“Coffee!” Ti shouted as he was carried away from Kokoro's mirror. “Coffee! Let me go! Coffee's in trouble!”
Ti had the luck (good or bad depended on one's perspectives) of landing between two guards when he'd tumbled out. Seeing their young prince, the guards had quickly taken him away from the mirror and towards the throne room, where his distressed parents waited.
“Ti!” Meringue cried, rushing forward and scooping him up. “Ti, where have you been?!”
“Mama, datchu! Mama, Papa - Coffee and Pretty Cure are in trouble, datchu!”
OP: "Pretty Cure, Hands Meet" - SHE
TODAY'S EPISODE: All Our Hearts Are Entwined
Lady straightened, opening her eyes as her hair and clothes moved in the violent storm, with only her face calm.
She grinned cruelly, staring them down with new eyes: the same irises as before, but with pitch-black sclerae and red pupil.
”Pretty Cure are invincible? Let's see you try this...”
“Coffee!” Lovely Capulet instantly leaped out of the way, heading for the school. She had to fight alongside her friends, but she also had to protect Coffee. And...and no matter what happened to them, Coffee had to be safe. She didn't know what would happen, but having Coffee in her pockets or hiding in her back-bow wouldn't protect her.
Lady let out a guttural cry and flung her arm in Capulet's direction. A surge of pitch-black energy, moving like water, shot towards her retreating form.
“No, you don't!”
Suddenly, Lovely Montague leaped in the way, arms spread out. The dark energy hit her, convulsing around her like an electric shock. Lovely Montague screamed once, but then grit her teeth and bore it. “Y-You...W-Won't hurt her...!” she grunted.
”You won't hurt anyone!” twin voices rang out. Lovely Portia and Lovely Ariel both leaped up at the same time, flanking Lady.
Lady dropped her arm and shifted her body, turning towards Lovely Portia just as--
”Pretty Cure Bronze Steadfast Shoot!”
--and Lady smirked. One half-second her form was a black and purple blur, and then she was gone. The light from Lovely Portia's attack missed entirely and hit Lovely Ariel. The teal Cure shrieked in pain – it hurt a lot less than it would if she were a monster, but it still hurt!
“Lovely Ariel!” gasped Lovely Portia, willing away the Box of Revelations. Then suddenly, Lady teleported behind her, a cruel smile on her face. As Lovely Portia turned around, there was a resounding SMACK and the girl fell to the ground hard.
In the darkened classroom, Eguchi was using her phone to broadcast a live news feed for the others. It was the only light in the room.
”This is Shimamura reporting from Channel Seven's news-copter! You will be reassured to know that I and my camera crew are well inside the safety of the helicopter and will not be opening any doors or windows! Our copter is strong enough to withstand these winds, and-- what's that?!”
The camera zoomed in on a falling figure, just as she crashed to the ground.
”Oh my God! Oh my God, it seems there is a civilian outside and we may have a casualt – wait a minute.”
Before everyone's eyes, the figure got up, standing inside a small crater. She leaped back into the air, meeting a woman in black and purple midway. The two traded punches and kicks, but the woman seemed to get the upper hand again and kicked her back down.
”I can't believe what I'm seeing!”
Emi leaned in closer, having situated herself by Eguchi earlier. “That looks like...” she murmured, frowning lightly.
Mirai suddenly blinked and straightened. “Someone's here,” she whispered.
A loud tapping sounded at the window just then. “Open it!” someone screamed outside. “Open it, please!”
“We're so high up though...no one should be at the window,” someone whispered as Mrs Matoko steeled herself. She grabbed a nearby broom and made her way to the window, carefully opened the blinds--
--and came face-to-face with a blonde girl in a tiara and extravagant dress. A little rat was in her hands.
“What the--?” Mrs Matoko gasped.
“Hurry, please!” yelled the girl. As Mrs Matoko hastily opened the window, she leaned forward slightly and handed her the rat.
“I'm very sorry, but please stay inside!” the blonde yelled before leaping away.
Mrs Matoko cried out, running towards the window, but before everyone's eyes, the girl just landed on a nearby tree, and then leaped so far and so high it was like she was flying. The teacher stared out the window, eyes wide. “Who was--?”
“Hiromi!” Mirai suddenly yelled, catching everyone's attention. Everyone turned to stare at her, but Mirai didn't seem to notice. She just stood straight up, face pale and hands trembling. “That was Hiromi just now!”
“Portia!” Montague and Ariel screamed together, bringing out their weapons.
Lovely Portia wasn't Lady's only target, of course – Lady had stopped beating her moments ago, it would be foolish of her to focus on one small insect. But she was still too close to Portia, and they had to make sure she wouldn't try anything else.
”Pretty Cure Amethyst Sincere Shoot!”
”Pretty Cure Lovely Steadfast Arrow!"
Lady turned around just as the attacks were about to hit; a surge of black energy crackled around her, deflecting the attacks and sending them back at Pretty Cure. She smiled when they screamed; their attacks had flown back faster with her aid, infused with the dark, despair energy of the water that still floated in huge droplets everywhere. With another wave of her hand, another stream of energy erupted from the ground and slammed both of them into one such droplet.
They screamed, tears beginning to form in their eyes, but it was muffled. Lady didn't mind it; it was still screaming, just as she wanted to hear. ”How does it feel, Pretty Cure?” she said coldly. ”How does the depths of despair feel?”
”Leave them alone!” Lovely Capulet screamed, flying out of nowhere, Rapier Wand at the ready. ”Pretty Cure Golden Innocent Shoot!”
This time, Lady was taken by surprise. The blast of golden light struck her, briefly enveloping her as she cried out--
Lovely Portia took the chance to jump high into the air, near the bubbles her friends were in. Her positioning and speed took her straight through both prisons, allowing her to seize her friends and pull them out safely. They turned to see how Lovely Capulet's attack had done--
--and saw Lady flex, and the light burst away from her like shattering glass. ”Terribly sorry, but did you think that would work?” she said coldly. ”I'm not the same as I was before, little girls.” As Pretty Cure watched in disbelief, more dark energy appeared around Lady's body, pulsing in time with her heartbeat. As if in response to this, the droplets of Despair Water began churning.
”Despair runs in my veins now! Despair is all I am, despair and heartbreak! And childrens' light shows can't harm me anymore!” With a loud, mad laugh, Lady crouched slightly and swept her arms out.
The boiling droplets shot towards Pretty Cure all at once.
“Scatter!” Lovely Montague screamed, but no one needed it to be said.
The girls separated quickly, weapons drawn, light energy shooting from their hands. They flew around the area, alternating between trying to outrun the droplets and attacking them. Each attack burst the water apart, but even then they had to watch for the smaller drops in the resulting explosive spray, and even then there were still more drops chasing them down.
“Why?!” Lovely Ariel screamed. “Why are you doing this?! Why did you do this to Tamora, why did you do all of this?!”
Lady smiled sweetly, opened her mouth, and...
Pretty Cure's blood ran cold.
“What...?” Lovely Capulet gasped.
“I have no reason~” Lady went on, stilling her hands for a moment. She began to rise up, hovering above the city again, still looking like a storm herself. ”Did I need one? I just love to see people miserable and crying. I love to see things brought to ruin...It's just so fun to do it myself.”
“Kokoro was your home!” yelled Lovely Ariel.
”It used to be.” Lady shrugged. ”But I outgrew that place. As I grew older, I just plain didn't like being there anymore, didn't care for that little Princess Meringue and her family...So I left, honed my own powers, made my own tiny little kingdom... It wasn't my fault Riche fell for my sweet lovely lady appearance. It wasn't my fault two children ran away from home and had no one else in their world. I never asked for them to do anything; they all did it themselves.”
Pretty Cure wanted to tell her that it was. That she'd created Break, that she'd been telling them to do this from day one. But it wouldn't work, they all knew that.
“You're...you're evil!” Lovely Portia cried, torn between outrage and terror.
”Thank you,” said Lady. Then she grinned with her teeth bared, and those close could see her teeth had become sharp and shark-like. ”Now do me a favor and die.”
The water droplets stilled for one instant – and then they all shot forward at once, converging to the center. Pretty Cure weren't fast enough to get away, and found themselves trapped in one huge, giant bubble of pitch-black, boiling water. All of the droplets were gathering in one spot, forming a bubble as big as a small lake. And it just kept getting bigger.
In the center of the water, Pretty Cure screamed in agony as despair and heartbreak seeped into every fiber of their being. Their Cure uniforms glowed and then burst apart into nothing, reducing them to their civilian selves and amplifying the pain tenfold.
Tears streamed down their cheeks as every painful, horrible thought they'd had earlier came back to them, and even more.
They had failed.
They were going to die.
Ariel managed to open her eyes just a crack. In the distance, she could see Lady's hazy, shifting form. They'd lost. Lady would win.
“Mirai, are you sure that was Hiromi?” Mrs Matoko asked, holding her shoulders tightly.
“Yes! Hiromi's out there and she's in big trouble!” Mirai was crying. “I-It's not just her! Aki, Miho, Otome – they're all out there! They're hurt and they're out there and in trouble!” She pulled out of Mrs Matoko's grip and ran to the window. “Hiromi! Hiromiiii!”
“Mirai, stay back!” Mrs Matoko tried to drag her back, but Mirai kept struggling, tears streaming down her face.
“Hiromi! Hiromi! Everyone!” she sobbed.
”The girls are inside the water! I repeat, the girls are inside the water!” The reporter's voice came from radios, televisions, the internet streams... All over town, people were watching the live feed.
Daisuke's eyes widened when the camera tried to focus on those small shapes. They were very barely visible, tiny dark specks inside a sea of dark, but something still registered in his heart.
“Hiromi!” he gasped faintly. “Hiromi!” he yelled, louder, voice tight.
“Satou, what is it?!”
“My daughter! That's my daughter out there!” he cried.
“Let me out!” Nana screamed, struggling against some rescue workers. “Let me out, my cousin's out there, I have to save her!”
Sebastian and Emma wanted to leave, but the rest of the staff needed them. They were the head staff members, they were the ones in charge. If either of them left or showed any sign of panic, the rest of them wold just fall apart. Someone had to keep a cool head.
So neither of them screamed or tore out of the mansion, much as they wanted to. But they did stare out the window, eyes filled with worry, Sebastian's hands in such tight fists that his fingernails dug into the skin. “Aki...” they both whispered.
Queen Meringue strode down the hall leading to the balcony with an air of purpose, Ti safely held in her hands. “They'll be alright, Ti. I swear this,” she said.
The queen stopped at the balcony overlooking the kingdom. Everyone had gathered at the castle, feeling in their hearts that something was deeply wrong. Punch sat on Riche's shoulder as the man rested his hand on Tamora's shoulder. The fairy felt his heart clench – Coffee was in danger. Something was wrong on Earth.
“Listen to me, everyone!” Queen Meringue declared. “You can feel in your hearts that something is wrong in Pretty Cure's world.”
“We have to go there!” Tamora cried.
“It's too dangerous, datchu!” Ti cried. “Th-there's Despair Water everywhere! Everything's getting ruined, datchu, there's lightning and wind and--”
“Lady...” Riche breathed, a look of regret and heartbreak on his own face. “She's doing this...”
“My son is right,” Meringue said.
Cider spoke up next. “We cannot send aid physically, but Pretty Cure need our faith and prayers. Believe in them, everyone! Send your love to Pretty Cure!”
Tamora was the first to close her eyes, hands clenched over her heart. “Pretty Cure saved me...they wanted me to be their friends...” she whispered. “They have to be okay, I love them so much!” Suddenly her heart felt lighter... “Pretty Cure,” she breathed, the tension leaving her face. “Pretty Cure, I love you. You can do it.”
“I love you too,” Riche said, eyes closing.
“Me too,” said Punch. “I love Pretty Cure, I love Coffee...”
All throughout the kingdom, Kokoro citizens focused on the feelings in their hearts. Love, faith, hope, belief, courage... They loved Pretty Cure. They focused on Pretty Cure's image in their minds. They willed their feelings would reach them.
”We love you...”
Ti and his parents were closing their eyes as well, hands over their hearts. “We love you...” they whispered.
Unseen by them all, warm light appeared under their hands, over their hearts.
On Earth, everyone felt their hearts become lighter. Some unknown force telling them what to do.
Daisuke closed his eyes, leaning against the window. “Hiromi...I love you.”
“Aki...” The entire staff at the Oshiro residence held their hands over their hearts. “Aki, we love you.”
The rescue workers, everyone in the shelter, Nana all held their hands in a similar manner. Even Pochi had his eyes closed.
“We love you, Pretty Cure...”
The entire classroom did the same thing, focusing all their love for the girls. Even inside the copter, while neither the reporter or cameraman could free their hands, they focused on the girls and sending their love.
News feeds all around the world showed the girls, and all around the planet, people were compelled to do the same thing the town of Koigokoromachi and the kingdom of Kokoro were doing.
The girls' eyes slowly opened. “Everyone...”
“I feel them...”
”We love you!”
Lady gasped, blinking and lowering her hands slightly. There was a faint light in the middle of her sphere of water. What...what was that?!
”We love you!”
Lady cried out in surprise as the water suddenly burst apart into hundreds of large water droplets. There was a bright, golden light that she had to shade her eyes against. “What--?!” she cried.
“--You too!” Pretty Cure shouted as one.
The light slowly faded to reveal the Cures...once again they were in Lovely Form, but their chokers were three rows of pearls now, tiny hearts between each row. Fluffy, angelic wings protruded from their backs, and all four of them glowed with an almost heavenly light. Slowly, each girl opened her eyes – revealing them to be warm, amber gold now.
”Lady.” Lovely Capulet's voice called out. She sounded calm, but powerful, her voice magically carrying over the entire city though she didn't raise it one decibel. ”Lady, you sought to bring an entire world to despair and destruction.”
”You could have had love, but you yourself chose to disregard it. You saw love as something disgusting and laughable, and you used those who loved you for your own gain,” Lovely Montague added.
Lady snarled wordlessly and flung her arm out again. A ribbon of water surged towards them--
--and Lovely Portia held her hand out to block it. The water burst apart as soon as it touched her palm. ”When one world couldn't be devoid of love, you turned your sights on another. You laughed as you did this to both worlds.”
”We wished to believe there was good in you, as there is in everyone,” finished Lovely Ariel. ”But we see now there is only hatred. So with that...”
The girls hovered in a row, tracing large heart shapes in the air. ”Our hearts entwined! Steadfast Love! Innocent Love! Sincere Love! Pretty Cure...Lovely Entwined Form!”
”You still think you can beat me!?” Lady shrieked, bringing her hands together at the wrists. The water converged around them again. ”I have all the powers of all the heartbreak from both worlds! Love stands no chance against despair!”
”That's not true!” The girls flew forward, effortlessly avoiding the attacks Lady sent out.
”Love overcomes all negative feelings!” Lovely Entwined Capulet cried, running her hand through a stream of water. The water separated like it was butter and Lovely Entwined Capulet's hand was a hot knife.
”It's always there! Even if you think you lost it, there are others who love you and you them! Sometimes you gain so much more love than lost!” Lovely Entwined Portia declared, hovering high with her hands over her heart. She spread her hands out, sending a shower of pale amber sparks that disintegrated the water.
”You never lose love forever. Even when you feel despair, it's always there!” Lovely Entwined Montague said, punching her way through another ribbon of water.
”No matter what happens to you, love is always there. You took Shylock from me, but I still felt love. I still feel his love, too! Shylock's love is always with me and no amount of despair can take that away!” Lovely Entwined Ariel hovered directly in front of Lady. A shimmering aura of gold appeared around her and became a dome, shoving Lady forcibly away.
”You can never defeat us. You can never defeat love!” the quartet declared as one.
Once again they hovered in a row, meeting Lady's murderous glare with their own looks of steely resolve. They held hands and brought their joined hands in front of them. ”Our hearts are all entwined! With overflowing love!” they cried. A huge heart appeared in front of them, glowing gold with an aura that alternated between blue, pink, teal, and bronze. It grew progressively bigger until it was three times as large as the girls together. ”Pretty Cure...!”
Lady shrieked and charged towards them.
Lovely Entwined Pretty Cure stood their ground, tightening their grip on each other, Montague and Capulet in the center. ”Lovely Illumination...”
The heart shot forward, Lovely Entwined Pretty Cure flying right behind it. ”Embraaaaaace!” they screamed.
Lady and the heart met just then, sparks of gold and black spraying out from the impact. For a moment, it was a stalemate, with both sides pressing forward with all their might. Lovely Entwined Pretty Cure grit their teeth, eyes squeezed shut, sweat beading at their temples. Then with a loud cry, they pushed forward once more.
And the glowing heart completely enveloped Lady, growing rapidly until the entire town was bathed in golden light.
Inside the light, Lady was being torn apart into shreds of darkness. She shrieked in pure rage, the light and love tearing apart the despair she held, that was part of her. But she had one more act of defiance. With her last moments of being alive, she reached out with disintegrating hands and seized Lovely Entwined Capulet's and Montague's joined hands and poured the last of the despair and hatred out.
The girls screamed as the darkness attacked their hearts directly, but didn't let up on the attack.
Finally, Lady gave one more cry. ”Cuuuurse yooouuu!” she shrieked, and then was gone.
The glow of the girls' attack grew bigger, then flashed.
All at once, the dark clouds were cleared away, replaced by bright blue skies; the wind died down to a calm, pleasant breeze; all the Despair Water disintegrated to nothing; and all the damage down to planet reversed itself.
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.
The light spread all the way to Kokoro, much to the citizens' surprise and relief. As it was doing on earth, the light in the sky sent golden sparkles drifting onto the people and environment. Healing everything. Tamora blinked and gasped, and the color returned to her face. Slowly, she let go of Riche's arm, took a step...and then twirled around, laughing. “I – I'm well again! I feel perfect! Riche!”
“Tamora!” Riche laughed, lifting her into the air.
“They did it!” Punch yelled as the rest of Kokoro cheered.
Queen Meringue smiled down at her subjects, but Ti wasn't as satisfied.
He held his paws over his heart, a worried look on his face. “Mama, Papa, something's wrong,” he whispered.
Cider blinked, then frowned. He looked into the crowd and met the eyes of Riche, Tamora, and Punch, all of whom looked as worried as Ti. “You three. Follow us to the mirror!”
The girls blinked, finding themselves on the street, warm and dry and alive.
Miho was the first to sit up, glancing to her left. Otome was there, sitting up groggily and holding a hand over her head. “Hmmm...”
“We did it...” Miho said simply, eyes going wide.
“We did it...?” Otome repeated. Then she abruptly laughed and tackle-hugged Miho. “We did it!”
The girls held each other, shaking with laughter and crying in relief and joy. “We did it, we did it, we did it!” they chanted.
Finally, it dawned on them that they were the only ones celebrating. Aki and Hiromi must not have gotten up yet. Otome pulled away, laughing, and looked down the street. “Hey, Aki, Hiromi, we--!”
And then she stopped, joy leaving her face.
Aki and Hiromi lay on their backs, hands holding...and too still.
Far too still.
“Hiromi! Aki!” Miho cried out as she ran forward, Otome close behind her.
Slowly, doors began opening and civilians began to step outside, blinking in the sunlight. They all soon saw the girls, and in mere moments a crowd was shuffling towards the scene, staying a respectable distance away. As Miho and Otome knelt over their friends, a low murmur broke out among the people. Where those girls okay? They were the ones who saved them, right? What had happened? Should someone call a hospital? A few people took out cell phones, either to call for help or to record the scene.
Miho and Otome were ignorant of all of this, dropping to their knees by their friends, reaching out with trembling hands to take their shoulders. They...there were okay, right? They had to be.
“Hiromi...Hey, Hiromi! We won!” Miho said, forcing a smile as she gently shook Hiromi's shoulders. “We won, everything's okay!”
Hiromi was quiet and still.
“Aki, everything's back to normal now. Everyone's safe, Lady's gone, the flood's gone too! See?” Otome glanced away as if to make sure there was really no more Despair Water, then looked back down at Aki. Her smile faded when she saw Aki's face: eyes still closed, mouth closed, a peaceful expression on her face.
It was the same with Hiromi. They both looked like they were in a deep sleep. And neither of them showed any sign of waking.
“...Hiromi?” Miho whispered, leaning closer to her, her nervous smile turning to a look of dread. “Hey, Hiromi!”
“Aki, it's time to wake up!” Otome cried, desperation ringing in her voice. ”Aki!....you guys can't do this,” she mumbled, voice breaking. Slowly, she set Aki back on the ground, her shoulders starting to tremble, tears in her eyes. “You can't do this...”
“It's not fair,” Miho added, the last word punctuated by a sob. “It's n-not fair...Why are we the only ones – why do you two have to--?”
“Pretty Cure, datchu!” a familiar voice cried out.
Several people gasped and lifted their feet as Ti darted out of the crowd. Then more civilians began clearing a path as more people approached.
“Pardon us! Excuse us! We are here on royal business, excuse us!”
Ti ran to the girls as his parents, Riche and Tamora behind them, reached the front of the crowd and stopped, watching in dismay. “Otome, datchu! Miho, datchu! Are Aki and Hiromi okay?!”
“Ti...” Otome whispered, a tear making its way down her cheek. “Ti, sweetheart...”
Ti stared at her, then at Hiromi and Aki. “...it's not true, what you're about to say, datchu,” he said quietly.
“Ti--” Miho began.
“It's not true! It's not true at all, datchu!” Ti's voice could be heard above everything, by all gathered. “Pretty Cure are invincible! Pretty Cure...Pretty Cure's supposed to all be fine, not just some of you, datchu!” When the other two girls said nothing, just tried to hold back their own crying, Ti's face crumpled, his own eyes growing shiny. “It can't be true, datchu...”
Coffee appeared behind him, reaching out a paw to touch his shoulder. “Ti--”
“Pretty Cure, get up! You have to get up, Pretty Cure!” Ti yelled, running to Aki and shaking her hand. It still felt warm. ”You're supposed to get up! You saved Kokoro, you saved everyone, you saved Earth...”
As he spoke, various people, even complete strangers, found themselves in tears. Though some were weeping openly, others were hiding their sobs behind their hands, and still more were choking back their tears, everyone was affected by the scene. Not everyone knew these girls but...They'd given their lives for them, for the entire planet. And to see their friends like this, either accepting or in denial, was just...
Daisuke, Emma, Sebastian, and Nana were all shoving their way through the crowd as well. “Everyone move!” Daisuke cried. “Move, please, that's my youngest daughter over there!”
“Lady Aki...!” Emma gasped out a sob, Sebastian echoing her. “Otome!”
“Miho!” Nana yelled. “Miho, honey--!”
”Aki! Hiromi!” Ti wailed again, tears freely coursing down his cheeks. ”You have to get up, please! You can't die, look how...
”Look how many of us love you! This isn't fair, you can't do this, datchu!” Ti collapsed against Aki's hand, sobbing quietly.
No one moved after that. Otome and Miho stayed where they were, not bothering to hide their own tears. Coffee turned away, paws over her mouth. Pretty Cure's families were like statues at the front of the crowd, eyes wide in expressions of horror and disbelief. Tamora let out a tiny sob and turned her face against Riche's shirt, her hands gripping the fabric as he closed his eyes and turned away, biting his lip. The king and queen of Kokoro covered their faces, shoulders trembling with faint sobs.
It just wasn't fair...
“We love you, Aki, Hiromi...” Ti whispered again, in a choked voice.
“We all...” Miho began.
“Love you...” finished Otome.
No one said anything after that. What was there to say? Nobody moved to get closer just yet, though Daisuke fell to his hands and knees with his head bowed; everyone softly crying. It wasn't just the crowd gathered, either. In the school, Eguchi stared at her phone, watching the on-scene reporter break the news in a hushed, trembling tone as the camera focused solely on her, near the back of the crowd. Out of respect, they wouldn't film the grieving Pretty Cure and fairies. Mirai let herself be hugged by Antoinette and Yuki, Mrs Matoko sank into her chair numbly, in a corner of the room Emi covered her mouth and shook her head.
Around the world, for just a second, everyone's hearts beat at the exact same time, in the exact same rhythm.
The Cure Signets on Hiromi and Aki's fingers began glowing with a warm, golden light. This light eventually caught Ti's attention, and he lifted his face away from Aki's hand to stare at it in confusion. One by one, Coffee, Miho, and Otome all looked to the rings too, bewilderment on their tear-stained faces.
The light grew brighter and intensified until it caught the attention of everyone else gathered at the scene. They all watched, silent, as the glow slowly moved to envelop Aki and Hiromi's bodies, obscuring their features. And then it slowly began to dissolve away, floating into the air in golden sparkles, starting from the outside of their bodies and working towards the center.
The last of the light to vanish was the light over their hearts. And then there was nothing.
Ti broke the silence first. “Aki...Hiromi...?” he whispered.
The atmosphere changed instantly, people gasping, leaning forward, staring...
And Aki's eyes slowly opened. She blinked once, dazed, and then shifted a bit to smile at Ti, her hand lifting to pet him. “Hey there, Ti...” she mumbled.
“Aki, datchu...” Ti gasped.
Beside her, Hiromi opened her eyes as well, mumbling something incoherent and lifting her hand to shield her eyes. “Hmmm, it's so bright...”
Hiromi smiled then, turning her head towards Miho. “Sorry we made you worry...” she whispered.
“Aki...” Miho and Otome both squeaked out, eyes filling up with tears all over again. “Hiromi...!”
The two girls and two fairies lunged at their friends, taking them into a group bear hug. They were quickly joined by Daisuke, then Emma and Sebastian, Nana, and the citizens of both Kokoro and Shitsuren. And then the crowd began cheering and laughing.
“Welcome back, girls! Welcome back!”
Three weeks later, things had mostly quieted down.
“I told you, you can't go here!”
Mrs Matoko stood in front of the mirror on the stairway, hands on her hips and a stern look on her face. At the top of the stairs stood several students, all apparently having the same idea. “I don't know what rumors you've heard, but the mirror's gone!”
“It's right there!” someone protested, hands balling into fists.
“This is a new mirror,” groaned the teacher. “We gave the old mirror to someone else. Now get moving! Honestly, coming an hour early just to see a mirror...” Mrs Matoko grumbled as the kids slunk away in disappointment. She sighed, then looked at her reflection with a wry smile. “I think we'll have to assign guards for a while.”
At the Oshiro residence, Aki was putting in her hairclips and standing at the mirror over her bureau. One might wonder why she wasn't using the huge full-length mirror behind her, but the reason became obvious when it started glowing. Aki smiled and turned around in time to see Ti and Coffee leap out.
“Hey, friend!” Aki laughed, catching the younger fairy in her hands. “Hi, Coffee! Oh, hey, Otome!” she added, looking up as the other girl stepped out of the mirror.
Yes, Otome and the fairies had to return to Kokoro...But, with both worlds safe, and the mirrors still intact, they could come back to Earth whenever they pleased. And, judging by the extra school uniform and bag against the wall, was half the time.
“Is it really okay to skip school for the day?” Otome asked.
“Oh it's fine. It's Saturday, today is just extra classes – we don't have to go,” Aki reassured her. “How's it been in Kokoro?” she asked as they left her room and headed for the stairs.
“Oh, it's been wonderful!” Otome took a moment to wave at Sebastian and Emma. “Kokoro's gotten a new fledgling Cure, and they've been wanting me to show her the ropes!”
In Kokoro, the king and queen stood before a teenage girl, holding out a red Cure Signet. “Your heart holds so much love. Never stop loving others.”
“Yes!” said the girl, a 15-year-old with short, pink hair. Smiling, she took the ring and slipped it on, and suddenly transformed into a red and orange Cure.
“We present to you all, Cure Rosalind!”
“Someday I'll bring her with me to meet you! She's been really excited.”
“I'm sure we'd love her! What about Riche and Tamora?”
Tamora, now clad in a violet dress, still holding her teddy bear, sat in a chair with a huge smile on her face. A few other girls in elegant clothes sat with her, talking and laughing.
“Ah, Tamora!” said one. “Would you like more rose tea?”
From a distance, Riche sat with a book in front of him, but he didn't read it. Instead he kept peering over it, watching Tamora and her new friends.
“Riche made it, didn't he?” asked one of the other girls.
“Yup! His tea's the best there is!”
Hiromi stood in front of Miho's house, hands cupped around her mouth like a megaphone. “Mi-ho! Hurry, we'll both be late!”
“I'm coming, I'm coming!” Miho ran past Nana, who sat inking at the table. The ink bottle wobbled a bit, but Nana grabbed it without looking and set it right.
“Don't be gone too long,” she called over her shoulder.
Pochi barked in agreement.
“I wooon't...” Miho laughed as she slipped on her shoes. Then a moment later, she was out the door and approaching Hiromi.
“We're going to miss the previews, Miho!”
“No, no, your watch is ten minutes fast, Hiromi, we'll be fine!”
Inside the Sugar Bowl, Yuki collapsed into a booth, loosening his apron. “Break time,” he sighed. “We're busy today...”
“Well, I see why,” Antoinette said with a light smirk, examining her cupcake. “These Pretty Cure-cakes are getting popular. Even if they don't look like the girls themselves.”
“Well, it'd be weird to eat your friend's face,” Yuki muttered.
The cupcakes came in either pink, blue, aqua, or light brown, and had the appearance of being made of lace and heart-shaped jewels. And apparently people were buying them by the dozen.
“Hmmmm~” Mirai smiled, eyes closing.
“Hm? You getting a premonition, Mirai?”
“I foresee a happy reunion,” Mirai said, opening her eyes again and biting into her pink cupcake.
Aki and Otome ran past a purikura booth, heading to the entertainment district. After they passed by, the curtain parted a bit, and Nanase peered out, watching them go. With a dramatic sigh, she let the curtain fall and sat back in her seat.
“Are you still crushing on Oshiro?” Eguchi asked with a frown. “You know she's got a girlfriend.”
“The heart wants what it wants, Eguchi! It'll be a while before I find someone else...Maybe someone better than Oshiro! But until then--”
“Until then, maybe I should introduce you to some girls at my cousin's school,” Eguchi muttered, pressing a few buttons on the panel before her. “Now smile!”
“Miss Watanabe! Miss Watanabe, over here!”
“Is it true that you know Pretty Cure personally?!”
“Are you secretly a Cure yourself?!”
“Emi is taking no further questions!” yelled Yoshi, guiding Emi by the arm into their limosuine.
“Miss Kita! You're the girlfriend, can you verify the rumors that Miss Watanabe is a magical princess?”
“I'm just playing one in my new movie!” Emi said, blushing and laughing awkwardly. As the paparazzi began yelling excitedly all over again, Emi seized Yoshi's hand and the two of them threw themselves into the car. “No further questions!” Emi yelled before the door closed and the driver took off.
Yoshi sighed, adjusting her glasses. “Did you have to tell them that, Emi-chi?”
“Oh course I did!” Emi laughed, tossing her hair over her shoulder. It was a little past her shoulders now, growing nicely. Soon it would be as long as she'd always hoped it'd be. “It's a little fun to tease them like that, I've found.”
Yoshi sighed, but still smiled.
At the same time, they both looked down at the script sitting on Emi's lap. On the front cover was a picture of a girl with long, blonde hair and wearing a white and pink ballgown. In her hand she held a scepter with a heart-shaped jewel on top. In the foreground were three smaller figures, all in color-coded dresses and tiny tiaras, wielding wands. The movie title, “Love of Stars” was bottom and center.
“I hope my friends like it,” said Emi. “They're getting premiere tickets!”
Aki waved her arm over her head as her small group approached Hiromi and Miho. The other two girls waved back, and soon both parties met. Hiromi threw herself at Aki, who caught her and swung her around a bit before they all began to walk off towards the theater.
ED: "Rainbow-Colored Future" – BoA ft. Entwined Hearts 4
“I still can't believe how normal everything looks,” Miho said, glancing around. “It's strange...”
“All the damage was undone when we defeated Lady,” Otome said. “I checked back in Kokoro too, the same thing happened there! Even all the dead flowers came back!”
“The power of love is strong indeed...” Hiromi said with a soft smile.
“Awwwww!” Aki laughed, making her girlfriend turn bright red.
“I think that's part of what helped Tamora heal as much as she has too!” said Coffee.
“Everything's okay, datchu!”
Everyone laughed, but certainly didn't disagree. They continued on in silence for a moment, then Otome stopped. “Eh?”
The others stopped too, turning to look at her. “Hm? What's up, Otome?” asked Miho.
Otome stared at something ahead, eyes narrowed slightly. “It must be my imagination...but that...” she began.
Up ahead, someone suddenly tensed up, as if sensing eyes on them. They turned around...
Otome blinked once, expression going neutral. Then her eyes grew shiny, a shaky smile appearing on her face. “No way....no way!” She pulled away from the group, and the others let her run, just watching with smiles on their own faces.
The other person, a young man with shoulder-length, dark hair and green eyes, slowly smiled, raising a hand in greeting. Then as Otome drew nearer, he held his arms out.
Otome leaped into them without a second thought, laughing and crying at the same time. Tears that weren't her own hit her neck, another voice laughing as the two spun around. ”Shylock!”
ON THE NEXT EPISODE:
Airi: “It's nice to meet you all! My name is Airi Honda, and a new PreCure is starting, about me and my friends Fuuka Mori and Kiko Kobayashi!”
Fuuka: “We'll definitely cure all your ills and ease your hearts!”
Kiko: “Our friendship will never be beaten! We hope to see you all really soon!
All: “Next time on Cure Cure! PreCure!: 'A Wonderful Feeling! I Am Pretty Cure!'”
Airi: “Everyone, be well!”