The butterfly's light shattered as I thought that, the pieces vanishing like dying fireflies. And no matter what I did, they left me all alone. Alone, to watch as my friend died before my eyes trying to bring about a happy ending to a talking squirrel's fairy tale.

I couldn't believe it at first. It had been working. I was finally going to be in control of what happened to me. And I failed.

I couldn't stop shaking. What was wrong with me? Why hadn't the butterfly found me worthy? Was it something to do with my parents? Was it the fact that I still couldn't believe in fairy tales? I believed in this Pretty Cure thing now! Didn't that count?!

Why had they been chosen? Those other girls? Why had they been chosen… and not me?

If I couldn't do this… then what could I do? If I couldn't repay my friend by saving her once, what good was I? Was my life even worth saving?

I would have to live the rest of my life knowing my friend, my best friend, my only friend, my anchor, died because I was too weak, too… unworthy, to save her.

So I stood there, watching as the gazebo monster advanced. My heart was dying a slow painful death. I had never thought I would have to watch Komachi die. Had never considered the possibility. Yet, here it was before my eyes. The very real possibility that my best friend would be no more.

Urara, Rin, and Nozomi attacked, causing the mask to fall off the gazebo. Creepy Dude vanished with the Pinky. The world returned to normal.

And I stared at four faces, one my best friend's, broken with grief. Because I let them down. I should've transformed and joined them. But I didn't. So now I look at those faces and now it's all my fault they're disappointed.

I couldn't stand their looks. So I coldly told them I knew they were telling the truth now. That I understood. But that I couldn't help them. So stop bothering me.

"Don't ask me again," I ordered them. Because I can't stand to watch your hopes crumble again and know it's my fault. I can't pretend to be strong again if that happens.

But Nozomi refused. She insisted she was going to keep asking.

I froze. And Nozomi danced off into the sunset, her group of fighters following her.

Leaving me, the disappointment, alone. As I always am.

I can't stop thinking about everything that happened. The monster, Creepy Dude, Coco, the Pinky, Pretty Cure, the butterfly. And the longer I think about it all, the more I despise myself.

I review everything I did after the butterfly appeared to when it disappeared. What did I do wrong? What had made it change its mind about me?

What had drawn it to me?

I had wanted to save Komachi, to save all of them really. But mostly I wanted to help my best friend. Wasn't that what heroes did? Protect those they cared about, even at the risk of their own lives? That must have been what drew it to me.

So what changed? What made it turn against me?

I went through the day wondering, until the monster attacked. Then as I watched these girls fight even though it was the Pinky, watched them get clobbered, I realized what it was that made the butterfly disappear.

I had been scared, and in my fear and anger turned selfish. I had decided I didn't need anyone. I hadn't been fully willing to lay down my life for them.

And as I realized this, I ran out to defend Pretty Cure. Transformation or not, magic or not, I wasn't going to stand by this time. I wasn't going to let my fear hold me back any longer! Not my fear of being hurt, not my fear of losing Komachi, not my fear of loneliness, not my fear of being weak.

I would stand tall, defending what I loved with my life. Because even if this was a fairy tale turned real, it was what I had to do.

The butterfly came back then. And I was ready.

It landed on my wrist and transformed into that bracelet the others had. And as I let my magic flow, I know I'm ready for whatever comes my way. So long as I have my old friend and new ones by my side.