Chapter 2: The Mysterious Past
“You made a new card?” exclaimed Kero-chan, also known as the Great Sun Guardian Cerberus, leaping up.
“Yes. There is a new source of power,” replied Kinomoto Sakura, his teenage Card Mistress.
“I’m so stupid. I, Cerberus, didn’t notice the powers before you and that Li kid. You say he’s back again?”
“Uh-huh.” Sakura flopped on her bed. What a tiring day it had been. She shook her head in disbelief as she thought about the fast paced action that had happened in the last few hours. She fingered the bandage on her hand. Best of all, he was back.
Kero-chan eyed her carefully. “What happened to your hand?”
“Hmmm? That spirit thing hurt it.”
“Where is the card?”
“The Knife? Syaoran has it. He pinned it down.”
“Humph. You let that kid have it?”
“He saved my life. Besides, he offered it to me and I refused it.”
“That was stupid. I could have examined it. And you made a new spell?”
Kero-chan folded his arms in his thinking position and stated, “I must find more information about this.”
Sakura soon fell fast asleep, dreaming of fighting ghosts in the rain with Syaoran, and someone with long black pigtails—Li Meilin! Tomoyo was videotaping them. Sakura jumped around with her outfit with laces and bows.
Suddenly, a smooth, menacing voice whispered in her ear, “You are mine, Cherry Blossom.”
Li Syaoran frowned as he looked through the few magic books that he had brought from Hong Kong. No information what so ever leading to any clue about the attack last night. He will have to look through his father’s books when Wei brought them to Japan. Maybe I should just sleep. After all, I need to wake up early tomorrow if I want to go to school. School… he had made some friends before leaving Tomoeda. Would there be many changes?
Sakura hummed as she brushed her hair that morning. Kero-chan sat on her bed. “Why are you in such a good mood today?”
“Oh I don’t know.” Sakura smiled her usual smile. Kero-chan sighed as her hovered over Sakura’s head. Still, this was the normal Sakura that he had known before. She was wearing her green ribbon, which set off her sparkling emerald eyes. Continuing to smile, she stomped downstairs, “G’morning, onii-chan!”
“Morning kaijou!” Kinomoto Touya slightly chuckled. This was the little ogre he knew.
“I’m not an ogre!” she called out in her belting voice.
Sasaki Rika came rushing into the Seijou Junior High homeroom class 2-1. “Hey you guys, did you hear that Li-kun returned?”
All the people who had known him from elementary days gathered around her.
“Really? You mean Li Syaoran from Hong Kong? Did you see him?”
Rika gasped, “I only saw his back. His hair colored seemed the same…”
They all sighed in exasperation. Of course the hair color was the same unless he dyed it a funky color.
“Sakura-chan and Tomoyo-chan. You two don’t seem that surprised.”
Tomoyo laughed forcedly. “Ohohohoho. Really?”
Eron grimaced. Who were they all talking about?
Just then, their homeroom teacher entered the classroom. Quickly, the students hurried to their seats.
“Students, we have another new student in our class today. Some of you may remember him from Tomoeda Elementary School. Li Syaoran has transferred from his junior high school in Hong Kong to join us here in Seijou Junior High again.”
Syaoran slightly bowed to the class. He gazed around the class with level eyes. Sakura and Tomoyo were sitting by the window side. Takashi Yamazaki was sitting next to Mihara Chiharu and Sasaki Rika. Suddenly, he saw a pair of golden eyes staring at him. A boy with dark purple hair stared at him with an amused smile. Syaoran glanced next to him and could see the same golden eyes staring out of a girl with a lighter color hair than her brother. It waved prettily onto her shoulders. Why do they stand out so much? For some strange reason, he felt like shuddering. He tugged at the tie of his Seijou uniform in discomfort. At least the pants were long now that they were older.
“Li-kun, you may sit in the empty seat behind Kinomoto Sakura.”
Syaoran steadily walked to the seat with his eyes still on the gold eyes.
Sakura saw direction of Syaoran’s gaze and felt annoyed. That vixen Erika had already captivated him. Well, it wasn’t what she was thinking.
Erika continuously stared at the new boy. It did help that the Little Wolf was so good looking. She saw the fire in the amber eyes which gazed at her under fierce eyebrow. His dark brown hair seemed so luxurious and glossy. It’ll be fun to make him mine. Plus, he looks stubborn. More the better. I like strong guys. The Cherry Blossom also seems interested in him. How fun it will be to make her hurt. No one can resist me. Not even him.
Sakura felt a little hurt that Syaoran was doing his best to ignore her. At least he was not glaring at her like the first time he came. He had been sitting directly behind her at that time, also. Still, he treated her as if she didn’t exist. I’ll have to get to know him all over again. I thought he considered me a friend. Plus, it seemed that he was interested in Erika. After all, she was beautiful. Unlike me.
Syaoran mused as he sat in his desk about what had happened in the past twenty-four hours. He had finished the math problems quickly, and now he was thinking. As he pondered, he found that he was staring at Sakura’s head again. How is it that I always manage to sit behind her? He had memorized the back of her head, previously. Well, her hairstyle changed so he could memorize it again. The green ribbon looked pretty against the glossy tresses. It matched with her eyes. Wait, what am I thinking? Suddenly, he narrowed his eyes and glanced sideways. The boy, who he learned was called Chang Eron, needed some watching. He was gazing intently as Sakura. I need to keep an eye on him and his vixen twin, Erika.
Syaoran had been in school for about a week and it was no easier than the first time he had transferred to Japan. During PE class, he excused himself for a drink of water. Having a cool drink of water, he flinched. Swerving around, he braced himself.
“Why, Syaoran-kun, it’s only me,” Erika purred, tossing her wavy hair.
He wiped his sweaty hands on his PE uniform and walked off.
Erika pouted, looking not so pretty. Why doesn’t he fall under my charm? What’s wrong with him? Well, I guess it’s better than a boy who comes easily.
The boys and girls mixed to play soccer. There were an uneven number of players, so Syaoran asked to sit out. He was sick and tired of the game. Soon, Eron was leading the game. He was swift and quick and his kicks were unstoppable. Syaoran’s eyebrows knit together. Eron had no sense of teamwork. Even he, Syaoran, knew that soccer was a game with the participation of all the members. Still, girls watched him and oohed and ahhed over Eron’s splendid skills and shapely body. Eron was unbeatable. Syaoran turned his head in disgust. Eron needed to be taken down a peg or two.
Sakura watched Syaoran sitting offside and keeping an eye on Eron. She wondered why he didn’t play. He was very good, probably better than Eron, who was marvelous, as well. She had known it that time when the Time card repeated the days. When the ball flew out the field, Syaoran kicked the ball it straight into the net, from the stairs.
Sakura turned just in time to miss being hit by two soccer balls. Out of nowhere, dozens of soccer balls appeared, all slamming down like missile, with her as target.
Syaoran sprang up. Another force! All the other students knocked out. He was too preoccupied to notice that Eron and Erika were not there.
Without hesitating, Sakura quickly pulled out her key. “Key that hides the forces of the stars! Show your true shape to me! I, Sakura, command you under the contract! Release! “
She threw out a card and struck it with the staff. “Shield!” More balls plummeted at the barrier.
This won’t hold out. I must change my tactics. Just then, the shield wavered and broke out. The balls resumed their attack.
“Use the Time!” called out Syaoran.
Quickly, Sakura threw out a card and called out, “Time!”
The soccer balls momentarily stopped midair. Sakura used her brains quickly. “Windy!”
The balls flew away as wind blasted them off course. Then she concentrated for the center of the power. “Spirit of the dark forces. I, Sakura, command you. Return to a new shape of contract! Sakura Card!”
A card formed and landed on her hand. She read it. “The Ball.” Sakura started to giggle. It was such a stupid card to have, utterly useless. Syaoran walked over to her to have a look at it.
“I wonder what I would ever do with this card, Li-kun. So far, the enemy used objects.”
Syaoran shrugged. “I hate to say this, but it is too early to tell what the enemy would do or what they can unveil. We are not sure of anything, yet. There is so much more that we have to find out…”
The students who were knocked out started to rise up.
“I’ll finish talking to you later,” he said and walked off.
Sakura stared at the new Sakura Card. She knew the problem was serious, yet she broke out laughing at the card again. The picture was so ridiculous. It had a ball with arms and legs sticking out of it.
Turning to her twin, Erika whined, “Can you at least warn me before sending out a power? And why did you send out such a weak one, like the Ball.” She rolled her eyes. “Why don’t you send out the stronger ones?”
“I apologize for not giving a warning first. However, I find it necessary to send out the weak servants out first. You want them to have a good fight with the more fearful ones, don’t you? Later, they’ll have to face those forces, ten times more powerful than the Objects. Will they be able to overcome misery, heartbreak, pain, anger and hate? I’m still testing their powers. I didn’t know the Wolf was so well-coordinated with the Cherry Blossom. Those two definitely know their game. They are experienced, and they, like us have only showed a portion of their powers.”
“Well, you know best. Come now. People are starting to wake up.”
Tomoyo asked Sakura in surprise, “Wow, you made another card? Too bad I couldn’t videotape it.”
“It’s not worth recording. The new card is so silly,” replied Sakura with a blush.
“Really?” Her friend’s eyes lit up. “Hey, Li-kun’s coming over here.”
Syaoran walked up to Sakura and as he went past, he whispered. “Meet me up in the roof in five minutes.”
Tomoyo asked, “Can I come, too?”
“If you want to. You’re in the plot, anyway,” said Sakura, shrugging.
Sakura and Tomoyo walked up to the roof. They saw that Syaoran was already there, staring out of the barbed-wire fence, down at the town of Tomoeda. He spun around to Sakura. “Do you feel what I feel?”
Sakura went next to him on the fence and focused her mind, while widening her inner view to all around the town. A chaos of powers screaming everywhere. Yet, they were not completely free yet. Wild magic was brimming, but not ready to attack. When it did, if it did, anything would be liable to happen. She gasped and nodded at Syaoran. “What is it?”
“I don’t know. Our enemy must be the cause of it. They caused all the disruption of powers when they arrived. We have to find out some things before it’s too late.” Syaoran plopped down on the floor. He hated it when he didn’t know what to do, or know what was happening. We have origins deeper than you understand, too smart one. Did it mean as deep as his former generation? Or as deep as Clow Reed and even before? Thinking aloud, he said, “Wait. Wei’s arriving tomorrow. He will bring more of Father’s books. Maybe I’ll be able to find some more information in them.”
“Your father’s books?” In all the years of knowing Syaoran in elementary school, she had never heard him mention his father, not once.
“Yes. He worked on some sort of magic, too. I only have dim memories of him since he died when I was so young, but I remember how intelligent and talented he was,” he said in his quiet voice. “My mother saved most of his things to pass on to a son. Me.”
Sakura noticed the slightly sad and wistful pang in his voice. She understood it. “It’s like that for me. I can’t remember my mother that well. She was supposed to be beautiful and kind. Onii-chan remembers. I wish I knew her.”
Syaoran raised an eyebrow to observe Sakura. She’s different, but maybe not so different after all. “Do you want to come over to my apartment tomorrow to look over the books Wei will bring?”
“Me?” Sakura squeaked.
“Yes you. Who else? I have no intention of going over the whole stack of books anytime under a month, and we do need to find the information. Two heads are better than one, I guess.” Then he thought it over, picturing Sakura trying to research in Chinese and added, “Well, maybe a little better.”
Sakura crossed her arms. Was he teasing her? “Wait. I have cheerleading practice after school tomorrow.”
Shrugging, he replied, “It doesn’t matter. I was planning to go to the soccer team tryouts.”
“You? In the soccer team?”
“Why? Is there anything wrong with that?”
“Nooo,” she said slowly. “Can Kero-chan come? He wanted to find more information.”
Syaoran coughed. “Who? You mean the stuffed doll?”
“You know, he has the power to change into Cerberus.”
“Not under my roof! He can come. What do I care?” Then he eyed Tomoyo, who was eagerly beckoning at him. “No. This is not a party. We are researching for valuable information, not videotaping and playing about.”
Tomoyo sighed in disappointment. Maybe it will be better to get Sakura and Syaoran, the skilled magicians to do the hard working. She could handle things when the action came.
During math class the next day, the teacher barked at Sakura. ”What do you mean you didn’t finish the problems?”
A bead of sweat trickled down the side of her head as the teacher towered over her. Last night, she couldn’t concentrate. She was so busy talking with Kero-chan and thinking about the enemy. There was no time for the math problems. “I’m sorry. I had a… I had a headache and I couldn’t think last night. Please give me another chance. I’ll finish it by tomorrow.”
“One more chance then. And you’ll need to finish today’s set as well.”
Sakura sighed in relief. Her teacher’s punishments were unbearable, and worse depending on his mood. Tomoyo gave a look of sympathy. Her eyes crossed Erika’s, which was one of triumph and pleasure. However, Eron’s golden eyes, no it’s hazel, it’s only very bright hazel eyes, was one of understanding.
After school, Sakura went to cheerleading practice. They could watch the soccer field from there. Most of the guys were trying out for soccer, and many girls were watching. Some looked expectantly at Eron, who was getting famed as the best soccer player. A murmur of admiration rose as he deftly stopped a ball and shot in a goal.
The coach then paired the boys up to play one on one.
“Li and Chang.”
Syaoran shot a glance at the self-confident smirk on Eron’s face. No way I’m letting that conceited pig get the best out of me. Eron smiled sideways at Sakura, who was watching from a distance, and winked. Sakura’s mouth opened in surprise. Syaoran fumed inside.
The coach blew the whistle and their match began. Eron started off with the ball, dribbling in super speed. Syaoran shot off and watched sharply for an opening. Man, this is harder than I thought. He took the opportunity when it came and the boys tackled each other over the ball. Eron is good, but I’m better. It is all strategy and energy. And consistence. Grimly smiling, Syaoran forced the ball away with a quick, clever movement of his feet, snatching the ball away like lightening. The viewers gasped and awed. Swiftly, Syaoran dribbled across the field, expertly dodging Eron’s sly movements. Then, he kicked forcefully, and despite Eron’s efforts to block it, it swirled to the topmost corner of the goal and hissed and dropped with a thud, onto the ground.
There was a second of silence, then everybody cheered for him. Some people whistled. Syaoran gave a half smile to the crowd as he wiped his wet forehead with the sleeve of his t-shirt. Sakura watched in amazement. Wow! Syaoran was the best. Erika also watched from a corner, bemused. My, Syaoran is so strong and skillful. Better than darling Eron. Eron shot a poisonous glare at his rival. He never lost. Never. Syaoran caught the glare. He briefly said, “Chang-kun, you are one of the best at soccer. However, I beat you because I enjoy the movement and spirit. You enjoy the admiration of others and the feeling of having to win.” Tossing his chestnut locks, Syaoran walked away with a bag slung on his shoulders, looking tough and cool without realizing it. The girl drooled as they saw the calm, supple figure walk past them.
Eron raged as he replayed the happenings on the field. Why did he win? I’m better. I must be. I always win. The word Syaoran said echoed in his ears. His face contorted, looking not so handsome anymore and cursed.
His twin slinked up next to him. “Still fretting over losing? My, how shocked you must be. Well, I admit he’s good. His movements are lithe and strong. It must be from the Chinese martial arts training. Or maybe his natural talents.”
“Big help you are, sister. I haven’t displayed all my skills yet. That one should beware. I’ll make him suffer.” Eron grimaced as he watched Sakura run up to Syaoran, smiling sweetly.
“Wow, Li-kun, you were great!” she exclaimed.
In surprise, he asked, “You saw me?”
“Yup! I never knew you were that good.”
Syaoran shuffled his foot. Too many compliments made him embarrassed.
They walked out of the school gates in silence. Why did I ever invite Sakura to my house?
“Huh?” He jumped.
He responded, despite her silence, “Yes, it’s fine. We are partners against an evil foe, and we must work together. I don’t regret inviting you over. I need all the help to go through and find the information.”
“How’d you know what I was trying to ask?” She blinked up at him.
“It was what you were going to ask, wasn’t it?”
Sakura then sent the Mirror to her house, so that her family won’t suspect. Well, her brother already seemed to know that the Mirror was not her, however, they got along fine.
Syaoran opened the door to his apartment and gingerly, Sakura stepped in. It was looked exactly like the last time she saw it. Pretty cozy.
“Wei, I’m back from school.”
“You’re back Syaoran-sama. I was busy tidying up the house, I didn’t know how the time flew by. Only your room was neat, and the rest of the house was a mess,” stated the gray-haired man in a neat black suit, with the dignified air of an English manor’s head butler.
Syaoran hung his head bashfully. He said to Sakura, “Wei came early this morning. I guess I didn’t bother with anywhere else except my room. That’s where I sleep and study, anyway.” He led her to his room. It was spotless as usual, but by the corner, there were two large boxes, overflowing with ancient books. Sakura gasped. Syaoran muttered, “Now you know why I invited you over.”
Sakura shook her head and replied, “Wait, let me call Kero-chan over.” Taking out her cellphone, she called Kero-chan and told him to come Syaoran’s apartment. Half an hour later, Kero-chan knocked on the window, and Sakura let him in. Briefly, Syaoran and Kero-chan had a glaring contest, then silently, Syaoran spilled out the contents of the box on the floor. Then, they seated themselves on the floor in a circle.
“Wait! How am I supposed to read the Chinese?” Sakura asked.
“Well, there are some books written in Japanese. Evidently, my father had some connection with Japan.” With a toss of his head, he added, “Also, I did not spend the last two years in waste. With his hands, he made a gesture in front of Sakura’s face and shouted out a word of command in Chinese. Then he handed her a Chinese book and said, “Try reading it now.”
Sakura groaned, “Li-kun.” Yet, as she flipped through the pages of Chinese, she found she could understand it. She blinked. “Wow, where did you learn that? I can actually read Chinese!”
“It’s a spell handed down from my father. He often had to translate foreign documents, and this was pretty useful. Now, research!” He handed her a pile of dusty volumes. Glaring at Kero-chan, he added, “You too. You should do something useful while you are here.”
Kero-chan was about to argue back, when Sakura said, “You two, stop it. Or else, I’m going to use the Change Card to switch your bodies again. Syaoran and Kero-chan shuddered at the prospect and with a final glare, shut their mouths. Soon, they fell deep into their books. Sakura sighed as she read the rows of tiny text. Pages after pages, book after book, finding information not there. While her father was an archeology professor who thrived on research, Sakura found it hard to concentrate on the dense, dry language of the text. I wonder which is better: getting kicked out by Meilin, like the first time I came here, or swimming hopelessly through the impossible. Yet, this is vital, I must not slack off.
Li Meilin fingered her jet-black pigtails as she stood in front of Syaoran’s painting, exhibited in the hallway of their Hong Kong secondary school. From the last time she had visited Japan, she had realized that Syaoran was not entirely hers anymore. She had noticed a difference, a change in Syaoran. Still, she liked him, though her feelings were very confused.
Why out of all colors, does the girl in the painting have green eyes? Stupid. It is his favorite color. But, Sakura. Sakura had green eyes. The girl in the painting was Sakura. Meilin felt like shrieking, but she couldn’t. Still, I do sincerely like Sakura and Tomoyo, and I do like life in Japan. But, Syaoran has gone back. To her. He should like me better. I’m a relative and suitable for him. We have known each other longer. Yet, he still prefers her. She isn’t any prettier or smarter. The only thing that Sakura was better was… yes, she has magic skills. Still, there was something about the tilt of her head, the brightness of her eyes, and the sweetness of her smile which all added up to something. Which, darling Syaoran did so well to capture in his painting. Meilin glared at the beautiful painting, which had won many school awards and compliments.
She did like Japan, too. There was no reason why she shouldn’t go back. I miss Syaoran and everyone else. Maybe, I can win Syaoran back. Yet, do I really want to? In any instance, I can’t do much staying here, anyway. Life in Japan sure was interesting, though she did love Hong Kong. Meilin stomped down the hallway, and students stared at her in surprise.
“Forget it! This is impossible!” Kero-chan said, slamming close another book.
Syaoran shook his head. So far, they had not been successful in finding any lead towards their enemy. He sighed, “We mustn’t give up, even for one line or relevant information.”
Sakura’s stomach rumbled. As if on cue, Wei knocked on the door. “Dinner’s ready. It will get cold if Syaoran-sama and Sakura-sama will not come quickly.”
Eagerly, the two tired ones got up to the dining room. Sakura breathed in the delicious smell of smoking hot food. She had to save some for Kero-chan.
“Mmm, that was delicious, Wei!” Sakura exclaimed.
“Thank you. I’m glad you liked it. You must be tired after spending hours over those dusty books. Tsk tsk. Syaoran shouldn’t make a guest work so hard,” Wei clucked, like an over-concerned grandfatherly figure.
After dinner, Sakura, Syaoran and Kero-chan bent over the books again.
“Yo, Li kid. Don’t you have any video games?” Kero-chan asked with a yawn.
“We are not here to relax. We have an important task to do.” Even saying this Syaoran stretched, spine cracking.
“Li-kun? What is this dent on the floor?” Sakura asked curiously, fingering the crevasse in the wood.
Syaoran shuffled bashfully. “Eh? I—ah—I was mad so I---ah slammed my sword into the floor.”
“Wow. You must’ve been really mad. What made you so mad?” Sakura asked, tilting her head.
“Ah, let’s get back on track and work.”
Way past midnight, they searched. Sakura yawned and stretched out her arms, and Syaoran followed by yawning widely also. Kero-chan started to doze off.
“This is hopeless,” Syaoran muttered. Then, as he fingered a half burnt leather book, he gasped. Kero-chan bolted up from dozing.
“What is it, Li-kun?” Sakura asked.
With trembling hands, he turned the cracking pages, covered with soot, almost hesitant, as if he was afraid to discover what lay inside.
“Go on,” Kero-chan said impatiently.
Syaoran read aloud the blurred handwritten words. “Their golden eyes mock me. I am a fool. I have failed in my mission in Japan. Who knew that they would come back? Their legend still remains, and they came back, to curse me, curse us even before Clow Reed. How did they come back? There’s so much that I don’t know. There’s so much that I do know. They use Western magic, so powerful, more powerful than mine. Maybe more powerful than Clow Reed’s Eastern and Western one combined. They are clever. They have survived through new generations, possessing each mind. Till now, they have built up their power. Now, they are ready to strike. Yet, their past is unclear. What do they hold in grudge? Something terrible, a tragic and fatal occurrence, so long forgotten by everyone, except for them.” He paused, coming to a realization. “God, this is my father’s diary.”
“Your father?” Sakura stared at the leather-bound book that Syaoran held preciously in his hands as the words sank into her. “He had to deal with enemies in Japan, also? Hoe. This is so confusing!”
“I can’t believe it. My father wrote this.” A frown came over his brows. “I wish I knew him better. Everything is so vague. The next to pages is burnt so badly, that it is all blurred and impossible to read.”
Kero-chan’s eyebrows twitched together. “This is getting more serious than I thought. These new enemies… they are deadly. I think I heard Clow Reed mention something about, two people, one man and one woman… I forget their names.”
Flipping to a readable page, Syaoran continued, “Each trial gets more difficult. They started out with attacking with simple objects… but now… I feel my soul being ripped apart. We must survive together, Nadeshiko and I. We have come this far in overthrowing the hardships flung upon us.”
Sakura exclaimed, “Nadeshiko! That’s my mother!”
“Your mother knew my father?” Syaoran said in amazement.
“Continue,” Kero-chan said.
“Nadeshiko is suffering as much as I am. We must stop them from causing destruction. With our powers combined, we can face them. Yet, I can’t bear Nadeshiko being hurt and tormented, like I am. I must protect her from the unseen forces. Yes, we have not estimated their full strength when we first met them. At first, they started with weak, manageable forces. Now, we don’t know what to expect, how they will break down upon us. I must continue on for Nadeshiko.” Syaoran squinted hard. “Damn it. The rest is burnt. We finally hit upon something, and it’s so vague and burnt, I can hardly read it.”
“I can’t believe it. My mother had powers, like me. Maybe different. No wonder onii-chan has some sort of second sight,” Sakura reflected. “Oh yes, did you know? My brother’s powers came back, after Yue permanently turned into Yukito-san.”
Still sunk in stupor, Syaoran murmured, “My father and your mother… what was their relationship? How did they know each other, and why, why is it turning out so complicated?”
Kero-chan interrupted, “Continue reading, boy.”
Syaoran flipped through the charred pages. All of them were burnt beyond recognition. Finally, he came upon a sooty, barely legible page near the end. He bent close to it to decipher the fragile page.
“Nadeshiko and I have barely managed to bind down the forces, with the help of Clow Reed’s spirit. Yet, we have only bound them down. By gaining their powers again, they will be able to take new forms and break free from the bond. They will strike down upon the next generation, more powerful and fearful than ever. God save our next generation. Will they be able to prevent destruction?”
Sakura’s heart beat faster. So, the enemies did come back, more powerful than ever. To her and Syaoran’s generation.
Syaoran trembled while skimming through to see if there were any more words he could decipher. “…their powers left one last force…. They … cruel and heartless… Nadeshiko and I… will never speak to each other any longer… because of them… their evil plots… We are not fated to be… I abruptly… left Japan… returned to Hong Kong… I never told her… not in all the time… spent together… Never told her… had a beautiful smile… the way she gazed at me… her voice… Never took the chance… I am… a fool… Never told her…I loved her.”
He stopped for a breadth. It was hard to read the scrawled handwriting, half-burnt. He loved Nadeshiko. My father loved Sakura’s mother once. Something happened. I wonder what? This so hard to figure out and understand!
Sakura asked in a strained voice, “Are there any other entries?”
“Wait,” Syaoran thumbed through the last few pages, peering at it.
“I didn’t forgive her… didn’t forgive me. I wish I can take back time… What I wouldn’t do… hold no grudge anymore. I love my wife dearly… gave her my adult love… my first childhood life is lost in Nadeshiko, and gone. She loves her husband and children…living happily…I’m glad for her… Yet, I want to end our days in friendship, not enmity. It is too late to tell her I loved her. I still do, but in a forgotten way. We both won’t live long, as it is our destiny. Still, I have one last hope…”
Sakura’s eyes were glassy. It was such a sad story. Even though it has something to do with Syaoran and my parents… and our enemy. It was so confusing, but apparently there was an enemy, and her mother and Syaoran’s father fought against. Finally, they bound it down with much hardships and consequences. Their love ended in heartache. Because of them… the golden-eyed devils.
Syaoran refused to think of all the jumbled thoughts that ran through his mind and said, “There’s the last page. I think I can manage to read it.
“Here I lie on my deathbed. I can hardly manage to hold a pen. Though I die early… satisfied… Nadeshiko and I… can sleep eternally… in once more mended friendship… we both have children… our youngest would be more powerful… than we ever were… it they find the true key… someday… they’ll be the ones… to face the… golden-eyed enemies… one last time… I went to Japan… with my youngest son… vowed I’d never return… but I didn’t want to miss my… last chance… to erase that awful memory… Met Nadeshiko… as beautiful as ever… has a strong son… and beautiful young daughter… already friendly with my son… we can die in peace…now… we have our… children… to carry on…” Syaoran’s forced voice broke off, “That’s all I can read.”
She hadn’t realized she had been holding her breath. Sakura dabbed the corner of her eyes with the sleeve of her school uniform. “That’s so sad. There’s so many things that I don’t know about my mother. I wonder if father or onii-chan knew. Do you see? They have all their hopes upon us. Their children. We have to overcome that enemy—or enemies-- which caused it for them.”
Syaoran stared at the last page, trembling inside. He was so like his father, though he would not admit it. Now, he was more scared. Here was the vital information, but now, he was more befuddled than ever. His father never told Nadeshiko that he loved her. Their enemy dropped in poison in their relationship. His father left Japan. At least, he came back and mended their friendship. I’m so glad… But still, it was too late to tell her… I do wish so much of the diary isn’t burned. Then, we won’t only have scraps and pieces of information. Bemused, Syaoran said, “Do you realize that we met before that day in fourth grade?”
“I met you when my father brought me to Japan to meet your mother… and you. When we were barely three.”
It took a while for her to digest this information. She tentatively reached out and fingered the crusty journal. “I’m so glad that they died in friendship, despite the fact that something happened. I think I remember you, though I’m not sure.”
Sakura strained her mind and closed her eyes. When she was little, she remembered a friend. He was a quiet little boy with large amber eyes.
Little Sakura smiled and asked, “What’s your name?”
“My father says I’m Little Wolf.”
“Really? I like you. Please be my friend.”
Just then, little Sakura fell down on her roller blades. The Little Wolf clumsily tried to catch her and Sakura fell on top of him.
“Thank you, Little Wolf.”
“It’s okay. My dad says that true friends are supposed to help each other.”
“Your daddy seems like a nice person. Is he friends with my mommy?”
“Of course! That’s why he’s here from Hong Kong. They’re old, old friends. I came too. Now we can be friends.”
Strange, it must be some magic within this diary that this lost memory returned to her. Sakura smiled wistfully. Did the Little Wolf remember their first indication of friendship?
Kero-chan interjected, “Wait! We have hit on valuable information, though there are only bits and pieces of it.” He glared pointedly at Syaoran.
“Hey! It’s not my fault that it was burnt!” Syaoran protested.
“However, this is not enough. Before discussion, continue finding more information. There might be more, still. While you do that, I’ll think.”
Sakura and Syaoran both sighed in unison, drearily. Their minds were filled with dozens of questions, but they picked up another book. It was very late in the night and all was silent in the streets.
Forget it. I’m not going to think about what happened long ago. Nothing makes sense. So tired, so sleepy. I mustn’t sleep. There might be more information. Soon, Sakura was fast asleep, sitting on the floor and leaning against the bed. Syaoran looked up from another unsuccessful book, hearing her breathe softly in deep slumber. Poor Sakura. She isn’t used to staying up all night like I am. She’ll get a neck ache when she wakes up. She must be shocked by the new information. I am, and I already knew that father had some sort of strange past that no one spoke to me about. She must be astonished to know such new things about her mother. Syaoran’s softer surface came up as he gazed at the innocent sleeping figure. The night air was getting colder these days. She would catch a cold sleeping on the floor. Gently, he lifted her up and placed her on his bed, then tucked her in underneath soft blankets, freshly made by Wei. Kero-chan, who was deep in thought, raised one non-existent eyebrow as he watched Syaoran acting so nice and gentle towards Sakura. He was about to comment, but decided against it as he saw the careful way the boy handled her. Hmm… sometimes you really don’t know what goes on inside that kid. Kero-chan broke out grinning, despite the serious matters that lay before him.
Syaoran stood up and stretched, yawning. Forget researching! Gazing upon the angelic figure sleeping on his bed, he smiled. Her hair lay spread around her and for some strange reason, he had a sudden desire to stroke her satin soft cheeks. Her ribbon had become untied. Without knowing why, he took the green ribbon and slipped it into his pocket. He then remembered something. Sheesh. He took out the homework math problems and began solving them, quickly. He could do it hardly thinking. When he finished, he took out Sakura’s, and finished that days problems, as well as the ones from before, doing his best to write in her bubbly handwriting. It wouldn’t do to have her get into trouble. Why didn’t I think of finishing the homework, earlier? Yawning, he struggled to keep awake and finishing the last problem, he gradually fell into deep slumber.
The next morning, Sakura stretched and sat up on the soft bed. For a moment, she sat up, staring around at the strange surroundings. Where am I? Then she saw Syaoran bent over his desk and sleeping. She realized that she was in Syaoran’s room. How did I end up on the bed? Then glancing at the time, she shrieked. Syaoran and Kero-chan bolted up awake.
“We’re going to be late for school!”
Syaoran sprang up. Quickly he grabbed the homework and stashed it into his bag. Sakura stood up, trying to smooth out her wrinkled uniform. She felt at her head and couldn’t find her ribbon. Her hair was all tangled up. “Don’t you have a brush?”
He tossed her a brush. Sakura started brushing her tangled hair in super speed. Too bad she had nothing to tie it with. She didn’t think that Syaoran would have any spare hair ties around. Syaoran took something out of his closet and it to her. “Here. Wear this. It’s raining outside.”
Sakura gratefully took the thick v-necked dark green sweater and pulled it on over her head. It settled over her school uniform, and she immediately felt warm. Syaoran grabbed another sweater out of his closet and wore it. Laughing, Sakura asked, “Don’t you have any other colored sweaters? They’re all green.”
“Eh? I guess I like green. And I do have other colors, too. Hurry. We’re going to be late.”
Grabbing an umbrella, they ran outside. They had to share the green umbrella because Syaoran only had one at his house. Quickly, they started to run to school. It started pelting down with rain, harder than ever, and they could hardly see in front of them. Sakura almost stumbled into a large puddle, but Syaoran grabbed her in time. The wind began howling as a bolt of lightning crashed down with a thunderous boom. Sakura thankfully snuggled inside the fuzzy sweater and drew nearer to Syaoran. They had to slow down their pace to see where they were going. Despite the umbrella, raindrops splattered on them.
“Li-kun, this doesn’t seem right. I think that this rain doesn’t feel normal.”
“I know. We’ll have to examine it later. We better get to school and be under shelter before we are completely soaked.”
Sakura nodded and Syaoran sped up the pace.
Brrr. What a miserable day to choose to come to Japan. Meilin stared out the school window. Outside, it was pelting with rain. Perfect weather for ghosts to haunt. She had chosen to come to school first and sent all her luggage home… Well, Syaoran’s home. Why isn’t Syaoran coming? Maybe, she should’ve gone back home first. She wanted to surprise him at school. Tomoyo came to her, “I wonder where Sakura-chan is. She usually isn’t so late. Meilin-chan, you must be waiting for Li-kun. He’s never been so late.”
Meilin nodded. Suddenly, she narrowed her eyes. Two figures ran through the school gate under a green umbrella.
Just as the first bell rang, Syaoran and Sakura ran into the school. Sakura shook her wet hair. In the locker room, Syaoran put his bag and umbrella away. He handed her a towel. “Wei said that I might need this. Here. Use it.”
“Thank you.” Sakura took the soft towel and wiped her face and hair.
They ran to the classroom. Meilin frowned as she saw that Syaoran and Sakura entered together. Suddenly, Syaoran stopped mid-track. “Mei-Meilin!”
“Ni-hao, Syaoran!” Meilin greeted and ran up to Syaoran, squeezing him tightly.
“W-what are you doing here. I told mother not to let you come. It’s dangerous!”
Syaoran didn’t say anymore and slumped down in his desk. He was fond of his cousin, Meilin, but…
The teacher then announced. “We have yet another new transfer student. Li Meilin come to the front. She has been here for a few months in Tomoeda Elementary, and comes from Hong Kong. Meilin is Li Syaoran’s cousin. Be friendly to her.”
During break, Sakura exclaimed, “Hoe-e! I forgot to do my homework yesterday!”
Tomoyo said, “My, the math teacher would be so mad. Why didn’t you do it? He already gave you another chance.”
“I was so busy finding information.”
Sakura momentarily froze. Suddenly, she remembered the secrets uncovered, which she had briefly forgotten in the hassle in the morning.
From behind, Syaoran came up and said, “Here, take this. I did it for you.”
“Hoe?” Sakura took the papers. She then realized that it was her math homework. Squealing in relief she said, “Thank you Li-kun. You are a real nice person. You saved my life. I don’t know how to thank you.”
“It’s okay.” Then he walked off.
Tomoyo then asked privately, “Did you find some information?”
“Can you believe it? My mother knew his father!”
“Really? Did you spend the whole night there?” Tomoyo gazed at her with shrewd violet eyes.
“Uh-huh. We stayed up till so late, but then, I fell asleep. Which reminds me… I left Kero-chan at his house!”
“Kero-chan would be fine. Wow, you spent the whole night there!” Tomoyo clasped her hands together. “How romantic!”
“Tomoyo-chan! We were researching!”
“Hmmm… you two are no fun.”
Just then from behind, Meilin shouted, “I knew it!”
“What is it, Meilin-chan?” Tomoyo asked.
“Sakura! Whose sweater is that?”
“Hoe? This sweater is Li-kun’s. He lent it to me because it was raining outside.”
“And why would he lend you a sweater? Don’t you have your own?”
“I-I,” Sakura stammered.
Syaoran came and said, “She was over at my house. We were looking through my father’s old books. It was raining in the morning.”
“You mean she spent the night there?” Meilin exclaimed. She narrowed her eyes suspiciously at the red Sakura and overly calm Syaoran.
Syaoran steadily replied, “Yes. And lower your voice, please. Other people might hear. What we know is strictly family and Clow related business.”
“Syaoran… You know whatever it is, I’ll help you. You can ask me to look through the books. You can always depend on me, okay?” Meilin stated urgently.
Sakura said, “Meilin’s the same as ever.”
Tomoyo replied, “Not exactly.”
In math class, the teacher said, “Kinomoto Sakura! Great job! I must take another look at you. These math problems are all right! Wow! This is incredible. Beautiful. Marvelous…”
A bead of sweat ran down Sakura’s head. Luckily, the teacher did not suspect that Syaoran had solved the problems. Either way, she felt grateful. She shot an appreciative smile at Syaoran, who looked away. Meilin glanced between them, suspiciously.
“Eron. Who’s that knew girl? She’s a Li, also,” Erika asked, looking skeptically at the jumpy girl with swishing pigtails.
“But she has zero magic powers. Still, we should look out for her,” replied Chang Eron, his eyes flickering gold as a lightening crashed down.
And so the thunder boomed and the storm raged on.
Author (Fall/Winter 1999): So, Meilin came back! I feel sorry for her since many people make her such an evil character. I know people mean no harm, but still, I feel sorry for her. I used to hate her, but now, I think she is an interesting character. She’s not that bad. I plan to make her not so bad. Also, isn’t the past very weird? It may be confusing but it will clear up later. The CCS crew would continue on next chapter. By the way, the better ideas will come on later on in the story.
Wish-chan (August 2012): Chapter Two: The Mysterious Past Version 2.0 here. Chapter construction was much simpler in Arc One. This chapter was a mess—I am feeling very ashamed at the sheer number of typos here and there. This was the chapter that everyone came together, and I remember writing it, feeling rather possessed when I was writing Li Ryuuren’s journal entry. After beginning this editing process, I am relieved and somewhat surprised to find that it seems like I haven’t strayed too far from the original vision I had with New Trials, especially now as things come to a circle in Arc Four.
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