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Say My Name

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They look so much alike, Aguri and Regina, from their appearance to the way they scarf down ice cream far too quickly and suffer brain-freezes as though they've been beamed by a fastball. The color of their hair and eyes may be in sharp contrast and their behavior on opposite ends of the psychological spectrum, but there's no denying there's more than just coincidence they share.

Sometimes, Mana has to stop herself from calling Aguri the wrong name. And when that happens her heart clenches with the severity of sharp nails digging into a balled fist.

Watching her sleep, with her breath steady and hair down and spread along her pillow in a fan, the resemblance is startlingly striking. Even as they lay together, side by side on the floor, the connection comes full circle, although Regina was wont to hop down from the ceiling and sleep in the same bed. Keeping the other close and warm against the chill of the night; Mana would do the same for Aguri, but their sleeping bags have space only for the person cocooned within it.

Mana wonders if she's having those dreams right now: of Princess Marie Ange, of King Selfish, of the Trump Kingdom at its darkest hour, heaven and earth darkened and redolent with the cries of its inhabitants as their doubt, despair, fear, hatred, anger, and violence were ripped from their very beings and given shape and form. She thinks about the Miracle Dragon Glaive held aloft in the Princess's hands, howling and whistling like a bird of prey, how bright its holy light is as it consecrates the ground where she stands, how hot it must be as it bites into corrupted flesh. She thinks about the King towering above it all, surveying his handiwork with swelling pride as the Kingdom bucked and heaved beneath its own weight and, finally, ultimately, shattered.

Somewhere amidst the chaos, as the end approached, Regina and Aguri stood, drifting in limbo. Somewhere in the shadows, unknown to the Precure, the Princess slumbered in a crystal of ice. What was their connection? What fate bound them together?

Mana twines her fingers between one of Aguri's long auburn locks, head bowed. What will become of this girl? What of Regina? Would the depths of their feelings be realized as they encroached once more into the dark heart of the Trump Kingdom, where the Selfish King stood vigil and plotted the destruction and subsequent conquest of the known universe? Could he be persuaded just as his daughter was?

The answers were there. Sooner or later, the shadows hiding them would be cast aside, and into the light.