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Thread: Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle Fanfiction: Through the Looking Glass

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    Junior Member ggctuk is on a distinguished road ggctuk's Avatar
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    Default Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle Fanfiction: Through the Looking Glass

    NOTE: This is the first story of a planned-three story set. It requeires you to have read Tsubasa Chronicle (or watched, it doesn't matter) up past 'Piffle World', or things may not make much sense. Also I split this story into two to get on with the 'Syaoran=Syaoran Li' plot. So please don't complain if I don't explain things here. I also won't be posting the outtro chapter endings that I normally do on FF.net (which is where the original version is).

    Rating: 12+ (I'm English, so we use a visually-age based system). Mild violence and possible language.

    Disclaimers: I don’t own Cardcaptor Sakura, Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle or Chobits, or any other crossovers which may appear, but the three OC villains are mine.

    The Sacrifice

    Darkness and total despair had rocked the town of Tomoeda once again.
    Two twelve-year-olds ran for their lives as explosions rocked around them.
    “Run!” Syaoran yelled to Sakura, “Run, Sakura-chan!”
    “What about you, Syaoran-kun?” Sakura Kinomoto ran as fast she could as the darkness loomed overhead.
    “I’ll defeat the Second Brother.” Syaoran turned and unsheathed his sword. He turned to face the gigantic shifting creature that called itself Tamaso, and he stepped forward.
    “Your reign and the reign of your brothers ends here!” Syaoran shouted, “You will not harm my friends any more!”
    “H-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA…” the expanding mass chuckled in a loud voice, “I HAVE MADE YOUR LAND WORSE THAN THE NOTHING COULD DO, AND YET YOU DEFY ME. VERY WELL, MORTAL. I WILL KILL YOU.”
    “Not if I get there first…” Syaoran grabbed a small scroll, “Raitei Shourai!” Syaoran attacked with a lightning-based spell, but the attack merely dissolved into the mass.
    “Damn it!” Syaoran cursed, “I’ll have to try something else! Suiryuu Shourai!” Syaoran unleashed his water spell at Tamaso, but again, the water spell seemed useless.
    “TRY IT ALL YOU LIKE.” Tamaso taunted, “THERE IS NOT A SPELL IN THE WORLD TO DEFEAT ME.”
    “Kashin Shourai!” Syaoran attacked again, but again, the fire attack was seemingly dissolved. His last spell he knew would be useless.
    “IT IS OVER.” Tamaso muttered, “I’LL GIVE YOU THE CHANCE TO SURRENDER!”
    Syaoran stood his ground.
    “Syaoran!” Sakura ran towards him. She grabbed him.
    “Sakura!” Syaoran tried to shake her off, “Get off! Get out of here!”
    “Not without you!” Sakura tried to pull Syaoran away, “Not without you!”
    Syaoran forced Sakura’s hand.
    “GO!” Syaoran yelled, “I couldn’t bear to see you hurt again, even if I should lose my life!”
    “No!” Sakura got up and held the Star Wand, “No! I don’t want to lose you again!”
    Sakura cried out and summoned a card – The Hope.
    “What’s…” Syaoran stared down, “What’s this?”
    “It’s hope…” Sakura began to cry, “Hope that you’ll be safe…”
    “I somehow…” Syaoran felt his own chest, “Something’s different…”
    Syaoran span round and picked up all four of his scrolls. The scrolls vanished and the light from them merged into Syaoran himself.
    “Now, TAKE THIS!” Syaoran yelled, and he attacked using all four of his spells at the same time. The massive energy struck the centre of Tamaso and it began to collapse.
    Syaoran appeared to collapse to the ground and Sakura ran over.
    “NOO!” Tamaso yelled, “THIS ISN’T THE END! I’LL TAKE YOU WITH ME! AAAAAAGGGHH!”
    First, Tamaso imploded, then exploded, sending a massive wave across Tomoeda.
    “Get out of here…” Syaoran told Sakura.
    “No!” Sakura cried, “No! Not without you!”
    “I’ll slow you down… that wave will destroy us both, and then who will be left to face the last Brother…?” Syaoran whispered, “Go!”
    “No!” Sakura grabbed Syaoran’s arm, but Syaoran whipped his sword and stopped it short of his own arm.
    “Get off…” Syaoran demanded, “Get out of here… I want you to be alive… it doesn’t matter to me if I die… but even if I do I can’t let you die…”
    “no…” Sakura whispered.
    “DO IT!” Syaoran shouted with the last of his strength, “GET OUT!”
    Sakura jumped back, and Syaoran attempted to stand, but he had to lean on his sword to get up.
    Sakura watched as the shockwave neared, and did Syaoran the last favour she knew she would do for him. She ran. She ran for her life.
    “Take me, then…” Syaoran snarled.
    The shockwave finally struck and Syaoran shut his eyes.
    “SYAORAN!” Sakura screamed as the shockwave died down. When it was gone, there wasn’t even a body.
    No trace of Syaoran at all.
    And as if to mirror Sakura’s sorrow, rain started to pour.
    Keroberos and Yue landed next to their mistress.
    “He may have been a brat kid…” Keroberos said, “But I don’t think he deserved that…”
    Yue stared at the space Syaoran had been. It felt far too strange… it was the feeling that he was gone… but in a different way.

    “The plan shall begin now…” Fei Wong Reed stated, placing a brown-haired boy into a stasis chamber after tattooing him and placing a spell which made him forget his past.
    Last edited by ggctuk; 04-02-2008 at 05:52 AM.

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    Junior Member ggctuk is on a distinguished road ggctuk's Avatar
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    ‘Darkness does not necessarily mean evil... just like Light doesn’t necessarily mean good...’ – Sad to Syaoran.

    Arrival at Tomoeda and Origin

    Sakura cried out and summoned a card – The Hope.
    “What’s…” Syaoran stared down, “What’s this?”
    “It’s hope…” Sakura began to cry, “Hope that you’ll be safe…”
    “I somehow…” Syaoran felt his own chest, “Something’s different…”
    Syaoran span round and picked up all four of his scrolls. The scrolls vanished and the light from them merged into Syaoran himself.
    “Now, TAKE THIS!” Syaoran yelled, and he attacked using all four of his spells at the same time. The massive energy struck the centre of Tamaso and it began to collapse.
    Syaoran appeared to collapse to the ground and Sakura ran over.
    “NOO!” Tamaso yelled, “THIS ISN’T THE END! I’LL TAKE YOU WITH ME! AAAAAAGGGHH!”
    First, Tamaso imploded, then exploded, sending a massive wave across Tomoeda.
    “Get out of here…” Syaoran told Sakura.
    “No!” Sakura cried, “No! Not without you!”
    “I’ll slow you down… that wave will destroy us both, and then who will be left to face the last Brother…?” Syaoran whispered, “Go!”
    “No!” Sakura grabbed Syaoran’s arm, but Syaoran whipped his sword and stopped it short of his own arm.
    “Get off…” Syaoran demanded, “Get out of here… I want you to be alive… it doesn’t matter to me if I die… but even if I do I can’t let you die…”
    “no…” Sakura whispered.
    “DO IT!” Syaoran shouted with the last of his strength, “GET OUT!”
    Sakura jumped back, and Syaoran attempted to stand, but he had to lean on his sword to get up.
    Sakura watched as the shockwave neared, and did Syaoran the last favour she knew she would do for him. She ran. She ran for her life.
    “Take me, then…” Syaoran snarled.
    The shockwave finally struck and Syaoran shut his eyes.
    “SYAORAN!” Sakura screamed as the shockwave died down. When it was gone, there wasn’t even a body.
    No trace of Syaoran at all.
    And as if to mirror Sakura’s sorrow, rain started to pour.
    Keroberos and Yue landed next to their mistress.
    “He may have been a brat kid…” Keroberos said, “But I don’t think he deserved that…”
    Yue stared at the space Syaoran had been. It felt far too strange… it was the feeling that he was gone… but in a different way.

    “The plan shall begin now…” Fei Wong Reed stated, placing a brown-haired boy into a stasis chamber after tattooing him and placing a spell which made him forget his past.

    SEVERAL YEARS LATER… AND A FEW WEEKS BEFORE…

    “I hope there’s a soft landing for Kuro-woofy’s sake!” Fai teased.
    “How many times!” Kurogane roared, “It’s Kurogane! KUROGANE!”
    “Brace yourselves!” Syaoran took Sakura close to him so he would bear the brunt of the impact.
    Sure enough, they fell out of the sky, but the landing was a small lake of water. Everyone crashed through the surface. Syaoran hauled Sakura up to the surface and then surfaced himself.
    “Well, at least it was a soft landing.” Syaoran said. Kurogane and Fai surfaced, and Mokona landed on Fai’s head.
    “Mokona made sure you got a safe landing this time!” Mokona bounced.
    “Soaked!” Kurogane yelled, “And these were new clothes as well!”
    “Ah, don’t worry, Kuro-puu, I’m sure there’s a shop round here where they do your clothes size!” Fai said teasingly.
    “My name is KUROGANE!” Kurogane shouted, “Ku-ro-ga-ne!”
    “So, Ku-Ro-Ga-Ne…” Fai said, placing emphasis on each syllable, “What do you suggest we do now?”
    “We need to get out of this water first.” Syaoran looked down at his reflection, “And find out where we are...”
    “We are in Mokona’s homeworld!” Mokona danced happily across Kurogane’s head, much to his annoyance.
    “Why did you bring us here?” Kurogane asked, attempting to stop Mokona dancing on his head.
    “Mokona can’t control where we all go!” Mokona leaped to Fai, “Mokona also knows who’s in this world other than Yūko-san!”
    “Who?” Fai asked.
    “Mokona can’t tell!” Mokona sang, “It’s a secret!”
    Everyone got out of the lake they had landed in. Syaoran instinctively looked for some help. Sakura, not wanting to be left alone, followed him.
    “Where exactly are we?” Kurogane thought aloud.
    “I can’t read this sign.” Fai looked at a sign with strange writing. Kurogane had a look.
    “Tomoeda.” Kurogane read.
    “Wow, Kuro-puu knows that?” Fai continued his teasing.
    Kurogane clenched his teeth but bit back the remark.
    “The language is similar to our world’s language.” Kurogane remarked.

    Syaoran and Sakura wandered the streets, getting occasional strange stares from some of the locals.
    “Some of these are looks of familiarity.” Syaoran noticed, “I’d like to know what that meant.”
    “Out of the way, monster!” a familiar voice yelled, and both Sakura and Syaoran separated to let a cyclist through, but he stopped and stared at the pair.
    It was King Touya, or rather an alternative version of Touya.
    “Touya-kun...” Sakura recognised, “Stop calling me that!”
    Syaoran couldn’t help but smile. It would appear that the Touya in this world was as much related to a Sakura of this world as Sakura herself.
    Touya’s gaze pierced through Sakura. As if Touya knew that this wasn’t who he thought it was. Her height mainly gave it away.
    “Coming through!” another voice yelled, and a young girl zipped past on what appeared to be shoes with wheels attached to the bottom of them.
    This seemed to be enough for Touya to start asking questions.
    “Who are you?” Touya asked, “Why do you look exactly like Sakura and her brat boyfriend?”
    Sakura and Syaoran blushed.
    “D… did you just say…?” Syaoran stuttered slightly.
    “Touya-kun!” another familiar voice called, and everyone turned to see Yukito rushing towards them.
    “Hello, Sakura-san, Syaoran-kun.” Yukito looked at the pair, “Touya, relax. They’re from another world.”
    Sakura and Syaoran blinked. They were being addressed both in the same way – that Yukito knew who they were and yet they had not met before.
    “How would you know that?” Syaoran asked.
    “Because my other self told me.” Yukito replied, referring to his true form, “There is a lot to explain. It might be weird if you bump into your other selves here. For the time being I would suggest staying out of the sight of your others. They might mistake you for a new enemy. Especially Li-kun, who’s suddenly suspicious of things like… this.”
    “Where do you suggest we go?” Syaoran asked, “We have a few more members of our group.”
    “The mage and the ninja?” Touya added, and Sakura and Syaoran nodded, “They are staying in a small hotel just south of here. You can’t miss it. It’s the only one there.”
    “Thank you, Touya-san.” Syaoran bowed.
    “I hope you find what you came here for.” Yukito smiled.
    “Thank you.” Syaoran repeated, bowing again. He and Sakura watched as Yukito and Touya rode away.

    “So this world has another me...” Sakura thought aloud.
    It was night now. Both Sakura and Syaoran were on the balcony of the hotel, watching the stars. Sakura didn’t know why, but she felt like she really wanted to do this.
    “Well, we came across so many versions of other people we each know already, why not us?” Syaoran answered. He took a small sip out of the glass he was holding. Kurogane had made sure that there were no alcoholic drinks this time around.
    “Mokona’s not picked up a feather’s presence yet.” Syaoran closed his eyes for a moment, to briefly evaluate the events that had happened thus far.
    “Syaoran-kun?” Sakura snapped Syaoran out of his thoughts.
    “Yes, Hime?” Syaoran looked at her.
    “Is it me or does it seem like… something has happened here lately?” Sakura looked around.
    “I know what you mean…” Syaoran looked over the balcony, “It feels like all this was somehow destroyed and then returned.”
    “How can we be sure that a feather is here?” Sakura asked.
    “Mokona brings us to dimensions where there is a feather.” Syaoran answered, “I guess a feather had landed here after we left here. But why can’t he sense it…?”
    “Perhaps there’s other powers here masking the feather’s presence.” Sakura pondered, “Like when we were in the country with Chu’nyan-chan…”
    Somehow the starlight seemed to highlight Sakura’s face. Syaoran noticed the beauty, but knew not to comment. Sakura would probably try to remember him again, and then she would swiftly lose the memory like she did in Otō Country.
    After a painfully long silence, Syaoran got up.
    “I’m going inside.” Syaoran stated, “You’ll need some rest too, Sakura-Hime. We have a big day of searching tomorrow.”
    “Okay…” Sakura got up and followed him inside.

    The next morning found Syaoran up earlier than everyone else. Due to the fact that they had to share two rooms, Fai and Kurogane were in one room, and Syaoran and Sakura in the other, so Syaoran could look out for her.
    Syaoran stared out over the town of Tomoeda and sighed. Something about this place seemed familiar to him somehow.
    His right eye somehow sparked and he instantly reached up to it.
    “Syaoran-kun?” a soft voice called behind him. He turned to see Sakura, still dressed in her nightwear.
    “Is something wrong, Sakura-Hime?” Syaoran asked.
    “I saw you outside…” Sakura stood next to him, “Did you sleep at all last night?”
    Syaoran sighed heavily.
    “I haven’t been sleeping when I don’t need to.” Syaoran admitted.
    “Why?” Sakura asked.
    “Because of you…” Syaoran looked at her, “Because I am worried about you. I want you to be safe.” ‘I’ve always looked out for you…’
    Sakura looked away. Every time she tried to think back into the past she found the empty chair… the empty house… the photo of Fujitaka, but despite him appearing to hold someone, there was nobody in the picture aside from him… there was always a memory of someone she was talking to, and yet there was no-one there. Sakura kept thinking that whenever she tried to fill that void the answer would be taken from her. For the moment she tried hard not to think about it.
    Syaoran smiled understandingly. Sakura’s heart seemed to skip a beat. Syaoran left Sakura on the balcony for the moment.
    Syaoran and Sakura met Fai and Kurogane outside. Mokona sat on Fai’s head.
    “Mokona, if we’re here, there has to be a feather near us.” Syaoran asked.
    “Mokona can’t sense it very well here.” Mokona admitted, “Though Mokona does feel a powerful presence.”
    “What kind of presence?” Fai wondered.
    “It feels like a great power came through here recently.” Mokona shook a little.
    “Great power, huh?” Kurogane looked around.
    “It does feel like it’s all been wiped out and then restored.” Fai mentioned.
    “But what kind of being could have that kind of power?” Syaoran wondered aloud.
    “It was something called Nothing!” Mokona danced.
    “Start making sense!” Kurogane made to swipe Mokona. Mokona flew happily over Kurogane’s head and into Sakura’s arms.
    “What do we do now?” Sakura asked.
    “We find the feather.” Syaoran answered, “Mokona, can you put us through to Yūko-san?”
    “Mokona can!” Mokona projected a beam from the gem on his forehead and a projection of Yūko Ichihara.
    “What seems to be the problem?” Yūko asked.
    “We feel something has happened to this world lately.” Syaoran asked, “According to Mokona we’re back where we started.”
    Yūko sighed.
    “Yes, there was a great incident here recently.” Yūko replied, “I would usually charge a price for information, but this is no secret to most people here, so I might as well charge as minimal as I can. Give me information about the ruins in Clow Country and I’ll give you this information.”
    “Agreed.” Syaoran nodded, and his vision flashed for a moment as Yūko took her price (a copy of the information about the ruins in Clow Country).
    “Now, what happened here recently...” Yūko began “Was the work of a Clow Card known as The Nothing.”
    “Clow Card?” Sakura asked.
    “This dimension’s Clow Reed was a very powerful sorcerer who created fifty-three cards known as Clow Cards. The first fifty-two each contained a unique power, but the fifty-third was the most destructive. The Nothing destroyed anything it touched. For that reason, Clow sealed it away under his mansion, but when the Clow Cards were transformed by an aspiring young sorceress by the name of Kinomoto The Nothing was set free. The entire city fell victim to it as it took the Sakura Cards back.”
    “Sakura cards?” Sakura blinked.
    Yūko smiled a disarming smile.
    “The name of the cards is the same as their master or mistress.” Yūko stated, “In other words, Kinomoto Sakura is your other self in this world.”
    “That would explain why Touya-kun and Yukito-san thought they recognised me.” Sakura looked around, “But... will I meet her?”
    Yūko didn’t move.
    “For the moment...” Yūko mused, “I think it best not to guide your hand. Allow fate to cross your path, before you run out of things you can pay with.”
    Yūko disappeared.
    “That was very helpful of her.” Kurogane growled sarcastically.
    “It was actually, Kuro-pii.” Fai smiled, “It means we might be bumping into some familiar people who can help us find the feather.”

    Sakura Kinomoto winced when she took her sweater off as it passed over her bandaged right arm.
    “I told you the stairs would come back.” Syaoran Li stated playfully.
    “Aww...” Sakura looked at the broken arm, “And that was my Wand arm too. Though the pain was worth it. I wouldn’t have stood it if you were gone…”
    Syaoran didn’t reply. Sakura took out the new card formed.
    The Hope.
    “I created a card…” Sakura looked at the card formed from the nameless card and The Nothing, “This card wasn’t just turned into a Sakura card, but merged with one I had created…”
    “Yeah…” Syaoran replied, “But now we don’t have any more Clow Cards to capture.”
    Sakura sighed.
    “Is something wrong?” Syaoran asked. Sakura looked at him.
    “I just got this feeling that we’re not quite out of the woods just yet.” Sakura replied.
    “What do you mean?” Syaoran asked.
    “It’s like... the ground’s going to shatter from underneath us.” Sakura replied. Syaoran took her hand.
    “Listen, Sakura-chan...” Syaoran began, “Don’t worry about it. I won’t let anything happen to you again. I promise.”
    Sakura blushed.
    “Oh, Syaoran...” Sakura sighed.
    Something landed on Syaoran’s head and he shook it off. Sakura and Syaoran watched the item – a feather with a strange red pattern – fall to the ground.
    “Oh!” Sakura went to pick it up, “What a strange-looking feather!”
    The moment she touched it, her vision flashed. It was similar to when a Clow Card had appeared in the past, however, it certainly was not magic like Clow Reed’s or her own.
    She saw for a brief moment what appeared to be herself standing in front of an ornately dressed Touya and Yukito. The flash ended and she dropped the feather.
    “What is it?” Syaoran asked.
    “I saw something…” Sakura didn’t touch the feather, “A great power surged through me.”
    Syaoran picked the feather up.
    “It doesn’t look dangerous.” Syaoran examined the feather, and then placed it in Sakura’s hands, “It reacted to you.”
    This time, the feather sat limply in Sakura’s hands. She stared at the strange red patterns on it before placing it carefully into her pocket.

    “So what do you want to do now, brother?” a young man stood watching the city of Tokyo.
    “What we came here to do.” The middle one stated, “We came here to spread the truth of darkness across the world. What better place to begin than the birthplace of great sorcerers?”
    “Tamaso, you’re so eager.” Asato teased.
    “You dealt with our counterparts?” Mrtyor asked.
    “Sad, Jyotir and Myrtam are sealed away.” Tamaso confirmed, “The seal wasn’t very powerful but it’s the best I could come up with under such short circumstances. They’ll most likely break it and try to thwart us like in the last realm.”
    “Let me go first.” Asato smiled disarmingly.
    Mrtyor stared at his youngest brother.
    “Asato, this must be thoroughly planned.” Mrtyor stated, “If it isn’t we might fail.”
    “Don’t worry.” Asato glared at his oldest brother, “Even the magics of the great Clow Reed cannot possibly hope to match us.”
    “Don’t underestimate them either.” Tamaso warned, “The magic of Clow may have been split, but the magic of Sakura Kinomoto grows.”
    “We’ll just have to see about that...” Asato began to pet a strange animal that resemble a dog with a curved snout and square-tipped ears, “Isn’t that right, Sutekh?”
    The strange animal growled as if agreeing.
    “With this…” Asato pulled out a small feather marked with a red pattern, “There’s not a hell’s hope of defeating me.”
    “Remember our deal with him...” Tamaso reminded Asato, “The girl must not be harmed.”
    “I have half a mind to say screw the deal.” Asato remarked, “But... he is very powerful. I’ll keep the deal in mind... for now...”
    Asato and his strange animal wandered away from the other two brothers.

    Syaoran, Sakura, Fai and Kurogane left the hotel and stood on a street corner. Yukito and Touya had sent clothing of this world, though they were on their own to find the feather, and they had no money, though Yukito knew the owner of the hotel, so they were sorted for a while.
    Fai had bought a map of the town. Mokona looked around and then went mekkyon, symbolising that one of Sakura’s feathers was nearby.
    “That quick, huh?” Kurogane growled, “Where?”
    “Nearby...” Mokona replied, and he turned in one direction.
    “Coming through!” a female voice shouted and the group split up in time to see a young girl on rollerblades rush by.
    “Mokona sensed the feather!” Mokona stated, “The girl who went by has it!”
    Everyone stared for a moment, and then Syaoran grabbed Sakura’s arm and ran full-pelt after the girl.
    “Wait!” Syaoran yelled.
    “I suppose it might be easier just this once.” Fai smiled.
    “Wait!” Syaoran yelled, and the young girl stopped as though she recognised the voice. She turned.
    And Syaoran was so shocked to see a younger Sakura-Hime that he stopped dead, and Kurogane and Fai crashed into him.
    “Hey!” Kurogane got up off both Fai and Syaoran, “What did you stop suddenly for, kid?!”
    And then he looked at the young girl.
    “Hoe?” she said, confused.
    “Oh, this must be the other Sakura-Hime.” Fai stood up, brushing a little dirt from his blonde hair.
    “Sakura-chan!” another voice familiar to them called out, and a young girl with flowing black hair ran towards them. Her reaction was the same as the group’s reaction.
    “Tomoyo-Hime’s another self again?” Kurogane stared at the young girl.
    “Tomoyo Daidōji-san?” Fai asked.
    “How did you know my name?” the young girl asked.
    “Forgive us?” Fai smiled, “It’s rather difficult to explain why there are two Sakuras here, and an older Syaoran-kun…”
    “Eh-heh!” Mokona bounced onto Tomoyo’s head, “The other Sakura-chan has the feather! Mokona feels it!”
    Tomoyo picked Mokona up off her head and looked curiously at the small white thing.
    “What is this?” Tomoyo asked.
    “Mokona is Mokona!” Mokona beamed at the young girl.
    “I wonder how different this Tomoyo-chan is to the last?” Fai smiled again.
    “What do you mean?” Tomoyo asked.
    “You’re younger, but the last one filmed Sakura-chan and made her a costume for the Dragonfly race… even calling her ‘her cute Sakura-chan’.” Fai elaborated, and both Kinomoto and Daidōji blushed. All the response Fai needed to know this world was not that different from the last.
    Kurogane squinted at the young girl.
    “Definitely different from Tomoyo-Hime.” Kurogane settled back, “Hime has more calm.”
    Daidōji seemed a little flustered by the statement.
    “Feather!” Mokona bounced onto Kinomoto’s hat.
    “Hoe?” Sakura looked up.
    “Sakura-chan has the feather!” Mokona announced. Both Sakuras blinked whilst staring at each other.
    “You mean this?” Kinomoto pulled a feather out of her pocket.
    “Sakura-Hime’s memory…” Syaoran recognised, “Can she have that back?”
    Sakura and Kinomoto continued to look at each other.
    “Hey!” another voice yelled, “Sakura, where have you been?”
    A young boy that looked strikingly like a younger Syaoran approached the group. He too stopped dead upon seeing his double.
    And then the older Syaoran yelled and grabbed his face round his right eye.
    A brief flash and he saw the tattooed figure again.
    The one that looked exactly like him. He saw only his figure from a distance, but he was sure. There was no mistaking the hair or face, even from a distance.
    “Syaoran-kun!” Sakura rushed over to him. She placed her hand over his, and Syaoran seemed to calm down after a few seconds and he let his hand fall, but his right eye was twitching slightly.
    “Are you okay, Syaoran-kun?” Sakura asked.
    “I’ll be fine…” Syaoran stood up.
    “What is going on?” the younger Syaoran asked.
    “Let us introduce ourselves.” Fai bowed, “I am Fai Fluorite, this is Kuro-pii…”
    “KUROGANE!” Kurogane roared.
    “… who’s grouchy a lot of the time.” Fai smiled, “This is Sakura-Hime and Syaoran-kun. Currently we’re trying to find Sakura-Hime’s memories in the form of those feathers.”
    “Wow, this might be confusing…” the younger Syaoran stated.
    “I see.” Tomoyo stated, “Well, I am Tomoyo Daidōji, and this is Sakura Kinomoto, and Syaoran Li.”
    “Li-kun, Kinomoto-chan and Daidōji-chan…” Fai smiled wider, and then added a playful note “Our big family is growing bigger, isn’t it, Kuro-Daddy?”
    “STOP IT WITH THE STUPID NAMES!!” Kurogane boomed, but too late to stop Kinomoto and Daidōji giggling.
    “Oh, right…” Kinomoto remembered the feather in her hand.
    “Well, I guess since we found the feather…” Syaoran stated.
    Then Mokona went mekkyon again.
    “Another feather?” Syaoran asked.
    “Yes…” Mokona replied, “But Mokona can’t locate it this time…”
    “I’ll find it!” Kinomoto responded and she pulled a small key from round her neck, “Key which hides the power of the stars, reveal your true form before me. I, Sakura, under our contract, command you… RELEASE!”
    The key turned into a staff.
    “Handy.” Fai’s eyes widened.
    “I’ve learned to be careful since The Nothing.” Kinomoto replied.
    “Well, it would seem that Kinomoto-chan is as resourceful as Sakura-Hime.” Fai smiled, “Even though she’s without her memories.”
    “Mokona senses a strange power...” Mokona stated, “It’s getting closer?”
    “Sakura’s feather?” Syaoran asked.
    “Mokona doesn’t know...” Mokona stated, “Mokona’s unable to locate the source...”

    Asato stared down from a nearby tree at the small group gathered there.
    “Two of them?” Asato wondered, “Two Lis and two Kinomotos? This must be the doing of the Dimensional witch... Though he did warn this might happen since the path he set is now broken... What do you think, Sutekh?”
    The animal crooned.
    “Neither of them must be hurt...” Asato pouted, “That’s such a shame... I was looking forward to this... But there was no condition about hurting the others... though, what point is there hurting the Other? He’s in delusion already.”
    The animal growled as if agreeing.
    “Ah, well...” Asato summoned a staff, “I guess the time has come...”
    With that, Asato leaped down from his vantage point to the ground.

    “The deal you struck with those three...” Xing Huo asked, “Was it really wise?”
    “They will find her...” Fei Wong Reed answered, “And they will find her feathers as well... The Other is becoming redundant and faulty...”
    Fei Wong Reed looked at the figure in the stasis tube.
    “The time draws near...” Fei Wong Reed smirked, “Soon, the power will be mine...”

  3. #3
    Junior Member ggctuk is on a distinguished road ggctuk's Avatar
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    ‘Asato ma sad gamaya… Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya… Mrtyor mamrtam gamaya’
    ‘From delusion lead me to truth… From darkness lead me to light… From death lead me to immortality.’

    Neodämmerung, verse 1.

    A/N – This will help against the character confusion (I hope). This is a list of how I refer to the characters:

    Syaoran – Tsubasa Syaoran
    Li – Syaoran Li
    Sakura – Princess Sakura
    Kinomoto – Sakura Kinomoto

    Delusion

    “Where are you staying?” Tomoyo asked.
    “In a hotel not far from here…” Syaoran replied.
    “I have an idea!” Tomoyo beamed, “Why don’t you stay with us?”
    “Hoe?” Kinomoto looked at Tomoyo.
    “Yeah, and how do you explain all this?” Li asked, “‘Otō-san, do you mind if another me from another reality stays here for a few days?’”
    “You can be infuriating at times, you know that?” Kinomoto glared at Li.
    “We don’t want to burden you…” Syaoran began.
    “Nonsense!” Tomoyo replied happily.
    “I ain’t staying with another Tomoyo…” Kurogane growled.
    “Still sore from the loss of the Dragonfly race, Kuro-wan-wan?” Fai teased.
    “SHUT UP!” Kurogane roared.
    “Don’t mind him.” Fai smiled, “He’s still sore from the fact the last Tomoyo Daidōji we met rigged a race that he lost.”
    “Hoe?” Kinomoto looked at Tomoyo again, “Tomoyo-chan would never do something like that, I’m sure.”
    “She didn’t do it maliciously.” Sakura said, “She wanted to flush out a cheat, and she didn’t rig it in my favour either… she knew I would win it without her help, but she knew what she had done.”
    “That way, I guess she could figure out if somebody rigged other things.” Li realized.
    “Yes, well enough about us…” Kurogane turned away.
    “Do you really think there’s another feather?” Tomoyo asked.
    “Mokona would have taken us elsewhere by now if there wasn’t…” Syaoran answered.
    “True…” Fai nodded, “Ah, well, I suppose this is the opportunity for Kuro-puppy to get to know Tomoyo Daidōji better!”
    “Shut your trap-hole, mage.” Kurogane growled.
    “Yep…” Fai’s smile widened, “Poor Kuro-chan’s still hopping mad at Tomoyo’s deception.”
    “Kurogane’s mad!” Mokona hopped around on Kurogane’s head, who tried to bat him off.
    Tomoyo smiled.
    “I’m sure that she meant nothing bad by it.” Tomoyo stated.
    “Come to think of it…” Fai wondered, “Has Tomoyo-Hime been in contact with you? In a dream, were you looking into a mirror where you were dressed differently?”
    “I can’t say I have.” Tomoyo replied.
    “Okay…” Fai smiled, “Don’t be freaked out if you do, though. It’s just Tomoyo-Hime teasing Kurogane.”
    “Like you do!” Kurogane roared.

    Later that evening, where everyone would be staying was decided. Sakura would stay with Sakura Kinomoto, Syaoran with Li, and Fai and Kurogane with Tomoyo and her mother. Mokona stayed with Sakura, but everyone else had paid a small price to Yūko so that they could speak to the others.
    At Syaoran Li’s apartment, Syaoran stared out of the window.
    ‘Why do I get the feeling I know this place?’ Syaoran thought to himself. He held a drink in his hand.
    “Are you okay?” Li asked.
    “Fine, thanks.” Syaoran replied, “Just thinking.”
    “About Sakura-Hime?” Li asked, “You care a lot about her, don’t you?”
    Syaoran didn’t answer.
    “Have you told her?”
    “No.”
    “How come?”
    “Because…” Syaoran did not look at Li, “Because that is the price I have paid to the Dimensional Witch so I can retrieve Sakura-Hime’s feathers. My prior relationship to her. Even if someone tells her or even if she figures it out, she loses the memory.”
    “That’s awful.” Li stated.
    “I know…” Syaoran sighed, “Do me a favour. Never, ever let your Sakura get into this kind of trouble.”
    “I won’t.” Li nodded.
    The door clicked open and a young girl with an odango hairstyle walked in.
    “Syaoran-kun, I have your…” the girl stopped when she saw Syaoran and Li on the balcony, “Who is this?”
    Syaoran turned around.
    “My name is Syaoran.” Syaoran introduced himself.
    “No way…” the young girl’s eyes widened a little.
    “She’s my cousin.” Li stated, “This is Meilin Li. Meilin, this is me from another dimension.”
    “How strange…” Meilin settled down, “So, another Syaoran-kun, do you have a surname?”
    “Yes…” Syaoran’s eyes widened, “That of my adoptive father – Fujitaka Kinomoto.”
    “Huh?” Meilin looked confused.
    “Well, Sakura-Hime is Sakura Reed.” Syaoran stated defensively, “The daughter of the former king, Clow Reed.”
    “This just gets stranger.” Meilin shut her eyes and put her hands on her temples.
    “I know about the Clow Reed of this world.” Syaoran shook his head, “And how he created fifty-three Clow Cards that now rest with Kinomoto-san.”
    “Well, in this world, I am a direct descendant of Clow Reed, and Sakura-chan is the daughter of Fujitaka Kinomoto-san.” Li elaborated.
    “Well, if Sakura is capable of holding the Clow Cards, then she must also be a direct descendant, right?” Syaoran suggested.
    “How exactly do these things happen?” Meilin asked.
    “I have absolutely no idea…” Syaoran admitted, “If I knew, I’d have saved Sakura-Hime before her feathers scattered everywhere.”
    “I’m sorry…” Li stated, “I wish there was something I could do.”
    “There is.” Syaoran looked at Li, “Never, ever allow your Sakura into that type of danger.”
    “I won’t.” Li promised. For a moment, there was silence.
    “Those feathers… I think they react to any Sakura…” Syaoran wondered, “Since we haven’t come across other versions of ourselves until now... we don’t know if that’s the case or not.”
    “Now that you mention it…” Li noted, “The feather Sakura picked up had some strange effect on her. She said she saw somebody who looked like Yukito-san and Touya-san.”
    “Curious…” Syaoran stated, “Yukito-san is a priest in our world, and Touya-sama is king.”
    “May the Kamis help your country.” Li looked away. Syaoran chuckled.
    “Indeed.” He finished.

    “No way!” Kurogane growled, “I’ll sleep on my own, thank you.”
    “Oh, come on, Kuro-daddy!” Fai chuckled, “Someone’s got to keep poor Tomoyo-chan company.”
    “You do it then.” Kurogane turned away.
    “But Kuro-chan might feel better with someone who looks like his Tomoyo-Hime.” Fai pouted. Kurogane turned and headed for Fai.

    “I’m home!” Sakura called out.
    “Welcome back.” Her father greeted her.
    “Um, Otō-san...” Sakura began, “Is it alright if a friend stays over? She has nowhere to go.”
    “It’s fine with me.” Fujitaka smiled, and he entered the living room. He didn’t seem all that surprised that there were two Sakuras at first.
    “Can I ask your friend’s name?” Fujitaka asked, “Or is it Sakura?”
    “It’s the monster, as always.” Touya yelled from the kitchen.
    “I’ll show you a monster!” Sakura Kinomoto started forward, but the other Sakura grabbed her shoulder and shook her head.
    “Touya back home is the same as that.” Sakura stated, “I might not have all my memories back, but Oni-chan is just like that, despite being the king.”
    “Oni-chan is king in your home?!” Kinomoto gasped, “How does it survive?”
    “I heard that!” Touya yelled.
    “Come on!” Kinomoto grabbed Sakura’s arm and dragged her upstairs, “I’ll show you to my room!”
    When they got up there, Sakura stared in slight confusion upon seeing what appeared to be a stuffed animal with wings tapping buttons on some strange box device.
    “Sakura-chan!” the thing stated, “I was just about to win!”
    “Yay-yay!” Mokona leaped out of Sakura’s arms and next to Kero, “Mokona likes video games!”
    “Hey, if it isn’t Mokona!” Kero beamed, “I thought you were asleep!”
    “Mokona is helping Sakura!” Mokona turned and leaped back into the princess’s arms. Kero turned around and stopped dead at the sight of his mistress’s doppelgänger.
    “Hey, what is this?” Kero asked, “Why are there two Sakura-chans?”
    “This is Sakura from… uh…” Kinomoto began.
    “I am Princess Sakura Reed…” Sakura bowed politely, “It is nice to meet you.”
    “Sakura Reed?” Kero asked, “Clow-san saw you coming.”
    “He did?” Sakura blinked.
    “Yeah…” Kero floated up to the princess, “He said something about someday another mistress would come through. He didn’t say why.”
    “Something happened back home…” Sakura shook slightly, “I lost my feathers. My memories… And… I lost the memory of someone closest to me…”
    Sakura squinted, and a small tear formed in her eye.
    “Syaoran-kun…” Sakura breathed and then she collapsed.
    “Hime!” Kinomoto caught her as she fell.
    “Uhh…” Sakura opened her eyes, “What did I just say? I seem to have forgotten…”
    “Hoe?” Kinomoto blinked.
    “I feel tired now…” Sakura got up, “If you don’t mind, I think I will go to sleep…”
    Kinomoto gathered a spare set of sheets and laid them out on a futon for Sakura, who seemed to fall asleep instantly.
    “What happened?” Kinomoto asked.
    “Sakura payed a price to Yūko-san…” Mokona whispered, “Her memories of Syaoran-kun before this journey.”
    Kinomoto gasped.
    “That’s awful!” Kinomoto whispered, “I would never want to forget Syaoran.”
    “Mokona knows Sakura-chan is falling in love with Syaoran-kun all over again, though.” Mokona beamed happily.
    Kinomoto let out a weak smile.
    “It’s getting late.” She said, “I think we should get some sleep.”

    “Syaoran…” a voice called out.
    “That voice…” Syaoran whispered, and then he saw the other him, the him that wasn’t.
    “Syaoran…” the voice repeated. It sounded so much like his, but with a slight icy edge to it.
    Something tweaked in his blinded right eye and he automatically grabbed it as it started to hurt.
    “Syaoran…” the voice stated one last time, before the figure opened his one eye. Even his eye colour was the same.
    “Give back what you took from me…” the voice beckoned. And the pain in Syaoran’s left eye suddenly flared up as well.
    Syaoran woke with a start. The pain from his dream was still there.
    He looked at a clock. Five-thirty A.M.
    Syaoran got up off the sofa and went to the window briefly.
    ‘That figure I keep seeing in my dreams… who is he…? Why do I get the feeling that he is the me I don’t know of…” Syaoran remembered back to Shura where his arms moved themselves.
    ‘But what did he mean by ‘give back what you took from me’?’ Syaoran thought for a moment. He took a small glass of water from the kitchen and looked out of the apartment at the rising sun. Apparently this Japan was nicknamed the Land of the Rising Sun, but Syaoran didn’t get that, since this wasn’t the only place the sun rose.
    ‘If there is a feather out there I will find it. I promise, Hime.’ Syaoran thought to himself.

    Sakura woke up the next morning, wondering if meeting her own doppelganger had been a dream. She found herself in the room she fell asleep in the previous night, and saw a younger version of herself tucked into the bed at the other end of the room.
    Sakura checked the time on a nearby clock. It was quite late in the morning.
    “Morning, monsters!” Touya called from the other side of the door.
    “Kyaa!” Kinomoto shot up, “Who’s a monster, country-wrecker King?”
    Touya couldn’t help but laugh at the stupidity of the insult.
    Kinomoto noticed Sakura was awake.
    “How long have you been awake?” Kinomoto asked.
    “Since about four seconds before Touya-kun’s rude awakening.” Sakura folded her arms.
    Kinomoto and Sakura giggled. It seemed they had a lot in common.
    “Morning…” Kero floated up to them both, as Mokona bounced into Sakura’s arms, “What’cha laughing about?”
    “Oh, it’s nothing.” Sakura stopped giggling.
    “We should get downstairs for breakfast.” Kinomoto suggested.
    “If there’s anything sweet or sugary down there, you bring it to me!” Kero yelled, and Kinomoto sweatdropped.
    “Kero-chan is such a glutton…” Kinomoto sighed, “It’s a wonder he doesn’t get fat…”
    Sakura giggled again.
    “Hey, T-Rex feet!” Touya shouted up the stairs, “Could you stomp any louder?! I’m sure the people in Africa couldn’t quite hear it!”
    Kinomoto growled and again Sakura held onto her collar, sensing she was about to do what Sakura had done countless times.
    Mokona shivered suddenly and he went mekkyon.
    “Sakura’s feather is nearby…” Mokona noticed.
    “Where?” Sakura asked.
    “I can’t locate it…” Mokona shivered again, “Something dark is surrounding the entire town…”
    “The entire town?” Sakura blinked.

    “Heh…” Asato sat and watched Sakura Kinomoto’s house from a safe distance, “I suppose I can kill the younger one, after all, Fei Wong only wants the Princess.”
    Asato thought for a moment.
    “I need only trap them in a delusion of sorts…” Asato smirked, “Then I can finish the job.”
    Asato thought about what kind of delusion. Knowing that the presence of him and his brothers stopped them sensing the feather was a good start, but the feather had unknown power. It would be wiser to use his own. They would think they found the feather, and then he would capture the princess.

    Fei Wong watched the events unfold.
    “In a sense…” Fei Wong stated, “This is creating the past.”
    “What do you mean?” Xing Huo asked.
    “He…” Fei Wong waved a hand to the figure placed in the stasis tube, “Comes from this timeline. Or rather, a little later than this one, but this past can be altered.”
    “So is that why you made the deal?”
    “Yes.” Fei Wong replied, “The three Brothers of Despair arrived in this world before I had acquired the original Syaoran. It was not difficult to make them work knowing that their actions will not interfere with the dream.”

    Far away, in England, Eriol sensed that the time had come.
    “Eriol?” Kaho asked, not finding him in the study.
    “Yes, Kaho?” Eriol replied from outside. Kaho found him outside, dressed in…
    “Eriol, why are you dressed in those clothes?” Kaho asked. Eriol was dressed in the clothes he had worn during the trials he had set up for Sakura.
    “It has begun…” Eriol did not turn away.
    “What has?”
    Eriol finally looked at her.
    “The time has arrived… to end a dream…” Eriol stated mysteriously, and when Kaho blinked in confusion, Eriol smiled, “Don’t worry, I’ll explain everything soon.”

    The three groups met up later.
    “Mokona is still unable to pinpoint the feather.” Syaoran stated, “Something must be blocking it.”
    “We can help find the feather!” Kinomoto offered.
    “Thank you.” Syaoran smiled.
    “It’s no trouble!” Kinomoto blushed slightly, “Really!”
    “Is trouble when we’re helping that kid.” Kero scoffed, and Kinomoto’s response was a sharp whack across the head.
    “And…” Tomoyo added, puling something out of her pocket, “I can film it all!” she pulled a camera out, and everyone sweatdropped.
    “She’s practically a carbon copy of the last Tomoyo-chan.” Fai smiled.
    “But it’s useless.” Kurogane stated, “We have no idea where the feather is or even where to start looking.”
    “Mokona will ask!” Mokona bounced into the air. He projected an image from the jewel on his forehead, and Yūko appeared in that projection.
    “What’s up, Mokona?’ Yūko asked.
    “We can’t seem to pinpoint the feather.” Syaoran stepped forward.
    “I can help find it…” Yūko turned to face them completely.
    “At a price.” Fai smiled despite the situation.
    “I can tell you who has the feather, but in exchange I want something in return.” Yūko stated.
    “What is the price?” Fai asked.
    “I have had my own wish I have waited so long for.” Yūko stated, “That someday I might meet the Syaoran and Sakura that are relatives of a mage I once knew.” Yūko pulled out a small staff with a head that looked strangely like a bird’s head, “The Sakura who used to own the real thing.”
    “Hoe?” Kinomoto stepped forward.
    “I have waited a long time to meet she who is descended from…” Yūko lowered her voice to a growl, “That four-eyed demon…”
    Kinomoto shifted nervously.
    “There is nothing for you to worry about.” Yūko stated, noticing the stance, “Someday I might get to know you better.”
    “The information?” Kurogane growled.
    “Don’t be so pushy.” Yūko warned.
    “Please.” Syaoran looked at Yūko, “Please tell us.”
    “Well, since you asked so nicely…” Yūko took time to shoot a glare at Kurogane, “The feather is under the control of three beings that call themselves ‘The Three Despair Brothers’. They are named after lines from the Hindu Upanisads – Asato, Tamaso and Mrtyor. Each of them is named that way because that is what they pertain to – Asato is Delusion, Tamaso is Darkness, and Mrtyor is Death.”
    “How does this help us find the feathers?” Kurogane growled. Yūko glared at him again.
    “Asato has hold of the feather at current.” Yūko stated, “As to where he is, all I know is that he lies somewhere nearby to yourselves, in the cloud of darkness that resides over your town.”
    “Thank you, Yūko-san.” Fai bowed.
    “And as a reminder, you still haven’t got me anything for White Day.” Yūko added on top of that. Syaoran, Fai and Kurogane sweatdropped simultaneously.
    “That was useless…” Kurogane growled, “She didn’t tell us where the feather is after all. She used us to meet her!”
    “On the contrary…” Fai smiled, “She did tell us… she just didn’t tell us where this Asato is, because she wasn’t asked that.”
    “Damn that witch.” Kurogane cursed.
    “She gave us something to locate him with.” Syaoran noticed, “‘Cloud of darkness’… What did she mean by that? Mokona can sense it too… But how do we locate the source?”
    Everyone looked at Fai.
    “My magic is no good for finding the source of attributes.” Fai shrugged, “I don’t know much support magic.”
    Everyone looked at each other.
    “Wait a moment…” Li realised, “Sakura, can you use The Dark to find the source? I learned that it wasn’t just capable of creating actual darkness but also finding sources of darkness.”
    “I can try…” Kinomoto pulled out her Star Key, “Release! Dark!”
    The figure of a young woman dressed in an ornate black dress and flowing dark hair appeared.
    “Yes, mistress?” Dark bowed.
    “Can you sense the dark cloud upon this town?” Kinomoto asked.
    “I can.” Dark nodded.
    “Can you find the source?”
    “Of course.” Dark bowed, and she shut her eyes. When she opened them she tilted her head slightly.
    “Where is it?” Kinomoto asked.
    “Please…” Dark turned, “Follow me.”
    The group followed Dark across the town as evening began to set in.

    “Ahh, it seems they found us…” Asato said to the strange animal beside him, “I was hoping for a surprise attack. Ah, well…”
    Asato stood up and leaped down the tree he had been standing on. Street lights started to come on.
    “Damn artificial light.” Asato cursed.

    It was reasonably dark now. Syaoran kept Sakura with him, and Li did not leave Kinomoto’s side.
    “Does it normally get this dark this early?” Kurogane asked.
    “No…” Kinomoto looked up, “Something is definitely wrong here.”
    “This area is filled with dark energy…” Dark stopped.
    “Did you hear that?” Syaoran asked.
    “Hear what?” Kurogane replied. There was silence for several seconds, and then the rustling of leaves.
    “You mean that?” Kurogane asked.
    “No, Mokona senses something here…” Mokona shivered.
    A light flickered out on the distance.
    “This is definitely wrong…” Syaoran stepped back to protect Sakura, “Mokona, give me Hien!”
    Mokona opened his mouth and Hien flew into Syaoran’s hands.
    Another light in the distance went out, and then another.
    “I hope you don’t mind…” a voice said, and a young man with black hair, dressed in black attire, stepped out of the shadows that were forming.
    “Are you…?” Syaoran stepped forwards.
    The figure did not answer for a moment.
    “Yes, I am Asato.” The figure replied.
    “Please!” Syaoran stepped forward, “Hand the feather over!”
    Asato’s eyes widened.
    “You mean this?” Asato asked, holding a feather with red markings, “Now, why on earth would I do such a thing?”
    Asato clicked his fingers and a quadruped creature emerged from the shadows.
    “This is Sutekh.” Asato stated, waving a hand at the creature, “A creature lost millennia ago due to the hunting of the Egyptians. It’s a Seth creature.”
    “If that’s all you have…” Kurogane stated, and Mokona handed him his sword.
    Asato smirked.
    “Much like your guardians Keroberos and Yue, Sutekh has a true form.” Asato stated, “Why don’t you show them, Sutekh?”
    The animal shivered, and two gigantic wings sprouted from its back and covered it. The mass grew larger and when it broke, a gigantic version of the creature stood in its place. It was navy blue and gold, with a mane of white hair flowing from the back of its head.
    “We can take care of this!” Kero advised, and he transformed. Yue appeared next to him.
    “Oh, and one more thing.” Asato turned away, “Sutekh has the ability to make the guardians’ owners feel the pain of a hit.”
    “I am not owned by anybody!” Keroberos roared and he shot flame from his mouth. Yue shot several icicles at Sutekh, and Sutekh responded with a fire stream of his own.
    The attacks collided. Both parties seemed equal in strength.
    “But all is not as it seems to be.” Asato smirked.
    And Kinomoto noticed the collision growing closer to Keroberos and Yue.
    “Get out of there!” Kinomoto yelled.
    It was too late. The attack engulfed Yue and Keroberos, and Kinomoto groaned as she felt the full force of the attack.
    “Sakura!” Li tried to run forward, but Syaoran stopped him, “Let go!”
    “No! He might kill you!” Syaoran struggled.
    Asato’s expression remained neutral.

  4. #4
    Junior Member ggctuk is on a distinguished road ggctuk's Avatar
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    The Battle of the Guardians

    Kinomoto got up from her crouched position, holding her gut.
    “You see?” Asato stated, “I told you it would be painful for you.”
    “Stop this!” Syaoran yelled.
    Asato turned his attention, his face alight with a dangerous sneer.
    “What are you going to do if I don’t?” Asato stated, “You can’t do anything from your position!”
    Syaoran snarled and headed forwards… only to smash himself into something that appeared to block his way.
    “The darkness is a tricky thing, my friend.” Asato stated, “I can use it to make an barrier, of sorts. Keeping her in and you… out.”
    “Coward!” Syaoran and Li spat. Asato’s smirk widened.
    “Is it cowardice to fight one-on-one? Is it not cowardice that you want to outnumber me?” Asato asked.
    He turned his attention back to the battle.
    “Sutekh was the only surviving Seth Creature of his kind. Or rather, Sutekhus Quardipedius.” Asato elaborated, “Notorious for representing the evil deity Seth in Ancient Egypt, and now you can see why.”
    Keroberos landed next to his mistress, as did Yue.
    “We will not allow you to harm her!” Keroberos growled.
    “Then don’t get hit.” Asato sneered. And Sutekh attacked again.
    “It’s time for some ‘Divide and Conquer’.” Keroberos suggested. Kinomoto got to her feet and straightened up, summoning the Star Wand.
    “Wood!” Sakura yelled, summoning the Wood Sprite, which then created several branches to ensnare Sutekh.
    Asato’s eyes widened, but not in shock or surprise.
    “Ha!” Asato yelled, “This is the type of battle my brothers have wanted to keep me from!”
    Asato laughed hard again.
    “I’ll wipe the smile off your face!” Keroberos launched his attack, striking Sutekh straight in the right eye. Immediately, Asato clenched his right eye in pain.
    “AAIGH!” Asato growled, and a small amount of blood leaked from under his hand. Asato looked up to see that Keroberos’ attack had gouged the eye out of Sutekh. It was likely his own eye was now damaged beyond repair.
    He removed his hand and Kinomoto gasped. His eye was indeed gone now.
    “I told you…” Asato stated, as though losing his eye was right at the bottom of his list of priorities, “Whatever injuries our guardians sustain, we sustain as well.”
    Asato grimaced.
    “You will not be able to pull that kind of trick again.” Asato remarked. And in one movement Sutekh broke free of Wood’s grasp and attacked the Sprite.
    “Return!” Kinomoto commanded, and Wood returned to her card form. Kinomoto pocketed the card.
    “Fool.” Asato sneered, “Sutekh, attack Yue!”
    Sutekh obliged and the attack struck Yue in the right arm. Kinomoto yelled out as her arm felt like it might break off.
    “Careful!” Li yelled, and Kinomoto squinted in the pain that flared up in her broken arm.
    “I have to be… strong…” Kinomoto whispered, and she took another Sakura Card out, “Wind, become my binding chain!”
    Windy appeared and used a cyclone to surround Sutekh.
    “Attack!” Kinomoto ordered, and Yue floated into the air and shot several icicles at the creature, each one impacting into the side of the creature. And each injury inflicted appearing on Asato’s own body.
    “Damn it!” Asato cursed, touching the wounds, “Why is it that I am actually injured when all that happens to the girl is the pain? Only one person who wielded guardians before was capable of it… Clow Reed… is this girl a living relative?”
    “You know what they say…” another voice added, and Asato looked up to see his two brothers, “If you have to ask…”
    “Tamaso, Mrtyor…” Asato snarled, “Keep out of this!”
    “We may be beings of darkness…” Tamaso began, “But we know when to step in to save one of our own.”
    ”I’m tired of your interference!” Asato yelled.
    “I don’t think assistance can be called that.” Tamaso argued.
    “I have the upper hand here!” Asato brandished the feather.
    “Doesn’t look like you have the upper hand, to us.” Tamaso whispered.
    “Shut up!” Asato yelled.
    “Don’t you dare speak to me like that or I’ll do the Guardian’s work for them, you ungrateful idiot!” Tamaso shrieked.
    “Enough!” Mrtyor called.
    “All three of them!” Syaoran and Li yelled together.
    “I’ll take care of this!” Li stated, and he summoned the Chinese Jian he always used, and he took a small paper seal from his pocket. He threw it into the air, “Raitei Shourai!”
    The thunder-based attack smashed into the barrier.
    “No good!” Tomoyo whimpered.
    “Kashin Shourai!” Li cast a fire spell, but that too struck the barrier.
    “I told you…” Asato stated, “I’ll die before that barrier breaks.”
    “Then I’ll ensure it!” Keroberos growled. He attacked again, but Sutekh was prepared this time. It burst free of the cyclone created by Windy and shot a fireball at Keroberos, striking the guardian in the face. Sakura yelled and clutched at her left cheek in pain.
    “Sakura!” Li yelled, “Hang in there! I’ll find a way to help!”
    “Wait…” Syaoran thought, “This barrier… could it be created by the feather?”
    “It’s created by darkness…” Fai sensed.
    “I haven’t seen you help!” Li growled.
    “I promised not to use my magic.” Fai half-smiled, “But it’s highly probable that the shield is created by a darkness that is boosted by the feather. If we can get it back, then the shield might fall, or at least weaken enough so we can break through.”
    “Firery!” Kinomoto cried out, summoning the Firery sprite, and the sprite ignited the ground around Sutekh, distracting it. Keroberos took the time to strike, this time at close range, grabbing the creature’s paw in his mouth and attempting to tear it off. Asato gripped his right wrist.
    “You’re losing, brother!” Mrtyor yelled, “Stop this and allow us to take over.”
    “Over my dead body!” Asato stated.
    “It might come to that.” Tamaso growled.
    “Then it is decided.” Asato sneered. He turned to face Kinomoto and the Guardians, “Now let us battle to the death!”
    “If you insist.” Keroberos growled, and he attacked again, this time in tandem with Yue. Sutekh returned fire, and the attacks collided and exploded, not harming either party.
    ‘How can I win this?’ Kinomoto thought to herself, ‘There has to be a way…’ Kinomoto noticed the feather in Asato’s hand, ‘That feather! That’s it!’
    “Keroberos!” Kinomoto yelled out, “Aim for the left paw!”
    “You got it!” Keroberos leapt into the air and headed straight for Sutekh.
    “Not so fast.” Asato’s eyes narrowed, and Sutekh attacked the guardian face-on. Kinomoto cried out in pain and clutched at her body.
    “Sakura!” Yue yelled.
    Kinomoto breathed heavily, and she shakily got to her feet.
    “I’ll be… fine…” Kinomoto promised.
    “Are you sure?” Yue asked concernedly.
    “Concentrate on…” Kinomoto stood upright, “Getting the… feather back… for my other…”
    “As you wish.” Yue bowed, “Keroberos!”
    “Ready.” Keroberos landed again. Kinomoto took another card out.
    “Now!” Sakura yelled.
    “Fool!” Asato yelled as Keroberos grew closer to Sutekh, “Attack!”
    Sutekh obeyed his master, and it shot another series of fireballs at Keroberos.
    “Shield!” Kinomoto summoned the Shield card, and a barrier protected Keroberos as he grew closer. Sutekh’s attacks became futile, and Keroberos bit into the left paw of the enemy. Asato cried out and clutched his left hand.
    “This time, I’ll tear the bloody thing off!” Keroberos stated, and he yanked, tearing the left paw off Sutekh, which seemed to disorient the animal. In response, Asato’s left hand instantly became numb as several wounds opened on it, before the hand dropped clean off.
    “Yue!” Kinomoto cried out, and Yu took flight and landed next to the wounded Asato. He picked the feather up.
    “You did it!” Kinomoto yelled.
    As Yue flew back, something struck him in the back, and Kinomoto watched in horror as she saw Asato standing with his remaining hand outstretched. He fired a second volley of dark energy from his hand, which struck Yue on the back, making the guardian fall to the floor.
    “Yue!” Kinomoto cried out as the guardian changed back into Yukito.
    “I’ll take care of him!” Keroberos landed next to Yukito and took him carefully back to Kinomoto.
    Yukito slowly opened his eyes.
    “Hello, Sakura-chan…” Yukito tried to get up but his legs would not move.
    “Don’t try to move.” Kinomoto knelt down, “Rest for the moment.”
    Kinomoto picked the feather up that had fallen out of Yukito’s hands.
    “Now!” Li yelled, “Kashin Shourai!” He struck a paper seal and the fire attack hit the barrier again, but it seemed to crack. Li concentrated his efforts on the attack, and then the barrier broke. At once, Li rushed to Kinomoto’s side.
    “Are you okay?” Li asked concernedly.
    “I’ll be fine…” Kinomoto responded.
    “Let’s finish this.” Li asked, “Together.”
    “Okay.” Kinomoto nodded. Both of them turned to face Sutekh.
    “This isn’t happening…” Asato whispered, “This isn’t…”
    “Welcome to the real world.” Li stated coldly, and then he held a paper seal out, “Raitei Shourai!” The thunder-based attack headed for Sutekh.
    “Thunder!” Sakura summoned the Thunder sprite and it combined with Li’s Shourai spell. Both forces struck into Sutekh, practically ripping the beast to pieces.
    Asato fell to the ground. Tamaso and Mrtyor seemed pitiless.
    “You made your bed, dear brother.” Tamaso stated, “Now you can lie in it.” Tamaso looked up, “But that doesn’t mean we’re done with you. We’ll be back, and I’ll avenge my brother, no matter how foolish or impatient he became at the end.”
    Tamaso and Mrtyor vanished, leaving the others standing rooted to the spot.
    “Sakura-Hime’s feather!” Syaoran noticed. Kinomoto held it up and gave it to Sakura. The feather sank into Sakura and she instantly went out like a light whilst a new memory flooded her mind.

    Sakura tip-toed back into the Palace, being careful not to be heard by…
    “I can see you! Sa-ku-ra!” Sakura heard, and she stopped dead and turned around to face her brother.
    “I-I’m home, Touya Nii-sama!” Sakura said.
    “You went to that…brat’s place again.” Touya stated.
    “He is not a brat! His name is…” Sakura yelled.
    “That brat deserves to be called a brat.” Touya looked away.
    “He is not a brat! He lives by himself and works hard! He’s better than a brat!” Sakura argued.
    “To me, he’ll always be a brat.” Touya returned.
    “That’s not true!” Sakura yelled.
    “How about you stop right there…” another voice asked, “Your Highness?”
    Sakura turned her head.
    “Yukito-san!” Sakura smiled, “Are you finished with your Priest duties?”
    “Yes, an since I heard the archaeologists were coming to report about the progress of the excavation of the ruins, I was waiting with the King.” Touya looked at the priest.
    “Was Onii-chan being selfish?” Sakura asked.
    “No, I’m not like you.” Touya mumbled.
    “What?” Sakura growled.
    “He was listening.” Yukito pointed out.
    “How much has it progressed?” Sakura asked.
    “The excavation has progressed a great deal.” Yukito unfolded the plans.
    “Does that mean it’s almost finished?” Sakura asked.
    “Sadly not.” Yukito shook his head.
    “The ruin is only just off the ground.” Touya added.
    “What?!” Sakura gasped.
    “They have found an underground passage.” Yukito continued.
    “I don’t know how far it goes, but I told them to keep digging… meaning…” Touya turned, a slightly nasty smirk on his face, “That brat will be so, so, so, so, so, so, busy!”
    Sakura grumbled.
    “It’s okay.” Sakura realized, “…, like his father, enjoys excavating. When he finds out he has new work, he’ll be thrilled!”
    Sakura ran off to her room.
    “Onii-chan…” Sakura huffed to herself, “You’re always so mean…”
    She went into her room, opening the window and she stood on the balcony.
    “It’s pretty…” Sakura looked at the ruins, “There’s still something down there…”
    Sakura folded her arms and leaned her head on them.
    “… will probably be happy. I’ll bring lunch for him tomorrow… then I’ll be able… Then I can… To… that I…”
    Sakura looked up when she heard a sound.
    “What’s that sound?” Sakura wondered, “It’s a pretty… relaxing sound… It’s calling to me…”
    Sakura was unaware of what was happening for a moment. Many images flashed before her eyes. Patterns resembling wings… a symbol that looked like a bat… And then she saw…


    Sakura woke up in Kinomoto’s bedroom, with Kinomoto staring down at her. She had Mokona in her arms.
    “Are you okay?” Kinomoto asked.
    “That always happens…” Sakura got up, “But I’m always missing something… there are pieces in my memory I feel are lost for good, but I don’t know what they are…”
    “Relax for a minute…” Kinomoto placed a hand on Sakura’s shoulder, “You don’t have to go just yet.”
    “We got the feathers…” Sakura looked away, “I thought we would have left by now.”
    “Mokona wanted Sakura to spend a little time with the other Sakura.” Mokona stated.
    Sakura stopped for a moment.
    “Yūko-san said something about a Clow Reed from this world.” Sakura recalled.
    “Yes, I am descended from him.” Kinomoto admitted, “As is Syaoran.” When Sakura looked at her with a slightly disturbing look, Kinomoto shook her head, “Clow-san’s been dead for hundreds of years. Syaoran and I are way too far apart to even think of how we’re related.”
    Sakura nodded.
    “Forgive me, just then.” Sakura looked away, “It’s because in my world, Clow-san is my father.”
    It was Kinomoto’s turn for a look.
    “Is your Syaoran-kun related to you?” Kinomoto asked.
    “I…” Sakura tried to think, but her mind turned a blank, “I don’t know. I only met Syaoran-kun when the journey to collect my feathers began. He told me that he lives in the same country as me but won’t say anything else. All I know is what he’s told me about himself, like how he doesn’t know who his real family is.”
    “He was adopted?” Kinomoto asked.
    “He said that, yes.” Sakura nodded, “He told me he doesn’t know anything of his true relatives.”
    “That must be awful.” Kinomoto closed her eyes.
    “It must be…” Sakura looked saddened, “He must have been alone for a long time…”
    Neither spoke for a few moments, and then Kinomoto asked: “By the way, who made that outfit?”
    “Hmm?” Sakura looked down. She was still wearing the outfit made for the race in Piffle World, “Oh, this outfit was made by the Tomoyo-chan of the last world.”
    Kinomoto laughed.
    “It seems that not all versions of ourselves are different.” Kinomoto stated, and when Sakura gave her a questioning look, Sakura got up and opened her wardrobe – it was filled with all different types of outfits, “Be thankful you got just the one.”
    Sakura chuckled.
    “How much longer can you stay?” Kinomoto asked.
    “I would guess not long.” Sakura stated sadly.
    “Oh…” Kinomoto bowed her head.
    Sakura noticed the sad look on her counterpart’s face.
    “I will come back if there’s a way.” Sakura promised. Kinomoto looked up and smiled. Sakura smiled in return, and then got up.
    “It’s time…” Sakura breathed, “I’ll have to find Syaoran-kun, Fai-san and Kurogane-san before we can go.”

    After ten minutes, Sakura had gathered everyone together.
    “It’s time we were going.” Syaoran nodded, “Thank you for the help.”
    “It was no trouble!” Kinomoto placed a hand behind her head.
    “And I got to film it all!” Tomoyo beamed, holding a video camera. Everyone sweatdropped.
    “We will come back someday.” Sakura vowed, “When the job is done, when I have got all my feathers, we’ll surely visit again.”
    “Please do…” Kinomoto stated, “I’d like to know more about you when you get all your memories back.”
    Syaoran took Li’s hand and shook it.
    And then the pain in his right eye flared up again. Syaoran clutched it.
    “Are you okay?” Li asked.
    “I’ll be fine…” Syaoran waved a hand, and the pain died down. Li looked as though he had seen a ghost.
    “Come back soon!” Kinomoto yelled as Mokona swallowed the group to take them to the next world. When the dust had settled, Li looked rather shocked.
    “What?” Kinomoto asked.
    “I saw something in Syaoran-kun’s eye.” Li replied, “It looked a lot like…” Li pulled out the Lazin Board he used to use when he would find Clow Cards.
    “Is it some sort of spell?” Kinomoto wondered.
    “I don’t know…” Li shook his head, “But it’s certainly by someone of the Li line. There’s no mistaking it.”
    “What kind of spell?” Kinomoto asked.
    “I’m not sure…” Li replied, “But it looks like some sort of sealing spell… I know of one which can help seal off a certain trait in someone, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what Syaoran-kun has.”

    Eriol summoned magic to get in contact with someone.
    “Who are you trying to reach?” Kaho asked.
    “An old acquaintance…” Eriol replied, and the sphere in his hands lit up with a figure of a woman who appeared to be quite young.
    “Hello, Yūko-san.” Eriol smiled, “I take it you know who I am.”
    “Of course.” Yūko replied, “Hiiragizawa-san. Clow told me he would place his memories and powers within someone to challenge the girl Sakura.”
    “Then you must know why it is now I am contacting you.” Eriol replied.
    “Indeed.” Yūko replied, “That time has come.”
    “The time to end the dream.” Eriol nodded, “I will need a favour.”
    “It will cost you.” Yūko replied. Eriol smiled.
    “Some things don’t change.” Eriol replied, “I need help to travel to whatever world Syaoran-kun is going to.”
    Kaho’s eyes widened.
    “Li-kun?”
    “No.” Eriol shook his head, “It’s… difficult to explain. It’s him, but it’s him from another world.”
    Kaho looked even more confused, and Eriol smiled again.
    “It is hard to understand.” Eriol understood, “It took Clow a while to fully comprehend the ability to cross realities.”
    Eriol lowered his head for a moment.
    “I’m going to have to go away for a while.” Eriol announced.
    “Go away!” Kaho said surprised, “Where?”
    “To wherever Syaoran-kun will go.” Eriol replied, “I will need a little help… Spinel Sun.”
    “Yes, master.” The small thing that resembled a toy black cat with tiny butterfly wings floated up to his master.
    “I’ll be taking you with me.” Eriol nodded, “Ruby Moon, stay here. Look after Kaho, and try not to misbehave.”
    “Would I ever!” Ruby Moon huffed playfully, earning a chuckle from her master. He turned to face the hologram of Yūko.
    “Yūko-san, my wish is… to go to the next place Syaoran-kun goes to.” Eriol stated, “In return…” Eriol summoned a small blue crystal, “I’ll give you some of my magic power.”
    “Eriol!” Kaho protested, “You can’t!”
    “I must.” Eriol’s expression became serious, “If I don’t do it then everything that Clow planned to stop Fei Wong will not happen.”
    “Fei Wong?” Kaho asked.
    “I’ll explain all when I get back.” Eriol nodded, “Which could take years of this world’s time.”
    Kaho seemed speechless as Eriol summoned the magic circle which would transport him to the next world.
    “Ruby Moon, take care of her.” Eriol instructed, “If you need me, contact Yūko-san. She’ll know exactly where to find me.”
    Eriol and Spinel disappeared, leaving Kaho and Ruby Moon behind.

    Syaoran, Sakura, Fai and Kurogane burst through into a world which had a blood red sky. A pyramid was in the near distance, as well as several buildings made of some kind of gold.
    They landed on the ground with a thud, with Syaoran cushioning Sakura’s fall with his own body.
    “Where are we now?” Syaoran looked up. His eyes caught the scarlet eyes of a creature that stood on double-jointed legs. It was wearing some sort of armour as well.
    “What is that thing?” Kurogane asked, with his hands on his sword.
    The creature moved onto all four limbs and circled the group. It made a groaning sound that sounded like the cross between a lion and a wolf.
    “I have the distinct feeling we may be in trouble.” Fai stood up.
    “Gee, where did you get that idea, mage?” Kurogane growled.

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    “Evolution is in a rut, natural selection at an all-time low. Shipping out fresh meat will incite territorial rages again. We’ll strengthen and advance it. Even create new breeds.”
    “Kind of ‘evolution on steroids’?”
    “A kick in the pants. Those runts Qualopec and Tihocan had no idea. The cataclysm at Atlantis struck a race of langering wimps. Plummeted them to the very basics of survival again. It shouldn’t happen like that.”

    - Natla to Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)

    New disclaimer: The Atlantis depicted here, while not the exact same one (you’ll see that quite soon), is based heavily off the first Tomb Raider game, by Core Design. Stuff Eidos for messing it up.

    Crossovers include: CardCaptor Sakura, Tomb Raider I (slight reference to Tomb Raider Anniversary).

    The Perfect Race

    The creature circled them.
    “Hien!” Syaoran called out, and Mokona gave Syaoran his sword.
    “Give me Sōhi!” Kurogane ordered, so Mokona gave Kurogane his sword.
    “Let’s show this thing, kid.” Kurogane assumed a stance, and Syaoran did the same.
    The creature reared up on its hind legs and clenched its right fist as it appeared to gather energy in that hand.
    “Halt!” a voice commanded, and the creature looked aside.
    Syaoran and Kurogane looked up to see a young man with slightly spiked ginger hair, dressed in some sort of robe.
    The creature stopped and made a movement that appeared to be bowing.
    “I apologise for that.” The man stated, “It’s been like this since Yue-ō placed a Guard at each home.”
    “Yue-ō?!” Syaoran wondered, “Would that be the other Sakura’s Yue’s alternate form, I wonder?”
    “What?” the man blinked.
    “Ah, ah!” Syaoran waved his hands, “Never mind!”
    “Can you tell me your names?” the man knelt down to Sakura.
    “Syaoran.” Syaoran bowed, “This is Kurogane.”
    “Who you can call Kuro-puu.” Fai added.
    “Shut it, mage.” Kurogane growled.
    “The happy-go-lucky guy over there.” Syaoran pointed to Fai, “Is Fai, and the girl there is Sakura-hime.”
    “Did you come from another world?” the man asked. Syaoran nodded, “It’s just, we’ve been experimenting with a method to travel worlds for a while now. The Time-Space Witch knew of a way to help us, but the wish costs far too much for our King.”
    Syaoran nodded.
    “Where are my manners?” the man stood up, “I am Yoshiyuki Terada.”
    “It’s a pleasure to meet you…” Syaoran stood up, “But, where are we?”
    “This country is called Atlantis.” Terada stood up.
    “What kind of person are you?” Syaoran asked.
    “Actually, I’m a teacher.” Terada remarked, “But I specialise in one-on-one tutoring for the Royal Family.”
    “Oh.” Syaoran replied, and then he remembered something important, “Has there been anything strange happenings lately?”
    “Now that you mention it…” Terada stated, “One of the King’s High Priests was expelled lately. He claimed to have seen an attack by what he said was a skinless Atlantean, but when they investigated, they found nothing. Natura continued to make such claims until he was expelled. Then recently he was seen with one of these so-called skinless Atlanteans. From that moment, Yue-ō placed Natura on the Most Wanted list and sanctioned a guard at every house in this city.”
    Terada huffed, “Damn things are annoying because they watch you wherever you go. Yue-ō is seen as a bit of a heavy man. He’s also been watching me tutor his daughter, as though he knows there is something going on between us.”
    “His daughter?” Sakura asked.
    “Rika Sasaki.” Terada replied, “His eldest, and the one who he’s paying me to teach. I offered to do it for free, but he insisted.”
    “Why would you offer to do it for free?” Kurogane asked. Terada blushed a little – an unusual trait for a man, Kurogane thought.
    “There is something going on.” Sakura noticed, “Are you two…?”
    Terada chose not to answer the question, so Fai pressed on with another.
    “Question.” Fai raised a hand, “Have you seen any feathers around here lately, with strange markings?”
    “No, but the King might know.” Terada replied, “If you’d like to follow me.”
    The group followed Terada into the city towards the gigantic pyramid in the distance.
    “Is that the Palace?” Sakura asked.
    “Yes.” Terada nodded in affirmation, “It’s also the place where the Atlantean warriors are bred and trained.”
    On the way, Mokona went mekkyon again.
    “There’s a feather nearby.” Mokona announced.
    When the group got to the foot of the pyramid, three Atlanteans stood in their way.
    “We’re here to see the King.” Terada demanded.
    The Atlanteans did not budge for a moment. Then one of them turned away and motioned with its hand to follow it.
    The group followed the guard into the Pyramid, which had a rather strange interior decorated with many strange symbols that were glowing a sinister orange colour, and the corridors were strangely grey, decorated occasionally with strange markings that resembled the letter ‘H’.
    The group found themselves in a shaft with several open elevators above a pool of lava.
    “Be careful here.” Terada looked over the railings, “The guards here can fly, but not everyone is caught before they at least lose a limb to the lava.”
    Sakura shivered a little, and Syaoran, noticing this, stepped a little closer, and held her tightly.
    “I won’t let anything hurt you.” Syaoran promised. Sakura blushed slightly.
    The elevator began to rise at a fast pace, and the only one not to grab onto a railing was Kurogane.
    “Tch.” Kurogane stated, “I made jumps faster than this back home.”
    “Pipe down, Kuro-speedy!” Fai smirked, but this time Kurogane did nothing bar grit his teeth indignantly.
    When the elevator stopped, everyone disembarked and followed Terada into a small room with a pedestal in the middle, and floating above the pedestal…
    “Sakura-hime’s feather!” Syaoran noticed.
    “There’s no need to take any of them further.” A familiar voice called out, and from a ramp leading out of the room came someone who looked almost exactly like the last incarnation of Sakura’s moon guardian, Yue. He was dressed in a black robe which was decorated with many of the same symbols that adorned the hallways and rooms of the interior of the Pyramid, and he also possessed a pair of wings protruding from his back.
    “Excuse the apparent over-protection.” Yue looked at the teacher who had led them here, as though he knew what Terada had said, “I need no introduction, because by now you must have seen my other-world form.”
    “You mean the Yue that Kinomoto-chan was mistress of?” Fai asked.
    “Yes.” Yue replied, “He had contacted me, in the same manner as the Yukito of your Princess’ world had him.”
    “Tomoyo-hime has that power as well.” Kurogane stated flatly.
    “But Tomoyo has better control on who she can contact.” Yue stated, “Priest Yukito could only contact other forms of himself, which was why the Yue of your previous world contacted me – I only count as another Yue and not another Yukito.”
    There was silence for a moment.
    “Enough explaining.” Yue pressed on, “You came to see me about that?” Yue indicated to the feather.
    “Please return it.” Syaoran asked, “Sakura’s memories are hers.”
    “Indeed.” Yue replied simply, removing the feather.
    Sakura’s eyes widened.
    “Will that not affect something?” Sakura asked, “Are you not using it for something?”
    “No.” Yue replied, “We were studying what it was. We found that it gives off a massive amount of energy on its own, but we have no use for it – our technology enables us to create any form of offence or defense we need, and we have many energy sources as well.”
    Yue handed the feather over and Syaoran took it. He placed the feather above Sakura and it melted into her. She instantly fell asleep as another memory took hold.

    “I thought you went over to …’s place, hime.” Yukito asked.
    “… is busy…” Sakura bowed her head, “He said he’d try to see me later, but Touya-sama’s always trying to stop me seeing him… he says … is a brat kid that’ll leave me empty at the end.”
    Yukito smiled as he put a hand on her head.
    “Touya-sama’s always saying things like that…” Sakura sniffled, “Why is he so mean about …?”
    “He’s your brother.” Yukito replied, “Touya is bound to be worried about you, even if he doesn’t show it, he cares a lot for you. You’re the only family he has now, and he doesn’t want to lose you.”
    “That doesn’t sound like him.” Sakura huffed.
    “It’s true.” Yukito drew Sakura closer, “He loves you because you’re his sister, and he would be very sad if you were hurt.”
    Yukito hugged the girl briefly, taking time to whisper into her ear: “The amount of times he’s let you kick him in the shin or stamp on his foot because he called … a brat indicates that.”
    Sakura giggled slightly. Yukito lifted Sakura’s chin up so her eyes locked with his.
    “He just wants to see you happy.” Yukito said, “So be happy.”
    Sakura blinked, and then smiled.
    “Thank you, Yukito-san.” Sakura bowed.


    Sakura woke, and saw Syaoran bending over her, his hand on her arm, ready to comfort her.
    “You’re awake.” Syaoran smiled.
    “Why do I keep having blanks?” Sakura wondered.
    “Blanks?” Syaoran asked.
    “In a lot of my memories there is someone missing…” Sakura realized, and she clutched at her chest.
    “I don’t know…” Syaoran lied. He knew what would happen if he told the truth.
    “I just wish I knew who it was.” Sakura shut her eyes.
    “Someday you might.” Syaoran came closer to wipe a small tear away, “When you get all of your feathers back, those blanks might fill themselves in.”
    “That person…” Sakura looked at Syaoran, “Is it you?”
    Syaoran shifted backwards a little. He knew where this road would lead.
    “I always feel…” Sakura leaned closer, “It’s got to be you… You have to be that person I knew…”
    And as Sakura leaned further forward, something happened in her mind and she collapsed. Syaoran caught her as she fell.
    “I thought so…” Syaoran whispered sadly, “This will happen every time she tries to remember something.”
    A young girl, no older than sixteen, dressed in a dress with markings that matched the ceiling of the room, crouched down next to the pair.
    “So you were the person who she must forget.” The young girl asked.
    “Yes.” Syaoran nodded, “That is why I must pretend I never knew her closely before we found her feathers, Rika-hime.”
    The girl blinked and she came closer.
    “I just wish there was something I could do to help her.” Rika brushed Sakura’s hair, “From what I’ve heard, she’s been through so much… you both have.”
    Syaoran carefully laid Sakura back on the bed.
    “I’ve always known what Sakura-hime wanted to tell me that day…” Syaoran stared at the sleeping girl sadly, “She was just about to tell me what she felt for me. And someone took it all away.”
    Syaoran touched Sakura’s cheek softly.
    “I care very deeply for her…” Syaoran admitted, “And for that, Sakura must never know. If she does, she’ll try to remember the time we had before this began, and then she’ll be the one who suffers. I couldn’t handle that happening to her.”
    Rika sighed.
    “She must care very much for you.” Rika stated, “She’s tried to recall your prior relationship to her. Nobody does that with this kind of curse unless they truly care about the person they’re trying to remember.”
    Rika looked sadly at Sakura.
    “The memories of the heart may be forgotten, but the memories of the body are impossible to remove.” Rika explained, “That’s what Otō-sama always told me.”
    “Terada-san mentioned something about a priest who was expelled lately.” Syaoran recalled, “What did he mean?”
    “The mad priest, as he is called now…” Rika looked away, “He claimed to have seen an attack by what he called a skinless version of our guards. At first, we took it as we did any other allegation, even though it did sound a little absurd. But the investigation found nothing… so we all assumed he made it up. But he persisted and persisted. So much so that he eventually began to attack people he thought were involved, so Otō-sama had him expelled. Not long after, he came back with what he said was proof. That proof was him with said skinless creatures, attacking our own guards. He claimed that these ones were under his control, but he claimed to know the location of others and have the ability to break a ‘seal’ placed on a hive of many more. During the last battle, Otō-sama placed a seal on him to stop his power, but only part of the seal was completed, so he only lost power in his right side. He hasn’t been seen since.”
    “I wonder…” Syaoran thought, “Mokona usually takes us once a feather is found, but if there are multiple feathers, then we have to find them before leaving. I wonder if this Natura has the feather, and perhaps that’s how he’s controlling those creatures.”
    “It sounds like that might be likely…” Rika replied, “But I can’t check that for you. Otō-sama said I have to remain inside the palace now.”
    “It’s alright.” Syaoran nodded, “It’d probably be safer for you here.”
    Syaoran closed his eyes for a moment. When he opened them again, he had made a decision.
    He stood up and let go of Sakura’s hand.
    “Please, Rika-hime, keep an eye on Sakura.” Syaoran asked. Rika nodded.
    “I will.” Rika promised.
    Syaoran left the room to find Kurogane and Fai.

    “So you think this priest has the feather?” Fai wondered.
    “It would explain things.” Syaoran nodded, “Like how he can control those creatures if he’d described them as merciless and bloodthirsty beasts. Just look at how Seishirō-san made the Oni obey him back in Otō Country.”
    “You’re right.” Fai recalled, “And it also made the virtual world start to crawl into reality as well. Perhaps the feather could break this ‘seal’ that supposedly holds a hive of creatures.”
    “Whatever he’s doing, we need to get that feather back.” Syaoran nodded, “Otherwise things like this will continue here, and Sakura won’t get the memory back.”
    Syaoran slid his hand across the handle of Hien.
    “We have to find this Natura.” Syaoran stated.
    “How do you suggest we find him?” Kurogane asked, “We’d be spending forever trying to find him if we searched all over this continent.”
    “That is a good point.” Syaoran sighed, “What to do, though.”
    “Does Yue have an idea on where to find them?” Fai asked.
    “He might.” Kurogane replied.
    “I want that feather back to Sakura.” Syaoran stated, “Then we can leave this world.”
    “Creatures here do not seem very friendly.” Fai observed, “Even the ones tasked to guard the people of this world.”
    “They’re not supposed to be.” Syaoran answered, “If they were nice, they wouldn’t make good guardians.”
    “We should find this Natura person.” Fai stated, “He might know where these creatures came from, how to stop them. But as Kuro-rin stated…”
    “Can it!” Kurogane growled.
    “… We can’t search the whole continent.” Fai finished, “Yue might know where to look.”
    Syaoran stood up.
    “Then let’s ask, so we can get the feather.” Syaoran said. The three headed for Yue’s room, but when they got there, several guards were blocking their way.
    “We need to see the King.” Syaoran stated, but the guards refused to budge.
    “It’s a matter of life and death!” Syaoran raised his voice. The guards did not budge again.
    “It’s alright.” Another voice said, and Yue-ō came out of the door.
    “We need to know if you know where Natura is.” Syaoran asked.
    “It is no use.” Yue-ō stated, “No-one who has gone after him has returned. He only appears when it suits him.”
    “Please!” Syaoran begged, “I need to get hime’s feather back!”
    Yue-ō seemed reluctant, but then he ushered the three to follow him. They did and found themselves inside a massive throne room.
    At the centre was a table which projected a hologram of the world. Yue-ō stood in front of it and it projected a massive hologram of the continent.
    “This is where we have been sending our operatives.” Yue-ō stated, indicating a small mountain range south of the city, “There are no immediate geological dangers, but we never hear any reports of anyone surviving from there onwards.”
    “Do you just send human foot soldiers?” Fai asked.
    “The mage has a valid point.” Kurogane stated, “If by now foot soldiers aren’t enough, I would have broken out the heavy guns.”
    “We have been.” Yue-ō replied, “We’ve been sending in several of our Atlantean Units, and still none have returned.”
    “What are in these units?” Kurogane asked.
    “Each unit comprises of fifteen foot soldier Atlanteans, ten fliers and three centaurs.” Yue-ō stated. Kurogane’s jaw dropped.
    “That is some serious firepower.” Fai stated.
    “Yes it is.” Yue-ō admitted, “I don’t like sending it out, but soon we’ll have to double our units.”
    “But surely even if the Atlanteans are creations, they must run out eventually.” Fai asked.
    “Exactly, which is why I dislike sending them out like this.” Yue-ō replied.
    “Well, he must be expecting you.” Kurogane theorised, “He knows what you’ll send, probably before you do. It’s a tactic not unheard of where I come from.”
    Yue-ō seemed to have nothing to say.
    “We will go.” Syaoran declared, “We have to get the feather back.”
    “Fine.” Yue-ō replied, “However, I would insist you take some sort of protection with you. I’ll commission a unit to follow you.”
    Syaoran nodded in agreement.

    Syaoran, Fai and Kurogane set out on the backs of three centaur Atlanteans, whilst the rest of the unit trailed around them.
    Syaoran had said goodbye to a worried Sakura, assuring her he would get the feather back. Sakura seemed pretty concerned about his well-being, and Syaoran had to calmly reassure her he would be alright.
    As the group descended into the valley after a wordless journey, Kurogane was the first to speak.
    “This is where the others vanished.” Kurogane pointed out.
    “Yes, I think we should be careful.” Syaoran stated, and he drew Hien out, as did Kurogane with Sōhi.
    As the pathway grew steeper upwards, Syaoran felt something was off.
    “Hear that?” Syaoran asked.
    “Hear what?” Fai squinted.
    “Exactly.” Kurogane replied, “There’s no sound, nothing whatsoever. It’s far too quiet, as though there’s no wildlife.”
    “Hyuu!” Fai said, “Kuro-pin can tell that?”
    “Stop making that annoying noise!” Kurogane yelled.
    “Shut up!” Syaoran growled lowly, making Kurogane and Fai look at him, “We’re not alone.”
    At that point a flurry of rumbles reached their ears, and the group saw several boulders heading towards them.
    Instinctively, the unit began to throw fireballs at the boulders to break them, whilst the centaurs darted out of the way to save their rides. Several of the boulders did break.
    After the initial onslaught, Syaoran pointed upwards.
    “Look out!” Syaoran stated, and Fai and Kurogane looked up.
    Several skinny figures had taken flight, their blood-red wings transparent against the red sky.
    “Get ready!” Syaoran stated, and he drew Hien closer.
    The winged demons, which were exactly as described – fleshy, skinless Atlanteans, flew into Syaoran’s sight. Syaoran cut one clean in two.
    However, before any more could be killed, one big boulder started rolling from the mountaintop straight for them.
    And a gigantic monster that resembled… something legless… rolled down the hill, grabbed the boulder and threw it aside. It turned to face the group as the flying Atlanteans backed off.
    “I wondered who they’d send this time.” A voice stated. Out of the darkness walked a man wearing black robes. His face was completely familiar to Syaoran and the others.
    “Asato!” Syaoran yelled out. The man frowned. With the tattoo on the right side of his face, half of his look was empty.
    “I am not him.” The man replied, “I know of him, and he is my alternate. Just like you, yes?”
    “Then you must be Natura.” Kurogane growled.
    “Indeed I am.” Natura replied.
    “Do you have the feather?” Syaoran asked.
    “I might.” Natura replied.
    “Please!” Syaoran asked, “Hand it over!”
    Natura smiled.
    “I cannot.” Natura stated, “This feather holds the seal on the Hive nearby. If I hand it to you the Hive’s seal might break. These creatures might also run amok.”
    “You don’t have the right to decide that!” Syaoran yelled.
    “These creatures never originated from this world.” Natura ignored him, “Much like yourselves they came from another world. Their world had been ravaged, first after the war that ended the beginning of the Seventh Age where one of that world’s Atlantis’ rulers tried to usurp the others. The woman was called Natla. She was locked away. But she broke free and found a way to get the Scion back. She reactivated the Pyramid, and activated a secondary Hive in the event of the Pyramid’s destruction. Sadly, a young mortal woman thwarted her with technology far below that of Atlantis. The Scion smashed, the Pyramid destroyed, the Hive emptied. Those who survived found a small remnant off the island where the ability to transcend both time and dimensions had been created, and thus the remnant creatures ended up here.”
    “All interesting story.” Kurogane interrupted, “But we want the feather. Now.”
    “Now, now.” Natura’s face remained neutral, “You won’t leave alive with that attitude.”
    And with that the gigantic torso in front of them shuffled forwards.

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