that I know you're a spirit or whatever trapped in a mirror by cult magic, I definitely can't just hand you over to the G.O.F. They'll think I'm a cultist and take me out if this gets out," he reasoned.


"Which means I definitely can't explain this to Dad, so I've just got to figure out what I do next. An exorcism?"

"Steven. *Static* Nope!"

"You're right, I'm not qualified for something like that," he nodded and his reflection sighed. "But I definitely can't do this alone, and there's no way I could get Archsa in on this without breaking our anonymity rule and turning on our webcams…"

"Archsa," Mira repeated.

"Yeah, my online friend I was talking to yesterday," he explained. "I did kinda cut them off last night without any reason. They're probably worried about me…"


"Yeah…but if I talk to them about you, they obviously won't believe the ghost angle and just think I was crazy, just like I did a little bit ago."

"No crazy," Mira agreed

"Exactly! I'm just haunted, but there's no way they would know that just through speech…Hey Mira, let me record you saying something."

"Nope!" his own voice answered before the glassy surface went back to reflecting him normally. Steven was about to argue that…when he realized that if he recorded a video, his own face would show up in the mirror.

"…Yeah, good point," he sighed reluctantly as he put his phone away. "If my face showed up, they'd put two and two together, and without proof, they'd think I was sliding into madness. But still, if not Archsa then-"


A message alert interrupted him, diverting his attention back to the screen. It wasn't his long-term internet friend though, it was the cult expert he'd just thanked.

"Huh, I didn't think they would respond so soon...or at all really," he said in bewilderment as he read the message.

[It was no problem really; I do greatly enjoy informing those ignorant of the dark side of this world after all.
However, I cannot lie about my curiosity about that mirror you found. If it isn't too intrusive, might I ask where you managed to procure it?]

"Hmm…I don't know," he said nervously to himself. "If I answer truthfully, then it'll leave a record and be used as evidence against me if the G.O.F. finds out."

So instead, he twisted the truth. He answered that he found it washed up on the beach. Almost as soon as he sent his response though, he received a reply from XJ. Steven couldn't help but blink owlishly at how fast the occult expert was with their typing before reading the new message.

[That is certainly is interesting. If it did simply wash up on the beach, then certainly it would have received more significant water damage, at the very least some rust. If it was merely dropped there then it surely would have received damage from the environment for however long it was left there.
Yet from this picture and your account there is no sign of any type of damage relating to the water or weather. Curious indeed…
Tell me HistoryLover, would there have happened to be any ruins near where you found the mirror?]

Steven's eyes widened slightly at XJ's deduction.

"Ah crud! I tried to pull the wool over the eyes of an expert!" he panicked. "Uh…"

I really need to get my facts straight soon. The longer I put off that anonymous tip the more trouble I'll get into if they find out. Steven couldn't help but think in worry as he finished sending his brilliant cover-up message to XJ.

Of course, that feeling of brilliance was quickly diminished when XJ sent him yet another message a few moments later.

[Interesting, if there had been ruins nearby then that would explain why the mirror's condition was so well preserved. If what you are saying is true at least.
Alright, my curiosity has been peaked. While I find it suspicious why you would lie for any reason, I will respect your privacy and refrain from bothering you.
That being said, what is your current position? I very much want to investigate where you found the mirror for myself. I would assume you are somewhere in Beach City since you contacted me through this blog, but I would very much appreciate more specifics.]

"Yeah that's not happening," Steven deadpanned as he quickly left the site without responding to XJ's final message. He had seen far too many crime shows and gotten too many lectures from his Dad to fall for that trap.

"I'm not giving up my private information that easily buddy, no wonder Renaldo was creeped out by you. Trusting you is a dangerous idea."

Sighing he then looked back to mirror.

"Well, I guess if there's one person that will believe me, it's that weirdo in the lighthouse with the strange hairdo," he smirked.

}Line Break{

"I can't believe he didn't believe me!" Steven shouted in frustration halfway down the lighthouse hill. "Seriously Mira, what the heck was that all about!?"

He snarled at the mirror which changed to a reflection of his father.

"I'm sorry Steven."

"Oh now you start talking again?! You couldn't have spoken up a bit sooner and not made me look like a nutjob?! Cause let me tell you being called crazy by a crazy person is both humiliating and irrational!"

It had started out well enough with Steven reaching the lighthouse and reaffirming that he was not working for the Sneople, but then things had spiraled out of control.


"What do you mean ghosts aren't real?!"

"It's just as it sounds, ghosts aren't real," he answered plainly.

"But…you…you believe in snake people, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and aliens, but ghosts is where you draw the line?!" Steven asked in exasperation.

"Of course, because everything else can be explained rationally and scientifically while ghosts on the other hand are mere superstition," he said hypocritically which caused Steven's eyebrow to twitch.

"But it lines up with what XJ taught me," Steven pointed out and Renaldo scoffed.

"Oh dear, you actually did speak with them? I'm so sorry."

"Yeah, okay they were a bit creepy towards the end, but still, this mirror can talk and it was found near a cultist ritual site. You don't think that there's a chance?"

"Not for a ghost," he'd shrugged. "Now if the mirror really did talk to you, then it's most likely because of ancient technology you can't even hope to comprehend."

"Fine, whatever! Ghost or tech, but this is a magical talking mirror! It can talk Renaldo!" he harrumphed.

"Interesting…then please, present it."

"Alright Mira, do your thing," Steven ordered while holding the mirror aloft. A few seconds of silence followed as Renaldo looked at only his own reflection before quirking an eyebrow. "Uh…Mira, do the talking thing."

Again, the mirror only showed Renaldo's face.

"Mira?" Steven asked turning the mirror back to him.

"Is this some sort of joke?" Renaldo accused and Steven looked at him defensively.

"No, I'm telling the truth I swear," he defended before looking back to the glass. "Mira come on, say something already."

The mirror did not adhere to his wishes though, and there was no sign of static anywhere.


"Uh…do you hear the mirror talking to you right now?" Renaldo asked sounding apprehensive as he took a step back.

"Say something Mira, you're embarrassing me!" he pleaded, but to no avail.

"Right…" Renaldo said sounding disturbed. "Say Mr. Stefan, I'm kind of busy at the moment so why don't you go get some fries at my father's shop?"

"I'm not crazy!" Steven took offense to his tone of voice. "I know that was my first reaction too, but I'm not! There's a ghost in here I swear!"

"Sure…" Renaldo said unconvincingly as sweat beads formed on his head.

"Oh fine! Forget this!" Steven shouted and burst through the door, much to the relief of the older boy.

}Flashback End{

"Why didn't you talk to him?!" Steven inquired after kicking a stone in frustration.

"I'm Sorry *Static* Renaldo *Static* Dangerous idea."

"Dangerous?" he asked with a quirked brow. "I mean sure Renaldo isn't exactly the sanest of people…probably but I doubt it would have been that bad."

In response, the mirror began playing clips of Renaldo's crazed lectures from the day before.

"What the…?"

"If this gets out *Static* Magical talking mirror *Static* Dangerous *Static* Steven *Static* Mira."

Once its message was made the mirror fell silent, leaving Steven with a contemplative look on his face as he stared back at his reflection. After a few moments of silent thought, he let out a sigh and said,

"I…I guess you have a point. I got so caught up in trying to discover your origins I didn't really put much thought into what would happen afterward. Which would probably," Steven started to chuckle nervously as he scratched his hair, "Well it probably wouldn't be good. Someone would probably get the G.O.F involved if they knew you could talk, and then me and dad would be in big trouble. The media backlash from it wouldn't be great either."

By now Steven had stopped his tract back to the hotel, and instead was resting on a nearby boulder sticking out of the grassy hill. He let out a sad sigh as he stared at the mirror and asked,

"Hey, I get not wanting to talk to Renaldo, but…but why me? Why talk to me at all unless I absolutely was insane and this was just all in my head?"

"Trusting you *Static* Fine *Static* No Crazy *Static* Nice, *Static* You know what, why not?" the mirror answered.

At that logic Steven couldn't help but chuckle at the simplicity behind it before he said,

"Yeah…I guess that makes sense. Though why you bothered to talk to me in the first place is weird. You could have just stayed quiet to avoid the trouble you know?"

The mirror did not respond and he chuckled again.

"Yeah, like that. Still…now that I've actually had a chance to collect myself this whole day seems to be one big waste of time." A sigh escaped him before he continued, "Sometimes I wish I was back home. Then I could just avoid all this craziness…"


A nostalgic smile graced Steven's face as memories of his home started to fill his mind.

"Yeah home, back before we were always moving around for Dad's tours. It was so much more…relaxing, I guess. I…I miss it a lot. Sometimes I just want to…"

"Home *Static* Home."

"Yeah…but it's a pipe dream thinking I could ever go home again," he nodded.

"Home *Static* Home." The nostalgic smile loosened slightly as Steven looked at the mirror in confusion.

"Uh…you okay Mira? You're kinda repeating yourself there."

His only response was more and more repeats of his voice saying 'Home.' The repeats themselves seemed to be getting faster and faster, to the point that there was almost no pause between the words and it was just one long stream of 'homes.'

"Holy cow! Mira calm down before you overheat, or explode, or whatever talking ghost mirrors do! Do you need something, or do I need to do something to help you calm down or…I don't know stop repeating!?" he asked in worry.

And just like that the endless streams of 'home' came to an end and was replaced by a single 'sentence.' A sentence that Steven couldn't help but feel had far more weight behind it then its scrambled message could portray.

"I *Static* Just want to *Static* Go Home."

}Line Break{

It was late in the night now, and the majority of the Beach City residents were all quietly back in their homes. Some were asleep, others were up cramming for summer school assignments, and some were playing videogames. Steven DeMayo, on the other hand, was sneaking back into a place he quite honestly never wanted to step foot into ever again.

"This is such a bad idea! Why am I doing this again!?" Steven whispered harshly to himself as he slowly walked down the long decrepit staircase inside the hidden temple on the beach.

The answer to his question was wrapped up in his backpack, having gone oddly silent since its outburst back on the lighthouse hill many hours before.

Steven wasn't sure what had made the mirror act out like that so suddenly, but one thing he was certain of was its last request before going silent on him. While he wanted absolutely nothing to do with the hidden ruin, much less leave any more evidence of his discovery of it, Steven still liked to consider himself a decent person, even if the situation was anything but decent.

He had a mirror, enchanted with unknowable magic, housing the spirit of something or someone who only wanted to go home. Seeing as how he's the one that snatched the thing up in the first place, he figured it was his responsibility to return Mira to their resting place, no matter how horrifying it was.

I really hope this brings Mira peace or whatever. I do not want to have to go through all this just to find out I left it alone in the dank dark forever. Steven thought while glancing sympathetically at his backpack where the mirror was. I mean, being trapped in the dark surrounded by shattered Gem Beasts without anyone to talk to is just…ugh!

Steven couldn't stop himself from shivering in dread at that image and hoped that everything went back to normal. Going at night wasn't his first choice either, but his mind would not rest, even after hours of lying in bed. He had to make things right. So, in the late hours, he had snuck out of the hotel, and made his way towards the beach.

Dad is going to kill me if he finds out, he thought for the thousandth time as he continued to descend. But I've got to do this. For whoever Mira used to be.

"I really hope this works…" Steven whispered with uncertainty as he arrived at the bottom of the staircase into the Gem Beast graveyard once more.

This time he had brought a flashlight with him, and with it on he was able to see the area around him much better than before. However, the sight of the now very detailed gem shards made his unease skyrocket. Gulping, he shined the light at the stones where he'd found Mira. Wasting no time, Steven made his way over to the pieces of rubble and knelt down.

"Alright Mira, I brought you home," he said as he opened his backpack, took the tape off of the gem and brought the mirror up to his face. "I hope you are able to move on peacefully and that I never have to come back here ever again. Sorry I disturbed you in the first place, so have a good, er, afterlife an-"

"Nope! *Static* Home." The first words the mirror had spoken in hours, and it was something Steven really did not want to hear.

"Nope home? What do you mean Nope Home?!" he asked in exasperation as the mirror cycled through its clips.

"Sorry Steven. *Static* Not *Static* Home."

"Yeah…I was afraid of that," he mumbled as his shoulders slumped and he glared at the mirror. "Well thanks for not telling me before I came back into this spooky place in the middle of the night!"

"Sorry Steven."

"Ugh! So you're telling me this isn't your home even though I found you here? Well if that's the case, I don't know what to do Mira! I don't know who you used to be when you were alive or how to find that out! I don't know where you lived when this cult stuff was going o-"


Steven blinked in surprise at the sudden interruption.

"Dangerous? Well I figured that much since you were probably a former cultist and-"

"Dangerous *Static* Dangerous *Static* Dangerous." Mira played on loop and Steven frowned.

"Okay okay, I get it will you sto-"


Steven's breath hitched in his throat and his eyes widened in fear as a ferocious growl sounded off behind him.

Oh no…Oh please no… he whimpered as his pupils shrank and his face paled. Not daring to turn around, he slowly positioned the mirror till he could see behind himself, and he immediately regretted it. What he saw would forever be burned into his memory and play a recurrent visit in his nightmares.

Behind him was a large pair of mandibles with sickly green, sizzling liquid dripping from them as if it were saliva. The head these mandibles were attached to had a wild mane of white fur, and a green crystalline horn jutting out of it. But what truly terrified Steven was the eye like sphere inside the jaws of the beast, for it was not organic. It was a gem.

Steven's heartbeat increased exponentially as his fight or flight response pleaded and begged him to run, but his limbs felt like lead. Throughout history, countless people had been in his exact position, but he never truly believed it would happen to him.

Maybe…maybe if I don't move it won't notice me… he thought desperately as the hairs stood up on the back of his neck. No sooner did he think this, the Gem Beast dashed all hopes of this notion as it opened its insect like jaws wide.


"AHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Steven screamed as he dove to the side, barely avoiding the literal jaws of death as the beast charged past him and ran headfirst into the wall. Scrambling to his feet, Steven was able to take in the rest of the monstrous form.

It was giant and lengthy, with the body of a centipede. There were at least thirteen green gem like segments making up its body with two stick like legs for each, and there even appeared to be a second pair of mandibles on its tail end.

"I-It! Whaza-Beh!" Steven stammered in terrified awe as the Gem Beast shook its head and turned back to face him.

This isn't happening! This isn't happening! His mind raced as his whole body shook.

"Hyccccccckkkkkkkk," the monster hissed as its gem eye stared him down.

"AHHHHH!" Steven cried out once more as he threw his flashlight right into that eye on instinct.

"SCREEEEEEEEEE!" the beast roared as it thrashed its head around as the light fell to the floor.

"Steven *Static* Get…out *Static* Now."

The mirror didn't have to tell him twice as he dropped it in his bag, turned tail and ran up the stairs, even faster than his flight from that first night. All the while though, he cursed himself for throwing his only source of illumination in the darkness. Every little stumble he had was just a reminder that it was his fault he'd gotten into this situation.

"Oh man oh man oh man oh man!" he panted as his survival instincts went into overdrive and kept him going, despite being blind.

I shouldn't have come back! I should've just called the G.O.F.! I should have just let my curiosity die! Die! Oh god I don't want to die!

Down below, he heard the countless sharpened legs as they climbed the stairs behind him, slowly but surely closing the distance.

And it can see in the dark! Why did I throw my flashlight?!

"I'm sorry Steven," his father's voice came from his bag and he grit his teeth in determination.

Dad! I've gotta get back to Dad! Dang it I'm not going to get eaten!

After yet another stumble, he risked a chance and paused briefly to get out his phone. The beast closed even more distance before he began to run again, but some light was better than no light.

"I'm sorry Steven," Mira said once more but he ignored it as an acidic scent hit his nose.

By chance, he avoided a piece of debris on the steps and moved to the left as a ball of green liquid sailed past him and hit one of the many sealed doors along the staircase. Almost immediately, the rigid stone began to melt.

"IT CAN SPIT ACID!? OF COURSE, WHY NOT!?" he yelled in frustration as his screaming legs continued up the steps, three at a time.

"I'm sorry Steven."

"I know! I know! Apologize when we get out of this!" he shouted with burning lungs as the creature hissed and clacked on his heels.

There was a moment of jubilation as he reached the top of the stairs onto flat ground, but that went away immediately as a ball of acid skimmed his right leg.

"AGH!" he screamed out as a section of his pants burned away and the surface of his calf felt like it'd landed on a hot stove.

"Steven," Mira called out, but he didn't answer as he continued to flee. As the gem beast reached the top of the stairs, it sent out another ball of acid, but Steven had started to run in a zig-zag pattern to throw off its aim.

Just serpentine, and it can't hit me! Oh god, oh jeeze, oh man! He mentally panicked as he lived out a nightmare only the unlucky ever experienced in the modern age. The creature's crystalline body scraped across the smooth stone as it got closer and closer to the fleeing boy. Please No! Oh please stop this!

He rounded a corner and saw the moonlight coming in from the entrance.

Yes! He mentally cheered as he dodged yet another volley of acid which struck at the lady statue's feet. Steven gave one last push of desperate effort as he neared the exit. He could see the sand and hear the waves. Almost there! Almost-

"AGH!" he cried out as an intense weight pounced upon his back and sent him to the ground a mere ten feet from the door. "NOOO!"

"SCREE!" the gem centipede cried out as it's jaws bit down at Steven's back.

"AAAHHHH!" Steven cried out as the tips of the jaws scraped through the back of his shirt and a bit of acid burned his skin. Had it not been for his backpack, his entire spine would have been minced and dissolved. "GET OFF! GET OFF!" he shrieked, kicking and thrashing uselessly at the monster.

The centipede, annoyed that its prey still lived, lifted Steven up by his backpack and began to shake and thrash him about.

"Whoa, Ah, WHAGH!" he screamed as he was shook like a chew toy. The centipede struck him against the walls of the temple, knocking the wind out of him and making his vision swim.

"Ooohhhh," he groaned as the beast burst forth onto the beach and began its wild shaking once more. And because of this shaking, the straps on his bag were severed by the serrated, acidic mandibles and Steven was launched away from the monster face first into the sand.

"OOMPH!" he grunted as sand filled his mouth and nose. Spitting and coughing, he sat up and looked back at thrashing creature which began to chew and dissolve the shredded backpack in frustration.

"Ah, Ah, Ah!" he panted as he scrambled to his feet, wincing at the pain in his calf and back. He knew that he wouldn't survive another encounter, but he didn't know if he had enough speed to escape it.

I just got to make it to the gate! The automatic defenses should kick in and blast that thing to kingdom co-

"AAAAAAHHHHHH!" his own voice warbled out, and despite his fear, he froze. Reflected in the moonlight, he saw his own visage screaming in terror, as the jaws clamped down upon the mirror, shattering it.

"Mira!" he called out in alarm as the centipede finally freed its jaws from the bag and spat the remnants into the water, including fragments of glass and metal. Wincing over the loss of his supernatural companion Steven finally found his feet again and began dashing towards the wall.

I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry! He chanted, just as the mirror had done to him earlier. Feeling guilt over the mirror's destruction, but there was nothing he could do. He was just a regular boy who, above all else, wanted to keep living.


Which was looking less and less possible by the second.

"HELP! SOMEBODY! ANYBODY! DAD! REBECCA! ANYONE PLEASE! I DON'T WANT TO DIE!" He cried out to the still night in desperation, but it was all for not. "Gyah!"

For the second time that night, he was struck to the ground by the gem beast, but this time it hadn't gone for his back. It rammed into his legs, and once he fell, it wrapped its body around him like an anaconda, squeezing the air out of him.

"Hnnnnggg," he gasped as the pressure on his chest increased, and his struggling began to slacken.

Please no…not like this…Please… he pleaded, hoping that something, anything would hear him, but as he'd observed before, Beach City was an eerily quiet place at night. As his squirming ceased and he began to see spots in front of his eyes, the gem beast coiled around till they were face to face.

Despite not being able to breathe, Steven's nose was still irritated by the acidic spit dripping from its mandibles. Hissing in triumph, the beast opened its jaws wide and leaned towards Steven's head and his short life flashed before his eyes.

I'm sorry Dad, he thought with regret, as his vision began to fade. Mom…I-

"GRACK!" the centipede coughed and the tightening stopped slightly. Through his dimmed vision, he could make out that the creature seemed stunned and confused.

"Skkkkkkkkkk…" it hissed as it's mandibles clicked and its head began to wobble, and that's when Steven saw it.

What the…?

Protruding from the thing's neck was a shimmering blue spear head, mere inches from Steven's own face. Wherever it had come from, the beast was choking on it.

Where did- He questioned before his blurred vision caught sight of something glowing behind the beast, a shimmering blue figure, standing at the water's edge, with three more rippling spears floating above it.




Suddenly the three projectiles embedded themselves into the monsters back and it went slack. Its head tilted to the side in confusion as it stared questioningly at Steven,


Before it disappeared in a cloud of smoke, dropping Steven to the sand.

"GYHAAAAAAAA!" he gasped in the precious oxygen, before he began to cough and hack as water, sand and dust cascaded around him. Getting to his hands and knees, he panted and gasped for a good long while as his body began to protest to the pain from the whole ordeal. He knew he would have a number of bruises in the morning and only that if he was lucky, but he was thankful for the pain because it meant he was still alive.

"What-*pant*-What just happened?" he asked aloud before his eyes found a gem fragment lying in the sand next to his hand. "Hegh!" he reeled back from the dormant beast. It hadn't been shattered, and he knew it could come back at any moment.

It's not dead! I have to call the G.O.F. now! I don't care anymore if I get in trouble. I don't know how it got poofed but I…His panicked dwelling on the thing that almost killed him ceased as his eyes landed on the figure by the water, and his jaw dropped as he saw it more clearly.

It was a young woman wearing a blue crop top along with a blue skirt…but that wasn't the only thing blue about her. Her skin and even her hair were different shades of blue. But what truly caught Steven's attention were her eyes…or lack thereof. Where pupils and irises should have been, there were instead glassy, shining surfaces filled with glowing white static. Her hands were outstretched towards him, and she appeared to be breathing just as deeply as he was.

Am…Am I dreaming? He wondered as the fantastical girl seemed to catch her breath as the tide washed around her feet. She sparkled in the moonlight, as if her skin was reflective and the water around her seemed to move against the current. It was an image straight out of a dream…or out of a brain deprived of oxygen.

Did I actually die? Is my mind conjuring this? Or is she an angel of some kind to take me to the afterlife? He wondered in awe as she stood up and her skirt billowed like the water around her. She looked to him with her not-eyes, and began to open her mouth to say something, when…

"Aaarrrggghh!" she cried out in a distorted voice as her whole body began to flicker and glitch in and out of existence and she fell to her knees.

"Oh my gosh!" Steven called out in worry as he got up and stumbled towards the woman, who gripped her head in pain. Steven stopped a few feet from her as her form stabilized and she panted once more. "Are you okay?" he questioned, still bewildered by what was transpiring.

She turned her glassy glowing eyes towards him and gave him a desperate, pleading look as a small stream of water circled around her hand.

This isn't normal, who is this girl? Why is she flickering? What's up with the water moving around her- He stopped mid thought as he remembered the blue rippling spears. He touched his face which was still damp from the cascading water after the beast dropped him.

"You…you saved me?" he asked as he put the pieces together. At that, her facial expression seemed to relax in relief as a small smile pursed her lips. The stream around her hand moved towards him and deposited a torn-up scrap of material that used to be his backpack, where a very damaged and broken mirror still resided.

"I...who are you?" he stammered as the girl held her head once more.

"L...Lapis..." was all that she was able to whisper before her body short circuited once more. Steven reached out his hand to her, but she disappeared into nothingness before his very eyes.

"I…" he trailed off in shock, just as a blue, tear-shaped object fell into the sand where she once stood. Looking towards it, he was surprised and confused to see the familiar cracked blue gem he'd found days ago. It was even more damaged now thanks to the Gem Beast's bite, with a spider web of cracks spreading out from its base.

Steven gently and gingerly picked up the gem, fearing that the simplest touch would shatter it. He stared at the stone's scarred surface as it shone in the moonlight and evaluated everything that had just happened to him.

With a shaky voice, Steven let out the one impossible, ridiculous thought running through his mind, because no matter how absurd, it was the only thing that made sense.

"A Gem...Person?"

}Episode End{

*So you know how in the SU universe a good chunk of Russia is underwater based on that map we all saw in the moon base? Welp the 'Grand Eastern Crater' is what I'm calling it till we get an official name (if ever).

And so Steven's entire view of the world is shattered in just one night! Not only did he almost die, but he was saved by someone thought to be impossible by all…except Ronaldo but no one really listens to him anyways. Who knows what will happen now…

I hope you all enjoyed this chapter! It was a lot of fun to write even if it did take awhile to do so. College has gone into overdrive and I've been forced to put writing this on hold to keep up with the college work. It sucks, but hey gotta get that education somehow ya know?

I also hope I did a good job with Lapis's mirror talk, never had to write that before so it was a new experience for me. As well as XJ's text dialogue, since I've never done private messages in a fic before either. Hope they weren't too hard to read, and sorry in advance if they were hehehehe…

Anyway, time for my favorite part of the ending AN. Let's call you guys out from the reviews!

Korrily: I'm glad you liked it, and I hope you enjoyed this chapter just as much as the last!

FanDelLapiven: And more you shall receive! Hope you enjoyed this chap as well!

LunarCalamity: There are a few episodes in mind I want to use, but I'll keep that a secret to surprise you all when the time is right. As for romance…well it isn't my greatest skill when it comes to writing but if I see the opportunity to use it and it makes sense then who knows?

allen Vth: Who knows who Archsa really is? Oh right, I do! But where's the fun in saying who right away? And of course Ronaldo is still nuts, he wouldn't be fun to write if he wasn't hehehe. Cults are a dangerous thing, but I'm sure Steven and Lapis can handle it…probably.

largomolo: No crossovers I'm afraid, doing an alternate universe while adding a bunch of other shows to integrate would be a bit to much for me I'm afraid. The XJ was just a nice accidental reference, but yeah that show was awesome! Loved watching it when I was a kid, still do when I get the chance.

Nibba: Thanks! I hope you continue to enjoy it down the line!

aemroxs: Thank you!

hernandezart34: All will be revealed in time my friend, till then I hope you continue to enjoy the story as all secrets all revealed.

Thank you all for reviewing and telling me what you thought of the fic/chapter! I look forward to seeing your guy's reactions to this one, especially the ending!

As usual, a quick reminder that this story is extremely AU so there is bound to be changes and head-canons added into the story as it goes on. If that's not your cup of tea then its no big deal.

Thank you once again to all you wonderful people for following and favoriting this story! I didn't expect this fic to get so many in such a short amount of time, but even still I'm glad so many of you are enjoying the fic! I hope to keep making great chapters so you all can keep enjoying it!

Now then, I got exams to study for, papers to write, and a lot of sleep to lose from Pokémon Shield! I hope to see you all again soon, preferably before Christmas if my college allows it!

With that said, this has been LightDusk16 signing off!