Yes, that's the story I lull myself to sleep with every night since the wisdom tooth removal. So I've got already a YumiKuri fusion bunny of this Andersen tale (with elements of Anastasia --Romanova-- thrown in, Mikasa as the robber maiden, and Rainer and Bert as half-brother princes in a threesome with dashing stranger Annie!), but a Yukakira KKPCàlM version, with Yukari in the role of Kai and Akira in that of Gerda (which fits them like a glove), and a bit of a crossover with Ovid, Shakespeare, 80s lyrics (with AOI FRICKING TATEGAMI as the robber maiden, that's something to be quite expected!) and a pair of other Pretty Cure continuities... would be a purrfect way to celebrate my KKPCàlM OTP (and also my Suite Pretty Cure OTP, with whom I was dying to do something as well!!)!! The Ovid elements I will take into the flower dreams (a premise which also is part of my YumiKuri bunny!)...
So basically the cast is like this, in order of appearance:
- The Snow Queen as herself
- Yukari Kotozume in the role of Kai
- Akira Kenjo in the role of Gerda
- Miku Kenjo as herself
- Mr. Kotozume as himself (Lord Kotozume)
- Mrs. Shino Kotozume in the role of Kai's grandmother
- Mrs. Kenjo in the role of Gerda's grandmother
- Kaoruko Hanasaki, née Godai, in the role of the Springtime Witch
- Tsubomi Hanasaki as herself
- Momoka Kurumi in the roles of the rose on the witch's hat and the tame crow
- Erika Kurumi in the role of the wild crow
- Ako Shirabe in the role of the Princess
- Ellen Kurokawa in the role of the Prince (Songstress)
- Mephisto and Aphrodite in the roles of the King and Queen
- Otokichi Shirabe in the role of the Chancellor (Tywin-Lannister-like position, being the father of the queen consort)
- Suzu in the role of the Princess's Handmaid
- Trio de Major in the roles of Kingsguard officers
- Shut, Baron Salamander -and Olivier!-, Kimimaro Ijuuin, Prince Natha; in the roles of failed suitors
- Yuuki Hayashi as a collapsing redshirt messenger (reference to Stenbocks kurir!)
- Itsuki Myoudoin in the role of the Captain of the Kingsguard/Gerda (!)
- Satsuki Myoudoin as himself (sharing the role of Kai with Yukari)
- Aoi Tategami in the role of the Robber Maiden
- The other members of Wild Azüre in the roles of the rest of the robber band
- Cobraj and Kumojaki sharing the role of the Robber Leader (the way it sounds; as a discharged one-eyed soldier and disgraced foppish courtier who took to a life of crime and to each other!)
- Mitsuyoshi Mizushima as himself (in the role of an overly concerned retainer)
- The Elder in the role of the Wise Old Sage
- Yume Mochizuki in the role of the Far Wiser Old Crone (also, the Snow Queen's nanny)
- The Snow Queen's Ice Monster Guards as themselves
-Iris, on Momoka's corsage (takes the role of the rose on the witch's hat=also, Momoka's stark resemblance to Yukari causes Akira to utter a Freudian slip as her memories surge back!)
-Hyacinth (early modern tennis version=links back to Yukari playing tennis)
-Brown Bulrush (Syrinx=faun changed to human "wicked assailant")
-Lotus (links back to Miku=gender of the royal child being changed to female)
Realm of Major Land -- Lands of Everwinter (The Hope Kingdom also gets mentioned as being on the southern border of the Major Land!)
(In Major Land lay the various towns of adventure; Ichigozaka, Kibougahana... A royal castle, the one in Suite Pretty Cure, is the centre of power... during the backstory civil war, Mephisto had a power base in a fortress on the western border, near the Lands of Everwinter; its ruin serves as the robbers' den)
The title of this project will be IN THE SHADES OF DAWNING, referring to a Genesis song (Harlequin) whose lyrics may have been inspired by this fairytale.
Anyway, the two of them have already, baskets full of chestnuts, knocked at the Kenjós' door --there's still an hour or so before the curfew that requires Yukari to be home at least at sunset-- and made themselves at home; Akira will also take the chance to give Miku and Grandmother some nuts left over after she (Akira) and the heiress have had the kitchen for themselves. It's about right then when Yukari takes up the handwritten Kenjó recipe notebook and skims it for marrons glacés --candied chestnuts--.
"Akira! What about marrons glacés?"
"That will last until midwinter, we could in fact keep them 'till for Christmas," the bifauxnen agrees as she cracks a nut. "But we'll have to see to the nuts and the syrup today and mix them tomorrow; that will also give you enough time to get the spices from the estate kitchens..."
It would be jarring for Lord Kotozume to see his only daughter and heir cracking chestnuts by a commoner's side, but anyway, here they are, cracking nut after nut as the pot simmers gently on the fire. And soon the nuts are all in the pot, mixed with a spoonful of flour in the simmering water, getting as warm and soft as nuts can get. Meanwhile, Akira stirs them and Yukari peers into the notebook once more; soon the redhead has fished the chestnuts up one by one with a ladle and they're all cooling in a basket; time to make the syrup after the nuts are clean and scalded.
"Now for... half the sugar loaf?" the heiress inquires as she starts for the Kenjós' cupboard to fetch the heavy cone of sugar and the pincers to nip it off. Akira nods in reply as she watches her lady friend wave at her and start for the cupboard door. The silence is only broken by the crackling of the flames, the bubbling of simmering water, and a coughing fit. Yukari Kotozume puts her iris-embroidered handkerchief to her lips for a while.
"Are you all right?" the redhead, startled, turns around.
"Right... as rain," the other maiden's voice is slightly broken, reassuring Akira. "Just a spark from the fire." Then she gently opens the cupboard doors and takes up the sugar loaf.
If only they knew... It was not a spark from the fire at all, and that cough had not dislodged it; for it was and is a spark of the Snow Queen's mirror, that Mirror of Truth and Reason, which only shows reality as it is (remember it?), and which the wistful heiress has just breathed in, as intended... and, furthermore, that coughing fit has done nothing to expel the shard from Yukari's system at all, sucking instead the little crystal needle deeper in, into one of her lungs, even into her bloodstream, coursing --within the instant it takes for a young heart to throb once-- down surging rapids through a crescent valve, then rushing through a larger and more powerful one, shaped like an upturned bicorn hat... into the warm, rose-red recesses of the left ventricle, where, as the valve shuts, in a nook where two heartstrings branch off from one another, the mirror shard plunges, lodging itself there. Pretty soon, at least the left half of Yukari Kotozume's heart will become a lump of ice.
In response, the light-headed heiress feels a stabbing pain, like an icy bayonet, in the middle of her chest; and her good arm, her left arm, wavers with the same intense pain, dropping the sugar cone on the parquet floor, as she grasps the table with her right hand only, pale as her apron and gasping for breath. The pain will subside after a while, but the shard will still be there, gradually turning that heart into a lump of ice encased in steel.
Now Akira is understandably far more concerned than before, even turning as pale as her sweetheart. She is relieved as Yukari stands up, breathing normally, yet her face strangely pale and a piercing look in her eyes...
"Hoo hoo hoo hoo", a familiar noblewoman's laugh rings out, this time with a cold ring to it. "Why should I be doing this chore in the first place?" She gracefully kicks the sugar loaf, which Akira luckily picks up as Yukari, leaving for the estate and looking over her shoulder as she upturns the basket of chestnuts, replies with another piercing glare: "Keep on with those messy nuts, my dear peasant... let's see if I ever dare to come here tomorrow..."
Turning her back, the heiress shuts the door in her red-haired sweetheart's face, while Akira, stirring the syrup after having gathered the nuts, looks puzzled on.
The next day, after finally getting a familiar knock at the threshold and Yukari at the door, our red-haired shero gets surprised when the other maiden has brought no spices and says she will only watch, not wishing to stain her precious fingers or her precious dress --even though Akira's brought her the usual apron!-- with that sticky, messy syrup. So our redhead has to make that batch of spiceless marrons glacés all on her own, while feeling watched over and an icy presence at the nape of her neck.
Upon returning home to the estate, and being told by her lady grandmother to read those Shakespeare verses from Romeo and Juliet that she was meant to study, Yukari shuts the folio in the old dowager's face and replies with the objection that literature is too painful for her. "Even Shakespeare?" No reply but a piercing glare, leaving Lady Kotozume puzzled as well.
"Othello," the heiress finally replies, looking over her shoulder. "Iago's part." It sounds far more like a command than like a courteous request.
She delivers the lines coldly, with a sinister sneer that would even have taken the real Iago by surprise. "I am not what I am." "I much show out a flag and sign of love; which is but sign." "If the balance of our lives had not one scale of reason to poise another of sensuality, the blood and baseness of our natures would conduct us to most preposterous conclusions." "Do it not with poison; strangle her in her bed."
Then, wondering whether she'll cast Akira as Othello, Cassio, or Roderigo (all three are flawed: that clingy commander, that lush of a lieutenant, that foolish fop!) the next time that the redhead comes, she shuts the folio once more. The part of Iago is the best one in the frozenhearted maiden's eyes; an emotionless, ruthless schemer indeed. Everyone else, in both the play and in real life, is flawed in one way or another... because of their feelings. That is what leads the schemer to tear them apart and take on them one by one. Peering at herself in the bedchamber mirror right before going to bed, she admits that she is flawless herself. Just like Iago. Everyone else is made for pulling their strings...
The next day, Akira visits the Kotozume estate, to find Yukari in the drawing room with an open folio. "I had been waiting for you." She has been perusing many Iago-centric conversations in the play all morning long, to see which one would do best to trick that tall, mannish redhead with her skin so burned in the sun.