Chapter 0 - Prologue - A Living Nightmare
The kingdom was dead silent in less then twenty heartbeats. It's violent overturn merely ended to a halt, and would likely return with much more aggression. The princess had dashed through the forest as she was being chased, a rush of agitation building up each step she took. She gasped, breathing hoarsely as she ran along the side of a mountain, faintly loosing control of her perturbed emotions. Tears burned her eyes and her lower lip trembled. A pack of looming shadows, died in black like the colour of death itself, followed closely behind her. In panic, she pulled herself forward, trudging against the steep incline and gradually speeding up in the process.
She desperately wished that this was all just some horrible nightmare. That, if she just closed her eyes it would all disappear. But she knew. It was real. All too real.
The sun above her turned dull, nearly spreading enough light to see what was ahead. When she reached the peak of the mountain, exhausted and faint, her eyes searched the distance. She stared directly at the once shinning and beautiful kingdom she cherished, in a cluster of chaos and disaster. A thousand thoughts and memories shuffled through her brain. The princess tugged on her dress that was now worn and tattered grey, and restrained a cry. Wishes… are starting to disappear!
Unbeknownst to her, the shadows threatened to pounce as they neared her again in their chase, but were burned to crisp in a blaze. A wail of growls etched together with the silence of the mountain, making her shudder at the liquefied forms splattering and dispersing into the earth.
"Princess Juliet!" a voice called out.
The princess turned at the sound of her name, and came face to face to a large majestic phoenix and divine white fox. The fiery creature emitted a strong warmth that prickled her bare skin, landing before Juliet, and spoke, "We have come for you, princess."
She let out a sigh of relief when Castor identified himself. The grip on her dress loosened ever so slightly though still skeptical of what's to come. Frore, the owner of the previous voice, was the white wolf and jewel carrier of the legendary crystals. He scrambled towards the frightened princess's arms as they came into a embrace. Juliet buried her tear-streamed face into Frore's snow white fur. He quivered under her touch.
Juliet felt a pang of failure, and hugged the fox's large body tight but gently.
Was I such a fool to think this would never happen? What did I really think of 'his' change? What do I intend to do? Perhaps I can defeat 'him' myself. But you can't do that, can you Juliet? Of course I can't!
It was all beyond her, but she understood the cause, and hopefully the solution.She paused, finally noticing who she was thinking so vigorously about.Juliet wiped away her tears with her palm, inhaling the air, and put on a brave face.
"I'm sorry to cut our reunion short, but we mustn't make haste. Do you have the crystals?" she asked, trying to speak with more confidence to calm the nerves of her two friends.
Frore nodded between quick sniffles and summoned a small silk pouch at the whip of his many tails. The four legendary crystals were contained inside: Dia representing Love, Topaz representing Happiness, Sapphire representing Hope, and Ruby representing Passion. Each stone was specifically meant for the legendary warriors, Pretty Cure, who were said to protect the universe from the greatest evil.
It was best not to summon the Cures unless absolutely necessary, which her parents warned her about ceaselessly since a young age. Afraid the power would be too great and eventually turn on them. She had always thought it was an unjustified way of thinking: reason being that the Pretty Cure were there to protect and not destroy. Though she didn't blame them, as trust was a virtue that slowly faded from their minds, despite their position as the rulers of light.
The situation at hand had already destroyed the kingdom and captured the souls of the many citizens and deities that lived there. It was deemed, undoubtedly, more then absolutely necessary. However, if she failed to defeat the cause or restore a tiny bit of the situation, when the warriors were finally summoned, their fight would be much more devastating and heinous, for one of the worlds they were meant to protect, would already be gone…
A strange sound of a far-off whistling and thud was heard, followed by a boom of cannon blending into a sluggish roar that set the mountain rumbling. Juliet flinched at the sudden explosion and peered over her shoulder. Only to meet a pair of familiar dull, crimson red eyes that glistened fittingly in contrast with the pitch black sky. The unnerving chill of the figure brought a hint of nostalgia. A man, tall and imposing, clad in a long, dark uniform, watched her from his lazed position.
Someone of that nature and appearance would seem affiliated with the opposing kingdom, the Kingdom of Shadows, which he was and apparently the ruler of. But that wasn't all.
He was Juliet's childhood friend.
"Juliet," he spoke, oddly calm, and clearly bored with the lack of conversing between themselves. "I see your quite startled after my arrival and onslaught, but no need to be afraid, dear friend. I am sure you will understand my logic sooner or later."
"Yoichi…why would you?" she said in a low, almost inaudible, voice. There was a no sound when she tried to continue, even though her mouth moved, seemingly unable muster up anything else that was on her mind. She felt heartbroken as his voice continued to drone on, each word was beyond her comprehension.
"…Do you like what I've done to the place? There's nothing more marvelous then this. A holy utopia now serene and filled with solitude. No useless emotions standing in our way, no further hurting or pain. It's much better this way, hmm?" Yoichi mused, sighing as he lodged his hands into the pockets of his trousers. A frown overtook his stoic expression. He was quiet for a long moment, before speaking in a grim tone, "Why do you look so dejected? Honestly Juliet, it's not good to keep your feelings bottled up. How stressful it must be living the same life over and over, worrying about the unpredictable. I intend to lessen the burden of your uncertainty- "
"You manipulated everyone's wishes, destroyed my kingdom and the peace between our domains!" The tears began to resurface on the edge of her eyes, trickling, fast and endlessly. Her throat was shore and dry, but she continued, "Why?! We're friends but…you've changed. How, how could you do this, Yoichi?" she cried with a pained expression.
Yoichi merely shrugged and stretched one hand over his right eye, so composed after his friend's outburst. It had been a tiring day for him. He'd done so much yet it wasn't enough to suit Juliet's taste. The words she spat at him, though filled with her feelings, were naïve, laughable. This had proven that no one would –or could– understand him, and his ways.
Indefinitely, Juliet was uncooperative and thus, needed to be removed. Not permanently of course, his childhood friend played a crucial role in his little play. And he wasn't about to lose her now.
A light chuckle escaped his lips before growing into a psychotic fit, sure he still had his insanity in check. He stared with his uncovered left eye that glowed vividly, empty and cold.
"Oh, you do have my condolences, Juliet. However, there must be sacrifices in order to carry out my plan, and I have no intention of keeping the peace between us any longer." Yoichi said as he finally stopped his crazed chuckling. His hand peeled off off his face, and Yoichi was getting tried with stalling. Oh well. It made everything more dramatic. And with a scene like this, what else could add more to his little performance? There was no need to think about that as Yoichi already knew what he had to do. Plus, he had an audience to entertain. The guardian and jewel carrier of the Kingdom of Light, Castor and Frore. "As if your pleading would stop me."
Juliet froze. "What do you mean- "
At the snap of his fingers Yoichi teleported in front of her. A wide smirk escalated onto his face. They were inches away from each other, and though they were almost the same height Juliet could feel herself shrinking. "A wish is a strong desire for something that is not easily attainable, something that cannot or probably will not happen. Whereas the emotions humans have can greatly affect them for the better or worst. It's quite easy for them to succumb to dark, negative thoughts as I know from experience. May I ask, what's the point in dreaming about something that will most defiantly not come true? Nothing! I aim to bring order in this world where people live their lives without worries, useless feelings that will only bring themselves down, and the false hope they think is so superb. And for that to happen…" he stopped mid-sentence, sensing the tension building up, and leaned closer towards her, "I'll need your very existence to bring this world into ruin!"
Yoichi quickly produced a sword from his sleeve and, gripping its blade, belted it towards Juliet. The princess expertly stopped the sword from reaching her face, using her two fingers to hold the blade down. A strong gale blasted outward from the sudden impact. Taken by surprise, Castor shielded Frore with his feathery wing. Yoichi smiled wildly. It was starting to get exciting!
Instantly the ring on Juliet's finger gleamed, blasting an intensifying light. Yoichi threw his arms over his eyes, and grunted, momentarily blinded. The ring morphed like molten lava, rearranging as adornment, a sparkling purple gem pulled from nothing settled itself in place on her chest. Juliet glistened, limbs and chest rippling as folds of light caressed around her, snapping to form a long flowing white-purple dress, and rainbow colored beads around her waist. Followed after was a silk purple cape, long white arm warmers and heals. Her lavender hair converted to white with a wave of sparkles but retained a hint of purple, forelocks spreading apart, making place to reveal a golden tiara. Lastly, worn in her hair were two white feathers with purple jewels, and earrings. She twisted elegantly, raised her right hand above her hand like it was commanded by the heavens, and summoned a bundle of circling light swords around her. Her violet eyes twinkled as she posed.
"Carol of Light! Cure Crystal!"
With no hesitation, Cure Crystal commanded the swords around her to bound Yoichi in place. One sword dangerously close to Yoichi's neck. He eyed the sharp blade, and then laughed. "Now, now. I believe playing with swords is dangerous, you could hurt someone with them." You have no right to say that, the white haired girl thought. He dropped his sword by his side, slouching casually and touched the pointy end of the sword. Acting as if he was in discomfort. "It's a shame you'd think such pity objects would be able to hinder me. Oh well." When he pulled his index finger away from the tip, the spiral of long rods of light began to shake violently.
Cure Crystal's eyes widened, and so did Castor and Frore's, as one by one, the weapons dropped, forsaken and stiff. She had always known how powerful Yoichi was, but it wasn't to this extent. Bloodlust and power practically oozed from his aura. He had complete dominance over her, and the situation.
However, the Cure wasn't going down without a fight.
Yoichi jumped out of the way before Cure Light could get to him, and landed behind her, now pointing his sword to the girl's head. Quickly, she turned on her heels and lunged towards Yoichi again, who was now dodging with absolutely zero effort.
"How stupid." he muttered.
The two clashed for what seemed like forever, as the rough sound of metal colliding screeched emphatically. Castor would have rushed in to help her, but he couldn't leave Frore unprotected. And it was clear as day that he would make no difference in the fight. If even the princess was having a hard time, then it just meant the king was powerful enough to easily defeat him. Whether or not he was an almighty phoenix.
"What seems to be the matter, Cure Crystal?" Yoichi said cockily, grinning like a madman. His red eyes practically glowing even brighter at this point. "Am I to fast for you? Or…are you reaching your limit?" he added before he started laughing loudly, again.
Cure Crystal huffed, irritated at the idle talk Yoichi was manipulating her with. Still, that didn't stop her from leaping into the air and trying to land a hit on him with her sword. "How ridiculous! I'm not that weak, am I!" she retorted.
The two jewel carriers watched in horror as Yoichi continued to dodge each of Cure Crystal's attacks, and strike back with as much force as a hurdling spear. "Your heart is wavering…" he noted, and easily subdued the Cure in place, sword pointed at her neck.
He felt a sense of de ja vu, and smirked.
However, rather then the panicking, which he anticipated her to do, she remained calm. Now that was boring. "I will save you, Yoichi. No matter what you've become…"
Yoichi grinned, releasing his hold on her. Immediately taking the chance, she jumped away from him, careful not to make any unnecessary movements. Oddly enough, he didn't move, and just stood there.
A bright light flared from her fingertip as she drew out a white lock in the air. The red-eyed man dropped his sword on the ground neatly, and watched her, running his fingers through his black hair. Fierce and extraordinary malevolent forces ravaged around him.
"Nonsense," Yoichi chuckled, "I've been the same as always."
Cure Crystal grasped the lock into her hand and started sprinting towards him, as a large magic circle flickered to life above them. "Pretty Cure!" she shouted, placing her right hand before Yoichi's chest as he did with hers. Hushed winds swiveled intensely, brushing away the black clouds, though the sky remained red. And the magic circle raged in a bright light. The princess hesitantly took one last look at Yoichi's eyes: empty. "Lock O Amethyst!"
A purplish white and black mixture of beams shot out of the magic circle, radiating to an even greater extent then Cure Crystal's transformation. Castor wrapped the fox desperately with his entire body tightly, shielding him from the eruption. The area was smoldering, making the large phoenix gape at the sudden heat that left him boiling, before a large explosion set off a puff of grey smoke, weaving and obscuring the area. The powerful barrage dyed down as did the forces summoned, finally calming down.
Once, the smoke cleared Frore, protected from the blast behind Castor's large-now small-wing, emerged carefully into the desolate area. Both himself and Castor had lost their true forms, taking on miniature versions of themselves. The combustion of light and darkness had disabled their powers temporarily, however, it did not matter at the moment.
They shot frightened glances to one another, surveying the damage and the large crater that etched itself into the mountain from the blast. Unsettling feelings swelled within as they wondered aimlessly towards a strange, narrow rock that was located in the exact same location their princess and her childhood friend fought.
It didn't take long to figure it all out, even from a distance they could tell. Slow strides turned into desperate running, legs so small covered as much distance as a tiger did when running. A familiar aura flowed from the orb, and finalized their theory.
Frore knew that it was useless to pretend, to assume it wasn't her. His eyes widened at the sight before him, small features exhibited sorrow and pants quickly reduced to silence.
It was all… a living nightmare.
The princess floated aimlessly inside the purplish-black orb, transformation completely undone, and now dressed in ragged clothing. She looked almost peaceful, a thought that chilled Castor to the bone as he watched his fox friend react to the girl bitterly. Juliet's pale lavender hair pressed against her sweaty face, which, however, did not conceal its now sunken and faded outlines.
Suddenly, as if awakened by his trance, Frore shook anxiously and stumbled until he reached the orb. "H-hold on, Juliet," he cried weakly, slowly pounding the orb that contained the hushed princess. "We'll get y-you out of here, a-and then e-everything will be okay!"
His pounding became desperate, and tears streamed furiously down his cheeks, and all Castor could do was watch quietly, stunned and ashamed. He was a guardian, yet his title gave him no assurance.
Then, by some miracle, Juliet's eyelids slowly aroused from their slumber, displaying a dull violent colour. "Princess Juliet!" the two wailed, relieved to see that she was still alive. Perhaps, it was Frore's calls, and loud banging that had stirred her. They would never know.
The white Cure, though still dazed, pressed her palm gently against the glass separating herself from Frore's paw, and shook her head. Such a small action had taken most of the little energy she had left, but she refused to give in.
"I'm sorry." she started, voice soft, speaking in a pensive whisper. "Please…take the Legendary Crystals and…find remaining the Pretty Cure. Yoichi…must not bring the worlds into chaos…especially the human world."
"But-" Castor inquired before being cut off.
"I sealed his power but…certainty he'll be able to unlock it." she spoke with such truthfulness that they didn't doubt her. Though, failed to hide their grim looks once the Shadow King was mentioned. With an understanding nod she spoke, "You might not be able to…forgive him…but I know…that he's not being himself… Now, you must go to Earth, and…"
There was a long pause as she thought to herself.
"Don't worry about me."
A small portal abruptly appeared underneath the small fox and bird, pulling them in like quicksand. Their disheartened cries echoed throughout the orb she was enclosed in. "Wait-" they yelled simultaneously, staring at the princess as their tiny bodies were engulfed by the portal, leaving only their heads clearly visible. Juliet felt like laughing at the odd sight, but sadly didn't have the energy. So instead, right before they disappeared permanently…
She smiled, and, slowly shut her eyes.