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Elementary, My Dear Mariya

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Call me Mariya.

I'm one of 42 girls who are currently students at Mifune Academy for Boys. Every year, one girl from each of the seven grade schools in Fujida City is selected by lottery as a tribute to attend this boarding school, founded several years ago in response to a series of incidents. As a result of these incidents, many became wary of going to the schools where those involved in the incidents went, and many parents threatened to homeschool their children. Fearing the worst, the board of education took the initiative and created Mifune Academy for Boys and a sister school, Aoikawa Academy for Girls. Then they decreed that at the start of the term that something unusual was going to happen. Something that they hoped no other board of education in the world would have to do.

At the start of the spring term, all grade school students in their sixth year would be required to put their names onto a sheet of paper and put in a pair of urns at the entrance of the school. The girls' names went into the platinum urn, and the boys' names went into the copper urn. Once all the names were collected, the urns would be brought to the board of education, where they would be kept for nearly a year. At the end of the school year, the urns are returned to the schools from which they came, with written instructions. The sixth years were to gather at the auditorium for the drawing of the names. Per the instructions, one name was drawn from the platinum urn, and one was drawn from the copper urn. The student whose name was drawn from the platinum urn would attend Mifune Academy for Boys, and the student whose name was drawn from the copper urn would attend Aoikawa Academy for Girls.

Until the drawing, my BFF and I seemed destined to go to junior high school together. To my chagrin, she decided to enroll at Aoikawa Academy for Girls, inconsiderate of my own plans to go to a public school for my junior high school years. However, to her shock, her name was drawn from the platinum urn at the grade school we went to together for years. Realizing that she was being denied the opportunity to go to the school to which she wanted to go, I volunteered in her place, thereby allowing her to enroll at Aoikawa.

That is where my story begins.


OP: "Danzen! Futari wa Pretty Cure Times Two"


"Elementary, My Dear Mariya"


"How do I look?"

That was the question I asked my brother as I came down for breakfast wearing my new school uniform. Like the rest of the student body at Mifune, my uniform was a black blazer and waistcoat worn over a white dress shirt and khaki pants. The red tie around my neck was tucked neatly under my waistcoat. For footwear, I wore black socks and brown dress shoes.

My brother, Akihiko, just said, "Almost like a prince."

As was usually the case, my hair was tied back into a ponytail. I silently prepared my own breakfast and wolfed it down before putting my belongings and my school stuff into my father's car, a used Isuzu Wizard SUV with a white paint job and black leather seats. My brother scrambled in next to me, ready to go to school.

The school my BFF and I used to go to together.

I put my glasses case inside my blazer's right pocket before the car took off. After dropping off my brother, we continued to my school, which was just a few miles away. After my mother wished me a good term, my parents drove off. Taking my bags with me, I walked into my new school and stopped. "Is anyone there?" I asked. "Can anybody show me to the dormitories?"

"I can help you, milady," a voice answered. The source walked over and said, "The name's Kaoru. What's yours?"

All I could think to say was "Mariya. I'm Mariya. Nice to meet you."

Kaoru said, "If you'll follow me, milady…"

I did, carrying my bags with me. We stopped at a nearby building on the campus. Upon being asked for my room number, I said, "I've been assigned to Room 303."

Kaoru said, "That'll be on the third floor, and down the hall to your left. The room will be on the right."

I bowed and said, "Thanks a bunch!" Then I ran up the stairs and went in the direction indicated by a plaque that said "ROOMS 301-318". Another plaque, pointing to the right, said "ROOMS 319-330".

Once I reached Room 303, I opened the door and, unable to make out the figure who already occupied the room, put on my glasses. It was another girl. She looked rather soft and sweet; yet she wore the same uniform as everyone else attending Mifune. "You look rather nervous," I said. "Is it my specs?"

"No," she said. "They got me, of all people."

"They almost got my BFF, and she wanted to go to Aoikawa, but the lottery determined otherwise," I said. "Fortunately, I volunteered in her place."

The girl said, "She must be very lucky. Nobody volunteered for me."

"Look," I said as I set my bags down, "if you're nervous about attending a boys' school for the next six years, you're in good hands. My name's Mariya Kitagawa. And you?"

"Mizuki," said she. "Saori Mizuki."

Removing my glasses, I said, "I only wear these if I want to get a closer look at something."

I put the specs in my holder and put it on the nearby desk. "I hope you don't mind action or horror movies or loud and energetic video games," I said. "I like them."

"Oh, not at all!" Saori said. "Just wear headphones, if you don't mind. I like it silent around me when I'm playing my music."

"What instrument?"

"The piano. I'm classically trained. I also like calligraphy."

I immediately set my laptop and USB hub up on my desk. Suddenly, the bell rang once. I knew what that meant. "It's almost time for class. First game of the year will have to wait. I may be a tomboy, and I may like video games, but I'm not a slacker!"

Grabbing our school bags (and I my glasses case), Saori and I headed for class.


Our homeroom was Class 1-G. I was the third to introduce myself.

"My name is Mariya Kitagawa from Fujida Public Grade School. I like sports, and I like the martial arts. If any of you boys want me on your sports team, just give me a holler. I'm also interested in movies and video games. Raise your hand if you've heard of Nintendo!"

More than a few hands went up. "…I thought so. Anyway, I hope to have a marvelous six years with you boys, just like the two boys who have already introduced themselves probably would!"

The introductions went on for a few minutes. Saori's introduction was the fifteenth. All the introductions were alphabetical according to the syllabic kana in our names (e.g. A, I, U, E, O, K, S, T, N, H, M, Y, R, W, etc.). There were 22 students in all in my homeroom, including two girls. One of the boys, interestingly, was named Trinità, his full name being Trinità Tsubasa ("They call me Trinity!") Toriyama. Believe it or not, it's actually odder that he was named after a Spaghetti Western than that he had three names, all of which started with a T. I'm pretty sure he'll be the first-year who's the talk of the school.

Once the introductions were over and done with, class went like it usually did. Notice that I said "usually", and not "always". If it went like it "always" did, the story I'm telling you would be a lot less exciting. More on that later, back to the story before I start going off in tangents.


By the way, my classes for my first year were, from first period to seventh, English I, science, social studies, physical education, mathematics, classic Japanese, and Italian I. After Italian I was over, Saori and I bumped right into Kaoru.

"Ciao!" said I.

"Salve!" said Saori.

Kaoru said, "I'm sorry, I didn't quite get that."

I explained, "Saori and I ended up having Italian I as our last period of the day. Today, we started learning the history of the language, and we also picked up our first Italian words, like 'come sta?'–how are you?–'buon giorno'–good day, or good morning depending on the time of day–'buona giornata'–have a nice day–'sì'–yes–'no'–no–'per favore'–please–'grazie'–thank you–'prego'–you're welcome–'qual è il suo nome?'–what is your name?–'mi chiamo…'–my name is…–'benvenuto ad Italiana I'–welcome to Italian I–'uno'–one–'due'–two–'tre'–three–the bare basics."

Saori continued, "We were just greeting you in Italian. It's a magical language."

Kaoru chuckled and said, "Nothing magical about it. It's just a language."

I countered, "You wouldn't think so if you were actually in the class!"

Indeed, Kaoru didn't come across as too cultured; to me, he seemed like just another outsider in a world of Italophones. Ah, well. Considering he wasn't an old dog, perhaps he could use some Italian lessons of his own.

"Signore, you seemed to know enough about the school to show me to the dormitories effortlessly," I said. "Why not give me and my new friend a tour of the school?"

Kaoru said, "Certainly, milady. If you two'll just come with me…"


"Obviously, this is the classroom wing. This is the three-story building where classes are held. Each class is numbered according to the year of the students in the class, and are always given a single letter. For example, your class is 1-G."

I asked, "Is this wing reserved for classrooms?"

"Yes."

"But don't teachers have to have some place to plan their lessons?"

"Yes."

"Where is that?"

"I was about to get to that."


"Over here is the office wing, full of space where teachers can plan their lessons. Hi there, Professor!"

He had just passed his homeroom teacher, who was packing up for the day. The teacher just glanced at him and said, "I see you're giving a couple of tributes a guided tour. How's that going?"

"Good," Kaoru said. "They both have some interesting questions."

"For example," Saori said, "where do I go for piano recitals this school might host?"

"I'll show you in a few minutes. Have a nice day, Professor!"

"You too, Mr. Minami."

As we went down the office wing, I asked, "Is that your last name?"

Kaoru said, "Yes, and please don't ask questions unrelated to the tour."


"Here we are: the entertainment wing. It's got an auditorium, a dance studio, a music room, and anything else you can think of to satisfy your entertainment needs. On one side of the hallway next to the auditorium, opposite the auditorium, is the music room. On the other side is the dance studio. Ah, yes, there's noise coming in from there. Today's dance class, the first of the year, is about to begin."

We ran over to the entrance of the dance studio. One student was apparently already in uniform and practicing. I put on my glasses to get a closer look (the dance studio was apparently very big, and there was a lot of space within), and I discovered another tribute. She had her hair in a bun. I asked, "Why is she in uniform and practicing at the barre already when the other 20 or so students in the class have to wait in line to be dressed in their ballet clothes?"

"Look", Kaoru said. "It looks like the boys are being put inside a machine that dresses them up. Not very often does a tribute here go to a ballet class. We've had, like, a couple of them sign up for ballet in the school's history. It would seem the tribute was given the standard uniform ahead of time so as to preserve her modesty; do you see that?"

I said, "Yeah."

"What does it look like?"

"A window."

"But inside is the appearance of a cloud. Seemingly knockout gas."

"Seems they didn't want to take any chances nonetheless."

The machine's door opened, and out came the student… but it wasn't the standard uniform. The machine had put him in drag! "Is that a pink leotard?" I asked.

"Hard to believe," Kaoru said, "but yes. The next boy's coming into the machine and about to be knocked out for an unspecified period of time."

The next student went into the machine, the door closed, the knockout gas was sprayed in, the machine did its work, the door opened, and out came the boy in the standard uniform–a white tank top, black leggings, and black ballet slippers. Another boy entered the machine. It took a while for him to come out, but by this time the boy in the pink long-sleeved leotard, white tights, and pink ballet slippers and the boy in the standard uniform had joined the tribute in her practice.

After a minute or two, the boy came out… but he too had been put in drag. Only this time, it wasn't a pink leotard, but a blue long-sleeved tutu, white tights, and blue ballet slippers. Kaoru said, "I'll keep you here only to observe what's going on for a few more minutes."

The next boy came out wearing the standard uniform. The boy after him came out in a green long-sleeved leotard, a green skirt, white tights, and green ballet slippers. Then another in the standard uniform… and another who came out wearing a pink tutu with flutter sleeves, classical pink tights, and pink ballet slippers… followed by another boy in the standard uniform. Kaoru said, "We'll leave them to their inevitable comic mayhem and continue the tour quickly. Ballet classes appear to be an hour and a half long, not counting the once-a-year period where the first years are dressed in their dance class uniforms."

We went into the music room, and Kaoru said, "And there's your piano, Saori. Why don't you play something for us?"

"With pleasure!" Saori said. She walked over to the piano and played a piece by Mozart.


EYECATCH


"The sports wing, as you might know, is where PE classes are held. There's a baseball field, a football field, an American football field, a basketball court, a tennis court, a track, a hockey rink, and a gymnasium, among others."

I asked, "Where do all the other clubs meet?"

"The culture clubs? They've got their own three-story building. The stories I've heard about the clubs here, I decided to enroll partly so I could see whether they were true. Now's my first opportunity."

With that, we went to the old building.


In there was a plethora of clubs. Many were the kinds of clubs you'd expect from any school; however, there were also a fair share of cosplay clubs in the school.

"And this is where the culture clubs make their home. I've heard stories about some of the culture clubs, and they're not the kinds of stories you'd expect to hear from a boys' school. This is the technology section of the old building. There's also an art section for those who like drawing or painting or whatever, and a linguistics section for those who like foreign languages. Personally, I'd recommend the Italian club to you girls. Oh, here we are. The anime section. There's a locker room in the first floor. Obviously, it lends some credence to the stories I've heard. Let's see what kinds of clubs are hosted here."

We went to one of the second floor rooms. To our surprise, there were five figures in pretty dresses. I put on my glasses again so I could make them out. All five were boys, and all five were cosplaying as the protagonists of Madoka Magica. "Of all things," Kaoru exclaimed, "Madoka Magica!"

I asked, "What do you guys do in this club?"

One boy, wearing a pink and white tutu, knee-length stockings, and pink shoes (he was obviously dressed as Madoka Kaname), said, "We're basically a cosplaying fan club. Our main purpose is to talk about the franchise, watch the anime and movies, read the manga, promote anime culture amongst the student body, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera."

A boy dressed as Sayaka Miki said, "And have a hell of a good time in doing so!"

Another boy, dressed as Homura Akemi, said, "You got that right."

I asked, "Who are you?"

The boy dressed as Homura said, "Call me the devil."

"Oh, very funny."

"I see you get the joke."

"Anyone who's watched the whole thing to the end of the third movie ought to get the joke."

We went through a few more clubs there, and Saori expressed her amazement at what she had just seen. "I never knew," she said, "that a boys' school would have so many skirts around!"

Getting the feeling that this was no ordinary school, I said, "Welcome to Mifune."


We returned to the dance studio as the students were doing their center exercises. A woman was in charge of half the boys, and a man was in charge of the other half. The woman was assisted by another student who appeared to be her son. The boy wore a pink tutu, a silver tiara, white satin gloves, theatrical pink tights, and pink pointe shoes. For some reason, he also wore glasses. The woman wore a black tunic.

After the class was over, I walked up to the woman and asked, "Was that boy your son?"

"Who, the one who assisted me?" she asked.

"Yes, him," I said.

"You are correct, young lady."

"He must have some reason why he wears glasses. Is it one of the usual suspects like, say, near-sightedness?"

"Long story," she said. "And the pink tutu? He's worn nothing but for nine years now, even complete with the pointe shoes. His skin's tough enough that he can wear them all the time and not suffer the usual ballet-related foot problems. Come to my class some time, and I'll tell you all about it."

I left the dance studio with Kaoru and Saori.


As we returned to the dormitories, we were approached by a mysterious man in a black suit. He didn't say a word, and yet he appeared to slip something into the back pocket of Saori's pants. Saori herself didn't notice the object falling into her pocket. I said, "Be careful; Mifune seems to be full of weirdos."

Kaoru said, "I don't think he was from here."

I said, "Well, whoever he was, he seems to have good aim in order to get that glowing gemstone-like thing into Saori's pants from more than arm's length away. If he's a shady sort of guy, he's certainly being chivalrous about it."

Unknown to us, the man was not just a shady type, he was the enemy Kaoru and I would soon fight.


Back in our room, Saori suddenly felt it as she sat down to compose some poetry. She reached into her back pocket and pulled out a necklace. She put it on and started writing, saying, "I never noticed this before. Who is the benefactor who gave me this shiny thing?"

"Whoever he is," I said, "be careful. I saw him throw the necklace into your pants pocket, and either his aim is extremely precise, or he's got some powers that make him someone not to be trifled with."

"Like, magic?"

"Probably just a psychic. Either way, I got a chilling feeling as we passed him. He's certainly shady. He probably even stole the necklace from someone else."

"Who is he?"

"I don't know. Does he work for Kim Jong-Un or one of his goons up in north Korea? Or is it someone who's a bigger threat than Fatty the Third?"

I put my headphones on and started playing a round of Donkey Kong. After some time, I got up and noticed that Saori was missing. I found the poetry she had written. After studying the lyrics carefully, I figured out it was a suicide note in disguise!

"What the hell…!?" I roared. "She's a hundred zillion years too early to be considering killing herself!"

I took off for the roof.


What I saw was a pair of shoes. I looked up and saw Saori on the edge. I grabbed her shoes and dove down after her. I suddenly turned my back towards the ground so Saori's landing wouldn't be as rough. Oddly, the landing was softer than I had anticipated. I snatched the necklace from her and yelled, "DAMN IT, SAORI! DID YOU HONESTLY THINK KILLING YOURSELF WOULD SOLVE ANY PROBLEMS YOU MIGHT HAVE!?"

Having returned to her senses, Saori asked, "What was I thinking?"

"What were you thinking, indeed," I said. "That necklace must've brainwashed you! Listen, you ever heard the legend of the Woman in Black?"

"Why?" she asked.

"Basically," I said, "she's the villainess of an old Victorian ghost story. Legend has it that when she appears, a child will soon die, and the death is caused by her brainwashing the poor thing into committing suicide. I personally believed such a tale was nothing but bollocks, but the way you almost killed yourself, I'm starting to reassess the legend's authenticity…"

Then the man in the black suit appeared. He removed the black suit, revealing a shapeless figure. It was green, gaseous, and spoke with a deep, disembodied, and evil voice. "Shatter, necklace, and finish the job!"

Suddenly, a colorless gas went in through Saori's nostrils and mouth. She suddenly attacked me. "You ingrateful… wait a second, the son of a jackal possessed you again!"

Kaoru showed up and asked, "What's going on here, then?"

I said, "Nothing I can't fix."

Saori suddenly punched Kaoru. "Hey! Who are you, and what have you done to Saori!?"

"She is Saori!" I said. "The creep in the black suit possessed her twice. The first was a suicide attempt, and when that failed, he forced a monster apparently within the necklace and without form to shatter and possess her into attacking us!"

Saori managed to hold on to at least some free will, though; she said as she threw another punch, "Mariya is right. I do not do this by my own free will."

Dodging the punch, I asked, "What can we do for you?"

Saori said, "The answer may lie in the chemistry…"

Kaoru thought long and hard as to what it could mean, but he was interrupted by a left hook from Saori. I suddenly remembered the chemical elements and yelled, "Kaoru! Quick! To the laboratory!"


Inside the laboratory was a pair of vials. One was filled with a silver liquid, the other with a blue liquid. I asked, "What are those?"

"I don't know," Kaoru said, "but it's best to read the notes beside them before Saori and Mr. Black Suit show up."

I chose the silver liquid, and Kaoru the blue liquid. The note beside the silver liquid read, "Though I shall incinerate, I don't kill, but show thy fate." The note beside the blue liquid read, "If a frostbite you don't mind, drink, and power shall be thine."

"Power of what?" Kaoru asked.

"Power to stop Mr. Black Suit from using Saori to do his dirty work. She said that the answer may lie in chemistry. And I do believe my fate is to protect Saori, and others, from this madman and his allies."

We took the vials and said, "To justice."

We drank. Suddenly, I felt like my insides were burning. Kaoru felt like his insides were freezing. Then my skin caught fire! Kaoru started turning into a human popsicle. I collapsed and started to lose consciousness, and Kaoru soon became frozen solid. Strangely, my skin wasn't melting off, let alone blistering.

When I came to, I was wearing a different outfit. The fire that was apparently consuming me had also died down. I knew then and there that I wasn't dreaming. But how could I have come to that realization so quickly? I slapped myself to make doubly sure this was real. It was. And I was wearing pink! "Why am I wearing tights?" I asked.

"Beats me," Kaoru said. "Why am I dressed as the Blue Ranger?"

"I'm just as mystified as you are. And in case you were wondering, we're not dreaming. Here, I'll pinch you to prove it."

Kaoru and I pinched each other's faces. "Yep. Definitely real. The only question is, why do we have to fight in these outfits?"

My outfit was entirely pink, except for the tights, which were white. I was clad in a top with flutter sleeves, shorts, boots that barely went past my ankle, and short gloves. My shorts were fastened by a white belt with a pink heart-shaped buckle. Kaoru's outfit was blue. He wore a two-tone top with white sleeves, short gloves, pants, and higher boots. His belt was also white, but the buckle was blue and circular. I wore a chest bow held in place by a gold brooch, and he wore a cape.

"We'll have to find out later," Kaoru said. "Right now, we have to free Saori!"

Saori came in. I said, "Uwasa o sureba kage." In my native language, it's an expression known to white tongues as "Speak of the devil", which is spoken whenever the person who you were just talking about suddenly appears.

Suddenly, a hot flame appeared in my hand. Kaoru's hand started freezing. "What's going on!?" I asked.

Saori said, "You're doing good. Only fire and ice in union can free me."

We both threw our elements at Saori. To our surprise, she neither caught fire nor became encased in ice. However, the colorless and shapeless monster in her was dragged out of her and destroyed instantly.

We ran towards Saori as she collapsed. She assured us, "I'm fine, you two."

Suddenly, we heard clapping. Only, it wasn't from the man in the black suit, nor was it from any woman in black.

It was the boy who helped teach his ballet class. "Bravo! Brava!" he exclaimed. "Way to destroy your first monster! How did it go?"

I said, "Apart from me being incinerated without being destroyed by the fire, and Kaoru being frozen solid at a temperature below 100, it actually went pretty well."

The boy said, "I suspect you're lying. No matter. The reason why you were burning up inside is because you drank liquid silicon, and silicon's melting point is in the quadruple digits. Seriously, I had to put it in a special container! And the reason why Kaoru was frozen because he drank liquid xenon, which, as you mentioned, has a melting point and a boiling point that are both below 100 degrees Celsius."

Kaoru said, "If you're our mentor, you must have an assistant. Where is he?"

The boy said, "Actually, my assistant is a she. She's my twin sister, who lives with me and my family in the mansion between the schools. We're both ballet dancers. But we have other interests, as I'll show you later."

I asked, "What happened to us?"

"Oh, you two just became a pair of magical warriors called Pretty Cure. But you two aren't the only ones who call themselves Pretty Cure. As we speak, my sister is attending to two Aoikawa students who had just awakened as Pretty Cure. That is your first assignment: to find them."


ED: "Ganbalance de Dance Elemental"


Next episode: "What? There's Another Pair Like Us?"

Voice CastEdit

JapaneseEdit

EnglishEdit

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