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“With several days until Christmas and the weather being colder than anticipated, we at Lucente Bay Daily News definitely advise you all to keep warm!” Keiko Yamada prattled away on the television as Arata Kimura got ready for the day, the boy yawning as he trudged over to his closet. His hands were clumsy as he reached for his uniform shirt - before he blinked, thoughts finally starting to trickle in now that he wasn’t as sleepy anymore.

Ah. Right. Christmas was almost here. His face flushed at the thought, the boy looking over at his desk and his increasingly growing pile of discarded love letters.

“Next up, the continuing investigation of the sleeping sickness sweeping across the island - doctors still have no answers for the mysterious symptoms causing residents of Lucente Bay to fall into a deep sleep...” the reporter droned on, to which Arata frowned and changed the channel. Talk of the sleeping sickness was inescapable these days - it had started about a month ago, and had only increased in frequency since then - and it had a definite effect on the small island of Lucente Bay. Plenty of students at Etoile had vanished, taken to the hospital when they’d been hit with it. It was scary, but it was the kind of fear that people only liked to talk about in hushed whispers.

Arata didn’t like it. The air in the island felt wrong. You didn’t need magic powers to know that.

And considering Trou Noir attacks had been becoming less frequent - well, Arata certainly didn’t like the implications of that either.


OP: "Shooting ★ Star!!" – StarSHINE 5
EPISODE 25 - "The brilliance of stars! A miracle on the holy night!"


Christmas time at the Hidama household was always Mei's favorite time of year. Every year, she and her family would always go out and pick the biggest tree they could find, and then drag it home. They'd dig out all their old ornaments and spend the entire night making it just right. Pictures were always something the Hidama family has made tradition as well - countless pictures, ranging from silly goofy faces to more poised photos with everyone.

There was one other thing too.

A knock at the door was the only warning the Hidama children got - and then the door opened, just as someone said "Santa told me you've all been very good this year..."

Miyo had sprung to her feet before the door had even opened, meaning she was the first one to barrel into an only mildly surprised Tetsuya Hidama. With a warm smile, he laughed and swept Miyo off her feet, spinning her around as she giggled in delight. "Daddy~!" she squealed, hugging him as much as her five year old arms could muster. "You're late this year." she continued once she'd been put down, her face puffed out in irritation, though it only managed to be criminally adorable.

Tetsuya ruffled his daughter's hair. "I know, I know." he said, offering an apologetic smile. “Work was busy, I really did want to be here sooner...”

Kouta came up next, happy to give his father a hug too. “We forgive you as long as you brought awesome presents.” he said, grinning.

“Oh, is that all you need me here for?” Tetsuya laughed, giving him an affectionate noogie.

Mei poked her head out of the kitchen, where she’d been helping her mother cook dinner, and stared at her father with shock. He wasn’t supposed to be here for another hour! Her shock quickly turned into happiness as she beamed a radiant smile, opened her mouth and -


- Usami of all people was sprinting towards Tetsuya, a grin stretched from ear to fuzzy ear as he leapt to hug the man. Tetsuya laughed merrily - a laugh that died in his throat when there was a sudden pop! as a very human Usami barrelled into him instead. The shock of it all knocked him lightly into the wall behind him, the man flabbergasted and attempting to recover with weak, confused laughter.

“I...it’s good to see you, Usami-kun! When were you able to do that?” he asked as he fixed his glasses, looking over helplessly towards the others - only to get even more confused as Mei, Miyo and Kouta were just staring at their father.

Hirui, who had poked her head out as well, only sighed. “Usami, you can’t just surprise him like that.” she scolded. “It’s good to see you, darling.” she added with a warm smile.

Mei finally found her voice. “You know about Usami?”

Tetsuya only snorted lightly. “Of course. And about Cure Leo.” he said as if talking about the nice weather. “Your mother tells me you’ve become such a strong girl after becoming Cure Aries too.” he said, expression proud as he regarded his oldest daughter. “Now then. Don’t I get a hug?”

Mei felt a weight leaving her shoulders - one she hadn’t even realized had been bothering her. Tears in her eyes, she laughed, just before running to embrace her dad. When she let go, she wiped at her eyes, giving her dad the biggest smile she could muster. “Welcome home.”

“I’m back.” he said, heart swelling with love at seeing his family before him. He swallowed hard, eyes feeling misty, but kept a warm smile on his face regardless. “Now then, Mei, tell me about you and your Pretty Cure team!”

“Do you really think they’ll be okay with us dropping by?” Kaiyou Hoshizora asked for what felt like the hundredth time during she and Ushio’s walk.

“It’ll be fine, you worry too much.” Ushio assured, patting her twin’s shoulder. “ ‘sides, the alternative is stayin’ at home and that’s...” she trailed off, mouth twisting into a grimace. Their parents barely got along the rest of the year, and something about Christmas and family togetherness made them even worse during the holidays.

“That’s true.” Kaiyou murmured, muttering an apology under her breath as she fixed her glasses.

The bell to the Tachibana Teahouse chimed lightly as the two sisters made their way in. Normally, the Teahouse was bustling with activity - their special tea blends and pastries started going on sale, things they only made for the holiday season - but tonight the Teahouse was quiet as it wound down to closing time. No doubt it had to do with the sleeping sickness - something about that realization made Ushio’s stomach twist in apprehension.

But regardless of what else was going on, the Tachibana family was optimistic. As Chie wiped down tables, Naori was with her siblings, going through boxes of ornaments to decorate the tall Christmas tree that stood proudly in the shop. Ushio waved as she and her sister came in, getting a wave back from Yuina Tachibana at the register, the woman counting out the till.

“Hello Kaiyou-san, Ushio-san!” Chie greeted, pausing to put her wet rag down and pull one of her headphones off. “What brings you here?”

Kaiyou frowned briefly, whereas Ushio shrugged in a what-can-you-do manner. “Parent troubles, the usual.” she said, laughing a little.

“Sounds like y’need a pick me up.” Daisuke Tachibana chimed in, making the two jump as he seemed to just appear beside them with tea and cookies. He laughed, patting them on the back. “Don’t worry, we’re closin’ early for the night and we made too much anyways.”

“We can pay, it’s - ” Kaiyou tried to protest, only to get waved off.

“It’s the holidays and you’re family.” Yuina assured. “Besides, if you don’t, we’ll just have to throw it out.”

“You drive a hard bargain. What say we help decorate as payment then?” Ushio grinned, and Kaiyou had to bite back a sigh, even though she was smiling. Leave it to Ushio to be swayed by free food...

“Deal.” Daisuke said, ushering them closer towards Naori and the others. The rest of the night was spent drinking white chocolate peppermint tea and eating misshapen gingerbread cookies, while decorating the the store’s Christmas tree as best they all could. Yuina and Daisuke shared embarrassing stories of Chie when she was young, much to her dismay, while Rei and Masao seemed to have made it a competition to decorate better than the other.

When the twins finally left, walked home by both Daisuke and Rei, things didn’t feel quite so glum anymore.

Ibuki had been waiting for all of six minutes and she was already certain she couldn’t do this.

A holiday date, she’d said. Meet up at the Lucente Bay docks, she’d said. Take a trip to Yobaiboshi, she’d said. All things she’d been excited for, and all things she’d honestly been counting down to for over two weeks now, but when finally faced with the eve of the date itself, Ibuki felt like her nerves were going to eat her alive and leave her a shambling mess. This wasn’t even their first date! But this was an important one - it was their first Christmas together, and that - well, that was important!

She probably looked strange, pacing back and forth on the docks, constantly messing with her bangs. She couldn’t run her fingers through her hair, she’d spent too long making it look perfect - and she couldn’t chew her nails, because she’d just gotten them done. And it wasn’t like she could leave to regain her composure - what if Sumire showed up and thought Ibuki had stood her up?

Oh. Oh, that thought had been a mistake. Now she couldn’t stop thinking about other bad things happening - what if Sumire had gotten hurt on her way over all because of this stupid date she’d asked for? Worse yet, what if that weird sleeping sickness hit her because of it? Ibuki paced back and forth even faster, wishing she had something to fiddle with besides one of her bracelets.


Ibuki wasn’t proud of the utterly undignified squawk she made, and definitely wasn’t proud of how her purse sailed into the air just as she was putting her phone back in it, making her phone and her purse’s contents scatter all across the dock. The loud swear that escaped her probably was even more undignified than that, and Ibuki’s face was red with shame as she dropped to her knees and started hastily getting all her things. She grabbed for her phone first, heaving a sigh of relief that she hadn’t cracked the screen somehow, before reaching to gather everything else - just as her hand met someone else’s. Ibuki looked up, about to stammer out an apology, only to stop short. She’d gotten so taken off guard she hadn’t realized Sumire had been the one addressing her - and as their gazes met, Ibuki couldn’t help but stare in wonder at how pretty Sumire looked.

It only took an instant, but suddenly all her worries felt stupid. Ibuki couldn’t help but laugh - and Sumire laughed with her, just as they got the last of her things together. Her girlfriend helped her up, hooking her arm in Ibuki’s own as they boarded the ferry for the mainland.

Yobaiboshi felt weird, even though she was used to the mainland - Ibuki had, after all, lived in sprawling cities before - and as the two walked and talked, it finally occurred to Ibuki why that was. She’d considered Lucente Bay her home now. Something about that made her face flush and she shook her head to dispel her thoughts and focus on something else.

“Fumie says hi, by the way.” Ibuki said.

Sumire beamed - she’d only met Ibuki’s cousin once over a video call, but still! - and laughed a little. “Can’t believe you call me Princess to her too...” she murmured, cheeks tinting pink. “Is she still doing okay at Atama?”

“Aces, ‘specially after what happened a while back. She likes sendin’ her works in progress t’me sometimes.” Ibuki chuckled a little, though it trailed off uneasily. “We’ve been talkin’ more lately, what with the sickness goin’ ‘round the island? I swear she’s gonna show up one o’these days...”

Sumire squeezed Ibuki’s hand, trying to think of something to change the topic - they’d gone on this date to have fun, not to be reminded of what was happening back home. As she looked around, her eyes lit up as she caught sight of something above Ibuki. “Look.” she said, pointing up with her free hand. The lighted displays and Christmas trees were all around them, but hanging on the lamp post they were just beginning to walk past -

Ibuki followed her girlfriend’s gaze. “Mistletoe.” she said absently - then stopped, eyes going wide as she realized what that meant. Her face flushed as she tried to say something, anything - only to see Sumire looking at her with a shaky smile, cheeks tinted a vivid pink.

Ah, she realized, she’s just as nervous as I am. And with that thought in mind, Ibuki let out a soft chuckle, placing a hand to Sumire’s cheek, just before she leaned in.

As far as first kisses went, a mistletoe kiss was as about as romantic as it got.

[eyecatch 1 – A festive photo album opens up, showing several pictures. The first is the five girls and Usami at Sumire’s house, everyone decorating a Christmas tree together and Mei trying to get the star on top. In the next, Ushio and Naori are making cookies, while Sumire steals a kiss from Ibuki when she thinks no one’s looking. The last is the five girls and Usami dressed in Santa outfits, 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 and a human Usami pose in front of it as the Starshine logo appears in the corner.]

Christmas Eve arrived with little fanfare, surprisingly, and Mei’s morning had started just like any other, albeit with her dad helping in the kitchen. Mei herself savored the time to sleep in - at least until her phone went off. While she’d initially planned to ignore it, guilt won out in the end.

A set of text messages from Arata greeted her.

[hope i didnt wake you]
[we need to talk]
[can we meet later at the park?]

She hadn’t thought much of it that morning, only texting back to confirm the time, but as morning turned into afternoon, Mei found herself thinking more and more about it. Meeting up with Arata wasn’t strange - she met up with Arata all the time - but the tone seemed off, somehow. Or maybe she was just reading into it?

Getting to the park hadn’t taken long either. Mei let out a soft sigh as she reached the fountain Arata wanted to meet up at - the fountain had been decorated with tinsel and lights, making it shimmer in the sun. She was sure it looked even prettier at night, and it made her wonder if anything else had been decorated. Chie and Sumire had probably done something else.

And just as she was about to wonder where Arata was, she could see him in the distance. And just from that, Mei could tell that her initial thought was right: something was off about him today. For one, he seemed to carry himself differently - shoulders uncomfortably straight, her friend constantly looking around to see if he’d been followed. And as he got closer, she realized he looked different - hair combed back differently, clothes a little finer than the things she was used to him wearing.

The third thing she realized was that he looked incredibly pale.

“...Arata-kun?” she asked, brows furrowed in concern.

He jumped at Mei’s soft voice, looking up to see her worried expression. Oh. Oh great, he was already off on the wrong foot. Arata bit back a curse, taking a shaky breath. “H-hey.” he muttered, rubbing one of his arms as he stared at something just above Mei’s shoulder like it was the most interesting thing in the world. “Sorry. To - uh. Call you out here like this, I. I know you’d rather be home.” he said, more stilted than he would have liked. He resisted the urge to facepalm. He’d rehearsed this! But now that it came time to say what he wanted to, everything he’d wanted to say just flew from his mind.

“It’s fine. Are you okay?”

Arata’s response was to swallow hard. “I. I - um.” Was it the nerves that were making his head feel weird? Or was it the thudding of his chest? “Look.Uh. I - I wanted - ” he stopped, shook his head. No, wrong way to start this. With a shaky breath, he tried again. “I...” he raked his hand through his hair, just to give himself something to do. “This. This past while’s been somethin’ yeah? I-I mean, my best friend’s a Pretty Cure and all.” he laughed a little. “You - we’ve been through a lot, yanno? Lately, I-I mean.”

Mei could only listen - it didn’t feel right to interrupt, especially since Arata seemed to have trouble getting his words out to begin with. With a supportive smile, she gestured to one of the benches nearby, and the two sat together. The words he was saying - she had an idea of where this was going, the thought of which made her cheeks turn pink, but. Well. It was only right to let him finish.

Arata let out a breath, staring out at the sky. “I-I mean, I won’t lie, I worry about you g-guys a lot. You especially. But I worry about you all the time, I guess.” At that, Arata’s shoulders slumped. “N-not that I made that clear. It’s like I think one thing and do somethin’ stupid, yanno? Or say somethin’ mean. I don’t mean to! It’s just - I guess I’m not good at...feelings? Ha, maybe that’s why this is hard.” he paused, trying to gather his resolve, even though his head was feeling even fuzzier. “Look, things are kinda weird lately. And I’m not sayin’ I don’t have faith you guys will make it right ‘cause you’re all awesome and I know y’will. But I don’t want regrets either.”

The trees rustled in the wind. Even with the winter chill in the air, Mei didn’t feel cold at all. Arata looked at her, his gaze as determined as he could muster.

“I really like you. I-I’ve liked you for a long time now.”

For a single, paralyzing moment, Mei didn’t know what to say. She was half convinced she was dreaming. It was the chill in the air that reminded her this was real, and with that, Mei met his courage with some of her own. “I-I...I-I like you too, Arata-kun!” she said, probably too loud, probably too enthusiastically. But she’d said it.

Arata stared in disbelief just before his eyes lit up, a joyous smile spreading across his face. He opened his mouth to say something - but three things happened before he could.

The first was that the midday sky above them abruptly turned dark.

The second was that, almost immediately afterwards, Arata abruptly seized up and collapsed.

The third was that something dark was rising from his collapsed form - and it lunged right at Mei.

Lucente Bay had been thrown into chaos.

All over the island, people were collapsing, darkness radiating from their fallen forms. Dark veins of energy ran along the ground, coalescing into Trou Noir - hundreds of them, all with a single goal: to capture the Pretty Cure.

The Pretty Cure, of course, had other ideas.

“Pretty Cure Shining Wave!”

A burst of light exploded from Ophiuchus’s staff, cutting through the Trou Noir in her path. To say she’d been horrified at the Tachibanas collapsing would be an understatement, but there was no time to be hung up by emotions. As another Trou Noir sprang at her, it was deflected by a shield of Masao’s making, while Rei and Celes fended off other Trou Noir that began to sprout from the ground...

“Pretty Cure Aerial Assault!”

The Trou Noir that had formed from Hiro and Yuuki’s fallen forms were fast, but Libra was faster, striking one of them with a gust of wind while another charged at her, only to get a blade in its face for the trouble. Libra’s scarf billowed as she moved, the purple Cure skidding to a stop - just before she let out a yelp, narrowly avoiding the strike from a third Trou Noir…

“Pretty Cure Floral Strike!”

All Virgo had wanted was to get a Christmas cake and surprise her girlfriend with it, and yet she found herself hounded by Trou Noir as the sky turned dark. The gold Cure took to the streets, razor sharp petals shredding through monsters, and her winged cape swayed as she dashed away, hoping to lead them away from the shops. The cake she’d bought had already been smeared against the pavement, cream and strawberries having been turned into a disgusting, mushy mess, and it only made her scared something like that could happen to a building or a person…

“Pretty Cure Aqua Rush!”

As Pisces’s attack took out the biggest of the Trou Noir apprehending her, Usami deflected attacks from the others. With the chaos of the fighting, neither of them had time to consider that while the others had fainted, Hirui was perfectly fine, the woman clutching the Star Pact like her life depended on it - which it very well might have, at this rate. Pisces let out a pained cry as one of the smaller Trou Noir caught her in the side, sending her careening into a wall…

“Pretty Cure Flare Blitz!”

The Trou Noir had taken her by surprise once, but Aries wasn’t making the same mistake twice. Fire consumed it in an instant and once it was gone, she hurried to Arata’s side, shaking him and shouting his name, to no avail. The park may have been quiet now, but she could see the darkness coursing through the earth, withering any trees it touched. The red Cure deliberated for a moment, weighing her options - then picked Arata up and took off.

They found themselves being led to the Hidama household. Aries had arrived first, wanting to get Arata to a safe place, just in time to help Pisces out, who had gotten in a bit of a pinch. Virgo and Libra arrived next, unwilling to let each other out of their sights, and Ophiuchus and the Serpens arrived last, out of breath and shaking from what they had fought off.

The Star Pact pulsed lightly in Hirui’s hands, only ceasing its glowing when all the Cures had arrived. “Everyone...” she murmured, looking up at them. They all had the same apprehension and fear - Hirui was sure the same expression was on her face too.

“D-do you think that it can help?” Ophiuchus said between breaths, waving towards the Star Pact.

Aries eyed the compact, uncertain. “The queen said it was powerful, wasn’t it? And this - ” she motioned outwards, where the dark veins in the earth continued to pulse. Groans sounded in the distance, and the faint figures of even more Trou Noir could be seen. “ - I-I mean, we’re strong, but - !”

“Then let’s try it.” Pisces said. Beside her, Libra and Virgo nodded. With Hirui still holding the Star Pact, the five Cures placed their hands over it - and suddenly, words began to form within their hearts.

“With the power of every star above us!” they said as one, the Star Pact opening as a brilliant burst of light shot into the sky. “Together, we’ll be the hope that shines through the deepest despair!” The five Cures rose their free hands up, light shooting from them as well in their respective Cure colors. The lights all came together with the Star Pact’s light, growing larger and larger. “Starshine Miracle Wish!”

The light burst into a blinding explosion that consumed the entire island, taking out every Trou Noir with it. Stars of light rained down, purifying what it touched, the veins of darkness vanishing into nothingness. But even with the display of light, the sky above them was still dark.

“Did you think your pathetic light show would be enough to stop me?” Omega asked, voice booming above them. The five looked up - and their expressions turned to horror as they saw something they hadn’t before. A pitch black gash had been torn in the dark sky - and worse yet, it seemed to be bleeding out darkness that poured into the ocean in the distance. The ocean’s waters raged in response, turning just as black as the darkness infecting it. The shadowy ocean lunged - only for the Star Pact to come alive again, a brilliant shield of light spreading across the entire island, deflecting the darkness.

“And do you really think your defenses will hold out?”

The five Cures and Usami traded glances. As they all realized they were all afraid, something else took root instead. Aries took a step forward, gritting her teeth, hands clenched at her sides, but it was the six who spoke at once: “Then we’ll take the fight to you!”

The declaration echoed in the air - and then Omega chuckled. “Then come, Pretty Cure.”

The five nodded - but Hirui spoke up, shaking. “You can’t - it’s what Omega wants - ”

“I know.” Aries said, reaching to take the Star Pact - but Hirui refused to give it up.

“Ruru-chan...” Usami murmured, reaching out to comfort her, but Hirui only shook her head fiercely.

“Then I’m coming with you! I...I can’t...” Hirui trailed off, biting back a sob. Tears would do no good here - the girls and Usami were being strong. She had to be strong too.

Ophiuchus looked over at her siblings. “You’re going to stay, aren’t you?” she asked, though given the looks on their faces, it wasn’t much of a question.

Rei reached over to pat his sister on the head. “That shield won’t last forever. Someone has to stay here and protect everyone, you know?”

“We will be fine.” Celes added, grasping her sister’s hand.

“C’mon, get goin.” Masao urged, waving her and rest of the group off.

“Thank you.” Aries said, just before the five Cures put their hands on the Star Pact once more. A bubble of light formed around them, Usami, and Hirui, before it flew into the sky, past the shield that protected Lucente Bay, and went higher still. Below them, the ocean was pitch black - and the darkness hadn’t just affected Lucente Bay either. The darkness seeped into the mainland and there was only a matter of time before it affected everything. There was no time to lose.

As the group of them floated into the gash in the sky, Aries couldn’t help turning around to see their world one last time. And as the world they all knew and loved faded into nothingness, replaced only by darkness, Aries couldn’t help thinking of curtains falling as the final stage was set.


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



Aries: It’s time to end this!
Pisces: Something’s wrong though, I don’t -
Virgo: Kyaaa!
Libra: H-hey, let her go!
Ophiuchus: ...where is everyone…?
Usami: Next time on Starshine! Pretty ✰ Cure: Faced with the darkness! Pretty Cure can beat anything, right…? I don’t know if wishes will help next time...


Starshine! Pretty ✰ Cure

May 2017

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