“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?”
“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?
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.
“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?”
“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.
“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...”
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?”
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.”
“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.
“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 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!”
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!”
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.”
“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!"