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About Digital Art / Artist Member Drawer of Girls~Female/United States Groups :iconpuellamagiocs: PuellaMagiOCs
 
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Together Forever by Lady-Moth
Chibi commissions! For one chibi character, the price is as shown. Extra chibis are double points.
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Commission - Hanasaki Cherry by Lady-Moth
Magical Siblings of Love by Lady-Moth
Chibiusa by Lady-Moth
Screencap - Online Pretty Cure BUSTERS by Lady-Moth
A Green Heart Is The Symbol of Friendship by Lady-Moth
A Single Flower Blooming in Winter by Lady-Moth
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Commission - Swimsuit Ren by Lady-Moth
Umi by Lady-Moth
Commission - Animeaddictalexa by Lady-Moth
Bright Black-Eyed Susan by Lady-Moth
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Commish - Sunset Hang-Out by Lady-Moth
SS: Sugar Wind by Lady-Moth
Gift: Styx by Lady-Moth
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Pretty Cure Posters!
Pretty Cure Bukatsudo Energetic poster by Lady-Moth
Our Hearts Are One--Pretty Cure by Lady-Moth
Starshine Pretty Cure by Lady-Moth
Pretty Cure Saison Scents by Lady-Moth
Akihabara Pretty Cure by Lady-Moth
Special for those with Pretty Cure fanseries--you can commission a fake promo poster!

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“I didn't know Hiromi volunteered at the library,” Otome murmured.

“She hasn't had a lot of time lately because of Pretty Cure,” said Aki. “But yeah, when she has the time she does.”

The group stood outside the library doors, which were open to let in the cool air. Hiromi was inside, speaking to one of the librarians. As the others watched, two small children spotted her and ran over, hugging her legs. Hiromi laughed, patted their heads and said something the others couldn't hear. But whatever it was, the kids were happy.

Otome smiled at the sight of them. It sure had been a while...

”Otome-nee! Let's play, let's play!”

“She's playing with me, you wait your turn!”

“But she wants to play tag now, not boring tea party! Otome-nee, play tag!”

“Ahaha, okay, you two, okay, how's this? I'll finish my tea, and then we'll all play tag together. Deal?”

“Okay!”

“Alright then! Sip sip sip...”


Her smile became a frown as she bit her lip. What happened to those kids? She'd been told that Punch had been able to take some citizens and hide them someplace safe. Were the kids included in that bunch, or had they... Well, she wasn't sure what had happened to the people of Kokoro, exactly. They'd been absorbed and that was it...There was a chance they were alive, wasn't there?

“Okay!”

Otome blinked, snapping back to reality as Hiromi came over, smiling. “Sorry about that, but I just had to say hello!”

“It's no big deal, Hiromi,” said Miho with a shrug. She grinned. “The kids seem to like you.”

“You think so?” Hiromi laughed, holding a hand behind her head. The same children who had run up to her earlier approached her again, holding hands with the librarian. Both of them smiled at Hiromi at adoration, then regarded the other three girls in curiosity.

“Miss Satou? I'm very sorry, but do you think you could please come to Kids' Corner for just a few days at least?” the librarian asked. “Natsumi and Haru really want to see you again.”

“Please?” one of the children, a little girl with dark brown buns in her hair, asked.

“Well...” Hiromi frowned, then smiled. “If my friends can help!”

“....eh?” Miho and Aki said together.

“Really?” gasped Otome.

________________________________________

OP: "Pretty Cure, Hands Meet" - SHE

________________________________________

“You guys don't mind, do you?” Hiromi asked as they walked home. “I know I should have asked you first but...but I thought it'd be really nice for us to do it together, you know, because we're friends and--” She was started to talk faster now, her head lowered so the setting sun glinted off her glasses and obscured her eyes.

Aki laughed and patted Hiromi on the head. “Hiromi, it's fine! I'm uh...not that great with kids, but I bet it'll be okay. Just for a few days, right?”

“W-Well yeah...probably three or so, that's what Miss Sakie asked.” Hiromi explained that with Kids' Corner, it was more like a daycare than anything: the library was a safe, fun place for parents to leave their children at no charge, so a lot of people did just that. Over the years, the librarians had finally decided to section off a little room just for those children, stuff it with toys and books and colorful posters, and offer to watch the younger kids there. Every day there was a snack and Group Story Circle, and then the kids were free to do whatever they wished, so long as it wasn't too loud and they stayed in that room. “But it'll be okay, even if you say you're not good with kids! Most of them are really easy to look after!”

“I'm no good either...” Miho muttered. “I'm good with Pochi but you can't treat a dog like a kid.”

“I'm a kid, datchu!” Ti shouted, popping out of Hiromi's bag.

“Fairies aren't quite the same as human kids...But I'll still give a shot!”

“Me too,” said Aki. “How about you, Otome?”

“Of course~!” Otome was grinning ear to ear. “I love kids!” she exclaimed. “This is going to be fun!”

________________________________________

TODAY'S EPISODE: Big Sister Otome? The Magic Story Circle!

________________________________________

The next morning, the four girls were gathered in front of the library, Ti and Coffee stowed away in Hiromi's bag as usual. Three of the girls were staring at the fourth in a mixture of amusement and confusion.

Otome stood there, holding a large cardboard box in her arms, and was smiling as if her birthday had come early.

“So...what's in there?” Miho asked, shoving her hands in her pockets.

“I asked at the house but she wouldn't tell me,” Aki said with a sigh.

“Well, I wanted it to be a surprise!” Otome laughed as she set the box down. She then pulled open the flaps to reveal-- “Tada! I brought all the things the kids back home used to love. Jumping ropes, chalk if they want to draw on the roads, a few balls, some rackets...”

“Why?” asked Miho, deadpan.

“To play with!”

Hiromi smiled awkardly, face tinting pink. “U-Uhm, Otome, I get you're excited, but these kids aren't...quite like what you're expecting.”

“Huh?” Otome looked up, blinking in confusion. “What do you mean?”

________________________________________

A few minutes later, she knew exactly what Hiromi meant.

She stood awkwardly in the doorway to the children's room, still holding the box. As the others wandered inside to mingle with the kids, Otome just stood there, staring. It was...almost unnatural.

All the kids, who looked to be between the ages four and seven, were being quiet. They sat in beanbag chairs, on little cushions in adorable shapes like flowers or strawberries, on the colorful rug that looked like a town... Many of them were holding picture books, even if they were too little to know how to read. The others were quietly holding dolls and bears, or staring out the window, or quietly speaking to their parents as they were dropped off, and one little boy over in the corner was napping.

This was...uhm...strange. They were all quiet. Oh, they all had some energy to them, yes, but none of them were screaming, or running around, or banging toys together or demanding to play outside.
And all the toys Otome had were outdoor ones...

“Missus Lady?” Otome felt a tugging on her skirt and looked down.

The little girl with the buns was there, staring wide-eyed at her. She held the hand of the boy who'd been with her too – a little boy with black hair in a bowl cut and the same eyes as her. The little girl spoke again. “Missus Lady, Hiromi-nee sent Haru an' me to see if you wanna read to us.” Otome only then noticed that in the boy – Haru's other hand, was a book.

“Well, ah...sure!” Otome smiled, setting her box down. Well, just because this was a little outside her area of expertise didn't mean she could refuse them! She let the duo drag her by the hand towards a corner of the room, half hidden by a book shelf. The librarian in charge of this area apparently hadn't wanted to push the shelf all the way into the corner, leaving a small space of floor left. That was where the kids let her sit before sitting in front of her and handing her the book.

Otome laughed awkwardly as she took their book and opened it. What quiet kids, she thought again. “Uhm...By the way, I'm Otome! What are your names?”

“Natsumi,” said the little girl. “An' this is my brother, Haru.”

“Hi,” Haru mumbled, picking lint off the carpet.

There was an awkward silence.

“Please read, Missus Otome?” Natsumi asked.

“Huh? Oh, sure...”

And she started to read. The kids had picked a story she'd never heard of, and that honestly shouldn't have come as a surprise. She didn't mind so much, and just continued reading. But the problem was...

Two minutes later she lowered the book to stare over the top. The two kids stared back.

“I, uh...” Otome laughed sheepishly, tilting her head a bit. “I was wondering if you guys were still here.”

“Yup,” said Natsumi, rather simply.

There was another long, awkward silence. Otome forced a laugh. “Because...because I'd feel really silly sitting here and reading to you if you were gone!”

“Yup.” Haru spoke this time.

There was just more silence. Finally, Otome cleared her throat and looked back at her book, face bright red. “A-Anyways...”

She finished the book a few minutes later, closing it and setting it aside as she exhaled deeply. “Phew, I haven't read like that in a while!” She looked back at the kids, unsure if she should smile again or just keep a straight face. They were just staring quietly, not doing anything. “Do you, uhm...” She looked up, seeing how some of the others in the room were playing with toys now. Really it looked more like a kindergarten than a reading room. “Oh! You wanna play dinosaurs? There's a box over there!” she said, pointing to the little plastic tub of toys.

Natsumi shook her head, hugging her legs to her chest.

“Uhm...I brought a jumping rope today! You wanna go outside and play with it?”

“We're not allowed to go outside til Mommy picks us up,” said Haru.

“Uh...how about Go Fish?” Otome tried meekly.

Both kids shook their heads, looking at the ground. “Can you read another story?” asked Natsumi.

“....yeah.”

________________________________________

“So, how was everyone's day?” Hiromi asked as they walked home.

Miho grinned. “Pretty good, actually! I haven't played with dinosaurs since I was a kid!”

Aki was smiling too. “Ti and Coffee were pretty good at pretending to be stuffed animals for teatime.”

“Even though it wasn't real tea, datchu...”

“And you said not to make sippy noises,” grumbled Coffee.

Hiromi giggled behind her hand. “I was a little worried when Miss Sakie asked me to leave with her, but it seems like everything went okay!”

Otome just sighed.

Things had been...well for her, they'd been the same the whole day. Natsumi and Haru wanted her to read to them, one book after another, and no matter how she tried, they wouldn't go play with the other children. Oh, they joined them for Group Story Circle, but then when that was over they drifted back to that corner and sat alone with her. More than once she'd looked to the rest of the room to see Miho destroying a block town with three kids and plastic dinosaurs, Aki clinking plastic teacups with other kids, Hiromi breaking up a little argument... And Natsumi and Haru just asked for another book please thank you.

“How about you, Otome?”

“Haaagh...”

________________________________________

“Haaaaagh!” Otome sighed loudly as she flopped backwards onto her bed, arms thrown over her eyes.

Aki laughed, sitting on the foot of the bed. “Rough day at the library then? I liked it!”

“Aki, it's...it's so strange! No, I mean--” Otome sighed again and pulled her arms down so they rested across her stomach. “They're not strange, that's not what I meant. I'm...” She trailed off. How do you say something like this?

Aki just stared, waiting.

Otome drew in a deep breath. “Okay...Back in Kokoro, I worked in an orphanage, the same one I grew up in. I love kids, and they normally love me. But the kids I always looked after...”

________________________________________

”Otome-nee! Otome-nee, help!” A boy ran up the hill and scrambled into Otome's waiting arms, latching around her neck. “The monster's gonna get me!”

A little girl ran up just then, her fingers curled like claws. “Gimme the boy!” she yelled. “Gimme the boy!”

“Noooo!” the boy shouted, but there was a clear laugh beneath it.

“I'll save you!” Otome laughed herself as she ran, slow enough for the girl to keep up but fast enough to entertain them both.


________________________________________

“And we'd play and run and yell until the kids were so tired I'd have to carry them on my back when it was dinnertime. They'd be so worn out by the end of the day they would drop straight to sleep, and then in the morning they were full of energy all over again. They were so energetic and there was always lots of noise around me, and...I'm more used to dealing with those kinds of kids. With these guys... I dunno what to do with them! All they wanted me to do was read one book after another, and they didn't say anything to me at all! How do I interact with them, how do I make them my friends?” Otome punctuated her rant with another loud sigh, rolling onto her stomach and smooshing her face into the pillow.

Aki was quiet for a few moments, then Otome felt her get up off the bed. At first she wasn't sure what Aki was doing – maybe her venting had scared her? - but then something was held to her ear and she heard a faint buzzing. Lifting her head from the pillow confirmed her suspicions: Aki was grinning and holding out her cell phone next to Otome's head.

“Hello?” a familiar, tinny voice said on the other line.

Aki mouthed 'Tell her' at Otome, and pressed the phone into the older girl's hands.

“Hello?”

“Ah...Hiromi? It's Otome...” she began awkwardly, staring incredulously at Aki. “Okay, I just told Aki this already but...”

________________________________________

Eyecatch 1: Coffee and Ti hold a giant heart-shaped bubble wand, the breeze sending out a stream of bubbles. Inside four of the bubbles are tiny versions of the girls. In a flash of light, the girls twirl around and transform into Pretty Cure, their bubbles immediately becoming heart-shaped. The Entwined Hearts logo appears in the corner.
Eyecatch 2: The four girls hold a large, pink heart-shaped cookie between them; Hiromi taking the left arc, Aki taking the right, Miho and Otome firmly holding either side of the bottom half. They snap the cookie apart and there is a bright pink flash of light. When it fades, the quartet are in their Cure forms, happily eating their cookie pieces. The Entwined Hearts logo appears in the corner.


________________________________________

Tamora sat alone in Heartbreak Manor, sulking. She held Ichiko in her arms as she rested her cheek against the table, where tea was cooling off.

“Stupid Lady...she didn't have to take my Heartbreak Brooch away...” she muttered.

”You're clearly too injured and not thinking clearly,” said Lady, gently undoing the clasp on the brooch. “Until you recover and can fight with a clear head, I'm confiscating this.”

Tamora kicked the table leg in frustration. “It's not fair! Riche failed too, and she's not punishing him! Why do I get all the bad luck?” She pouted again, hugging Ichiko tighter.

Hm, but who said she had to stay here while her brooch was confiscated, huh?

________________________________________

The next day, the girls returned to the library, smiling and saying hello to the staff. Otome was a little more subdued, thinking on what Hiromi had told her the night before.

They approached the kids' room and she saw Haru and Natsumi. A look of determination appeared on her face, and she pumped her fists. Okay...okay, this time, she'd get this right!

She approached the corner the kids were occupying, and Natsumi looked up. “Hi, Missus Otome,” she mumbled. “We're not playing dinos or tea today, okay?”

Otome just smiled. “That's fine. I bet you'd rather hear more books anyway, huh?”

The kids looked surprised, but Otome just smiled warmly.

”First off, don't ask them to play with the other kids. Don't mention it at all. The Daidouji siblings are shy around other children, and they don't really want to play with them. And that's fine, you have to let them know it's okay.”

“So!” Otome clapped her hands on her knees. “What's today's book?”

”And actually get invested in what they pick.”

“Uhm...” Natsumi looked nervous, but she still smiled. Otome felt a small twinge of pride at that. The little girl held up a book then, and Otome took it to look at the cover.

“Momotaro...you know, I've never actually heard this story?”

The kids gasped. “Never-ever?” asked Haru.

“Well, I'm not from around here, you see...” Otome explained, sitting with her back to the corner. “Where I'm from we have different stories, and I don't remember anything like this.”

Natsumi wormed her way under Otome's arms and book to sit in her lap, head tilted back so she could look up at her. “Can you tell us one?”

“Well, sure! After we read Momotaro, anyway. I wonder what's going to happen?”

Haru's eyes grew big, and he joined his sister on Otome's lap. “It's cool! Momotaro comes out of a peach, and then he goes to fight the ogres and--”

“Har-ruuuuuu!” whined Natsumi, her lower lip sticking out somewhat. “Don't ruin the story!”

”So if you do those two things, and actually talk to them a little more, they'll be a lot more receptive to you!”

________________________________________

Snack time rolled around, and Otome found herself being tugged over to the low table. Natsumi and Haru each held one of her hands, excitedly talking to her as they sat down on the plush cushions and accepted the panda-shaped graham crackers and pineapple juice.

”They're just shy is all. They're really sweet kids, I promise.”

Hiromi smiled from her seat across the table.

________________________________________

The rest of the day passed as joyfully as the first half.

Otome and the kids didn't leave their book nook, but that was just fine. The kids asked for her to share some of her own stories, and she read some of theirs – they alternated, and that worked out just fine. Haru fell asleep on Otome's shoulder at one point, so she only read to Natsumi until their mother came to collect them. Haru woke up a little as the woman picked him up, and he sleepily waved at the same time Natsumi did.

“We've got one more day,” said Hiromi as they walked home. “Is that alright?”

“Just oooone?” Otome whined, shoulders slumping. “I like those kids!”

Everyone else laughed.

________________________________________

The next day when they arrived, Haru and Natsumi looked up excitedly.

“Missus Otome!” they called, waving her over.

Hiromi blinked, looking at the cerise-haired girl in pleased surprise. “Looks like my advice paid off!”

“Yes, so it seems,” chuckled Otome. “Is it alright if I stay with them today too?” When Hiromi nodded wordlessly, Otome grinned. “Great! Thanks...Hi, you two!” she laughed as she approached the children and sat down again. “What book are we looking at today?”

Haru and Natsumi looked at each other. “Uhm, actually...”

“Actually?”

Natsumi held up a small box of crayons. Only then did Otome notice that the book in front of them was a coloring book. From the looks of the two pages it was open to, it had a theme of fairy tales; a pumpkin coach was on one page, and the half-colored page was a gingerbread house. Otome blinked, then smiled in understanding. “Ohhh, you want to color today?”

“Uh-huh...”

Otome lay on her stomach and took a crayon. “Alright, then I'll color these gumdrops. How's that?”

The kids nodded, and for a while they colored in silence. Otome kept stealing glances at the siblings. They seemed to be alright, showing no outward signs of sadness knowing that this was her last day. Maybe they were more mature than Otome had initially given them credit for.

“Hey, I'll really miss you kids, you know?” Otome said at last, hoping to get some sort of reaction.

They nodded. “We know,” they said together.

But the next part was only said by Haru. “We'll miss you too...But it's okay, because Mommy says people never really leave. She says you're in our hearts all the time now, and you might visit.”

I...I think that advice works better with a different kind of 'leave,' Otome couldn't help but think. She opened her mouth to speak, but Hiromi called out to her just then.

“Otome! Miss Sakie and I have to go to the convenience story!” Hiromi cried in distress.

Miho frowned, holding a squirming girl. “Someone ate our graham crackers,” she explained.

“Will you girls be okay by yourselves for a bit?” asked Miss Sakie.

“You worry too much, we'll be fine!” said Aki.

“Aki, you barely know her.”

“Shush, Miho.”

“Well, if you're certain...” Miss Sakie said quietly, but she was already gathering her purse. Everyone waved her off as she and Hiromi left the room, promising to be back in a few minutes.

A short time later, Aki stood up, taking one child's hand. “I gotta walk Kenta to the bathroom,” she said. “Be back!”

“Ah, Mei!” Miho cried in dismay. “I tore the book! C'mon, let's see if there's any tape at the front desk.”

And for what she suspected would be just a minute, it was just Otome with the kids. She drew in a deep breath. May as well say it now. “Hey, you two--”

“What the heck are you doing?”

Otome jumped, looking up to see-- “T-Tamora? What are you-- Why--?”

The siblings stared at the strange newcomer in curiosity. “Missus Otome, what's she wearing?” whispered Haru.

“Is she a princess?” Natsumi asked.

“N-Not exactl--”

“I never thought Kokoro's Pretty Cure would spend her time here, coloring with kids...Playing. You really don't care about Shylock at all, do you?!” Tamora snapped, withdrawing a Heartbreak Marker.

Tamora uncapped the marker and swiftly drew a slashed heart symbol in the air. “Fall into heartbreaking despair!” she screamed, and flung her arm out.

The symbol...exploded, sending tinier versions of itself all over the library, drifting through walls, the ceiling, to reach everyone inside.

The children all fell to their knees, sobbing loudly with tears and snot dripping down their faces. Haru and Natsumi clung to each other even in their anguish, black auras pulsating in time to their cries.

“Natsumi! Haru!” screamed Otome.

“Your heartbreak will fill the River Despair and flood the world~!” Tamora shouted, holding her arms out.

At Heartbreak Manor, the water over the falls suddenly turned black, frothing and churning harder than ever before it continued over the edge of the cliffside, black lightning dancing over the water's surface.

“And finally...Fall into heartbreaking despair! Come on out, Usotsuki!”

The symbol shot towards the open page in the book, enveloping the book in purple light. Before the transformation could be finished, Otome grabbed it and hurled it out the window, shattering the glass from the force of her throw. Outside, in midair, the book flashed, and then an Usotsuki stood where the cart once was. It resembled a giant gingerbread house, if the house had arms and legs made of licorice whips, gumdrops for hands and feet. The chocolate-bar shutters flung open, revealing angry red glows behind the windows, and the door opened to reveal the same glow. “USOOOO!”

“Pretty Cure, Love's Song! The everlasting love in a maiden's heart, Cure Ariel!”

Ariel was in motion the second she was finished transforming.

She leaped straight at the Usotsuki, smacking into its center and propelling both of them through the window and into the yard. Glass shattered around them to litter the grass, scratching her and tearing her clothes, but neither paid any mind to it.

The Usotsuki threw Ariel away from her as they landed.  Ariel twisted her body in mid-air so she could land on her feet; her heels dug into the ground and upturned some soil as she shot forward again...

..past the Usotsuki and towards Tamora.

“Tamora!” she yelled, arms open.

“H-hey, this isn't fair!” Tamora screamed, eyes widening in alarm. “Usotsuki!”

“USO!” the monster responded, swinging an arm at Ariel and catching her in the side.

With a short cry, the teal Cure was sent crashing against the side of the library, sending up a thick cloud of dust and splinters. Tamora smirked, but it was short-lived as Ariel's form could be seen getting back up and charging for her again. “What the-- Leave me alone!” Tamora yelled again, stomping her foot and hugging Ichiko tightly.

“Tamora, listen to me--!” Ariel began, only to be met with the Usotsuki's fist. This time she skidded along the ground, grass and dirt flying in her wake. But of course, not even that was enough to deter her. She just planted her hands against the ground, flung herself back up and ran for Tamora again. “Stop--”

“USO!” The Usotsuki charged forward.

“Ignoring--!” Ariel yelled furiously as she leaped high into the air.

The Usotsuki stopped briefly, looking up in surprise – the fight had been brief, but she'd been an easy target, so why now--

And Ariel slammed back down on the Usotsuki, digging her heels between its eyes before using him as a springboard.. “Me!” she finished as she landed on the ground. This time, however, she didn't run for Tamora. Instead she turned on one heel, drawing her fist back and slammed it against the Usotsuki.

“U-Usoooo?!” it cried as it flew backwards, leaving twin trails of upturned earth just as Ariel did.

“And you quit interrupting! Sound of the Bells! Heart-Soul Bow! Pretty Cure Lovely Arrow!”

The light arrows shot for the Usotsuki and tore right through it, leaving a sea-green, glowing heart-shaped hole in it.  “U-Uso...” it murmured weakly, the light disintegrating it from within.

Tamora took a step back as Ariel turned back around, ignoring how all the damage done was restoring itself. The Cure had been trying to get to her this whole battle, and now... “Y-You stay away!” she yelled, preparing to teleport as Ariel rushed towards her, too fast, way too fast--

And she blinked in surprise and confusion as Ariel wrapped her arms around her tightly, her chin on Tamora's shoulder.

“Listen. To. Me,” Ariel whispered, squeezing Tamora slightly. “I swear to you, I didn't intend for Shylock to die...None of us did, it wasn't any of our faults.”

“I...I know that!” Tamora managed to say past the lump in her throat that had suddenly formed at the mention of Shylock's name. “W-We were told that Break had to...Break had to punish him--”

“You're angry at us, though. You blame us. You think that if Shylock hadn't helped me, he'd still be there, right?” Ariel said, her own voice thick.

There was a long pause. Then Tamora nodded weakly. “It's all your faults...”

“Tamora, please, I... I can't change how you think of me, but do you think Shylock would have wanted me locked up in there? That's what I tell myself every day. Every time I think that if he hadn't helped then maybe he'd be with us, that's what I have to tell myself. He would have gotten me out eventually, and then...I don't know what would have happened next. Maybe he'd be here, maybe he wouldn't, I don't know, but I can't change anything I can't fix it no matter how much I want to Tamora and neither can you!” Ariel sobbed a little, squeezing Tamora.

“I...” Tamora sniffled, eyes shiny. “I just thought...Sh-Shylock has to be avenged, it's your faults he's gone so he has to be--”

“Tamora...Tamora, his last act was saving me...Do you think this is what he'd want?”

“....no.” Tamora sobbed and finally lifted her arms to hug Otome back, eyes squeezing shut as a few tears leaked out. “No, it's not, but...But I'm so mad, it hurts so much, I have to do something...”

“I know...I know but--”

”Tamora.”

Tamora and Ariel both gasped at the sudden deep, rumbling voice. Tamora frantically broke out Ariel's hug. “L-Lord Break?!”

“I do not sense your presence in the manor. Return home at once!”

“Y-Yes, Break!”

“Tamora!”

Tamora turned to face Ariel, her eyes wide and shining.

Ariel had a distressed look on her face. “Tamora...please consider what I said. We're still friends, I want us to still be friends...Please, don't keep doing this.”

Tamora paused for a moment, then drew her mouth into a thin line and looked away. Wordlessly, she teleported home.

________________________________________

“Haru? Natsumi? C'mon, kids, wake up...”

The siblings slowly opened their eyes, finding themselves lying on their backs with their heads on Otome's lap. Haru blinked once before looking straight up at Otome. “Otome-nee?” he mumbled. “What happened?”

Otome smiled, gently smoothing back Haru's bangs. “You kids got worn out from coloring and decided to take a nap. Right here on the floor~ It was so cute!”

“Ehhh?”

Just then, Hiromi and Miss Sakie returned. “We're back!”

“Us too~!” chorused Aki and Miho.

“And we've got a special treat today...” Miss Sakie smiled as she reached into the plastic bag. “Since it's our new friends' last day, and Miss Satou won't be back for quite some time, I thought it'd be nice to have a special snack.” As the kids gathered around the table, she withdrew the boxes with a flourish. “Chocolate graham crackers and hazelnut spread~!”

“Yeeeeaaah~!” the children all cheered.

Later, as Natsumi and Haru finished their snack, Natsumi giggling as Otome wiped hazelnut spread from her cheek, they pulled out the coloring book from earlier. “Otome-nee,” whispered Natsumi. “We were makin' something before you came here.”

“Oh?”

“Here.” Natsumi gently placed a sheet of paper into Otome's hands.

The paper was a crude crayon drawing, the sort of simple charm only a child could achieve. It showed a bunch of stick figures, some of them with distinguishing colors and features (Otome laughed to see one figure with a blob of brown on her head and two circles for glasses), but the three in the middle were more detailed.

One tall stick figure with a blob of pink stood holding hands with two smaller figures, one with two brown circles and one with a few black lines. Huge smiles had been drawn on their faces, and Natsumi had written in huge, blocky letters “I know Momotaro now!” above stick-figure-Otome.

“A-Awwww, you guys~!” Otome said, a grin slowly working its way across her face, cheeks tinting pink. She laughed, wrapping them both in a big hug. “Thank you so much~! Listen, before I forget...I want you guys to know, you're gonna live in my heart too, okay? You two taught me a whole lot, and I'm never going to forget it. And you taught me new stories, and you're just the cutest, sweetest kiddos ever! I don't know when we'll meet again, but I'm always going to consider you two my friends, alright?”

The kids just smiled, nodding once. “Okay!”

Otome laughed again, once more wrapping them in a hug. Jeez, that was a kid for you...

“Hey, Otome-nee,” began Haru.

“Can you show up jump-rope before you go?”

________________________________________

ED: "Rainbow-Colored Future" – BoA ft. Entwined Hearts 4

________________________________________

ON THE NEXT EPISODE:
Miho: “A sleepover! It's been forever since I attended one!”
Aki: “And Mirai says she knows some great scary stories for when it gets late!”
Hiromi: “A-Ah, Aki, maybe it's not such a good idea--”
Aki: “Oh come on, it's just made-up, right?”
Otome: “If you say so...Next time on Pretty Cure Entwined Hearts: 'No Sleeping At This Sleepover! Don't Split Up!' Let love heal your heart!"
Aki practically waltzed into class that day, lightly swaying and humming a tune under her breath. There was a dreamy smile on her face as she made her way to her desk, gracefully dropping into her seat and finishing her song.

Beside her, Yuki grinned as he hastily finished his math homework. “So. Official date went well, I take it?”

“Oh yeah...” Aki sighed happily, resting her chin in her hands. “And she was so cute, Yuki! She had this adorable new outfit on and had adorable bobbles in her hair and she blushed when I said she was cute and that made her even cuter--”

“You've got it bad,” Yuki said. He turned in his seat, staring as Hiromi entered the room and waved at Mirai. “I can't believe she's the one you like...”

Aki laughed sheepishly, a hand behind her head. Then her smile faded, and she sighed. “But that was pretty much the only good part of the date...Everything after we met went wrong! Hnnn...” she moaned, draping herself across her desk. “I'd be surprised if she ever wants to date me for real again...”


The Aki of the present smiled at her wall calendar that morning, making off another day. The next day's space had a bright red heart circled around it, with the name “Hiromi!” written in the middle.

“Alright!” Aki whispered with a big grin.

________________________________________

OP: "Pretty Cure, Hands Meet" - SHE

________________________________________


Hiromi stood at the tree, waiting for Aki. Mirai and Antoinette walked past, waving at her; Hiromi smiled and waved back.

Her smile faltered a bit at the sound of rapid footfalls, but it quickly came back as she turned around to greet the newcomer. “Ah, hello, Ak--”

“Hi-ro-mi~!” Aki cheered, launching herself at her girlfriend and wrapping her arms tightly around her shoulders. Momentum kept her moving, and Hiromi stumbled under Aki's weight as the dark-haired girl swung outward and ended up spinning them both around. Finally, Hiromi grabbed Aki by the waist and regained their balance.

“A-Aki, what--” she gasped, face flushed.

“Just letting you know, it's almost Date Day!”

“Ah...aha...how could I forget...?”

________________________________________

TODAY'S EPISODE: I Love You! These Are My Feelings!

________________________________________

“Alright, so who's going to read the next few lines? Miss Nanase?” Mrs Matoko looked up from her book.

“Yes, ma'am! 'And I bought flowers from you, for you...'”

Aki wasn't paying attention; she stared down at her open notebook, idly tapping her pencil against the paper. Hmm...we'd gone to the crepe place first...and then we'd gone to the river to feed the ducks. And then...

“Miss Oshiro?...Miss Oshiro?”

“Hah? Yes, Mrs Matoko!” Aki slammed her notebook shut and straightened up.

Mrs Matoko was staring at her, expressionless. “Miss Oshiro, can you tell us the square root of seven hundred and fifty?”

“Uh....yes?”

“Fantastic, but this is literature, and you clearly weren't paying attention.” Mrs Matoko sighed and pointed to the door. “Hallway.”

________________________________________

Aki stood outside, leaning against the wall. Jeez, her of all people...

But this was okay! It meant she had more time for planning Date Day! With a grin, Aki pulled her notebook out from behind her back, plucked her pencil from behind her ear, and began to write again.

“The crepe place, feeding the ducks...and we got some coffees after we saw a movie...” she muttered. “I think that was about it...?” She thought for a second. “Yeah, definitely it.”
She sighed again, thinking back on that day. What a disaster that had been...

And Hiromi didn't deserve a disastrous date, not back then and not now and not ever. She deserved the whole world, more than what Aki could give.

But she could at least start by giving Hiromi some proper date memories, something nice instead of what had happened back then.

She deserved that.

“This time!” she suddenly yelled, curling her fingers into a fist. “This time...this time, Hiromi deserves the best. She will have the best!” she cried, thrusting her fists into the air and behind her.

Just as the sliding door opened.

SMACK!

“....ah.” Aki whirled around, eyes wide and face red. “M-Mrs Matoko?!”

Mrs Matoko stood hunched over in the doorway, eyes squeezed shut, one hand over her nose. Abruptly, she straightened and loomed over Aki, eyes snapping open furiously. “Miss O-shi-ro!”

________________________________________

“Ti, Coffee, please be careful!” Otome screamed, hands held in front of her as if she wanted to reach out and grab them, but wasn't sure if it was the precise time for that yet.

Miho chuckled as she stepped out of the back door, sodas in hand. “Ah, don't worry, Otome. Pochi won't hurt them, will you, boy?”

Pochi barked.

“I just...” Otome sputtered, not even looking as Miho casually passed her a can of soda. “I just...I just dunno if it's safe for Ti to be on that dog's back!”

“Don't worry, Cure Ariel, it's fine!” Coffee called from where she sat on Pochi's back, behind Ti. “Pochi's back is huge, we won't slip!”

“That only takes care of one worry!”

“Otome, Pochi's just a big sweetheart. They'll be fine,” Miho chuckled before taking a drink.

Otome sighed, trying to relax. “Say, uh, do you want to do something, just us, tomorrow? Aki's gonna be on a date with Hiromi, and it's important, so we shouldn't go to the same places.”

“Ah, is it their anniversary?”

“Well...no...”

________________________________________

”Hiromi, please date me this weekend!” Aki yelled into her the house phone.

“E-Ehhhh?” Otome could hear Hiromi's tinny cry from where she stood in the hallway. She'd changed into her pajamas and had been on her way to the kitchen to get a water bottle with bed, but hearing Aki on the phone made her pause. She hastily backed up and out of sight, but didn't go back to her room just yet. Something told her to stay.

That or she was just too curious for her own good.

Aki's voice sounded urgent. “I mean, it's been a little while since we had a real, proper date, just us, right? And...and you're always doing nice things for me and I'm just – And anyway, do you wanna go out this weekend?”
she asked again, in a softer voice than last time.

________________________________________

“And apparently she said yes,” Otome said. “Aki seemed pretty nervous about it, too...I hope they'll be alright.”

“Ah, they should be,” Miho said with a shrug. “I mean, they're Hiromi and Aki, c'mon.”

________________________________________

All was peaceful at Heartbreak Manor--

”WHY NOOOOT?”

Never mind.

Tamora was the one who had yelled, stomping her foot as she hurled a throw pillow at Riche's face.

Riche casually held a hand up to catch the pillow, still sipping at his tea as if nothing had happened. “I said,” he began. “That I believe you best stay home today.”

“Why?! I can still fight! I can get rid of them--!”

“Tamora, dear!” Lady's voice cut in. She stood in the doorway, a fresh pot of tea in her hands. She crossed the room to Tamora, setting down the teapot before gently pushing Tamora into one of the plush chairs. “You have suffered too greatly at their hands, Tamora. You have to rest.” Quickly, she poured some tea and pressed the cup into Tamora's hands. “Here, drink this.”

“I can totally fight!” Tamora repeated, but took the tea nonetheless. She hugged Ichiko with one arm, daintily holding the tea with her other hand. “Pretty Cure just...they just got lucky! There was a bright light and they had a new dress and then this attack that was like owwww and--”

“And that is precisely why you need rest,” Lady repeated, her tone concerned.

Riche finished his drink and stood up, adjusting the Heartbreak Brooch that rested over his heart. “If there are no objections, I will be the one to go to Earth.”

“I object!”

“Tamora, I meant objections from someone besides you,” Riche muttered, striding for the doors.

“Good luck, darling,” Lady called to him.

________________________________________

The next day, Aki rushed to the crepe shop she was meeting Hiromi at. She reached into her pocket and pulled out a crumpled sheet of paper, glancing at it.

-Crepes
-Ducks on river
-Movie
-Coffee (the drink, not our fairy)


“Okay, let's do this...” Aki muttered, running faster.

It was the same things they had done on their first date as an official couple. But that time...

Aki winced, turning red as she recalled how that had gone.

The crepe shop had been closed because a fire had broken out in the kitchens earlier that day, so they had to eat at a tiny ramen shop a few streets down.
The ducks weren't at the river at all that day, and no amount of bread tossed on the water would lure them out. Aki and Hiromi had to eat the bread themselves.
The movie? Surely that couldn't go wrong! But it had. The movie turned out to be terrible, laughably so. Hiromi had to contain her giggles as they left the lobby, Aki snarling that they should get their money back.
And then there was the coffee...The line was long, Aki burned her tongue, and Hiromi had spilled her drink all over her cute dress.

What a disaster.

“But not this time!” Aki gasped, spotting Hiromi in the distance. “Not this time! This is gonna be a great date, and she's getting the good time she deserves!”

________________________________________

Eyecatch 1: Coffee and Ti hold a giant heart-shaped bubble wand, the breeze sending out a stream of bubbles. Inside four of the bubbles are tiny versions of the girls. In a flash of light, the girls twirl around and transform into Pretty Cure, their bubbles immediately becoming heart-shaped. The Entwined Hearts logo appears in the corner.
Eyecatch 2: The four girls hold a large, pink heart-shaped cookie between them; Hiromi taking the left arc, Aki taking the right, Miho and Otome firmly holding either side of the bottom half. They snap the cookie apart and there is a bright pink flash of light. When it fades, the quartet are in their Cure forms, happily eating their cookie pieces. The Entwined Hearts logo appears in the corner.


________________________________________

“Okay...okay, this is gonna be a good date,” Aki muttered to herself, hand curled into a fist. “A good date!”

“Ah, Aki, are you alright?” Hiromi asked.

“I'm fine!” Aki yelped, face pink.

“Because this date was your idea, and...”

“I said I'm fine, don't worry!” Aki laughed it off, waving her hand dismissively. “Alright, let's uh...let's get some crepes!” They looked up at the menu as they waited in line. “So what flavor are you getting?”

“Well, they just released a kiwi coconut crepe I've been curious about...” Hiromi mumbled, smiling a little.

“Then we can get that!” Aki declared, clapping her hands together--

And apparently the girl at the counter heard them, even with five people in front of them, because she looked over at them with an apologetic twist to her features. “Pardon me, you two,” she called down. “But we ran out of kiwis earlier, so we won't be offering anything with kiwi in it.”

Aki felt like the floor had dropped out from under her. “Whaaat?” she wailed. Nooo, one thing on the list was already out!

“It's okay, I can still have strawberry-banana,” Hiromi reassured her girlfriend, gently resting a hand on her shoulder.

It's the principle of the thing! Aki thought, trying not to cry in frustration.

________________________________________

“The river...the river should be fine!” Aki said to herself as she and Hiromi made their way over. They'd stopped by the bakery on their way there, and now held a loaf of freshly-baked bread apiece.

Sure enough, the ducks were there this time! Aki felt her heart lift. Hiromi was going to have the date she deserved!

She laughed as she broke off another piece of bread and tossed it into the water, watching one of the smaller ducks gobble it up. “These guys are so cute,” she said.

“I know!” Hiromi said with a soft laugh. She tore a sizable chunk of bread, too big. “Oh, hang on...” She set her loaf of bread down and began to tear the piece she held into smaller ones...

A loud shriek and a chorus of quacks caught Aki's attention. The brunette whirled around to see Hiromi swatting at about five ducks that were flying around her, trying to snatch the bread from her hands, while two more fought over the loaf at her feet.

“H-Hiromi!” Aki yelled, dropping her own bread and running into the fray to help.

________________________________________

“We're missing the movie...” Aki sighed as she and Hiromi dabbed peroxide on the scratches they'd earned.

“It's okay,” Hiromi said. “Our health is far more important!”

“Can't we just transform into Pretty Cure for a second? Then our wounds will heal!”

“You can't use Pretty Cure magic for everything!”

________________________________________

So all that was left was coffee.

Aki walked behind Hiromi, scribbling over the movie theater option. The movies had been a no-go, the ducks were more violent than they'd anticipated, the crepe place really needed to stock up on their ingredients better...

The coffee was her last hope.

“Vanilla, please.”

“Caramel chocolate, please,” Hiromi placed her order next.

The two sat down at one of the outdoor tables, sipping at their drinks as they ignored two kids trying to act cool and fake-fighting nearby. Aki carefully watched Hiromi's expression. When she looked perfectly happy with her coffee, Aki relaxed a bit. Good, good, this was a success at least.

She frowned suddenly, setting her Styrofoam cup down. “I think the whipped cream is blocking the sip hole,” she muttered, pulling the lid off.

“Aki, won't it get cold faster that way?” asked Hiromi.

“Nah, I'll be fine,” Aki said, smiling at her in a reassuring way. She held the cup to her lips, taking another drink. Yum, vanilla coffee was good! She grinned, taking a longer, deeper drink. Yeah, coffee was good for soothing her nerves. Maybe this was gonna be okay after all.

And then one of the kids who'd been trying to look cool and tough shoved the other way too hard. His friend fall backwards, crashing right into Aki from behind. And then the cup flew from Aki's hands.

And a faint brown stain appeared on the front of Hiromi's skirt. “Kyah!” she cried out, nearly dropping her own drink.

“Hiromi!” Aki shrieked, standing up so fast her chair nearly fell over. She ignored the cafe employee chewing out the kids behind her, and started grabbing at napkins, tossing them on Hiromi's lap with trembling hands. “I – I can fix this, I can!”

“Aki?”

“I can fix this! This isn't ruined, I'm – I'm so sorry, I – I'm so sorry!” Aki kept saying, sounding close to tears. “I can...l-lemon juice! Lemon juice can get stains out, lemon juice!” she cried.

“Aki--!”

“I'll be right back!” Aki cried, turning around before Hiromi could see how shiny her eyes were. As Hiromi yelled for her to come back, it was fine, really, Aki bolted down the street and turned the corner, heading for the convenience store several blocks away.

________________________________________

Aki slowed to a walk, then a depressed trod, and then finally a stop. She leaned against a nearby lamp post just as it flickered on, and sighed. “What am I doing?” she mumbled to herself. “This whole day was a disaster... Maybe I shouldn't have even suggested it...Hiromi deserves so much and yet I...this day...” Aki closed her eyes in defeat. “I've really let Hiromi down, haven't I?”

“Well, I can't say whether you have or not...”

Aki gasped and whirled around, coming face to face with--

“Riche!”

Riche bowed, smiling faintly as he pulled out his Heartbreak Marker. “But I do know this: I have to defeat you.”

Before Aki could react, Riche drew a slashed heart in the air. “Fall into heartbreaking despair! Come out, Usotsuki!” With a fling of his arm, the symbol shot out towards a nearby car – but it didn't become an Usotsuki right away. First, the strange brooch on Riche's chest pulsed with a black aura that rapidly expanded to cover himself too. He grit his teeth, hugging himself tightly before his body flashed purple, and the purple light shot to the car.

When the next flash of light faded, Aki saw that the car had tripled in size, gained a pitch-black paint job, the headlights glowing angry red.

And Riche was growing from its roof. His torso stuck out from the middle, hunched over as his arms fused back into the metal. His eyes snapped open, revealing glowing red sclerae with black pupils. The car's engine revved, and when Riche spoke, his voice had an undercurrent of the same growling sound. “I am an Usotsuki!” he declared. ”Despair!”

Streams of dark energy rose from several different streets in the distance, moving toward the sky – heartbreak and despair being drawn from the people there.

“Your heartbreak will fill the River Despair and flood the world!”

At Heartbreak Manor, the water over the falls suddenly turned black, boiling as it continued over the edge of the cliffside, black lightning dancing over the water's surface.

”Pretty Cure, Love's Song! The sincere love in a maiden's heart, Cure Montague!”

Riche drove forward, leaving black tire marks on the street behind him as he went.

Montague had no time to defend herself. The Riche-Usotsuki plowed into her, sending her flying painfully into the air. Montague cried out in agony as she fell back towards the ground--

--In time for Riche to turn around and hit her again.

Once again, Montague hurtled through the air, shrieking in pain. She landed on the ground, hard, rolling and skidding along the pavement. Her skin was scraped and bruised nastily, her dress torn in places. She finally came to a stop, wheezing for air. Every bone in her body ached – this was beyond mere muscle or nerve pain!

She wasn't so far gone that she didn't notice Riche driving towards her again, though, and with all of her strength, she grabbed at the ground and flung herself out of the way. She landed, again painfully, on the sidewalk. Montague was trembling as she grabbed a light-post and used it to pull herself up.

“You can't attack now, Montague!” Riche said.

“S-Sound of--” Montague gasped out, letting go of the post to clap her hands together. She didn't get any farther as Riche suddenly drove towards her again, hitting her at a lesser impact so she was sprawled out on the hood instead of airborne. “Gyaah!”

“As I was saying,” Riche continued as if nothing had happened. “You can't attack now. So it's only a matter of time until you're completely finished – and don't worry, I'll be sure to finish you off quickly. I just wanted to reassure you that your friends won't be far behind you. Ariel. Portia. Capulet...”

Montague gasped, but not in pain this time. Hiromi--!

Riche screeched to a stop, making Montague roll off the hood and crash to the ground.

“I'll be sure to get Capulet first – two lovers together, hm?” Riche chuckled. “Now then...” And then he drove forward as fast as he could, right for Montague's prone body.

And then he was forced to stop. “What the--?” he said, revving the engine and trying to move. The tires squealed on the pavement, but he didn't move more than a few centimeters. “What's this?”

Montague stayed where she lay, but her hands were tightly gripping one of the front tires of the Usotsuki. They trembled from pain and the effort, but she still held fast. Her gloves tore slightly, the rubber tires made new, smaller wounds on the exposed flesh, but still she held on. Her teeth grit as she turned her head to look up. “You...won't...touch her...” she growled. “I'm...I'm going to fight...You won't touch Hiromi!”

“Listen, Montague, I know you care about her a great deal,” Riche sighed, as if talking to a four-year-old. “But what makes you think you can keep fighting? Especially in your current state? You can barely stand. You can't fight. Why do you think you can possibly stop me?”

“Maybe I'll be defeated in five seconds,” Montague gasped out. “Or five minutes...either way, I won't give up until the very end. I won't...go out without a fight, I won't let you go as long as I breathe! I'm going to protect Hiromi! I'm going to protect the person I love! And then I'm going to give her the best day she ever had – because she deserves that much and more!”

There was a blast of white light, obscuring everything from view.

Riche drew backwards in shock, his eyes squinted shut. “What in--?”

Inside a void of cool light, Montague was held up into the air by a strange force, her wounds healing and her energy being restored as the light washed over her. Her Cure outfit was replaced by sheets of pale blue light, draped about her like a long, flowing chiton.

Automatically, she held her hand up to see her Cure Signet was glowing the same soft blue as the sheets. Then it morphed its shape, and the light burst apart into tiny sparks. The Cure Signet was now a thin silver band. Two tiny gold hearts were on either side of a pale blue rose, a tiny diamond twinkling in the center of the flower.

“With this...” Montague began before she frowned, nodding in determination. She gently kissed the ring before clasping her hands over her chest. ”Pretty Cure! Love's Song!”

The sheets wrapped around her like a flower bud before bursting apart into glowing hearts and sparks.

The light slowly faded to a point where Riche could crack open one eye without discomfort. “What just...” he muttered.

Montague slowly floated down to the middle of the foot, gracefully touching down toes-first.

She now wore a more elaborate dress with layers of skirt and ribbon. She had white gloves that reached the middle of her upper arms, pale lilac ribbons around the wrists, and a pale lilac ribbon choker. The sleeves of the dress were short and puffy, an off-white color with a pale lilac cuffs. Over her chest was a large bow the same color as her ribbons, with a large, violet heart-shaped brooch. A sky blue corset with pale lilac ribbons crisscrossing over the front was around her abdomen, and it was slightly parted to show the white bodice beneath. All along the bottom of the corset were pearls the same color of her ribbons, and a sheer, glittery light blue fabric descended from it to form the topmost layer of skirt. Beneath that was an asymmetrical, ruffled sky blue skirt over another, lilac skirt that touched her mid-thighs. She wore white thigh-high stockings that slowly shifted to sky blue as it went towards her feet, the tops of the stockings had a strand of pearls attached to the fabric. On her feet were white high heels, and the small of her back sported a large bow made of the same material as her shimmery top-skirt, the tails fanning out and going all the way down to mid-calf. On her head was a silver tiara with violet jewels; four egg-shaped and one large heart in the center. Heart-shaped earrings adorned her ears; violet jewels with silver setting.

Her hair had changed now too; it fanned out from either side of her head, fluffier than before, the bangs side-swept. Her ponytail was longer and fuller now, spiraling into a drill curl as it reached the end. Instead of the dark blue it had once been, now it was a soft sky-blue with pale purple undertones.

She smiled confidently, running her fingers through the top of her long ponytail before tossing it, a picture of cool elegance. ”Abundant sincere love, Lovely Cure Montague!”

“So this is what Tamora was talking about...” Riche muttered under his breath. “Well, that's just fine by me!” He revved the engine again, driving forward--

And then Lovely Montague snapped her arms forward, slamming her hands against the hood of the car. The car was forced to stop, tires skidding uselessly. Riche gaped at the hood itself; where Lovely Montague had grabbed it, the metal had crumpled like tissue paper. “Hup!” Lovely Montague shoved the car backwards, sending it down the street.

“I have a date!” yelled Lovely Montague. She clapped her hands together before throwing her arms out in front of herself, tilting her head back and closing her eyes. In a burst of purple light, her Rapier Wand reappeared, spinning slowly until Montague snatched it from the air, briefly whipping it up over her head before holding it before herself. ”Sound of the Bells! A Lovely Song! Pretty Cure...” She slowly traced a giant heart in the air before her, leaving a trail of violet and blue light, sparks, and interweaving light ribbons. ”Amethyst Sincere....” The heart suddenly pulsed and double in size, then tripled, the light sparking and flaring like gold fire. ”...Shoot!” At that word, Lovely Montague thrust her Rapier Wand forward, and the heart shot towards Riche.

The heart of light enveloped Riche entirely, Riche screaming as shreds of darkness evaporated from him, the car part of the Usotsuki vanished.

Riche grabbed at his chest, growling quietly. “Cure Montague...” he snarled, then teleported away.

As the damage done to the town reversed itself, Lovely Montague shifted back to Aki in a flash of purple light. “Hiromi...”

________________________________________

Hiromi sat where Aki had left her, idly dabbing coffee from her skirt with a napkin.

A waitress approached, holding out a few more. “Do you need...?”

“Oh, no thank you,” Hiromi said as she looked up, smiling gently. “I think I've got most of it out--”

“Hiromi!”

“Aki?” Hiromi blinked as Aki ran towards her, carrying a bottle of lemon juice and a handkerchief.

Aki skidded to a stop, panting and out of breath. “I...I got you the – Huh?!” she cried, spotting Hiromi's skirt. “I-It's gone?!”

“Y-Yeah, I caught it in time and just used a little water,” Hiromi admitted sheepishly.

Aki sighed, dropping into her seat and staring sadly at her hands. “I'm sorry, Hiromi,” she mumbled.

“Hm?”

“I just...everything's gone wrong. Again. I care about you so much, you know. And...and I just couldn't help but think about our first official date as a couple, not the 'you wanna do something' date, but the official 'we are a thing' date and...And how it was just a big disaster! And I wanted to give you some nice memories about it but...” She sighed, running a hand through her hair. “But I messed it up. I'm sorry, Hiromi...”

Hiromi stared blankly for a moment, trying to process all that. Finally, she spoke, and... “Neither date was a disaster, Aki...I had great memories already.”

“Hah?” Aki lifted her head to stare at Hiromi. Her girlfriend was smiling sweetly.

“I was happy during that date, and I was happy during this one too. I didn't think it was bad, I wasn't upset...My memories were great, really! Like...” She lifted her gaze a little, clearly recalling each incident with perfect clarity. “When the crepe place was closed, we found that little hole-in-the-wall ramen place instead. And it was delicious! The ducks weren't there, no, but we still got to stand by the water and just enjoy nature. And the movie was bad, sure, but I thought that was on purpose! I thought we were supposed to laugh at it together, I had fun doing that. And even though I spilled my coffee that time too, I wasn't upset by that. It was just a tiny little accident, and it washed out!

“I really had fun on that date. I had no idea you were bothered by it so much, Aki... If I'd known, I would have reassured you. I'm sorry.” Hiromi frowned.

“B-But--!” Aki sputtered, blushing faintly. “But everything went wrong! It was supposed to be perfect and it just--!”

“Aki...any time we spend together is perfect. I enjoyed both dates because I got to be with you,” Hiromi said, blushing herself.

Aki turned bright red then, sputtering incoherently before lunging at Hiromi and wrapping her arms around her tightly. “Waaaaah! Hiromi, I love you so muuuuuch!” she wailed comically.

Hiromi laughed, her own face just as red, and hugged back.

________________________________________

“You were going on a date and you didn't once think of coming here?!” Yuki demanded angrily as he walked to their table.

Aki grinned and shrugged. “Sorry...”

“You thought I'd be a damper, didn't you? A third wheel!”

“How could you be a third wheel? You're not dating us...” Hiromi mumbled, blinking.

“Shush, you know what I mean,” Yuki snapped. He set down their plates of lava cake and two cups of coffee. “Well, enjoy them, guys.”

“Oh don't worry,” said Aki, smiling shyly at Hiromi, a faint pink blush coloring her cheeks. “We will.”

________________________________________

ED: "Rainbow-Colored Future" – BoA ft. Entwined Hearts 4

________________________________________

ON THE NEXT EPISODE:
Hiromi: “Story-time, children!”
Otome: “Aw, have fun!”
Miho: “Ah, Otome, you've worked with kids!”
Aki: “Hey, Otome can help then!”
Otome: “Ah, really? Well it's been a while but... Next time on Pretty Cure Entwined Hearts: 'Big Sister Otome? The Magic Story Circle!' Let love heal your heart!"
Miho sat on her front steps, drawing in the sunlight. Summer was just way too nice to spend drawing inside, she thought to herself as she looked skyward. Not a cloud in the sky, a hazy sunshine...What a perfect day.

It kinda made her want an ice-cream though, or to walk down to the convenience store and buy a soda.

Just as she was closing and setting aside her sketchbook, two girls in school uniforms walked past her. Miho brightened as she recognized the duo. “Anzu! Chiyo!” she called out, running to the gate.

The girls started, looking at Miho uneasily when the latter reached the gate and smiled. “Oh...hi, Sakura,” said Chiyo.

“Eh? Hey, c'mon, it's Miho, remember?” Miho laughed. “I was gonna get a soda. You wanna come?”

The girls exchanged nervous glances. “Eh...Sakura, you dropped out, remember?” said Anzu.

“Uhm, yeah...so?” Miho frowned.

“Well...there's not a lot of time for us to hang out anymore, right?” Chiyo said. “I mean, we usually hung out in homeroom, lunch, did things after school--”

“Well, yeah, but we can still do the last part...” Miho said. “C'mon, I'm not in school but I'm still the same girl. Let's get a soda.”

The girls just looked at each other again and shook their heads. “Sorry, Sakura,” said Anzu. “W-We're kinda busy right now?” And with that, Anzu and Chiyo turned and continued on their way, leaving a confused Miho standing in the middle of the road.


________________________________________

OP: "Pretty Cure, Hands Meet" - SHE

________________________________________

“Miho! Doorbell!” Nana called towards the back of the house.

“Just a sec!” Miho finished toweling her hair and hung the damp towel back on its rack. She'd just finished her morning shower and had quickly slipped on her bathrobe before drying her hair. But it seemed actually dressing would have to wait a sec – since Nana was speaking with her editor over IM, this left Miho to get the door.

The bell rang again as Miho walked over to the front door. “I'm coming, I'm coming!” she called out. It's probably the mailman with more supplies, she thought as she opened the door. Pochi barked joyfully behind her.

It wasn't the mailman.

“Miho~!” chorused her friends.

Miho stood there blankly for a second before remembering she was standing in a fluffy pink bathrobe with a pattern of white bunnies, and little else. Her eyes widened as her cheeks tinted pink. “Wah!”

________________________________________

TODAY'S EPISODE: Friendship Day! I Love My Friends!

________________________________________

A short time later, Miho rejoined everyone outside, securing her hair buns with pins as she hopped down the stairs, Pochi's leash in hand. The dog barked a greeting to the others (and closed his eyes contentedly as Antoinette cooed over him and petted his head), and then they were all off.

“You know,” Miho started. “When you said you'd be here 'bright and early,' I didn't think it'd be this early!”

“Sorry...But Mirai had a premonition and said it'd be best to be earlier than planned,” said Yuki with a shrug.

Otome didn't even blink at this. But she did say “I'm a little amazed at how casually you can say that...Is this a common ability in your town?”

“Oh, that's right, you're from Miyako-jima,” said Antoinette. She giggled, tossing her hair a bit. “No, that's not a common thing. Our Mirai is just extraordinarily gifted.”

Mirai smiled as everyone else laughed. Then she faced forward, eyes widening a bit as she spotted the pretzel stand. “Ah! I was right! Everyone, hurry please!”

A small crowd had already gathered at the stand, everyone clamoring for one. The couple who ran the place were running all over to serve their customers as fast as they could, but everyone knew this wouldn't be the busiest they got today.

Finally, the group pushed their way to the front. “Hi, ma'am!” Yuki gasped.

“Hinata? Shouldn't you be at the Sugar Bowl?”

“Nah, I got lucky and got the day off. Can we get four cream-filled--”

“Five,” said Hiromi. “U-Uhm...for later.”

“Five cream-filled, one plain, and two salt?”

Pochi barked.

“Two plain.”

The wife yelled the order back to her husband and started to get the paper bags ready. “You are lucky,” she sighed. “We're going to have so many customers before the Friendship Day festival starts.”

Otome blinked. “Friendship Day?”

“You're gonna close before it starts, right?” asked Yuki as they received their pretzels.

“The main shop, yes. My brother-in-law's setting up the festival stand for later – he and his wife will be taking care of people there.

“Ah, that's good, then,” said Yuki, a few others agreeing. “Thanks for the food, see you around!” And they set off again, heading for the fashion district.

Miho grinned awkwardly. “Y-You really don't have to do this, you guys...” she said. It had been embarrassing enough just making plans for this.

________________________________________

”I think the cherry-shaped hair decorations will look lovely in your hair, Mirai!” Antoinette squealed as the girls looked over a magazine.

“You think so? Then I think you'd look nice with some lilies.”

After school that day, the group had gone to one of the outdoor cafes, and was poring over a few fashion magazines. But these magazines focused mainly on festival looks – yukata, furisode, sandals, hair ornaments... Yuki and Aki sat with Miho, while Otome was with Mirai, Hiromi, and Antoinette. Miho laughed at Yuki's awkward expression.

“I don't see why I had to join in on this...I'm a guy, Aki, none of these magazines have something for me.”

“Because you're my best friend and I trust your tastes!” Aki said before pointing to one picture. “Would I look cute in this color?”

“Oh, dude, no. You don't have the right tones for it.”

Aki laughed again before looking at Miho. “Hey, how 'bout you, Miho?”

“Huh?”

“What colors would you wear?”

“For...?”

“The Friendship Festival, Miho, duh!” Yuki sighed.

“I uh...” Miho blinked, expression blank. “I wasn't planning on going...I don't have a yukata that fits anymore either.”

There was a long pause before – “Whaaaat?!”


________________________________________

And now here they were, the next day, shopping. Miho sighed, but smiled all the same. She really had to admit, when this group had an idea, they really committed.

“Seriously, though, you guys--”

“Miho, shut up,” Yuki said.

“All I was gonna say was, thank you! Sheez...”

“Oh.” Yuki blinked, face red as everyone snickered. “Then, you're welcome! But seriously, Miho, don't worry. This is what friends do!”

Friends...

Otome paused in eating her pretzel to ask, “So what's this Friendship Day all about? We don't have it back home.”

As Hiromi carefully placed one cream-filled pretzel in her bag for Ti and Coffee to enjoy, Aki filled Otome in. “Well, the official name is 'The Festival of Friends, Bridges, and Stars,' but most people just call it 'Friendship Day.'”

“I can see why...” Otome chuckled awkwardly. “But what is it?”

“Eh, Friendship Day's basically an excuse to just have fun, eat unhealthy food, walk around with your friends and stay up til dawn,” said Miho with a shrug.

Hiromi chuckled, covering her mouth. “There is a story to it, though!

“A long, long time ago, before this town was called Koigokoromachi, there were two friends:
Yuuko and Suzuko. They were as close as two people could be and you rarely saw one without the other. They did everything together; cooking, washing, talking, eating – they even got married to their husbands on the same day, and lived right next door to each other afterwards. And every year, on the anniversary of the day they met as small girls, they would meet up at the footbridge, then go into the center of the town together to gaze at the stars.

“This continued for a long time, until one day, Suzuko fell sick and died. Yuuko was heartbroken by the loss of her friend, but she didn't let it weigh her down. She knew Suzuko would want her to continue living her life to the fullest, so she did just that. The only thing was, Yuuko still wanted to go to their special spot to see the stars. Even though her family said not to, that it would be too painful, she put on her favorite yukata and headed out.

“And then, much to her surprise, Suzuko was there waiting for her at the bridge, in her favorite yukata! She had come all the way from the Land of the Dead to spend this special day with her best friend...nothing, not even death, could keep the two friends apart.

“And so, Friendship Day was created to honor the bond between the two,” Hiromi finished her story, sniffling and wiping at her eyes under her glasses.

“So you meet your friends on the footbridge and then cross over to the festival area itself, and from there, you just have fun,” said Mirai with a soft smile. “Last year it was just me and Hiromi, but now...” She glanced around their large group, and smiled brightly. “Look at all these friends! I didn't foresee this!”

Neither did I, thought Miho with a bit of wistfulness.

________________________________________

Everyone had branched off once they stepped inside the rental shop. The shop was small, so no one really lost each other, and was able to call out to someone from wherever they stood in the shop and simply hold out a yukata for Otome to reject or accept.

Miho came in last, having taken a few moments to tie up Pochi and leave him some water. “I'll be out in a few minutes,” she said as she entered the shop.

Coffee poked her head out of Miho's purse. “Miho, do you want to rent a yukata, or buy?”

“Ehhh, I dunno,” Miho said sheepishly. “I probably should buy one – I had a growth spurt since last year, I think I'm done growing for a while...”

“You should get a new one!” Coffee exclaimed. “You'll look so pretty in a nice pale orange, I think.”

“Yeah?” Miho muttered, not really paying attention.

“Pale orange, pale orange, datchu!”

“Man...” Miho frowned, muttering to herself as she browsed the racks of yukata. “I don't know what I'm gonna wear, though...I haven't been to the Festival in a while...”

“Hey, Miho!” Otome walked over just then, holding up a spring green yukata and smiling. “Do you wanna come to the changing room with me?” Before Miho could answer, the older girl grabbed her by the hand and gently led her to the fitting rooms, handing Miho's purse to Yuki as they passed him.

________________________________________

“I've never worn one of these,” said Otome as she slipped her arms through the sleeves. She glanced over at Miho, standing in the same changing room as she was, already wearing her own yukata. “Is it possible to put one of these on by yourself?”

“I just did it, didn't I?” Miho laughed before approaching Otome and tugging the fabric forward. “Here, hold still – I'll get the length ready for you.” The two were quiet as Miho began to work, Otome just watching with a small, soft smile. Finally, she spoke up again.

“I actually wanted to get you in here for a reason. Besides this, I mean.”

“Yeah?”

“Miho...if you don't mind my asking...were you very lonely before this year?”

“Eh?” Miho looked up at Otome, but the other girl was just staring ahead, watching her reflection in the mirror. Her smile was gone, replaced by a thoughtful, far-away expression. Miho stared for a while, silent. Otome seemed to take that as an invitation to keep talking.

“Back home, in Kokoro? I didn't have a lot of friends. I mean, everyone knew my Cure identity, yes, and there were the kids I used to look after – I didn't mention this to any of you, I worked at an orphanage. The kids liked me enough, but I wasn't someone they'd call a friend. It felt like...people knew me, they liked me, but they didn't like me, you know?”

“Except Shylock...” Miho mumbled, frowning lightly.

Otome nodded. “Except Shylock...We were friends before I realized I loved him. He was my first real friend, and to be honest, after...After everything, I was worried. Scared. I thought I wouldn't have any other friends; I honestly wasn't sure I knew how to make any.” Slowly, she smiled again. “And then you all invited me to the beach. You did things with me, invited me places...you guys all cared about my emotional well-being. And now I get to go to my first festival with a friend, a human friend...

“I guess where I'm going with this is...You sorta feel like me, like how I felt. I can just tell.” She went quiet again as Miho tugged on the obi. “You said you stayed home last year. Do you want to talk about it; are you nervous about the festival?”

Miho said nothing for a while, focusing on securing the obi in place, adjusting it to fit perfectly. For a while, Otome thought she wasn't going to say anything at all, but then:

“There were these two girls I knew, growing up. We did a lot of things together...”

________________________________________

Five-year-old Miho smiled brightly and held her hand out to the other two girls.

Her fellow kindergartners exchanged nervous looks before smiling back, shyly clasping her tiny hand in both of theirs.


“Anzu and Chiyo were their names...I don't even remember their surnames, is that weird? But we went to school together, colored together...I would invite them to my house for sleepovers, they'd invite me to the movies, we'd all do our homework together...Our favorite thing to do was go to the convenience store and buy sodas.”

They sat outside on a bench, drinking their respective soda. Anzu made a face and traded with Miho.

“And...I don't know what happened. I dropped out of school and they would always act weird when I tried to talk to them. They said...they said since I left school, I was different. I was changed. Their parents thought I was lazy, a bad girl...I didn't think much of it; I mean, hey, your parents think one thing but you think another, right? Happens all the time.”

Her brows furrowed. “And...and then one day...”

________________________________________

Miho ran down the street in her yukata, panting heavily as she glanced at her watch. She was gonna be so late! She quickened her pace, dodging people as she went.

Soon enough, the footbridge was in sight. And there were Anzu and Chiyo, walking together! Miho ran even faster, waving her arm over her head. “Heeeey! Girls!”

Anzu and Chiyo, wearing their pink and yellow yukata, their hair down up in ribbons and pins, turned around in surprise. They glanced at each other as Miho slowed to a walk before them. “Hi, girls!” Miho said. “Sorry I'm late.”

“Eh...Sakura, uhm...” Anzu began, glancing at Chiyo. “Listen, we didn't exactly invite you this year.”

“Huh?” Miho blinked, her smile fading. “But you didn't have to invite me...We always go to the Friendship Festival together, since we were in grade school, remember? We didn't have to invite each other because we...we just figured...” Miho trailed off, twisting her fingers around each other. “Aren't we...aren't we still...?”

Anzu glanced at Chiyo again, biting her lower lip.

Chiyo sighed, stepping forward. “Sakura, listen. We told our parents what you did, and they're as shocked as we are. We all thought you were a good girl, and a good friend. But you're not; you're just lazy, and you're ditching school altogether. Honestly, Sakura...you're not the girl we knew back in middle school. We don't want to hang out with someone like you, okay?” She paused, as if waiting to see if Miho would defend herself. When she got no response beyond a blank stare, Chiyo turned around, grabbing Anzu's hand. “Just leave us alone, Sakura.”

And then they were leaving again, Miho standing numbly on the bridge as she stared after them.

________________________________________

She was running home. She didn't remember if she'd stood there a bit longer, or if she'd turned and ran right away, but she was going home. The town blurred past her as she ran, blurred in front of her eyes as she tried not to let out any of the noise she was bottling up. She took the fastest route home as if she were on autopilot, making the right turns without really thinking about it.

There was a door in front of her. She just yanked it open, not even bothering to remove her geta.

She vaguely heard Nana say “Miho--?” as she ran past her in the sitting room, but didn't respond. She just ran for her own bedroom, slamming the door behind herself. Miho stumbled a bit before she threw herself face-down on her bed, clutching her pillow as she sobbed.


________________________________________

“I was so stupid,” Miho finished quietly. “I thought they would still be my friends. I thought they were my friends despite how they treated me... I guess I was so desperate not to lose them that I told myself they still cared about me.”

“Miho...” Otome murmured sympathetically.

“But then...” Miho's next words made Otome blink and straighten her back. “Then I met Hiromi and Aki. And I started hanging out with them, and you know...they didn't care who I was. They didn't care that I wasn't in school. I can't even think that they only hung out with me because of Pretty Cure business because, like, they did things with me before I joined them. And then there were their friends, and now I've got...”

She smiled brightly, lifting her face to look at Otome. “I've got all of you! And I get to go to the Friendship Festival with my new friends, just like you. I get to be with my true friends, and...I'm just...” Unable to finish, Miho looked back down, her shoulders shaking slightly as she sniffled and sobbed quietly.

Otome smiled gently, wrapping her arms around Miho's shoulders and drawing her into a warm, close hug. “Shhhh,” she soothed. “There, there...It's alright, Miho...”

“I'm...I'm really happy I got to know you all!” Miho said.

“I know...” Otome whispered, her own eyes a bit shiny as well. “So am I...”

________________________________________

“So we'll meet at the footbridge at eight, right?” Hiromi said later, as the group walked home with their purchases.

Miho smiled down at the yukata in her bag: an adorable white one with pale orange and tangerine stripes forming a sort of checker pattern. There was an orange obi, and she had found some pale white flowers for the sash and her hair.

“Yeah...” she whispered as everyone else agreed much louder. “Yeah, we'll meet on the bridge!”

________________________________________

Eyecatch 1: Coffee and Ti hold a giant heart-shaped bubble wand, the breeze sending out a stream of bubbles. Inside four of the bubbles are tiny versions of the girls. In a flash of light, the girls twirl around and transform into Pretty Cure, their bubbles immediately becoming heart-shaped. The Entwined Hearts logo appears in the corner.
Eyecatch 2: The four girls hold a large, pink heart-shaped cookie between them; Hiromi taking the left arc, Aki taking the right, Miho and Otome firmly holding either side of the bottom half. They snap the cookie apart and there is a bright pink flash of light. When it fades, the quartet are in their Cure forms, happily eating their cookie pieces. The Entwined Hearts logo appears in the corner.


________________________________________

“Nana, please, I look fine!”

“But Miho, one of the flowers is crooked!” Nana cried, adjusting one of the flowers secured in one of Miho's hair-buns.

“N-Nana, those are fragile! You're gonna break them!”

“At least let me take a picture!”

“You're gonna make me late for meeting my friends!”

Pochi barked as if in agreement.

“Please, just two seconds!” Nana dragged Miho over to the entryway, aiming her digital camera at her cousin. “Oh, don't give me that sour look – c'mon, smile. ...There, that's good, okay!” There was a faint click as the camera went off. “Okay, now--”

“Okay, thanks, Nana, gotta go!” Miho cried, throwing open the door.

“Miho!” The door slammed shut, however, and Miho was long gone. Nana sighed, one hand on her hip. “What do you think, Pochi? Did she blink?”

________________________________________

Miho ran down the empty street as fast as she could, breathing heavily. Jeez...she was all set to meet at eight, but then silly Nana had just insisted on fixing her hair and her yukata, and lending her hair decorations and just... Miho glanced at her watch, crying out in dismay as she noted the time. It was already ten minutes after eight. “Aaaaah! I'm gonna miss my friends!” she yelled.

But the voice she heard made her stop. “Why go to that trouble to meet them?”

Miho turned to the source of the voice, spotting Tamora above her. The white-haired girl stared down with an expression of curiosity mixed with disappointment, standing atop one of the paper lanterns that had been strung up throughout town. “Why go to that trouble?” she asked again. “Friends always leave one way or another. There's no reason to be in such a hurry to meet them...and there's no reason to celebrate such a thing!”

Before Miho could react, Tamora pulled out her Heartbreak Marker and drew a slashed heart in the air. “Fall into heartbreaking despair! Come out, Usotsuki!”

She didn't throw the symbol out this time. Instead, she held her arms out at her sides, allowing the symbol to drop straight down...into the paper lantern she expertly stood on. The brooch on Tamora's chest pulsed with a black and purple aura; soon the aura overtook Tamora was well. The girl tilted her head back, gritting her teeth as she--

She fell – no, she sank – into the lantern, a flash of purple light obscuring her from view for just a moment.

When it faded, there was a large, glowing red-hot Usotsuki in the shape of a giant, glowing yellow paper lantern. It resembled a lantern youkai to an extent, with a torn mouth made to resemble sharp fangs, its body floating a few inches off the ground. Pitch-black arms, like thin burnt branches with clawed hands, protruded from its sides. And inside of it, Miho could see Tamora's silhouette, pitch-black with the edges raging as if she'd caught fire. Then two bright red eyes snapped open – Tamora's eyes, Miho realized with a sick feeling. “I am an Usotsuki!” Tamora shrieked. ”Despair!”

Miho could see streams of dark energy rising from several different streets, moving toward the sky – the people! People all the way out there were being affected!

“Your heartbreak will fill the River Despair and flood the world~!”

At Heartbreak Manor, the water over the falls suddenly turned black, boiling as it continued over the edge of the cliffside, black lightning dancing over the water's surface.

”Pretty Cure! Love's Song! The steadfast love in a maiden's heart, Cure Portia!”

A blast of fire shot from the top of the lantern; Portia only just managed to leap out of the way, high above the Usotsuki. At the top of her jump she tucked and rolled, flying back down feet-first.

“Pretty Cure Portia Double-Stomp!”

Tamora just jumped back, quickly spewing more fire up towards Portia.

The Cure fell right into it, screeching as she covered her face with her arms. She crashed painfully to the ground, the stream of fire following her down. Portia untangled herself and leaped away, gasping in pain as she did so. Luckily, being a Cure allowed her to withstand more than a normal person, so she got away with mild burning and scorch marks.

The fire stopped, but only so Tamora could speak. “It's such a stupid festival! Friends always leave in the end! The people you think care about you...they'll either betray and leave you, or they die and leave you! There's no point to making any friends if you'll just be all alone!”

“That's not true...” Portia wheezed, haltingly rising to her feet. Damn...that had only been one strike but that fire! And with a more powerful Usotsuki... She gasped for breath and charged forward, trying a new tactic.

The Usotsuki blasted another stream of fire at her – Portia lowered her head and crossed her arms in front of her face to block it, but kept running. The fire surged past and around her, burning her arms, but she didn't care. With a roar of triumph and determination, Portia reached the Usotsuki and swung her arms in front of herself, hands clasped together to smack the monster with her fists.

It didn't do much damage, amounting to merely off-balancing it, but Portia saw her chance. As the Usotsuki stopped spewing fire and stumbled back briefly, she ran forward again, jumped up and kicked it near the bottom of the lantern part.

The Usotsuki fell back again, but that wasn't the end of it. Inside the lantern, Tamora grit her teeth and swung her arm out; the Usotsuki she controlled responded in kind, smacking a charging Portia aside and sending her crashing against a building.

As the Usotsuki slowly marched towards her, the dust cleared to reveal Portia struggling to get out of the hole she'd made in the wall. She put her weight on one of her arms – and screamed, grabbing it. There was an angry red, shiny mark on her skin. The fire had done some stronger damage after all.

And Tamora wasn't done. “Pretty Cure...” she snarled before throwing her hands forward. Fire spiraled between the Usotsuki's hands and shot forward in an unending stream before Portia could react. But this time, it was fiercer, more powerful than the others. And Portia was already hurt and weak. The Cure screamed as the fire overtook her, every cell of her body burning.

“Friendship is pointless!” Tamora was yelling over the roar of the flames, and the screams of her victim. “Ariel was my friend and she betrayed me! Shylock was my friend and he left me! They were my only friends! And they left! Friends will always leave you; it's better not to have any!”

________________________________________

Miho walked out of the video store, blinking in surprise as she saw Chiyo and Anzu walking past. She wanted to speak to them, but they didn't even see her. They were too busy talking, giggling together as they entered a photo booth, like they used to when Miho was their friend.

________________________________________

“That's why when I'm done here, the festival grounds are next! It's going to burn; I'll burn it all, burn it all! Stupid ideas like that should just be burned away like you!”

Through the fire, Portia's eyes opened wide, a faint gasp of shock escaping her.

________________________________________

Miho still stood in that spot, staring at the photo booth for just a moment longer. Then she sighed, closed her eyes and shook her head. She turned and walked off, heading towards the hamburger shop in the mall.

Waiting for her at a table was Hiromi, Aki, and Otome. They all looked up, smiling brightly as they waved at her. Miho could see two tiny paws waving from Hiromi's purse too.

Miho laughed as she joined them, dropping into a chair.


________________________________________

“Not...true...”

“Hm? You're still gonna try to talk?” asked Tamora, increasing firepower.

“Sometimes you lose friends...s-sometimes you lose people you cared about. That friendship itself – it's a beautiful thing!” Portia yelled over the roar of flames, her eyes squeezed shut, head tilted back. “I may have lost some friends, but I gained new ones! Better ones! Friends who care about me no matter what, who love me for who I am!”

In her mind's eye, she saw Pretty Cure, Ti, and Coffee waiting for her at the bridge. Antoinette, Yuki, Mirai...they were all there too.

She remembered sitting alone on the bench, surprised to see Hiromi approaching her. The bespectacled girl had sat next to her and asked what was wrong, instead of...

“When they heard something bad about me, they asked me about it! They didn't believe the person telling them that! They cared about me and valued what I had to say, so they came to me instead of cutting off ties with me! They're my true friends...friendship is a beautiful thing...and I...”

Unseen by her, the Cure Signet began to glow, radiating orange sparks.

”I won't let you destroy a festival that honors something so wonderful! I won't let you ruin our night!”

There was a blast of white light, obscuring everything from view. Tamora was so shocked she stopped her attack, stumbling backwards and covering her eyes. “This light again--!” she cried.

Cure Portia found herself floating in a void of light. Her wounds now healed, her Cure outfit was gone and replaced by sheets of pale orange light. She stared in awe at her surroundings, a faint “Ah...” escaping her. Another light, at waist-level, caught her attention, and she held her hand out in front of her to see what was happening.

Her Cure Signet was glowing pale orange, and before her eyes it changed. The light burst apart into  tiny sparks. The Cure Signet was now a thin silver band. Two tiny gold hearts were on either side of a pale orange rose, a tiny diamond twinkling in the center of the flower.

“This is...” Portia whispered, her expression still one of awe before her brows furrowed, mouth a thin line. She gently kissed the ring before clasping her hands over her chest. ”Pretty Cure! Love's Song!”

The sheets wrapped around her like a flower bud before bursting apart into glowing hearts and sparks.

The light faded, and Tamora slowly put her arms down, squinting at the figure in the light. “Not you too--!” she gasped.

Portia had indeed changed too. She stood in the street in front of the hole in the building – which quickly faded as the light worked its healing magic on their surroundings. And as Capulet had as well, now she too wore a more elaborate dress.

She had white gloves that tapered at her elbows, pale orange ribbons around the wrists, and a pale orange ribbon choker. The sleeves of the dress were short and puffy, white with a pale orange cuff. Over her chest was a large bow the same color as her ribbons, with a large deep red heart-shaped brooch. A golden-orange corset, just a few shades darker than her ribbons, was over her abdomen, with pale orange ribbons crisscrossing over the front. It was slightly parted to show the white bodice beneath, and all along the bottom of the corset were pale orange pearls. A sheer, glittery orange fabric descended from it to form the topmost layer of skirt; beneath that was ruffled skirt that split in the front, white in color but slowly gradiating to the same golden color as her corset. Underneath that was a pale orange skirt that reached mid-thigh. She wore white thigh-high boots with high heels, strings of pale orange beads around her ankles. On the small of her back was a large bow made of the same material as her shimmery top-skirt, the tails fanning out and going all the way down to mid-calf. A tiara rested over her forehead; silver settings with deep red jewels. The center was a heart, the other four jewels were circles. On her ears were heart-shaped chandelier earrings, the same silver and red combination as her circlet.

Her hair, a softer orange than before, had grown much longer now, cascading to the small of her back in waves. At either side of her head were two large, fluffy and wavy pigtails that were half the length of the rest of her hair.

She smiled, tossing a lock of hair over her shoulder before tapping one hand to her chest. ”Abundant steadfast love, Lovely Cure Portia!”

Tamora grit her teeth even harder, grinding them in frustration before throwing her arms out again. “Arrrgh! Why do you guys keep getting new outfits?! Why don't you burn out?!”

Another river of fire shot for Lovely Portia – and Portia threw her arms out in front of herself. In an instant, a large copper square appeared, looking like an odd combination of glass and light. The fire crashed harmlessly against the shield, illuminating Lovely Portia dramatically.

“Wh-what the--? You get a shield?! No far!” shrieked Tamora.

“Hup!” Lovely Portia dug her heels into the ground and flexed her fingers. The light shot towards the Tamora-Usotsuki, blocking the fire from the Cure until it smashed against the monster.

The Usotsuki was sent flying back against the buildings across the street, much like Portia herself had been earlier.

Lovely Portia wasn't finished yet. “I want to meet my friends!” she yelled. She threw her arms out in front of herself, the heels of her hands together as she slowly rotated them together before throwing her arms out at her sides. As her head tilted back and her eyes closed, the Chest of Revelation appeared before her in a burst of pale orange light. Lovely Portia leaned back for a moment before snapping forward, clasping the box between her hands. ”Sound of the Bells! A Lovely Song! Pretty Cure...” The box slowly opened, light orange energy being sucked into the box like a tornado. As it grew wider and spiraled faster, it began to emit bronze sparks and ribbons; Lovely Portia's hair whipped about her face from the force. ”Bronze Steadfast....” The light was suddenly completely sucked inside, and Lovely Portia angled the box towards Tamora, lunging forward on one leg. ”...Shoot!” At that word, a giant glowing heart emitting bronze and orange sparks shot out towards the fallen Tamora.

She shrieked as it enveloped her, bathing her in light, until all that could be seen was Tamora's silhouette as darkness evaporated from around her in shreds.

A paper lantern fell to Earth as the light faded, Tamora stumbled a bit as she hugged herself. “You...” she snarled. “I'll--!”

”Tamora?” a voice called from the Heartbreak Brooch.

Tamora gasped. “L-Lady?!”

“Tamora, please, return home! You're injured and weak!”

“But I--!”

“Lord Break wants you home, Tamora...”

Tamora grit her teeth, stomping her foot childishly before she teleported away. The scenery shifted, rebuilding everything and restoring what had been damaged as Lovely Portia detransformed back into Miho.

She looked at her watch again, gasping faintly. “I'm late!” she cried.

________________________________________

She looked at her watch again. Three minutes since the fight had ended. She was late...she wasn't going to make it...They'd all be disappointed in her, they'd--

”Miho, I don't think you're a bad person.”
“Miho, you're our friend.”
They called her Miho, not Sakura...


Miho grit her teeth, speeding up. Beads of sweat formed at her temples, but she paid little mind. She had to get to the bridge...she had to get--

”Take this turn.”

“Huh?” Miho turned left just then, following an unfamiliar street. No. Wait, she knew this street, just not from this viewpoint. This was--

“A shortcut?”

”You're almost there. Don't give up!”

________________________________________

“Do you think she's hurt?” Antoinette murmured, checking her watch. She and the others were all still standing at the footbridge, watching the people walk past them and into the festival grounds. None of them were Miho, and quite frankly... “I'm starting to worry.”

Hiromi started to twist a lock of hair around her fingers, lowering her head so the light caught her glasses. “D-Do you think she got lost?! She hasn't come to the festival for a while, what if she can't remember the way? What if a car hit her?! What if her shoes got lost and she's hobbling down the street right now and--”

“Don't.”

Everyone looked at Mirai, who was just smiling softly. “I can see it. She'll be fine.”

Aki frowned. “I guess but--”

“Guuuuuys!”

“Huh?”

The others looked up, smiling brightly when they saw who it was.

Miho, her hair a bit disheveled and her gait a little stumbling, was running towards them, frantically waving one arm over her head. She looked tired, sweat beading her forehead, but still smiled as she drew nearer and slowed to a stop. “Sorry...I'm late...” she panted.

“That's alright! But look at you!” Hiromi gasped and pulled out a little handkerchief, gently dabbing the sweat from Miho's skin. “Oh my – Miho, you're exhausted!”

“I--”

“Okay, you know what? We're getting shaved ice, on me. Miho needs something cool,” said Yuki.

“I've got a water bottle here, Miho! I knew someone would need one.”

“Miho, you wanna sit down for a bit first?”

“Aki, are you mad? Of course she wants to sit!”

Miho stared at everyone, blinking. Then she let out an odd noise between a laugh and a sob, covering her mouth and bowing her head. “You guys...” she began, then looked back up at them, holding back tears. “Thanks, everyone...shaved ice sounds good...”

________________________________________

As the group walked into the festival grounds, Otome and Hiromi supporting Miho, two more people walked up to the bridge.

An elderly woman looked at a younger, who appeared to be in her mid-twenties. “I'm sorry I'm late this year, Suzuko.”

“That's alright, Yuuko,” said the younger woman, tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear. “You wanted to help someone meet her friends, too, right?”

“You know me too well,” the old lady chuckled.

As the two slowly crossed the bridge, arm in arm, they vanished.

________________________________________

ED: "Rainbow-Colored Future" – BoA ft. Entwined Hearts 4

________________________________________

ON THE NEXT EPISODE:
Aki: “Aaaagh, I feel like I've been neglecting Hiromi lately!”
Miho: “Ah, no, Aki, I think you're fine.”
Aki: “I gotta make it up to her! Okay, I'll meet her after school...”
Otome: “Aki.”
Aki: “And I'll bring a cute stuffed animal.”
Miho: “Aki!”
Aki: “And then – gah, this has to be perfect!”
Otome: “She's not listening, is she?”
Aki: “Next time on Pretty Cure Entwined Hearts: 'I Love You! These Are My Feelings!' Let love heal your heart!"
Seven-year-old Hiromi ran up the dirt path through the woods, laughing at how the dappled sunlight made her look. At the top of the path, she turned around, nearly falling down as the heavy backpack she wore almost unbalanced her. Once she regained her footing, she held one hand above her head and waved at her family below.

“C'mon, c'mon!” she called out. “Huwwy up!”

“Hiromi, we're going as fast as we can,” Daisuke laughed.

“Huwwy faster! I wanna eeeaaat! I wanna play!” Hiromi called back down. “I wanna play with Daddy!”

“Aw, Hiromi...” Daisuke chuckled as he reached her, bending down to pick her up. Effortlessly, he lifted her up high and set her on his shoulders. “What do you wanna play?”

“Hide'n'seek! Tag! King of the Mountain!”

“Hiromi, you always pick first, let us pick!” yelled Kiyomi.

Everyone laughed, Hiromi grabbing fistfuls of her dad's hair as she rested her chin on top of his head.


________________________________________

OP: "Pretty Cure, Hands Meet" - SHE

________________________________________

“Alright, girls and sir! Is everyone ready?”

“Yes, ma'am!” chorused the Satou family.

Emi paced back and forth in front of her lookalikes and father, looking them up and down. All of them were in shorts and tank-tops, the ladies had their hair pulled back, and Daisuke was carrying a cooler in his hands. Emi stopped in front of Hatsumi, frowned and leaned forward. “Hat, you're not wearing sunscreen,” she said.

“Agh...but it's so oily. And it's still morning, the sun's not even its brightest yet!”

“Remember last year's trip?” Emi raised an eyebrow.

Kiyomi snickered. “You looked like a lobster...”

“We had to draw a cold bath and have you sit in there, all day long,” Harumi said.

Daisuke wordlessly held out a bottle of sunscreen; Hatsumi took it begrudgingly and began slathering it on her arms.

“Hiromi! Are you ready?” Emi called up the stairs.

“How come she doesn't need inspection?!” Hatsumi cried.

“Hiromi's responsible,” Kiyomi said. “She's probably already taken care of everything.”

________________________________________

“I'm sorry, everyone, but I did tell you!” Hiromi said into her cellphone. She sat on her bed, backpack on her lap as she rubbed the last bit of sunscreen on her nose.

“But Hi-ro-miiii!” Coffee wailed from the other end. “What about Lovely Form?!”

“E-Eh....” Hiromi scratched her cheek awkwardly.

________________________________________

TODAY'S EPISODE: The River Is Rising! Lovely Form!

________________________________________

“Lovely Form, Lovely Form, Hiromi almost had Lovely Form~!” Coffee cheered as she spun Ti around by his paws. Ti didn't seem to mind at least, laughing and trying to keep up with Coffee's energy.

Hiromi huffed, face turning pink in her flustered state. “You keep saying that, but what is that?”

Otome looked excited, her hands on her cheeks. “Ohhh, I heard of this! When you've gained enough power, enough strength of heart, you get a new, more powerful form! Lovely Form!” She laughed the last part, grabbing Coffee by one paw and Ti by one of his, the three of them spinning around as if playing Ring Around the Rosie. “Ahhh, Hiromi, you're so lucky! I never reached Lovely Form! Not a lot of threats outside the occasional petty thief in Kokoro, not until...” Her face briefly darkened, but then just as quick she smiled, releasing Coffee and Ti to clasp Hiromi's hands. “Congratulations, Hiromi~!”

“Ooooh, a new form! How exciting – it's just like a toku!” Miho squealed.

“Congratulations, Hiromi!” Aki cheered.

Hiromi, who had been looking more and more distressed as the talking went on, finally managed to speak. And what she said was...
”Ehhhhhhhhh?!”

“Alright, Punch and Ariel know a little more than I do,” Coffee explained, after everyone had settled down. They all sat in a semi-circle on the floor of Aki's room, Ti sitting on Otome's shoulder as she scratched between his ears. “But since the mirror broke, we can't really contact Punch right now...” Her own expression darkened for a moment, her paws coming together in concern. After a few moments, however, she made herself smile again, and lifted her head to look back at the others. “But anyway! I can give the basics, and Otome can fill in the blanks!

“Ah-he-hem~” Coffee cleared her throat, trying to look important. “Lovely Form is two hundred percent power, two hundred percent courage, two hundred percent love--”

“That's a lot of two hundreds,” Miho whispered.

“Sh!” said Aki.

“The strength of one's heart and character is the key to achieving it! When you fight for someone you love very deeply, ta-daaaa, Lovely Form~!” Coffee spread her arms out at the last few words, moving her paws side to side a bit. “And Hiromi almost had it! I bet the only reason it didn't work was because you weren't transformed. Or maybe it doesn't work when you stand up for yourself...? Hm, but it was for Aki's sake too...” She trailed off into a string of mutterings, tapping her paws together in thought.

Hiromi just stared, rubbing her arm nervously.

Otome smiled, reaching over to pat Hiromi's shoulder. “Look, just don't worry about it,” she said. “It'll happen again; just don't try for it, you know what I mean? Don't worry about it too much.”

“Y-yeah...”


________________________________________

“Otome said it herself, I shouldn't think too hard about it...” Hiromi mumbled, twisting a lock of hair between her fingers. Easier said that done. “And besides – today my family and I are going on our picnic, like we do every year! I can't miss this and disappoint my family.”

“But Hiromiiiii--!” Coffee began to wail before there was a sudden yell in the background and a brief clatter. Hiromi winced as it sounded like the phone had clattered to the ground, and someone said Gimme the phone! in the background.

“Yo, Hiromi!” Miho's voice came from the other side, over Coffee's tinny protests. “Yeah, what Otome said! Don't worry, just chill, and hey, have fun on your trip!”

Otome's voice could be heard in the background, as if she was leaning towards the phone. “Where are you going, anyway?”

“Not far,” Hiromi said, smiling a little as she felt herself relax. “You know that forest area nearer the edge of town? We're just going over there, and we should be back later this evening.”

“Ahhh, have fun, Hiromi! Hm, oh hang – Coffee, no, you can't have the phone! Coffe-- M-Miho, grab her!”

“I can't, I'm holding the--!”

“Aki!”

“I got her! Hiromi, don't worry about Lovely Form, just have fun on your trip okay bye!”

And then there was just a dial tone. Hiromi giggled behind her hand as she hit the 'call end' button and pocketed her phone. Good timing, too, because Emi was yelling for her from downstairs. “Okay, I'm coming!” she called back, running out of her room.

________________________________________

“It's finished!” Lady smiled sweetly, holding out her creation. As Riche and Tamora stared blankly at them, Lady went on. “Break was very generous with the time I was allowed to create these! This will surely help us--”

“Eh...what are they, though?” asked Tamora, hand raised as if she was in school. “I mean, they're jewelry, obviously, but...”

They were indeed jewelry. In Lady's hands were two brooches; large black, heart-shaped jewels with rose-gold setting. That was all there was to them, nothing special or fancy at all really.

But Lady still held them as if they were the most precious of gems. “They're Heartbreak Brooches. They'll increase both the Usotsuki power and the level of despair we gather for the River.” At those words, they all looked out the window and down below.

The River Despair was still churning and frothing, and much higher than it was before this whole mess with Pretty Cure had started. Now the water was lapping at the edges of the bank; one would have wet feet before they stepped foot in the actual river itself, if they were inclined to go towards it.

“We're close to flooding the world in despair,” Lady continued. “And these will help us get to our goal that much faster.”

“Oh, darling!” Riche gasped, hugging Lady tight and spinning her around. “You're a genius!”

“Thank you, dear,” Lady smiled.

“I wanna try it first.” Tamora held Ichiko in one arm and reached for a Heartbreak Brooch with her now-free hand. She clipped the brooch to the front of her dress, right beneath the brooch she was already wearing. The effect looked a bit silly, but Tamora didn't care.

“Give it a test run, first, Tamora,” Lady said with a mild frown. “Don't use it in such a populated area just yet; I want to see how it will affect the user first.”

“Fine, fine...” Tamora sighed, waving her hand. “Do a field test then. I got it.”

________________________________________

“Are we theeeeere yeeeet?”

“Hatsumi, we've only just started walking! You do this every year!” Kiyomi snapped.

“I'm not used to walking long distances! All my classes are too close together!” Hatsumi said.

The Satou family had pulled the car over by the side of the road, and was now walking the uphill dirt path through the woods. Daisuke was leading the way, and his five daughters trailed after him like ducklings. He ignored Kiyomi and Hatsumi's bickering and kept walking; Hiromi running to catch up with him.

“Hi, Dad!” Hiromi said, smiling.

Daisuke chuckled. “Yes, hi, Hiromi.” He looked over his shoulder at the still-squabbling girls – now Harumi and Emi were trying to calm them down. “They should keep this up for another two minutes.”

Hiromi giggled. “Did you remember the caramel cakes?”

“Harumi would have my head if I didn't.”

“Orange soda?”

“Absolutely.”

“My ham and cheese?”

Daisuke blinked, the smile vanishing from his face. “Oh...Hiromi...”

“Wh-what?!” Hiromi went pale, stumbling in her walk and having to lean against a tree for support. “D-Dad, you know that's my favorite sandwich! You remembered everyone else's favorites but you forgot about--”

“Oh, Hiromi, that was the first thing I prepared this morning,” Daisuke said, grinning toothily at his youngest. He laughed as Hiromi heaved a sigh of relief and rested a hand on her chest. “Hiromi, hon, it's okay. I remembered everything. I remember every year.”

“I know...but I couldn't help but asking, because what if you do forget someday? And what if you forget Emi's cupcakes? Or Kiyomi's juice boxes? Or the salmon rolls or what if we forgot the way to our spot and got lost or--”

“Hiromi!” Daisuke cried. “Hiromi, stop, you're turning blue in the face! Sweetie, I'm not going to forget anything. I remember everything you girls like, everything on this walk, and in our spot.” His expression softened a bit, the sunlight catching his glasses. “There's a lot of memories, huh?”

“...yeah.” Hiromi smiled softly, eyes forward. “Hey, remember last year, when Hatsumi grabbed the wrong spray can and covered herself in spray-butter instead of mosquito repellent?”

Daisuke laughed. “And she didn't notice until an hour later, and tried to wash it off with bottled water!”

“I can hear you!” came Hatsumi's voice from behind them, making the two laugh harder.

“And we played lots of games, too!” Hiromi added. “I was the best at hide-and-seek, remember? No one could ever find me!”

________________________________________

”Daddy!” Hiromi cried, tugging on Daisuke's sleeve after they finished lunch. “Daddy, play hide-and-seek with me! Please?!”

“Hiromi, we have to pack the food back up!” Emi said.

“After that?”

Daisuke laughed at Hiromi's enthusiasm, ruffling her hair. “After that, Hiromi. Okay?”

“Yeah!”


________________________________________

They reached the picnic site, a large clearing near the top of the large hill. From this spot, one could see a good portion of the town. There was a small barbecue pit in the ground, and a few picnic tables off to the side.

Kiyomi took the cooler from Daisuke and set it on one of the tables, and began unpacking the food. “Alriiight, I am starving!”

“Your boyfriend won't like it if you eat too much, you know,” Hatsumi muttered, poking Kiyomi in the side.

“Hahaaaaa, no he won't, I don't care, bite me~” Kiyomi said in a sing-song voice.

The others laughed, Hiromi covering her mouth. As she lowered her hand and gazed around the site, her smile softened a little. There really were lots of memories here...

Herself and her dad playing hide-and-seek.
Emi teaching her how to roast the perfect marshmallow.
Her sisters each grabbing a corner of a blanket and tossing her high into the air.
There had been another time, when Hiromi had climbed a tree to get her kite back down and been unable to get down herself, that Daisuke climbed up after her. He'd slid his hands under her arms and lowered her down to her sisters; as Hiromi wailed and kicked and begged him not to drop her, he had told her: “I am never going to drop you, Hiromi. I'm never going to let you down.” He had laughed a little at his terrible joke, but he'd still meant it.

“Hiromi,” the Daisuke of the present said. “Could you get some wood from out there?” he asked, pointing into the forest. “I brought hot dogs for us, and I bet they'd taste much better over a fire than a grill.

Hiromi's smile widened, eyes brightening. “Yeah, okay! I'll be back soon, everyone!” she called, walking into the woods.

________________________________________

Eyecatch 1: Coffee and Ti hold a giant heart-shaped bubble wand, the breeze sending out a stream of bubbles. Inside four of the bubbles are tiny versions of the girls. In a flash of light, the girls twirl around and transform into Pretty Cure, their bubbles immediately becoming heart-shaped. The Entwined Hearts logo appears in the corner.
Eyecatch 2: The four girls hold a large, pink heart-shaped cookie between them; Hiromi taking the left arc, Aki taking the right, Miho and Otome firmly holding either side of the bottom half. They snap the cookie apart and there is a bright pink flash of light. When it fades, the quartet are in their Cure forms, happily eating their cookie pieces. The Entwined Hearts logo appears in the corner.


________________________________________

Hiromi sang softly as she walked, gathering dry sticks and larger pieces of fallen branches into her arms. “Over the hill, 'cross the stream, through the tunnel we'll go...”

She stood up, pausing in her song to look around herself. Hiromi had gone a little deeper than Daisuke had perhaps wanted her to, but it was...nice here. And sometimes it was just really nice to be able to take a walk, escape the energy of her sisters for a while. She'd have to go back to them soon, so she should savor a little peace and quiet while she could.

This wasn't the first time she'd gone far into the woods, she remembered somberly as she took a few more steps forward, picking up more sticks on her way. She'd been seven...

“A test run, a test run...this ought to be a good enough spot, right?”

Hiromi froze. She knew that voice!

Dropping her bundle, Hiromi slowly inched forward, hopping a small stream and peering through the trees. In a slightly emptier part of the forest stood Tamora, hands on her hips as she glanced around, her back to Hiromi. When Tamora spoke again, Hiromi could practically hear her smile. “Welp! It's a good place to go wild!”

Go wild...? No way! That meant--! “Tamora!” Hiromi gasped.

Tamora whirled around, blinking in surprise. “Pretty Cure?! What are you doing all the way out here?” Tamora said, smacking her forehead and squinting her eyes shut. Then, half to herself, she muttered “Jeez, I swear, you girls just follow me everywhere I go!”

“I'm pretty sure I was here first...” Hiromi mumbled sheepishly, lifting her hand a bit.

“Regardless! This is perfect! Just perfect!” Tamora said, laughing as she went on. “I needed to test this thing out anyway, and now there's a Cure here! Alone! I can kill two birds with one stone!”

“But there's no one here for you to take despair from!” Hiromi protested.

Tamora's smile turned steely. “Lady says that shouldn't even matter...”

Quickly, Tamora pulled out her Heartbreak Marker and drew a slashed heart in the air. “Fall into heartbreaking despair! Come out, Usotsuki!”

What happened next was unlike any of the previous times. The symbol did shoot for its target – this time, a small rabbit that had been hiding several feet away from Hiromi – and like always, struck it on the chest. But this time, the Heartbreak Brooch on Tamora's chest pulsed with a black and purple aura. Tamora grit her teeth and held her hands on either side of the brooch, arching her back a little as the aura consumed her as well.
There was a flash of purple light, and when it faded, there was a large, black Usotsuki in the shape of a rabbit-like monster. It stood on two legs, its arms were longer and had razor-sharp claws on its paws, the eyes and mouth were the same angry red as the other Usotsuki before it.
But this time, gruesomely enough, there was Tamora, fused to the creature's middle. Her arms were sunken into the Usotsuki up to the shoulders, her legs up to the knees. Her head hung limply for a second before snapping up, her eyes opening to reveal they were glowing bright red with black pupils. “I am an Usotsuki!” she shrieked, an animalistic roar beneath her normal voice, distorting and warping it. ”Despair!”

Hiromi could see dark auras all around her. That was when it hit her: she was in the woods. Surrounded by animals. Tamora was taking despair from the animals!

“Your heartbreak will fill the River Despair and flood the world~!”

At Heartbreak Manor, the water over the falls suddenly turned black, and actually seemed to boil as it continued over the edge of the cliffside, black lightning dancing over the water's surface.

“Tamora...!” Hiromi grit her teeth.

“Pretty Cure, Love's Song! The innocent love in a maiden's heart, Cure Capulet!”

Capulet launched herself at Tamora, summoning her Rapier Wand in a flash of light.

Tamora didn't appear to move her own, unseen, arms. Instead, the rabbit monster swung out a large, shaggy arm, claws out. Capulet tucked her legs up to avoid it, but in a flash, the monster swung the other arm, catching her by the side. As Capulet was sent flying into the brush, Tamora opened her mouth to laugh.

What came out was a triumphant roar.

“Ngh...” Capulet winced as she stood back up. She'd landed right in a thorn bush, a few thorns scratching her skin and making tiny punctures in her clothes. A long scratch was on her face, near one of her eyes, and a few of the bush's leaves were clinging painfully to her. On top of all that, her side hurt from where Tamora had struck her.

But the animals...and her family too, they would also be in danger. If she let Tamora continue like this, they'd all be in trouble! “Capulet Kick!” she screamed, charging forward and jumping into the air. She drove her heel into Tamora's side before Tamora could stop her; her opponent stumbled a bit, but ultimately regained balance and swatted Capulet again just as she landed back on the ground.

Capulet was sent rolling downhill a bit, falling through several smaller bushes before slamming against a tree. She gasped as the wind was knocked out of her, but had no time to try to recover. Tamora was charging down the hill, roaring and raising an arm to claw at her. Capulet shrieked and dove aside; as Tamora ended up slicing a tree in half, Capulet tried to run and catch her breath at once.

“Not so fast!” Tamora yelled, swiping at Capulet from behind. The Cure fell forward again with a loud scream.

________________________________________

At the picnic site, Kiyomi was setting up the paper plates and utensils. “Hey, should I set one for Hiromi right now, or wait til she comes back?” she asked.

“Ah, Hiromi won't take too long. She's probably on her way back right now,” said Hatsumi.

Daisuke opened his mouth to speak, but then paused. Unnoticed by his daughters, he turned his head towards the forest, listening intently.

“Hey, Emi, toss me some more repellent!”

“Here, Harumi!”

“Girls, sh...” Daisuke muttered.

Emi looked towards him, frowning. “Dad, what's--”

“Sh!” Daisuke said again, throwing his arm out.

There was a rustling in the bushes, not too far from where the Satou family had gathered. Daisuke stood tense, his arm held out at his side as he frowned intensely. The rustling grew louder, and there was a rumbling growl underneath that sound.

“Go back down to the car,” Daisuke said. No one moved. ”Now.”

Emi grabbed Kiyomi's hand and started to lead her out of the picnic site, down towards the path. “C-Come on, girls--”

“Don't run or it'll chase you,” Daisuke warned. “But hurry!”

Another, distant roar incited the girls to go faster, not quite running but certainly not walking either. Daisuke didn't follow, instead going towards the forest, looking around as he moved past the thorn bushes. “Hiromi?” he called, trying not to raise his voice too much. “Hiromi, are you here?!”

________________________________________

The sun was setting, and the air was cold. Daisuke hugged his coat tighter around himself, a hand cupped around his mouth. “Hiromi!” he called into the green. “Hiromi, are you here?!”

There was no answer.


________________________________________

“Hiromiiii!” Daisuke yelled this time, not caring if whatever else was there heard him.

Someone – his youngest daughter, he realized suddenly – screamed.

“Hiromi!” Daisuke began running.

________________________________________

Capulet was thrown back at high speed, a sharp cry escaping her as her back slammed against a tree and broke it in two.

“This is great!” yelled Tamora. “I'm stronger than ever, more despair is being collected, and...and guess what?” she laughed. “Guess what? As long as this battle goes on, the River Despair floods even more! The world's going to drown in it before long! And I have you to thank, Cure Capulet!”

Capulet winced as she struggled to pick herself back up, looking down at her gloved hand. She could see the very faint indentation in the fabric, where her Cure Signet was. It had almost happened once, Lovely Form. It had to happen again, why wasn't it happening?!

“Well then. If you're all done...” Tamora giggled and raised an arm. “So long, Capulet--!”

There was a loud whack! and Tamora shrieked as she stumbled to the side.

“What the--?!”

Capulet couldn't believe her eyes. Behind Tamora was... “D-Dad?!” she yelled before she could stop herself.

Daisuke stood behind Tamora, a large, snapped-off tree branch in his hands. He didn't look at Capulet, so he didn't appear to notice how different she looked. He was just focused on the creature in front of him – the creature that, from this angle, he assumed was a bear. “Run, Hiromi!” he yelled, raising the branch to hit Tamora again. “Run!”

“Dad, look out! Dad!”

“Go away!” Tamora roared, swinging around to attack Daisuke.

Daisuke's eyes widened as he caught a glimpse of what exactly he was striking, but that quickly passed. He raised the branch again, catching Tamora's paw mid-swipe and knocking it away. “Get away from my daughter!” he yelled, swinging the branch again. “Hiromi! Hiromi, what are you waiting for?! Run!”

“Ugh, get away!” Tamora roared, swinging again.

This time, Daisuke was not so lucky. Tamora's paw caught him at the side of the head, knocking him aside. He flew a few feet before landing in a heap on the ground.

Dad!” Capulet screamed.

“Ugh, what was he even trying to do?” Tamora snarled. “Moron!”

“D-Don't call my dad a moron!” Capulet yelled, struggling to her feet. “He – He came to find me! He came looking for me, he wanted to help me! That's not moronic!”

________________________________________

Hiromi was crying.

She sat under a tree, deep in the woods, her little pink overalls covered in dirt, one pigtail undone. The bobble that held it had snagged a root jutting from the cliff wall on her way down, and yanked painfully on her hair. But that wasn't why she was crying.

No. No, she and her family had been playing a game. Hide-and-seek. Hiromi had found a perfect spot, a spot where she could hide safely and watch her father as he looked for the other girls.

But then he'd come too close to her hiding place, and she didn't want to be caught yet. He'd catch her and the game would be over and they'd go home! She didn't want that yet!
So she'd backed up a few paces before turning and running, going deeper into the forest, to find a better hiding place. After she'd run for who knew how long, she stopped, satisfied that her dad wouldn't find her so easily.

But that had been a long time ago. He hadn't found her at all. And she didn't know the way back. She'd stood up, tried to go back herself, but it had rained the day before, and some of the ground and roots were slippery. She'd slipped on an exposed root, landed on her ankle in a bad way. And now it hurt to stand up or move. She was stuck.

So she'd done what any other seven-year-old would do in her situation. She'd sat and cried.

It was getting colder, and dark. She could hear voices, but she didn't know what they were saying. Did her family even notice she'd gone? Maybe they were all going back to the car. Maybe they thought she was on the road, and were going to drive back along it. If they did that...

Hiromi suddenly imagined her father and sisters, driving home without her. She would sit there, while the sky got darker and darker, crying until nighttime. And no one would ever find her, and she'd never see her daddy again.

“D-Dad...” she sobbed into her grubby fists. “D-Daddy...”

There was a loud rustling noise, making her breath catch in her throat and her heart skip a beat. Daddy had warned her about bears in the woods.

Maybe she wouldn't be left here alone then. Maybe she'd be eaten by a bear. Hiromi cried louder. Being eaten sounded scary, scary! She didn't wanna be eaten, she just wanted--! “D-Daaaddy!

The rustling grew louder and louder over her cries, until someone barreled out of the brush and ran towards her. ”Hiromi!”

Hiromi stopped mid-sob as she found herself lifted into the air and held tightly against her father's chest. Daisuke's clothes were dirty, his hair was a mess, and his glasses slightly askew. He had a leaf from a thorn bush attached to his sleeve, and he was sweating and out of breath. But he still smiled the biggest, brightest smile Hiromi had ever seen on him when he saw her, his eyes tearing up behind his glasses.

“Hiromi!” he half gasped, half sobbed.

“D-Daddy?”

“Hiromi, I'm so glad I found you...!”

“You came looking for me!”


________________________________________

“Dad knew I was in trouble! So he came to look for me, and he tried to save me without even thinking of himself! I can't let you call him names for that!” Capulet shouted, tears springing to her eyes.

“Haaaah?” Tamora tilted her head, the rabbit she was fused to did the same thing. “He jumped on a big monster and hit it with a stick. That's pretty stupid.”

“He's not stupid! He's my dad and he came to find me and tried to help me because he loves me! And I love him, and you can't say such things about him!”

And then there was a blast of golden light.

Tamora screeched, her own eyes squeezing shut while the rabbit creature held its arms over its face. “What is this?!” she cried.

Capulet found herself in a void of warm, butter-gold light. Her Cure outfit seemed to be gone, replaced by swaths of sheets made of pure light and energy. That same feeling she'd felt in school before, that feeling of rising power and courage, was back. Her hand tingled, and she brought it up to her face, gasping at what she saw.

The Cure Signet was glowing gold, and before her very eyes it morphed, the light bursting away into tiny sparks. Now on her finger was still undeniably a Cure Signet, but it had changed. It was thinner now, with a silver band. Two tiny gold hearts were on either side of a pink rose, a tiny diamond twinkling in the center of the flower.

“So pretty...” Capulet breathed. She gently pressed the Cure Signet to her mouth before clasping her hands together at chest-level. ”Pretty Cure! Love's Song!”

The sheets wrapped around her like a flower bud before bursting apart into glowing hearts and sparks. Light washed over everything, casting an ethereal glow to the forest as the damaged trees were restored, the wounds on Daisuke vanished.

Tamora snarled, opening one eye to see the figure causing all of this. “What did you just do? Who do you think you are?!” she snapped.

Capulet smiled softly. She no longer wore her normal Cure outfit, but now had a more elaborate, layered dress. She had white gloves that reached the middle of her upper arms, pale yellow ribbons around the wrists, and a pale yellow ribbon choker. The sleeves of the dress were short, and puffy, white with a pale yellow cuff. Over her chest was a large bow the same color as her ribbons, with a large, dark pink heart-shaped brooch. A pale pink corset with pale yellow ribbons crisscrossing over the front was around her abdomen, and it was slightly parted to show the white bodice beneath. Al along the bottom of the corset were pale yellow beads, and a sheer, glittery pink fabric descended from it to form the topmost layer of skirt. Beneath that was an asymmetrical, ruffled pale pink skirt over another, warm yellow skirt that touched her mid-thighs. She wore white thigh-high stockings that slowly shifted to pale pink as it went towards her feet, and white high-heel shoes. Pale yellow beads ran along the tops of her stockings, and the small of her back sported a large bow made of the same material as her shimmery top-skirt, the tails fanning out and going all the way down to mid-calf. On her head was a golden tiara with dark pink jewels; four egg-shaped and one large heart in the center.

That wasn't all; her hair had changed too. She still wore large ringlets, but now they were longer, thicker, and her hair was pulled into a high ponytail. Two long ringlets descended past her ears; the wind blew softly to make them move, revealing dark pink jewels in the shape of hearts on her ears, the setting a warm gold.

She smiled, clasping her hands over her chest. ”Abundant innocent love, Lovely Cure Capulet!”

“Lovely...” Tamora began, awed despite herself. Suddenly her features twisted into a snarl, the black aura appearing around her again. “It doesn't matter how pretty you look and what light show you pull out! I can still defeat you!” she roared, and charged forward.

Lovely Cure Capulet met her halfway.

The two traded kicks, punches. Or rather, Tamora was swiping at the Cure with all her might, snarling in rage all the while, as Lovely Capulet deflected her attack with either a punch or a kick. The whole time, lovely Capulet was smiling softly, a look of serene patience in her eyes. When Tamora drew both arms back to try a new attack, Lovely Capulet suddenly jumped up, spun, and kicked the monster part of Tamora.

To the Shitsuren girl's surprise, she was shot backwards twenty feet, making two large, long depressions in the earth where her feet dragged. “Wh-what--?!” she cried.

“Okay!” Lovely Capulet clapped her hands together before throwing her arms out in front of herself, tilting her head back and closing her eyes. In a burst of gold light, her Rapier Wand reappeared, spinning slowly until Capulet snatched it from the air. ”Sound of the Bells! A Lovely Song! Pretty Cure...” She slowly traced a giant heart in the air before her, leaving a trail of gold and pink light, sparks, and interweaving light ribbons. ”Golden Innocent....” The heart suddenly pulsed and double in size, then tripled, the light sparking and flaring like gold fire. ”...Shoot!” At that word, Lovely Capulet thrust her Rapier Wand forward, and the heart shot towards Tamora.

She shrieked as it enveloped her, bathing her in light, until all that could be seen was Tamora's silhouette as darkness evaporated from around her in shreds.

When the light faded, Tamora stumbled to Earth, clutching at her chest. A little rabbit sat next to her, nose twitching for a moment before it darted into the forest.

“This isn't over...” Tamora hissed before teleporting away.

________________________________________

“Dad! Dad, are you okay? Dad!”

Daisuke groaned and opened his eyes. Hiromi filled his vision, her expression first one of concern, then pure relief and joy. “Hiromi...?”

“Dad! You're alright!” Hiromi cried, hugging him.

“Where...?” Daisuke groaned, rubbing his head. He glanced around. “Eh? We're in the picnic site...? But I thought--”

“Dad!” the quadruplets yelled as one, running into the site.

“Dad, you didn't come back down and we were so worried--!” Emi cried, grabbing Daisuke by the shoulders.

“What...Hiromi, what happened?” Daisuke asked.

“Aha...there was a bear, Dad! And you chased it away from me! You were really brave...”

“What?! Dad, that was incredibly stupid!” Harumi gasped. “Bears are vicious, you know that!”

Daisuke frowned harder, apparently recalling something. “It...it was bearing down on Hiromi...I had to get it away from her--”

“And it worked!” Hiromi blurted out, waving her hands. “The bear got scared and ran away, and Dad was helping me back here, but when we got here, he fainted. I, uhm...I guess the fear caught up with you?” she mumbled, poking her fingers together.

“Huh...I suppose so...”

“Maybe we should postpone our picnic,” Kiyomi muttered, casting an uneasy eye into the woods. “If there's a bear running around. Just because it's gone now doesn't mean it won't come back.”

“Ah! But girls, we do this every year! You look forward to it so much...” Daisuke protested.

Harumi sighed. “Daaaad...it's not the picnic. It's spending time together, just us.”

Hiromi nodded, smiling a little. “Yeah...all my favorite memories, it's not about the food or the picnic itself. It's what we all did together, what you all taught me or did for me. I don't mind doing something else today, as long as it's together.”

Daisuke stared at his daughters with wide eyes. Then he smiled, sniffling a little, and before anyone could react, he had wrapped both Harumi and Hiromi in a tight hug. “Girls!” he cried.

“A-Ah, Dad, what's the matter?!” cried Emi, running over and finding herself pulled into the hug too. “What's gotten into you?!”

“Daaad, it's okay, come on!” said Kiyomi.

“Ah, we made Dad emotional, look!” laughed Hatsumi.

________________________________________

Otome, Aki, and Miho were walking through the eating district, each of them working on an ice-cream.

“You think Hiromi's okay?” Coffee asked. “With all those mosquitoes, and Lovely Form to think of, and being surrounded by animals, and--”

“Coffee, now you're starting to sound like her, datchu,” Ti whispered.

Everyone started to laugh, but then Otome noticed something. She nudged Aki, who in turn tapped Miho's shoulder, and they all looked towards one of the eating establishments.

At a pizza place, the Satou family was crowded around a table, sharing a large pizza. A few of the elder daughters were half-heartedly fighting over a slice, and Hiromi was talking to Daisuke with a bright, happy smile.

“I thought they were--” Miho said, frowning.

Aki smiled and looped her arms through the girls', steering them in the opposite direction. “Leave them be, guys. It's family picnic day.”

________________________________________

ED: "Rainbow-Colored Future" – BoA ft. Entwined Hearts 4

________________________________________

ON THE NEXT EPISODE:
Miho: “Woooow, Friendship Day!”
Hiromi: “A whole festival devoted to friendship! We're going to have so much fun!”
Otome: "Wah, how fun! I've made lots of new friends this year!"
Miho: "Me too, me too! Next time on Pretty Cure Entwined Hearts: 'Friendship Day! I Love My Friends!' Let love heal your heart!"
  • Mood: Desperate
  • Listening to: "Together Forever" - Rick Astley
  • Eating: cheddar potatoes
  • Drinking: water


I got PayPal working for me, so this time paying is a lot easier, less stressful…and I think I've gotten better! (There's also a special thing my fellow PreCure fans can request~)


:bulletred:CHIBI
A chibi commish looks something like this. Really simple, minimal shading. Chibis don't usually have a background, those are transparent. One chibi by itself is $5, any additional chibis are $2 more apiece. So this example would have cost $7.
They will be 300 points for one subject, double for each additional one.
Together Forever by Lady-Moth

:bulletred:"Painting" Style
These have backgrounds and I try not to have harsh lines—they're softer and take more work…
These are going for $25, or 700 points.
Commish - Sunset Hang-Out by Lady-Moth
SS: Sugar Wind by Lady-Moth

:bulletred:Cel-Shaded
These can be with a background or without. Fake screencaps and PreCure finishing poses can fall under these points values! A cel-shaded piece is $10 with a simple background, like the following example. A background-less image is $7.
They will be 500 points apiece.
SS: Dreamcatcher by Lady-Moth

:bulletred:Soft-Shading
Soft-shading is $15 with a simple background, again like the first image, and $10 without a background, like the bottom image.
They are 550 points apiece.
Magical Confessor Ai by Lady-Moth
Magical Moth by Lady-Moth

And finally, something Pretty Cure fans can request…

Do you have a fanCure? Want to commission their end-of-transformation pose?
A Vivid Wish, Creating Hope by Lady-Moth
A Green Heart Is The Symbol of Friendship by Lady-Moth
A Single Flower Blooming in Winter by Lady-Moth

These are only $15/500 points apiece. All you have to do is give me a ref to your fan-Cure, and I'll draw their pose (if you have a particular pose in mind, tell me! If not, I'll wing it); be sure to tell me what series they're a fan-Cure for! If they're stand-alone, let me know if there's a particular "PreCure style" you want me to draw them in.

Oh but maybe you'd like a fake poster for your fanseries?
Starshine Pretty Cure by Lady-Moth
Pretty Cure Saison Scents by Lady-Moth
These are $25 or 800 points. Again, tell me which style, if any, you would prefer!

:bulletred:To reiterate::bulletred:
Chibis: $5/300 points for one person, added $2/double points for each more
Painting: $25/700 points 
Cel-shading: $10 w/ background, $7 w/o background, or 500 points
Soft-shading: $15 w/ background, $10 w/o background, or 550 points
Pretty Cure Pose: $15/500 points
Pretty Cure Poster: $25/800 points


Just send me a Note with what you want/any references, I'll tell you the price and you can pay by PayPal. Once I get the money, I'll get to work and put your picture up!

PLEASE NOTE: MONETARY COMMISSIONS TAKE HIGHER PRIORITY THAN POINTS COMMISSIONS.


deviantID

Lady-Moth
Drawer of Girls~
Artist | Digital Art
United States
Current Residence: Earth
Tools: Pencil/paper, tablet, Sai
Favourite genre of music: Hard to say...have to go with whatever's on my radio station...
Personal Quote: "You know, ears are the one thing that you never really notice..."
Interests

AdCast - Ads from the Community

Wishlist

*sniff* I want these...

Groups

Comments


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:iconclassicsonic23:
classicsonic23 Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2015
Happy birthday
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:icontwilightgenesis:
TwilightGenesis Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2015
Cheers for the fave. ^_^
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:iconrobotkid2001:
Robotkid2001 Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2014
Do you Want nets to have friends and I mean with her well I'm new but I draw a being that almost has the same codes as nets but he's blue and can go into the real world and the Internet and by blue I mean blue cloths I call him unit and he'll love to see nets can you do that? He'll be in my page:excited: 
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:iconrobotkid2001:
Robotkid2001 Featured By Owner Edited Dec 28, 2014
Do you like wall.e well I made my bot i call him mann.e he is a repairer that's is all i can give you
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:iconiam4ever:
Iam4ever Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2014  Student General Artist
I hope you would consider joining us over at :iconbsoct: a new Sailor Moon OCT. I miss a lot of the just wonderfulness of the SMOCT and would like to try to recapture that magic! So please do consider it, thank you~
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:iconinfella:
Infella Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2014  Student Writer
Thanks for the fav ^_^
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:iconmariedubois:
MarieDubois Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2014
Your Original Characters are wonderful! And I really enjoy your Pretty Cure stories as well. Thank you so much for sharing them!
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:iconchokon:
chokon Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2013
Your art is ADORABLE! I really love how bright and cheerful it all is, and I'm so jealous of your coloring and anatomy skills. Its so great to see magical girl fans who make their own stories and OCs that fit the feel and ideals of the genre, instead of try to make it super grimdark and mature and edgy, you know?
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:iconharuka-n:
Haruka-N Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2013
hi
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:iconaxeliloveyou201:
Axeliloveyou201 Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2013  Student General Artist
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