2017-04-23 - We Are Pretty Cure 2

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Title: We Are Pretty Cure 2

Cure Black and Cure White are back, thanks to a little help from their friends, and together everyone confronts Pisard and Gekidrago. Continued from 2017-04-22 - We Are Pretty Cure 1.


Honoka Yukishiro, Nagisa Misumi, Saki Hyuuga, Mai Mishou, Setsuna Higashi, Inori Yamabuki, Mepple, Mipple


Verone Aquarium

OOC - IC Date:

04-23-2017 - 01-16-2015

<Pose Tracker> Honoka Yukishiro [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.


It's Halloween, 2014.

Honoka's hand grabs Nagisa's, easily, firmly, and she doesn't notice the clamminess, the expression. She's already looking for the descending rainbow, their crowning glory.


She keeps looking, though it's with her heart. Her eyes are closed -- they always close, in that moment, her faith total that she is safe in her metamorphosis, her apotheosis, engulfed in the Power of Light, exactly where she's supposed to be.

And then... fractionally, she opens one eye, then the other. It's just in time for three more of those apples to disgorge themselves at bruising velocity; one hits her knee, one her left shoulder, and one, scarily, nails her right in the face. A garden of black roses start flowering immediately, around one of her pretty blue eyes. If they hadn't been half-closed, she might have had to go as a samurai for every Halloween forever after.

Tears spring to life and she blinks them back, not realizing that she's losing her balance, toppling towards the concrete. The only stars she sees are a constellation of pain. The rainbow isn't coming. The magic isn't there.

  • * *

It's gratitude that undoes her. Honoka's pale fingers interlock with Nagisa's tan, and they fit as they always have. Their hands were made for each other. It's been a while since they had to become Pretty Cure, and the fact that this imminent union can distract Nagisa from the turmoil that's ridden her shoulder since Okinawa is a profound relief.

But it takes so long, as knuckle locks with knuckle, as her fingers rest between the tendons on the back of Honoka's hand. Nagisa can sink deeper into the gratitude, watch the bubbles of her breath reach for its surface. She can understand. She's grateful because she's not certain how many moments like this she has left. She's grateful because she's afraid.

Honoka can feel the damp of that fear on Nagisa's palm. She can feel her hand compressed by the tension in Nagisa's fingers. Being together with Honoka, really together with nothing between them but their entwined fingers... it's not something Nagisa wants just a few more times, or a dozen, or a hundred if she was lucky. The bittersweetness of her gratitude falls through Nagisa and drops into her stomach.

What Nagisa wants. The world she built without noticing, all this time. She can feel its heartbeat on her palm, for the last time or the sixth from last time or the hundredth.

"Dual. AURoRA! WAVE!" she cries, in exact synch with Honoka, if not in harmony. She hates it. If it can't be forever, it shouldn't be. What could be more disgusting than this gratitude? She feels dizzy. A moment passes.

Nagisa's eyes open to silence. Her head turns. Honoka is there, but she has not changed. One, two, three, she is battered. She's torn from Nagisa's hand. If Nagisa caught her, would it feel like it did? If Nagisa slid a hand beneath her back, supported her on knee and forearm, and said she was sorry, said "again," said she lost her way for a moment...

Would it be true?

Nagisa stands numbly and stares at Honoka as she's sprawled on the ground. Her eye twitches. Her mouth is parched, her ears won't hear and her legs won't move.

Pisard tilts his eyebrows appraisingly. "Ho-oh? That's interesting. Something wrong? Well. You insult me if you think I will let such an opportunity go unanswered!" He sweeps a hand before him, like a general ordering a cannon barrage. "Zakenna! Destroy them immediately!"

"ZA-KENNA!" the monster bellows its response. Nagisa immediately steps in front of Honoka's fallen form and spreads her arms, but her eyes are wide with panic. "H-help," she murmurs, then, "HELP! PLEASE!"

She's not unaware of Cure Passion's plight, and nor can Cure Berry or Pine be. But she'd do anything for someone sturdier to stand in front of her right now. 'Anything' is an ugly word.

  • * *


There's so much of it, all over, all at once. Honoka's upper back hits the concrete and another garden grows there, while the shards of apple clinging to her shoulder and her chest and her face all echo with their own impacts, no less immediate.

All of that pales in comparison to deeper, more excruciating agonies. Her head is swimming, but her heart is drowning.

'Together, we are Pretty Cure.'

How long has it been? Barely a year? A lifetime's absence aches within her, a void where certainty once dwelled like a thing with feathers, tiny and quick and delicate and so, so beautiful. Where heartbeat becomes vibration, every moment humming together into indistinguishable, harmonious continuity.

Sixty seconds ago, they were Pretty Cure, nascent if not actualized. But now... they aren't. Something has ended, is over.

She isn't even sure why.

All at once she's sitting up, then standing -- no, crouching, she can't stand right now, not alone, that becomes apparent quickly enough. She's crouching behind Cure Pine and alongside Nagisa. She needs support so badly, she needs to lean on her, but a siren in her confused mind goes off at the same time that the grief comes in with the tide, buoys her higher and higher. She's sinking...

"Nagisa--" Three syllables, the most precious three. Technically not her first friend, but her closest, her most true. It took her so long to let anyone in. They're a prayer, a hymn, an oath.

Her eyes are invisible beneath tears, like the seven layers of veil over a princess in a fairy story. She stares at Nagisa sightlessly, trying to blink them away, but they just stream down her cheeks, the next wave coming in before the last has crashed on the shore of her chin.

"I -- I'm so sorry -- I don't know what happened," she chokes out, lost, forlorn. Peering through her swelling eye and her twin waterfalls, looking for all the world in that moment like her grandmother squinting, she tries, so desperately, to ascertain the one thing she doesn't know, hasn't known since she was blasted off her feet.

But she already knows, and fears the answer, in the bottom of her heart.

She voices the question anyway. Honoka Yukishiro is many things, but she's not a coward.

"Are you okay?!"

And there's her hand, shaking with the suffering of the shoulder it's attached to, reaching out not necessarily to transform or to fight, but to comfort, and seek comfort in return. Questing, desperately, for contact.

  • * *
<Pose Tracker> Honoka Yukishiro [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"Hey, Nagisa! Hurry up and do it properly-mepo!" Mepple's voice is frantic. "You need to transform now, or the Garden of Rainbows AND the Garden of Light will be eaten by darkness, mepo! Nagisa!" Nagisa's head jerks to look at the panicked fairy poking out of her jumpsuit pocket, but her eyes aren't comprehending at all. "Mou! Because you didn't transform properly, Honoka got hurt-mepo!"

Nagisa flinches hard.

Taking a knee in front of Honoka, Nagisa gently slides a hand under each armpit to take some weight off. She doesn't try to lift her, however, her eyes (with just one wet layer of tears) meeting her partner's urgently. "It wasn't you! I screwed it up! You did great... you always do everything right..." She inhales raggedly through her nose.

"Nagisa! Hurry up and become Pretty Cure!"

Nagisa's shoulders slump beneath their black stripes as Honoka's hand reaches forward. It's so weak, like that. If they transform, that will change. Even if they didn't, she could tell her things were okay, and thereby cure the worse hurt inside. "Honoka-chan... I tried really hard..."

"Are you listening-mepo? Transf-"

"I can't!" Nagisa shouts down at him at a violent volume. The top half of Mepple's cell-phone apparatus clatters, and he pauses, speechless. Nagisa slowly lifts her face to Honoka's and repeats herself. "I can't," she confesses, miserable this time. "Because..."






Nagisa turns her face away from Honoka's hand. "I hate it," she bleats. It's not a lie, though it is a complex truth. "I hate it." The second time, it's soft, accepting.

Mepple lifts his small face, shocked to docility. "Nagisa..." He looks down, a little crosseyed due to the bulbous shape of his head in this form. "You're Cure Black... I found you."

Nagisa reaches down and removes Mepple from her pocket. Withdrawing one of his cards from the soft case, she meets his confused gaze. "I'm not. I was just there." Swiping the card through Mepple's shell, Nagisa watches as his eyes fall closed to a contented snooze, a snot bubble rising from his nose. Closing his case, she slips him into the soft cover, then presses that cover firmly into Honoka's lap. Finally, she raises her eyes to Honoka's face again.

"Please," she begs softly. "Don't." She smiles a little. "Don't make me do it. I'll say yes. I can't say no to you. So if you make me, I'll try."

Her hands are trembling atop the case in Mepple's lap. Nagisa's amber eyes drip onto the back of those hands, once, twice. "Again," she says, with all the love and pain and bitterness that can fit inside a girl.

  • * *

Honoka's shuddering all over, she labors for breath. Her nose is clogged up and her eyes aren't merely red-rimmed but red all over, red like planets instead of rings, Mars, not Saturn. Within Nagisa's hands -- though not truly in her arms -- she quivers just like Mipple was, when the evil first arrived, and is again now. They shake together.

"No, no," she weeps, "It's not your fault, it can't be..." That, she believes like a single candleflame against the storm, the last thing she has to set against a world that has flung her head over heels and left her with nothing but tears. This can't be true. It's always Honoka's fault... she's so bad at understanding, respecting, the feelings of others. Whatever is going on, it must be her again.

'I hate it.'

And just like that, the light goes out.

She hates it. She hates being Pretty Cure. And Pretty Cure... was only the beginning of everything that followed, not even the most important part, the fantastical battles and death-defying powers paling in comparison to

a quiet day on the grassy hill

a ride on the train

a field trip, ryouta in tow

the summer heat, the summer homework, the blades of a fan beating

together, getting into high school

together, celebrating lacrosse victories and science fairs


Nagisa continues, begging, smiling. 'I can't say no to you.'

The burden is on Honoka, then. She cannot shirk it. She MUST NOT screw this up the way she's screwed everything up already. She CANNOT make it worse than it already is.

Every fiber of her being screams for her to protest, to argue, to demand, to insist. To beg in turn, if need be. The lump in her throat grows to agonizing size and heat.

Somehow -- somehow, she swallows it, and when she looks up next, her eyes are clear, or at least clearer. Within them, Nagisa can clearly see a great hurt, and a greater grief, but equal to them both, the determination to be responsible, to have integrity, to do the right thing.

It is the same expression she wore on the beach that day, too far away for Nagisa to see, just before she allowed Masaru to give her her first kiss.

More recognizably, it's the look in her eyes when she insists on owning up even the slightest mistakes to their teacher. Demands they do it again, correctly. Refuses to accept anything less of herself, and of her partner.

Her hands find Nagisa's, and stroke their backs, gently kneading the tears into the skin, soothing them away.

"Don't," she gasps, trying very hard to sound like she hasn't been stabbed, with mixed results, "Don't say... unnecessary things."

Her hands curl around the sleeping Mepple, accepting that burden, too. Mipple squeaks with dismay.

"I... I would never... make you... do something... you hate..."

That's all the dignity she has -- she can give no more. It's replaced with a surge of strength, of desperate energy. Her paired refugees of an interdimensional space war in tow, she tears away from Nagisa, from Fresh Pretty Cure, and runs as fast as she can, faster than she's ever run before, fleeing the battle and her broken heart.

She turns one corner, then another, and more still after that, rapidly losing herself among the wrecked stalls and injured storefronts of this shattered commercial paradise. She doesn't want to find anything, or be found by anyone. She just has to get away--

<Pose Tracker> Honoka Yukishiro [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.



All too prone to projection, the fairies assume it's grief overflowing from Honoka's eyes, spilling down her cheeks, and maybe there's some of that too; these days, there's always more room in her heart for remorse, for shame, for desolation. But mostly, it's pure, unvarnished relief, expressed in liquid form.

Because, she realized with perfect clarity, in the still and silent moment before she tried, she would have done it. She would have done her duty. She would have saved the world.

Even if doing it alone was a thousand thousand deaths, she would have carried on.

But... apparently, she can't.

The cold winter wind tugs at her hair, ruffles the hem of her coat, raises goosebumps on her upraised hands. It carries her scream down the hill and out to sea: "DUAL AURORA WAVE!"

To put this to rest forever, she forces the incantation past the lump in her throat a second time, and it comes out broken, miserable.



  • * *

Mipple had egged Mepple on until he took the initiative to summon the Guardian all on his own. Honoka, whose reduced hours of sleep (as her schedule has been revised to include generally staying up later than before because she's often out on a date, and getting up far earlier than previously to prepare lunch and snacks for Masaru and his team) have caused what rest she receives to be precious and dense, a dreamless blackness she falls into and emerges from thereafter, is awoken unexpectedly by a burst of light.

For a second she thinks she's having some kind of breakdown. The spots won't stop dancing in her eyes, and it's like she's getting a visitation from a divine being, so intense is the radiance, so brilliant the sparkles--


Never has that mangling of her name caused her such relief. But the disappointment therein makes the sweat chill on her cheeks, on the back of her neck.

"The Princess and the Hero tell me you have stopped trying to be Pretty Cure," Wisdom says gravely.

"Actually what I said is that you've been taking a break-mipo!" Mipple hastily amends.

"I told him you're still upset about getting ditched-mepo," Mepple adds, helpfully.

For the first time Honoka considers a pillow as a murder weapon -- truly the mark of an only child, that she got to sixteen years of age before thinking of it -- but then she sags, the tension leaving her, and pulls herself into an obedient seiza on the cold November floor. Her nightgown is inadequate to the task of keeping her shins from freezing, and goosebumps start pushing those flecks of sweat aside in no time at all.

She considers and rejects explanations. 'It's been all I can do to keep Mepple and Mipple under the radar by the simple expedient of using the nap card from 8-5' sounds like an excuse. And she's never been one to make them. Instead she sinks more deeply onto the floor. "I most sincerely apologize," she intones, primly, sadly. "But... since I can't transform without Nagisa--"

Without 'a partner' would have been a more correct statement, but the truth slips out instead, and she covers her lips with two fingers, as though she's been stung.

Wisdom looks her over searchingly. Within his baggy sleeves, he's wringing his hands. It's one thing to see Nalisa reduced to such a pitiful state, but he really thought Homoka more together than this. Ah, well. Apparently he has to add 'therapist' to his business cards.

"Have you tried?" he prompts, shuffling forward to lay his hands on Honoka's knee.

She blinks, thunderstruck.

"I-- I mean--"

"I thought it was impossible-mipo! That there were only two Emissaries of Light, from which the Power of Creation could flow-mipo!"

Honoka looks to Mipple, grateful for the save, even if it's addressing the more obvious reason rather than what really lurks in her heart, the strangling surety that to be Pretty Cure and to be with Nagisa are one and the same, that even if she could... would she?

Wisdom is staring at her. He has a knowing look on his face by default, but she can't help but wonder, as she turns back to face him, just how much of a King of Knowledge the Guardian really is.

"You care about our cause, do you not?"

Guilt coils in her throat like black smoke. "Of course I do," she coughs out, and means it. "It's important. You're all very important to me. I want to keep you all safe. I want to help you reclaim your home."

But once upon a time, she might have said, 'I want it more than anything.' Tonight she isn't sure what she wants like that. To go back to the way things were seems like an inadequate wish, especially since things were far worse back then than she ever realized.

Wisdom tilts his head, hearing the absence keenly. "You are very young," he says soothingly, squeezing her knee. "It is understandable to feel conflicted at times like this."

She nods, mutely, unable to fully comprehend that she's getting better parenting from a tiny fairy than she's ever gotten from her own parents. It's exceedingly weird and a little unsettling, getting this kind of talk. It, too, is an absence she hears keenly, all the time.

"Homoka," Wisdom concludes, "I think you should try. Take the Princess and the Hero, and go out, and see what happens."

He doesn't tell her that Mipple is right. This isn't about the miraculous birth of Cure Grey. This may be a birth of another kind, however, one he's determined to midwife. Homoka can't go on pretending she doesn't know how she feels about Pretty Cure.

  • * *

The sun peeks over the horizon, igniting the tears on Honoka's cheeks, staining her red eyes orange.

Above her, grasped in her hands, Mepple and Mipple look down at her sympathetically... after exchanging a worried look. Deep down, the two of them had been in denial, too. They'd wanted to think Honoka could fight for them on her own.

After the Guardian went back into the Hopeish, Honoka had, obediently, pulled on coat and boots and gone out into the night, fairies in tow. She walked for hours, through the quiet streets of Tokyo, until she stood at the edge of the sea. She didn't say anything, not anything, not a single word, but the fairies could feel the tumult inside of her, and dared not be the ones to speak first.


"It's okay, Honoka-mipo! You tried, and that's what's important-mipo!"

"I guess it really was impossible-mepo. If anyone could do it, it would be you-mepo."

Clutching the fairies to her chest, something uncurls within, jars loose -- and Honoka weeps for what she's lost... and for what she's gained.

<Pose Tracker> Honoka Yukishiro [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.


"Today, we're in Saitama visiting with a very special cat! This famous kitty is a legend in his neighborhood. Do you know the reason? It's because he rides the bus!" *humorous tuba music*

Heeeh?! Even cats have jobs now?

What's that? She didn't say he had a job...

Saitama-kun of Saitama-shi: Bus-Riding Kitty

No way, his name is Saitama too?

  • laughter* Did you think no one in Saitama is named Saitama?

Nagisa sits slumped, most of her torso on the seat of the couch, her shoulders propped against its back, hands folded on her belly. She's staring blankly at the television.

"Will you hold on a moment, please? Thank you." Rie Misumi places her hand against the receiver and wanders out of the kitchen, catching sight of her daughter's legs sticking out behind the back of the sofa, resting on the coffee table. She can't see the rest of her. "It's Rina-chan. She wants to know if you'll meet her and Shiho-chan for takoyaki." Yes, given the hour, takoyaki for dinner. On a school night when Nagisa has apparently done no homework. Even so, Rie relays the invitation with a smile. The rules have temporarily changed. As far as she's concerned, Nagisa can have sugar cubes for dinner if she'll go out with her friends.

"I can't come to the phone," Nagisa's feet reply distantly. Rie stares at them in consternation for a few moments, then returns the phone to her ear, her voice sunny.

"I'm sorry, now's not a good time for us... yes. It's all right, thank you for taking care of her. Yes. Oh, why thank you, Rina-chan." She laughs. "Please say hello to your mother for me. Yes, I'm sure we'll see you soon. Go--yes. Goodbye for now."

Holding the phone in both hands, Rie regards Nagisa's socked feet again. Biting her lip, she sighs softly. Children don't--shouldn't have to--understand the courage it takes for their parents to approach them sometimes. Setting her shoulders, Rie lets the phone drop to her side. "Nagisa-chan..."

The oven lets out a long, low keen of a beep.

Rie screws her eyes shut. "I'll get that," she excuses herself.

"Wow, he really sits in the seat! Is it okay? Will he be scared?"

"No, no. Saitama-kun is a good cat. You can sit next to him."

  • a communal indrawn breath of amazement*

She's so nervous! The seat's not going to bite her.

But Saitama-kun is just totally cool.

"S-saitama-kun... how long have you been riding the bus?"

  • laughter* She's interviewing him?!

Ryouta steps out in front of the TV, placing his small fists on his hips. "Nee-chan!" he accuses. "I want to watch Super Dino Sentai! Turn off your stupid show!" He grins, expectant.

Nagisa doesn't move a muscle, or even focus her eyes. "Mm-hm," she agrees.

"Saitama-kun, what's your favorite food?"

Maybe the microphone isn't on...

Over and over it turns in her mind, the memory of Honoka's tears in the hallway. Why did she cry? But with each revolution she is wearing away the texture, her skull a rock tumbler, and it's growing smooth and shiny. Each time the wall behind Honoka becomes more ghostly, each time the warmth of Mayu's hand more indistinct. She can't tell if she's getting closer to the answer or eroding away any chance at it, but a part of her has ceased to care, and wants nothing more than to erase everything there but Honoka, to watch her sorrow again and again in a pure white void. Why? What was in that miserable, guilty moment that Nagisa covets?

"Nee-chan!" Ryouta insists. "I have to watch Super Dino Sentai!"

Nagisa blinks her way into some awareness of her surroundings. "Then change the channel!" she retorts.

Ryouta's lower lip pushes out. "You change it!"

"Why should I change it? Can you not even use a remote?"

"Su-per Di-no! Su-per Di-no!"

"Fine!" Nagisa snatches up the remote control.

"Nnn, I think Saitama-kun rides the bus... because of his feelings, because it gives him a calm feeling--"

--really beat him? Even Bronto Daikaizer couldn't slow him down!"

Ryouta gives a short tantrum-hop. "Nee-chan, you made me miss the beginning! It's already halfway over!"

"You should have asked earlier!" Nagisa sputters. "It's your fault!"

Ryouta doesn't seem convinced, because suddenly he's yanking at Nagisa's sleeve, back and forth, harrying her. "Nee-chan's the worst! You're the worst! Who cares about a cat riding the bus?!"

"Hey! Let go!" The perfect polished image of Honoka Nagisa had almost finished feels more distant the longer this needling clamor goes on, as Nagisa keeps trying to call it back to her mind each time it slips.

"You should have learned by now--never attack a Stega-Sentai from behind!"

"Even Honoka-san hates you!" Ryouta shouts.

Nagisa freezes up, but Ryouta doesn't notice.

"It's true, right? She never comes over anymore! You did something bad and she hates you!" With a violent yank on her sleeve, Ryouta tries to pull his older sister to her feet. Eyes wide with a panic she can't explain, Nagisa plants her hand on his chest and shoves her arm straight, breaking his grip on her sleeve. It isn't a hard shove, but Ryouta had been leaning back with all his might, and he falls back in an uncontrolled sprawl, landing on the toy-strewn carpet. Slowly but inevitably, his mouth opens wide, his eyes close tight, and he starts to wail.

Rie is there so quickly one would swear she could walk through her children's shadows. She helps Ryouta sit up, grasping both of his shoulders, and throws an interrogative glance at Nagisa. "I didn't do anything!" Nagisa says urgently, miserably ashamed but also aware of how Ryouta is about to frame her like a graduation photo.

"Nee-chan's horrible!" Ryouta wails.

The door clatters open. "Hey, hey!" Takeshi Misumi calls, stepping into the apartment by shouldering the door aside, one hand occupied by a mixture of his briefcase and keys, the other with a bag from the local convenience store. "Papa's home~!" His eyes finally fall on the tearful tableau in the living room. All six eyes are on him for a few seconds.

"Ara?" he ventures. "Did I come at a bad time?" Meekly, he takes a big step back out the door.

Something about this earnest effort at levity is like a needle into a miserable balloon, and both Nagisa and Ryouta begin crying outright, Ryouta with a child's theatrical wails, Nagisa with squeaky hitches of her chest. Takeshi mugs an apologetic expression to Rie, who shakes her head, gazing at her husband with an equal mixture of exasperation and affection. "Just close the door," she sighs.

<Pose Tracker> Nagisa Misumi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.


Swiftly Honoka rises, and in the same moment, Mipple reverts to commune form, becoming something very like a cell phone. Mepple takes a moment to shake out his dizziness and follows suit, clacking into shape and dropping into Nagisa's hand. Honoka and Nagisa cross the intervening space to one another while Pisard descends and addresses them all.

rThey 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 for him, for his dark powers, for all the legions of his King.

But are they ready for each other? They've been holding hands a lot since the night everything changed for the better, but this is something profound. In a sense, neither Honoka nor Nagisa has ever been able to transform. Honoka and Nagisa could, once. Honoka can remember exactly when that fell apart last time.

Their pinkies encounter each other first, blindly. Nagisa's unfocused gaze is forward, and Honoka's slides to Nagisa's face. But they do not need to see for this; feather-soft touches guide their hands through and around each other, each of eight fingers finding its mate. Honoka can see the shame and fear in Nagisa's face, and Nagisa can feel the paradoxical delicacy of the trust Honoka has extended her. That trust is invincible like diamond to everyone but Nagisa, who could crush it easily. She hurt Honoka once this way, badly, rejecting her at her most vulnerable and sincere moment, just before the rainbow. It is impossible not to wonder if the intervening arguments, the vicious misunderstandings, the words that can never be unsaid, have somehow permanently disqualified them from the roles that brought them together in the first place.

Their two hands are nearly the same size, and yet so different. One, golden tan, callused and vigorous, the other soft, white, and elegant. They entwine, slip down, and their thumbs wrap to lock their palms snugly and perfectly together. Honoka squeezes Nagisa's hand gently, because it is here, now. This next moment is when they came undone.

TAnd their eyes meet.

It is as if nothing was ever in question. The inevitability of this moment is a truth that unites all pains, and an emotion that knows nothing of boundaries. They can do anything. They can do everything. In the first moment: brimming eyes, and a gentle squeeze of fingers. In the next?


<Pose Tracker> Honoka Yukishiro [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Pretty Cure Transformation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPrRBPdlUTE

Light isn't usually audible -- it's like floodgates blown open, a dam unleashed, the column exploding downwards, vaporizing clouds along the way, to impact the ground in a furious explosion. It is much, much larger, the diameter easily crossing the entire stadium, visible for miles around. Maybe visible from space...

Pisard and Gekidrago have to scramble out of the way, lest they be rendered unto vapor as well, and the widened whites of their eyes are the last anyone sees of them before there's nothing to see but a plain of rainbows, a plane. An apparently endless dimension, it extends in all directions with the joyful enthusiasm of an ancient tree on midsummer's day, a field of unfurling spring buds, of life itself, as tiny as a single heartbeat and as large as the pulse of the planet.

But it's more personal than that, too. The warmth that pours through everyone is the same warmth conjured by the connection of these two palms, of two hearts. It is more than the sum of its parts; the fresh, gentle winds after a storm, newborn embraces, and a passion as old as the first moment their eyes ever met. It's clumsy words and elegant ones, shy smiles, hot gazes and cheeks, the infinite wonder of endings, beginnings, and the path that stretches forth from here, knowing very well where it's been.

Honoka and Nagisa stand in the center, still holding hands, enveloped to their knees in shifting light. Their skin has transmuted to mercury, the better to slice through the rainbows, and though their clothing was left behind long ago, it's only so that the armor of a Warrior can turn their limbs into weapons of justice.

The raiment of the Legendary Warriors appears in dazzling bursts of light and sound: black and pink for one, white and blue for the other. Powerful shoes and gloves, marked with the symbol of true strength: hearts. Their bodies are the last things to recompose out of the quicksilver, soulforged into something mightier than adamant.

As their eyes reopen, Mipple and Mepple are safely tucked away in little bags, and then the pillar of light descends in an explosion of pure white radiance.

There are sparkles everywhere, and each one shines with the nascent, primal power of the Prism Stones, imbuing everything they touch with a special, sublime glitter.

COMBAT: Honoka Yukishiro transforms into Cure White!
COMBAT: Nagisa Misumi transforms into Cure Black!
COMBAT: Cure Pine transforms into Inori Yamabuki!
COMBAT: Inori Yamabuki transforms into Cure Pine!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Black [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Cure White stands bright amidst shedding glitter. Outstretching her strong arm with utmost passionate solemnity, she announces, "Emissary of Light, Cure White!"

Cure Black lifts her fist near her jaw, fingers clenching just to feel the old strength in every digit. "Emissary of Light, Cure Black!" she proclaims in turn.

Powerfully, Cure Black punches her fist out straight just as Cure White thrusts down a lilting knife-hand and turns her hips. A great golden burst of light sparks off them like they were two live wires. Their hair is sharper, more vivid and stylized. Their skirts ripple with the breeze of their own mystical birth.

The first time they said this words, they hadn't understood it. Nagisa had gotten the same sort of deer-in-the-headlights look she gets when called on in literature class. "...means what?" she had said. But they understand now. Individually, a miracle like this is impossible. But the two of them together--and only the two of them, for neither could have another...

"Together, we are Pretty Cure!"

Cure White turns her gaze to Pisard and Gekidrago, her vividly blue eyes even easier to see now that much of her hair is pulled up above her head, "Servants of the Dark Power..." She glares straight at Pisard, dead in the eye, as she levels her finger right at him.

Cure Black swipes her finger across to point it balefully at the Dark Zone warriors. "Return to the darkness from which you came!"

<Pose Tracker> Gekidrago [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Summoning Zakenna https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZjY5EYpFVs

Gekidrago has now had to dodge two huge expressions of Pretty Cure magic in about a minute and a half, and he doesn't have the admittedly dubious armor of Mipple to help reinforce him anymore. This time he winds up over the pool, with no one to knock him away from it, and the splash he makes on impact is frightening to behold. What's worse, the water keeps churning, becoming a maelstrom with him at the center. Sea creatures of all types can be seen caught in this trap, until finally, with a wet explosion, he finishes taking the water of the aquarium into himself, and its occupants, too, and stands at the now-dry bottom of the enclosure.

Stands taller than before, a good thirty feet high. This time a shark's mouth surrounds his sneering head like a helmet, all teeth and heavy gray flesh, while his arms have been entirely replaced by massive yellow-and-black eels, quite a bit larger around than a Pretty Cure is tall. Fins run down his back to a greenish tail more evocative of a dinosaur than anything -- proof of evolution?? -- as are his legs and clawed feet, which probably weren't really owned by any denizen of the deep.

He flexes his chest and roars, and the collective fury of these caged beasts roars with him. Unlike Mipple, they aren't fighting him for control; his dominance is absolute, and their strength has increased his exponentially, along with his size.

COMBAT: Gekidrago transforms into Gekidrago!
<Pose Tracker> Pisard [None] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZolxhGdx1o&index=29

Pisard raises his arm to shield his eyes, but in the swell of power, he instinctively knows something is different today. His pride demands he take only a single step backwards. Reality demands that he leap as quickly as he can, becoming a shadowed silhouette in the air before the eruption of creation's power as he lands upon the raised edge of the pool.

Clenching his teeth together, he does more that raise his arm, he averts his head entirely and tries to shut his eyes. Even shut, it feels like it's searing him through his eyelids, bright as day even behind them, it feels like it's pouring against his ears, thrumming against even his eardrums with a dissonant rhythm.

Pisard's reptilian eyes aren't accustomed to so much light. A creature of the Dark Zone, an emissary of destruction, his eyes can't stand to witness so much of light in it's purest form, brighter than the heart of a star to his vision. Indeed, if he hadn't leapt backwards to them while they transformed, would he still be present on this mortal coil?

It had been a question before that ran through his mind while the Dark King was interrogating his progress, today it feels like certainty that he would not have.

Out of desperation for survival, he had to sublimate his pride and twisted sense of honor, but now as Cure Black and Cure White stand before him, armored by the light- pointing at him. The words feel familiar. They feel right. His expression forms a wicked grin. This is the more the kind of battle he wanted after all. Even made desperate by fear of that power, he'd prove tonight that he could stand up to it. That he wasn't replaceable after all.

The alternative loomed as large as that apprehension. Death and becoming a part of the fathomless void that was his King.

You wouldn't know that desperation though as the Warrior of the Dark Zone stands, prouder and taller than ever, "That's more like it." He says throatily, "Now come at me with all your strength! There's no reason for me to hold back any longer!"

Energy flows off him like purple flames. Today was the day that he proved the worth of his existence to the Dark King, but more importantly- to himself.

<Pose Tracker> Cure White [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Honoka -- Cure White -- can no more stop smiling at Cure Black than she can stop her own heartbeat. Her eyes are shining, so full of sparkles that there isn't any room for tears. Her heart is full, too, overflowing with an absolute welter of emotions. Seeing her partner again like this -- she has never seen herself, having never thought to transform in front of a mirror -- is the realization of daydreams, the repudiation of nightmares.

Cure Black is exchanging gifts at Christmas with her noisy family, and the still quiet joy of midnight on New Years Eve. Her arms are the safest place she's ever known, her entire form the most beautiful. From the spiky swoosh on her head to the tips of her boots, Cure White loves all of her partner with all of her heart.

She is radiant with it. They are radiant together.

But they aren't alone -- and she turns to look at the assemblage of Pretty Cure, to marvel at this gathering, without which this miracle would not have been possible. Her gaze lingers in a few special places.

"Thank you," she says to all of them, but continues, eyes alight upon Cure Egret, in whom she recognizes a kindred spirit. "You're so strong and elegant," she openly admires. "I can't wait to get to know you better."

And she has a special tenderness for Cure Passion, too, and a special trust, which glows quietly in her voice like the heart of a star. "This is a first for us too, in some ways... please take care of us, Cure Passion!"

COMBAT: Cure White has used With Your Whole Smile on Cure Black.
COMBAT: Cure White has used With Your Whole Smile on Cure Passion.
COMBAT: Cure White has used With Your Whole Smile on Cure Egret.
COMBAT: Cure Passion accepts Cure White's With Your Whole Smile, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Cure Passion is Cheered!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Black [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

For Nagisa -- Cure Black -- every time she sees Cure White transform like the first time. This time, a little more than most. There has always been an odd pride in seeing her like this, her quiet beauty and grace made resplendent. Cure White is the soporific low of cicadas during summer homework on the hot floorboards, and a warm breeze in a frigid room. There is nothing Nagisa treasures more than this lonesome, beautiful, brilliant girl. From the orange arc of her bangs to the tips of her boots, Cure Black loves her partner with all of her heart.

"Everyone..." Cure Black wipes an eye with her knuckle, setting her shoulders with determination. "I'm sorry we weren't here to support you, the way you supported us." With a boyish grin she winks at Cure Bloom. "Go, go, Juuban! Right?"

Her eyes grow more serious. "I'm not sure if I deserved a kohai like you before... but I'm going to work my hardest now. So keep coming to cheer me on, okay?" She smiles a little.

Even more shyly, she addresses Cure Pine. "Th-the last time I saw you... I was really unfair."

Nagisa would do anything for someone sturdier to stand in front of her right now. 'Anything' is an ugly word.

"Your friend was in trouble, but I just wanted you to save..." Black bites her lip, squeezing White's hand a little. "...her. And you did. I'll never forget that."

Now she addresses both Bloom and Pine. "So if it's all right with you... today I'll fight beside you."

COMBAT: Cure Black accepts Cure White's With Your Whole Smile, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Cure Black has used With Your Whole Smile on Cure White.
COMBAT: Cure Black has used With Your Whole Smile on Cure Pine.
COMBAT: Cure Black has used With Your Whole Smile on Cure Bloom.
COMBAT: Cure Pine accepts Cure Black's With Your Whole Smile, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Cure Pine is Cheered!
COMBAT: Cure Bloom accepts Cure Black's With Your Whole Smile, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Cure Bloom is Cheered!
COMBAT: Cure Egret accepts Cure White's With Your Whole Smile, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Cure Egret is Cheered!
COMBAT: Cure White accepts Cure Black's With Your Whole Smile, taking 0 Fatigue damage!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Egret [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

Cure Egret never saw Cure Black and Cure White before. She came to Tokyo when they were apart. She knew of them only by reputation -- by the inevitable comparison that a few told her about, when they looked at her and Cure Bloom. She never had the context, but looking at them both standing there, she starts to understand. She also understands how little she understood, though. They aren't the same.

But they are alike. Few other Pretty Cures know what it is like to be a partnership -- to be together, the way that they have to be. In White, she can see someone like her. Someone who, maybe -- no, not maybe -- certainly, has experienced what she has.

And she thanks her. Egret's smile brightens, the corners of her eyes crinkling like she might cry. She doesn't, though, and she nods. "Mm!" she murmurs. "Yes! I promise that I will do my best! I-I wanted to meet you for so long. I know that, together, we are..."

She doesn't finish it, but really, she knows. But, today, Cure Black finished that thought better than Mai ever could.

Then, she turns to look at Gekidrago. Her smile fades, into the more serious and determined look that she often wears. Egret holds a hand out in front of her, fingers forming the knife's edge of her determination, before she launches forward. White light bursts out behind her, a spray of silver sparkles that marks her coming, and she comes crashing down for the fin-covered Dark General.

"You..." She nods. "...We won't forgive you! And we won't fail, not with our sempais with us!"

COMBAT: Cure Egret has used We Are... on Cure White.
<Pose Tracker> Cure Pine [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

It's a nerve wracking moment when Gekidrago simply rips Mipple out of himself and throws her into the path of their combined attack. Even if instinctively she knows it won't harm the little fairy, it's still the horrific intrusive thought that maybe it would this time. Thankfully, such thoughts are simple lies of anxiety- and as the light fades she's set down gently, whole and healed- before toppling over. Honoka approaches, and there's nothing that could make her interrupt this reunion.

Blessed relief swims over her and Cure Pine sinks down to her knees. The rush of adrenaline fading and leaving her too weak to stand. Instead she places her hands politely on her knees and just watches as Nagisa approaches Mepple. As Mepple harangues her, she's shocked almost senseless, her bottom lip hanging open as she stares. At least until Nagisa points out that he might just be trying to make her feel better.

The confused sound he makes doesn't leave that impression. It's enough that she has to put a hand to her mouth and stifle a single giggle. That moment an entirely fitting reward for all of the effort they put in. At least until Pisard approaches. She genuinely didn't expect that he would continue to press, with his scheme thwarted. Trying to stand up abruptly almost causes her to swoon, as she's forced to stop short and instead land on her posterior for a moment.

All of those who had fought couldn't give more, could they? Fortunately- two more join the fray. And as they shout the words of transformation, there's a rightness to it, a feeling of completion. The light is warm and gentle and despite not being in the center, seemingly endless. Sparkles waft through the air like glittering fireflies, and in wonder she touches one- the light ripples over her like water.

Suddenly standing simply feels like climbing out of bed and shaking off the languour of sleep, or an athlete after taking a short breather. White addresses the others first, and she's quiet during that, though she spares Passion a gentle smile, "You couldn't place yourself in the care of anyone better. She always takes good care of me."

But Black is addressing Bloom, and she says mildly to Egret and Bloom after, almost quietly, "I don't think anyone deserves kouhai as wonderful as them." She doesn't really expect to be addressed. She remembers the festival too, and even if Black doesn't understand that Pine is 'buki she called attention to something that- made the situation for Nagisa so much worse. She has a hard time forgiving herself for that.

The fact that Black does, takes her breath away, emotion swelling up in her eyes, "No no- you weren't unfair at all!" She says suddenly, "Even though Passion was in danger, we all wanted to save her- and you too." She puts both her hands to her chest, "I believe in Cure Black. And I believe in Nagisa Misumi... so please don't feel badly about that."

They're only there for a moment before she makes a heart with her fingers, "Maybe you'd understand better if you knew that uh-" Even if Labyrinth knows very well who she is, even if all the Pretty Cure here know, it's hard to just come out and say her name in front of two of Dark Fall, "-we once went kitten watching together." Gently, "In the alleyway."

Her heart swells with so many feelings as she says even softer, a faint flush on her cheeks, "I'm so happy that you figured out your answer."

COMBAT: Cure Pine has used I believe! on Cure Black.
COMBAT: Cure White accepts Cure Egret's We Are..., taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Cure White is Cheered!
COMBAT: Cure Black accepts Cure Pine's I believe!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Cure Black is Cheered!  Surge applied to Cure Black!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Passion [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

While Honoka is rising, and Honoka and Nagisa are both closing the distance to one another, Passion remains catching her breath, staring up at Pisard with her jaw set. She forces herself to stand up straight, hearing his challenge and watching his casual use of dark power. As he mentions defending their own worlds, Cure Passion--the girl from Labyrinth--glares at him. She knows what world she's here to defend today, and it's this one. She has others important to her, but...

Her gaze flicks down as she sees Nagisa and Honoka together, and her breath catches. But they say the words...

It's so brilliant. It's so radiant, and this time she can watch it, unlike when she would see it before, and it's beautiful in all its colors and then in its white light. Her arm doesn't so much as twitch upward to shield her eyes. Instead, she feels the glow, feels herself shining too.

She turns to look to Pine and smiles in relief and happiness, before she looks back to Cure White and Cure Black. There's one thing that makes her wonder still, one thing that makes her feel a little more distant as she watches... And there are different words.

That radiance over the two of them, that feeling, is precious. It's like melting with the warmth of the emotions here, if melting made someone stronger. She's never had the chance to fight with them.

Her bright pink hair tumbles down her back as she steps out into the open, setting her stance and adopting a fighting stance with her uncovered hands up in fists. Her red eyes are set, her cloth armor rufling in the breeze of power, frills about her shoulders and elsewhere and all. And Cure White looks at her, and talks to her, and Passion at first is surprised despite herself.

...But that one doubt melts under the older Cure's trust. That tenderness, that glow, it reaches her, and she nods once, at first slowly. "It is," she agrees with White, almost hesitant before looks completely serious. "Cure White, I'll... I'll do my very best!" She sounds completely sincere; her voice is warm, too, for all that she's quiet. But Pine's words click for her and she glances over to her friend, shy and proud. "Thank you..." She smiles back, softly, before looking to Cure Black and nods too, quickly. "Don't worry about me," she offers Cure Black, and looks back to White again, "I'm so lucky to know you. To still know you."

A breath. "All right." She looks to Pine again who's saying so much, who's saying so many good things, and she smiles at her again. "Pine... Together, right?"

She starts off and smiles at Cure Egret as she goes, tryig to show she is with her, before she becomes all business again.

Her steps fast as she becomes almost a red blur, Passion bends at the knee mid-run and springs upward, straight towards Pisard with her fist reared back. "Pisard!" She swings straight for his chest with five fingers, heedless of the purple flames flowing off of him. Dark power isn't unfamiliar to her.

COMBAT: Cure Passion has used Passion Punch! on Pisard.
COMBAT: Pisard narrowly counters Cure Passion's Passion Punch!, taking 12 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Pisard's Reverse ability
activates!  Pisard's Tactician ability activates!  Stagger applied to Pisard!
COMBAT: Pisard's counterattack, Ziggy's Starfist, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Cure Passion!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Bloom [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

It wasn't quite real for Cure Bloom until the rainbows. Nagisa Misumi was a big name among the sports kids, sure; Saki was more into softball than lacrosse, but the locker rooms aren't so segregated a place that the rumors of Juuban's sure-kill player couldn't reach her. For Saki, she couldn't help but admire it. And meeting her that day at the bakery felt like a kind of destiny, similar girls on similar paths. Even when she caught word, through subtle sorrows and open rumors, that Nagisa had a partner like she had in Mai, that there was trouble in those waters that Saki never really understood, the thought their paths were this close never crossed her mind.

But she knows that rainbow light. It's not the same as the sphere of rainbow glory that rises up at her and Mai's plea, but it pulls the same cords in her heart. She knows that light.

So when Cure Black and White take their turns to address the girls who came for them, Cure Bloom's grin is wide and easy. "A team can't be just one player, sempai," she says, with a half-twist to her foot. "Everyone holds one another up." Her grin turns irrepressable, and she offers a thumbs up, and answers with the secret mantra of Infinity's softball team: "Never give up!"

It's in English and her accent is atrocious, but she tries.

And then she starts walking, gently breaking the formation she passively found herself in. "I'll cheer for you as much as you need. So...I'll be in your care, too," she offers, with a little grin as she steps past; and then shifts her gaze, her grin fading as the Dusk Zone generals loom before her. Pisard; relatively dainty next to the titanic, brutalistic Gekidrago, fused with an entire aquarium. She doesn't need to check on Mai. She knows they'll converge when the moment is right.

"You're wrong," she tells Pisard. "We've fought that power before! Dark Fall never stops trying to take everything from us! And even when we've been beaten by it...!"

Light flows up her frame, blooming with the light of the Earth's magic. "As long as we trusted each other...as long as we had our friends beside us, we overcame it! Pretty Cure is a team! Today, we'll all show that to you!"

She stops, long enough to breathe once, deep and long; and then rather than exhale she rockets forward, parting ways with the earth like a rocket. The light suffusing her cracks apart into a sea of sparkles, glimmering around her fist, and with a wordless scream, she drives it right at the titanic Gekidrago's mighty chest, bolstered and unafraid.

COMBAT: Cure Bloom has used Fistful of Flowers on Gekidrago.
COMBAT: Gekidrago fails to dodge Cure Bloom's Fistful of Flowers, taking 25 Fatigue damage!  Cure Bloom is Psyched!
<Pose Tracker> Gekidrago [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.

"Yammer yammer yammer. The last Prism Stone will still be ours!" grunts Gekidrago, either unimpressed by all the speechmaking, bored by all the comforting, or just eager to commence with the asskicking.

His eyes settle greedily on Cure Pine's back -- in supporting her friends, she's seemingly left herself open, and Gekidrago is not so much of a tactician as to suspect that this might be a trap. So he thrusts his arms, which is to say, two sea serpentine electric eels, straight towards her, and towards Cure Egret, too, who happens to be very nearby. There's one razor-toothed maw headed straight for each of them.

They pass Cure Bloom on their way across the stadium. She's so tiny, and he's so intent on his prey, that he hardly notices her approach until it's already too late; he takes a scrambling step back, but a scramble at his size is ungainly at best. With a golden explosion and a corresponding roar of pain, the punch detonates on his chest, and spins him to one side (though those eel-arms just keep lengthening to compensate). Without any better recourse he starts lashing out with his massive and somewhat inexplicable lizard tail, blindly hoping to catch Pretty Cure on the backswing, or better yet, pin her down against some shattered concrete.

COMBAT: Gekidrago has used Electric Eel Arms on Cure Pine.
COMBAT: Gekidrago has used Electric Eel Arms on Cure Egret.
COMBAT: Gekidrago has used Terrible Dino? Tail on Cure Bloom.
COMBAT: Cure Egret fails to dodge Gekidrago's Electric Eel Arms, taking 35 Fatigue damage!
<Pose Tracker> Pisard [None] has posed.

He waits for them to come, but they don't at first, not exactly. Instead they're talking, with a sense of comraderie that's foreign to him. There's a sharp intake of breath before his face goes taut and he channels that fear into rage. Passion comes first at him, and that's exactly as what he expects of a bloodthirsty former Executive of Labyrinth.

He owes her pain, but she's not the one he wants right now. He whips up a hand to try to grab her out of the air, but instead has to shift his palm to block the blow. His serpent eyes glare at her balefully for half a second, as if a promise that he'd return.

Passion finds her contact broke in an instant as he leaps into a blur of movement, rising over the battlefield, fists held high, "WHAT MAKES ANY OF YOU THINK YOU HAVE TIME FOR EMPTY FLATTERY?"

His fists slam down in the midst of Black and White, attempting to seperate the two from contact a hammer blow to the ground pulverizing concrete so thoroughly it's naught but dust rather than chunks.

The other Pretty Cure- Bloom calls them all a team, and it rankles his senses. "How can you let her call you a team-" But planting one foot, his other is up in a blur, circling in a roundhouse rotation to attempt to blast through White's guard. "-when you're such shameless hypocrites!" It strikes the ground, and he charges in a blurred rush to try to instantly set the other girl back on her heels, working Black's upper body with a series of jabs. "Trying to act like you care for the others-"

He says as he sneeringly projects before he uncurls his fist and his fingernails lengthen to long razors, attempting to rake them across the front of her ribbons, "-do you think you can alleviate your guilt after risking them to save your own skins? Have you no pride!?"

His movement is so quick that Passion might not catch him moving behind her in time, though his words prickle on his spine, "And as for you-" He tries to grab her by the wrist before slamming his palm hard enough into her abdomen to make her feel like she's being stomped by an elephant, releasing her arm at the same time to send her flying against the tank, "-don't interfere in my battle with the Emissaries of Light you pathetic turncoat."

Then as if second guessing himself, he looks upon the spot where he's fallen, "Though- I do owe you retribution as well for that night." He still remembers his humiliation at the festival, when he was unable to overwhelm even two normal girls due in no small part to Passion's meddling.

His voice becomes pregnant with menace as he wonders aloud, "What will your allies think when I kill you right before their eyes? Will they abandon all hope and submit to the Dark King's will?" Dark glee runs through his limbs as he looks accusatively upon White and Black in particular, "Or will the two of them not even spare your worthless carcass a second glance!?"

He's hoping perhaps that threatening another will inspire White and Black to come at him with all of their might. He relishes the idea as much as much as he's made desperate with apprehension by it.

COMBAT: Pisard has used Oh! You Pretty (Cure) Things on Cure White.
COMBAT: Pisard has used Beating Up Suffragette City on Cure Black.
COMBAT: Pisard has used Ziggy's Starfist on Cure Passion.
COMBAT: Pisard has used The Man Who Fell To Earth on Pisard.
COMBAT: Pisard accepts Pisard's The Man Who Fell To Earth, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Accelerate and Empower applied
to Pisard!
COMBAT: Cure Pine narrowly braces Gekidrago's Electric Eel Arms, taking 7 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Cure Pine's Block
ability activates!  Cure Pine's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Cure White fails to dodge Pisard's Oh! You Pretty (Cure) Things, taking 24 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Cure Black perfectly dodges Pisard's Beating Up Suffragette City, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Dodge!
COMBAT: Cure Passion narrowly braces Pisard's Ziggy's Starfist, taking 9 Fatigue damage!  Cure Passion's Block ability activates!
Cure Passion's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Cure Bloom perfectly counters Gekidrago's Terrible Dino? Tail, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  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 Gekidrago!
<Pose Tracker> Cure White [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

White is surprised, her free hand floating upwards towards her chin, a finger settling on her lips as lightly as a butterfly on a branch, that Egret knows who she is. She strikes a dignified figure as she looks at the younger Cure -- unblushingly, but the warmth stirred in her heart is evident all the same, especially in her voice. "We are," she agrees.

She stands a little taller; she mustn't let Egret down.

Or any of the others.

"We feel exactly the same way," she promises Passion. "Seeing you here like this..."

Miracles on top of miracles.

Pisard's criticism isn't wrong, though, in that she is so distracted by the others -- in the moment that he closes she is stifling a grin at Bloom's English, while repeating it under her breath, inwardly translating -- that she absolutely does not have time to react to his hammer blow at all. It leaves her in midair in the moment that he roundhouses, unable to do more than try (and fail) to twist out of the way of his foot.

Her lips, at least, are free to move.

"We will never let you hurt her!" she responds fiercely at a low shriek, but it's all she has time to say, because there's his boot, a blur to others but a solid lance of agony straight to her chest.

All the air is knocked straight out of her, "Aaa--!", and the last anyone sees of Cure White is the pained but defiant flash of her brilliant blue eyes before she goes tumbling backwards, head over heels over head over heels. Her hair swirls around her, hiding her face and creating a yin to the yang of her gown, which has so many ruffles that they send up an audible flap due to the velocities at which she's traveling.

She's closing on the back wall above the bleachers, fast, much too fast, she's going to crash--


That was the sound of her boots impacting the wall. Her arms swirl as her hair goes pouring behind her once more, clearing it out of her way. Her knees strain beneath her but do not collapse, the energy of impact passing through them as they bend, dangerously controlled, like a coiling spring. Standing parallel to the ground below, her chin lifts--

--and she stares across the intervening space at Pisard.

Who needs words? Even at this distance, her eyes, again visible, communicate just fine.

There's a storm a'comin'.

COMBAT: Cure White has started a combo targeting Pisard!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Egret [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

Egret smiles, nodding once more to White. And then, he attention must be on Gekidrago for the moment.

The electric eel goes flying out. Cure Egret tries to leap away -- and she gets slammed into instead. Lightning arcs and shoots every which way, the stuff scarring the very ground under them. The blow hurls Egret backward, slamming her roughly into the wall of the aquarium, which she bounces away from. Her feet scrape against the ground, and she grunts, sharply.

She turns, then, and grits her teeth. Gekidrago is a terrible sight to behold; a mishmash of sea life, a thing that defines what should not be. She launches, taking to the air again. Egret does a graceful pirouette, before she comes swooping down. Her violet eyes narrow, locked onto her opponent. And then, she brings her foot down in an axe kick.

Silver sparkles erupt along her foot, covering it for the moment -- and then burst apart in a cloud when she strikes. Egret bounces upward, and then lands on the ground in a three-point stance in the wake of her attack.

COMBAT: Cure Egret has used Sky Dancer's Kick on Gekidrago.
COMBAT: Gekidrago fails to dodge Cure Egret's Sky Dancer's Kick, taking 7 Fatigue damage!  Cure Egret is Psyched!  Stun applied to
<Pose Tracker> Cure Black [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Danzen! Futari wa Pretty Cure https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3XyfKUDMKk

Cure Black had just gotten rid of those tears, and now Pine is threatening their return. She stares in surprise at this near-stranger's emotional expression, at her heartfelt words. None of it makes any sense, though, until...

It's easy to hear the mewling, hungry kittens crowding, when she looks at Cure Pine.

"B... buki?" Cure Black whispers, mouth dry. She smiles hesitantly. "It is you, huh?" Blushing harder than Pine, Black looks down. "Yeah. The answer... it's 'nothing,' I guess." She squeezes White's hand, feeling a sense of completion.

Cure Bloom is less abashed in her reply than Pine was, and Black rises to the occasion, her smile sharpening roguishly. "Is that one your team's cheer? Well, I won't look bad in front of my kohai! I won't give up either."

Black should have remembered -- Pisard has always been fast. She can't follow with her eyes as he disappears and reappears before them, slamming his fist down, but her reaction is quick. Twisting, she presents her side to Pisard and lets his arm run past it; a near miss is always best for counterattack. But she realizes just as quickly what is coming when his hand slams into the ground, and crouches even as his fist falls. When it impacts the ground, she jumps with it, allowing it to boost her into an initially-uncontrolled aerial tumble. When her momentum starts losing to gravity, she tucks and flips back, catching sight of White being propelled in a much more direct fashion. "Huwaito!" she calls out. Drawing her knees in a little, she alters her trajectory, so that as soon as White hits the wall, Black hits right next to her, her boots clacking with wince-inducing sharpness against it.

Black finds a moment to grin at White. It's like riding a bicycle, in more than one way.

Her violent momentum crushing her into a low crouch, Cure Black reaches to the side and snag her partner's hand unerringly. Empowered by their bond and encouraged by their friends, the two Cure shove off the wall even faster than they'd hit it, a low sonic screech ripping along in their wake. As their rotational velocity diverges, they release each other's hands and twist the last few body-lengths of the way, extending one foot each as the other tucks in tightly. The twin kicks drill in with a thunderous impact that startles even White and Black. They were not nearly so strong the last time they transformed.

COMBAT: Cure Black has joined the combo started by Cure White!
COMBAT: COMBO! Cure White and Cure Black have used Precure Double Screw Kick on Pisard.
COMBAT: Pisard narrowly braces Cure White and Cure Black's Combo: Precure Double Screw Kick, taking 50 Fatigue damage!  Pisard's
Block ability activates!  Pisard's Parry ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Pine [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

"That's me." She confirms as tears well up in her eyes, then adds softly, "It's a good answer. I'm so glad you found it." She smiles, as her head tilts just slightly to the side as if to regard them from a better look. Sniffing once, "So glad."

In her heart of hearts she wishes she had time to just speak to Black and White right now, to admire the pair that she already admired so much.

But- Gekidrago sets his sights on Pine's back, and in truth it's not a trap. Simply put, Cure Pine doesn't think that way. However the shadow of the shark-infused menace is towering enough that she does get a glimpse of his intent just in time. Whirling around on her feet just in time, she shifts her guard to try to bat aside one eel head, while bobbing her head just left. Her forearm still feels bruised from Gekidrago's eel fists, but at least she prevents a dire blow.

It's an eccentric feeling to think that a shark and electric eels are cute, from their maws full of teeth and their long bodies but there's nothing cute about the way Gekidrago corrupts them, uses them in such way, it particularly irks her- and horrifies her.

"How can you keep dragging innocent animals into your fight!?" She says, actually angry, "Bloom's right. Today we'll definitely defeat you. Bloom, Egret- I'll back you up! We're stopping this right now."

Pine rushes forward in a yellow blurred rush, drawing back a single fist. She still hadn't forgotten his strength when he was infused with Mipple, and she's wary of that as she ducks down low to slide into his guard- before raising high, and slam it into his muscular gut with the force only a Pretty Cure can muster.

COMBAT: Cure Pine has used Pineapple Punch on Gekidrago.
COMBAT: Gekidrago fails to brace Cure Pine's Pineapple Punch, taking 27 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Stagger applied to
<Pose Tracker> Cure Bloom [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

It's actually their chant amid themselves; the cheer - well, is not something Cure Bloom has a moment to explain, because she's currently off at the other end of the aquarium fighting a dinosaur man. Her fist explodes in his chest, and while she's falling back to earth he lashes at her with his tail. Motes of glittering light foam around her fingertips as she thrusts her palms forward between her and the swinging tail, forging a field of light that stops the tail's scything swing cold! She lashes out, then; swinging out with her hand to grab on to the offending appendage, and use it as a lever to throw herself even higher, a bead of light forming on her finger as she arcs up and past the looming Gekidrago. Egret eats an attack, but the return is soon enough in coming that Bloom doesn't even call out. Instead, she just falls right past Gekidrago, sticking her tongue out at him as she falls and poking him on the nose.

As she falls down to rendezvous with Egret, the bead of light she placed there explodes with spirit magic, coincidentally accelerating her fall. She flashes a grin at her partner, and then a thumbs up at Pine. "That's right!" she calls up. He's strong, he's so strong...but she's not afraid. She has Egret here. She has Pine, and Passion. She has Black, and White. She feels the light of the world around her. "We'll stop this. We'll stop you! Today!"

COMBAT: Cure Bloom has used Petal Seed on Gekidrago.
<Pose Tracker> Cure Passion [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

In the instant of Pisard's glare, Cure Passion stares straight back, unyielding. Her jaw is set, her fist advancing as far as she can with the strength that she has--

And he's gone, Passion tumbling forward as she's knocked off balance from his absence, hitting the ground with a hand going into a roll of spring herself back up even as she hears Pisard's shouting. Empty flattery?

Passion is hearing Bloom's talk of being a team just in time to turn and watch Pisard strike out at Black and White.

"White! Black!"

he says such ugly things, and she's in motion again just as he's not in her field of vision at all. The feeling of an enemy behind her makes Passion freeze, her spine tinglin not just with his words but with memory. She starts to move a half-second too late to avoid his hand on her wrist, spun around and doing all she can to steady herself for the coming blow. It still slams her in the stomach hard enough that she can't talk, called a turncoat just as she's flung to impact the nearest tank. She hits it and falls, immediately reaching out a hand to start to get up and listening despite herself. She's starting to stand up when he mentions that night, when he asks that question. She stares up at him, bravado on her lips except that his accusation silences her a moment.

Until White calls out in return something that she already knew, that she just established. ...That she hoped for before, but has confirmed. "You don't understand," she calls to Pisard, watching White and Black crash onward.

"I'll interfere to help them. I don't care what you threaten me with." She springs forward, and leaps back to hit the wall with her heels, springing forward and upward back towards Pisard, flipping along the way and on the heels of Black and White's kicks. Passion swings out with one leg and twists mid-air to hook kick with the other from above, alongside the others.

COMBAT: Cure Passion has used Flash Feint on Pisard.
COMBAT: Pisard narrowly dodges Cure Passion's Flash Feint, taking 19 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Cure Passion is Psyched!
Pisard's Fade ability activates!  Pisard's Flash ability activates!  Exhausted applied to Pisard!
COMBAT: Gekidrago narrowly counters Cure Bloom's Petal Seed, taking 8 Fatigue damage!  Gekidrago's Reverse ability activates!
Gekidrago's Tactician ability activates!
COMBAT: Gekidrago's counterattack, STOMP, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Cure Bloom!
<Pose Tracker> Gekidrago [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> The Rising Tension https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bshO3GZqROY

Gekidrago has corrupted the animals, but they have corrupted him in turn. The plain white of his eyes has a particularly sharklike sheen now, instead of the hazy impression of color that lay there before. He moves with an eel's grace and a shark's direct cunning, despite his size. Cure Pine, with her connection to animals, will have the clear impression that Gekidrago has gone a little native.

The slam-punch to the gut lifts Gekidrago to the balls of his knobheeled feet, his hunched back arching as a bestial groan vibrates his hulking form. The giant slashes both eel hands down hard in reaction, crunching them into the ground to either side of Pine, never coming close to hitting them. In the next moment, however, electricity arcs between both eels as though they were the two clips of a car battery brought too close. This is all-natural, organic electricity here. Funny, it still hurts.

Egret kicks off of his head and lands in front of him, while Bloom's spiritual magic explodes against him from behind. He swevers his head left and right, and left again, trying to get a good angle with which to see them both. Shark's heads are not super great for this purpose. They do growl well, though.

He might as well play to his strengths, here.

Falling forwards onto Egret, he gapes his toothy maw wide, and starts crawling on all fours -- two dinosaur legs, and two shorter fins, his eels still loose in their distance -- to chew up the ground between him and his prey. He turns a surprisingly tight circle in doing so, and before long Bloom must flee the landshark's maw, as well!

"RAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!" He sounds more like a lawnmower than anything. This is not a comfort.

COMBAT: Gekidrago has used What A Shock on Cure Pine.
COMBAT: Gekidrago has used Shark Attack on Cure Egret.
COMBAT: Gekidrago has used Shark Attack on Cure Bloom.
COMBAT: Cure Bloom narrowly braces Gekidrago's Shark Attack, taking 12 Fatigue damage!  Cure Bloom's Block ability activates!
COMBAT: Cure Pine fails to dodge Gekidrago's What A Shock, taking 28 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Cure Egret narrowly dodges Gekidrago's Shark Attack, taking 34 Fatigue damage!  Cure Egret's Fade ability activates!  Cure
Egret's Flash ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Pisard [None] has posed.

"Of course you don't!" Pisard barks at Passion, sliding out of the way and ducking down low just as her kick hooks his ear- and he growls once as he blurs into a better position, letting her stumble past. "You're not like the others. You know that you're replaceable."

The sound of White's boots impacting the wall is distinct. He's heard it so many times before, and his eyes are upon her. The determination writ in her eyes is enough. "That's better." He says pompously, using words anyhow to disguise his apprehension over what's coming. "It wouldn't be satisfying for you to beg for mercy so swiftly."

Squaring his stance strongly, he whips out out arm to dramatically flare his long cape in the air, though his arrogance disappears as he sees Black's grin- just a moment before they're propelled forward. It's that moment that he makes a decision not to simply try to jump out of the way. He'd take it head on, as a Warrior of the Dark Zone. His eyes contract, even as he brings his opposite arm up. It's a good thing he did. As the violent momentum behind it is surprising.

Both of their spinning kicks drill into his arms, and his stance is proven inadequate in an instant, "Keh!" He stiffens his abdominal muscles and tries to push forward to try to endure it, but he can't. He's driven back against the side of the raised pool, the side cracking under the fierce impact as he's shoved driven hard enough into it that it cracks- spidery at first, and then shatters- showering them with a surge of water from the tank as he momentarily disappears within the torrent.

When he reemerges, his arms are still crossed, head bowed his breathing raspy- but he's still standing. Somehow. Not even the gods know how this Kabuki Warrior withstood this kick, but perhaps he's diminished form it. And this head moves up just above the X of his guard, enough to see his reptilian eyes, then further as his expression splits into a feral grin. "Now we're having fun! HaaaaAAA!"

Trying to grab Black's leg before she would even hit the ground from his kick, he spins around in a single rotation, before tossing her low to the ground to see if he can skip her like a stone. "Smile at her while you still can Cure Black! I'll make your reunion with White a short lived one!"

He's then pouncing on White, while he assumes she'll be sparing Black a look to make sure she's okay. His fists flying to pepper her body one by one to see if he can match her fluid movement and avoid her grip. He's seen what it could do to his Zakenna one too many times. "You'll never let me? What an empty sentiment! We both know that the two of you left her to drown!" Stopping his flurry, he ends with a powerful side kick to try and knock her in the opposite direction of Black, assuming he isn't stopped.

Stomping his foot back down, he leaps high in the air, his foot elevated in an axe kick that he brings down abruptly on Passion's position, showering the area with dust from impact with pulverized concrete. Within the cloud, there's a silhouette of the tall warrior- "I'm only here for the Prism Stones. There will be no reward from the Dark King for dealing with Lord Mobius' refuse." It's only then that his wicked grin reappears, showing that he doesn't mind there being no reward for that at all.

COMBAT: Pisard has used Ziggy's Starfist on Cure Black.
COMBAT: Pisard has used Beating Up Suffragette City on Cure White.
COMBAT: Pisard has used Oh! You Pretty (Cure) Things on Cure Passion.
COMBAT: Pisard has used The Man Who Fell To Earth on Pisard.
COMBAT: Pisard accepts Pisard's The Man Who Fell To Earth, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Accelerate and Empower applied to Pisard!
COMBAT: Cure Passion narrowly braces Pisard's Oh! You Pretty (Cure) Things, taking 6 Fatigue damage!  Cure Passion's Block ability
activates!  Cure Passion's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Cure White fails to counter Pisard's Beating Up Suffragette City, taking 30 Fatigue damage!  Pisard is Psyched!
COMBAT: Cure White's counterattack, Cloud Hands, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Pisard!
COMBAT: Cure Black narrowly braces Pisard's Ziggy's Starfist, taking 18 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Cure Black's Block ability
activates!  Cure Black's Parry ability activates!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Egret [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.


Cure Egret doesn't scream but she does make that soft, panicked noise when she sees how the might, shark-like mouth of Gekidrago's current form works like a lawnmower for the very ground. She quickly ducks to the side, arms out, as she runs just ahead of it. Chunks of torn up concrete go flying each way, as she runs -- and sees that the shark is running right for Bloom, too. "Bloom!" she cries out. "Look out! We--"

She leaps at the end, and silver sparkles erupt underneath her feet. She rises up into the air, turning around, and swings back her gloved fist. As her fingers tighten into a ball, the fabric strains audibly, and silver sparkles swirl around her fist as she swings it back. Her bangs sweep backward.

Her purple eyes narrow. "--no, everyone!" she cries. "Let's show them what it means to be Pretty Cure!"

And then she drops. 'Drop' makes it sound uncontrolled and uncontrollable, though, and it is anything but. Egret dives, silver light gracefully arching behind her, and that fist and slender arm come back with a force that is entirely hers, but not uniquely hers. After all, she isn't alone.

"Pretty Cure!" she cries out, and her fist swings forward, right for the shark-like head. "Collab--"

COMBAT: Cure Egret has started a combo targeting Gekidrago!
<Pose Tracker> Cure White [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Cure White goggles a little at her counterpart as they impact Pisard. Her hair is everywhere again, spreading behind them like a battle flag, and when his back hits the edge of the pool, the force ripples back through her, ruffling her skirts and hair alike.

Her eyes widen even further as the tank starts to crack, and in unison with Cure Black she launches herself away. Their symmetry is broken, however, by his grab at her partner's leg.

But Pisard's initial tactic is disappointed, because Cure White doesn't go looking for Black -- her trust in Black's survival, recovery, and retaliation is absolute. Instead she brings up her hands, and for a few seconds matches him shot for shot, moving with his jabs, smoothly intercepting them with her palms.

"You think I don't know that?" White replies, perhaps surprisingly, her voice low and intense. "We failed her. We failed our fairies. We failed everyone!"

Smoothly moving her palms to the left with his fists... while his leg snaps up to kick her right in the side.

Her body goes skipping across the concrete, and it would be painful looking except halfway through the motion he's filled the whole area with debris. White vanishes into the whiteness only a dozen yards away.

There's a moment of silence, then filled by Egret's battle cry. White's voice drifts, disembodied, out of the cloud.

"But this is what makes humans strong! This is what we do when we fail! We get up and try again -- with a little help from our friends!"

BGM Swap: Eien no Tomodachi https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaRDF9WntP0

And there she is, EXPLODING out of the cloud, trails of vaporized concrete following the pumping of her arms, her legs, as she leaps towards her kohai.

Heart worn on her fist, she swings it directly alongside Egret's, and her smile is all for her, her eyes filled with admiration, with praise. Her voice, too, which resonates in a silvery soprano harmony.


COMBAT: Cure White has joined the combo started by Cure Egret!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Black [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

The cracked pool deluges both Cure Black and the villain beneath her mighty pink boot, a fast rush of water that is still clearing from beneath her as she starts to drop to the ground. Pisard wraps her leg neatly, and before she can do anything about being trapped, she's swung violently and hurled across the ground. Tucking her chin, she makes herself round and long as she had when she rolled with Honoka as Nagisa Misumi. She takes more bruises than she had that time, finally thumping to a stop against the bottom of the bleachers. Looking up at them, she grins, then kicks out of her prone position and onto her feet.

"You're wrong!" she shouts at Pisard, as he defends against her partner's martial arts up-close. "I'm never leaving Cure White again!"

Clapping a hand on Cure Bloom's shoulder, Cure Black grins, wide and roguish. "I want to find out if I can keep up with a softball star from a fancy charter school. Ready?" Giving Bloom's shoulder a quick shake, Cure Black bolts to the side, sprinting up the bleachers, clearing multiple rows with each bounding stride.

"Better hurry!" she cries back gaily from her head-start. She wasn't going at full speed at first, but as soon as Bloom catches up, she lays it on the bleachers rattling like a machinegun under her pounding charge. Taking a final leap and turning as she goes, Black hits the top step with both feet. They need to hurry if they're to catch up with their paler partners. Leaping off the edge, Cure Black whips down violently through the air, dragging back a massive haymaker as she falls.


COMBAT: Cure Black has joined the combo started by Cure Egret!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Pine [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Both of Gekidrago's eel arms miss her, or so she thinks. Connected to either side of the ground, "Huh?" She looks one way, "Eh?"

It's then that the horrible realization dawns on her. Her feet haven't left the ground when she's shocked suddenly by the current created from the perfect circuit. Her muscles stiffen and spasm and her head is thrown back in a shriek of agony that never comes because she's momentarily paralyzed by all that. Her hair is momentarily the frizziest goldest afro in existence save the sidetail still bound up by ribboned heart.

She wobbles on her feet precariously after, eyes looking somewhat glassy and dazed, "Always... wanted to see how that works up close..." She whimpers once. That's definitely now how she wanted to experience an electric eel shocks. She just wanted to see it.

But perhaps it's the shout of her kouhai that gets her to shake herself out of it, the continued threats of Pisard towards Passion that inspires her to snap out of it with a shake of her hair which causes some of it to fall back into place, "You make it so easy to believe in myself Egret. I'll follow your lead!" She takes a step Passion's way and speaks in an invitation, "You're ready right Passion?" A beat, then even more gently "We'd never leave you behind."

It makes her proud to follow her kouhai into this act- reminding her of the last time they called upon the force of so many Pretty Cure against the threat of Fusion just as the cloud of dust spreads over her position. Bending at the knees, she erupts out of it as well, momentarily coming up alongside Passion as the pair follow Egret's charge, dust falling off of her as she spreads behind her.

Her eyes which were not so long ago filled with tears now brim with belief in all of the others, with joy alongside Passion, Bloom, Egret, and their senpai of White and Black. Those weren't empty words. It really isn't so hard to believe in one's self when you have such fine examples at your side, her fist reared back to add in her own efforts to this one shining moment.


COMBAT: Cure Pine has joined the combo started by Cure Egret!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Bloom [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

Bloom's grin doesn't get to live forever; Gekidrago is not, in fact, pleased with things going as they are, and tries to rip after first Egret, then herself. "Whaaaaa!" she yelps, quickly backpedaling; her legs devouring ground almost as fast as Gekidrago's maw can more literally consume it. "Ah jeeze aw jeeze!" she squawks, before she finally throws herself, ungainly, off to the side, and Gekidrago sails off to his next storyboard segment. Bloom sits there panting for a second, watching Egret soar. The power starts to gather up in her feet, ready to soar up to join her partner, when--

The hand on her shoulder. She finds herself laughing, and rolls her shoulder half-consciously - well, she's a pitcher, after all. "Yeah," she laughs, and squares her stance. It feels so natural to see her like this, even though in so many ways they have so much to learn about each other. "I'm ready."

Black tears off, and she might, for a second, think she's left Bloom completely unprepared; behind her, Bloom has half-squatted down, and is breathing rather than dashing...until her feet erupt in light, and the floral Cure suddenly explodes off the ground, sailing up right up to Black's level on a rocket contrail of magic. She flips, end-over-end, comes down with her feet alongside Black on the bleachers, and dashes a few bars alongside her. She moves with a strange, gallumphing grace; less running than throwing herself from step to step, a few rows at a time. But finally she comes down at the top, neck and neck with her senior.

Her eyes cut up to Egret. Just for a moment, tracking her partner and their enemy as she judges her jump.

Again the light surges around her, and again she rockets off, Pretty Cure strength and Pretty Cure magic both shooting her on her way. And both of those are still in her body as she careens in beside Black, arm cocked back in mirrored pose.


COMBAT: Cure Bloom has joined the combo started by Cure Egret!
<Pose Tracker> Cure Passion [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Passion's heels clicks hard against the ground as she hits it, stumbling past Pisard as he moves and trying to right herself... Except that he keeps talking, and that silences her for a few moments. She knows that she's replaceable.

There's more that she feels that she can't stop and think about now; she needs everything. ...But she doesn't argue.

She starts to dift back into the fray, instead. He says they left her to drown. Passion opens her mouth to try to say something before she moves, but the whole memory is difficult. White answers first, though, answers with such surety. "White," Passion starts to say, and then she's hit. "White!" And then she has no more time to answer for the moment. After all... Pisard is still coming at her, too.

Passion answers a kick with a block, snapping out her arms and shoving with one supporting the other to knock Pisard's kick off-balance such that it hits the ground rather than hits her into the ground, spinning a bit away from where she was and away from him immediately. The cloud rushes up all around her, blinding her, and she hears Cure Egret. She hears Cure White. Both of them...

"What it means to be Pretty Cure," she repeats to herself, ands nods sharply within the cloud, before she dances sharply back out of Pisard's immediate armspan, maybe just in time. She takes a breath to get herself ready, but her own efforts don't have to be sufficient; Pine steps towards her, and Passion goes from quiet to confident. "...Right!" A little pause, and more softly, "Thanks."

It makes Passion proud, too; she's seen them work so hard, seen Egret work so hard, and she won't fail to join her.

She doesn't focus on what was; she focuses on what is, as best she can, and it becomes easy when a part of this group, with a quiet love for these girls who let her join them.

"Egret! I'm here too!"

Passion rears back her fist to do her part, arm tense and eyes focused.

"Chi!!" And her own voice is low and warm and loud.

COMBAT: Cure Passion has joined the combo started by Cure Egret!
COMBAT: COMBO! Cure Egret, Cure White, Cure Black, Cure Pine, Cure Bloom, and Cure Passion have used Precure Collaboration Punch!
on Gekidrago.
COMBAT: Gekidrago narrowly counters Cure Egret, Cure White, Cure Black, Cure Pine, Cure Bloom, and Cure Passion's Combo: Precure
Collaboration Punch!, taking 273 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Gekidrago is unable to keep fighting!  Cure Egret, Cure White,
Cure Black, Cure Pine, Cure Bloom, and Cure Passion are Psyched!  Gekidrago's Reverse ability activates!  Gekidrago's Tactician
ability activates!
COMBAT: Gekidrago's counterattack, Desperation Chomp, partially gets through, doing 6 Fatigue damage to Cure Egret!
<Pose Tracker> Gekidrago [Infinity Institute (6)] has posed.

The force of the six simultaneous punches travels down through the huge abomination that Gekidrago's become. It closes the shark's head around his own, then causes the eels to puff up, more and more, and finally burst off either side like a pair of deflating balloons. The bulge proceeds downwards, settling in his lizardy gut.

That's a big piece of mass, and it gives him time to recover just enough to gape his shark-hood wide again. His knees sink, flex, and he snaps upwards -- at the same time that he's forced further downwards, his claws splaying with dismay as they feel the momentum. The net effect is that one tooth, the highest one, grazes Egret's closed fist, just a little.

Above him, everyone can see the glimmer of his furious eyes, narrowed to defiant slits.

And then the inevitable demise finishes coming to its apex -- he explodes, sending a swarm of sea creatures high into the air, far more than just corrupted eels, sharks, and newts. Fish of all shapes and sizes, frogs, even cucumbers... every animal in the aquarium is raining downwards, into some of the other open tanks. Hopefully the circle of life will not be too damaging in the time it takes to set things to rights.

Of Gekidrago himself there is almost nothing left, just the echo of his final scream. But, high above, there's a vibrant blue shimmer, congealed around something too small and distant to see clearly, but which pulses with impossible, if nascent, power:

A Prism Stone.

<Pose Tracker> Cure White [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Cure White couldn't help but smile at the intense rightness -- and righteousness -- that she feels, acting in unison with the other Pretty Cure. But immediately afterwards, the look that she exchanges with Black, her blue eyes unfailingly finding her partner's amber, is bleak.

She lands quietly, amid the rain of marine life, and her knees find the ground for the first time all night. She didn't beg for her life, and each time she was knocked away, she was able to find her feet. The only one who can bring her to this position is her.

She gazes up at the flying fish, the falling... sharks. "I hope you're swimming with them now," the warrior murmurs, solemn, sad. There's no time for tears, but regret drowns her, bending her neck, closing her eyes. "I wish... that you could have gone sooner."

The Prism Stone floats downwards, falling into her palms, which were cupped loosely in front of her.

"Swim with them," she repeats, pleadingly. "You don't... have to return to the darkness."

(New BB message (3/237) posted to 'Character Announcements' by Pink Moon Stick: DEAD: Gekidrago)

<Pose Tracker> Cure Egret [Infinity Institute (8)] has posed.

Egret smiles, brighter, at the compliments.

She feels satisfied, as their punch tears through Gekidrago -- and the wildlife come raining down, and then the Prism Stone. She looks up to watch it, as she lands -- on a knee, breathing hard. She stares up at Cure White, with a tired smile on her face.

Cure White, still standing. She can call it worth it. She clutches her arm, then, where there is a tear in her glove -- caught on the Gekidrago's tooth. Then, she nods.

"We... we did it! Though--ah..." She falls to a side, breathing hard. "...That took a lot out of me. But they'll be at peace, now, won't they, sempai?" she asks. But, she knows, they haven't won yet.

Her eyes move to Pisard. "Bloom, Pine, Passion--we can still do it!"

But she stays kneeling, her hand on the ground, and splayed out, and that is all she can do for a moment.

<Pose Tracker> Pisard [None] has posed.

Shaking water out of his mane of white hair, White's perspective is one that Pisard cannot fathom. Cannot begin to understand. He cannot admit loss, despite failing to deal with this pair so many times, if he does- then he invites death. He's too proud to admit his weakness, to allow for it's possibility. Even if his fear makes that a lie "What foolishness. In life there are only two outcomes! You win or you lose! In admitting failure- you've sealed your fate!"

You can't get up and try again in his world.

Black though shouts at him, and he sneers at her, "I'll enjoy proving you wrong. Which one of you two will be the first to go I wonder? Will it be her or you?" And once they're gone, there will be no Black Thunder, White Thunder to threaten his world ever again.

Which is why he's surprised when all the Precure leap out of the cloud towards Gekidrago, in one perfect shining rainbow of coordination, "Nani?!" The force blows back his hair, his cape- he stands there struck speechless, his chiseled jaw making inarticulate noises for a few moments.

Fear surges deep and cold into his heart as he watches six Pretty Cure erase Gekidrago from existence, send him back to the Dark King as a pale shadow, leaving him behind. He may not have respected the brute, but he knew his sheer strength well. Pisard takes one step back. Then another. Then another. His pride wounded severely. White even stops to pity the animals rather than deal with him!? How can she have time? Unless she were confident.

Desperation seizes him once more, gives him the courage that he would not be able to ordinarily muster. "Now there's noone left to get in my way." He's proud, but he can smother it behind his will to survive- to stop those girls from delivering another beating. All of the girls may get a sense of foreboding. A dark aura in the air as he puts a palm in front of his face. And then slowly he brings it away, like a Gorgon lifting her veil.

He's serpentine eyes gleam with dark power that ripples over the room, one of the gifts granted to him by the Dark King. He could turn entire crowds to stone instantly. For magical girls who have defense against the dark powers, his petrification would be more gradual. Bloom, Egret, Pine and Passion if seized by this. They might start to feel their limbs grow heavier. Their skin start to grey, and flake just a touch. Soon it would be hard to move, but they still have plenty of time to act.

The only two spared are his most hated of foes. "It won't be long now." He says maliciously to the pair as he steps forward towards them, cape shifting gently in the breeze, "Before the dark power claims new victims. Can you prove it to me Cure White? That you can get up again?"

His movement is instant, in an unhinged rush- he's on top of her, in a criss-cross of nail slashes across her center mass, before he's right in Cure Black's face, trying to ram a one inch punch into her bared mid-riff, "What about you Cure Black? Do you have that kind of strength?" And then he shifts backwards in a dark blur- onto a higher point, readying himself, "There will be no more chances for any of you!"

If Pisard knows how to do one thing. It's project.

COMBAT: Pisard has used Sound and (Stone) Vision on Cure Egret.
COMBAT: Pisard has used Sound and (Stone) Vision on Cure Bloom.
COMBAT: Pisard has used Sound and (Stone) Vision on Cure Passion.
COMBAT: Pisard has used Sound and (Stone) Vision on Cure Pine.
COMBAT: Pisard has used Under Pressure on Cure White.
COMBAT: Pisard has used Oh! You Pretty (Cure) Things on Cure Black.
COMBAT: Pisard has used The Man Who Fell To Earth on Pisard.
COMBAT: Cure Egret accepts Pisard's Sound and (Stone) Vision, taking 10 Fatigue damage!  Trap applied to Cure Egret!
COMBAT: Pisard accepts Pisard's The Man Who Fell To Earth, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Accelerate and Empower applied to Pisard!
COMBAT: Cure White narrowly braces Pisard's Under Pressure, taking 5 Fatigue damage!  Bind Break! All of Pisard's debuffs are
COMBAT: Cure Passion fails to brace Pisard's Sound and (Stone) Vision, taking 9 Fatigue damage!  Trap applied to Cure Passion!
COMBAT: Cure Pine perfectly dodges Pisard's Sound and (Stone) Vision, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Critical Dodge!
COMBAT: Cure Bloom narrowly counters Pisard's Sound and (Stone) Vision, taking 8 Fatigue damage!  Cure Bloom's Reverse ability
activates!  Cure Bloom's Tactician ability activates!  Stun and Trap applied to Cure Bloom!
COMBAT: Cure Bloom's counterattack, Petal Flash, partially gets through, doing 3 Fatigue damage to Pisard!  Diversion applied to
COMBAT: Cure Black narrowly counters Pisard's Oh! You Pretty (Cure) Things, taking 13 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Cure Black's
Reverse ability activates!
COMBAT: Cure Black's counterattack, Sen no Sen, partially gets through, doing 13 Fatigue damage to Pisard!  Critical Counterhit!