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About Digital Art / Artist Member Drawer of Girls~Female/United States Groups :iconpuellamagiocs: PuellaMagiOCs
 
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Chibis!
Together Forever by Lady-Moth
Chibi commissions! For one chibi character, the price is as shown. Extra chibis are double points.
Cel-Shading
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
Cel-Shading, with background or without. This can include fake screencaps and PreCure finisher poses!
Soft-Shadings
Commission - Swimsuit Ren by Lady-Moth
Umi by Lady-Moth
Commission - Animeaddictalexa by Lady-Moth
Bright Black-Eyed Susan by Lady-Moth
Soft-shading works
Painting
Commish - Sunset Hang-Out by Lady-Moth
SS: Sugar Wind by Lady-Moth
Gift: Styx by Lady-Moth
Painting-style
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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A cerise-haired woman stood in front of a telephone pole, stapler in hand. With a tired, dull-eyed expression, she stapled a paper to the pole, right over someone's “Lost Pet' flier. Stepping away and adjusting the heavy stack of papers still in her free arm, she sighed quietly, eyes lidding.

“Mrs Hisa?”

She jumped, eyes widening and the beginning of a smile on her face as she turned around. “Noa--!”

Aki and Hiromi stood side-by-side, worried expressions on their faces.

The woman deflated, smile fading in an instant. “Oh. Hello, girls...”

Hiromi glanced at the paper on the phone pole. It was a flier – specifically a missing person flier. Above the brief contact information and the missing's basics, a girl smiled at the camera. She had shoulder-length hair, just a shade darker than her mother's, and bright red eyes. She wore the same uniform Aki and Hiromi did, and had adorned a heart-shaped gold clip at her left temple. Judging by the gates and cherry blossoms in the background, the photo had been taken at the beginning of the school year.

“On your way to school?”

“Huh?” Hiromi blinked and looked back at the woman.

Another smiled had appeared on her face, but it was tired, joyless. She adjusted her hold on the fliers again before speaking. “You two had best hurry. You don't want to miss the bell...”

“Right,” Aki said quietly, nodding. She moved past the woman, gently taking Hiromi by the hand and leading her. “Bye, Mrs Hisa.”

As the girls left Chikae Hisa, who waved goodbye once before continuing down the road, Aki's grip on Hiromi's hand tightened. She swallowed back a lump in her throat, and blinked to clear her vision. “I hope she finds her,” Aki mumbled.

“Yeah...”

“What's going on?” asked Coffee, poking her head out of Hiromi's bag. Ti soon followed. “Who was that lady?”

“One of my neighbors,” Hiromi explained. “Mrs Hisa... her daughter, Noa, disappeared a while ago.” Her mouth twitched slightly as she lowered her face, glasses catching the light and becoming opaque.

________________________________________

Chikae put up another flier, and stopped. She stared at the picture of Noa for a bit. Noa looked so grown-up in her uniform... She'd been so excited to start school again, see her friends, join a club...

The woman pressed her forehead to the pole, and wept.

________________________________________

OP: "Love and Joy PreCure" - Entwined Hearts Duo

________________________________________

Mirai shuddered, eyes squeezing shut. “Brrr...”

“Another premonition?” Aki grinned as she walked past Mirai's desk.

The pink-haired girl laughed a little, cheeks turning red. “Just a little one...” She went quiet til Aki went to her own seat, then leaned over to talk to Hiromi. “Hiromi! Keep a close eye on your possessions today!”

“Eh?” Hiromi paused halfway into her seat.

“Just be very careful!”

“Ahaha...I will, Mirai.” Hiromi sat down, setting her schoolbag by her chair.

Up where Aki sat, another girl leaned over to poke between her shoulders with a sharpened pencil. “Heeeey, Aki~?”

“Hm? What is it, Antoinette?”

Antoinette Rayne, a girl with shoulder-length warm honey-blonde hair and dark blue eyes, lowered her pencil and smiled a little. Granted the way one corner of her mouth lifted more than the other, and the way her eyes narrowed a bit, it looked more like a smirk, but still... “Well, I was wondering, when's it my turn to walk to school with you?”

“Huh?”

“I mean, I always see you walking in with Satou, and I thought if someone like you frequently walks with someone like her, maybe you're giving everyone a turn? Walking everyone to school? I was wondering when it was my turn next! If you're going alphabetically, you've skipped right over me, you know.”

Aki blinked awkwardly and cleared her throat. “Ah, about that--”

She was saved by Mrs Matoko stepping into the room just then. “Alright, everyone,” Mrs Matoko said, completely oblivious to the loud exhale at Aki's desk, “let's get our notes out and discuss the tragedy of the samurai and the tree spirit...”

________________________________________

TODAY'S EPISODE: 'Our Fairies Are Gone?!'

________________________________________

The bell rang, signaling lunch. Mrs Matoko clapped her textbook shut and hastily left the room, tossing a “See you later!” over her shoulder. A few students laughed, knowing the instant the door slid shut, she'd be bolting down the hallway to get melon bread before it was all gone.

Antoinette pushed back her chair and smiled, holding up a pink-wrapped bento. “Aki~ Let's eat lunch togeth--”

But Aki, as it turned out, was already on the other side of the classroom, talking to Hiromi. Antoinette gripped her lunch tightly as she overheard the tail-end of the conversation.

“So, the roof?”

“Sure.”

“I'll meet you there, okay? I brought meatball subs!”

“Sounds good!”

“Forget it, Antoinette...” came a voice at her other side. Antoinette glared at the speaker, a white-haired boy who was idly scooping rice and peppers into his mouth. “I don't think Aki knows you beyond 'just a classmate.' She doesn't seem interested.”

“That's just-- You be quiet!” Antoinette snapped, slamming her lunch down on her desk. “She only hangs out with Satou because she feels sorry for her! I'm sure of it!”

It was the only feasible explanation, right? After all, Aki was richer, prettier, more popular, more athletic... Satou wasn't poor, but her house was in the more....ordinary part of town. And she was alright-looking but nothing special, she constantly over-reacted, there was that weird friend of hers...

How could Aki have befriended someone like her over Antoinette? Antoinette was the one sitting next to her in class, after all!

“If you say so...” Yuki muttered. “Why're you so upset about this anyway? Normally you don't say a word to Satou, and all you say to Aki is good morning.” He straightened up, eyes narrowing slightly. “Wait...this isn't about--”

“Shut up!”

“You're still mad about that? Antoinette, I keep telling ya, he's--”

“I said shut up!” Antoinette shouted, hurling her bento at Yuki's face. It hit him with a loud, satisfying smack that earned the attention of everyone else remaining in the classroom. Antoinette didn't seem to notice, instead huffing and picking up her schoolbag. “Now you've ruined my lunch, Yuki!” she said. “I'll have to see if there's more melon bread left!”

With that, she stormed out, slamming the door shut behind her.

There was a long moment of silence before everyone else slowly went back to their meals and conversations. Ti shook slightly as he stared out of Hiromi's bag. “I don't think I like that girl, datchu,” he whispered. Coffee patted him gently.

Mirai and Hiromi sat in stunned silence. Eventually, Mirai coughed into her hand. “Uhm...well, I did get the feeling Rayne would be a little 'off' today... Ah, Hiromi! You should meet up with Aki!”

“That's right!” Hiromi gasped, standing straight up. Quickly, she grabbed her bag, and headed for the door. “See you after lunch!”

“Bye-bye~”

________________________________________

As Hiromi made her way to the rooftop, Coffee poked her head out of the bag again, sniffing. Her eyes closed as she took another long, deep inhale, then smiled. “Hey. Hey, Your Highness, something smells good...”

“Really?” Ti poked his own head out, mimicking Coffee. Sniff, sniffff... “Ah! Someone has hamburger!”

“You think we can get some? I don't like subs, and we can't possibly ask Aki for something else.”

“Eh?” Ti turned his surprised gaze towards Coffee. “B-But – we'll get in trouble! We can't leave Hiromi alone, datchu! We're supposed to--”

But as he was speaking, Coffee was gently tugging on his tiny paws, leading him out of the bag. “It's okay,” she whispered reassuringly. “We'll catch up with her before she knows we've left. This isn't too much different from when you ran away from your tutors, is it?” she added with a small smile. “And... And you were fine because Cure Ariel was with you. Well, I'll be with you too, so you'll be alright. Okay?”

Ti, whose face had taken an odd expression when he'd heard Ariel's name, swallowed audibly. He looked down, brow furrowed slightly.

”As long as I'm here, you'll be fine.”

He nodded. “Okay, datchu.”

“Good!” Coffee smiled, leaping down to the floor, paw-in-paw with Ti. “We'll be back before they know it!”

________________________________________

Antoinette walked down the hallway, glaring straight ahead at nothing in particular. A plastic bag swung in her hand, right alongside her schoolbag. She sighed quietly, eyes closing briefly. “I really don't want to go back to the classroom...” she muttered to herself. “Not after that outburst...” Her eyes opened again--

--and she froze, staring wide-eyed at two small creatures, who stared back in obvious alarm.

“....rats?” she whispered.

It happened too fast for them to react. Antoinette's eyes narrowed again, and she quickly bent down, snatching up the smaller one first and dropping him into her schoolbag. When the large one ran...towards the bag (and Antoinette briefly thought that was a bit strange), she was captured too. The blonde girl stood suddenly, clasping the bag shut tightly with her hand on it, making absolutely sure it wouldn't fly open or something. She looked around the empty hallway, and then ran for the stairs.

________________________________________

In Heartbreak Manor, a young man sat alone in his room, a cloth in one hand and a gleaming sword in the other. His face held no emotion, he simply stared at nothingness as he gave the metal one final polish. Not that there was anything to clean off...

Shylock studied his reflection in his sword. It – both the sword and his reflection – was perfect. The sword hadn't been used in a long time, hadn't tasted blood in ages. His reflection was a perfect copy of his face; not twisted or ugly or anything symbolic like that.

He looked as he always did.

Something flickered in his eyes, and he closed them, stood...

...and set the sword back in its proper place, on the wall.

“Ehhhhh?~ You're not taking the sword, Shylock?”

He turned around, walking right past Tamora without a glance at her. The girl blinked curiously, twirling around to watch him go.

“But that's your sword! You gotta bring a weapon to fight Pretty Cure! Lord Break said so!”

“It isn't quite a simple battle,” Shylock said, a statement that made Tamora tilt her head and frown. “A Heartbreak Marker and a good target are all I need...” He paused outside the door. “Don't tell Ariel where I've gone.” And then he left.

________________________________________

“Okay, one more time.”

“Okay, datchu!”

”Push!” Coffee whispered loudly, and she and Ti pushed hard against the flap over the bag. It moved a little, but not enough. Coffee growled and was about to suggest trying again when Ti tripped over a pink pencil case. “Ah! You okay, Your Highness?” she asked, helping him up.

“Y-yeah...”

Coffee smiled briefly. “Good...” Then her expression grew sad, and she looked down at the messy floor of their prison. “I'm sorry, Your Highness...I said you'd be alright as long as I was here, and now look where we are...I've failed you.”

Ti blinked, trying not to look too upset himself. “Y-You didn't--”

Whatever he was about to say next was cut off, as he and Coffee found themselves dropped. Or rather, the bag fell, and they felt it. The two held onto each other as the bag fell sideways, school supplies spilling around them. His eyes widened as he noticed the flap seemed to be open a little more. “Ah! C-Coffee, datchu!”

“Right!”

This time, it took only a few seconds to push the flap up, and then run out of the bag. But that was as far as they got.

Coffee stood in the middle of a large bed, blinking in surprise. They were...in a girl's bedroom. A very nice one, too, from the looks of it. Very clean, not a speck of dust on the cream-colored carpet, the fluffy pink bed was immaculately-made, the bookshelves were neat and tidy. Even the white lace curtains at the windows were perfectly symmetrical and clean. And look, even outside the window was – they could see Aki's house! This girl was Aki's neighbor!

The only thing that even slightly had Coffee on edge was the large cage in the corner of the room, sitting atop of a bunch of newspapers. Why would a human girl need such a huge cage, and with so many large tubes in it?

Clearly it was meant to hold them, whenever their captor returned from...wherever it was she'd gone to. What a foolish guard, to leave her victims all alone! Coffee chuckled to herself, picking Ti up onto her back. “Alright, Your Highness. We'll take advantage of our guard being gone, and--”

And the door opened.

Coffee tensed up as Antoinette approached the bed, something in her hands. She clenched her teeth as Ti sobbed and hid his face in her furry shoulder. She'd managed to outrun shadowy monsters, she would outrun a human girl if she had to!
...a fast human girl, and this was her domain, but she still must have stood a chance!

Antoinette grinned down at the two...

...and set the plate she was holding in front of them. “Here you go, guys,” she said in a gentle, low voice.

Coffee blinked in surprise, and Ti lifted his head to stare. Now that the thing – no, the plate – was lowered, Coffee wondered how she couldn't see the steam rising from the top. Or smell the stuff on it.

“It's hamburger,” Antoinette said with a small laugh. “Go on...” When the critters didn't move to eat, and instead kept staring wide-eyed, she reached out and took off a bit of meat with her thumb and forefinger. “See, it's good!” She gently blew on it, then popped the bite in her mouth, chewing happily.  “Mmmmm-mm! See?” She tore off another piece and held it out to the rat, chuckling as she sniffed at it.

The rat looked back at the little mouse on her shoulder, then at Antoinette again. Then she lunged forward and seized the hamburger between her paws and began devouring it. Antoinette laughed again, wiping her fingers on her skirt. “Tasty, huh? It's a little savory, since it came from the school, though. But I made sure to drain most of the juices before I put it on the plate.” She tore off another segment, this time feeding herself as the rat just helped herself to the food. Antoinette grinned a bit as the mouse rolled off and nibbled a little meat, too, staring up with wide, curious eyes.

“But I just don't get why you were in school,” Antoinette murmured, frowning. “I mean, rodents don't last very long in a place like a high school – no offense meant to you two, of course, it's just what your animal class is called! - and we don't normally get mice or rats up here.” Her frown deepened. “And then there are these ribbons, so obviously you're someone's pets, I suppose...”

The rat actually looked a bit offended.

Antoinette laughed, then lay on her bed and stroked the mouse, who was still eating, with her fingertip. “Well, don't worry. I'll take care of you until I can find who your owner is...

“And til then, we can have some fun, ohoho~!”

________________________________________

Eyecatch 1: Hiromi and Aki lean over a small box, watching in anticipation as Ti and Coffee turn the handle. It appears to be a small jack-in-the-box, but when the lid suddenly pops open, it sends a spray of heart-shaped confetti all over them. The four of them laugh, and the Entwined Hearts logo appears in the corner.
Eyecatch 2: Cure Capulet and Cure Montague run at each other from opposite sides of the screen. The slide across the floor, intending on strike a pose together, but while Montague stops, Capulet keeps sliding. She briefly flails her arms in panic, and Montague grabs her around the waist to stop her. The momentum results in Capulet being held in a dip as she and Montague lock eyes. Montague laughs while Capulet blushes, and the Entwined Hearts logo appears in the corner.

________________________________________

“Alright, everyone, welcome back. Hopefully you all had a good lunch – hm?” Mrs Matoko's gaze went to a seat she was sure had been occupied earlier. “Where's Rayne?”

Yuki raised his hand. “She was here earlier; she just said she was going to get some lunch and left.”

After a brief pause, Mrs Matoko shrugged and turned back to the board. “She must've eaten something bad and went home... I keep telling them, they need to prepare some of their meat better.”

Hiromi frowned and looked down at her bag. Hm...Coffee and Ti hadn't said anything at all the entire lunch break. She'd assumed they were napping and shouldn't be disturbed, and now she was kinda glad she hadn't woken them. The meatball subs were fine to her, but rats and mice had more delicate stomachs, right? They might have gotten sick if she'd woken them up!

But still, they must be hungry now, right? And Hiromi did have a few macarons left over. She reached into her desk to take some out of their little box, opened her schoolbag--

And a loud yelp sounded from her desk, catching everyone's attention. Mrs Matoko lowered the chalk she held. “Satou?! Are you alright? You look pale!”

Hiromi stood at her desk, holding her open schoolbag at chest-level. She stared straight ahead, her glasses opaque, slack-jawed. “I-I-I--” she stammered, then gulped and bowed. “I feel sick! I need to go home! Bye-bye!” And without another word, she bolted out of the classroom and down the hall.

After a brief pause, Aki thrust her hand into the air and doubled over. “Ohhhh, Mrs Matoko, my stomach suddenly hurts very badly! I have to leave, too!” A second later, Aki was gone.

Mrs Matoko stood there for a second, then sighed and rubbed her temple. “Does anyone else suddenly have a bad stomachache?” she groaned.

________________________________________

”What do you mean they're gone?!” Aki shrieked, running down the hill and into town.

“I mean I looked in my bag and they're not there! If they were in school they would have gone back to the classroom or said something or – What if I dropped them on our way to school?!” Hiromi suddenly gasped, hands flying up to her cheeks. “What if they're being chased by a cat?! What if they got hit by a car?! What if a chef saw them and he was thinking of making mouse soup and has fresh ingredients?!”

“Hiromi, calm down - You're making me more anxious than I already am! Just try not to think about how much trouble they could be getting into!”

”Gyaaaaaaah, I'm imagining it!”

________________________________________

Ti ran as fast as his little legs could take him, breathing heavily. His eyes were wide, focused. He could hear laughter in the background, but paid no attention to it – it wasn't important, not compared to this.

He leaped, but just before he could land on the brightly-colored ribbon, it was pulled away.

“Ahaha, almost~” Antoinette laughed as the little mouse looked around for the toy. “Come on, you can do it!” She gave the toy – a bright pink ribbon attached to a thin, black rod – another twitch, moving the ribbon to another spot on the floor. “C'mon, your friend got it in no time flat, you can do it!”

Her expression softened somewhat as she watched the mouse try to pin the runaway ribbon again, finally succeeding. Her seized it between his front paws and began biting down on it, rolling over it enough to get tangled up. Antoinette chuckled. “I knew you could do it, cutie... I hope your owner has a ribbon for you at their house. Eh?”

Antoinette jerked her head up to see the rat had wandered onto her desk and was climbing onto a stack of papers. ”Get down from there!” she shouted.

The rat actually jumped, and turned to stare at her. Antoinette dropped the ribbon, seized the mouse, and stormed over the desk. In one swift motion, she grabbed the rat by the scruff of the neck and held it up to her face, glaring down at it. “You stay away from those papers! They're not food! They are not food!” she snapped, giving the rat a little shake.

The rat just stared in what could only be stunned horror.

Antoinette's hard glare slowly softened, and she sighed. She carefully moved her hands around the rat to hold her in one cupped hand, gently petting down her disturbed fur with the other hand. “I'm sorry, sweetheart... I've just been having a bad few days. I didn't mean to take it out on you, honest, I didn't...”

The rat turned around to look at the papers again.

The top of the paper was blank; clearly something was meant to go in that space later. Below that was some thick, bold text.

MISSING
Three years old
Answers to Bitsy
If found, please contact Antoinette Rayne at XXX-XXXX. Give him some hamburger before I fetch him, it's his favorite


“I've had him since he was just a baby,” Antoinette explained, her voice thick. “But a few days ago, Papa wasn't paying attention, and he was talking to Mama with our door wide open. I'd let Bitsy out to get some exercise, and before any of us could stop him...” She sniffled, then sobbed faintly, wiping at her eyes. “I-I've done everything. I've put up posters, but Mrs Hisa keeps putting Noa's posters over them by accident. I set out hamburger – his favorite food in the whole world - near my house but strays eat them instead. I keep going out to look for him after school and it's... He's my best friend in the world...And I can't find him...” she sobbed lightly.

She could have sworn the little mouse was patting her shoulder in sympathy, murmuring “datchu” at her.

________________________________________

“Coffeeee!” Aki shouted, hands cupped around her mouth.

“Tiii! Where are you?!” Hiromi added. She lowered her hands, her glasses opaque again. “Please don't be in trouble!” she called again.

“Hiromi, cut it out!” Aki gave her a horrified look. Then she blinked, and her panicked expression faded. Just past her girlfriend, there was something small and furry, something lurking behind a nearby trashcan. “Coffee!” she yelled. “Or Ti!” She bolted past Hiromi, arms outstretched--

--a dark blur shot past the furry thing and took it before Aki could react.

Both girls blinked. “Wh-what the--”

“You two are Pretty Cure, aren't you?”

They looked up to see a boy only a little older than themselves. He had lime-green, emotionless eyes, and dark shoulder-length hair. His clothes were varying shades of dark gray; a long-sleeved shirt with two coattails in the back, thick pants, and black shoes. The only splash of color he wore was the bright red scarf around his neck.

And he had simply appeared from nowhere, and was holding the creature – a fat ferret – by its neck. And he knew who they were.

Well, in a situation like that, there was only one explanation.

“Shitsuren!” Aki whispered harshly.

________________________________________

Ti tensed up, gasping faintly. Without a word, he turned and leaped off of Antoinette's shoulder, running for the door.

“H-Huh? Hey, wait, sweetie!” Antoinette called after him, giving chase. Whoa, he was already running down the hall and for the front door! How fast was this little guy? “Where're you going?! Come back!”

Ti stopped at the front door, threw himself against it a few times, then scurried up the floor-length curtain towards the window.

“No, wait!”

Too late. He jumped out. And Antoinette threw the door open and gave chase, Coffee clinging to her shoulder for dear life. “Waaaiiit! I can't lose you too! I'm supposed to take care of you!” she called, voice tight.

________________________________________

“You haven't denied it, and you know where my loyalties lie,” Shylock intoned, hefting the ferret higher.

“Put him down!” Hiromi screamed, panic rising in her voice.

“Wait, little guy, come – Oh my God, Bitsy!”

Hiromi and Aki whirled around to see Antoinette racing towards them, eyes wide and shining with the beginning of tears. “Antoinette, stay away!” Hiromi yelled, throwing her arm out and shaking her head. “Run!”

“But--!”

Shylock threw the ferret high into the air. As it flew above their heads, squirming and making loud distressed noises, (Antoinette could be heard screaming in horror) he swiftly uncapped his marker and drew the familiar heart shape in the air and slashed it in half. Another slashing motion of his arm, and the symbol shot towards the animal. “Fall into heartbreaking despair! Come on out, Usotsuki!” he shouted.

Hiromi and Aki could only shield their eyes from the flash of purple light, and then stare in horror at what Bitsy had become. The ferret had grown to the size of a house, its once tawny color pitch black, with purple paws. Large fangs that dripped thick saliva protruded from its jaw, and its eyes were nothing more than bright red coals. When Bitsy-Usotsuki opened its mouth, more of the horrible red glow could be seen. ”USOOOOOO!”

Antoinette stood frozen, staring in horror and despair. “....Bitsy?” she whispered.

The Usotsuki didn't attack... it lowered its head, paws up over its ears, and roared. The cry was ear-piercing, but anyone paying attention could tell it sounded in pain.

The tears threatened to overflow. “Bitsy?!”

________________________________________

Eleven-year-old Antoinette stared down at the tiny ball of fuzz in her hands.

A baby ferret yawned, stretched, and began washing its face, much to the girl's delight.

Later that evening, she dangled a bright pink ribbon above the ferret's head, laughing as he jumped up to grab it. “Good boy, good boy~!” she cooed. The ribbon was set aside, Antoinette leaned forward and picked up the ferret, cuddling her cheek against him.

Even later, at bedtime, she slept soundly with the ferret curled under her chin, snoring delicately. “I love you,” Antoinette mumbled in her sleep.


________________________________________

“Bitsy!” she screamed again, then directed her gaze to Shylock. “You monster! What have you done to my beloved Bitsy?!”

“Antoinette, you need to get outta here, datchu!” Ti suddenly yelled, leaping off her shoulder and standing in front of her.

Antoinette wasn't listening. Nor did she really notice the little mouse was talking. All her attention was on Shylock. “Change him back!” she shrieked, more tears gathering in her eyes. ”Give me back my Bitsy! Stop hurting him!” She roared in fury and charged towards Shylock.

Shylock simply jumped out of the way, so quickly he might as well have teleported. He reappeared atop a phone pole right next to Bitsy-Usotsuki. “Come on, then, Pretty Cure...My Usotsuki is hurting, a living creature is suffering, and you don't seem to care enough to save it... I suppose the stories that Cures held the brightest love in their hearts were all wrong,” he added in a bitter tone.

“Antoinette, please, get away!” Aki shouted, bringing her hand up to her mouth. The Cure Signets...they had to transform, but with Antoinette here – they'd never transformed in front of someone like this, could they--

“I see you two need incentive,” Shylock murmured. He uncapped the marker again, drawing a heart in mid-air and slashing through it. Another swipe, and the symbol split in two and shot down towards Antoinette.

Antoinette, who'd been running towards the pole to try and get Shylock again, was hit directly in the chest. She cried out sharply as if her oxygen had been cut off, then her legs buckled beneath her and she fell to the ground. A black aura appeared around her as the tears she'd been trying to hold back finally fell, pouring in small streams down her face. She tilted her head back, mouth opened wide as she began half-sobbing, half-screaming. ”AH-AAAAAH....BITSYYYY AHH...!” she wailed, shoulders heaving, a little snot escaping her nose.

Shylock paid no mind to her suffering. He simply recapped the marker, eyeing her coolly. “Your heartbreak will fill the River Despair and flood the world.”

By 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, something like black lightning dancing over it.

“Antoinette!”

“Antoinette, datchu!”

Hiromi's hands curled into fists, pressed against her chest. “Antoinette...Bitsy...” She shut her eyes, gritting her teeth, then glared up at Shylock. “They did nothing to you! Bitsy's not even doing anything!”

“Bitsy never wanted to fight! He still doesn't!” Aki added.

Sure enough, Bitsy-Usotsuki was still writhing in pain. It lashed out with its front paws, smashing a streetlight into pieces, but it didn't seem to be on purpose. It was an unconscious reaction, a response to pain rather than a desire to hurt others.

“This is...”

“Far enough!”

“Pretty Cure, Love's Song!”
“The innocent love in a maiden's heart, Cure Capulet!”
“The sincere love in a maiden's heart, Cure Montague!”
“Our hearts connected! Pretty Cure Entwined Hearts!”


“So, you have enough love to transform,” Shylock noted. “But what else?”

Bitsy-Usotsuki roared in agony again, and thrashed. Another telephone pole was bent, the wood splintering and nearly hitting the still-crying Antoinette. He roared one more time, took one weak, pained step forward--

--and began to fall down towards Antoinette.

“Antoinette!” Montague cried, and she ran forward. In the blink of an eye, she'd grabbed Antoinette around the middle and leaped out of the way, taking her classmate with her. She winced as Antoinette kept crying directly into her ear, but showed no sign of annoyance.

“Bitsy...Bitsyyyy!” Antoinette shrieked between sobs.

Montague felt her heart twisting into knots at the sound. “You love him so much, don't you...?” she murmured.

Down below, Capulet had run forward and grabbed Bitsy-Usotsuki's arms, pinning them to the ground to keep him from moving. He continued to thrash, however, his larger tail and legs knocking aside cars, trash cans, bending more metal and wooden poles alongside the street. He roared again, the sound making Capulet's ears ring.

But she still held fast.

“You're hurting... You never asked for this, neither you nor Antoinette did! Neither of you deserve to hurt so much!”

In the air, Montague began to fall back down to earth, Antoinette in her arms. She hugged the girl tight, patting her back. “We'll save Bitsy... I promise, Antoinette!”

“Well, I was wondering, when's it my turn to walk to school with you?”

“You were lonely...And you wanted someone to help you find Bitsy!” Montague realized.

Meanwhile, Capulet looked into Bitsy-Usotsuki's glowing red eyes, her heart breaking at the sight of tears dotting the lashes. “You're scared. All you wanted was to go home, to be with your human again, and this happened!”

Montague landed and gently deposited Antoinette on the street. “We'll definitely...”

“....help you!”

Capulet let go and leaped away before she could be struck by the still-thrashing Bitsy-Usotsuki. “Montague!” she cried, throwing her hand out.

Montague grabbed her hand. “Right!”

The Rapier Wands appeared before them, and they aimed directly at Bitsy-Usotsuki's heart. ”Pretty Cure Dual Heart Strike!”

Instead of a hole being blasted through him, Bitsy-Usotsuki was bathed in warm light, glowing hearts dancing around him. He slowly relaxed, as if the pain was leaving him. ”Uso....” he began to growl, but that soon faded into a sleep, and almost relieved, ”...dook.”

The light flashed a warm gold, and Bitsy lay curled up on the sidewalk. The damage he'd caused magically reversed itself, Antoinette stopped crying and slowly sank to the ground, as if in sleep.

The young man just clapped once. “Bravo,” he said flatly.

“What was this even about?!” Montague yelled. “What were you talking about, about love and PreCure having the brightest hearts and all that? And who are you?”

“Montague, calm down...” Capulet murmured.

“My name is Shylock,” the young man said, briefly inclining his head. “And I came to perform a test. ...you've passed, but this may not be a good thing for you.”

And with that, he teleported away.

________________________________________

“Shyloooock! I thought you were gonna defeat theeeem! Isn't that what Break wanted?!” Tamora whined, fists under her chin.

“Tamora, please, it's too early for this...” Riche groaned.

“It's afternoon!”

“It's always too early for this.”

Tamora puffed her cheeks out and pouted. She was about to say something when Shylock spoke up, catching her attention.

“Break wanted me to face Pretty Cure, but not to defeat them. They merely wanted to see how strong their hearts were, their resolve...”

Lady's brows lowered, and she managed a look of concern even without opening her eyes. “But that wasn't all, was it, Shylock?” she whispered, setting down a tray of tea.

Shylock was silent, staring out the window.

Lady sighed, pushing a teacup and sugar bowl towards him. “Lord Break likely wanted to be certain you wouldn't fall again. He was so worried about the last time--”

“It will not happen again.”

________________________________________


“Antoinette?”

“Datchu?”

“Hmm...” Antoinette's brow furrowed for a moment before she opened her eyes, blinking blearily as she sat up. She looked around, confused. “Huh? Why am I lying on a dirty street?”

“You tripped!” Aki offered, smiling sheepishly and scratching the back of her head. “You managed to catch you but I guess the shock of it made you pass out?”

Hiromi gave Aki an odd look. “Just because it happened to me once doesn't mean you can--” she began mumbling.

Antoinette suddenly gasped and sat straight up. “Ah! The mouse and rat! I was chasing the mouse outside – h-he got loose and--” Her gaze went to Hiromi, and she noticed the mouse and rat on her shoulders. Antoinette sighed in relief, shoulders slumping. “Oh...thank goodness...Are they yours, Satou?”

“Uhm! Y-yes!”

“They're very cute and behaved beautifully. I can tell you take good care of them,” Antoinette smiled and reached out for Ti. She patted him between the ears with a fingertip, chuckling as Ti began to nuzzle her. “No wonder Aki likes you so much... Only someone with a good heart can raise such nice animals.”

“Say, about animals...” Aki held out a fuzzy thing that Antoinette had overlooked til this point. “Is this the guy from the flier?”

Antoinette looked down – and her eyes went wide, cheeks turning pink. “Bitsy!” she cried, holding her arms open.

With a cheery 'dook!' the ferret leaped out of Aki's arms and into Antoinette's. He buried his snout between her neck and shoulder, nuzzling and making tiny little ferret noises, his little claws grasping her shirt tightly. Antoinette, for her part, was sobbing openly again, but this time in happiness. She hugged Bitsy tightly, gently stroking him all the way from his head to tail. “Oh, thank God! I was so scared, Bitsy, I was so – Don't ever go near the front door again, Bitsy! Oh my God... Satou, Aki, thank you so much for finding him!” she added, turning her tear-streaked face towards the two.

“Y-You're welcome...” Hiromi stammered.

“Hey, Antoinette?” Aki said. “You know, uhm...Bitsy looks like he loves you a lot, and...well, you did say people with good hearts are good with animals, and you did ask about walking to school together--”

Antoinette flushed red. “O-Oh, I'm sorry about that, dreadfully sorry! I don't know what--”

“If you want, we can all walk together?” Aki suggested. Hiromi nodded. “I mean, your house is near mine, right? And we can talk about taking care of our pets!”

“I'm not--!” Coffee began, but Hiromi covered her mouth.

“What do you say?” Aki added, holding one hand out.

There was a long pause as Antoinette looked from Aki, to Hiromi, to Aki's hand. Then she looked to the little animals she'd taken care of earlier, and at Bitsy still hugging her.
Finally, she closed her eyes, smiled and nodded.

“Sure!”

________________________________________

“Wow, Coffee sure likes that hamburger...” Hiromi said the next day, watching Antoinette feed the rat some of her lunch.

“Her name is Coffee? What a weird name, Satou! Did you come up with it after pulling an all-nighter?” Antoinette asked with a deep frown. Then she blinked, and looked sheepishly down at the rat in her lap. “Er – I didn't mean it that way, I apologize... It's kinda cute, I guess.”

Ti smiled from his position on Aki's shoulder. It was kind of funny, really, how pets had made the three of them friends. And how much his opinion of Antoinette had changed since he first heard her.

“Aki~? Can I feed Ti some hamburger too~~?”

“Sure. Ah, Antoinette, eh... you know, I'm not looking in dating someone right now, so if you could pull back that tone you used just now--”

“Oh, right!” Antoinette turned red again. “Sorry!”

Yup, Ti thought to himself as he sampled the hamburger he'd been offered. Changed a lot.

________________________________________

ED: "Hummingbird" - Mana Ogawa

________________________________________

ON THE NEXT EPISODE:
Aki: “Waaaah, Hiromi, this parfait is the best ever!”
Hiromi: U-Uhm, but I like this lava cake...But really, all the desserts here are delicious!”
Aki: “Oh no wait! This new thing is the best ever! I could eat it all day and never get sick of it!”
Coffee: “Uh-oh! I think this sweet's actually bad for you!”
Aki: “Next time on Pretty Cure Entwined Hearts: Cafe-Commotion! A Recipe for Chaos!' Let love heal your heart!"
Everyone was supposed to be asleep at this time of night. The moon was high in the sky, which was a dark blue-velvet, with no one awake to appreciate it.

No one save for one young man, that was.

Shylock held his scarf closer against the chilly air, walking the familiar path he'd laid out. Go through the forest. Hop over this stream. Climb the footholds in the hillside and--

Shylock suddenly froze when he reached the top, breath catching in his throat.

The figure standing at the cliff side seemed to sense him, for he saw their shoulders tense for a second before they turned to look at him.

“Oh. I didn't think anyone else knew about this place.”

Shylock just stared.

“I'm sorry. I should go, shouldn't I? It's your secret place, after all.” The person turned fully, and started to walk towards him to go back down the hill.

“Wait.” Without thinking, he grabbed their sleeve. The person stopped, but they didn't seem angry, or put off. Shylock took that as minor encouragement. “You've found it. You can keep it if you want.” And then just as
he was preparing to go down...

She grabbed his wrist. “How about we
share this spot?”

Moments later, they stood side by side, staring up at the moon and the stars – more stars gathered in one place than either had ever seen before. One star briefly shot across the sky as they watched.

“Were you the one who made the trail? The one through the bushes?” the girl asked.

Shylock nodded. “I suppose you were the one who dug the footholds that just appeared one day.”

She nodded, smiling faintly. “Looks like we really should share this, hm?” Suddenly she let out a small laugh. “Oh, my. Here we are, sharing a secret spot, and I don't even know your name yet.”

“...Shylock. It's Shylock.”

“Lovely to meet you, Shylock...My name's...”


Shylock's eyes opened. He was lying on his back on the loveseat, one leg bent at the knee, one hand on his stomach. He blinked lazily, still facing the ceiling.

“...Otome...”

________________________________________

OP: "Love and Joy PreCure" - Entwined Hearts Duo

________________________________________

“And here's the sandwiches Emma made...”

“Uwaaaah~!” Coffee's eyes shone brightly.

Aki grinned, moving her index finger a little to the left. “And over there's the cookies Sebastian made...”

“Aaaaah~”

“And here's some of the leftover chocolates...”

”Uwaaaaaaaa~!”

“And this is my personal favorite – triple chocolate cupcakes!”

Coffee squealed her loudest yet, covering her face and doing a strange 'shimmy-dance' before she lunged for the cupcake in Aki's palm. But at the last second, Aki smiled and held the cupcake high over her head. “Ah-ah-ah~ There's a little thing you gotta do to get this cupcake...or any other treats here~”

“Whaaaa?” Coffee blinked, her joyful expression immediately turning into one of shock. “What? What what what?!”

Aki grinned. “You gotta tell us the whooooole story of where you guys came from, what's up with the rings, and the bad guys...all of it. Then, and only then, will you get this delicious cupcake.”

Hiromi sat off to the side on the picnic blanket, holding Ti in her cupped hands. Both were staring with deadpan expressions at Aki. “...I want cupcakes too, datchu.”

________________________________________

TODAY'S EPISODE: 'Why We Fight! For Our Love!'

________________________________________

“Alright.” Coffee cleared her throat, trying to look as dignified as possible as Aki set the chocolate confectionery down between them.

The four of them were in a nearby park, seated on a small blanket spread out under a tree. It was still early morning, the sky a hazy and soft pink-purple. Sure, it was a little chilly, but that was fine! Sometimes it was nice to just sit back and enjoy an early morning, before everyone else. Hiromi shifted a bit, scooting closer to Aki.

“Now then...I, Coffee, am employed by the royal family of Kokoro, and it is my sworn duty to protect the young Crown Prince. That'd be Ti, over there,” she added, gesturing at the little fairy.

“Coffee, what's so special about Kokoro exactly?” Aki asked, leaning forward like a little kid in story-circle.

“Kokoro's very special, datchu!” Ti chimed in suddenly. A dreamy smile appeared on his face as he went on. “Th-there's lots of pretty flowers, and the sky's the prettiest blue I've ever seen, and the castle is so pretty...And there's the festivals, and the flower-watching nights, and everything feels so happy, datchu.”

His smile faded, replaced by a melancholy look that didn't fit his young age. Slowly, he looked down, shoulders slumping. “And Cure Ariel protected us all, datchu...”

________________________________________

“Your Highness!”

“Your Highness, where are you?!”

“Where could he have gone?”

Prince Ti giggled quietly to himself, hiding amongst some large, flowering bushes. The royal tutors didn't seem to notice him, too busy frantically running this way and that, urgency reflected in their eyes, the way they held their limbs.

“He knows that he has an important history exam today!”

“It's not like the young prince to wander off!”

No, indeed it was not.

“Oh, and on this day, of all of them!”

And yes, this was why he'd chosen to skip out on his lessons today.

Today was a special day.  And gosh darn it, there was no way he was going to stay inside a stuffy old room with boring books and parchment, when he could be outside, having fun!

“Ah, Cure Ariel!”

Ti stiffened, a choked gasp escaping him as he sensed someone right behind him. Almost afraid to look, he slowly peered over his shoulder and up. There, right behind him, her hands clasped demurely in front of herself, was the famed Cure Ariel herself.

The aqua Cure smiled gently up at the tutors. “Yes, is there something wrong?”

“Yes! Indeed there is!” cried one man, wringing his hands. “Prince Ti has gone missing! And he has a history test today! He can't miss a test!”

“Oh, my! Indeed he can't,” said Cure Ariel, her eyes growing wide and a hand coming to cover her mouth in shock. “Well, don't worry, Takawa. I'll find him, and he'll be quite safe with me.”

Ti started to back away nervously, wondering if, if he could just run fast enough, he'd be able to escape from a Pretty Cure.

“Are you sure?”

“Oh, very! Don't worry. I'll find him.”

“If you're sure...” the balding man mumbled, wringing his hands one more time before bowing, and then leaving with the other tutors.

Ariel smiled still, waving goodbye. And then, after a moment of holding that pose, she suddenly crouched down, her smile looking a little more mischievous as she looked directly at Ti. “Well. Playing hooky, aren't we, Your Highness?”

Ti froze, sweating a bit. “D-Datchu...” he squeaked weakly.

Ariel scooped him up in her hands and held him at face-level. “So, since you're already out...shall we enjoy today's festivities? I assure you, you're quite safe with me,” she added with a wink.

________________________________________

“Good morning, Cure Ariel!”

“Good morning,” she called back with a smile.

“Cure Ariel! How nice to see you!”

“Likewise, sir!”

Cure Ariel walked through the kingdom, her high heels making satisfying clicks against the brick ground. The main square was full of people, many off to the side and hanging up decorations and lights. They all greeted Ariel as she passed, and received a greeting in return.
Hidden in the ribbon on her chest, Ti took in as many sights as he could, his eyes wide and sparkling. Oh, he'd seen this from his window several times, from a distance. But it was nothing to seeing it being set up. It gave a sort of...familiar feeling, of sorts, to see something being prepared instead of just looking at the final product.

“Ah! Granny, please...” Ariel started forward, causing Ti to let out a small squeak and duck back into her chest-ribbon.

An elderly woman was about to climb onto a small stepping stool, bright ribbons in her hands. She looked over at Ariel as the girl jogged up to her and gently took the ribbons. “Granny, it's too dangerous for you to do that – you know what the doctor said. Let me handle that, please.”

A few minutes later, the lamp-post before them was sporting bright pink and blue ribbons at the base of the lamp, criss-crossing all the way down to the bottom. Cure Ariel knelt down and secured the ribbons' ends to each other with a pin, then stood and nodded her satisfaction. “There.”

“Oh, thank you, Ariel, dear,” the elderly woman said with a small chuckle.

“It was no trouble, Granny. Do you need any more help?”

“No, no, dear, that was all my grandson would allow me to do for decorating. He's a bit like you, it seems. All that's left is to go to the market for the cake tonight, and that will be all.”

“Do you need my help with--”

“Oh, dear, no, you've helped enough! Enjoy the festivities, dear, you work too hard!”

Ariel laughed as she walked off, waving goodbye to the old woman as she walked further into the square. “See, Ti, I'm not sure if you've seen those up close, but the ribbons catch the light when we light the lamps. There are some small crystals woven into it to create a shimmery effect too. I can't wait for you to see up close!”

Ti poked his head out again, blinking up at Ariel. “Hey, Cure Ariel? How come you're doing this, datchu?” he whispered.

Ariel's smile softened. “Because I think you deserve to see the festival of love up close, Your Highness.” At his surprised squeak, she carefully took him out of hiding and held him in her cupped hands, closer to her face. “You've only seen it from the window, haven't you? I saw you last year...”

Prince Ti stood on a windowsill, pressed against the glass. He stared out at the bright lights below, the largest one glowing in the middle of the town square.

Behind him, Cure Ariel stood in the doorway, brows tilted downward.


“The royal family of Kokoro has a lot of responsibility. But that doesn't mean you should miss out on one of the best nights of the year, Your Highness,” Cure Ariel said. “It's especially unfair of them to expect you to take lessons on this day...
So I'm letting you enjoy the festivities with me tonight, and then tomorrow, after your birthday party, I'll talk to your parents about allowing you to enjoy it on your own, okay?”

Ti's eyes were shimmering as he nodded. “O-Okay, datchu...” he whispered.

Ariel chuckled quietly and kissed him on the nose.

“Now then...let's go, Your Highness! You're going to enjoy this!”

________________________________________

Eyecatch 1: Hiromi and Aki lean over a small box, watching in anticipation as Ti and Coffee turn the handle. It appears to be a small jack-in-the-box, but when the lid suddenly pops open, it sends a spray of heart-shaped confetti all over them. The four of them laugh, and the Entwined Hearts logo appears in the corner.
Eyecatch 2: Cure Capulet and Cure Montague run at each other from opposite sides of the screen. The slide across the floor, intending on strike a pose together, but while Montague stops, Capulet keeps sliding. She briefly flails her arms in panic, and Montague grabs her around the waist to stop her. The momentum results in Capulet being held in a dip as she and Montague lock eyes. Montague laughs while Capulet blushes, and the Entwined Hearts logo appears in the corner.


________________________________________

Indeed he did, too! He perched on Ariel's shoulder as she walked all around the festival areas.

They had first gone to a waffle vender, Ariel sharing her chocolate-strawberry one and Ti sharing his cinnamon-brown sugar.

Next was the maypole; Ariel walked around with Ti held the ribbon. The laughter of the people seemed to flow all around him, and he couldn't help but join in.

There was a tent for people to make simple jewelry for those they loved. Ti held up a bracelet as big as he was, a gold heart charm dangling in the center. “This is for Mama!” he cheerfully declared. “Hm? Who's that for, datchu?”

Cure Ariel was putting the finishing touches on a necklace. It was a loop of cream-colored seed beads, with two larger, burgundy beads in the middle, and a large, bright gold heart. Next to her was another just like it, but the burgundy beads were a soft aqua green.

She smiled fondly. “It's a present for someone special.”

As the sun slowly started to go down and turn the sky orange and red, they enjoyed the rest of the festivities. A ball-tossing game, pink ice-cream, joining in a small crowd singing about a warrior whose heart was his greatest weapon and greatest weakness. Ariel helped more people light the lanterns as the sky turned to a dusky purple. She helped a small group of children make paper boats, little pink and white candles inside. Ariel had laughed when Ti himself sat in one to drift downstream.

Finally, it was truly nightfall, and the air was getting chilly. “To the square, everyone!” someone called, and the throng of people started to move from their tents and stalls, and towards a large structure in the middle of the town square.

Ariel lowered her voice, so she could speak to Ti and Ti alone. “This is the best part, coming up.”

“Better than the waffles, datchu?”

“Much better,” Ariel laughed. “You know, Your Highness, it's pretty lucky your birthday's the day after today. That means you'll get double the celebration, and double the reminder someone loves you.

“You know, that's what this is about, right?”

“Not really, datchu...” Ti mumbled sadly, curling up into an embarrassed ball. “Mama and Papa only told me that this was about love, but not much else. And all the tutors said was that it started centuries ago, when Kokoro was first formed, datchu.”

“Well, they're both right, but that's not the whole story,” Cure Ariel said, stopping at the edge of the town square. “Your Highness, as the heir to Kokoro's throne, you'll be in charge of keeping this land safe, and making sure that love isn't cheapened or destroyed. Love is a very powerful thing, you see...It makes people do great things, stupid things. Selfless things and irrational things. It's like the song about the warrior – your love can be your greatest strength, and your greatest weakness. It may sound fickle, but it's something that has to be treasured – without it, we would never be able to have relations, or friendships, or families.”

“Eh?” Ti blinked. “But love's about romance, right, datchu?” he asked, gesturing to a few people nearby. A man and a woman stood shoulder-to-shoulder, hands clasped. The woman nuzzled her boyfriend's shoulder.

“No. That's only one side of love. And this festival is about celebrating all of it. See?” Cure Ariel motioned past the two lovers. Beyond them stood a man and two children, a boy and a girl. The kids were clinging to his pant legs, and he himself was patting their heads.

Nearby them stood a larger family, only some of them looking like they were actually blood-related. Two girls – sisters, Ti realized – were talking excitedly to one another. Near them were three of their brothers, one of them shoving the other in the shoulder and being scolded by the third. The shover sighed and ground his knuckles against the younger boy's head, muttering “C'mon, you know I'm teasin.'”

An old couple greeted their child and her children.

A group of five friends ran from opposite directions to meet, cheerfully gossiping as they walked off together.

Ariel moved Ti from her shoulder to her chest, lightly squeezing him in lieu of a hug. “Love's everywhere, Your Highness. That's what this celebrates.”

Everything went dark as the lights were all extinguished. Ti briefly panicked, but only for a moment as the large, spire structure in the middle of the square slowly began lighting up from the bottom up. Small dots of light that ran from purple, to red, to pink, to white, ran all around until it reached a giant white prism. The prism alighted, throwing sparks and dots of pale pink and cream-colored light onto the people below. The citizens started cheering in hushed voices, nudging each others shoulders and pointing to various parts of the square – Ti looked to see what they saw.

The ribbons that Ariel had helped hang were catching the light and reflecting it back down. The chains of small prisms were doing the same, raining little glows onto everyone. The prism's own light seemed to constantly shift, changing which direction it threw the small glows. A light wind that blew the ribbons and prism-chains made them move and shift; this combined with the bright stars above made Ti feel like they were all standing inside a dark, glittery light-globe. Or perhaps standing among the stars themselves. He stared, eyes wide and shimmering, mouth slightly open.

Ariel just smiled. “These are the people and feelings we protect.”

“Ariiieeeel!” came a shrill, panicked voice. A moment later, Coffee ran up Ariel's body to perch on her shoulder. “Cure Ariel, it's awful! Prince Ti still hasn't returned home, and the tutors are all-- eh? Y-Your Highness?!” she shrieked, fur bristling a bit.

“Hi, Coffee, datchu.”

“Y-You were here the whole time! Oh, Cure, Ariel, thank you so much for finding him!” Coffee sighed as she patted Ti's head.

Ariel laughed behind her hand. “It was no trouble.”

________________________________________

Ti yawned widely, snuggling into Ariel's cupped hands.

The festival was over, and Ariel was walking back to the palace, on the darkened streets. Hardly a soul was still out, they'd all gone home to get a good rest and attend the prince's birthday party the next afternoon.

“Did you have fun tonight?” Ariel asked, jarring Ti out of a half-sleep.

“M-hm...” he mumbled softly, eyes closed.

“He better have!” Coffee hmph'd, her paws at her hips. “Honestly, the tutors were all beside themselves! I didn't tell your parents you were playing hooky, we all knew you were, Your Highness – admittedly, I enjoy a good hooky myself from time to time – but you could have at least left us a note!”

Ariel just chuckled – and then she stopped walking. Her posture stiffened slightly as she stared at something in the distance, a hard look on her face. “Ti, wake up.”

Her voice wasn't raised, but there was such a sternness to it that Ti had no choice but to immediately wake, on alert. “Datchu?”

She knelt down, depositing both fairies onto the road. “Go with Coffee to the palace, quickly. There's someone here.”

Coffee's eyes widened as she nodded, scooping up the prince in her arms. “Come on, Your Highness,” she whispered.

Ti looked between them fearfully. But what was happening? This had been such a fun night and now-- “Cure Ariel?” he whimpered.

Ariel just smiled briskly. “It's alright, Ti. I'll be along soon. Just...” Her smile looked a bit strained. “Get to bed. I'll see you tomorrow at the party.”

“C'mon, Your Highness. You need the energy to eat cake!” Coffee chirped as she jogged towards the palace, Ti resting his head on her shoulder.

Behind her, Ti could see Ariel stiffly approaching some shadowy form.

________________________________________

He didn't see Cure Ariel that morning when he woke up.

He didn't see her at breakfast; and she was usually standing in the doorway, chatting with either a guard or the king.

“She's probably just making sure everything is in order for your party, Ti, dear,” said the queen, gently brushing his fur with a soft brush.

Ti studied their reflections in the mirror. He didn't look like his Mama at all – especially since she was in a human form and he...well, wasn't. This wasn't so unusual, he'd been told. Some of the citizens of Kokoro never grew out of their adorable fairy forms – they just didn't have the right amount of magic. Others, like Coffee, simply chose to stay in those forms for convenience's sake. Coffee herself had been heard saying more than once that this was easier to carry Ti around and be on his level when they spoke. Meanwhile, his parents were constantly in human forms because they thought it looked more dignified.

(Ti had to agree, privately. He always thought the portrait for Great-Great-Grandpa, a fat old mouse fairy with a handlebar mustache, looked rather silly.)

“Or she could be fetching the cake,” Queen Meringue said with a light laugh, rising and carrying Ti to the banquet hall.

“The cake, datchu?” Ti's eyes grew wide.

“I made sure the bakers knew to get you coconut, just as you like,” Queen Meringue said with a smile. As she approached her husband, who was already seated at the head of the table, both of them heard the man make a gagging noise in his throat. “Oh, Cider, dear, don't fuss. When it's your birthday, then we can have cake you like.”

Ti laughed at the look his father gave. So far this was turning out to be a good day.

________________________________________

Of course it wouldn't last.

Midway through the breakfast, just as Ti was about to sample his favorite lemon tarts that he so rarely got to eat, there was a loud boom. It sounded quite a ways off, but the suddenness of it, the wrongness of its presence made the entire court stiffen. Had...had perhaps one of the citizens arrived early and brought a noisemaker?

Such an optimistic thought was dashed when another explosion rocked the castle, and a large hole was blown in the wall. Several Kokoro soldiers crashed to the floor, having been blasted into the walls from outside. One managed to pick himself up out of the rubble, scrambling for his sword and locking eyes with King Cider.

“Your Majesties! Your Majesties, it's Shitsuren! It's as they threatened, they've come back, they've--!”

His next words were nothing but choked cries of terror as a large, shadowy creature with cruel, glowing red features pounced on him, and seemed to swallow him up inside itself.

Everyone at the table had been frozen in fear before, but now they were shocked back into moving. They threw themselves away from their seats, screaming as they fled for the doors. But only more explosions sounded, more holes blew apart the walls, more of those horrible creatures burst forth.

Ti hid under a small section of the tablecloth, watching with large, terrified eyes as more people were swallowed up. He dimly heard his mother shouting his name: “Ti! Ti, where is Ti?!”

“Ti, where are you?! We can't go without you!” Cider shouted.

He couldn't come out. If he came out, those things would get him. They'd get him and eat him like they ate the soldier before. He hiccuped loudly.

The tablecloth was whipped away from him as the entire table was overturned, sending plates, cutlery, food crashing and shattering apart onto the floor. And Ti locked eyes with another of those horrible creatures, his mouth wide open and his lips quivering.

“Tiiii!”

The creature roared in...pain? Annoyance?...as the king flung a saltshaker between its eyes. The glass shattered, salt getting into its eyes and momentarily blinding it. Cider stood firm, drawing his sword from its sheath at his belt. “Coffee! Take Ti and run!”

Coffee, whose presence Ti hadn't even noticed til this moment, scooped him up. “Yes, Your Majesty!” she shouted.

“But Papa! Mama!” Ti screamed as he saw his mother too, producing a sword of her own and standing with her husband.

“Ti!” Queen Meringue shouted, looking at her son over her shoulder. “You have to go!”

“B-But the monsters...!” Ti sobbed. Despite orders for Coffee to move, he wasn't being taken anywhere just yet. Perhaps she was scared too. “The monsters'll--”

”Ti, you will do as your mother and I say!” Cider yelled, also glancing over his shoulder. Ti was startled to see something shining in his eyes. “Coffee, take him and run! Run away and don't let them catch you!”

“Mama! Papa!” Ti shouted.

“Coffee!”

Coffee ran for it. Her back was turned to the royal couple as they faced forward, their opponent being swiftly cut down...only for three more to run in instead. Ti only had time to see his mother's sword flash before Coffee turned the corner, and his parents were out of sight.

“Papaaaa! Mamaaaa!” he sobbed the whole while.

________________________________________

“And then we came here...Ti and I haven't seen or heard from the king and queen, or Cure Ariel, since then,” Coffee explained morosely.

Hiromi looked down at Ti, who had gone quiet and sullen around the point of his birthday party, and Coffee'd had to take over. He wasn't even eating the cupcake anymore, just staring.

“Who are Shitsuren, though?” Aki asked with a frown. “You didn't mention that part.”

“That's because...there isn't a lot known about them.” Coffee frowned herself. “They just appeared one day – we thought they were just another family, a weird one. They just appeared outside of Kokoro, in this real gloomy spot. We just thought they were weird, so we ignored them.
Well, that's not wholly true – we of course extended welcomes and greetings and they were always invited to our functions! But they just waved us off. We didn't think they could...”

Coffee drew in a deep, shuddering breath.

“One day, a month before the Festival of Love, they said how love was flawed. Fickle. It could easily be warped, and twisted, and cruel. We told them this wasn't so, but they insisted. They said...they said someone named Break had given them the power to twist and taint love, to cast it aside and drop people into despair instead. Despair was less fickle; it was a constant, and we'd all be happier if the constantly-shifting love didn't exist.

“We told them they were wrong, and they just...left. We believed they were finished with us, that they'd just move away but...Well, you've seen them. You heard what they did.”

Ti reached into the ribbon at his neck and pulled out one last Signet Ring. “That's why we have to find Pretty Cure, datchu...We found you, and we need a third. To make up for...for C-Cure A-A-Ariel, s-swallowed u-up....d-datchu....” he started to cry, much to Hiromi's panic as she quickly lifted him to her face and nuzzled him.

Aki's expression was stern.

“Don't worry,” she said. She reached over Coffee, and gently took the last Cure Signet. Stared at it a moment before folding her fingers over it. “...love isn't fickle. Love is beautiful.”

________________________________________

“Love is a weakness,” Break said.

Shylock knelt before Break, a shadowy figure with a pair of glowing eyes – the only thing that could be seen of them. “Yes,” he intoned.

“And why?”

“Because it makes the heart soft. It makes one do terrible, foolish things, and it affects one's head.”

“That is right, Shylock. You know, sometimes I think you're my best soldier. You answer me so readily.” Break laughed, a sound like rasping leaves. “Not like Tamora. What am I to do with that girl?”

“I am not sure, My Lord,” Shylock said simply.

“Ah, well....My dear boy, why don't you face the Pretty Cure next time? After all, you'd done so well with one before.”

There was a pregnant pause before: “Yes.”

________________________________________

ED: "Hummingbird" - Mana Ogawa

________________________________________

ON THE NEXT EPISODE:
Hiromi: “Coffee? Coffeeee?”
Miho: “Hey, Hiromi! D'you wanna drink?”
Hiromi: “A-Ah, it's not that!”
Aki: “Tiiiiii!”
Miho: “Man, you guys're thirsty!”
Aki: “Next time on Pretty Cure Entwined Hearts: 'Our Fairies Are Gone?!' Let love heal your heart!"
________________________________________

OP: "Love and Joy PreCure” - Entwined Hearts Duo

________________________________________

“I'm going!”

“Hiromi, wait!”

“Huh?” Hiromi paused at the door, shoes in hand. “Yes?”

Her sisters stood in a row before the table in the hallway, looking at Hiromi expectantly.

“Oh! Right, of course, I'm sorry!” Hiromi dropped her schoolbag and went to join her sisters, at the end of the line. Once there, the bunch of them clasped their hands in front of their waists, looking at the photo atop the table.

It was a lady, with long black hair that was parted on the right, and fell in soft waves over her left shoulder. She was smiling, and even in the photograph her eyes had a twinkle to them – the girls could just hear her joyful laughter as she splashed the photographer with ocean water, a few droplets landing on her white sundress.

“Good morning, Mom,” the five of them said, and bowed.

As her sisters straightened, Hiromi remained where she was. “I'm going to school now.”

________________________________________

Hiromi jogged down the street, at a more leisurely pace than before. This time she'd made sure to leave the house on time, have a good breakfast, and now there was no possible way she'd be late meeting Aki! Nothing was going to stop her or distract her from--

“Hey! You there, hey!”

Hiromi stumbled outside a simple wooden gate, glancing around to see who'd just called out to her. At least...she thought they'd meant her.

“Yeah! You with the glasses, man!”

“Huh?”

Hiromi turned to look over the gate and into the yard beyond it. A girl was walking towards her, hands in her pockets. The odd thing was, she was around Hiromi's age, give or take a year, but she wasn't wearing a school uniform – not Chuushin High's, or any at all! The girl grinned, leaning over the top of the gate and looking Hiromi up and down. “Hmmm, yeah! How'd you like to be a model?”

Hiromi blinked. “Model...?”

________________________________________

TODAY'S EPISODE: A Model, Me? Razor-Sharp Competition!

________________________________________

“Ehhhh? You, a model?!”

“M-Mirai, please don't be so loud...” Hiromi whispered, shrinking down further into her seat.

“I'm just so surprised, Hiromi! I mean – I had a premonition that something out of ordinary would happen today, but I didn't think it'd be this!”

“Hnnnnn...” Hiromi lay over her desk, her arms covering her head.

“A-Ah, sorry, Hiromi! I didn't mean to insult you like--”

“N-No, it's not that...”

“Eh?” Mirai blinked and tilted her head.

“You see...” Hiromi's eyes opened, revealing glistening tears. “What happened was...”

________________________________________

”Model?”

“Yeah~!” The girl grinned and stepped back, holding up her fingers in a box shape as she surveyed Hiromi through the hole. “My cousin's makin' a new manga, you see, and she's having a little trouble coming up with the protagonist. But you've got the perfect look for the type of character she's looking for!”

“I ah...”

“So what I was thinkin' was,” the girl went on, lowering her arms and propping her elbows on the gate. “You could come over after you get outta school and model for us? Just let my cousin get your likeness?”

“U-Uhm....”

“Hm?” The girl kept smiling, staring expectantly.

“I-I uhm...I guess it's--”

“Great!” The girl straightened and clapped a hand on Hiromi's shoulder. “See you after school, yeah?~”


________________________________________

“I wanted to say 'I guess it's a small favor,' but then she thought...” Hiromi sniffled. “A-And now I'm gonna be a model, and....”

“And...?”

Hiromi suddenly sat up straight, her eyes wide and watering with unshed tears. Her lips quivered as she grabbed at her neck ribbon. “A-And then--!”

Aki clutched at her chest as she leaned against a wall, looking away from Hiromi. “You've become a model, Hiromi?”

“I-It was only for a day, Aki!”

“But everyone knows you're a model now! And all these shoujo manga artists want to draw you!” Aki gestured to a crowd of people holding papers, pens and ink, and a few shoujo manga magazines. “And look at all your admirers!” she declared, sweeping her hand back to Hiromi, behind which another huge crowd had gathered with love letters and candy.

“You're so much better than I am, Hiromi...How could a popular and cute model want a simple girl like me, especially when you've got idols and millionaires and theme park tycoons asking to date you?” Aki sobbed once, covered her face, and ran down another hallway. “I'll let you go, Hiromi! Find a partner more worthy of you, but don't forget me!”

“Aki, wait! You're the only one that I want!” Hiromi sobbed.


“Noooooooo, I don't want thaaaaaat!” the real Hiromi wailed before slamming her head back onto her desk to loudly cry.

Mirai just stared, blinking slowly. After a moment, she reached out to tentatively pat Hiromi's head. “...there, there?”

Up near the front, Aki blinked and turned around, frowning lightly at Hiromi. What was Hiromi thinking about this time...?

“O-kay, everyone!” Mrs Matoko strode in, firmly setting down her stack of papers. “Let's start by passing back last week's English quizzes...”

Aki reluctantly faced forward as Hiromi sniffled on her desk top.

________________________________________

“Fwaaaaaaaaah!” Tamora yawned loudly as she lay in a large easy chair...the entirely wrong way. Her head facing the floor, her legs propped against the backrest, she sighed and clasped her hands over her stomach. “Bored bored bored...”

“You mustn't sit so, Tamora,” Lady said, setting down a tea tray. “A lady must sit properly.” As if to demonstrate, she swept her skirts about herself as she gracefully settled onto the loveseat. She moved to take a teacup and raised the drink to her lips, her other hand primly holding the saucer in her lap. After a quiet drink, she replaced the cup in the saucer and smiled, eyes closed as always. “You're a lovely girl, Tamora, you should really act like one.”

Tamora, who'd been making a face at Lady's demonstration, snorted and kicked the chair. “Man, I can't be a girl like you. Besides, I'm totally cute the way I am~! Isn't that right, Riche?” she chirped just as the man entered the room.

“I will decline to comment,” he muttered dryly as he took a seat beside his wife.

“Whaaaa? How rude! Well, Shylock thinks I'm cute!”

“I doubt it.” Riche casually took some tea.

Tamora frowned, puffing her cheeks out, and swung her legs to the side, vaulting herself over the arm of the chair. Landing on her feet, she stood straight and glared at the man, still pouting. “I am cute!”

“M-hm.”

“Totally cute cute cute!” Tamora stomped for emphasis. “I'm so cute...I – I could be a model!”

“Tamora, if you can find me one person who wants you to be a model, I will admit you are 'cute as a button,' as they call it,” Riche sighed, pressing his fingers to his temple.

“Yeah? Well, fine! You'll see I'm super-duper cute, no matter how I sit or act!” Tamora said. And with that, she turned on her heel and stalked out the door.

Lady and Riche were silent as they watched her go.

“Well, that should keep her occupied for a time,” said Riche, as he reached over to rest an arm around Lady's shoulders and pull her close.

________________________________________

The school bell rang, and the students began to filter out of their classrooms.

Aki paused in putting her homework in her bag, and looked over her shoulder towards the door. For a moment, she locked eyes with Hiromi – and then Hiromi squeaked and darted out of the room. “Hiromi...what's going on?” she whispered to herself.

Well, perhaps not entirely to herself.

“Hiromi's being weird today!” Coffee said quietly, poking her head out of Aki's bag.

“Is something the matter again, datchu?” asked Ti.

“Mm. Something is...” Aki frowned, looking at the two fairies. “Y'see, when we met at the tree today...”

________________________________________

”A-Aki...”

“Hiromi~!” Aki laughed, pushing herself off the tree's trunk. “You're a little late; did you miss the 'walk' signals--”

“U-Uhm...”

“Hm?” Aki's smile vanished, replaced by a look of confused curiosity. “Hey...'s'wrong?”

Hiromi was cluthing her schoolbag like a lifeline, holding it in front of her chest. She stared at Aki with large, tearful eyes, hicupping a little before she hastily bowed. “I-I have to be somewhere after school today but it won't be long at all and not permanent and don't think ill of me Aki I promise you'll never not be good enough for me if anything you're the one too good for me okay I'll see you tomorrow!” And with that she ran for the stairs.

“Huh? Hey, Hiromi, what was that about? Hiromiiii!”


________________________________________

“Sure, she can worry a lot, and she panics over nearly everything, and she can be so melodramatic but...Well, I can't think of what could possibly have set it off today.”

“Are you gonna follow her to find out, Aki?”

“Whaaaa? No way!” Aki waved a hand dismissively, looping her schoolbag's long strap around her neck and shoulder. “I mean, Hiromi's upset yeah, but...it's clearly nothing serious, like I said, she does this all the time. And she said it'll be fine tomorrow, so that's when I'll learn what it is. Then we can just talk about it if she wants to, and that's the end of it.
I trust Hiromi...I'm not gonna stalk her or anything because she's being weird.”

She left the classroom, passing a large window. Down below, one could see Hiromi walking down the stairs leading to the road. “It's nothing to worry about.”

________________________________________

Hiromi stood at the door, schoolbag held in front of herself like a shield. She swallowed nervously, and lifted a trembling finger to the doorbell.

Bing-bong~!

Almost immediately, the door swung open, and the girl from earlier was beaming at her. “Hey! You made it! C'mon in, c'mon in!”

“W-Wait, I — ah!” Hiromi squeaked as she was pulled inside, and the girl shut the door.

“You can just leave your shoes in the hall, okay?” The redheaded girl let go of Hiromi's arm, still smiling, and looked her up and down again. “You know, I didn't expect you to come in your uniform. I figured you might go home and change first.”

“A-Ah, should I have?” Hiromi whispered, feeling even more self-conscious than she already had been. The other girl still wasn't wearing a uniform either. She had a cream-colored tunic with a wide brown belt over tan leggings. Over that, she wore a pale yellow sweater, hanging open like a jacket. She definitely looked more comfortable and carefree than Hiromi did. “I know it's a modeling thing but--”

“Nah, nah, don't worry about it~” the girl interrupted, waving her hand. “You look fine. Besides, it's just your likeness and your expressions. We don't need you in fancy clothes or trendy stuff. And you don't have to do anything special with your hair, either!” the girl laughed suddenly and pointed to her own hair. Her rust-red hair had been gathered into two buns at either side of her head, and her bangs swept off to the side over her forehead. Just as they had been this morning... Hiromi frowned a little. No uniform, and she hadn't changed her outfit at all...

“So! My cousin's in the den. She'll probably want to serve us a snack first. Oh.” As she lead Hiromi down the small hallway, the girl looked over her shoulder. “I'm Miho, by the way! Miho Sakura. What's your name?”

“Hiromi Satou...”

“Well, again, it's great to meetcha, Hiromi!” Miho beamed and clasped Hiromi's hand.

________________________________________

Miho had been right. Her cousin did want to serve them a snack.

Hiromi sat at a low table, schoolbag beside her, happily partaking in home-made cookies and pineapple juice.

“I'm sorry it's all I can offer,” 24-year-old Nana Sakura said with an apologetic smile. “But I was so busy with the script I didn't have any time to prepare tea, and Miho still hasn't bought the milk.”

“Ahahaaaa, my bad~” Miho scratched the back of her head, smiling awkwardly.

Hiromi shook her head. “N-No no, it's fine! Really, I love pineapple juice! And these cookies taste wonderful!”

“Oh, thank you! It's a family recipe. I'd share it, but you're not family,” Nana laughed.

She then leaned on her elbows over a sketchpad, and grabbed a sharpened pencil from behind her ear. Giving the pencil a quick twirl between her fingers, she started to hastily scratch out some lines as she talked to Hiromi. “I'm sorry for my cousin, by the way. Her forwardness must have been kind of creepy, right?”

“Hm-m, no--”

“There's no need to sugarcoat it, Miss Satou.”

“W-Well maybe it was a little bit...” Hiromi admitted with an awkward smile.

All three girls laughed.

“Uh...by the way, what kind of story are you drawing?” asked Hiromi after she'd calmed down.

Nana smiled, adding one more line. On the paper was a girl who looked remarkably like Hiromi, save for a few subtle differences, such as her hair texture and the shape of her eyes. “Well, it's a love story...”

________________________________________

“I'm home~” Aki called out, stepping through the door.

Emma and a dark-haired man in a dinner suit bowed. “Welcome home, young miss~”

”...between a wealthy noble from a magical kingdom, and a young schoolgirl from our world. They meet under ordinary circumstances...”

Aki flopped backwards onto her bed, arms outstretched. With a contented smile, she glanced over at the bulletin board on the nearby wall.

There were tons of pictures on it; Aki in her school uniform on the first day of high school, Aki and her parents at the fair, Aki and some of her various friends...But the picture she focused on was the one from the photo booth.
A string of three photos, the same pose and same smiles. Aki and Hiromi stood before the camera, arms linked, both making V-signs and smiling broadly. They'd chosen rainbows and bubble as a border, and a pink “Awesome!” was in the top right corner.

Aki's smile softened a bit, looking more affectionate.

”They become friends, and eventually fall in love.”

________________________________________

Lady bent over her tray of tea and snacks, idly arranging the cookies into a more pleasing appearance. Suddenly, as if alerted by some strange sixth sense, she blinked, and lifted her head to look towards the loveseat by the window.

Shylock sat there, leaning against the glass and staring out at the falls.

”But it seems as if both the human world and magical land are against their union. Various forces try to separate them, there are multiple attempts on their lives, and it really looks as if fate is against them. And they wonder, how could fate be so cruel as to have them meet, only to do everything it can to force them apart again? Maybe it would have been better if they'd never met.”

His eyes closed.

________________________________________

Eyecatch 1: Hiromi and Aki lean over a small box, watching in anticipation as Ti and Coffee turn the handle. It appears to be a small jack-in-the-box, but when the lid suddenly pops open, it sends a spray of heart-shaped confetti all over them. The four of them laugh, and the Entwined Hearts logo appears in the corner.
Eyecatch 2: Cure Capulet and Cure Montague run at each other from opposite sides of the screen. The slide across the floor, intending on strike a pose together, but while Montague stops, Capulet keeps sliding. She briefly flails her arms in panic, and Montague grabs her around the waist to stop her. The momentum results in Capulet being held in a dip as she and Montague lock eyes. Montague laughs while Capulet blushes, and the Entwined Hearts logo appears in the corner.


________________________________________

Hiromi sat at her desk the next day, nervously tapping her fingers against the top of it. It was lunchtime, and everyone else was eating but--

“Wow, Hiromi, you really went to town!”

Hiromi jumped and nearly fell out of her seat. “A-Aki!”

Aki stood over her, staring in amazement at her empty, clean bento. “I mean, lunch just started two minutes ago...I haven't even started eating yet.” Her brows lowered and her expression softened a bit. She turned her attention back to Hiromi, and reached out for her hand. “Hiromi, come with me.”

A few others looked up in time to see the two of them leaving. “Hey, what's Aki want with Satou?”

“Beats me...”

________________________________________

A short time later, Aki and Hiromi sat on an empty staircase, side-by-side. Aki rested her hands on her knees, and leaned forward a bit to look at Hiromi's profile better. Her girlfriend was just staring at her shoes, toying with the hem of her skirt and not saying anything. This would never do!

“...say, Hiromi?”

“Huh?”

“When I was five, I broke Grandpa's glass rose.” She smiled a little, and faced forward. “It was really pretty too, and really big. It was just this giant blossom, just started to bloom and open up. It had a few leaves on the bottom that let it stand upright...Grandpa said it was one of the last presents Grandma gave him before her memory went away. And I was just playing with my trains, lifting them up and spinning around because they were picked up by a tornado – ah, anyway, I got dizzy and crashed into the shelves, and the rose fell off and smashed into three pieces on the carpet.

“I was so sure I'd be punished, and that Grandpa would hate me, so I cried and cried until I was sick. And I ran to my room to pack up my schoolbag and run away. But Grandpa caught me as I was trying to climb out the window.”

Her smile turned a little wistful. “I had thought I'd be caught and get a spanking if I went out the door, so I figured the window would be safer. But my room was on the second floor. Grandpa caught me just as I was stepping onto the roof below it, and he pulled me back inside. He's really strong, even in his advanced age.
The first thing he did was scold me, but he never raised his voice and it wasn't because of the rose. He just told me that I could have been badly hurt doing that, and not to ever, ever do that again. And then he hugged me and just thanked God he'd come into my room in time. Then after we calmed down, he talked about the rose.
It wasn't a big deal. He'd been a little sad to see it broken, but he could fix it. And it wasn't broken too badly, and he knew it was an accident and that I felt awful already.
We fixed the rose together, in the den, on some newspaper.

“He kept telling me that it was okay, it really was. It wasn't as bad as I'd thought, and I'd imagined everything would be far worse than it really was.”

Aki looked over at Hiromi. “So...you know, Hiromi, if there's something you want to talk about, or if you're hiding something...You don't have to worry about it like this. If you want to tell me, you can, it probably isn't as bad as you think.”

Hiromi blinked, then looked down at her lap again. “I – I uhm...”

________________________________________

“...And they've asked me to come back today too! Just one more time,” Hiromi finished in a rush. She went silent, and nervously looked over at Aki.

To her surprise, Aki was just smiling. “Oh, is that all?”

“I-Is that all?!” Hiromi sputtered. “You're...you're not angry?”

“Why would I be?”

“B-because...i-it was a modeling job, sorta, and I was so sure you'd want to break up and...and that you'd be mad I was hiding it from you and...”

Aki laughed kindly and rubbed one of her shoulders. “Hiromi, you didn't have to hide that! I'm not upset or anything. Really it's pretty cool that someone asked you to model for a manga!” Her eyes lit up. “Ohhhh, can I come too?!”

“Us too, us too!” Coffee cheered from Aki's bag.

“Please, datchu?”

Hiromi blinked, then turned pink as she looked away. “I – I guess it'd be okay? Miho and Nana are really nice, so I'm sure it'd be okay--”

“Woohoo! I'm dating a model and get to see her at work~!” Aki cheered, throwing her hands in the air.

“A-Aki!”

________________________________________

Tamora muttered angrily to herself as she walked down the street, away from the shopping area and closer to the residential. “Totally cute...cute as buttons...” she grumbled.

“Ah, you're here!”

Tamora stopped in her tracks and turned her head towards the sound.

Two redheads were standing in the large front yard, one of them holding a sketchbook. They were both grinning at two very familiar-looking girls. Pretty Cure?! Tamora thought.

“Oh, you brought a friend?” the taller redhead said with a smile. “She's cute too!”

Tamora grit her teeth.

“Okay, so let's go inside, and you can finish modeling for--”

”Modeling?!” Tamora shrieked suddenly, stomping her foot. The other four jumped and looked at her in surprise. “I should be a model too!”

The taller redhead looked apologetic. “Er – I'm sorry, Miss, you look nice and all but I already--”

“I'm way cuter than those two!”

“But...well, you are cute, sweetie, but I don't think you've got the right look for...If you want, I can make you a background character but--”

Tamora grabbed her hair and screeched. “No way! No way, no way, no way! I'm super-duper cute, a million times cuter than bobbles over there, and I'm way too cute to be a background character! Gyaaaaah!”

Suddenly, Tamora whipped out a marker and uncapped it. Ignoring the confused and startled looks from the redheads, she drew two curling lines to form a heart in mid-air, and slashed a line through it. Another sweep of her arm, and the symbol became two, and shot towards Miho and Nana.

“Miho!” screamed Nana, shoving her younger cousin aside. But it was too late. Despite the sudden attempt to save her, both girls were struck in the chest, and screamed in agony.

“Nana! Miho!” Hiromi shrieked, dropping to her knees as the other two did.

Nana's sketchbook fell from her hands as she tilted her head back and sobbed uncontrollably, her chest heaving as the crying affected her ability to breathe. A dark aura appeared around her, flaring in time to her sobs. Torrents of tears rolled down her cheeks, over her lips, but she didn't seem to notice, her cries growing louder.
Beside her, Miho was experiencing the same thing, except she'd fallen to her hands and knees, her tears falling into the grass below her.

Tamora just giggled and raised her arms into the air. “Your heartbreak will fill the River Despair and flood the world~!”

By 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, something like black lightning dancing over it.

“Miho! Nana!” Hiromi cried, rubbing the sobbing Miho's back.

“It serves them right!” Tamora pouted. “They should've picked me to model.”

“They don't even know you and Nana didn't even know you existed when I was asked!” Hiromi said, face turning red. “And you're doing this to them over not being sketched? They offered to draw you too!”

“Oh, shut up, Pretty Cure!” Tamora glared and drew another symbol in the air, and flung it at the fallen sketchbook. “Fall into heartbreaking despair! Come on out, Usotsuki!”

The sketchbook flashed  purple, and then an Usotsuki stood in its place, towering over the four humans. It was opened, with a few pages folded back over the binding like hair. Long, black arms and legs dripped ink onto the lawn, and the same red eyes and cruel smile appeared. “Usooo!”

“Aki!” Hiromi cried.

“Right!”

“Pretty Cure, Love's Song!”
“The innocent love in a maiden's heart, Cure Capulet!”
“The sincere love in a maiden's heart, Cure Montague!”
“Our hearts connected! Pretty Cure Entwined Hearts!”


“I'll get you today, Pretty Cure! Usotsuki, go!” Tamora commanded from her place on the road.

“Uso-tsukiii!” the monster screeched, and flung its arms out in front of itself like whips.

Capulet and Montague swiftly grabbed their crying friends and jumped aside. Capulet gently set Miho in the doorway, under the small roof, as Montague leaned Nana against her. Then, in the blink of an eye, they both planted one foot against the wall, and launched themselves backwards. Flying into the air, they both did a backwards flip and fell towards the Usotsuki, one leg extended.

“Capulet Kick!”

“Montague Kick!”

“Uuuu-so~!” The Usotsuki made a noise that sounded a lot like a gurgling laugh, and flung an arm out--

--and thick black ooze flung out of it.

“What the—gyah!” Montague cried, one of the blobs striking her. Its momentum kept her going, until she found herself stuck against a nearby phone pole. “Nngh! What the...?!” she gasped, struggling against the goo. She grit her teeth, strained...and nothing happened.

“Usosososo~!” the monster laughed, pointing at the helpless Montague.

“You missed me!” Capulet shouted, landing her kick at the Usotsuki. The monster's laughter was abruptly cut off, becoming a quick cry of pain as Capulet performed another, tight backflip, and kicked it between the eyes and sent it skidding into the street.

Capulet landed on the walk leading to the front door, and looked up at Montague. “Montague, are you okay?!” she cried.

Montague struggled a bit more. “Capulet! Don't let this stuff hit you! I'll be out in a sec, just hang on!” She strained to free her arms, gritting her teeth so hard it hurt. “Hnnngh...this stuff's drying already!”

Capulet stared up at Montague for a moment, then blinked and gasped faintly. She had heard a low groan a little ways in front of her, and quickly looked forward to see the Usotsuki getting back to its feet.

“Uso~ki!” It flung an arm out again, sending more ink blobs towards Capulet.

Capulet gasped in alarm and hastily leaped out of the way.

“Forget it, Cure Capulet!” called Tamora. “Montague's gonna dry up, and you definitely can't do this all by yourself~!”

“What...?” Capulet mumbled, taken aback.

“Well, it's obvious, right?” Tamora giggled. “Two Cures may be super-strong, but you? You guys can only transform together, and attack together, and your hearts are all synced up...But you're useless when separated. This'll be easy, so just stand still and let my Usotsuki get you.”

“Hey!” Montague shouted suddenly, her face redder than before. “Capulet's not weak or useless, so shut up right now! Don't bully her!”

“Oh, come on~ She can't even move, see?” Tamora pointed to Capulet, who just stood there, trembling slightly. The Usotsuki was staring her down, chortling to itself with its hands over its mouth. “She talked big earlier, and you guys both destroyed two Usotsuki already, but on her own she's a big wimpy coward!”

“That's not true!” Montague roared.

Capulet blinked. “E-Eh?”

“Uso?”

“Wha?”

Montague glared down at Tamora and the Usotsuki, teeth grit angrily, tears gathered in the corners of her eyes. A few dripped down to the street below, but she paid them no mind. “Capulet's no coward! She's not useless either! Hiromi told me about something she was so sure I'd be furious about, and that took a lot of guts! She was scared I'd break up with her, but she told me anyway! And I was super-proud of her for it!
And you know what else? Three times now, she's gone up against one of these monsters without complaint! She's helping Ti and Coffee save their world! She was the first one to say 'I like you' in our relationship and that takes a lot of courage too!”

“...Montague...” Capulet whispered.

“She's got way more courage and internal strength than you think she does – it took guts to say she likes me, it took guts to say she was hiding something from me, it took guts to tell the truth...So don't you call her a coward! Don't you dare!”

“Montague...” Capulet's eyes grew shiny with unshed tears.

“Ugh, your voice is so annoying right now!” Tamora grumbled. “Usotsuki, leave Capulet for now...” She grinned and pointed up at the trapped Montague. “And cover her head! Suffocate the Cure and get rid of her!”

“Usooo--ki?!”The Usotsuki was suddenly slammed to the side, arms trailing limply in the air. “K-Ki?!”

Everything seemed to move in slow-motion. Capulet was right there at the Usotsuki's side, her fist pressing deep into it, her head bowed so her eyes were shadowed. As the monster looked in disbelief, she slowly lifted her head up to reveal a hate-filled glare.

”....leave my girlfriend alone.”

And then time sped back to normal. The Usotsuki screeched and was sent crashing against a stone wall, one of its inky arms smacking into it. It growled angrily, moved to fling it out and--

--snapped back. “Ki?”

“U-Usotsuki, what's wrong?” Tamora gasped.

The Usotsuki struggled a bit more, eyes wide, but it couldn't move the arm that was against the wall. It had stuck, and quickly dried.

Capulet glared and leaped forward again, landing on its face, right between the eyes and mouth. The Usotsuki raised its free arm to crush her like a fly...and then Capulet leaped back into the air in the nick of time. The Usotsuki's arm was stuck to its face now and, as it struggled and roared in anger, it wasn't going to be free anytime soon.

“Time to end this!” Capulet declared, hovering in the air above it.

She clapped her hands together, a pink glowing heart materializing between them as she pulled them apart. Swirls of gold sparkles were pulled inside it, and the faint sound of chimes could be heard as Capulet closed her eyes. ”Sound of the Bells!” The light burst outward to reveal her Rapier Wand. ”Sword of the Capulet Family!” She reached out to take it in hand, and drew a large, sparkling gold heart outline in the air, pink light flowing into it. ”Pretty Cure...Glorious Golden ...”  She thrust her sword out, sending the heart out at the Usotsuki. ”Shoot!”

The Usotsuki's eyes widened in horror as the attack shot straight for it. “Usooo-!” The attack struck its chest and expanded to cover its whole body in a warm gold glow. The monster's eyes grew even wider, weakly mumbling “U-usotsuki...” as it disintegrated.

The ink that had landed on the ground vanished, as did the ink that kept Montague trapped against the phone pole. She fell towards the ground, landing on her feet and staring at Capulet.

Tamora just gaped, then stomped her foot and pouted. “W-Well, fine, so you're not a useless wimp. I'm still way cuter anyway!” And then she was gone.

Capulet blinked as she felt someone touch her shoulder, and turned to see Montague smiling at her. “M-Montague...”

Montague grinned with her teeth showing. “That's my girl~”

Capulet blushed, smiling sheepishly.

________________________________________

Later, Miho set down a tray of more cookies before Aki, the latter helping herself gladly. Nearby, Hiromi was standing and looking at a wall, her hands smoothing over her hair. “U-Uhm, are you sure this is the pose you want?”

Nana frowned. “Hmmm...no, that's not it either...” She sighed, lowering her pencil. “I need a good, cute pose, and it's a little hard to find one.”

“I'm sorry.”

“Not your fault!” Miho laughed. “Nana's probably just a little out of it from that dizzy spell outside. Hm...I wonder if there's something in the air?” she frowned. “Since I got it too...”

“Of course it's not Hiromi's fault~!” laughed Aki, a little too loudly. She subtly dropped two cookies into her schoolbag, which Ti and Coffee ate joyfully, and then stood up to run to Hiromi. She grinned, throwing her arms around Hiromi's shoulders and nuzzling her. “Hiromi's super-super-cute, so it definitely can't be her fault~”

“A-Aki!” Hiromi sputtered, turning red.

“It's true though!” she laughed, tickling her a little.

Hiromi laughed, more out of joy than being tickled, and tilted her head to bump against Aki's. “A-Aki, stop, you're embarrassing me!”

“It's truuuee~!”

Nana just smiled, lifting her pencil away from the sketchpad. In front of her was a quick pencil sketch of her protagonist, eyes closed and mouth open in the very image of delight, her head tilted slightly. “Yeah, this is perfect...”

________________________________________

ED: "Hummingbird” - Mana Ogawa

________________________________________

ON THE NEXT EPISODE:
Aki: “You know, we still don't know anything about who these people are, what they want, where you guys came from...”
Hiromi: “That's right! We need to know more!”
Coffee: “Ohhh, I knew I was forgetting something!"
Coffee: “Next time on Pretty Cure Entwined Hearts: 'Why We Fight! For Our Love!' Let love heal your heart!”
The Second Guest by Lady-Moth
The Second Guest
What am I doing working on this aaargh

So yeah. More Second Guest fanart! Whoohoo~
Loading...
Around seven in the morning, Aki was awakened by a gentle knocking on her door, followed by a kind, feminine voice.

“Young Miss, it's time to get up. May I come in?”

“Hmmm...” Aki sat up in bed, rubbing at one eye. Her normally sleek and well-groomed hair was a tousled mess, and there was a bit of drool in the corner of her mouth. She yawned widely, absently moving the covers over the little fairies still dozing on her mattress. “Mmmm, yeah, c'mon in, Emma.”

A young woman in a long-skirted maid uniform opened the door, a set of clean clothes hanging over one arm. She smiled as she approached Aki, who yawned again and swung her legs out from under her blankets. “I've washed your day clothes,” she said as she set the clothes next to Aki. “And I've got some coffee brewing for you downstairs.”

“Hmmm, yes?” came a tired voice from the blankets. Aki tensed up.

“Yep, as always!” Emma smiled cheerfully, completely unaware. “Do you still want the usual French vanilla cream, or the new mint cream that came in yesterday?”

“Mint sounds good!” said Aki, wide-awake now.

“Alright, then! I'll pour you some after I've brushed your hair.”

“Actually, Emma, I can do that myself today!” Aki smiled, taking the brush from her.

Emma blinked, smile fading. “Eh? But I've always brushed your hair, ever since you were seven.”

“I know, but today I just wanna do it myself,” Aki said, smiling disarmingly. “Please?”

“Well...” But Aki was already shoving her out the door. “I suppose--”

“Great, thanks, Emma~!” Aki said before hastily shutting the door. She sighed in relief as she turned around to lean against it, shoulders slumping. “Close...” She walked over to the bed and lifted her covers to look at the now-awake Ti and Coffee. “You silly-heads...” she chuckled. “If you're gonna live with me, you gotta stay hidden! Although, now that I think about it, maybe that 'coffee' thing is gonna get confusing...” she added, shifting her eyes skyward.

________________________________________

OP: "Love and Joy PreCure” - Entwined Hearts Duo

________________________________________

A short time later, Aki was at the breakfast table, sipping her coffee and eating a crescent roll. Hidden on her lap, beneath the table cloth, were Coffee and Ti, happily partaking in half a crescent roll each.

“So, Young Miss,” began Emma as she put away the coffeepot. “What are your plans for today? There's no school, and I know you like to go out on the weekends.”

Aki swallowed, then smiled brightly. “Well, today I was thinking of going to the candy shop! They're selling those tiny chocolate hearts everyone's talking about.”

Emma's eyes widened and began to sparkle. “Ooooh, the ones that are made with German chocolate and have hot melted chocolate in the center and no one knows how they do it?”

“Yup~”

“Eeeeee~!” Emma quickly placed the coffeepot on the counter and squealed, fists beneath her chin. “Ohhhh, you've got to bring me one, Young Miss! Please please please! I don't ask for much, but if you could--!”

Aki laughed, causing Emma to stop right then and blush. “Sure, no problem! I'm going early so we can get them before they run out.” She downed the rest of her coffee, pushed out of her chair (Ti and Coffee hastily scrambled into the messenger bag she was wearing) and jogged out of the room. “Well, I'll see you later, Emma!”

“Bye-bye, Young Miss!” Emma called, waving lightly at Aki's retreating form. After a moment, though, she stopped, blinking in confusion. “Wait...'we?'”

________________________________________

As Aki hurried down the sidewalk and into town, Coffee poked her head out of her messenger bag, briefly glancing at Aki's ensemble. “Wow, Aki's stylish today!” she said.

Aki grinned, pausing to twirl a little, as if showing off her outfit to an invisible audience. She was wearing a lot of blue, as she usually did when not in her school uniform. Dark blue long-sleeved shirt with a light blue shirt over it, with short and puffy sleeves; a blue tiered mini-skirt over dark blue bike shorts, and white and blue sneakers was the look for the day. It was the same outfit she always wore on weekends when she...

“Aki's rules for dating number one~! Always look super-cute when meeting your super-cute girlfriend~!”

________________________________________

TODAY'S EPISODE: Double Hearts! How We Began.

________________________________________

Outside a crowded candy store, a girl wearing a baggy tan sweater and a long, ruffled brown skirt with a ribbon about two-thirds over the way down it stood tapping one dress-booted toe against the ground over and over. This girl was Hiromi, and she watched the crowd a bit nervously, biting her bottom lip and bunching her skirt in her hands.

“That's a lively crowd...” she mumbled as a guy got pushed outside the shop. She just barely heard his 'Ah! I got some!' as he ran off with a brightly-colored bag, too lost in her own thoughts. “I hope Aki gets here soon...Otherwise they'll run out and...”

A horrible image suddenly filled her mental theater. Herself and Aki stood in a quiet, empty candy store with the lights dimmed, the owner holding out empty trays to them. “Sorry, girls,” he said in a deep, rumbling voice. “We're all out of Sweetheart Chocolates...forever!”

“Nooooo!” Hiromi started to cry. “I haven't even gotten to taste one yeeeet!”

“A-Ah!”

Hiromi looked up at the sound of the cry, just in time to see a girl close to her own age be shoved away from the crowd. Her feet tangled up in themselves and slipped out from under her, causing her to fall backwards. “Look ou--!” Hiromi started, but just as quickly as the girl began to fall, someone reached out and grabbed her wrist, pulled her back up. The girl sighed loudly, casting an appreciative smile at her rescuer.

“Thanks, Daisuke,” she breathed.

“No problem!”

Hiromi's expression softened a bit.

________________________________________

”A-Ah!”

Hiromi fell backwards, having slipped on the stairs just before she reached the top. Her heart leaped into her throat, pounding like a jackhammer.

“Hey, watch out!”

Someone's hand snapped out, firmly grabbing her wrist, and pulled. Hiromi was quickly thrust in the opposite direction, stumbling as she reached the last stair and the safety of the walk to the school gates. She was still startled, and her ankle was probably bruised where she'd kicked it in the rescue, but it was certainly better than the horrific alternative. She sighed in relief, shoulders slumping. “Oh, thank you so much...”

“It's no problem!”

Now Hiromi looked up at her rescuer. It was a girl with blue-black hair who still held her wrist in one hand. The girl smiled at her, tilting her head slightly. “I'm glad I caught you.” She looked over Hiromi's shoulder to the stairs. “Oh, hey, you dropped your umbrella! Take mine, get in the school, okay? Don't want you slipping again, yeah?” She passed Hiromi her own umbrella before carefully going down the steps.

Hiromi just watched her go, face tinting pink.


________________________________________

In the present day, Hiromi's face was still a bit pink. She smiled a bit, lowering her head and toying with strap of her purse.

“Hiromiiii~!”

She startled a bit, turned and smiled at Aki as the girl raced up the walk. “Ah, hi, Aki!”

“Hey! You weren't worrying, were you?”

“No, not this time.”

Aki's eyes narrowed as her grin widened a bit, and she poked Hiromi's forehead lightly. “You liar~ Your skirt is bunched up a little, and your knuckles are still white. Hiromi, you've got to calm down! Your blood pressure'll thank you.”

“Ehhh...”

“Now c'mon!” Aki seized Hiromi's hand tightly, dragging her towards the crowd. “Let's get the chocolate! To arms! Raaaaargh!”

________________________________________

Riche sat on the edge of the loveseat, one leg over the other. Lady sat demurely next to him, and Shylock stood with his back in a corner, arms folded lightly over his chest. All three were looking at a very sheepish Tamora.

“While I am glad you filled the River Despair a bit,” Riche began, casting a brief glance out the window. “I am a bit disappointed that you didn't bring the prince to us.”

“Wasn't my fault!” Tamora said quickly. “I tolja before, it was some new Pretty Cure! Two of them woke up at once, and they just -- they just -- They hurt my beautiful Usotsukiiii!” She began to wail, large tears pouring comically down her face.

In a flash, Lady was at Tamora's side, patting her shoulders and smiling softly. “Now, now, dear, it's alright...It's alright if you were taken by surprise. None of us were expecting a new Pretty Cure to awaken. Not even Break.”

At the mention of that name, there was a sudden hush, as if a thick and heavy curtain had fallen over them. Tamora stopped crying, blinking back her tears, and the males looked more solemn than usual. “Break...” she whispered.

“He more than understands, don't worry,” Lady murmured. “I spoke to him.”

“You spoke to Break?! Alone?!” Riche suddenly leaped up from his seat, crossed the room and grasped Lady's shoulders. “Are you alright, my love? He didn't scold you too badly, did he? You should have come to me for moral support, love!”

“I'm alright, dear,” Lady said quietly, smiling faintly. “It wasn't as unpleasant as I feared it'd be.”

“Be that as it may!” Riche removed his hands from Lady's shoulders, curling one into a fist. “My darling wife shouldn't have had to speak to Break alone! And it's all Pretty Cure's fault that she did!”

Shylock rolled his eyes. “Pretty Cure has nothing to do with Lady seeing Break, Riche,” he intoned. “She would have had to speak to him soon regardless of if new Cures awakened or not.”

“Be that as it may!” Riche went on. “They've caused my wife suffering--”

“She just said she didn't.”

“--And I'll be paying them a little visit.” Riche turned away from the others, marching for the large doors with purpose. “Shylock, watch the prisoner. Lady, stay here. Tamora...”

“Yes!”

“Be quiet and don't disturb anyone.”

Tamora pouted as the doors swung shut behind Riche.

________________________________________

“Ehhhh? The Aki Oshiro saved you?!” Mirai squealed, slamming her hands on her desk.

Hiromi sat at her own desk, patting at her hair with some paper towels. “U-Uh huh...” she mumbled. She looked up from beneath her bangs, blinking. “Wait...'the?'”

“Ah, that's right, you went to a different school,” Mirai said, and she sat back down in her chair. “Aki Oshiro's really rich, and really nice, and really pretty--”

“So she's like a princess?”

“Well, the thing is, you'd expect her to be but--”

The door burst open just then, Aki Oshiro herself sailing in and waving energetically. “Gooood morning, everyone~! Heeey, Yuki, how you doin'? You look good in the high school uniform! Hi, Antoinette, did you dye your hair? Looks great! Heeey, weird to have rain on the first day of the new school year, huh?” She grinned and sat down in her chair, as if things were perfectly normal...ignoring that she was soaking wet.

Hiromi just stared. “...oh.”

“Yeah, not what you might expect.” Mirai laughed behind her hand.

“Oh!” Aki suddenly stood up again, crossed the room and

stopped

right in front of

Hiromi's desk.

“You're from earlier,” Aki said, in a much quieter and gentler tone than before. Without waiting for Hiromi to respond, she opened her schoolbag and withdrew an umbrella, already prepared for storage. Hiromi recognized the pink fabric and the decorative bunnies. “Sorry I took so long getting this to you, but there was a bit of wind, you see.”


Is that why she was later than the rest of us? Hiromi thought, blushing again as she reached for the umbrella. “Th-thank you.”

As she took the umbrella, the girls' hands touched.


________________________________________

“Whooo, we managed to get some!” Aki beamed, holding her bag high above her head as she walked. The bag, a bright, glossy pink one with a pattern of red hearts and tied with white ribbon, swayed back and forth in her hands. She gave it a quick shake, smiling wider as she heard the candies inside. “What luck, huh, Hiromi? We got some before they all ran out.”

Hiromi walked, more awkwardly, behind Aki, holding her hand for support. “Y-yeah...” she mumbled, fixing her askew glasses back into place. How the heck did Aki end up less roughed-up than me?!

Aki's hair had been messed up a bit, one of her hair clips was dangling loosely, and she was a little red and sweaty. Hiromi, on the other hand... “I think someone took one of my hair bobbles,” she said. “A-And someone had juice and spilled it on my skirt...”

Ti and Coffee poked their heads out of Aki's messenger bag again, looking rather dizzy and disoriented. “The crowd was scary...” Coffee mumbled.

“...datchu,” seemed to be all Ti could provide.

Hiromi adjusted her glasses again, her own bag of candy held between her thumb and forefinger, and stared at the two fairies. “But you know...I still don't have any idea what you two are. Or what you're doing here, or why we were able to transform like that.”

“Oh, that's easy!” Coffee perked up. “We're fairies—”

“Yes?”

“We come from a magical world--”

“Yes?”

“And you two are legendary warriors~! Ta-daaaa!” Coffee beamed, holding her tiny arms out.

Hiromi just stared, brows lowered and lips pursed. “That still makes no sense at all!”

“Aw, c'mon, Hiromi. No rush, right?” Aki said, guiding Hiromi to a bench. “I mean, things have just started; there's all the time in the world to talk about this thing, right?”

“Aki, I just wanna know what exactly is going on, what we're in for!” Hiromi protested. “I mean, saying magic words while wearing a ring and then turning into a Lolita model?”

“That wasn't Lolita,” Aki said.

“You have to admit it's not normal.”

“Well, I'll concede that, but it still wasn't Lolita.” Aki opened her bag of chocolate and took out one of the little hearts, turning it a few times between her thumb and forefinger. “Wow, this is really well-made...no bubbles!”

“A-Aki...”

“You know...” Coffee began, climbing out of the bag and taking Ti with her. “I honestly didn't expect the two of you to both transform at once. Normally, two Cures only transform at the same time when their hearts are in sync with each other, beating as one... You two must be really close!”

“I sensed that right away, datchu,” Ti added.

Aki grinned, glancing over at Hiromi, who was blushing like a tomato, her glasses strangely opaque. Silently, she reached out and placed her hand over Hiromi's own. “Thanks for saying so.”

There was a brief, somewhat awkward pause. Finally, Hiromi looked up, eyes a bit teary in her embarrassment. “Y-You're n-n-not gonna a-ask what's going on?”

Coffee scratched the side of her face. “I think we can figure it out.”

As Hiromi opened her mouth to say something, Aki chuckled and tossed a chocolate into the latter's mouth.

________________________________________

Eyecatch 1: Hiromi and Aki lean over a small box, watching in anticipation as Ti and Coffee turn the handle. It appears to be a small jack-in-the-box, but when the lid suddenly pops open, it sends a spray of heart-shaped confetti all over them. The four of them laugh, and the Entwined Hearts logo appears in the corner.
Eyecatch 2: Cure Capulet and Cure Montague run at each other from opposite sides of the screen. The slide across the floor, intending on strike a pose together, but while Montague stops, Capulet keeps sliding. She briefly flails her arms in panic, and Montague grabs her around the waist to stop her. The momentum results in Capulet being held in a dip as she and Montague lock eyes. Montague laughs while Capulet blushes, and the Entwined Hearts logo appears in the corner.


________________________________________

”Next up! Hiromi Satou!” the gym teacher's voice rang out loud and clear from where she stood, stopwatch in hand.

“Yes!” Hiromi hopped up from her position on the grass, walking to the start line...and caught Aki's eye.

Aki sat on the bleachers, wearing her gym uniform, bloomers and all. She was just sitting there, watching everyone else get timed, her hands resting on her knees, a small and...

Was that smile
sad?

“Hiromi!”

“R-Right! Sorry.” Hiromi faced forward, taking her place and waiting for the whistle. When it came, she bolted from the starting line like a shot, arms and legs pumping, breathing steady...
And then her ankle seemed to work wrong and she was sent spilling to the ground, scraping up her knees. “Kyah!”

“Hiromi!” Mirai called out, jumping to her feet.

“Satou! Are you okay?”

“Y-Yeah, I'm okay...” Hiromi forced a smile as she rose to her feet and hobbled to the bleachers. “J-Just let me sit out, please...”

Aki blinked, and then widened her eyes slightly as Hiromi approached her, and sat down right beside her. She stared at the bespectacled girl for a moment, then started laughing quietly behind her hand.

Hiromi smiled faintly. “What?”

Aki lowered her hand, and shifted her eyes towards Hiromi. “You fell on purpose.” Hiromi's embarrassed laugh was all the answer she needed. “Why? You don't like gym?”

“It's not that. It's...you looked a bit lonely over here.” Hiromi's smile faded, and she turned to look forward again. “And...I thought it wasn't right, and I should come sit with you. You seem really nice, Aki...”

“Do you want to come to the arcade with me after school?”

“H-Huh?” Hiromi's head jerked up, and she stared wide-eyed at Aki. Aki was just smiling nonchalantly, though there was a little pink to her cheeks. “What?”

“Well...if you think I'm nice, and you even fell on purpose to sit with me and keep me company, then we should do something together. We can go to the arcade after school today for a start.” Her eyes closed and her smile widened. “Besides, I kinda wanted to talk to you more after the umbrella thing.”

Hiromi swore there was steam coming from her ears.

________________________________________

“I - I dunno if this is a good idea!”

“C'mooon,” Aki said, nudging her hand out at Hiromi. “It'll be fun! Better than me doing something while you just stand and watch, right?”

Aki stood on the platform for the arcade's dancing game, one hand on her knee as she leaned over to Hiromi. She held her hand out to her, trying to coax her into a dance. “Come on, it'll be fun.”

“P-P-People will stare--”

“I promise you, no one watches anyone on these things,” Aki said gently.

“I-I'm not real good at this.” Even as she said this, Hiromi's hand slowly lifted towards Aki's.

“I can dance well enough for both of us. Besides, it's not about skill, it's just fun.” Aki just kept smiling, her hand still proffered.

Hiromi hesitated a moment longer, then clasped Aki's hand.

________________________________________

“A little to the left...”

“Like this?”

“Yeah.”

Aki's tongue poked out between her lips as she lowered the crane according to Hiromi's instructions. “You know, I've never actually gotten anything in one of these. I keep feeding it money but I never - no freaking way!” Aki's eyes went as big as dinner plates when the crane lifted up, a toy in its grip. “Holy freaking cow, I got one! Hiromi, you – did you see – how did--?!”

Hiromi just smiled. “I'm pretty good at these, Aki.”

Aki held her prize in disbelief – a golden-eyed grasshopper plush, and for some reason it was wearing a top hat. “I can't believe it...Hiromi, you're amazing!” Aki squealed and threw her arms around Hiromi's shoulders for a moment before hopping back to the controls. “Let's get another one!”

________________________________________

As the sun was setting, Hiromi and Aki walked home; Aki was trying not to drop any of her numerous prizes, and Hiromi was trying not to laugh. Nope, Aki was indeed not what she might have expected. That much was clear as Aki tried to keep the prize sitting on top from toppling over and landing in the dust. “This was fun,” Hiromi said at last, cheeks tinting pink.

Aki paused in her little balancing act to look at Hiromi, grinning broadly. “Yeah, it was. Wanna do it again?”

“Wh-whaaa?!” Hiromi started. Whoa, straightforward!

“Well, it was fun, right?” Aki reached up and removed one of her toys. This seemed to be the reverse of the proverbial straw on the camel, as the pile in her arms was much less precarious. Smiling, she held the toy out to Hiromi; a large plush apple with a pink beret. “We should do it again. Is tomorrow okay?”

“U-Uhm...I h-have to volunteer at the library tomorrow...” Hiromi paused, swallowed nervously, and began again. “But...but the ne-next day. That's a good day.”

“Great! Then we'll hang out in two days. Maybe not the arcade though; you can pick this time.” With that, Aki quickly moved the apple towards Hiromi's face, mimicking a peck on the cheek. Then she tossed the toy into the flustered girl's hands, and jogged away. “G'bye, Hiromi! I'll see you at school!”

Hiromi watched Aki leave, weakly waving goodbye. “Y-yeah...bye...” she mumbled, then looked at the smiling apple. A small smile appeared on her own lips.


________________________________________

“Did you get some?”

“No, they ran out...Did you get some?”

“Uh huh!” A girl smiled and held her bag of candy out, a faint blush on her cheeks as she looked down at the ground. “U-Uhm...Daisuke, you can have mine if you like.”

“Eh?” The boy, apparently named Daisuke, blinked. “After all that fuss in the store? How come?”

“W-Well...Y-You see...” The girl's blush intensified. “I think you're really great, and I wanted to buy some chocolate for you anyway...”

Daisuke, picking up on her implications, turned red himself.

And meanwhile, in the air, someone was seeing red as he stared down at the few people left after the rush. “Giving something away because you're in love? That's just idiotic...” Riche swiftly produced a marker from his pocket and drew two curling lines to form a heart, in mid-air. Then he swiped his arm diagonally, putting a slash through the heart. The symbol split into two and shot towards the boy and girl below, landing on their chests. As the two screamed in pain and then dropped to their knees, wailing bitterly, Riche chuckled under his breath.  “Your heartbreak will fill the River Despair and flood the world!”

________________________________________

In a darkened mansion, a girl pressed her face to a window high above. She gasped in horror at the sight of the river blackening and frothing, lightning dancing over its surface.

________________________________________

Ti gasped and straightened up, his own eyes widening. “Sh-Shitsuren, datchu! It's Shitsuren, datchu!” he cried, tugging on Aki's sleeve.

“Shitsuren?” Aki frowned briefly, then gasped as realization hit. “You mean like the girl from the other day?”

“She was one of them – that was Tamora! There's three more, and there's one attacking right now, datchu!” Ti cried anxiously, moving to tug on Hiromi's sleeve now.

Hiromi and Aki exchanged a look. “We're going!” Aki declared.

________________________________________

Riche's chuckle turned into dark laughter as he watched the teenagers' despair. “Perfect! Whether or not I find Pretty Cure, I can still fill the river.” His hand clenched into a fist, and a smirk appeared on his face. “The entire world will drown in sorrow!”

“This is far enough!”

“That's right!”

“Hm?” Riche blinked, and looked a little further down the walk. There, glaring up at him, were two girls. Normally Riche would have just considered them extra sources for sorrow and heartbreak, but they had two very familiar fairies sitting on their shoulders. Which meant... “Ah, Pretty Cure! You're so prompt, I must congratulate you on that. Punctuality is a virtue, one that not a lot of young people seem to possess,” he added, sounding a tad miffed at the last part.

“Oh, thank you very much – wait a second!” Hiromi cried. “Stop what you're doing!”

“These people came here to enjoy delicious chocolate! Chocolate hearts that symbolize love! How can you plunge them into heartbreak like that?” Aki demanded.

Riche's brow twitched. “Love? Such a deep emotion shouldn't be felt by the likes of you!” Swiftly, he uncapped his marker again, drew that same slashed heart symbol in the air, and hurled it down towards the bag of chocolate by the boy's knees. “Fall into heartbreaking despair! Come on out, Usotsuki!”

In an instant, an Usotsuki stood where the chocolate once was. It retained its bag an ribbon shape, but the cheery pink was replaced with dark purple, the red ribbon now black. Long, black arms and legs of pure darkness emerged from the enlarged bag and ended in sharp claws. Glowing red eyes suddenly popped  open, and a glowing red fanged mouth grinned at the two girls with cruel intent. ”Usotsukiii!”

“Hiromi!” Aki cried.

Hiromi nodded, and clasped Aki's hand as Ti and Coffee leaped off their shoulders.

“Pretty Cure, Love's Song!”
“The innocent love in a maiden's heart, Cure Capulet!”
“The sincere love in a maiden's heart, Cure Montague!”
“Our hearts connected! Pretty Cure Entwined Hearts!”


The Usotsuki roared and swiped its clawed hands outward, not at Pretty Cure, but--

“Get them outta here!” Capulet shouted, but she needn't have. She and Montague both leaped out, each grabbing one of the teenagers and taking them to safety. Gently, they set the two down on a nearby bench, leaning against each other as they wept, blind and deaf to the world.

The Usotsuki let out a deafening shriek and thrust one of its noodle-like arms out to the bench. Pretty Cure gasped in horror, leaping in front of the bench to grab its hand and keep it from going any further.

“We've gotta get away from this spot!” Montague whispered harshly. “Or these guys'll be--”

“Usotsuki! Throw them sky-high!” Riche commanded.

”USOKI-KIKIKIKI!” The Usotsuki cackles madly, and swept its arm up high over its head. Cures Montague and Capulet didn't let go fast enough, and were tossed high into the air. Then just as they began their descent back down, the Usotsuki slammed its other arm into them, sending them both smashing to the ground before they had time to even scream.

It was their second battle. Only their second battle, and Pretty Cure seemed to be defeated, lying motionless in a large crater in the middle of the street.

“Pretty Cure, datchu! Pretty Cuuuure!” Ti screamed, tears of horror in his eyes.

“Prince, stay back!” Coffee yelled, lifting him up as the mouse fairy cycled his limbs.

“It can't happen again, datchu! It can't! Wake up, Pretty Cure! Please wake up!” he sobbed.

Riche stared for a beat, then chuckled. “Well. Clearly our dear Tamora was simply caught off-guard. I should apologize to her.” He then pointed nearby, to the chocolate shop. “Usotsuki, that shop is a symbol of love! Destroy it now!”

Montague's hand twitched.

________________________________________

”U-Uhm...Aki?”

“Hm?” Aki turned around to look at Hiromi.

It was sunset, and the two were on their way home from another day at the arcade. This time they'd taken it easy on the crane games, as each of them only held a single toy – interestingly, the same ones they'd won the first time they'd played. Aki held the stuffed apple under her chin as she turned bodily around. Hiromi's face was red, something that didn't concern Aki too much. The troubled look on her face, however... “What's the matter, Hiromi?”

“I – I uhm...”


________________________________________

“Destroy it now!”

”Uso--!”

”Stop.”

”--ki?” The Usotsuki paused, turned its body towards the downed Cures.

Riche quirked an eyebrow as he saw the two girls shakily pushing themselves up. “You can still stand?” Then he blinked, a look of realization on his face, before covering his mouth with a hand. “Oh my – Don't tell me you're going to defend a chocolate shop? Of all the absurd--”

“It's...an important place to us,” rasped Capulet as she got back on her feet. Her head was bowed, bangs shadowing her eyes. “We can't...”

________________________________________

”I...” Hiromi tapped her fingers against the top hat of her plush, shifting her eyes to look at the nearby bench, the road, the large window that showed assorted chocolates, everywhere but at Aki. Finally, she swallowed, inhaled a deep breath, and--

________________________________________

“We can't let you do this!”
both Cures roared, suddenly lifting their heads. Their eyes were gleaming in sudden ferocity, teeth bared. Letting out roars of anger, they charged towards the startled Usotsuki.

”U-Uso--?!” The Usotsuki threw its hands in front of itself, waved them frantically as it stared at the Cures with wide eyes.

Montague punched its hands aside with such force that the monster was sent skidding a few feet to the side. As it was regaining its footing, Montague locked her fingers together to form a foothold as Capulet leaped over her bowed head. She landed with the center of her foot in Montague's hands, and was immediately thrown upwards.

Capulet sailed high over the Usotsuki's head, and fell back down at top speed, one leg extended. “Capulet Kick!” she shouted, landing the blow right in the middle of the monster's forehead.

The Usotsuki crashed down the ground, sending up huge billowing clouds of dust and screeching in surprise and pain.

Riche was staring in wide-eyed shock. “Y-You really are getting so fierce over a chocolate shop!”

“That's because--!” Montague answered without even looking at him. Instead, she raced forward to land a straight punch at the fallen Usotsuki's side.

“This shop--!” Capulet spun-kicked the Usotsuki as she fell back down to land beside Montague.

“This place...”

________________________________________

”...I like you.”

Aki turned red, gasping quietly. The other girl was smiling softly at her, pink blush coloring her cheeks, her eyes closed. “You...do?”

Hiromi nodded shyly, hugging her plush closer. “I do.”

Aki turned even redder, looking off to the side and clearing her throat. “U-Uhm...I – I like you too.” She smiled at the look of faint surprise on Hiromi's face. “As – As more than a friend.”

“...Would you date me, Aki?”

Aki laughed quietly, hugging her own plush in absolute giddiness. “Yes!”

________________________________________

“...is important to us!”
the two Cures roared, clasping their hands and threading their fingers. Gold and purple light flashed and filtered between their fingers, and the Rapier Wands appeared in front of them. They grabbed their respective weapons with their free hands.

”Pretty Cure Dual Heart Strike!”

The attack blasted right through the Usotsuki as it was pulling itself back to its feet. It stiffened in pain, eyes going wide as it disintegrated and fell apart from the heart-shaped hole outward. ”U-Usotsu...” was all it could say before it was destroyed.

Riche tsk'd bitterly. “I will remember this,” he growled quietly before teleporting away.

________________________________________

Daisuke groaned, eyes fluttering open. “Mmm, wha...? Ah! Ikuko!” he cried, shaking the girl's shoulder. “Ikuko, wake up!”

“Mmm?” Ikuko's eyes opened slowly, and she looked to Daisuke in tired confusion. “Daisuke? ...what were we doing--”

Both of them suddenly looked down between them. A bag of candy sat there, opened to show the chocolates inside. Both teens blushed faintly and lifted their heads to look into each others eyes.

________________________________________

“I'm glad things worked out,” Aki sighed, eating another chocolate.

Hiromi laughed in embarrassment. “I didn't expect our date to end in a battle...”

“Unfortunately, that'll happen a lot, you two being Pretty Cure and all,” Coffee offered, a bit sheepish herself.

“That was the opposite of what I wanted to hear!” Hiromi cried, tearing up a little.

“But...if we're fighting for the sake of love and keeping people from heartbreak, I guess it's alright. Right, Hiromi?”

“Hmmm...”

________________________________________

Riche rubbed the back of his neck as he entered the room he was in earlier.

“Welcome home.”

He opened his eyes, and saw Lady sitting there on the loveseat, her hands neatly folded in her lap. Beside her sat a tray with a pot of tea, two cups, and a small plate of cookies. Riche stared at the smile on his wife's face for a moment, before he sighed and smiled. “I'm home, my dear...”

________________________________________

“Shylock!” screamed a depowered Cure Ariel, pounding on the door furiously. “Let me out of here! Let me out! You can't keep me here forever!” As she pounded, her hands started to burn, steam emitting from where they made contact with the door itself. But she paid it no mind, gritting her teeth through the pain and kicking the door for good measure. “You can't be alright with what you're doing! Let me out of here, this minute, Shylock!”

Outside Cure Ariel's door, Shylock said nothing. He just leaned against the door, his head bowed as he listened to her shouting.

A girl, clad in a long, flowing mint dress, her dark violet hair gently swaying in the wind, stood with her back to him. Her hands were clasped behind her back, and she suddenly turned around as if she sensed his presence. “Shylock~!” she called.

Shylock, his head still bowed, shoved himself away from the door and walked down the dark corridor, leaving Ariel and her shouting behind.

________________________________________

ED: "Hummingbird” - Mana Ogawa

________________________________________

ON THE NEXT EPISODE:
Aki: “Hey, it's Miho! I haven't seen her in a long time!”
Hiromi: “A-Ah, she wants me to...”
Aki: “To what?”
Hiromi: “T-To be a model?! Next time on Pretty Cure Entwined Hearts: 'A Model, Me? Razor-Sharp Competition!' 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

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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~
Reply
:iconinfella:
Infella Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2014  Student Writer
Thanks for the fav ^_^
Reply
: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!
Reply
: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?
Reply
:iconharuka-n:
Haruka-N Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2013
hi
Reply
:iconaxeliloveyou201:
Axeliloveyou201 Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2013  Student General Artist
Reply
:iconmirage-moonlight:
Mirage-Moonlight Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2013
Why only money commissions? I only pay with points and wanted to do so for a fake Pretty Cure screenshot ><
Reply
:iconlady-moth:
Lady-Moth Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2013   Digital Artist
I can now take points commissions!
Reply
:iconmirage-moonlight:
Mirage-Moonlight Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2013
With those new prices, do fake screenshots cost a little more than 20 points?
Reply
:iconlady-moth:
Lady-Moth Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2013   Digital Artist
Wih new prices, the screencaps will cost the same as regular cel-shaded stuff.
my apologies for the increase, but one of my best friends said I was vastly under-pricing myself, and that the points I'm offering now are the equivalent to roughly five dollars or so. =A=
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