2017-04-22 - We Are Pretty Cure 1
|Title: We Are Pretty Cure 1|
Honoka and Nagisa are back together at last, but Pretty Cure is still in jeopardy -- their fairies have been kidnapped, and they can't get them back alone!
|OOC - IC Date:|
04-22-2017 - 01-16-2015
<Pose Tracker> Nagisa Misumi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.
"How much time do you need?" Pisard breaks in suspiciously.
Nagisa zips up big time, knowing well enough to leave this one to her partner.
"A week," Honoka says authoritatively, keeping eye contact.
"You have three days," Pisard counters coldly. "Be at the lacrosse field at midnight on the third day. You will receive further instructions at that point. If we see any sign of other magical girls there, you will die right there." Walking up to the two girls, he waits for them to step apart to let him through, but they seem unwilling to separate. After a brief battle of wills and locked eyes, he steps around instead.
"Apologies. I misspoke." Pisard has paused just behind the pair. "Since you are not magical girls at all."
- * *
Two perfectly normal, unmagical girls stand on the lacrosse field, color bleached from them by dim moonlight. One has a long pink scarf, a dark green strappy jacket with pink tank, and short feathery orange hair. The other, a white winter coat, jeans, and dark hair--straight and long. No other living thing is in sight--not even resting from their belts. They've been standing still, waiting, for a few minutes now.
Nagisa shifts slightly, looking across her shoulder at Honoka. "Do you think we should look around?" she asks. Tentatively, she takes a step forward.
Just a tickle of a shadow ripples rapidly across the wilted winter grass, small and round. Already on the lacrosse field, Nagisa's instincts are primed in a certain direction, and she backpedals with the careful, eyes-up haste of an outfielder. Honoka's hair curls inky in the air as she sidesteps to let Nagisa pass, and the lacrosse star leaps up with hands together, catching the object without her usual stick's assistance.
As Nagisa drops to the ground again, Honoka turns to look back over her shoulder where the object came from. The white-maned silhouette of Pisard stands, blade-shouldered, narrow-waisted, boots together atop the power lines far behind the goal, near the edge of the small copse of trees separating the field from the city. The wind licking her sleek moon-highlighted hair, Honoka watches Pisard, his unnaturally powerful throw keeping him well out of conversational range, and Nagisa slowly lifts her eyes to follow those of her partner's.
"What does it say?" Honoka's dove-soft voice breaks the silence only gently.
Nagisa blinks, looking down to the object in her hands. A rubberized lacrosse ball, with a piece of paper mashed around it.
"Verone," Nagisa answers, shaking the paper out and letting the ball drop. "Verone Aquarium. Rooftop stadium."
As if on cue, Pisard turns cape and drops from the power lines into the trees.
Nagisa lowers her eyes and glances surreptitiously to either side of the field. "Does he know?" she wonders.
Honoka shakes her head faintly, uncertain.
- * *
<Pose Tracker> Honoka Yukishiro [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed. <SoundTracker> The Evil Nest https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckEeKPMR0XE
The aquarium is a lot scarier than usual in the middle of the night. But for the occasional flickering fluorescent, the halls are dark, and the slightest footsteps echo clatteringly. The presence of immense amounts of water on three sides (and sometimes below, past plexiglass flooring) is felt more than it's seen -- a pressure wholly separate from the disquiet of being here illicitly, which provides its own distinct catch to the lungs and pound to the heart. Everything is so quiet here -- everything is so loud.
Honoka and Nagisa walk into the darkness with linked hands between them, to avoid being separated the least of their reasons.
If there's a security guard, perhaps he's in the lovely tiered atrium with the food court, or standing watch over a pool of sleeping otters. But he isn't in the shark tunnels, where there's the barest flick of a massive shape, a shadow in shadow, to remind invaders that they are very much not alone.
Emerging beside the bleachers is honestly a relief, or it would be, if they had the chance to suck down more than a couple of quick breaths of cold night air before being interruped.
A spotlight flashes on, blinding, and arms come up across eyes by simple reflex. There's someone standing in front of it, atop another lightpole, or maybe it's a... crane? His shadow is long and thin and ends right at the girls' feet, like a black road connecting them. With the light blasting behind him, Pisard is a silhouette.
A smug silhouette. His arms are folded over his chest and his baritone is luscious with self-satisfaction.
"It's good for the children of Juuban that you've come. I would hardly expect you to come just for them." A few days of keeping the fairies in his custody has granted Pisard the only pity he'll ever feel for his nemeses (or at all).
His sharp-booted toe joggles a rope tied to the end of his crane, and it makes the bucket (usually used for fishy rewards) dangling below him sway alarmingly.
"Honoka-mepo!!" Mepple's unmistakable timbre, distorted by the metal he's surrounded by, wails downwards. "Get out of here! You can't let them have the last Prism Stone-mepo!!"
Honoka is whiter than usual beneath the light, her eyes huge and dark as she tries to maintain her composure. It's Nagisa who responds, her voice booming across the intervening distance to shock Mepple like lightning:
"MEPPLE!! Don't worry, I'm here too!"
There comes a moment of silence, Pisard smirkingly willing to let this exchange play out. Then the pail starts thrashing all on its own, like an overenthusiastic bell with a muted clapper.
"NAGISA YOU IDIOT, THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT-MEPO!! WHY ARE YOU HERE WHEN IT'S TOO LATE-MEPO! TEN THOUSAND APOLOGIES WON'T BE ENOUGH-MEPO!"
Pisard purses his lips, feeling that his point has been well-made.
He holds out his hand, demandingly.
Honoka shakes her head. "We want to see Mipple first, please."
"Please. You're in no position to make demands."
Nagisa's eyes flash. "Fair is fair!"
"Fair is..." Pisard seems nonplussed. "Your insolence is boundless. But, very well, allow me to speed this along. Gekidrago!"
The nearest set of bleachers collapse as a massive man bursts through the concrete supports underneath it, and Pisard's comrade emerges from the debris cloud with Mipple's commune clutched fist-first. She can barely be seen between and beneath his immense fingers.
"Today we finally get the Stone!" he says gleefully.
"Honoka will never give it to you-mipo!" squeaks his prisoner.
There's another moment of tense silence, which is finally broken when Pisard severs the rope holding Mepple's pail above the still, dark water with the tip of his boot.
Nagisa's in motion before the bucket even hits the water's surface, and dives straight in without a moment's hesitation. Honoka's legs carry her more slowly, and when she spots lifeline ropes and round floating preservers at the edge of the pool, she takes a few seconds to chuck them in, hurling them as far as she can.
"Take the Stone off their corpses," barks Pisard.
Gekidrago chortles, Mipple wails, and the two sounds blur together into one as he lowers his head like a bull and charges again, a blur himself. Honoka gasps in a big breath of air and then leaps into the water after Nagisa, that direction her only possible escape.
While she's submerged, her pursuer skids to a stop at the edge, shifting his weight to adjust to his new center of gravity so that his inevitable dive after them can gain as much distance as possible. He's grown even taller, and broader, and... pinker. A somewhat goopy-looking fingerless glove, shoulder-length, crawls up his immense biceps, where it widens into a hooded cloak. A hood with black eyes bobbling above, and with huge pink ears, and a whiplike pink tail that ends in a heart.
It isn't really clothing, of course. Gekidrago's peculiar specialty is fusing his power with that of other living beings, and Mipple certainly qualifies. Their scream is joint, that of a single entity, enraged and terrified at the same time. It echoes throughout the stadium deafeningly, audible even underwater.
And then he flexes his arms above his head and LEAPS after the girls--
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe transforms into Gekimipple!
<Pose Tracker> Saki Hyuuga [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed. <SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgS06Wt_KQU
While the fused Gekidrago and Mipple soar, two bolts of color dart in from opposite directions; flashes of light blasting in at speed and each touching the ground, well below the fused beast but on its path to the disabled White and Black; two girls in pink and silver, their bodies wreathed in light.
"Egret!" Cure Bloom cries out, and holds out her hands. The ground around her swirls up, offers up its magic in the form of shining light.
"Mepple-lapi! We're here-lapi!" Flappy yells, head emerging from Bloom's belt.
"I'm here, Bloom!" Cure Egret cries out. The wash of silver light erupts, as the very skies above swirl, raining silver light down -- even as her hands are held aloft. Her purple eyes look up, then narrow, with some anger in them. "We won't let you...!"
"Mipple-chopiiiiii..." Choppy cries softly from Mai's side.
The two energies combine, spinning up around the duo as a dome of shining magic. It rises swiftly, catching the fused Gekidrago in mid-leap and withstanding all the force of that jump. Cure Bloom, blazing with earth magic, turns her eyes up toward it. She doesn't say anything or offer accusation; she just screams, releasing the pent up Pretty Cure power inside her out into the barrier. Cure Egret stays quiet, too, but the way her eyes narrow and jaw sets speak volumes.
In time with two hearts, the barrier grows rapidly, blasting Gekimipple up into the air like it'd been shot from a cannon!
COMBAT: Saki Hyuuga transforms into Cure Bloom! COMBAT: Cure Bloom has started a combo targeting Hotaru Tomoe! COMBAT: Mai Mishou transforms into Cure Egret! COMBAT: Cure Egret has joined the combo started by Cure Bloom! COMBAT: COMBO! Cure Bloom and Cure Egret have used Combo: Pretty Cure Splash Shield, composed of Petal Flash and Feather Flourish, on Hotaru Tomoe. COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe narrowly braces Cure Bloom and Cure Egret's Combo: Pretty Cure Splash Shield, taking 10 Fatigue damage! Hotaru Tomoe's Block ability activates! Hotaru Tomoe's Parry ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Inori Yamabuki [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
It all started with an explanation from her teammate, and a nod. "I see." Only for it to sink in and for her to startle, "Wait what!? Those two?!" The surprise of the moment only lingers so long, because she can definitely see Nagisa and Honoka as Pretty Cure.
She can clearly picture Cure White with boyishly short brown hair, and Cure Black with long dark hair standing side by side. Until the image meets dissonance in her head, and she puts a finger to her chin, "Wow Nagisa-senpai acts really differently when she's Cure White." A beat, "And I never would have guessed Cure Black was Honoka-senpai..."
"That's because-" Inori turned her head to find herself eye level with a ferret fairy who then says more empatically, "-it's the other way around- Pine-han!"
It's really only natural that she fell over a chair afterwards, though fortunately into a pile of cushions, to the delighted giggles of a baby bear fairy. Though she's trembling from the mild case of ferret phobia she manages to get out, "W-Well I'll do whatever I can to help. But..."
She looks vaguely distant, her expression becoming suddenly gloomy.
Then she quietly trails off into nothing. "...ah nevermind. I can worry about that after."
The suddenly forlorn Kyuuu... certainly echoes how she feels.
On the Juuban rooftop she tries not to let the tip top of a single orange hair peek out from cover where it might be spotted by one of the Dark Five, doesn't move, tries not to even breathe during the tense moments where Honoka and Nagisa walk onto the field. If they caught on that a single one of them was there before it was time- what would happen? But then he's gone, leaving only a message, and the only thought in her mind is: Did he see us!?
At the aquarium, the situation is all the more tense. A shadowed figure squatting down low to run behind a potted plant, used for added color around the aquarium. It doesn't provide the best cover, frankly it's leafiness wasn't even enough to even pretend to cover her. Which is why it's a good thing that Pisard turns the spotlights on, and at the duo of totally normal girls. And yet she felt a little bit like a deer in the headlights as she watched. She could only imagine how Honoka and Nagisa felt to watch one of their fairies dangling over a shark tank.
She knows if the situation were reversed, she would feel helpless- powerless. And yet- it doesn't seem that way. Honoka demands to see Mepple. Nagisa demands they act fairly. Even knowing they have backup- the two act more courageously as normal girls than she ever could as a Pretty Cure.
She flinches as the bleachers collapse and another reappears, she gasps when Mepple takes the plunge- and as Nagisa dives in- Honoka following. She marvels at their bravery even as she feels a stab of shame.
Perhaps it's their courage that inspires her out of that moment of helplessness as she stumbles out from behind the plant just as Gekidrago changes and starts to leap. "Change! Pretty Cure - Beat Up!"
BGM Change: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOh4jzpmQTE
In a shimmer of yellow, she's already leaping high, catching Passion's eye as Bloom and Egret go low. "Passion!" Twin blurs of passionate red and faithful yellow come up parallel to one another. As the barrier of Egret and Bloom knock him high, she calls out, "The two of us will take it from here! Double-"
They're descending rapidly towards the massive pink muscled shape that's hurtling upwards, foot outstretched they both shout, "-Pretty Cure Kick!" They both strike as one- with titanic force to oppose that upward momentum, as they attempt to knock him down and backwards like some massive pink comet descending to Earth towards the familiar shapes of girls in white and pink. "Melody! Rhythm! We're counting on you!"
COMBAT: Inori Yamabuki transforms into Cure Pine! COMBAT: Cure Pine has started a combo targeting Hotaru Tomoe!
<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.
"But...?" Setsuna watches Iori through that distant look, as she gets gloomy; she looks serious herself, though she did a little giggling on her own.
"...All right," she says, and curls her hands on her legs while she sits.
- * *
The cold prickles on Setsuna's skin as she stares out from the rooftop into the darkness, looking after Honoka and Nagisa and whatever might join them out here, Her hands, pale and easier to spot, are kept down as she tries to make herself as hard a target to spot as possible. This is life or death for many, not just friends. It's not lost on her that that's the case. But...
She's also just worried. She tries not to think about that. It becomes the backround as Setsuna watches, waits...
Not here, then. Setsuna turns her head to look at Inori for a moment, letting out a breath. She has more thoughts than just whether they were seen... But...
- * *
It's colder still here at the aquarium for Setsuna, which in the darkness this late at night is a strange world full of unfamiliar things. Many of them are fascinating, but some of them look more alien. ...She likes this place during the day, but...
There's little time to focus on that anyway; on the wall opposite a certain other shadowed figure is her, squatting low to run behind a potted plant in th same way. It's very leafy, and definitely oesn't cover her much, but she's wearing dim colors. It gives her a little bit though, and it's already dark.
The spotlight flashes on and Setsuna looks away immediately and instinctively, wincing at the sudden brightness and unable to see clearly for a few moments yet. This time, she can hear them, thanks to the darkness, and she can see... This awful display. She tenses as the bleachers collapse; that could have been her set of bleachers, if she were on another part of the wall. Her fingers curl, pale, against the plant, as she forces herself to stay in place. Right until...
'Take the Stone off their corpses.'
Setsuna's eyes widen and she lets go, pulling her Linkrun immediately. "Change! Pretty Cure!" She finishes standing up, "Beat... Up!" She glows a brilliant red as she steps forward and jumps into the air, the opposite direction from Pine as they catch one another's eyes. "Right, Pine!"
BGM Remains: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOh4jzpmQTE
Pine says they'll take it from here, and in perfet syncrhonization, Cure Passion calls, "Double--" She slams down rapidly in perfect time, foot outstretched, "Pretty Cure Kick!"
They strike, and Pine talks again while Passion just nods firmly as she moves, "Mm!"
COMBAT: Setsuna Higashi transforms into Cure Passion! COMBAT: Cure Passion has joined the combo started by Cure Pine! COMBAT: COMBO! Cure Pine and Cure Passion have used Combo: Double Pretty Cure Kick!, composed of Pretty Cure Fresh Kick, on Hotaru Tomoe. COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to dodge Cure Pine and Cure Passion's Combo: Double Pretty Cure Kick!, taking 56 Fatigue damage! Cure Pine and Cure Passion are Psyched!
<Pose Tracker> Hibiki Houjou [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.
"What are you doing-nya?! Pretty Cure needs your help to save their fairies-nya!"
Face down in a pile of homework - having honestly given up on anything but using her textbook as a pillow an hour ago - Hibiki Houjou sits up blearily. It takes a moment to focus on her feline roommate, who is...standing a lot more sternly than usual. The girl tilts her head, the notion of a Serious Hummy being too bizarre for her to parse. "Hummy? What are you talking about - did something happen?"
The cat nearly facefaults onto the floor, little paws flailing wildly as she tries to keep her balance. Only the intervention of the Fairy Tones keeps her from toppling entirely, but once steadied she points an admonishing paw to deliver her speech of punishment. "You fool! Don't you remember the big meeting a few days ago-nya? We have to stop the enemy from getting their hands on the Prism Stones, save the fairies, and go out for cupcakes!"
The word 'enemy' - or perhaps the word 'cupcakes' - helps Hibiki shake off the cruel veil of sleep. That math homework, impossibly, seems even less important than it did two hours ago - it's clear, even to a tired mind, that Something Big is going down. "That's...I don't even know where to begin with that! Don't worry, though - I'll get Kanade on the phone, and Cure Melody and Cure Rhythm will get on the case!" She pulls out her phone, hits a contact, and lets it start ringing. "...hang on, meeting? What meeting?"
"The meeting I told you ab..." Hummy trails off for a moment, looking up at thin air for a long moment. Then, the white cat claps her paws together, tapping the side of her head. "Oh, that's right! I forgot to mention it-nya!""
When Kanade picks up the phone, the first words she hears are a screeched, "YOU FORGOT?!"
The night is cold and dark, the hour late enough that all but the most dedicated office workers must have called it a night. Stars twinkle in the black, the moon casting a pale light over a quiet city, and the very air seems to swallow noise. It might be a winter night like any other, but for those glimmers of light in the darkness. White and pink, paired together, boots striking one roof tile after another with synchronicity.
It should be a silent, holy night, but that passing blur of colour has no small amount of arguing going on. Fortunately, the melody and rhythm are united. Unfortunately, they've joined forces.
"Couldn't you have told us about something this important a little sooner, you fluff-brained cat?" Cure Melody, pink ruffles rippling with their united passage, stomps just a little harder to spring off another route. Mid-leap, she starts looking for a place to land, and settles for a moment on the roof of a convenience store. While trying to remember how far it is to Juuban, she holds up said cat for better interrogation.
"I'm a cute song fairy, nya~! And it's fine, I know that you two have enough Harmony Power to overcome something like-"
"That's making excuses and you know it! I'm all about making excuses, have you seen me in class?!" Cure Melody interrupts the cat with a brief bit of shaking - interrupted herself by reproach from Cure Rhythm. Letting out a sigh, she lowers the cat just a little. "Yeah, yeah, I'm working on it. Anyway, what's the deal, Hummy - how'd these jerks get their hands on these friends of yours?"
"Nyaaaa...oh! It's honestly not very clear, I didn't hear much at the meetings." Read: The cat sleeps through half of Fairy UN meetings, and is not to be trusted with the minutes. "I think it was something like...the two Pretty Cure got into a fight, and couldn't transform without working together! Teamwork is truly important, nya."
There's a frown on Cure Melody's face, not entirely because of the flakiness of her friendpetmascot here. There's almost certainly more to the story than just friends having a fight, but even that much...she can't help but glance towards her partner just a little guiltily. "How bad a fight did it have to-"
"It's all good now - oh look, there they are!"
"Don't change the - wait, really?" Cure Melody peers down to the road below, catching glimpse of a pair of girls walking together, seemingly having come from what she's pretty sure is Juuban's direction. Probably. Maybe. She lowers Hummy, giving the cat a serious glare as if to silently say 'we're trusting you on this one', and then sets off to follow the pair.
Considerably less quiet is the moment taking place in the aquarium. Oh, Melody tried to stay quiet as best she could, slinking through the shadows with careful footsteps as Honoka and Nagisa had their tense exchange with Pisard - but when Mepple is hurled into the water, she's all but ready to charge forward herself.
When Pisard gives that order to Gekidrago, the word 'but' is certainly excised from that phrasing.
There are bolts of colour flashing in high above, Egret and Bloom arriving in tandem to interrupt Gekimipple's charge with light brilliant enough to cast long shadows as the Precure runs forward. There's a synchronized shout from above, as Pine and Passion descend with decisive force to start the process of smashing down that brute as footfalls fall heavily.
With an aria singing in her ears, Cure Melody steps off of a nearby bench, and leaps to meet Gekimipple in the air.
"Strumming the wild rhythm - Cure Melody!" She has a plan in mind - or rather, she comes up with one some time in the middle of her leap. As that pink, heart-tipped tail whips around, a pink Precure reaches to latch on with a move straight out of a bizarre judo class. She hauls back in midair, but there's little purchase to be found and her weight alone might not mean much...
"Rhythm, let's go! Pretty Cure..." That is, unless she can be anchored by a partner at the right moment. That's what teamwork is for, right?
COMBAT: Hibiki Houjou transforms into Cure Melody! COMBAT: Cure Melody has started a combo targeting Hotaru Tomoe!
<Pose Tracker> Kanade Minamino [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.
Kanade was sound asleep in her bed dreaming of making the worlds biggest wedding cake. Her gown was as white a snow and with bright red red icing roses to match on the cake. How many brides get to bake their own wedding cake.
She turns to her groom to be, although the image is rather blurry until she goes to lift their top hat-
A loud ring awoke Kanade with a start. She bolted upright as her heart pounded in her ears. Kanade then realizes the source is her cellphone and she glares as she gives a yawn.
Who is calling me at this hour, he mutters as she reached for the phone. Hello? Hibiki?! Why are you calling me-
Her eyes widen as her friends frantic voice talk and what sleep was still left in her is kicked out of her brain.
WHAT?! Kanade yells but quickly covers her mouth, praying she didnt wake up her family. A hostage trade- Hibiki are you serious?...Yes, yes. Alright, Ill be there, just let me get dress.YES I WAS ASLEEP WHAT DID YOU THINK I WAS DOING?!
Kanades twitched as she scrambled out of bed and readying reaching for her sweater. Just wait for me Im coming.
It doesnt take long for Kanade to get dressed and transform into Cure Rhythm. Her heart's still pounding as she jumps over the rooftop with Cure Melody. Its a beautiful night, despite the urgency and rage Rhythm is feeling alongside her partner.
Hummy, I cant believe you forgot to tell us about this! Cure Rhythm scolded as she leapt over another roof and joined Melody in perfect unison.
Melodys right! Rhythm scolded. You need to be more responsible- She then shoots a disapproving look in her partners direction. Saying excuses are your thing is not helping the situation, Melody.
She gives a sigh as Melody brushes off the statement, but its quickly forgotten as Hummy explains the situation in still vague details. Rhythm shifts uncomfortably at the mention fo the friends fighting and caught the glanced her partner was giving her.
She reached over and gave her friend a gentle squeeze on the shoulder. It was so easy to simply say Friends had a fight when there were more often more serious reasons underneath the surface.
Rhythm would have like to dig further, but the fairy cat cut herself off as the Precure are spotted. She nods along with Melody. They had to trust Hummy on that and if something was happening then it was likely their help would be needed.
Rhythm tries to stay as silent like a ninja she had seen on one of her brothers anime, but its difficult as they watch the two girls approach the enemy. Everything almost seems to be going well, until Mepple is hurled into the water.
Thats when everything gets crazy like when someone lifts a mixer out of a full bowl without turning it off. Other Precure arrive as she jumps down with Melody like Pine and Passion.
Rhythm can hear the music ringing her ears as she leaps off in unison with Melody.
Strumming the tranquil melody- Cure Rhythm! she shouts at the top of her lungs.
Rhythm sees Melody acts first and before she could blink, her partner grabs Gekimipples tail and it only takes a swift nod to understand the intention. As Melody comes close, she grabs onto her partner's feet, and the two of them join forces to bring the fused brute crashing down to earth.
"Pretty Cure Jazz Swing!"
COMBAT: Kanade Minamino transforms into Cure Rhythm! COMBAT: Cure Rhythm has joined the combo started by Cure Melody! COMBAT: COMBO! Cure Melody and Cure Rhythm have used Pretty Cure Jazz Swing on Hotaru Tomoe. COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to brace Cure Melody and Cure Rhythm's Combo: Pretty Cure Jazz Swing, taking 41 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Cure Melody and Cure Rhythm are Psyched! Stagger, Stun, Tangle, and Trap applied to Hotaru Tomoe!
<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.
Choppy's weeping mingles with the roar of Gekimipple in a tragic descant, but they don't seem to mind. Indeed, a Greek chorus of wailing fairies is like the ultimate battle soundtrack for the Dark Five, and as Bloom and Egret pass them in their charge, the girls get a clear view of the side of their face and the pleased smirk there. Mipple's lips haven't translated separately, but Gekidrago's are definitely pinker than usual. It's the same pink that adorns Cure Black's fists, and it is somewhat sickening to see it here, misused.
Slamming into Splash Star's glowing spiritual barrier wipes that crooked smile right off of their face. Bloom and Egret get to see it up close, though, because the face gets huge, like they're an inflating balloon slammed up against a glass window. Their currently sagging pink cheeks press against it at two points, turning darker and darker red. Indeed, their whole head, Mipple as crown, is turning more and more red. With rage, presumably.
But despite the mounting pressure there, they ultimately do not break through, and are blasted back -- away from the pool and towards an embankment of bleachers -- with momentum nearly the equal of that of their original leap. Like an inhuman cannonball, they tuck their head between their knees and try to use the imparted topspin to their advantage, becoming a deadly projectile. Who knows how big the explosion will be on impact; will there even be any aquarium left?
It turns out to be a rhetorical question, because they're intercepted again, this time by Cure Pine and Cure Passion. The girls' feet instantly halt their spin, revealing that they've nailed them mid-mohawk, a heel parting Gekidrago's hair (which bisects Mipple's brow) in two places. There's a puffing sound, and a ring of extra momentum explodes outwards.
They plunge downwards, flailing their ridiculously huge arms like a gorilla, trying to grab onto something to slow their fall! And they almost had the crane, as they went soaring past it, but just as they're starting to get a grip, they're latched onto, one-two, by Cure Melody, anchored by Cure Rhythm, and they guarantee, with their use of native strength and clever leverage, that like a ten foot deep Gekimipple-shaped hole in the concrete is formed on impact.
There comes of this moment another world-shaking debris cloud, which they leap out of about three times larger than they were before, most of this mass pink Mippleflesh. It zooms forward, the neck expanding endlessly, the head larger than ever, to butt Bloom and Egret directly, then, swinging wildly, Passion and Pine, too. On the ground, Melody and Rhythm are closest, and their prehensile tail wraps towards them. The scariest part is how there's a heart on the end, which is usually cute and charming, but right now the heart's point is razor-sharp...
"PRETTY CURE!" they yell. "WILL CRUSH YOU ALL!"
Did they drop the 'I' or was that a 'we'll'? Gekidrago was liable to do the former alone, while Mipple's influence is likely to help with his grammar. On the other hand, there's no -mipo to be found...
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Hat of Hate on Cure Bloom. COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Hat of Hate on Cure Egret. COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Hat of Hate on Cure Pine. COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Hat of Hate on Cure Passion. COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Prehensile Tailcoat on Cure Melody. COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe has used Get The Point on Cure Rhythm. COMBAT: Cure Melody narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Prehensile Tailcoat, taking 10 Fatigue damage! Cure Melody's Block ability activates! Cure Melody's Parry ability activates! Tangle and Trap applied to Cure Melody! COMBAT: Cure Rhythm narrowly dodges Hotaru Tomoe's Get The Point, taking 32 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Cure Rhythm's Fade ability activates! Cure Rhythm's Flash ability activates! COMBAT: Cure Pine fails to brace Hotaru Tomoe's Hat of Hate, taking 70 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! COMBAT: Cure Passion fails to brace Hotaru Tomoe's Hat of Hate, taking 48 Fatigue damage! COMBAT: Cure Egret narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Hat of Hate, taking 21 Fatigue damage! Cure Egret's Block ability activates! Cure Egret's Parry ability activates! COMBAT: Cure Bloom narrowly braces Hotaru Tomoe's Hat of Hate, taking 14 Fatigue damage! Cure Bloom's Block ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Nagisa Misumi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed. <SoundTracker> XL-TT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tMhkQ520Sk
The curved maroon pattern around Pisard's ornate, faintly jaundiced eye grows sharper as he watches the erstwhile Cure Black leap in after her erstwhile fairy. He had been surprised by the tomboy's presence at Cure White's side during this entire affair, but far from alarmed. Indeed, this will avoid any loose ends.
Somehow the bubbles rising from where Mepple is sinking into the deep aquamarine pool are visibly irate, popping angrily in respose to Flappy's cry. Nagisa is burdened by her jacket, jeans, and sneakers, but doggedly pulls herself deeper into the water by breatstroke, catching up to the sinking fairy as Honoka prepares their rescue.
"What? Pretty Cure!" Pisard's face shifts from otherworldly beauty to a hideous sneer, slitted eyes frog-wide as his fanged mouth twists into a triumphant grin. "As I hoped, the children of the Garden of Rainbows know how to tell a lie after all! Despair, as your own hope turns against you!" As the multicolored Pretty Cure of many fairy worlds throw themselves in harms' way to protect the helpless Honoka and Nagisa, Pisard lifts a black-nailed hand to the heavens, then swings it down hard, a burst of force driving through the water like a spear.
"Nagisa!" Honoka cries out, her hair a dark pool of tendrils resting on the surface around her head as she hangs from one of the life preservers. As she swims towards the point of impact, sloshing waves keep trying to push her back, to dunk her.
Gekimipple cocks their head(s) mid-combat suspiciously. The ground is beginning to rumble beneath them, some distortion from beneath the water vibrating the concrete. Honoka reaches the smooth, bubbly patch of water where Pisard's blast had penetrated and takes a deep breath in preparation to dive. Just as her pale face disappears beneath the water, however, the entire pool lurches convex, the center bulging up by a good meter, pushing Honoka back above the surface as torrents of water start to sweep her back to the circumference of the pool. Sputtering and hugging onto the life preserver, Honoka fights the current to a standstill for a moment or two, but the angle of the water then tilts much further and Honoka slides down its rushing current. A massive beast is birthed from the waters before her, forcing its head and shoulders up as hundreds of thousands of gallons of water resist, buckle, then stream down the visage of this terrible colossus.
"ZAK!" it bellows through cascading sheets of water.
Honoka's eyes are wide with horror as she fights to tread water even with her flotation device.
Pisard is laughing maniacally atop the crane.
Nagisa dangles limply from the massive fist of the titanic youma, her orange hair inverted and soaked to the shape of an unbloomed bud, her face not visible.
Before the bobbing form of Honoka is a giant yellow face with four angry veins marking its forehead with their demonaic sigil. Big round ears, a stuffed animal's bulbous head shape, and a soft-looking muzzle contrast vividly with the malevolence of two big black disk-eyes. Both those eyes slide closed and the mouth yawns in a massive, jaw-distorting triangle that Honoka has become very familiar with, in her months of caring for Mepple and Mipple alone.
"No!" Honoka shouts.
Zamepple stuffs Nagisa's ragdoll form into his mouth, along with much of his fuzzy hand, and gulps her down whole right off of his own paw, like a bear with honey. As Honoka starts to swim her way forward, Zamepple's other paw catches her foot and pulls her out of the water upside-down, shaking her to get the life preserver off. "Mepooo..." the fairy-youma rumbles hungrily. Tilting his head back, he opens his mouth delightedly wide, dangles Honoka above his face, then drops her into his enormous, voracious yawn, a big noisy swallow alerting all present to the fact that Futari wa Pretty Cure has been... reunited again.
"Me-po!" Zamepple pats his belly with visible satisfaction, letting out a long sigh. Eager eyes snap open again, however, and he places his paws on the edge of the pool to start to drag his ungainly body from it. Some sort of purple matter makes up much of his lower body, running up through the fuzz like cracks, and his eyes have a wicked leer that was only occasionally present when he was just a fairy. He extends a greedy paw towards the other Pretty Cure.
"See what becomes of a fairy of light, when he is given true power!" Pisard sweeps his hand forward and points at the other Pretty Cure. "Zakenna! Eat your fill at long last!"
Dinner's not over yet.
COMBAT: Haruka Tenoh transforms into Zamepple! COMBAT: Zamepple has used Fresh Pretty Cure on Nagisa Misumi. COMBAT: Zamepple has used Fresh Pretty Cure on Honoka Yukishiro. COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro accepts Zamepple's Fresh Pretty Cure, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Blind, Cripple, Stun, and Trap applied to Honoka Yukishiro! COMBAT: Nagisa Misumi accepts Zamepple's Fresh Pretty Cure, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Blind, Cripple, Stun, and Trap applied to Nagisa Misumi! COMBAT: Zamepple has used Stuffed Animal on Zamepple. COMBAT: Zamepple accepts Zamepple's Stuffed Animal, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Empower and Surge applied to Zamepple!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Egret [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.
"This is... this is terrible! That poor fairy!" Cure Egret cries. She heard the explanation, of course -- she knew the danger. Choppy explained it as best she could, but through her crying, it was hard to understand at points.
But now her resolve strengthens, as she realizes. This is a terrible thing to do to a fairy -- and while this may not be the one she swore to protect, Mai Mishou's heart aches for Mipple regardless. Cure Egret clenches her teeth, then rushes forward, even into the cloud of debris after the other Pretty Cure's efforts -- and finds the thing barreling down on her with a mighty headbutt. She cries out, raising and crossing both arms.
And the very same barrier of light that they used to pitch the monster away from them holds against that mighty, terrifying headbutt -- for only a moment. It bursts apart into gold and silver sparkles, before fading. Cure Egret and Cure Bloom both go skating back over the ground, heeled boots dragging along the ground.
Egret lets out a shaky breath. "It's so strong! And it's..." She didn't hear Mipple from in there. Her eyes widen, but she can't know for sure what that means.
Cure Bloom huffs a breath as her head whips up, taking in the violence of the fused Gekimipple with a sort of dumbfounded awe. Red with rage, all but transforming again in front of them. Her fingers are numb as if the ripples that shattered the barrier ran through them. She shifts her feet. "...it's that fairy, too," she says, with a grim weight settling in her stomach. They have to handle this very carefully--
Except then Egret and Bloom both hear the cry of the Zakenna. Cure Egret turns, to look at Nagisa hanging there. The same girl who had been so nice to her -- who reminded her of Saki. It isn't a surprise, really, that she is Cure Black. And, in a terrifying moment, she is gone. Cure Egret lets out a low, panicked scream when Nagisa is swallowed hole. She shakes her head, tears budding in the corners of her eyes. They came to help them, and now...
"N-No...!" she cries out.
"SEMPAI!" Bloom cries, her eyes swallowing up her skull. Nagisa was someone she admired, an upperclasswoman from the sister schools sports rallies and, it turns out, an elder Pretty Cure, too, and--she just--
"Bloom!" Egret cries out, looking to her friend, stricken. "We have to--we have to try!"
"Right," Bloom hisses out. Witness the power of a Fairy of Light, Pisard says, and she feels her face twisting. "That's not true power-lapi!" Flappy yells, as much at Bloom and Egret as at Pisard. "The power of Pretty Cure can't be beaten like that!"
"Yeah," Bloom says, and looks to Egret. "Let's go! Egret!"
"Yes!" Cure Egret cries. She runs forward, then leaps -- and she comes down in a handstand. When she pushes off the ground, silver light erupts and sends her flying high over Zamepple. The Pretty Cure does a tight spin, sparks of argent trailing after her, before she comes over the thing's head. Then, she drives down towards it with a hard kick at the back of the terrible, merged Zakenna. She kicks, then launches forward, throwing two punches.
And, then, silver light gathers in her hands, and bursts forward -- and hopefully sends Zamepple tilting forward. Even if not, she knows that Cure Bloom will be coming. She doesn't have to cry out for her, as the silver explodes and fades away.
Because her eyes start to fill with gold.
Behind Zamepple, Cure Bloom stands with feet squared and fists clenched, body tense as she draws power out of her root to the world. Golden light blazes around her, spiritual magic rioting like flame. She swings back with one foot, and as Zamepple tilts back toward her she screams a kiai and releases a single mighty kick, punting the massive creature skyward. Physics demands the ground beneath her shatter from such forces, but the Pretty Cure of Earth has no fear; instead of rupturing concrete, a flash of yellow light blazes away in a ring, gently dispersing that energy across a range as far as the eye can see.
Until it slows, and then starts coming back. It whips back into Cure Bloom, gathering up, and when the whole sum of it returns she fires off the ground on streamers of golden light, racing after Zamepple, reaching toward it with her hands! And when she races ahead of it, she swings her weight around, a series of mid-air somersaults before she swings an upside-down heel into the thing's gut - sending it bulleting back the way it came. "Sempai!" she calls down, and this time it's not with despair. "You're up!"
COMBAT: Cure Egret has started a combo targeting Zamepple! COMBAT: Cure Bloom has joined the combo started by Cure Egret! COMBAT: COMBO! Cure Egret and Cure Bloom have used Double Pretty Cure Spirit Splash on Zamepple. COMBAT: Zamepple fails to dodge Cure Egret and Cure Bloom's Combo: Double Pretty Cure Spirit Splash, taking 80 Fatigue damage!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Pine [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
Pine's still in the midst of the hang time of her descent after Melody and Rhythm send him flying to create a ten foot deep hole in the concrete, raising a debris cloud. She momentarily fights back an urge to celebrate. Even that moment of teamwork between six of them wouldn't be enough to put down any Dark General.
She's proven correct only moments later when the fused Dark General leaps out of the hole, throwing more dust into her eyes as she tries to shield her eyes from it. She certainly doesn't expect his neck to expand, her guard is just off center as it snaps her way faster than a striking snake and as massive as an elephant's- this proves to be a crucial mistake, as it knocks her out of mid-air with a shriek.
There's no time to right herself before she blasts through the bleacher debris to strike concrete with spine-shaking impact creating a smaller more compact girl sized crater. She's sandwiched between the ground and Passion who impacts into her simultaneously, driving her further into the ground.
There's no way to endure the agony that follows. She can't even pinch her eyes shut through the flow of tears. Rolling over from her back to her front as Passion gets off her simply changes which side of her is in more pain currently. Gritting her teeth, she stares through the blur of tears- just as Honoka calls out, "Nagisa!"
It matters, though. It matters who. Maybe that's the only part that matters.
She's not sure why she's thinking about that- when suddenly there's a hand in hers, tugging her to her feet. For a moment her eyes are momentarily on Passion, even if her legs don't feel like they have the strength to match.
"It ruh-really hurts..." Pine rasps quietly to Passion, "...but we have to go on. It's for them. Right?"
She'd learned so much about many things- had come to learn so much about herself through watching the struggles of both girls from afar.
Which is when the ground begins to vibrate and rumble, nearly knocking her back down on her unsteady feet as the Zakenna fairy-colossus dangles Nagisa- then she's privy to a blurred view of Nagisa being stuffed into her mouth with Honoka to follow.
In the shock of the moment, she can't even scream. She can only stare in shock over the weight of
They're just gone? But no- Bloom says the Power of Pretty Cure won't be beaten. Pine casts the best defiant look she can when she can barely even stand. "There's n-no way we're going to let it end like this for them!" It's unclear to her how her legs are even working, but they do despite themselves. Egret and Bloom are ahead of them and she feels a swell of pride as they lead the attack- first knocking it into the sky. Then back to Earth, "Leave it to us!"
Instead of intercepting it this time mid-flight, she plows ahead into the debris cloud as Zamepple impacts rather than stopping short alongside Passion. Taking a short hop into the air, she descends straight into the creature's bulbous gut before it can recover and starts punching it repeatedly, over and over and over in an attempt to give Mepple the biggest stomachache of his entire existence.
Over and over she slams her fists into different parts of the abdomen, faster and faster, trying to pepper every square centimeter of the creature's abdomen with blows. Trying to make a fairy monster throw up it's meal whole is hardly the dirtiest job this future vet has ever performed, so she's completely relentless in making it do what is best for it.
COMBAT: Cure Pine has started a combo targeting Zamepple!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Passion [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.
Passion hits the ground with a determined look after the composite being she's fighting is driven down by Melody and Rhythm, glancing away to get her hand up between the cloud and her eyes, leaping upward again to start to work on following up her attack...
But mid-air, before she can even get anywhere, Passion hears a sound and then feels herself hit, knocking the wind out of her and impacting bleacher debris hersef as it falls to hit Pine and deepen her crater. She falls a moment later, still breathless, unable to sot her vision at all as she stays on hands and knees, half-choked.
But she turns just enough to see Pine in so much pain, and that helps her force herself up to her feet, moving unsteadily at first but then smoothly as she reaches a hand down to Cure Pine.
Passion is checking over Pine quickly, staring down at her as if her own dusty form hasn't suffered similar pnishment. "It's okay," Passion answers, and her eyes are a little softer then, more worried and not just about Pine. She heard what they said.
"...It's for them," Passion answers, promises. "We can't let them dow--" The ground rumbles, and Passion reaches out to a pile beside her to steady herself as she turns to look and see--
"N-no..." It comes out as a hushed whisper as her red eyes widen in fear. Honoka's gone, and Nagisa's gone. The two girls she met by summoning one of those creatures herself...
She'd learned things from both, but she remembers even now how Honoka stood against her as just a normal girl, and argued. She was so infuriating. How she'd helped her, how... How they asked her for help.
Passion can't move until she hears something about Pretty Cure that she should know better than most. "Mm--!"
Passion looks to Pine and then narrows her eyes at the monster before them. "Give them back!"
It's their turn, and Passion inclines her head as she starts moving, avoiding mid-flight into the debris cloud alongside Pine. Up she goes, then down, striking in time with Pine with punches, over and over and over as she rotates the opposite direction to get as much coverage as possible. ...It's not really like helping out with her parents. "Haaah--!"
COMBAT: Cure Passion has joined the combo started by Cure Pine! COMBAT: COMBO! Cure Pine and Cure Passion have used Combo: Pretty Cure Seismic Heimlich!, composed of Pineapple Express and Following Flurry, on Zamepple. COMBAT: Zamepple narrowly braces Cure Pine and Cure Passion's Combo: Pretty Cure Seismic Heimlich!, taking 14 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Cure Pine and Cure Passion are Psyched! Zamepple's Block ability activates! Zamepple's Parry ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Rhythm [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.
Cure Rhythm cries out in triumph as her and Melody's combine attack knocks Gekimipple straight into the dirt. She claps as Melody lands perfectly like any cat. "That's right, there's more of us then there are of you. So, you better-"
But the enemy isn't done just yet. Worse yet it grows in size. "Uh oh," Rhythm mutters and there isn't much time to get away.
She hears Melody call out a warning and Rhythm manages to dodge getting stabbed by the tip of the tail. She's stab free, but the tail still catches her and knocks her to her feet.
Rhythm winces as she slams to the ground and moans. Then she hears a painful cry and raises her head to see Melody was ensnared by the tail.
"Melody! Hang on!" she calls out.
But the danger isn't over and only increases in horror. Before her eyes, Nagisa and Honoka's other fairy is not only turned into a monster, but eats their chosen Precure. Rhythm gasps in horror. How could such a thing happen? What if it were their own Hummy in this position? Her stomach lurches at that.
"No," Rhythm whispers. "No! This can't be happening! They're your friends! Your Precure!"
Rhythm looks to her partner. "We can't give up!" she yelled as she goes to try yanking on the tail. "I refuse to lose any more friends tonight!"
Her words, while simple were heartfelt and seemed to give Melody the courage she needed to breakfree. Rhythm smiles in relief when Melody is able to break free and join hands with her.
"Hey, it's my job to watch your back," she said with a sincere smile, but quickly drops it as she returns her gaze to the fairy turned monster. "Now, let's go get our friends back! Ill show you my fantastic recipe for this!"
Step one, let Melody bring her to the monster's back alongside her.
Step two, add a bit of justice and courage as they begin to move to move in sync.
Step three, stir well as the music in their hearts takes over and the light inside them begins to shine.
Step four, bring out the C clef that will carry their voices and thoughts aloud for all to hear.
Final step, go along with your partner and kick evil in the back of the head!
"Pretty Cure Harmony Shot!"
COMBAT: Cure Rhythm has started a combo targeting Honoka Yukishiro!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Melody [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.
Cure Melody lets out a triumphant whoop as a six-Cure effort results in Gekimipple becoming buried in concrete. She flips once as Rhythm lets go of her feet, landing on solid ground with a click-clack of heels, and pumps one arm. "That's what you get! Want to just give up and let go of the fluffba...."
The monstrous figure getting back up isn't that big a surprise - it'd be too much to hope for the gorilla-like Gekidrago to stay down from the first chain of solid hits. The combined figure tripling in size in an instant, on the other hand? That's new. That's frightening. That's...making it clear that she is way, way too close to this guy.
"Get clear! This guy means business...Rhythm, mo-" She can't help retreating a handful of steps away, trying to find her rhythm again - but Gekimipple cuts those thoughts short swiftly and brutally. The very tail she'd used as a weakness, now so much larger, becomes a deadly weapon. The pink-frilled Pretty Cure stands her ground, digging in with a breath-expelling grunt as the tail hits like a runaway tree trunk...
But it doesn't stop, whipping round and round to bing her in its coils. Somewhere in there, the tip flew out at her partner; Melody can't see the result of that, and has to struggle for breath before even being able to call out. Gratefully, she can just hear Rhythm's imploring voice, telling her to hang on, and maybe she can...
And then things get so, so much worse.
Held in place as she is, Cure Melody only gets a partial view of Zamepple's creation. The idea of a cute little fairy turning into a giant monster is almost laughable - but Melody isn't laughing. Even the idea of a giant Hummy monster is bone-chilling - were that to happen, she isn't sure she could bring herself to fight it. It's all too easy to imagine Honoka and Nagisa's thoughts upon seeing that kind of monstrosity-
Or perhaps not. There might not be those thoughts any more, as those two depowered Precure are devoured in two great gulps. Rhythm voices her thoughts as well as she could, and so Melody struggles with bound arms to buy a little breathing room.
"This isn't fair...turning close friends into monsters like this..." It's painful, being trapped like this, dragged along as Gekimipple stomps forward to catch the other Precure between a rock and a hard place. Helplessness is washing over her...and then there's a bit more breathing room. Then, there's words singing to her courage.
"That's right...that's right!" There's a splintering of stone, as Cure Melody digs her heels into concrete. That tail might have grabbed her, but that's just as good as her having grabbed it - and with Cure Rhythm's strength joining in, they might just be able to do something. With a kiai of exertion, she hauls back against the inexorable march of Gekimipple with all her might.
"We'll buy you as long as we can - the rest of you, get that gluttonous, uh, giant!" Cure Melody turns on the spot, hauling against the fused behemoth's tail with shoulders and hips. It's not quite the position for a full judo throw, but it's a start - and through the coils, she reaches out to Rhythm's hand.
"I'm not losing any friends either. I'll bet my pride as a woman on it!"
Light blossoms from where their hands meet, strains of holy music just edging in at the fringe of hearing. In spite of the dark night, in spite of the dire situation, she gives Cure Rhythm a relieved smile. "Like you said, it's not time to give up yet, right? Thanks - I needed you to bring me back to ground." The smile lingers a moment, then shifts into a wild grin. "Now let's show this gorilla who he's messing with!"
With Rhythm's help to gain a little freedom, Melody shifts from hauling back against Gekimipple's terrific strength to running with it. When the behemoth next pulls forward, Melody jumps with the force, still tangled in the tail, but now flying up the monster's back - and pulling Rhythm along with her for the ride. As they reach an apex, just above the monster's neck, the light and song they share shines just a little brighter, just a little louder.
A C clef might not quite carry the same holy chorus as the sacred G clef - but it serves as a noble middle ground between treble and alto, blossoming in a shape like a butterfly. With voices in unison, they swing together to deliver a twinned punch to Gekimipple's back - a blow that erupts with shining light even the nemesis of Pretty Cure can't lightly ignore.
"Pretty Cure Harmony Shot!"
COMBAT: Cure Melody has joined the combo started by Cure Rhythm! COMBAT: COMBO! Cure Rhythm and Cure Melody have used Pretty Cure Harmony Shot on Gekimipple. COMBAT: Gekimipple fails to dodge Cure Rhythm and Cure Melody's Combo: Pretty Cure Harmony Shot, taking 67 Fatigue damage!
<Pose Tracker> Zamepple [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed. <SoundTracker> XL-TT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tMhkQ520Sk
The monstrous Zamepple rises from the water, great sheets of it rushing down over the concrete as his round belly squishes like a sponge against the ground. Pushing himself up, he starts to toddle malevolently towards Cure Rhythm and Melody.
Egret soars like her namesake, but her boot lands more like a mace, sinking deep into the fuzzy head of the twisted, giant fairy. The texture doesn't feel like a normal animal; there are no bones in there that she can feel, just a dense, uniformly textured fairystuff, about the consistency of a stale Peep. Head briefly intented from the blow, Zamepple groans and stumbles backward, starting to teeter as Egret works over his fuzzy yellow noggin. Teetering, he almost flops back into the water, but Bloom's foot awaits, smashing him dead center in the back. For a normal creature, being folded over like that would look painful, but his stuffed-animal physiology has no special problem with it, and the squishy titan is launched up high in the air, angry tears streaming behind him as he flaps his arms, hoping against all reality to slow his descent. Greeted as he falls by Bloom's midair combo, he's battered back and forth, trying to take hungry swipes at Bloom in order to make a matching set of redheads in his stomach. The only sandwich he's getting right now, though, is of the knuckle variety.
Zooming down to earth with a long yodelling "-kennnnnaaAAAMEPO!", Zamepple impacts hard enough to rock most of those standing off their feet, the ground cracking in a way it hadn't for bloom. The impact was truly brutal, and Zamepple wobbles as he stands. The cloud of concrete dust parts around Pine's charge, and Pine starts giving him a very violent encouragement to do what Splash Star Pretty Cure already has him wanting to do.
Tilting forward, Zamepple opens his mouth hugely, his lips vibrating with an unfairylike belch as he upends the contents of whatever cavity lies within his magical belly...
Feeling refreshed, Zamepple looks up, and his eyes turn to gleaming stars. "Zabu-zabu!" Zamepple cries out delightedly. As Cure Bloom comes down to the ground, the starry-eyed lover-fairy lifts his star-shaped tail high, then lashes it like a bullwhip. A five-pointed star in the same childlike shape slings from the tip of his tail, trailing magical energy but looking quite palpably sharp as it zips towards Bloom to keep her off Zamepple. Charging forward like a top-heavy bull, Zamepple lowers himself a little and tries to snatch up Pine along the way. If she's caught, she's going to be offered up like a pretty bouquet to Gekimipple.
"Zippuru!" Mepple greets his princess, even if she's a weird looking hat right now.
COMBAT: Zamepple has used A Fairy Tail Starring You on Cure Bloom. COMBAT: Zamepple has used Hug Gamepple, Friend To All Children on Cure Pine. COMBAT: Cure Pine narrowly braces Zamepple's Hug Gamepple, Friend To All Children, taking 10 Fatigue damage! Cure Pine's Block ability activates! Cure Pine's Parry ability activates! Cripple applied to Cure Pine!
<Pose Tracker> Gekimipple [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.
There's a wonderful moment where Gekimipple is allowed some space. Their head has knocked Pretty Cure flying, their tail has too, and now they can just kind of relax. Which isn't to say that they're lazy -- but this is a new combination, and Mipple has a lot more sentience than most beings Gekidrago fuses with. So giving them a moment to... acclimate... isn't such a bad thing.
Suite Pretty Cure end this moment of introspection almost as quickly as it begins, but during this time the engorged head has stabilized and turned a more reasonable shade of pink, from its previously angry red.
This doesn't last when Melody and Rhythm detonate a harmonious golden nuke on their back. They stumble forward, winding up on their knees, and it's then that they see Zamepple's Pine-Fresh offering.
But they're in the middle of reacting to the agony delivered unto them by the power of music, and Zamepple makes a convenient scapegoat. Their huge head darkens again, and they turn away, but Zamepple (and the others) still get a clear look at the ugliness of their dislike, the entitlement in their crinkled forehead, their rolled eyes (all four of them).
"Gabu-gabu..." they mutter. Gradually the decibel of their rejection intensifies. "Hmph! RAAAAAA!"
This leaves them facing Egret and Passion.
They swing out with their fists, which grow enormously on their way past, such that the backhand is particularly... crushing.
COMBAT: Gekimipple has used The Incredible Inflatable Mipple on Cure Egret. COMBAT: Gekimipple has used The Incredible Inflatable Mipple on Cure Passion. COMBAT: Gekimipple has used Hoprifying Visage on Zamepple. COMBAT: Cure Passion narrowly braces Gekimipple's The Incredible Inflatable Mipple, taking 16 Fatigue damage! Cure Passion's Block ability activates! Cure Passion's Parry ability activates! Cripple and Stun applied to Cure Passion!
<Pose Tracker> Honoka Yukishiro [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed. <SoundTracker> Call Me Call Me https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPbBhvv6GI8
The fairy vomit is mostly solid, but it's solid that has just spent a lot of time in the pool, so it resolves into a pair of soaked-to-the-skin young women in the end, shivering in their puddle, curled up together, arms flung and necks craned, all for shielding each other from intestinal harm.
Gradually they unwind.
Honoka stares down at Nagisa, then stares longer at her chest. It's not moving. A chord of terrible fear vibrates through her whole body, and her expression is, for a moment, indescribably horrified. But even though she's not a large girl (currently soaking wet, which does much to emphasize, even in all those winter clothes, what a slight young woman she is), what happens next is striking in its every detail, as though it's being performed by someone ten feet tall. If presence alone could save Nagisa, it already would have -- there is absolute confidence as she rolls up her sleeves and shifts her position so that she's kneeling over her partner. Her gaze has become clinical; tender too, it's always that.
Her fingertips fold on Nagisa's chest and push, as hard and as fast as she can. It's a lot less hard and fast than her counterpart would be able to, and when she doesn't get an instantaneous response, tears of frustration form at the corners of her eyes. Honoka redoubles her efforts. There will be a bruise later, and her wrists are quickly sore.
All the movement pulls locks of her sopping hair over her shoulder, one thrust at a time. They leave trails of wetness on Nagisa's coat, which absorb into it with the water already there, instantly. Finally there's so much of it, split evenly across her neck, that it's tangling with her hands, getting in the way, and with a huff of frustration she tosses her head. It all goes flying backwards, lands behind her with the light thump of heavy, fine cloth, as she leans forward, and the cycle begins anew.
Her lips don't move as she counts -- twenty-nine, thirty -- but the number is precise nonetheless. Then she lifts her hands, and far more gently takes Nagisa's chin with one and strokes sopping bleached-orange spikes off her brow with the other. That hand is just about to slide down to her nose, as she leans forward, her mouth parted...
...when Nagisa suddenly starts to hack and wheeze. Honoka jerks back, out of the way of her reflexively sitting up, but not before smoothing her hair again, one more time.
"Now, now," she murmurs, silvery voice a symphony of tiny, fierce joy. "You're all right."
COMBAT: Zamepple narrowly braces Gekimipple's Hoprifying Visage, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Zamepple's Block ability activates! Zamepple's Parry ability activates! Zamepple is Taunted! COMBAT: Cure Bloom perfectly counters Zamepple's A Fairy Tail Starring You, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Critical Counter! Cure Bloom's Reverse ability activates! Cure Bloom's Tactician ability activates! COMBAT: Cure Bloom's counterattack, Petal Flash, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Zamepple! COMBAT: Cure Egret narrowly dodges Gekimipple's The Incredible Inflatable Mipple, taking 17 Fatigue damage! Cure Egret's Fade ability activates! Cure Egret's Flash ability activates! Cripple and Stun applied to Cure Egret!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Egret [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.
Cure Egret can't stay next to Cure Bloom the entire time. She blanches at the sound of a fairy vomiting -- and she can't do much about that. The Cure, instead, turns -- violet eyes glancing towards Passion, before she looks back at Gekimipple. "Wait--Passion-sempai!" she cries out. "Be careful!"
She leaps as the huge fist, only getting larger, comes crashing down for her. Egret leaps, leaving a burst of sparkles in her wake, and only just rises over the fist. Her breath sucks in and catches, for a moment. It was much too close -- and to make matters worse, she doesn't know that the body of this will feel natural, either.
But she has to try. She spots Honoka, desperately trying to revive Nagisa, and she can't even see how everything turns out.
Instead, she leaves a blur of silver light -- and crashes down, foot first, and tries to do an entirely too elegant kick into Gekimipple's forehead. "Passion-sempai!" she calls out. "Go!"
COMBAT: Cure Egret has used Sky Dancer's Kick on Gekimipple. COMBAT: Gekimipple fails to dodge Cure Egret's Sky Dancer's Kick, taking 7 Fatigue damage! Cure Egret is Psyched! Stun applied to Gekimipple!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Pine [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
When Mepple tips forward, she stops her flurry, instead giving him one final kick to cap off her assault on the belly. Just as a belch overtakes her senses. Now, living in a veterinary hospital- Pine has smelt some horrible odors in her existence.
Despite meticulous cleaning and sterilization you just couldn't take away the pet smell from everything and one tends to get desensitized to it. Thus she's not terribly overwhelmed by the olfactory torture of Mepple's emesis.
What she is overwhelmed by though is being picked up by Zamepple's massive fist mid-bull rush. She's only able to bulge her arms out just enough to prevent herself from being crushed by being enthusiastically picking up, straining under the weight of that grip. Her face caught in an expression of discomfiture, she looks up at Zamepple's eyes, all filled with stars. "Eh?" Her head turns just enough to see that she's being offered to Gekimipple in their thrust forward fist like she's a bouquet of sunflowers, "What!? You can't be serious!"
Pine immediately starts flailing her legs just below the knees where she's not pinned, "I am not a love gift!" She pushes upwards, trying to squirm upwards until she notices- "Wait- I was rejected!?"
Being rejected by a fairy-monster hybrid literally giving her as a romantic gift to a fairy-dark general hybrid absolutely shouldn't make her feel even a little bad, but she nevertheless does feel a little dejected by that, and her struggling stops for a moment from the despair.
That is until her eyes catch the sight of a certain motion. Honoka Yukushiro pumping on Nagisa's chest in such a precise rhythm. It only takes her half a second to realize what's happening, as shock wells up inside her. "No..."
What if I want to keep her?
I can't f-figure it out. What I'm supposed to want more than Honoka.
The anger, and apprehension and sorrow comes in equal measure as she stiffens up in Zamepple's grip. "NO!" She cries, with all of her strength, she starts to pry the fingers apart like her elbows are a jack under a car.
And yet the creature is strong- strong enough that she's still straining enough that it feels like that strength won't be enough when it has leverage, "You're Mepple right?" She addresses Zamepple through gritted teeth, "If you're enough of a fairy to remember your love for her... then can't you fight it long enough to feel something for them?"
It may be dangerous in a sense, to call attention to them, but in her heart of hearts she believes that a fairy could not look at that and feel something for their Pretty Cure.
It's such a relief, when she hears that hacking cough. Like taking a breath of fresh air herself. She feels the sting of tears in her eyes- but this time they're filled with relief. "Thank goodness." She whispers.
She hasn't forgotten her situation though- and how dangerous Mepple is infused with a Zakenna. She punctuates that comment with her bringing her knee abruptly to slam up into the inside of Zamepple's fist- hopefully causing that grip to slacken just enough for her to slip out.
COMBAT: Cure Pine has used Plea... then Knee on Zamepple.
<Pose Tracker> Cure Bloom [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.
Cure Bloom lands from her long, long jump, light flashing around her feet as she comes down. She immediately drops low, ready for a follow-up; and receives it swiftly in the form of Zamepple's tail coming swinging at her like an executioner's blade. She throws up her arms, light flying off her fingertips and forming into a shining barrier; lesser than the Splash Stars achieved together, earlier, but powerful enough just the same that Zamepple's scything tail pangs off it harmlessly. She's driven back a few steps, but not so terribly. It separates her from Egret, but as long as she keeps her eye on her partner it should be fine. She sucks in a breath, then, and --it's running away. It is literally offering Cure Pine as a present to the other one. ...
"Is that--?" she asks, stunned by...fairy romance? Between possessing monsters? Flappy croons a little. "I wish I had that kind of courage-lapi..." Bloom's lip quirks. "You definitely have about that much attention span," she mutters. "Wow-lapi! Rude-lapi!"
Cure Bloom's foot shifts, preparing to move. She's noticed Nagisa and Honoka. "I don't think this is how he'd want any of them to be seen, either," Bloom murmurs. Power flows up her body, solidifying in glimmering light tracing off her hands, and then she moves; taking two quick steps and then leaping forward in a long, forward bound, power in her hands growing with each moment until she's coming in from Zamepple's side to clobber it hard across the face.
COMBAT: Cure Bloom has used Fistful of Flowers on Zamepple.
<Pose Tracker> Cure Passion [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.
When Pine's idea goes as well as it seems to, Passion keeps going, waiting until she actually sees Zamepelle tilt forward... and briefly wishes that she didn't have to keep looking directly at it. Just a little bit. She keeps at the ready, stepping beside Pine, but then there's... It looks happy?
"Pine!" Passion calls quickly, as soon as she sees her teammate grabbed, and starts rushing towards hr, hoping that Honoka and Nagisa are all right--but looking back to find that she isn't so sure they are. "No..." It seizes at her heart, but she has to keep looking. The conflicting needs are almost too much to bear, except...
There's nothing she can do that they can't do themselves, when Honoka starts to try to get her breathing. Passion's seen it done before.
But by the time she looks back, she sees a rejected Pine and a GIGANTIC fist aimed striht for her. "Aah--" It loms down at her, and she throws up both arms in quick defense. It slams her backward along the ground, but she doesn't lse her feet. No longer can she try to look back at all. But Egret is moving, and Egret is a blu talking to her, so Passion nods fiercely. "I'm with you!" she calls to to her younger friend, and rushes forward, handspringing up and somersaulting into an array of kicks straight down her new foe.
"Just... Stop already!"
COMBAT: Cure Passion has used Rolling Rush on Gekimipple. COMBAT: Gekimipple narrowly braces Cure Passion's Rolling Rush, taking 3 Fatigue damage! Gekimipple's Block ability activates! Gekimipple's Parry ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Nagisa Misumi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.
As the aquarium water drains away to fully reveal their shapes, Nagisa sinks down along with it against Honoka. Her scarf is floating in the pool somewhere, her bare neck uncharacteristically pale as it rests against Honoka's shoulder. One of the snap-down straps on the shoulders of her jacket has popped open, sticking up like an errant lock of hair. She isn't quite fully limp, but her drowned form is docile, as if asleep. She's easy to lay down flat.
Orange hair plastered tight to her temples, Nagisa's head nods faintly from the pressure jamming into her chest. Water's dribbling down her soaked clothing as Honoka lays in with the compressions, the largest expanding puddle coming from where Honoka's hair makes a bridge between them, channeling the water down through Nagisa's soaked, martial-looking jacket. Her cheekbones are getting blue.
Nagisa does not make a typical sleeping beauty awaiting her kiss. Innocently handsome, smooth-browed and with the characteristically lean face of an athlete, she awaits her salvation without so much of a flicker in her closed eyelids--save for the tiniest tremor when her hair is stroked. Her lips are delicately parted, though no air passes them to tickle Honoka's mouth during the approach. But as though her lips sense Honoka's, they tighten at the last moment.
Sitting up suddenly, only half-aware of her surroundings, Nagisa neatly expels a throatful of water onto her own lap, then gasps in deeply, reedily. Panting rapidly, she drains the blue from her cheeks, color flooding back into her skin vigorously. "Honoka...?" she asks her partner, confused. The downside to her excellent spatial reasoning skills is that she starts to reconstruct what must have been going on a moment ago, and much more color fills her cheeks, her shoulders rising in embarrassment.
"Yeah," she agrees meekly, returning the comfort. "I'm fine."
Wrapping Honoka's hand in hers, Nagisa brings it up to her face, pressing Honoka's knuckles against her mouth, as if hiding her blush with Honoka's hand. It isn't quite a kiss to the back of Honoka's hand, but she does press her mouth there shyly, averting her eyes. "Thanks," she says, muffled.
"Zake-naaaaah haah haaah!"
Sob-squealing from a combination of rejection and raw fear, Zamepple charges blindly back the way he came, and directly toward the two bedraggled former Cures. Nagisa tightens her grip on Honoka's hand hard, throwing an arm around Honoka's back and twisting against the ground to throw them both into a toppling roll. Using her back to take half the rotation and her arm and elbow for the rest, she pulls them both out of the path, letting Honoka roll out of her grasp on the last rotation so that they end up sprawled on their backs next to one another. She hisses a bit at her scraped elbow, drawing in a sodden sneaker as she starts trying to get up. "Honoka?" she asks firmly, professionally. Rather than waste time trying to understand what's going on and what needs to be done, she's relying on her partner to take the lead.
COMBAT: Zamepple narrowly dodges Cure Pine's Plea... then Knee, taking 7 Fatigue damage! Zamepple is Quipped! COMBAT: Zamepple narrowly braces Cure Bloom's Fistful of Flowers, taking 3 Fatigue damage! Cure Bloom is Psyched! Zamepple's Block ability activates! Zamepple's Parry ability activates! COMBAT: Gekimipple has adjusted her boss levels. She is now ready to take on 2 opponents! COMBAT: Zamepple has adjusted his boss levels. He is now ready to take on 2 opponents!
<Pose Tracker> Zamepple [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed. <SoundTracker> Can't Fight This Feeling https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmo36gnUCWE
The tail projectile is a purple star, and it splats against Bloom's barrier like a bug against a windshield. "Gomen nashai," it says through a squished mouth, before it peels off and falls to the ground.
Zamepple plunges past Honoka and Nagisa without seeing. How could this zakken to him? He mepoured his heart into that blissful reunion! They were goment to be! Big fat tears roll from his eyes as he charges away, slamming his paws into the bleachers, hoping destruction will make him feel better. Firing tail stars at random, he sends numerous apologizing Zakenna running for the hills, but he seems to have plenty left.
The energy-filled fist of Cure Bloom hooks Zamepple's jaw from the side and sends him stumbling around. Flowers! That's the last thing he needs to be reminded of! His spirits are failing... he needs a big meal...
Pine knees his hand open, winning herself an exhilarating freedom, and Zamepple's eyes widen. He'd been blaming the flower, but he was a part of this too, right? Surely if he expressed his feelings passionately, (Za?)Mipple would accept them!
But it couldn't hurt to upgrade the flower, too. Zamepple's hand lashes through the air to catch Cure Bloom, but for the moment, he does not harm her, instead turning with a proud expression on his demon-marked face. Now THIS is a flower.
A dolorous, low-pitched, "ZIPURUUUUU...!" sounds across the aquarium like a foghorn, followed by increasingly loud booms as the once-fleeing Zamepple returns to the fray.
"Cretin! To have all the power of destruction, and resort instead to 'love.'" Still atop the crane, Pisard is sneering. "Just devour her!"
In slow-motion, Zamepple booms his way toward Gekimipple, the bleachers rattling with his every step. "ZIPURU!" he bellows. "ZIPURU!" Lifting Cure Bloom to display her, he draws his arm back, a motion that feels suspiciously to the softball player like she's about to get slammed forward. Insistent, obnoxious, but certanly sincere, Zamepple charges faster and faster.
"ZABU ZABU!" he whine-pleads.
COMBAT: Zamepple has started a combo targeting Cure Bloom and Cure Egret!
<Pose Tracker> Gekimipple [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed. <SoundTracker> Come And Get Your Love https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-B2zu3SOJU8
Feet fall on Gekimipple's head. They are small, but fierce! Cure Egret kicks once, Cure Passion many times, but they add up to far more than either could have delivered individually. The mohawk is flattened -- it springs back up stubbornly, in all directions -- while the ears are all pockmarked with the impression of heels.
Irritably, their tail sneaks up to try to grab Passion and fling her away, preferably as far away as possible. And with their huge hand, they swat around their head at Egret, like they're trying to shoe off flies. It's easy to avoid, so slow-moving and unwieldy.
So distracted, by Zamepple's passionate declarations.
They lose their footing a bit, kind of like what happens in the summer camp play where one person is behind the coat and controlling the arms, feeding the other person, brushing their teeth -- it is clumsy, and ineffective.
The Mipple part of Gekimipple's head, which is to say the upper part, the hood, falls forward, covering Gekidrago's blankly furious eyes. The stumbling and flailing gets more pronounced, as Mipple's own beady black eyes settle on Egret -- feathery, lovely Egret, such a dashing, perfect token of affection -- and the big pink hand swipes up with sudden speed to snatch her out of the air.
A bird in the hand...
Gekimipple stumbles, tumbles forward. They -- she -- thrusts her arm out, Egret-first, towards Bloom. The rest of her will not be far behind.
Gekidrago's pink-stained lips are still visible and they contort around these words, like they're struggling, and failing, to contain them.
COMBAT: Gekimipple has joined the combo started by Zamepple! COMBAT: Gekimipple has used Prehensile Tailcoat on Cure Passion. COMBAT: COMBO! Zamepple and Gekimipple have used The Power of Rabu-Rabu on Cure Bloom. COMBAT: COMBO! Zamepple and Gekimipple have used The Power of Rabu-Rabu on Cure Egret. COMBAT: Cure Passion narrowly dodges Gekimipple's Prehensile Tailcoat, taking 12 Fatigue damage! Cure Passion's Fade ability activates! Trap applied to Cure Passion! COMBAT: Cure Egret narrowly dodges Zamepple and Gekimipple's Combo: The Power of Rabu-Rabu, taking 5 Fatigue damage! Zamepple and Gekimipple are Psyched! Cure Egret's Fade ability activates! Cure Egret's Flash ability activates! Stagger and Trap applied to Cure Egret! COMBAT: Cure Bloom fails to brace Zamepple and Gekimipple's Combo: The Power of Rabu-Rabu, taking 29 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Stun, Tangle, and Trap applied to Cure Bloom!
<Pose Tracker> Honoka Yukishiro [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.
Honoka had leaned in to press her forehead against the back of Nagisa's hand, a gentle, affectionate mirror of her partner's gesture, but not a twin, when danger came calling. The world is a whirling blur, up and down and up again; as easily as she'd done so herself a moment before, Nagisa saves her life.
She lies there on her back for a moment, keenly appreciating their now-mutual ability to breathe, then -- as a distant impact shakes everything again -- struggles upright, less gracefully than an injured Nagisa, even. Staring around at the scene, her eyes shine, briefly, at the valiant efforts of Pretty Cure to oppose these terrifying threats.
Then they soften at the threats themselves, taking in the bawling, the wooing. Even afflicted with the worst that the world could possibly throw at them, turned into tools of the thing they hate and fear the most, the fairies still love each other. And that's worth something. That matters.
It's not a twin, but it is a mirror.
"You don't have to apologize," Honoka murmurs to Nagisa, beside her. "He didn't mean it, anyway. But... try calling out to him. He's in there, you know?"
Then she takes her own advice, inhales deeply, and projects, like she's been taught in class choir. It is possibly the loudest anyone's ever heard her speak. Battlefield screaming is an outlier, and should not be counted.
"MIPPLE! LISTEN TO ME! MEPPLE NEEDS YOU RIGHT NOW! HE NEEDS YOU, JUST AS I NEEDED NAGISA..."
This bellowed confession might elicit a blush in some girls, but Honoka's totally serious, and totally intent as she stares down the big pink fairymonster.
Her hand does snake out and grab Nagisa's, though, squeezing warmly. Unless she's not joining in, in which case she might also get a (gentle) elbow.
"GET OFF OF GEKIDRAGO AND GO TO HIM, MIPPLE!!"
COIN FLIP: Cure Pine flips a coin. It lands on heads!
<Pose Tracker> Nagisa Misumi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.
Nagisa looks to Honoka for a moment, vulnerable, afraid. Honoka will know that feeling well, because she's even better at it than Nagisa. Guilt. Nagisa let Mepple down, and she's afraid he'll never forgive it. But she's faced scarier things than this with Honoka's hand in hers.
Standing with Honoka, Nagisa takes a deep breath, and follows up Honoka's shout with one of her own. "Mepple! You need to fight this! If you really love Mipple, you can't just stay near her! You need to make her proud of you, too!" Nagisa's voice is raw from the tension of forcing herself to shout while wanting to whisper. Her cheeks are red while imparting this advice.
For a moment, Zamepple looks back at Nagisa during the charge, and Nagisa's heart misses a beat from nervousness. But then, as he runs, he pulls down his lower eyelid and sticks his tongue out.
"H-hey!" Nagisa sputters, suddenly outraged. "What kind of warrior are you? Can you not stop eating and being selfish on such an important night? Hey! Don't you run away!"
Turning to Honoka to emote her frustration with brief eye contact, Nagisa is instead caught point-blank in the strangest confession she's ever heard. Blinking a few times, she goes a lot redder than she had been, the tips of her ears catching it now too. There's so many people here to hear it, and Honoka's willing to say something like that about her? It's weird. It's Honoka-weird. And it's immeasurably special to her.
Nagisa's pinky toys shyly with Honoka's as she looks back to the battle.
<Pose Tracker> Cure Bloom [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed. <SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcuQnEnTmLk
"Aah!" Egret cries, when Gekimipple picks her up. That part goes as planned -- but she proves hard to keep a hold of. She pulls away, slipping through their fingers, and then she starts to fall until she throws out a burst of silver light that sends her up at an angle, and then she shoots into the air in a flourish. She never quite smashes into Bloom, as a result.
The result is the less limber Cure Bloom getting squished between two monster fists, and the more monumentally powerful Gekimipple is like slamming directly into some unmovable object, like swinging your bat at a wall except you're the bat. She screams and her body comes alive with pain, but still she struggles, finally pulling an arm free to throw it up. "Eg...ret!" she calls for her partner.
"Bloom!" her partner cries. Egret's hand reaches out, clutching her friend's. She pulls, hard, and drags Bloom free of the crushing grasp -- to her, ironically, though not smashed painfully into her. She sets them both down, after that.
"Th....thanks," Bloom wheezes out, wiping at her slightly smashed face with the long cuffs of her outfit. She gives Egret a grateful little grin while she's recovering her breath. She sucks in hungry breaths, before rising more upright and squaring her stance enough to glare at the two fairy beasts. "We can't...let this continue," she says, to herself as much as to Egret, to the world as much as either. "Nagisa-sempai and her partner need their fairies back. And..." She slowly clenches a fist. "I want to fight with them. With our seniors and with their friends!"
At her belt, Flappy's eyes are more watery than usual as he stares at Zamepple. "Even like that, he's still only thinking of her-lapi! What a guy-lapi! You have to save them-lapi!"
"They need our help-chopi...!" Perhaps Choppy is clueless.
"Yes," Egret says, looking sideways at Bloom. "We have to help them. We aren't as strong as they are, but... if we can do this, we can fight next to them. And no matter how strong these two monsters are.." She reaches a hand out, holding it towards her friend again. "...we definitely won't give up! Bloom!"
Egret's hand finds Bloom's easily, as two Pretty Cure hearts resonate. The very land and sky seem to illuminate, ready to answer their Pretty Cures' call.
"O, Spirits of the Earth..." Bloom holds her free hand forward.
"O, Spirits of the Sky..." Egret holds her free hand high.
Below them and above them, the Earth and Sky offer up their spirits, chattering, eager motes of gold and silver that bathe the Splash Star Pretty Cures in unfathomable light as they crowd into the Pretty Cure through each's outstretched arm. As the light surrounds and suffuses them, they call again:
"Now, together with Pretty Cure..." "Release the power of miracles!"
They clench their joined hands tight, and lean them back while bringing their spares together, fist to fist. The icons of the Earth and Sky on the backs of their cuffs glow, gathering up all that power until those mutual powers shine like holy beacons.
They sweep those hands through the air, tracing streamers of spiritual light solidified into sacred waters, gold and silver pools that hover in midair.
They break their held hands, sweeping both arms back to martial all their power. And then:
With four thrust-forward hands, the two pools of water release in massive torrents of yellow and blue, jets of sacred water gushing downrange, washing across the Zakenna-infused Mepple in wave after wave until all sight of him is lost before the seemingly endless, holy sea; washing away all sin in the pure spiritual water of the Sacred Fountains.
COMBAT: FINISHER! Cure Bloom has started a combo targeting Zamepple! COMBAT: FINISHER! Cure Egret has joined the combo started by Cure Bloom! COMBAT: COMBO! FINISHER! Cure Bloom and Cure Egret have used Pretty Cure Twin Stream Splash on Zamepple. COMBAT: Zamepple fails to brace Cure Bloom and Cure Egret's Finisher, Combo: Pretty Cure Twin Stream Splash, taking 174 Fatigue damage! Zamepple is unable to keep fighting!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Pine [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.
Through Zamepple's sobbing, she's ready to go to Nagisa and Honoka if it seems for even a moment that the two need help, but they roll out of the bull rush charge. And it truly does look like Nagisa is alright. Thus the best way they can help them is by helping their fairies.
However, now that she's not caught smack dab in the center, she finds her cheeks a touch flushed at the fairy romantic drama playing out of in front of her- even as she limps towards Passion.
Pisard is calling for him to destroy them- and she fears for both of her kouhai as she watches the Mepple hat pluck Egret out of the air. Pine can't even be upset about the idea of Zamepple thinking Cure Bloom would be a better love gift though. But perhaps she feels a touch more dejected anyhow.
"This isn't how gifts should be exchanged!"
It sinks in and she can't even hide her face right now, "What am I even saying- I mean put them down! They aren't gifts at all!"
That's not about to stop the scene in front of her from playing out, and she can only watch the horrifying collision. Which is when Honoka's voice towers above the battlefield. "Needed... Nagisa?"
It takes a few seconds to hit her what kind of confession that truly is, despite Nagisa's line being fresh on the fringes of her memory. Her cheeks are suddenly flushed as brightly as Cure Passion is red. "O-Oh." But just a few moments later- a smile blossoms on her expression like a sunflower. Her eyes avert to the side at Passion, "Well- what do you think Passion. Should we help them reunite?"
The answer is never really in question. She believes in Honoka and Nagisa. So she can believe in Mepple and Mipple's love too- even if it was incredibly embarrassing.
But first- she had to rid her of the Dark General forcing her to be a part of his scheme. Her eyes sharpen as they look at how Mipple is being worn like a hat, "It's time for you to stop keeping them apart." Apart from Nagisa and Honoka mainly, but also Mepple- she supposes, "Kirun!" Holding up her Linkrun, a fey key appears out of nowhere and descends into the top, unlocking it, Kii~
BGM Change: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKRJ1SCensI
She opens her linkrun, drawing her fingers quickly against the touch screen and in a shower of sparkles, a long ornamented flute appears, with keys all the color of the rainbow, and a jeweled head. "Heal, Harmony of Faith! Cure stick, Pine Flute!
Holding it up as if it were an actual instrument, she runs her fingers down the prismatic keys in a scale. A soft melody of faith emanating from it, the jeweled head twinkles with concentric circles of light and sound. "Nasty things, nasty things, fly away!"
When she lands, she begins tracing a diamond, a pure representation of her belief into the air. "Pretty Cure Healing Prayer-" She casts her arm forward, the last word resolute in her desire to seperate them while leaving the fairy unharmed, "-FRESH!"
The diamond launches trailing streamers that leave a light tropical scent in the air and light- so much golden light that merely adds to that of Cure Passion's without either outshining the other, before it would try strike bursting into hearts upon hearts in vast quantities ansi like an electron cloud around the Gekimipple nucleus. Though exhausted, she pushes herself, twirling the edge of her Pine Flute to try to maintain the assault of their combined spell upon Gekidrago more than Gekimipple, "-HaaaaAAAA!"
COMBAT: FINISHER! Cure Pine has started a combo targeting Gekimipple!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Passion [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.
Cure Passion touches back down after her last strike and hits the ground, heels clicking away as she takes a breath and looks up to see where she needs to go next, but she's about halfway through that breath when she spots a tail rushing towards her.
So of course, Passion gets the hell out of there.
She lunges away so hard that she bashes up her elbows hitting the ground, skids on her needs apart before she can roll forward enough to spring upward again. But while she's already dodgin again at the next move, still stinging fromhard hard she had to move, Gekimipple just isn't attacking her. Gekimpille is...
Wait. Zamepple is calling to them. Pisard is complaining. But spite is not as big a motivator for Setsuna Higashi as love, so she finds herself touched by the two trying to go to one another.
...Until she notices Bloom and Egret in their fists. Her red eyes widen as the situation becomes clear to her, though for a second she can't quite even move in the face of it. "H-hey!" Pine says that's not how gifts should be exchanged, and Passion chimes in, just when Pine is starting to blush, "That's right! You'll ruin them!" Pause. "..."
Shaking her head quickly, Passion rushes to the side enough that she can spot Pine. At the same time, tehre's Honoka calling out, louder than Passion has ever heard her before. There's Nagisa speaking up too. The things they both say mean something to her. They both mean something to her, too. Cure Passion smiles despite the danger, although only briefly, as she looks to Cure Pine again. "Yes. Let's do it!"
"Akarun!" Passion calls in time with Pine's Kirun, and lifts up her hand towards the ceiling as an adorable little red key-fairy with a ribbon spins about her hand, trilling her happiness. She spins harder in place and a heart-shaped white instrument bursts into being in Passion's hand, a heart topper gem in her other. She brings down the topper towards the harp and calls out.
"Sing! Rhapsody of happiness!" Cure Passion plays a length of notes on her harp once she's set the top piece into the body, brief music as she closes her eyes to focus on it, harp under her arm. Her eyes snap open again, wine-red and sharp.
Passion sets her stance. "Roar! O Storm of Happiness!" Passion does another set of notes with her harp, and holds the instrument up into the air as she steps with one foot and starts to spin on her heel. Hearts bubble up around her like she's underwater and crashing further down, and a scent of the same to join the tropical air as her own torrent of hearts starts to whirl around her.
"Pretty Cure Happiness Hurricane!"
As the magic crashes forward, Passion puts her Passion Harp out and takes hold of it in both hands, twirling it along with Pine to try to keep them together. She still hurts but she'll push through, "-HaaaaaAAAH!"
COMBAT: FINISHER! Cure Passion has joined the combo started by Cure Pine! COMBAT: COMBO! FINISHER! Cure Pine and Cure Passion have used Combo: Pretty Cure Happiness Prayer!, composed of Precure Healing Prayer Fresh! and Pretty Cure Happiness Hurricane, on Gekimipple. COMBAT: Gekimipple fails to brace Cure Pine and Cure Passion's Finisher, Combo: Pretty Cure Happiness Prayer!, taking 249 Fatigue damage! Gekimipple is unable to keep fighting!
<Pose Tracker> Zamepple [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.
Mipple has returned a tokenna of their love! Cure Egret is indeed a fine present-mepo. He'll stick her in his cap and call her Meppleroni.
Zamepple doesn't particularly notice that that present doesn't make it to the embrace, and is happy to just slam Bloom violently into his beloved's palm, pressing her in there like a wedding ring as he starts to dance around in circles. With Bloom squished flat between their hands, the two do a little do-si-do, around and around. "Zabu, zabu! Zabu, zabu!"
"She's getting away!" Pisard tries to warn, but the monsters have eyes only for each other even as Bloom is pried out by her partner. Furious, Pisard points to the escaped pair. "Zakenna, defend yourself!"
This time, at least, Zamepple pays attention, turning to face the threat with a squeaked-off "zabu." With a youma roar at those who would assail him in his moment of romantic bliss, he steps forward and fills his round belly with air, extending it while planting his hands stolidly on his hips. Shoving his belly into the beam as it arrives, he tries to deflect it, and for a few seconds it seems to be working, the twin streams of energy flowing over the convex fuzz-shield. But Zamepple's resilience does not match his romantic passion, and he starts to give ground, step by step. "ZAKENNA-MEPO!" he bellows, starting to have a tantrum. Forcing his way forward, his enchanted body starts to crumble under the unstoppable erosive force of the Garden of Fountains. "ZAKENNAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaa!" With a sudden eruption of sparkles and ash, the huge youma body is ripped apart and explodes away, a cloud of meekly apologizing purple stars tumbling down into a pile. As they bound away and flee, they reveal a tiny, limp yellow fairy lying on the ground.
"Mepple!" With Honoka's fairy in a similar state, Nagisa releases Honoka's hand and rushes off to his aid. Mepple is already starting to roll over, his eyes spinning spirals as he feels around groggily. Nagisa scoops him up in both hands, eyes growing wet. "I'm sorry... I left all of you," she sniffles. "It's my fault; I'll never--"
"Of course it's all your fault-mepo!" Mepple snaps crabbily, rubbing his aching head. "And then you come back just in time to ruin my perfect date with Mipple, mepo! I was thinking about asking Honoka-chan's dog to be Cure Black-mepo... he'd probably do a better job!"
Nagisa grits her teeth through this, but after a few moments, she blinks. "Are you... saying that to make me feel better?" she asks. Because oddly, she does. This familiar frustration is nothing compared to the guilt.
"Mepo?" Mepple looks up at her, with seemingly genuine confusion.
<Pose Tracker> Honoka Yukishiro [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.
Gekimipple hears Bloom and Egret -- and they're inclined to agree with Flappy. They hear Pine and Passion, critical of their exchange. And they hear Honoka and Nagisa, oddly supportive of it. Well, maybe not odd. Pretty Cure do support Rabu-Rabu, every day. It's what they're all about.
But it's not enough. Even if the hearts in Mipple's eyes are bigger than ever, it's still Gekidrago who's fueling this transaction, and he reasserts control by the simple expedient of clutching his hands into fists inside his pink 'sleeves' and tossing his head back, revealing his own eyes as the Mipple-hood is flopped helplessly upwards.
"CRUSH ALL PRETTY CURE!" they yell together again, the hearts fading.
But, though Mipple can't do it herself -- and isn't really much of a contributor, in fact -- hope itself has yet to fade.
How can it, when they're being bathed in the golden and crimson lights of Cure Pine and Cure Passion, crushing towards them like the headlights of an oncoming train? Gekidrago is no fool, and he makes no bones about trying to somehow block this with outstretched fists, crossed arms, a bowed head, or any such thing.
No, he just rips Mipple off his head and chucks her into the path of Fresh feelings, while leaping upwards, out of the way. If his clothes weren't already white, they would be now, from simple proximity to all that radiant love. It could bleach his very bones if he let it get any closer.
Certainly it lingers in Honoka's heart, and the Twin Stream Splash, too. She takes in the beauty of their sincerity, and in response, it lights a thousand thousand candles behind her eyes.
Mipple would have slammed into the ground face-first if not for the Healing Prayer and Happiness Hurricane, which embrace her with hearts that nurse her wounds and set her, lightly as a leaf, onto the ground. She alights on her tiny pink paws, and looks around, dazed --
-- before flopping over onto her side like a felled tree.
She's not alone. Honoka is there, catching the dainty Princess of Hope in her swoon. Her hands are slender and pale but still more than large enough to cradle her, to hold her close.
"I'm so sorry," she whispers into her big-hearted ear, in an act of quiet hypocrisy after her advice to Nagisa. Nonetheless, it's softly, fervently sincere -- and the circumstances are a little different, too. Kneeling on the ripped-up concrete, she could be in her own room, surrounded by the wreckage of Gekidrago's search for Prism Stones. "I promise... I'll never let anyone take you ever again."
"I was so scared-mipo!" squeaks Mipple tearfully. "But... not anymore, mipo!"
<Pose Tracker> Zamepple [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.
The Zakenna and fused princess-fairy have failed. The grim, jug-jawed Gekidrago has leapt to temporary safety in the air, bringing him near Pisard. The kabuki-white warrior spares a sideward glance for Gekidrago, yet there is a chill in his chest that silences his reflexive verbal abuse.
"You understand, yes?" Pisard says, sotto voce. "Victory, here and now. Or eternal oblivion within the endless dark of our mighty King." Serpent eyes shift in a handsome face as Pisard regards his foes. "I will not be relying on you," Pisard assures the great brute, as gravity begins to drag him back down, towards Honoka and Mipple. He smiles with an ironic ghost of his old arrogance. "Just stay out of my way."
Determination born of a fear cold and familiar floods in, unwelcome but potent. Pisard channels dark energy through the crane, which creaks obediently as it turns and bows its head, letting him walk directly onto the concrete floor beside the pool. Flame-like purple magic sizzles in his palm, his long theatrical gait drawing him closer to the various Pretty Cure as they recover from their various ultimate attacks. "Pretty Cure!" he shouts, his heeled boot twisting with an abrupt scratch against the pavement as he confronts them. "Up until this point, none of you have faced the full strength of a warrior of the Dark Zone! If you will not flee here to preserve the future of your own worlds, your own Gardens... then step forward so I may kill you, one after the other."
<Pose Tracker> Honoka Yukishiro [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.
Gekidrago has reached the apex of his leap and is starting to fall back down. "Only if you stay outta mine," he replies in a low, dangerous rumble. In a lesser chest cavity it would have just been a grunt, but his is a cathedral to a normal man's living room. It's like an earthquake. He is like an earthquake, and the ground winces to have to accept his impact yet again.
Swiftly Honoka rises, and in the same moment, Mipple reverts to commune form, becoming something very like a cell phone. She and Nagisa cross the intervening space to one another while Pisard descends and addresses them all.
They meet in the middle, and gaze up at him, chins lifting in unison. Their amber and blue-eyed gazes are more than merely steady -- they're ready.
Honoka and Nagisa's fingers intertwine, palms locking snugly and perfectly together as they obligingly take a step forward.
"DUAL AURORA WAVE!"
TO BE CONTINUED