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“We want to do something to welcome Ibuki-san to the group, you know?” Sumire said as she took a sip of pumpkin spice tea.

Chie nodded in understanding, helping herself to another sugar cookie. When her friend had confessed her worries over the phone, the first thing Chie had suggested was a meetup at the Teahouse. Mei, Ushio and Usami had come along as well, and Mei had brought her siblings along too – Miyo and Kouta were chattering with Naori a few tables away.

“We initially thought of a mall trip, but…” Mei trailed off as the whole group winced, recalling the incident at Yobaiboshi.

“Ibuki’s a city girl anyway, right? And there’s not really much t’do here. Anything we’d come up with would be boring.” Ushio sighed, running her fingers through her short hair.

“That is the trouble of living here…” Chie nodded again, brows creased in thought. Outside the Teahouse, the school, the observatory and the aquarium, there wasn’t much Lucente Bay boasted about. There weren’t any buses or automobiles, and all the stores on the island were independently owned. Life was quiet on Lucente Bay – and while it suited others just fine, it certainly would look boring to someone like Ibuki.

“I can’t think of anything…” Usami whined, ears drooping as he munched on cookies.

The four girls lapsed into silence, sipping tea and eating cookies with Usami as they thought. As Sumire thought about what to do, she glanced over at Naori – only to realize the pink haired girl was peeking over at them. Their gazes locked for an instant – and then Naori hurriedly looked away, blushing as pink as her hair. Sumire kept her gaze on Naori even as she spoke aloud again. “Say, Chie-san. How is Naori-chan doing?”

Mei, Ushio, and Usami blinked at the subject change, but looked over at Chie, curious.

Chie paused. “She’s been avoiding me, honestly. But she doesn’t seem angry – I think she’s embarrassed. The talk with Hirui-san was emotional, after all.” the girl’s expression became sad. “Do you think she’s worried we think differently of her now?”

“Naori-chan thought we’d hate her when she told us everything.” Mei said, recalling Naori’s words. “And we told her we definitely didn’t, but…”

“In the end, she’s still just a kid an’ kids get worried about stuff like that.” Ushio finished, nodding.

“True…” Chie murmured, but the sad look didn’t leave her face.

Sumire said nothing for a moment, finally looking away from Naori and focusing on the group before her. “Let’s do something for Naori-chan too. She’s part of the group now too, right?”

The other three girls nodded, a chorus of yeses all around the table. “Let’s do it, let’s do it!” Usami cheered, just before Mei shushed him.

“But what would involve both of them and not leave either of them out?” Sumire wondered aloud.

Chie and Ushio weren’t having luck, but Mei’s eyes lit up in realization. “Of course!” she beamed, then beckoned for the other girls to hear her idea out.

---

OP: "Purikyua ✰ Wish!" - StarSHINE
EPISODE 15 - "We're friends, not strangers! The bond between stars"

---

Hiro and Yuuki Kousei were in the middle of a video game session when they heard it – a loud, forlorn screech coming from Ibuki’s room. Concerned, the two put a pause on their gaming to hurry over to their little sister’s room – only to open her door and stare at the utter mess within – it looked like a hurricane had swept through her room and left no survivors. And in the middle of it all was a frantic Ibuki, pulling clothes out of her drawers, looking at them for a moment and then tossing them away, all while letting out more pitiful noises.

It was Hiro who spoke up first. “Uh, sis?”

Ibuki rounded on them, sniffling. “I don’t have any cute pajamas!”

The twins shared a confused glance. Yuuki blinked. “…pajamas…?”

Ibuki nodded fiercely. “Yeah, pajamas! Princess jus’ invited me t’a sleepover an’ I don’t have cute pajamas!” she declared with a mournful wail, flailing at the pile of pajamas she did have, old tshirts and drab looking sweatpants. “An’ on top of that, I dunno what I’d even wear! I mean, I gotta pick somethin’ cute ‘cause everyone’s gonna be there and if I’m not cute I’ll send the wrong impression an’ they won’t like me anymore an’ - ”

Hiro reached out, placing a hand to Ibuki’s shoulder. “Breathe.” he told her gently. Once Ibuki took a few deep breaths, Hiro spoke again. “So you’re worried your friends won’t like you?”

She nodded again, averting her gaze. “If I show up with th’ stuff I usually sleep in, they’ll make fun o’me, I know it. Stuff like ‘that don’t surprise me in the least, considerin’ how y’act!’ an’ ‘guess even Ibuki can’t keep up the act all th’time!’ an’ - ”

“Ibuki, breathe.” Hiro instructed again, a little more firmly this time.

Ibuki’s words faltered and she trailed off before taking several calming breaths again. This time they didn’t exactly work though, and tears pricked at the corner of her eyes. “I jus’ - ”

“Hey hey, no cryin’!” Yuuki said, giving her a hug. “There’s nothin’ to cry about, okay? Especially not when this is an easy fix! If you wanted something nice to wear, all you had to do was ask.”

“B-but - ” Ibuki protested, rubbing at her eyes with her hands and sniffling.

“No buts!” Yuuki insisted. “As your big brothers, we have the right to spoil our little sister every once in a while! Right, Hiro?” he asked, grinning when his twin nodded. “C’mon c’mon, we’ll get you something nice right now!” he said, heading to grab his wallet. As he returned, he slammed his fist into his open palm, eyes twinkling. “Ah, right, we have to get you something really cute to impress that Sumire girl!”

Ibuki, in the process of calming down, sputtered and turned red all at once, tears brimming in her eyes again for very different reasons. “T-teasin’ ain’t nice!” she stammered, ears turning red when Yuuki and Hiro laughed at her. “J-jus’ for that, ‘m gonna get somethin’ expensive!”

Yuuki placed his hands over his chest as if wounded, spinning dramatically. “So cruel, sis! After we’re treating you and everything!” he laughed again and Ibuki puffed her cheeks out, loudly listing off the brands she wanted as Yuuki continued to feign being wounded.

Hiro sighed at their antics, before sighing in relief and smiling as he watched them laugh together, Yuuki’s arm around Ibuki’s shoulder. It was good to see his sister smiling, and that was worth the price of even the most expensive things.

“Oi, Hiro, you coming?” Yuuki asked.

“Ah, yeah!” Hiro answered, hurrying to join them. It’d be a nice outing with their sister – he just hoped their dad wouldn’t be too upset at seeing the utter disaster that was Ibuki’s room…



It was about now that Naori was starting to have second thoughts. When Chie had told her about the sleepover, she’d agreed to it – but the more she thought about it, the more reluctant she was feeling. She watched as Chie hummed while packing things for her, and Naori bit her lip.

“Why can’t you come along?” Naori finally asked.

Chie looked over at her, confused. “What?”

Naori fidgeted now, resisting the urge to hide away. “You’re their friend too. And sleepovers are for friends, so…”

Chie turned to face the younger girl properly, pausing thoughtfully. Then: “You don’t consider yourself one of their friends?”

“I-I don’t mean that!” Naori protested, in the exact tone that meant she had. Both girls realized it at the same moment, and Naori’s shoulders slumped in defeat, the girl looking away. “I-I’d just be more comfortable if you w-were there.”

Silence.

“I understand how you feel – ” Chie finally said, nodding in sympathy. “ – but at the same time, you need to get closer with them, Naori-chan. After everything you told us, they still want to be friends with you. That’s worth taking them up on, don’t you think?”

Naori rubbed one of her arms, her gaze still downcast. “But…”

“It’ll be weird being without me, I know – I actually am a little sad I can’t be with you tonight. This will be good for you though! They want to do something nice for you.” Chie assured her, smiling. The smile faded at Naori’s continued reluctance, and the girl paused for a moment, weighing her options. Then: “But if you don’t want to go, I understand, and they will too. It’s up to you, Naori-chan.”

Truthfully, Naori didn’t know how to answer. She wanted to be friends with them – she always had. But the last conversation she had with all of them still weighed heavily on her. How could she be sure they didn’t look at her differently now, or that they all didn’t secretly hate her? She had been the root of all their problems from the very beginning – she was the reason that they had to fight now, and the reason that Hirui had suffered so much for so long.

Was it right, to still want to pursue friendship with them? To want to ask for their help? She didn’t feel like she deserved it – not after everything she’d been responsible for.

But she’d thought that about her confession too, right? She had been so sure they would hate her then, and yet everyone hugged her and told her it wasn’t her fault. That they didn’t hate her. They had, if not quite in those words, told her she deserved forgiveness.

She wanted to believe it with everything she had. But she was scared. And yet…

“I-I - ”

…she had to trust someone, didn’t she?

“I-I want to go.”

And if she had to trust anyone, it would definitely be them.

Chie reached out, giving Naori a hug. “Are you sure? I’ve been pushy about this, and really, you don’t have to go if you don’t want to…” she fretted.

The pink haired girl nodded, returning the hug. “I-I’m sure.”

The older girl smiled warmly, nodding again. “In that case, let’s make sure you’ve got everything! After all, this is your very first sleepover!”

“R-right!”



“You’ve failed to bring Ophiuchus to me and your incompetence has brought about another Pretty Cure. What do you have to say for yourself?”

Omega’s voice was icy as Rasalhague kneeled to the darkness, though the dark skinned man swallowed hard, unable to provide an answer for his leader. “I…I apologize, Lord Omega.” he finally spoke, head bowed low. “The Pretty Cure brought up Ophiuchus and I - ” he trailed off, uncertain.

The mere mention of Ophiuchus made his chest twist in pain.

The darkness around Rasalhague thrummed and shifted, and it only made the silence all the more unsettling. “So I require stronger methods.” Omega mused aloud, much to Rasalhague’s confusion. Before the man could question what Omega meant, the darkness shifted all at once. “Cebalrai, Marfik!”

All at once, the two other members of the Serpens appeared, both kneeling in reverence to the darkness.

“You have all failed to bring Ophiuchus to me.”

The Serpens trio flinched at the mention of her name again, and though formless, Omega seemed to notice this shift in attitude – the thrum of darkness took on a different note, the noise surrounding them almost seeming displeased.

“Find her at once!” Omega snarled, sending them away in another burst of dark energy. When they rematerialized, the trio found themselves floating above Lucente Bay.

“Lord Omega is counting on us.” Marfik said, dark gaze sweeping the streets.

“We should not return until our task is complete.” Cebalrai added.

Rasalhague fell quiet, remembering the small, pink haired girl and the strange effect she’d had on him. “Let’s find the Pretty Cure,” he instructed. “they’re hiding something from us.”

And all at once, the trio vanished.



[eyecatch 1 – Mei and Ushio wait on the roof as Sumire and Ibuki arrive with bento boxes and a large cloth fit for a picnic. The three other girls crowd around excitedly as Sumire opens a box up – only for the four to find that Usami has eaten all the food inside! The four girls sigh and then laugh. The Starshine logo appears in the corner.]

[eyecatch 2 – Aries shoots a blast of flame at the screen, which is followed by Pisces shooting a jet of water. It’s chased away by Virgo shooting a blast of petals, which are blown away by Libra shooting a jet of air. The camera pulls out as the four Cures pose together against a starry backdrop. The Starshine logo appears in the corner.]



“Come in, come in!” Sumire smiled brightly, ushering her friends inside. After Mei had suggested the sleepover, Sumire had been the one to pitch it at her house – she did, after all, have the most room to host one. She had, however, forgotten that Ibuki had only seen her house once – and that Naori hadn’t seen it at all. So while Mei and Ushio walked in, chattering amongst themselves, Ibuki and Naori could only stare at their lavish surroundings, their eyes bright.

“Ya – ya really ARE a Princess!” Ibuki stammered, while Naori nodded fiercely in agreement.

Sumire blushed lightly, laughing a little, while Ryoko, the head maid, approached the group of girls. “Dinner will be ready shortly.” the elderly woman told them. “Feel free to leave your things here, we’ll bring them to milady’s room for you.”

“Thank you, Ryoko-san!” Mei, Ushio, Usami, and Sumire chorused, while Ibuki and Naori only stared again.

“We should head over to the dining room.” Sumire said, smiling. “Ah, Ibuki-san, Naori-chan, follow me!”

As the group walked, Ibuki and Naori trailed behind the other three girls. “H-hey,” Ibuki whispered to Naori, “did you know about how amazing this place was…? I mean I walked her home once, but I never saw the inside…”

Naori rubbed the back of her head. “C-Chie-chan told me what to expect, but I-I didn’t think it’d be like this! Sumire-san has staff and everything! A-and they call her a Lady!”

Ibuki watched as Sumire talked happily farther ahead with Mei, Usami and Ushio, feeling like the distance between them had grown even greater. Pretty Cure or not, those four had been friends longer, and even if she and Sumire had hit it off instantly, it still made her insecure. Even with the cutest pajamas and clothes, Ibuki couldn’t help but wonder if she’d really get to be close friends with them all.

“You’re worried too, aren’t you?” Naori asked.

Ibuki jumped, turning to see Naori looking at her curiously. “S-shhh!” she scolded, placing a finger to her lips, hoping that none of them had overheard the young girl. But when Naori’s gaze didn’t waver, Ibuki’s shoulders slumped and she nodded slowly, the girl averting her gaze. “ ‘m still new t’the group, yknow? Princess gets along with Pigtails, Cowlick an’ Usami over there better than me. They all wanted me t’come so I did but…” she laughed now, but it sounded hollow. “…I guess I just kinda worry I’m screwin’ up a good thing.”

It was a relief to Naori to hear Ibuki say those things. Suddenly, all her own worries were validated – and even better, she had someone who she could relate to. “I almost didn’t come,” she told the older girl, “Because all four of you seem to get along better – a-and because I worried you all didn’t like me. But I came anyways, because I really do want us all to be friends. And I’m sure you’re the same way, Ibuki-san.”

Ibuki swallowed hard – not only had Naori not made fun of her, but she was in the same boat! It made her want to cry in relief – and Ibuki hurriedly rubbed at her eyes before the tears could form. “H-heh, thanks, Pinkie.” she said with a watery smile. “Don’t tell ‘em how worried I am, okay? Don’t want ‘em frettin’ over me.”

Naori nodded. “I’ll keep your secret. But you have to keep mine too!”

Ibuki grinned. “Done an’ done.”

“Oi! What’re you guys talkin’ ‘bout over there?” Ushio asked, quirking an eyebrow and motioning for them to hurry over. Mei and Ushio had already taken their seats, while Sumire had excused herself to the kitchen.

Ibuki cleared her throat. “Just givin’ Pinkie here some sleepover pointers!” she assured, affectionately ruffling the other girl’s hair. “Y’guys didn’t know this is her first one?”

Mei gasped, clapping her hands in delight. “Ahh, really? I’m so happy you decided to come, Naori-chan! It’ll be lots of fun, just you wait!”

Usami nodded vigorously. “Sumi-chan has lots of fun things planned!”

Naori couldn’t help but smile at Mei’s excitement, then peered over at Ibuki. “Ibuki-san, have you ever been to a sleepover before?”

Ushio snorted. “Well duh, she was giving you tips!” And then the girl blinked. “Unless she was lying…”

Ibuki froze. It was okay for Naori to have never experienced a sleepover before, but…

Usami tilted his head. “You’ve never been to a sleepover before, Ibuki-chan?”

Ibuki hesitated – and then hurriedly turned on her heel. “I-I’m gonna go see if Princess needs any help!” she declared, making a dash to the kitchen. Ahh, that was close! They definitely would have made fun of her if they knew that! She let out a sigh of relief, looking up to see Sumire fretting over dinner. “Princess?”

Sumire peeked up. “Ah, Ibuki-san. I’m sorry that dinner isn’t out yet – don’t worry, it’ll be out soon!”

Ibuki paused, considering her options, then: “Y’look worried. Everythin’ okay?”

Sumire offered an apologetic smile. “That easy to see, is it?” she laughed. “I’ve never planned an event with my friends before – I want it to be perfect, you know?”

The blonde girl could only stare for a moment, before she sighed in relief. Naori’s worries had done a lot to sate her own, but Sumire confessing her own concerns was like a load off her own shoulders. Hell, she was sure Mei and Ushio had their own worries too!

In the end, everyone just wanted it to be fun and for their friends to like them. And realizing that suddenly put all of the girl’s worries to rest.

“Everythin’ will be okay, Princess.” Ibuki assured – and she actually believed it. “C’mon, I’ll help y’serve everyone, okay?”

Sumire beamed and together, the two headed out, plates in hand. “Sorry for the wait, everyone!” she said as both she and Ibuki served everyone.

And with a chorus of “Thank you for the meal!”, the group dug in.



Sumire had sleeping bags set up in the entertainment room, and the five girls and Usami had clustered in there after changing into pajamas, laughing at bad movies while munching on popcorn and candy. Once the latest movie was over, Ibuki had suggested a makeover session, and the girls took turns painting each other’s nails and attempting different hairstyles, all while Ibuki gave styling tips. It had been fun for a while – and then Ushio declared a sleepover was meant for one thing – truth or dare. And that had gone fine and well, but then…

“Okay, my turn again!” Ushio said, grinning. All in all, it hadn’t been much of a game with dares – all the girls had selected truth and made each other confess silly secrets, mostly to help Naori feel at ease. “Mei, truth or dare!”

“Truth of course!” Mei answered, eyes bright.

“Okay, then spill the beans – do you have a crush on Arata or not?”

Mei sputtered all at once, while Sumire, Naori, and even Ibuki leaned forward with interest. “T-that’s not fair!” Mei cried out, turning red.

“All’s fair in truth or dare, Mei~” Ushio sang, before clenching her fist and holding it out, mimicking a reporter during an interview. “Well?”

“You’re horrible, Ushio-chan!” Mei wailed as she turned even redder, the girl covering her face. She could feel everyone’s eyes on her – uwah, this was so humiliating! But she had to tell the truth, that was the rule! A-and, well… “F-fine, I do!” she admitted at last, poking her fingertips together. “B-but he’s so mean to me a-and I don’t really know how to t-tell him…”

Usami grinned. “Eheheh, Mei-chan’s bad at secrets, I knew that one for a while~” he said, making Mei blush all the harder.

Sumire patted Mei’s shoulder sympathetically. “That is the hard part of confessing – I’m having that trouble too…”

Ibuki, who had been about to commend Mei’s bravery, suddenly felt her words die in her throat. Sumire liked someone? She hadn’t expected anything like that – and considering Sumire’s rich upbringing and her ladylike nature, there was no doubt in the blonde’s mind that whoever Sumire liked was someone like that too. Guess I don’t really stand a chance…

“So Sumi-chan and Mei-chan both like people, and Ushio-chan and Naori-chan don’t like anybody…” Usami spoke aloud, recounting everyone’s comments during truth or dare, then looked over at Ibuki. “Buki-chan, do you like anyone?”

It caught her off guard, and despite Ibuki desperately trying not to, she turned a vivid shade of pink all at once.

And everyone noticed it all at once. Immediately, the four other girls and Usami honed in on her, eyes shining with intrigue. “You do, you do! Who is it?” Usami asked, delighted.

Ibuki shrunk back, turning even pinker. She desperately wanted to snap that it wasn’t anyone’s business – but it was Usami innocently doing the asking, and it felt wrong to yell at someone who didn’t deserve it. Instead, Ibuki laughed unconvincingly, looking at anything but the group before her. “I-I dunno what y’all are on about, I definitely don’t like anyone!”

“Liar~!” Ushio sang. “C’mon, we’re all friends, you can tell us!”

Ibuki felt her entire face turn red, risked a glance at the girls, looked at Sumire and – “Yer all nuts, I don’t like anyone!” she protested, voice getting higher.

Ushio’s eyes widened in realization. “Ohoho, I see! You like - ”

And then Ibuki threw a pillow at Ushio’s face. “S-shut up!”

To Ushio’s credit, she did realize she had almost taken things a step too far. It was one thing to badger someone about a crush, it was another to announce it before they were ready to. She might have gotten away with that with Mei, considering how long they’d known each other, but Ibuki was a new friend, and someone who wasn’t nearly as familiar with her ways as Mei was.

But Ibuki had thrown a pillow at her. And that only meant one thing. Ushio seized the pillow that had hit her face – and then chucked it right back at Ibuki’s face, saying nothing.

Ibuki gritted her teeth, still red and still upset. She seized the pillow again –

“A-ah, Ibuki-chan, you might not want to do that!” Mei warned.

- and flung it at Ushio’s face again, the pillow soaring and missing its target. The black haired girl locked her gaze with Ibuki’s – and grinned.

Usami flailed. “Ushio-chan is really good at pillow fights!”

It happened all at once: one second, Ushio was grinning, the next, she’d flung out two pillows, both hitting Ibuki at once. Ushio smirked as the blonde flailed for a second, trying not to fall over – and then Ibuki returned fire and in an instant, pillow were flying everywhere, neither girl willing to let the other triumph.

Mei laughed nervously, watching their antics. “I guess this is what happens when hotblooded people like Ushio-chan and Ibuki-chan are in the same room…” she said by way of explanation, smiling apologetically. “But I think it’ll be okay, we just have to - ” she started to say, only for a pillow to smack her in the face. Mei blinked as the pillow slid off her face. It didn’t come from the direction of Ibuki or Ushio…

Naori blinked too, arm still outstretched from the offending throw. “Did I do it right, Mei-san?” she asked as Usami burst into laughter and Sumire covered her mouth to bite back a laugh.

Mei paused for several long seconds, just before returning fire. “You’re 100 years too soon to defeat someone like me!” she boasted, only for her to get a pillow in the face again, this time from Ushio.

“Big words from someone who hasn’t ever defeated me!” Ushio shouted, dodging a pillow from Ibuki.

Mei grinned, just before turning towards Naori. “Let’s go, Naori-chan! We can beat Ushio together!” she said, helping Naori to her feet. The two hurried off into the fray, leaving Sumire with Usami.

Sumire pouted. “Everyone else is having fun…” she mumbled, surprised when Usami started dragging a pillow towards her. “Usami-chan?”

“Go on, Sumi-chan, you can play too!” the teddy bear told her, smiling brightly as she seized the pillow and hurried off into the fray too. Usami watched as the pillow fight continued, still smiling. It was nice, seeing everyone getting along so well.

All five of them were going to be a great team someday.



What time was it? Naori didn’t know, but it was the first thing she thought of as she yawned and sat up. Weird, why was she even awake right now? She didn’t need to go to the bathroom, there hadn’t been any strange noises, and after the exhausting pillow fight, she had promptly fallen asleep…

But no, she had woken up out of the blue, seemingly because she felt she was supposed to. The girl looked around, frowning lightly. Everyone else was asleep…

“You too, Naori-chan?”

…scratch that, apparently not everyone. Naori yawned again, looking for the source of the voice, only to nearly jump in fright when she noticed Usami standing right next to her. She was about to demand what Usami was doing so close to her, only to see the little bear lift his fuzzy paw up towards his mouth, the universal sign for “be quiet.” Naori nodded once in understanding, keeping her mouth shut.

“I sensed something weird.” Usami explained. “Like when a Trou Noir first shows up, there’s a chill in the air. And I don’t think there’s a monster around but…”

“…it still feels like that chill.” Naori finished quietly. Now she understood – she must have sensed it. As she realized this, she became aware of something else – everyone else was beginning to stir too. Naori’s stomach twisted at the implications of this, watching as the four other girls yawned and sat up just like she had.

Usami’s fuzzy ears twitched. “Someone’s here.” he said just loudly enough for the others to hear.

And right on cue, the curtain at the door leading to the balcony swayed, a cool breeze entering the wide room. The door had been locked all night, and in the short time it took the group to realize this, three shadowy figures appeared at the door, the trio standing on the balcony as the door swung open, letting the moonlight shine in.

“You’re quite perceptive.” Rasalhague spoke first, his visage coming into view.

“But you’re quite stupid as well.” Cebalrai continued, eyeing the four girls who had huddled protectively in front of Naori. “We could end you right now, Pretty Cure.”

“But we won’t.” Marfik finished. “We only need Ophiuchus, and we can accomplish this without a fight. Right?”

It was Mei who spoke up, the girl trembling. “We don’t know where she is.” she told them, the girl trying to keep her voice as even as possible. Of all the times for her to be separated from her Star Capsule!

“You’re lying.” Rasalhague told her, noting how she flinched. The man paused thoughtfully. “But if it’s a fight you desire, it’s a fight you’ll receive. You have a week to decide, Pretty Cure. If you do not give us Ophiuchus by then, we will do everything in our power to take her from you.” he declared, he and the other two locking eyes with Naori as he did so.

The message was clear – they suspected who Naori truly was. Naori wanted to say something, anything, to get them to listen to reason – but the words simply wouldn’t come. She met their stare with tear-filled eyes, praying for them to become the people they used to be, but they looked away from her, and Naori once again felt like she had failed them.

The trio vanished, leaving the five girls to sit there in silence, each of them struggling to process what had just happened.

Mei broke the silence once more. “We’re not letting them take you, Naori-chan.”

Ushio nodded in approval. “You’re our friend.”

“We can’t let you return to that life, Naori-chan.” Sumire said, placing a hand to Naori’s shoulder.

“An’ if it comes ta it, we’ll just beat some sense into ‘em!” Ibuki declared confidently.

Naori said nothing, still coming to grips. With her hair covering her eyes, she finally spoke up. “…can you save them?”

Mei took the younger girl’s hands, squeezing them gently. “We’re going to do our best, Naori-chan. That’s a promise.”

Sleep didn’t come easily for the girls, but when they were all finally asleep, it was Usami who watched them all, the small bear feeling conflicted. Mei was confident, as were the other three, and the bear certainly did believe in them – but he also knew the Serpens would surely attack with all their power. Even with Hirui on the verge of reawakening, he couldn’t be sure their power would be enough to drive the Serpens back to the side of good.

The small bear focused on Naori’s sleeping form. The pink haired girl had confessed it herself – she was meant to become a Pretty Cure eventually.

And Usami had a feeling her powers would be needed very soon.

---

ED: "Twinkle Twinkle" - Yui Horie

---

ON THE NEXT EPISODE:

Sumire: It’s finally here! The park beautification project has paid off!
Mei: Ah, I remember that from the news! Everyone worked together to plant flowers in the park and make it look beautiful!
Ushio: Looks like all that effort paid off. You should take advantage of the situation, Sumire!
Sumire: E-eh?!
Ibuki: Hm? Somethin’ up, Princess? Yer face is all red.
Sumire: I-it’s nothing, n-nothing at all!
Usami: Sounds like Sumi-chan’s working up her courage! Next time on Starshine! Pretty ✰ Cure: The park’s been ruined?! Virgo’s floral frenzy. Don't forget to make a wish next time too!

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