daylilies: 『♥DAYLILIES』 («KIVA» thank you for going insane)
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Super Pretty Cure Time
Episode 2: Intro: Daughter of Fate
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Usually, in Kaori Kurenai's dreams, things were peaceful and light -- filled with happy, colorful thoughts that would leave her with a smile whenever she woke up in the morning. Things that were, by her own definition, safe.

This, however, was most definitely not like her usual dreams.

It was a pitch-black room that she found herself in, everywhere from the furthest corners to the nearest walls shrouded in heavy shadows. The only movement she could sense was her own, but she couldn't help but think there was something swishing around that she could spot from the corner of her eye ... something silent, possibly dangerous, maybe even nothing and she was simply imagining it just to psyche herself out more.

Suddenly, from the opposite window there was a violent flash of lightning, and the pane briefly appeared to change from clear glass to a darkly colored mosaic, throwing shards of red and blue and yellow light around the room. Kaori gasped and shrunk back, obviously feeling jittery from the prior silence and isolation, before turning around to check what was behind her; as she did so, she could have sworn she heard a violin in the background, playing a certain song she used to hear when she was younger.

She shrieked loudly at the sight before her. Her mother, father, and her closest friends' bodies lay scattered along the floor ... but they were now shining, clear glass, their faces displaying complete and utter lifelessness. The song in the distance seemed to grow louder, but was now being overtaken by one single, repeating sharp note.

Kaori trembled, eyes watering in her helplessness, and tried to reach for her father's body -- but before she could move further she felt a series of thick metal chains shoot out from nowhere, instantly wrapping around her body and binding her tightly. As she struggled against the bonds she turned her gaze to what was below her, and was horrified when she saw the same crystalline effect slowly creeping up her leg as well.

"No ... please ... let me go ...!!" she cried out, wriggling harder in her futile attempt to free herself. The single note became even louder, and more urgent.

A single voice in the distance began to whisper. Kaori.

"Who's there?! Please ... someone, help!"

Kaori, you must fight.

"I ... I can't, I'm still stuck here! Please ..."

The crystal was now moving faster along her body, now having reached her waist.

Break the chains that bind you, Kaori.

"Who are you? What do you even mean?!" she wailed, her efforts at loosening the chains only giving her the opposite effect.

Across the room, a pair of golden-yellow eyes glowed dangerously in the darkness, almost as if they belonged to someone ready to strike at any second.

Break the chain. This is your destiny.

"I can't ... I'm ... I ..."

And as the glass finally made it upwards to her neck, all she could do was scream, her despair drowned out by that one violin note ...

...

Kaori bolted upright in her bed, her eyes still widened in fear as her crying out was cut short. She paused for a moment to calm down and survey her surroundings -- yes, still the same old bedroom she was used to. So it was all a dream ... oh, thank goodness that was all it was! she thought to herself, sighing in relief. There's no way that something like that could happen in reality, it's too farfetched. There's nothing to worry about! None. At. All.

But even with the matter settled, there was still a tiny bit of doubt scratching at the back of her mind. ... Although, part of me wonders if it's trying to tell me something ...

She turned and squinted to get a good look at her bedside clock. It was about ten minutes before the alarm was scheduled to go off, so Kaori decided to make the most of being awake and climbed out from under the sheets, preparing herself for the day ahead.

...

After making the last few adjustments to her school uniform, Kaori looked into her vanity mirror and gave her reflection a critical once-over. Let's see ... uniform straightened, properly accessorized, yep! Everything looks good to me! Not a hair out of place. Oh, but just one more thing before I go ...

She reached over to grab a small, dark glass bottle containing her favorite scent, then rolled her cuffs up and spritzed it delicately along her wrists and neck. Okay, now I'm ready! she concluded, setting the bottle gently back down before grabbing her school bag and making her way down to the kitchen for breakfast.

As she ambled on down the stairs, another pleasant smell greeted her -- fried eggs, toast with orange marmalade and hot chocolate brewed from scratch. Kaori's eyes lit up, and her stride immediately broke into a sprint towards the source. "Papa~!!" she exclaimed in her rush, almost stumbling over her feet.

Inside the kitchen, Wataru Kurenai was assembling the last of the finished meal onto a pair of plates at the table. "Well, I see somebody's excited to get a move on this morning," he chided jokingly, dark hair still mussed from the long night of work he'd put into his latest construction.

"Sort of ... I just got really excited that you were cooking this morning!" Kaori replied, blushing a little. As she sat, she took note of the fact that their table setting was currently made for only two. "Ah, but where's Mama?"

"She had to open up shop early today," he told her, sitting down himself to dig into his toast. "A woman commissioned her to make her a wedding cake, so she'll be busy for a few days."

Kaori nodded and swiftly began nibbling at her egg, lost in thought. While she ate and pondered what she had to get done for the day -- meeting with friends, attending gymnastics, possibly getting grocery shopping done for tonight's dinner -- she couldn't help but look back on that dream, the ringing violin notes and the voice whispering to her about fighting and destiny still echoing clear. She bit her lip in frustrated contemplation, trying to force the thoughts out. No. I can't be dwelling on this so early in the morning, it's not going to affect me in any way, no ...

"Is something the matter?" Wataru suddenly cut in, his eyes filled with concern. Kaori blinked in surprise. "You kind of went all quiet, so I'm hoping everything's okay ..."

"Hm? Oh, no, everything's fine ..." she insisted, finishing off the egg and the last bits of her marmalade-coated toast. "I kind of had a bad dream last night, though, but other than that I'm all right."

He patted her hand sympathetically. "Okay, Kaori-chan, I'll take your word for it. But just don't let it get to you, all right? I don't want you to be upset over something like that today. So just --" he put his fingers to the corners of his mouth and stretched it into a smile -- "remember what your Mama says!"

Kaori giggled, repeating the action for herself. "I know~ smile, smile," she answered, before wrapping her father in an affectionate hug. "I'll be going now, I'll see you later this evening~! Don't work too hard, Papa!"

She grabbed her lunch and gave one last wave to him before heading out the door, still valiantly hoping that the sounds that were haunting her would leave her mind soon enough.

...

It had been almost twenty minutes since Kaori had arrived at the gates of Takei Middle School; as patient as she was, she was beginning to get worried. Time was running out, so where in the world was --

Just as she suspected, her hotheaded childhood friend Hibari Esumi was just now skating up to the entrance in the nick of time. "Ah, Kaorin! G’morning!" she called out as she made her approach.

"Geez, Hibarin, why were you so late? Class is about to start!" Kaori sighed and reached over to poke Hibari in the shoulder, thankful that she'd finally arrived but slightly concerned at how close she'd cut it today.

In response, Hibari scratched her head and let out a sheepish laugh. "Don’t blame me, blame that action movie marathon from last night! C’mon!" And just like that, Kaori felt her friend grab her hand and drag her away to class, before they ended up getting into serious trouble.

But off in the distance past the gate, a pair of unfamiliar eyes was watching them leave, scanning the area like there was something they were looking for ...

...

Beyond the furthest reaches of the city, a large mansion loomed just over the trees. Despite its pristine exterior, the place was all but completely abandoned, and stories tended to circulate among gossipy teenagers about how it was haunted by the ghost of a murdered aristocrat or something equally fantastic. Well, it was inhabited by aristocrats ... just not the kind they were expecting.

Inside the dusty, velvet-draped common room, a man clad all in black gazed out the picture window at the forests around the perimeter. A look of dark contemplation graced his features, almost as if he were in wait for something important. "Bishop," he called in a rough voice, refusing to avert his eyes from the scenery before him.

Another man -- stick-thin, silver-haired, and wearing glasses -- appeared from the doorway, making his approach before bowing at the other's feet. "You seek my assistance, King?" he inquired, glancing at the window for himself to see what outside was so interesting.

"How is our first pawn doing?" the man now known as 'King' asked, still not turning around. "You told me you sent him out this morning, yes?"

"So far, I haven't detected any sort of activity coming from him ... it may be too early to tell," Bishop replied matter-of-factly. "This is only his first excursion into the human realm, King ... I'm unsure if we should be expecting results so quickly after his --"

"Bishop," King interrupted, sounding slightly irritated by the other man's excuse. "I put my trust in the fact that our forces would be able to harvest enough life energy from the humans, and that they would do so as soon as they were advised to." At this statement, he turned to face him -- and the subtle sheen of black steel and stained glass appeared faintly on his skin, as if it were a warning. "I pray that you not break that trust, is this clear?"

There was an uncomfortable silence, followed by what sounded like a small, defeated sigh. "... yes, King," Bishop muttered, rising wearily from his position on the floor. "Shall I go fetch Rook for the tea?"

King returned to glance out the window, waving his hand dismissively. "If you must insist." Bishop scurried off, leaving the other man to his thoughts and cares.

...

After what had seemed like an eternity sitting around in class (while Kaori usually enjoyed the readings for Japanese class, today's lesson just felt unbearably dull) it was finally time for lunch. Hibari and Kaori were at their usual spot on the rooftop, chatting about random topics and the events of the day while they ate. After a short period of going without any words exchanged, however, Hibari piped up -- "Hey, Kaorin, I need to tell you something. Just between the two of us, 'kay?"

Kaori nodded, curious as to what her friend would have to say that she needed to keep so guarded. The redhead leaned in closer, looking slightly concerned, and said, "I had a really weird dream last night."

For real? That seems like too much of a coincidence to be true ... still, I kind of wonder ... Kaori smiled, picking at her specially made takoyaki and biting into it. "To be honest ... me, too," she revealed.

"You mean it?!" Hibari's eyes widened, obviously looking more excited than Kaori probably ever would have at a time like this. "So you know anything about those talking animal cars?! What do you think it might be about?!"

-- Wait, what? That definitely sounds way different than what I was dreaming about ... of course, she's probably luckier than I was. Hers sounds like it'd be more fun than ... "What are you talking about? My dream didn't involve talking cars ..." Kaori replied with a small burst of nervous laughter, hoping to conceal the fact that the bad memories of her own dream were just now starting to rear their ugly head again. She jammed her chopstick into another takoyaki ball, offering it to her friend.

Still, she was curious to know more, so after Hibari finished it off she began to ask her about the finer details of the dream she had, to see if there was any connection between them. Hibari ended up mentioning things like the air being filled with smog and some robot woman, which was a definite far cry from being turned into glass against one's will, but nevertheless something that was worth looking into ...

Kaori smiled at Hibari's optimistic reaction to the negative connotations of her own dream, knowing full well that she had enough energy and perseverance to push herself through the worst of times. She looked like she had everything figured out for herself, at least, but the truth behind Kaori's own nightmare was still waiting to be discovered.

...

Back on the other side of town, a young woman walked briskly along the street, listening to music and blissfully unaware of the other pedestrians and rows of shops she passed by. Unfortunately, that meant she was also unaware of the strange, disheveled-looking man that seemed to be tailing her a little bit too closely. After about a song and a half's worth of walking, though, she spotted the unfamiliar reflection in the window beside her, and twirled around to face her follower.

"Can I help you?" she asked in a snobby tone, not bothering to remove her earphones or turn down the volume on her music player.

The man's eyes glowed bright, and his blank expression contorted into a gleefully inhuman smile. "Yes," he hissed, a stained-glass pattern emerging on his cheeks. "You would be of much help for me."

Her music player slipped out of her hand and clattered to the ground as she shook, finally finding the voice to scream before she found herself pierced by two long, spectral fangs. As they began to slowly drain her body into a glass husk, her attacker laughed heartily, proceeding to take his hunt further down the road ...

...

Gymnastics practice had been rather strenuous and exciting today, but Kaori was glad to finally be let go so she could be with her family at home. Along the way, she had stopped off at the grocery store to pick up some ingredients to make katsudon for dinner -- she knew her papa could use some energy after working all day! -- and was now setting out towards home, thinking to herself about various minor things. She hummed a small tune to herself, occasionally stopping to glance at the gorgeous things for sale in the shop windows, while making mental notes to visit those places later on when they were open and she had extra money.

It wasn't too long before she stumbled and nearly tripped on something on the sidewalk before her. "Ah! Gosh, I should probably be more careful about -- what in the world?!"

Kaori gaped with shock at what, exactly, she had just tripped on -- the body of a woman, face frozen in a permanent scream, transparent and glass-like. And further down the path lay more bodies, strewn about in much the same state. It's just like ... it's what happened to Mama and Papa in my dream! she realized fearfully, nearly dropping her groceries in her confusion. But ... how? Why?

The sound of screams and cries far off in the distance broke her from her concentration, however -- and against her better judgement telling her to hang back and run home where it was safer, Kaori broke out into a sprint towards the direction of the noise.

Her panicked search took her to a playground, where two teenage girls huddled with fear behind the merry-go-round, while a demented-looking man with disheveled hair and stained-glass tattoos along his face loomed over the crystalline husk of a high school boy. Kaori's eyes widened in horror at the sight, but despite the knots in her stomach and the ever-present voice in her head reminding her of her nightmare, she had to take a stand ...

"What do you think you're doing?!"

The man whipped around from his prey, his furious gaze landing on a very indignant-looking brunette holding a cloth grocery bag like a weapon. "What is it to you, young miss?" he scowled, eyes glowing like premonitory lights in the sky. "Or do you wish to become the next?"

"I ... I don't know what you mean by that, but leave those girls alone!!" Kaori shouted, backing up and clutching her bag tightly. It was then that she spotted the tattoos; something in her brain suddenly clicked, and she froze in horrified realization -- aside from her dream, she knew about this before and didn't realize it until just now! The glass patterns, the drained bodies ... no question about it, this was one of those monsters that only her Uncle Taiga could have told her about!

"I mean," the attacker replied with a sharp edge in his voice, "that you'll be the next to finish off my little meal. I'm sure these little brats would thank you ..."

Kaori glared, putting on a confident air to mask her heightening fear. "... I refuse! I won't let you continue to hurt anyone anymore, Fangire!"

The silence at this revelation was deafening, as the man's face flickered from ruthlessly gleeful to disgruntled fury. Now that she knew what he was now, all bets were off. After a moment to compose himself, he snarled at her. "So you've figured it out, young miss ... well, let's just say that I'm better than my ancestors were." His body began twitching convoluting into an inhuman shape, to the horror and disgust of Kaori and the two scared schoolgirls. "And I'll prove it by taking you to our King for him to feast on himself!"

Behind him, one of the girls shrieked as the transformation was completed -- what was once a suspicious-looking man was now a hulking, heaving monster that vaguely resembled a black steel unicorn, pumped with steroids and covered in orange and amber glass shards. Kaori defiantly stood her ground, but was now wondering frantically to herself -- didn't Uncle Taiga mention that they were working on some kind of peace treaty between humans and Fangire, though? Why would one suddenly attack humans out of the blue ...??

The monster suddenly produced an amber-and-steel rapier from its horn, pin-sharp and gleaming in the late afternoon sun, before roaring and charging towards her.

"RUN!!" Kaori shouted at the two schoolgirls, who immediately complied before she swung her grocery bag at the beast in a futile attempt to get it to back away. She continued to try and hit it, swinging around and evading it with her vast library of gymnastics manuevers, until she was nearly out of breath and all the food inside had spilled out over the wood chip-covered surface.

She collapsed to the ground, heaving and trying to catch her second wind, but the unicorn monster kept inching closer to finish her off ...

"INCOMIIIIIINNNGGGG!!"

The unfamiliar voice had come from above, and Kaori only managed to look up and catch a glimpse of something small and black -- before said small, black something collided with her face in a decidedly undignified fashion. Thankfully, its interruption managed to get the monster to stagger back long enough for her to sit back up to examine it.

"... oh. Sorry about that, I was in a hurry," the little creature replied in a dry tone. Upon further inspection, it appeared to be a cute little bat-like thing, with floppy, notched ears, gray eyes and bright red accents along his body. "I sensed that one of the Neo-Fangire had escaped to the past, so I was sent out to assist!"

"Neo-Fangire?" Kaori asked in confusion. So is that why it's been attacking people? They aren't the Fangire Uncle Taiga was talking about! "W-well, what can I do about it? ... And hey wait a minute, how can you even talk?!"

"I'm not from this time period, I'm ... a fairy, let's say. Just call me Barnabas," the bat replied matter-of-factly, fluttering in front of her face. "If you want to help so much, you can start by holding out your hand! With my help, you can save the monster's soul and stop it from rampaging! Do you want that, or not?"

Kaori looked back at the unicorn, who was staring deathly serious at Barnabas, having just now put the pieces together in his small little monster brain. "You ..." it growled, hoisting its rapier once more.

"There's no time! Hold out your hand!" Barnabas insisted more urgently.

She stood up, still shaking from her earlier fight. ... well, Papa told me all about how he was able to save the world from these guys once before ... that Kamen Rider thing he was talking about, right? Maybe ... maybe I'll be able to carry on and make him proud as a hero, too ...

And with only that thought running through her head, Kaori thrust her hand out into the sky, and Barnabas darted upwards and bit her on the wrist.

Something unfamiliar began racing through her veins, and she felt her whole body become overtaken by some sort of energy she hadn't experienced since her first time on a balance beam -- and whatever it was, it was strong enough to actually send the monster reeling back. When the buzz had finally worn off after a few seconds, she was invigorated with a brand-new power ... as well as revamped into a long-haired, miniskirted, red-eyed heroine that she'd never seen before on TV.

"The dawn sleeps and whispers my name — Cure Fangoria!"

"Aaaah, she did it! She really did it!" Barnabas cheered, doing triumphant loops in mid-air. The newly-christened Fangoria had struck a determined pose after her transformation, but was now staring at her "uniform" in the reflection of her leg's armor and poking at her now-horned hair in utter bewilderment. "... Hey, don't just stand there fiddling with yourself! Get out there and fight!"

"S-sorry ..." Fangoria muttered sheepishly, before straightening herself out and reminding herself of why she had transformed in the first place. "I'll break you away from your fate, Neo-Fangire!" she boasted, pointing square at the monster before her.

"I'd like to see you try, young miss," it countered in a low, dangerous voice before brandishing the rapier and charging forth once more.

Almost instantly, the newfound strength and power coursing through her veins manifested -- and Fangoria was able to burst forth and land several kicks and punches on the beast with relative ease, with little to no exertion to be had from it. With every attempted stab from the glass rapier, she was able to slip around and dodge, doing quick backflips and low kicks to throw it off its path. This feels so ... well, it's kind of scary! But I'm winning! she thought, striking another blow with her fist, which was now eminating some sort of dark aura along with her armored leg.

"What is with this?" Fangoria cried out to Barnabas, waving her fist while still trying to dodge the monster.

"That's your magic! Use it to shatter the Neo-Fangire's body!" he shouted back, hovering out of reach above the scene.

She whipped around and struck the unicorn several more times with an array of powerful punches and kicks, then finished the attack by kicking the rapier straight out of its claws, shattering it into tiny amber shards. That's it for that! Now I guess it's time for the coup de grace ... it's now or never!

The roar that came from the unicorn's mouth after losing its only weapon was almost deafening, but Fangoria silenced it with a blow to the face that sent it stumbling back onto its behind before crouching low on the ground.

Almost as if it were setting the stage for the finale, the sky darkened to an inky black, with only a full crimson moon peeking out from behind the clouds. The monster's eyes darted around, now clearly distressed and hoping that this wouldn't be the end for him, but by now it was already too late.

She leapt into the air, gracefully flipping back while concentrating all her strength into her armor-clad foot. Into the newly-created darkness, only one thing could be heard shouted into the moonlight ...

"PRETTY CURE EMPRESS MOONBREAKER!"

Fangoria uprighted herself, now flying heel-first into the path of the monster with her whole leg now radiating the same strange dark aura, and with one solid strike it landed harder than any blow she'd managed to make on it or anything else. The monster began to squirm as if it were in pain, a bright light seeping through the cracks forming on its body, and she ricocheted herself away before its entire body shattered in a noisy explosion.

The skies turned back into their late-afternoon glow just as quickly as they had into starless night, and a small ball of blinding energy rose from where the beast had once stood. Barnabas zipped downward, opening his tiny fanged mouth to swallow the light whole, before reuniting with the de-transformed and shaken Kaori.

"I've transferred its soul someplace where it can't be obtained. Let's go," he urged her, before she regained her composure and picked up her bags. As her new partner nestled within the confines of her schoolbag, her mind was now racing with all sorts of new questions -- and the fear of what would happen once her father were to find out.

...

Back at the mansion looming in the woods, the black-clad King slammed his fist against the windowpane, nearly cracking it with his strength. "You're trying to tell me what happened to our pawn?!" he barked at a visibly cowering Bishop, who was trying not to fall over from his deep bowing position on the floor.

"It ... it was out of my hands, King. It had been making progress with the draining, but ... but something appeared and granted a random girl some kind of power, and ..." he spluttered.

"Well, find that something and that girl and have them destroyed!" he exclaimed, storming towards Bishop with full intention to cause him harm -- when another figure appeared at the doorway, this time a redheaded woman with a displeased expression in her dark eyes. He stopped in his tracks immediately, to Bishop's probable relief.

"... what is it, my Queen?"

"Master, there's a member of something called Shin-Gaiark at the door. They seek your assistance in the conquerment of the Earth, she's saying."

King's face was now filled with befuddlement, but he soon found a flash of inspiration in his twisted mind and grinned devilishly. "Send her in."

A strange, robotic woman with tools for hands and a gear around her face entered the room, clanking with each step she took. She stopped before the two men with a confident pose. "You're who they call the Black King ~de aru?" she asked, authority ringing in her voice.

"Indeed. Who are you, and what is it that you seek of our organization?"

"I'm the leader of Shin-Gaiark, Pollution President Batcheerina ~de aru!" she introduced herself, with all the pompousity that a title like that would entail. "And I have a proposition for you and your merry little band of monsters ... if you're willing to listen to my terms ~de aru."

King nodded, all sorts of ideas and plans turning the cogs (so to speak) in his head. "I think I would be, yes."

...

It had taken Kaori a while to get back on the regular path home, but she managed to make it to the gates of the house just as the sun began to set. While balancing her school bag and groceries on one hand, she pushed the gate open with the other and rushed to the door, hoping she'd be able to make it back to her room without incident ...

"Kao-chan!" a familiar, feminine voice chirped, and she froze in place. Her mother, Saki Kurenai, had come home early from her pâtissière job and the wedding cake she'd been assigned to make, and was now standing by the door as if she'd been anticipating her daughter's return. "What's the matter, sweetie? It's kind of late for you to be getting home like this ... you look like you've just seen a ghost!"

Kaori tried to smile, but in her exhaustion and worry it came out somewhat forced for her liking. "I ... oh, gymnastics practice just ran a little long, that's all," she stammered, about to sneak away to her bedroom before she felt a weight pressing down on her head. Her sight travelled upward -- it was none other than Kivat, her father's partner bat, using her as a perch again.

"Hey, hey, you know it isn't polite to lie to your mama like that," the little golden bat chided, gesturing towards Saki (who was now pouting comically and nodding) with his wing. "What happened?"

"It's nothing, really," she insisted, but then she noticed the look of surprise on her mother's face, and she glanced down to see what had caused her to do so ...

Barnabas, the little weasel, had poked his head out of her schoolbag and was now staring at the place like he'd wandered into an alien spaceship. Saki looked back and glared at Kaori, who had 'deer-trapped-in-headlights' written all over her pretty little face.

"... I can explain."
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Super Pretty Cure Time!

September 2012

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