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Lunch was always bustling at Etoile Academy, but the roof was always a safe haven, away from the normal crowds. It doubled as a meeting spot - which was helpful, considering Naori ate lunch with them quite often, even moreso now that she had officially become a Cure.

Usami knew this. He also knew that lunchtime was one of the few times the girls could really relax - school was stressful already, but the attack from several days ago was weighing on everyone’s minds. Still, they all smiled and laughed, chattering about classes and TV shows, and what their plans were for after school. It was something Usami always enjoyed being part of, but...

“Yer still on for tutorin’ today, right, Pigtails?” Ibuki asked in between bites of her lunch.

Mei pouted. “Ehhh? Do I really have to, Ibuki-chan?”

“You’re the one who asked for my help with math! Y’can’t ask for my help and then back outta it!” Ibuki folded her arms across her chest. “Honestly!”

“But I hate math, it always makes my head hurt...” Mei whined.

Usami frowned, ears flattening.

On the other side of the bench, Naori tugged briefly on Ushio’s uniform sleeve. “Ushio-san? Our class has to do a research project on endangered animals. Everyone else is doing land animals, but - ”

Ushio’s eyes lit up. “You wanna research a marine animal?”

Naori nodded timidly. “Masao-kun and Kouta-kun said I should pick something cooler, but - ”

The noise Ushio made was positively scandalized. “I oughta noogie both of em for that!” she muttered under her breath for a moment, then grinned again. “I’ll take you on a tour of the aquarium after club duties today, I’m sure we can find something you can research there!”

“A-ah, thank you, Ushio-san!” Naori said, laughing when Ushio playfully ruffled her hair.

Usami frowned harder, ears flattening more. His fur bristled.

Ibuki frowned. “C’mon, Pigtails, you were the one sayin y’needed to pass the upcomin’ exam. Princess is good at math too, I bet she can help me - ”

“Actually I can’t,” Sumire said with an apologetic smile. “Arata-kun asked for my help today, I’m going to be meeting with him once Chie-chan and I finish up with the Gardening Club...”

Ibuki smacked her forehead. “Ah man, right! Y’mentioned that yesterday, I totally forgot...”

Mei, however, was gawking at Sumire. “You’re meeting up with Arata-kun?! About what?”

Sumire only laughed a little. “It’s a secret!”

“Whaaat? No fair, Sumire-chan, you gotta tell me!” Mei insisted.

“I told you, it’s a secret!”

As the conversation kept going, Usami’s tiny, furry paws balled into tiny fists, ears flattening more and fur on edge. ”I can’t take it anymore!” he yelled, voice echoing all around. Immediately everyone’s laughter stopped as the five girls turned to stare at Usami with equally shocked expressions. “I can’t take this anymore!” he said again, cheeks puffed out in anger.

“Usami?” Mei asked after a moment.

“I can’t take being weak anymore! I want to be better help to you all! I have to be better help to you all!” Usami paced around fervently, looking more and more worked up by the second. “It’s settled! I have to get stronger so I can help all of you!”

“But y’don’t gotta - ” Ibuki protested.

Usami shook his head. “I want to!”

“I understand where he’s coming from. We’ll support you, Usami-kun!” Naori assured, as the other girls nodded as well.

Sumire blinked as something occurred to her. “But now that you really think about it...”

“How does a fairy get stronger anyways?” Ushio finished, as all five girls looked at the bear curiously.

Usami was briefly ecstatic at everyone’s support - only to stare at the question Ushio directed towards him.

Oh.

He hadn’t...thought that far ahead…

“...I...don’t really know?”

---

OP: "Shooting ★ Star!!" – StarSHINE 5
EPISODE 22 - "I’ll be strong like all of you! Usami’s shining spirit!"

---

Though all five girls had put their heads together, by the time lunch had ended, no one had thought of anything worthwhile. In the end, it boiled down to a simple suggestion - maybe he could just tag along with them?

It was better than nothing, he supposed. And that was how they’d planned it - Usami would stay with Mei first, then tag along with Sumire, before going to the aquarium with Ushio.

Sitting in on math tutoring, however, didn’t seem to be accomplishing anything. From what he could tell, Ibuki’s tutoring consisted of going through equations and Mei grumbling about it.

“Is this really helping?” Usami asked, peering over at the other two girls.

Mei sighed, slumping against her desk chair. “I was just wondering the same thing...”

Ibuki frowned, looking at the board and then at Mei’s half finished work. “Yer not gonna learn anythin with that attitude, Pigtails.”

“No, that’s not it!” Mei waved her hands in dismissal. “You’re a good teacher, I just…” she paused uneasily. ”I don’t even know why I bother, I’m just gonna fail my test anyways.”

Ibuki gave herself a moment of pause as well, noting the troubled look on her friend’s face. “Well. It still matters t’ya, right?” At Mei’s questioning glance, she continued. “If y’really didn’t want t’bother, ya wouldn’t have asked me to tutor you, right?”

Mei sighed again. “It’s more like...” she briefly glanced up at the ceiling to organize her thoughts. “Math isn’t something I’ve ever been good at. Even when I was little, it always took me longer to solve anything, even simple stuff! Numbers can trip me up too, I have to still count on my fingers...” she laughed a little, rubbing the back of her neck as her cheeks tinted a light pink. “And it’s frustrating because it’s never been something I’ve been decent at, but I hate feeling like I’m never going to get it even more.”

Usami’s ears perked up. “A-ah, like me and my shielding!” he said, causing both girls to look at him in confusion. “Mama and I can both use light powers. Like the shields I can use! But, a-ah, that’s all I know how to do. Everything else was too hard for me and so I kinda ended up...”

“...giving up?” Mei finished, offering him a sympathetic smile.

Usami nodded. “Uh-huh. I could never get it down no matter what I tried to do, so I just started thinking it didn’t matter anyways...”

Ibuki watched as the two others fell silent, biting her lip in thought. Hm... “But you still want to do it, right?”

Usami nodded first. “Y-yeah! I regret not practicing more!”

Mei responded next. “And I’m tired of feeling like I can’t do math.”

Ibuki nodded, pleased. “In that case, you just gotta keep tryin’ then!”

“But - ” Mei and Usami said, only to get cut off when Ibuki shook her head.

“I’m serious. You just gotta try. Even if you don’t actually get it. 'cause even if it's just somethin' you're never gonna get your head around, yer still tryin' yer hardest, yanno?” Ibuki smiled now, just before reaching over to affectionately ruffle Mei's hair. "Tryin' hard counts for somethin' too."

"O-okay!" Mei nodded, feeling invigorated. Ibuki was right, even if it was hard, even if she was never going to get it, as long as she kept trying, it still meant something. "Let's try the equations again!"

"Atta girl!" Ibuki grinned, before directing Mei's attention back to the board. As talk turned to math equations once more, Usami opted to excuse himself while the girls chattered and worked.

Somehow, he was sure Mei would be fine without him.



"See you tomorrow, Chie-chan!"

Usami arrived at the Gardening Club just as Chie made her way out, and the small bear offered a wave of goodbye that mirrored Sumire's own. Just as he was about to greet Sumire, though -

"The coast is clear, right?"

"Ah, Arata-kun, hello!" Sumire greeted, smiling politely at her newcomer as Usami blinked - a-ah, right, Sumire had mentioned something about Arata showing up!

Arata peeked around, shoulders hunched as he tried to look inconspicuous. His messy hair looked messier than usual, and Usami could swear Arata's cheeks were flushed. He offered Sumire a weak, nervous smile - and stopped short when he noticed Usami. "...t-thought you said we'd be alone?"

Sumire offered an apologetic smile. "I'm sorry, it's for Pretty Cure reasons." she explained, but when Arata shifted uncomfortably, Sumire turned to Usami. "Maybe we should do this another time, Usami-kun?"

Usami's ears drooped and he looked down. "W-well..."

Arata flinched. Ah jeez, Usami really looked like he was going to start crying - and he knew Mei wouldn't be happy if she found out he'd made Usami cry. "Wait!" he said, knowing that couldn't happen. "You can stay! Just - you can keep secrets, right?"

Usami immediately perked up and he nodded his little head fiercely. "Yup yup! I can keep secrets! I kept Ruru-chan being a Cure a secret!" he declared proudly - just before he faltered. "A-ah, but she found out about that. B-but I kept Mei-chan being a Cure a secret from Ruru-chan!" he assured, only to falter once more. "U-um, Ruru-chan found out about that too..."

Sumire, seeing his distress, offered Usami a headpat of encouragement. "Don't worry, Usami-kun is really good at keeping secrets." she assured.

Arata nodded slowly, looking even more shifty than before, gaze darting to and fro as if to triple check they really were all alone. He coughed once, awkward and haphazard, before taking a breath. "Well, y'see - the thing is - " he swallowed hard, refusing to look at either of them. "I - I kinda - uh..." he trailed off, cheeks flushed hard, before he scrunched his eyes tight. "I want to confess to Mei!"

Sumire, for her part, didn't look really surprised. Usami, on the other hand, gaped at Arata, his eyes wide. He'd known that Mei liked Arata, Ushio teased her about it all the time, but Arata liking Mei too...

Arata, still flushed, scowled at Usami's reaction. "W-what? It's not weird to like girls!"

Usami beamed. Oh, this was perfect! He'd always hoped that Mei and Arata would return each other's feelings but - "I knew it!" he said, beaming.

Sumire and Arata both froze.

"You...knew it...?" Arata asked, confused even as his cheeks turned red.

"Yeah!" Usami continued. "I knew that you - " he started, only for Sumire to hurriedly clap her hands over Usami's mouth before the bear could go blurting out Mei's feelings.

"H-he knew you had a crush on Mei-chan is all!" Sumire said quickly, giving Usami a quick look. "You weren't really subtle about it..."

Arata looked away. "C-Chie said that too." he muttered, before sighing. "You and Ibuki are dating, so gimme your best advice about confessing."

Sumire quirked an eyebrow. "Me over Momoe-san and Kiyomi-san?"

Arata wrinkled his nose in distaste. "Momoe said I needed to be a dashing prince on a white horse and Kiyomi wouldn't stop rambling about love letters."

Sumire snorted, just before remembering she was still covering Usami's mouth. "Ah, sorry..."

Usami peeked up at Arata. "Why not tell Mei-chan the way you just told us?"

Arata made a choked noise. "N-no way! That's way too scary!"

"Ruru-chan says the honest way is the best way!" Usami assured, beaming again.

"T-that doesn't make it any less scary!" Arata protested.

Sumire cleared her throat. "Usami-kun has a point though." she said. "Maybe being direct is scary, but that's what courage is - being scared about something and doing it anyways."

Arata pointedly avoided her gaze. "...it's still scary though." he grumped after a moment, before sighing. " 'sides, you gotta have a place planned for somethin' like that, right? Like the school roof or a nice park or after a movie or - "

Sumire laughed a little. "Stuff like that helps, but what's important is getting your feelings across. Maybe write a letter if you're nervous?" she suggested, cringing a little when Arata went even more red. "You know, you can't confess to Mei-chan if you can't even write your feelings out..."

Arata grumbled a little, staring at his shoes. "Maybe you're right." he finally conceded. "I gotta try, at least." he raised his head, offering Sumire and Usami a nervous grin. "Thanks. For hearing me out." he said, before his expression became a little worried. "Don't - don't gossip about it, okay?"

Sumire smiled warmly. "Don't worry, it'll be our secret."



"So what'd you and Sumire talk to Arata about anyways?" Ushio asked as she and Naori cut through the park, making their way to the local aquarium. Naori peeked over as Ushio spoke, clearly curious as well.

Usami paused for a moment, wondering how to word it. As long as he didn't bring up the secret...

"Courage!" Usami finally said brightly, proud of himself for finding an answer. Judging by the sly look on Ushio's face, however, Usami quickly realized maybe he wasn't as smart about it as he thought he was.

"Uhuhu, so he's finally gonna do it?" Ushio mused with a glint in her eyes.

"Do what, Ushio-san?" Naori asked, tilting her head.

Ushio snickered, absently ruffling Naori's pink hair with her free hand. "Nothin', nothin'! You'll understand when you're older." she said with a wink. And then, to deter any further talk on the topic, "So! You said endangered sea animals, right? Didja have anythin' in mind?"

"Not really." Naori admitted with a sigh. "Masao-kun and Kouta-kun said they wanted to pick something really cool and fierce, but I didn't like the mentality behind that..."

From what it sounded like, Naori wasn't really familiar with sea life. That was fine - Ushio knew not everyone was a nerd about it like she was. They chatted as they made their way to the beach, and once they made their way to the aquarium proper, the grin on Ushio's face was practically radiant.

She always felt at home here.

So it wasn't surprising when she'd grasped Naori's hand and started taking her through all the exhibits, rambling about them like any good tour guide would with an enthusiasm that would have made anyone jealous. Usami marveled as she spoke, interest sparked whenever Naori managed to break Ushio’s spiel long enough to ask questions. No matter what was asked, Ushio always seemed to have an answer for it, whether it was something miniscule or not.

When the tour tapered off, Ushio was content to simply follow Naori as the younger pink haired girl examined a few different displays, straying towards a freshwater display with different kinds of amphibians. As frogs croaked and salamanders skittered to and fro, Naori paused for a long moment, a frown on her face.

“Somethin’ up?” Ushio asked, eyebrow quirked.

Naori pointed to a display, which talked about a Hynobius takedai - or rather, the Hokuriku salamander, an endangered species. There was no salamander in question in the exhibit, but the display did provide a picture and a little information about it. “I always thought endangered stuff was really important.” Naori explained, looking more than a little underwhelmed. “But it’s just a salamander.”

Ushio ruffled the girl’s hair. “That doesn’t make it less important though, does it?”

Naori and Usami both looked at Ushio, confused.

“I’m bein’ serious. Even if it’s just a salamander, it’s still important, right? If it wasn’t, scientists wouldn’t care if it disappeared forever.”

“But it’s just one little salamander!” Naori protested.

Ushio took a moment to consider how to word things, then motioned out towards the other passerby. “And they’re just people. Right?”

“That’s different!” Usami chimed in, furry little cheeks puffing out.

“Not really. A person teaches us about the world, and so do animals. Even something as small and insignificant as a salamander. ‘sides, animals have the same right t’live here as we do, right? So we should protect them too.” Ushio glanced towards the other exhibits. “Big or small, everythin’ deserves a chance to thrive.”

Her words hung in the air as both Naori and Usami took them in, the two having equally thoughtful looks on their faces. In the end, it was Naori who broke the silence, the young girl letting out a soft laugh and giving Ushio a smile. “You know, Ushio-san, you can be really cool sometimes.”

Ushio coughed, turning her head to hide her reddened cheeks and her pleased smile. “Tch, I’m cool all the time. C’mon, let’s keep goin’! Gotta get some info for your project, right?”

The two girls grinned and continued on, hand in hand.



[eyecatch 1 – A photo album opens up, showing several pictures. The first is the five girls at the park with Mei taking the lead, and the next is Sumire and Ibuki holding hands, with Ushio teasing them. Usami and Naori chase a butterfly in the fourth picture, and the last is the five girls taking a picture against the sunset sky, grins on all their faces. The photo album closes as the Starshine logo appears in the corner.]

[eyecatch 2 – Aries holds her hand out, a small piece of a star appearing in her hand, red in color. She passes the star piece to Pisces, who adds a blue star piece. Virgo and Libra add two star pieces, gold and purple in color, and the star bounces over to Ophiuchus, who adds the last star piece in green. The star turns white and flashes brightly, a starry backdrop appearing. The five Cures pose in front of it as the Starshine logo appears in the corner.]



As the sun began to set, Usami found himself alone, wandering aimlessly through the Lucente Bay park. No one came around at this time of day, and being alone gave him time to sort through his thoughts. Even though he’d spent time with all the girls and learned important things, it didn’t feel like enough.

Something was still missing.

And he hadn’t gotten stronger at all!

How could he face the girls now, after imposing on them like he had?

The bear sighed, toddling over to a nearby bench and hopping onto it. Maybe he needed to talk to Hirui too? Or…

“Usami-san?”

Usami let out a squawk of panic, before turning towards the person addressing him - and then he let out a sigh of relief. There, looking a little nervous and concerned, was Celes Hoshino.

“Ce-Celes-chan!” Usami said, briefly stumbling over his greeting for a second. He was so used to referring to her as Cebalrai, so her new name took some getting used to. “What are you doing here?”

Celes took a moment to smooth her uniform skirt before taking a seat next to him, the tiniest hint of a smile on her face. “I could ask the same of you, Usami-san.”

Ah, shoot, that was true, wasn’t it? Usami laughed nervously, ears drooping. “W-well, y’see...”

One explanation later, Celes nodded in understanding. “That does seem quite difficult.” she admitted, hesitantly reaching out to pat Usami’s head in sympathy. When he responded happily, Celes felt her pale cheeks flush a little and she absently scratched behind his ears. Sure, he was a bear, not a cat, but the same principle applied, she assumed. “I’m afraid I don’t have any advice for this sort of scenario.” Her gaze flicked upward. “Though I do relate in a sense, Usami-san.”

“You do?” Usami asked, eyes wide. She was always so put together, how could she possibly relate?

Celes offered a sheepish smile. “Adjusting to this new life is...difficult at times. For such a long time, I existed only for L - ” she blushed, shook her head, and corrected herself, “ - to help Naori-san. I had abilities, I was able to do things humans could only dream of...and...” she trailed off uncertainly. “...I did things I should not have.”

Well, that was the lightest way of putting it, she supposed.

“I’m grateful to be given this new opportunity, but I spent so much time devoted to someone else that I...do not really know what to do with myself now.” she laughed, if only to lighten the mood a little. “Rei-san and Masao-san seem to have adjusted well and have goals for themselves, but...” Again, she trailed off, gaze focused in the distance. It was hard enough admitting this, and now that she’d said it aloud, she just felt foolish. “My apologies, Usami-san, I shouldn’t burden you like this.”

But Usami just shook his head, taking her hand in his tiny paws. “You’re my friend! So don’t apologize, friends are there for each other!”

“F-friend?” Celes asked, feeling her face heat up again. Though she wasn’t a stranger to kindness now, hearing someone call her a friend so casually was embarrassing! When Usami nodded fiercely in response, it only embarrassed her even more, and she hurriedly looked off to the side. “T-that means a lot, t-thank you...”

“You’re not alone, ‘kay? So if you ever need to talk to someone - ” Usami continued, only to stop abruptly as something in the air shifted, making his ears twitch. He dropped Celes’s hand, expression confused.

“Usami-san?”

Usami didn’t answer, which only served to make Celes feel more unsettled. Something definitely wasn’t right, and as much as she didn’t want to admit it, she had a feeling she knew what it was.

Seconds later, her suspicions were proven correct: there was a sudden chill in the air - just as a fierce roar sounded through the park.



The ground beneath the five Cures had turned pitch black in an instant, as shadowy, jagged figures warped and formed from the inky darkness. No matter what they did, the limbs and figures would simply melt away with any attack, returning to the darkness underneath their feet.

Even as the team stood there, trying to regain their bearings, they weren’t safe - the darkness would shift and pull at their legs, trying to pull them inside. Aries shrieked as she felt herself sinking, shooting a burst of flame at the offending darkness. It recoiled from the bright crackles of flame and a strange hissing noise accompanied the recoiling movements, but once the fire had dissipated, it only lunged towards her again.

“L-let go!” Aries cried again, summoning her weapon and stabbing at the darkness beneath her feet. For several moments, nothing seemed to happen - then there was a snarling noise that echoed all around, just as the darkness lurched, dragging her in deeper.

“Aries!” came Pisces’s cry of horror as she leapt for her friend, trying valiantly to pull out, even though it only dragged them both deeper still.

“Hold on!” Virgo cried, just as she and Libra teamed up as well. There was an indistinct cackle as the four Cures began to sink deeper still.

Ophiuchus couldn’t take it any more. “Pretty Cure Shining Wave!” she cried out, a blinding light emanating from her small form. As the light cascaded from her, the darkness receded, revealing the park grounds underneath their feet. The darkness actively fled from the light, freeing the four other weakened Cures for the time being. But as it rose higher and higher above them, Ophiuchus knew what would happen the second her attack wore off - it would consume them all.

“You guys!”

Usami’s cry was enough to make her concentration falter, but it was Celes rushing in to help that actively made her concentration slip.”Celes, get away!” Ophiuchus begged, shaking with the effort to keep her attack going.

“I won’t! I have to help you this time!” Celes answered, arms outstretched as she stood in front of the group. Even without powers, she could still do this much…!

“Run!” Ophiuchus begged again, in tears now. “If you don’t, I - !”

But she didn’t finish - her attack simply couldn’t hold out any longer. The small Cure screamed, just as the wave of darkness came down.

And then there was silence. The five Cures and Celes had simply vanished.

“...everyone?” Usami whispered, too shocked to let it really sink in. “H-hey, where are they?!” he demanded, panic rising in his voice. No, this couldn’t be happening, he’d promised this would never happen again, he -

The blackness lurched and shifted, the darkness warping and towering into a tall, monstrous figure. As if shifted, the five Cures and Celes reappeared, unconscious and trapped inside the chest of the shadowy monster, their forms barely visible amidst the darkness. And with glowing eyes and a jagged mouth, the monster smiled at Usami, taunting him.

“...give them back.”

The Trou Noir laughed.

“I said,” Usami growled, “give them back!” All at once, a blazing energy erupted from Usami’s small form, something that would have shocked him had he not been filled with such determination. Everyone was hurt, and if he didn’t stop the Trou Noir, who would? ”I won’t let you take them away!” he continued, as the energy grew even brighter and more blinding, causing the monster to shield their eyes and recoil.

There was a bright burst of light - and in the blinding white energy, something changed. The star shaped collar Usami wore shattered - and with it, Usami’s form warped and grew, becoming more and more human. When it faded, someone new stood there - a dark skinned boy the same age as Naori, with short fluffy hair the same color as Usami’s blue fur. A star shaped brooch with the five colored gems of the Starshine team was prominent over his chest, and underneath it was not only a short sleeved, dark blue vest, but also a ruffled shirt in a lighter blue. A black ribbon was around his waist, tying off like a sash, and poofy dark blue shorts complimented the ribboned sash nicely. The boy’s lighter blue boots decorated with blue stars completed the ensemble, and as the newly human Usami opened his gray eyes, he pointed a dark blue gloved hand at the Trou Noir in challenge. “Give them back.”

The Trou Noir cackled in response and lunged, but Usami didn’t move. With no effort at all, he conjured a shield - but one much different than his normal dome shields. This one was large, much taller than he was, and star shaped, which held off the monster with ease. When the monster lashed out with his other arm, trying to catch Usami from the side, more shields blazed into existence, frustrating the Trou Noir as he couldn’t even get close. It recoiled, roaring in anger, and then fired a dark blast from its mouth at Usami, creating an explosion.

When the dust settled, however, Usami didn’t have a scratch on him. Not only had his shields stayed intact, but the large, star shaped shield was thrumming with power. Gaze set in determination, Usami let out a battle cry - just as the shield began to glow and shoot back the power of the blast straight at the Trou Noir’s head. The monster’s head snapped back, the shadowy figure stumbling - and that was when Usami finally went on the offensive.

”GIVE THEM BACK!”

He leapt up, starry shields forming under his feet and allowing him to keep jumping up. Even though the Trou Noir towered above him, he kept going, springing off his latest shield and leaping high in an arc. As he descended, he punched at the Trou Noir’s face as hard as he could, causing it to completely lose its balance and fall backwards, crashing into the ground with a thunderous clamor.

Even as the Trou Noir groaned in pain, it still retaliated, firing blast after blast at the small boy, forcing him to throw up more shields to absorb the blasts. As the shields took the brunt of it, Usami used another shield as a springboard, soaring towards the Trou Noir and landing a fierce kick on it. It lashed in response, seizing his leg and throwing him towards some trees - but even as Usami hit the ground, there was one thing the monster had forgotten.

The shields in the air glowed bright and formed into one massive shield, multiplying the power they had individually absorbed, just before it fired straight at the Trou Noir, engulfing it in searing light. The monster screamed and writhed in pain, but the attack didn’t let up. The cries subsided as the shadowy beast was defeated, leaving only the five Cures and Celes in its wake.

Usami shakily got to his feet, just before he raced towards the team. “H-hey, hey, wake up!” he begged as he shook Aries, tears in his eyes. Icy dread seized his heart. What good was all of this if they were all - ?!

“Nnn...” Aries whispered, voice weak, but her eyes fluttered open. “Who…?” she asked, just as the others began to stir.

Usami didn’t try to give answers - he only let out a grateful sob and hugged her close.



In the far reaches of the Milky Way, in the crystalline world of Via Lactea, Queen Vega watched as the small Usami spoke to the team of Cures through a large, shining mirror. She couldn’t hear what they were saying - no, her power hadn’t returned enough for that - but the gist was enough for her. With a proud smile, she took in each Cure’s features, her gaze lingering on Ophiuchus the longest.

They had grown strong. She had only been able to watch over them recently, and that was as plain as day to her. The time was close now to speak to her Cures personally. There was so much she had to explain to them, so much she had to apologize for…

The image in the mirror shifted to a dark, ruined kingdom, a solitary tower standing in its ruined landscape. This she had known of for much longer, even if she couldn’t see closer, but…

She shook her head before the familiar guilt could latch on. These girls had saved Ophiuchus - they were capable of miracles.

She was sure of it.

---

ED: "Across The Sky" – Claris feat. StarSHINE 5

---

ON THE NEXT EPISODE:

Mei: Uwaaah, Usami, that was so cool!
Ushio: Eheh, remind me not to get on your bad side!
Naori: You were amazing, congratulations!
Usami: E-eh? I really wasn’t -
Ibuki: Aw, don’t be so humble! Y’did real good!
Sumire: The others are right! But ah, Celes-san doesn’t look happy, and neither do Masao-san and Rei-san…
Usami: I know just how to help! Next time on Starshine! Pretty ✰ Cure: Three as one! A starlit wish! Don't forget to make a wish next time too!
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