Syaoran didn't want to tell Sakura that he had to go back to Hong Kong, so instead he had a letter to her that he would drop off before he left. It would explain that he had to leave, and tell her some other things that had been on his mind. Like how he felt about her.
He had to be at the gate in less than five hours so he had to be quick. Syaoran worked very hard over the past three weeks so that Sakura wouldn't find out unless Syaoran wanted her to, which he didn't. He even managed to keep Meiling from saying anything.
He was almost outside of Sakura's house. Quickly, now. He thought. He slipped up to the mailbox and slid in the letter. Now all he had to do was leave before--the door suddenly opened and Sakura stood before him.
" Syaoran! What are you doing here?"
"Well, I... came to give you this..." He removed the letter from the box and he hesitantly gave it to her. She opened it and carefully read it over. When she finally looked up, she was crying. Great. Syaoran hated to see people cry. He also hated to say good-bye.
"So this is it then?" She quietly murmured.
Syaoran looked deeply in to her eyes. " Yes, but we can still call each other, or write letters, and maybe even visit each other."
This didn't reassure Sakura. She felt she needed one last...
She threw herself in his arms and there they embraced.
" Good bye, Syaoran," She barely whispered. "Good bye." Then they parted and Syaoran left, heartbroken. Sakura watched him leave and she felt she would never be happy ever again.
She called Tomoyo after crying in her room for a while.
" Hi, Tomoyo."
" Sakura, what's wrong?"
" Syaoran is going back to Hong Kong. With Meiling, I'll add." Sakura sniffed.
" Oh. Is there anything I can do? I could make you a cake or something."
" No, I'd like to be alone, I just thought I should let you know that he's gone."
" I'm sure he'll call and write and visit sometimes." Sakura looked out the window and noticed that it started to rain quite hard outside.
" That's the same thing you said about Eriol. I haven't herd from him since."
" Syaoran is different. He'll keep in touch."
" Thanks. Bye Tomoyo."
" Bye, Sakura." There was a knock at the door as soon as she hung up the phone. She went to the entranceway and slowly opened the door. There, standing in the rain was Eriol.
" Hello, Sakura," He said with his smooth British accent. " I herd that Syaoran went back to Hong Kong, and I came by to see if you were okay." This sounded like an odd thing to say, considering that he " came by" all the way from England.
" I'll be all right. Would you like to come in? It's pouring."
He smiled weakly. " No, I'm already soaked. Uhh.. Just as long as you're Ok." He then turned to leave.
" I insist." Sakura said softly. " You came this far to see if I was feeling Ok, the least I can do for you is let you come in," Eriol looked at Sakura wearily and nodded.
Sakura led him inside and into the living room. He followed after her, staggering slightly. " Have a seat."
Eriol looked down at his drenched clothing and blushed. "I... should probably stand." Sakura suppressed a giggle, and then quickly turned away.
"How did you know? Syaoran told my only..." She looked at the clock. " Maybe twenty minutes ago. You couldn't have possibly learned this happened and came here from England in less than twenty minutes." Then she remembered that she was talking to the reincarnation of Clow Reed. Well, half, anyway. " Could you?"
Another weak smile. "Sort of. I've.. uhh.. Known for a while. Syaoran didn't exactly have to tell me to my face for me to know. Uhh.. And my magic only takes me so far. I went as far as I could go with my powers then took a train to Readington. I.. uhh.. Walked the rest of the way. I knew exactly when he was going to tell you so... I knew exactly when to leave."
" If you used up most of your magic to get here, then... you must be exhausted!"
" I... am... uhhh.." With that, he collapsed.
" Eriol!" Sakura rushed to his side. " Are you all right?"
He groaned. Sakura pulled him on to the couch. Eriol was sound asleep. At least he's all right, Sakura thought. She sighed and waited for him to wake up.
2: Dream of Warning
Everything was dark. For the longest time, nothing happened. Then, a person emerged. But this wasn't a normal person. They had smoky, wispy wings and their face was impossible to make out except for glowing, menacing red eyes and a strange symbol on their forehead.
" Who are you?" Eriol said unsurely, his voice echoing in the nothingness around him.
*The Monarch Star is coming, Sorcerer Clow Reed. She is the one you fear the most; she is your creation. * The voice was feminine, and not spoken aloud. It was coming from everywhere, but nowhere all at once.
Eriol then gave a second thought to what she said. She called him the name of his true identity; he was, after all, Clow Reed when it all came down to it. "The one I fear the most? Who, exactly, is The Monarch Star?" He asked, but in truth, he didn't really want to know.
*This is a warning, * She said, completely ignoring his questions. *So you won't have to encounter your greatest fear, if you make the right decisions...* She began to fade, along with the world around him. Which was nothing.
Eriol woke with a start and gasped. He sat jolt upright, shaking and breathing hard. He looked around to see Sakura, Touya and their dad, Fujitaka, around him.
" Are you all right?" Fujitaka asked.
" Uh... yeah. I was just... um..."
" You were having a bad dream or something. You were tossing and saying something..." Sakura sounded very concerned. She knew better than anyone that dreams meant something, especially if you are a cardcaptor. "What was it about?"
He couldn't remember anymore what the dream was about. He knew it was important, but...
" I can't remember."
" That's okay." Touya spoke up for the first time. " It was only a dream." He spoke in a mysterious fashion, like he was hiding something.
" I think I should just go home now. Nakuru is probably worried." Eriol hid a smile as he watched the visible shiver go up Touya's spine. Nakuru was very clingy around Touya when she was going to his school. What he didn't know is that it was because she was absorbing his magical energy. Nakuru was also Ruby Moon, one of Eriol's guardians.
" Eriol..." Sakura gave him a look. " Be careful, okay?"
" Okay. Just in case, this is the number to my house." Eriol had a sudden premonition that something was about to go terribly wrong.
* * *
Sakura lent Eriol the Fly Card so he could get home without expending too much energy. He would give it back to her as soon as he could. He got back late and, as if on cue, Nakuru came out with a stern expression.
" And where were you?" She said, eyeing him.
" I went to go see Sakura."
Nakuru's sternness evaporated. " Oh, come inside."
Eriol went in. He liked his home. It was like the house of some sort of eighteenth century British royalty. It was like something straight out of a Sherlock Holmes story. He, Nakuru, Kaho Mizuki and his other guardian, Spinel Sun all lived there. There were only four people living in a big house. If you'd call Spinel a person.
Eriol sat in his chair in front of the fireplace looking into the flame. He just stared for a while with not much else to do, then, he was hit with a sudden inspiration. He sat up straight in his chair. It was so perfect, so clear in his head. Immediately, he got up and went to the study. He had to create this pristine idea before it blurred and faded, lost forever.
3: Monarch Star
Eriol worked in his study for a long time. Deep into the night he planned and conducted and conjured until it was finally finished. A masterpiece; a work of art. He was amazed with his own creation. But he got an odd feeling that this was bad. He pushed it aside, ignoring it.
He continued to admire his finished job until exhaustion swept over him and sleep took him.
Then, into a dream. One he knew, stirred once more from the far reaches of his mind and brought to the surface. It was the mysterious figure with unclear features and silhouetted wings made of mist.
*You were told against it, yet you did not heed my warning. *Now you will meet your greatest fear, Sorcerer Clow Reed...* Only then did he know who this shadow was. This was his creation. This was Monarch Star...
* * *
Sakura was beginning to get over the fact that Syaoran left her. She wasn't as sad anymore. In fact, she was a little angry. How could he just leave like that? The nerve of that guy! No warning whatsoever. If he had told her a little sooner, she could have told him her true feelings.
Sakura went downstairs to find something to eat for lunch.
They had been through so much together, she and Syaoran. And he just up and left. She stormed to the fridge, grabbed what she wanted, and stormed to the table.
Touya, who was just outside of the kitchen, figured that Sakura was in one of those moods. He decided for once that it would be best to leave her alone. The doorbell rang. He almost shouted that he would get it, but he knew it would give the fact that he was spying on Sakura away to her, so he just stayed put.
Sakura opened it and it was Yukito. Touya continued to spy and this is what he herd:
" Sakura! I'm so glad you're home. Something has happened. I can't really... maybe you should talk to the other me."
What Yukito said confused Touya. What does he mean by "other me", I wonder?
Yukito continued. " Is there anyone around?"
" No, dad's at work and I think Touya finally decided to sleep late for once." Sakura replied.
Touya had to see what was going on. He carefully and slowly looked around the corner. He saw Sakura and Yukito, both with their backs to him.
As he continued to watch, he saw angelic wings form and wrap themselves around Yukito. They unfolded, but remained, attached to the upper part of Yukitos' back, between his shoulder blades. It definitely wasn't Yukito any more.
Touya stared in disbelief. This wasn't possible! But there it was. Right before his very eyes.
When he peeked out from around the corner, Touya was in such a pose that he had to hold on to the wall or he'd fall down. Startled, he promptly let go and fell down. This drew the attention of his sister and the impostor that was disguised as Yukito only a moment before.
" TOUYA?!" Sakura leapt in front of the person that used to be Yukito in an attempt to hide him. She failed dismally, probably because he was over two feet taller than her.
Touya got up and looked quizzically at Sakura. " Would you mind explaining?" And then as an afterthought: " Please?"
She glanced at the winged being uncertainly to which it stated, "There is no other possibility but to tell him, now." Sakura nodded.
She told Touya everything: About the Clow book and how she came across it; about the Clow Cards and Syaoran and Meiling; about Kero-chan, whom he had known as a toy for so long; and about the winged being who's name he soon learned to be Yue; all of the instances with Ms.Mizuki; and, finally, about Clow Reed, Eriol and their father- who was the other half of the reincarnation of Clow.
It all made sense to Touya. It fit together too nicely for it to be a story. And, there was the obvious proof of Yue. He must have been thinking about this for a long time because of what Sakura said next.
" You don't believe me, do you?"
" I do!" He was frustrated that his own sister thought so poorly of him. " It all works. It all makes sense. Everything you say has supporting facts backed up by more supporting fact. I've lived with your cover-ups and stories, and they were so normal I believed them, but this... this seems more believable, somehow."
Sakura was amazed. She never knew her brother had this in him, and it astonished her. And she was satisfied. A great weight was taken off of her chest. It was no longer a secret to Touya. Sakura knew that he could keep this a secret. The only person he probably would have told was Yukito- his best friend- but he didn't have to do even that.
" I promise I won't tell anyone, even Dad, under one condition..."
" What's that, Touya?"
" I get to help." And with that, Yue explained the situation.
* * *
Once more, Eriol awoke knowing that he had a dream, but not knowing what it was about. He stretched and remembered why he was in his study. He looked over to the corner of the room and once again came face to face with his creation.
It had taken the form of a female. She had the same type of wings that Eriol had chosen for Spinel Sun and Ruby Moon. Deep purple butterfly style wings, but with yellow markings instead of red or blue. There were also some placed on her head, inspired by the Void Card, which looked like the ones on her back.
She was wearing a transparent satin dress tinted gold with flecks of silver, like the stars, that gathered around her feet, which were bare. It was lined with a type of gossamer lace, weaved in intricate patterns. Striking marigold scarves were tied to the cuff of each puffed translucent sleeve that trailed to the floor.
Her fine hair, which was very light blonde, like the faded yellow of a buttercup, was tied to the top of her head and interwoven with pale silver ribbon.
Under the satin was a low and square necked body tight suit, which portrayed her fine hourglass figure. It had no sleeves or legs, exposing a lot of skin. It was iridescent white that shined every colour of the rainbow.
Her skin was white with a touch of colour in the cheeks, and her eyes an ocean blue. There was a small mark on her forehead. It was a last minute addition. It was a circle with an arrow coming out at an angle and a semi cross protruding from the bottom.
Eriol couldn't decide on the lips, so she had no mouth-she would use telepathy, instead. It was definite perfection.
All he had to do was come up with a name.
There was a little voice in the back of his mind that wanted to say something. To suggest the perfect name for the perfect being. After concentrating for a moment, it came to him. It was absolute and whole. She would be complete.
He spoke her name, and she came to life.
4: Aftermath of Perfection
Sakura know something had gone wrong. She could feel it in her heart. A sudden shadow fell across her, and she knew there was trouble brewing.
Yue had finished telling them what had happened. A new guardian had been created, but it wasn't their ally.
" Just like the Cards, guardians can not all be white magic and pure of heart. There has to be a counterbalance, so that harmony is not destroyed. This new guardian is the opposite of every other guardian alive." That is what Yue had told Sakura and Touya.
He also said that, since guardians are far more powerful than the Cards, this being would have stronger black magic than the Void Card, which possessed some of the most powerful magic ever.
What they had to do was find this person and somehow destroy them.
How, they did not know.
They had to find it, first.
And Sakura knew how.
* * *
After introducing Monarch Star to Spinel Sun, Ruby Moon, and Ms.Mizuki, they all seemed to settle a little, but they still were eyeing each other. Eriol supposed this was only normal; after all, Monarch was only newly created. But there was something about her that seemed wrong.
He took her back to the study. She hadn't spoken a word at all and Eriol thought that he had forgotten to magically weave that spell into her. Or perhaps he left out the spell for telepathy. Either way, he would have to correct it.
They entered and Eriol closed the door. Monarch was watching him, smiling with her eyes.
*Thank you, for creating me. * She spoke with a voice that was in his head, coming from everywhere but nowhere. Her voice was soothing and somewhat hypnotic. She could communicate!
" You can talk. Why did you not speak before?"
*I felt no need to. * Now Eriol could really feel something wrong about her.
" Why is that?" He asked cautiously.
*Thank you, for unleashing my power on the world...* She began to glow dimly, but stronger for every moment that passed. She slowly faded until she was nothing but a ghostly shadow. Eriol ran for the door, but it was locked from the outside.
*And you will assist in my conquest. * The figure dove at him, and he was helpless to stop it.
He now felt it inside of him, trying to take control, and succeeding. The more he tried to resist, the more pain it resulted in. He could endure it no more. He yelled out in agony and succumbed to the Monarch Star, and darkness closed around him.
* * *
Yue stumbled as visions poured into his consciousness. There was some sort of struggle, and after a few seconds, the host surrendered and there was no more struggle, only impossible power.
" What? What happened?" Sakura sounded worried. She, of course, had seen the effects that visions had on her guardians, but never one so strong before.
Yue told of the vision. " The Dark Guardian must have gotten hold of a source of immense power. It will now be virtually impossible to stop."
" What source?" Sakura asked.
" Human. One with great magical energy."
" How come I haven't felt anything yet?"
" This is all very distant. It is even difficult for me to sense, unless I am expecting it."
" A human source of great power? And it's happening far away?" Sakura ran to the phone. She dialed the number that Eriol gave her before he left.
" Who are you calling?" Touya asked.
" Don't you think that you're jumping to conclusions? It might be completely opposite of what you think." Sakura signaled for him to be quiet as someone answered the phone on the other end.
" Hello?" Nakuru had answered.
" Hi, this is Sakura. Is Eriol there?"
" I think he may be busy, but I'll see what I can do." There was a tap as Nakuru set down the phone. There was some far off and indistinct speech as she talked to Eriol through the door of his study.
Sakura herd several odd sounds on her side of the phone. Then, Nakuru shouted and the receiver filled with the hissing of static, and went dead.
" We have to find a way to get to Eriol's house," Sakura urgently stated as she hung up the telephone. " I was right. Whatever has happened, it happened there."
5: Of Friends and of Foes
He flew. It didn't take very long, because Eriol used the Fly Card. It was very opposed to co-operate, now that he was no longer himself. The true Eriol was gone. Now Monarch Star occupied this body and all the magic it possessed.
All Monarch had to do was destroy or make hers the Cardcaptors that were left, the other reincarnation of Clow Reed, and the Cards.
She knew this would be more difficult than it sounded, thanks to the information she got from Eriol's mind before it was demolished.
So she knew that hiding behind his face would help her succeed.
Monarch kept very little of the original mind, she thought- only enough to mimic Eriol for as long as she needed. She found the mouth fascinating; after all, she was made without one.
In her natural form, she had no need to eat but this body required nutrients about every four or five hours. This would be a setback, but she could cope. The power was worth it.
She already had several Cards. The one that Sakura lent Eriol, The Fly, and several she had created with the power of this body. She would use them to get the remaining Cards and the Captors.
She touched down in Readington. This would be fun.
* * *
Sakura still had no idea how to reach Eriol, so she slept on it. Unfortunately, the next day was school, so she had to wait even longer before she could attempt to do anything.
Touya came into her room. " Have you thought of anything? 'Cus I sure haven't."
" No. We have to get ready for school." They went downstairs, had breakfast, and headed out. On the way, they met up with Julian.
" Maybe we'll come up with something after school."
So they all went off to school. Sakura took her usual seat behind Tomoyo, and sighed at the seat Syaoran used to sit in.
" What's up, Sakura?"
" More like down."
" What happened?" And Sakura quickly explained the situation.
" Oh. That's no good, is it? Well, there's nothing we can do right now, is there?" Just then, Mr.Tarada came in, signaling the start of class.
" Good morning. Class, today I would like to announce the return of one of our students." Sakura's heart leapt. Maybe Syaoran had come back!
" Please welcome back Eriol Hiiragizawa. Why don't you take a seat behind Sakura?" Eriol entered the room, and sat in the place that Syaoran used to occupy.
There was something odd about the way he walked and moved. It was somehow different, but Sakura took no notice. As soon as he sat down, she turned around.
" Are you all right? What happened last night? Why did the phone go dead?"
" Sakura Kinomoto, would you like to assist me after school today?"
" No, sir."
" Than face front and don't talk." The day dragged on and Sakura's questions burned inside of her. Finally, lunch arrived. She got up and went over to the seat Eriol was at, but he wasn't there.
" But the bell just rang. He shouldn't be able to get out that quickly."
" Well, let's go find him" Tomoyo was burning with more or less the same questions Sakura was. So together they went looking.
Eventually, they found him, standing in a hall like he'd been there the whole time.
" Eriol! We've been looking for you."
" Yes, I know." His voice seemed strange. It was not the same.
" What's wrong? What happened last night?"
" Nothing is wrong. I am perfectly all right. In fact, I have never been better. As for what happened, Nakuru tripped over the cord and disconnected the telephone." He smiled, but it didn't make Sakura feel any better. It was forced and emotionless, his eyes were dull and vacant.
A strange feeling washed over her and she was compelled to believe him. His story seemed to make sense.
" All right, I'll just be on my way now." She had more questions, but left, despite her orders to her legs to stop moving. They were going all by themselves.
" Sakura, wait for me!" Tomoyo chased after her. The effect on her legs had worn off and Sakura control over them again. She immediately turned around only to see that Eriol was gone.
" Err.. He's gone AGAIN!"
" He somehow took control of me. I had no ability to move my own legs or use my own words. It's like he was in my mind, only... only it wasn't him, it wasn't Eriol. But it wasn't anyone else I knew, either."
" Sakura, what do you mean?"
" I mean that's not Eriol, Tomoyo."
" Then who is it?
" I have a feeling I know who..."
6: Corresponding Contradictions
That evening, after the sun had set, Sakura, Kero-chan, Touya and Yue (Tomoyo couldn't be there and trust me, she wasn't happy) went to the house that Eriol stayed in when he was in Readington the first time.
Sakura was thinking that this was one of the first times since she met Syaoran that he wasn't with her on an adventure.
" Sakura!" There was a faint voice behind her. She turned around. It was Syaoran! She couldn't believe her eyes!
" Syaoran! Syaoran, I..."
" I know. Let's just find this force and destroy it."
"Right." So they all went in together, quietly.
The house was dark. It was dark in as many ways a place was possible to be dark. It was ominous and filled with shadows. Every now and then, there would be a flickering, faltering flame burning dimly in the blackness.
They entered a room, and, although it was night, the single, large window emitted a strange, unnatural light. There was also a fireplace and a large, red chair with a gray blanket lying on it, unfolded.
Then, there was something glowing faintly that wasn't a candle.
It was a symbol, a circle with an arrow coming out at an angle, and a half cross on the bottom.
It moved, and Eriol stepped out of the shadows. The symbol was on his forehead.
" Welcome..." He smiled a hollow smile that had no soul. " To my humble abode."
" This doesn't look so humble to me. Who are you? Are you the evil guardian we sensed?"
" Do I look it? I believe not, but you may think otherwise, if you wish."
" Quit trying to lead us off. What have you done with Eriol?" Sakura asked it but she already had a feeling of the answer, she just didn't want to accept it.
" The true Eriol is dead," That was the answer she was afraid of.
" I now inhabit this body. I am the new Eriol. The other will never return. I had trouble destroying his mind, such a powerful will. But I crushed his spirit. I overpowered the weak.
" It was an agonizing struggle, on his part. It caused him much physical pain. But in the end, he knew he would not live to see you again, and so his last thoughts were of you, Cardcaptor Sakura Kinomoto. I soon crushed those too.
" Now that the Reincarnation of the Sun has been destroyed, there will be no more dawn. The world will be forever settled in darkness. And, once the Reincarnation of the Moon is destroyed, there will be no more love."
" No..." Yue couldn't stand to hear anymore. " That cannot be true! Nothing can halt the power and beauty of love and friendship. And Eriol cannot be completely gone. Some of the soul must remain! These are powers far too strong to ever be completely erased.
" Darkness may be able to triumph for a short while, but not forever. No. Light will stand together, and cast out all shadows."
" What is light without darkness?" He spoke slowly; it was barely an audible whisper. "What is good, without some opposing evil? You have answered for me why I am able to become so potent. The brighter the light, the deeper the shadows.
"I thought you knew about balance, Yue, Magistrate of the Final Judgment." Eriol slowly shook his head and unbuttoned his overcoat. All of the candles made the house quite warm.
" Yes, I do. I also know that you cannot have darkness without light."
" But that is where you are wrong Yue, Magistrate of the Final Judgment. Without light there is only darkness." That caught Yue off guard; he was right.
" There has to be light to cast shadows, and give darkness life. We give you life. And we can take it away whenever we want." Now Syaoran started going noble, carrying on when Yue could not. This was turning out to be an interesting encounter.
" Why do you not try? Take my life; do not let your conscience stop you. I have already taken some of your numbers,"
He indicated towards the mantle over the fireplace. There were the gem from Ruby Moon's dress, Spinel Sun's breastplate, Kaho Mizuki's Bell... and Eriol's Sun Key.
" You have destroyed... no... murdered your own guardians." Yue's turn again.
" Eriol created them in the first place. And they were not my guardians."
" It was murder none the less. What did they do to you?"
" They got in my way. If I did not deal with them, they would have spoiled my plans, and this conversation would not be taking place"
All of the candles went out in the same instant, and the symbol on Eriol's forehead ceased glowing. Now the only light was coming from the unnatural brightness of the window, coming out just enough to silhouette Yue against it, then becoming swallowed by the dark of the room.
" What is your name?" It was the first thing that Sakura had said to the person who was not Eriol since that afternoon at school. The first time she spoke and the first time anyone of their questions or statements startled him.
" What...? What did you say?" He was startled by this seemingly friendly question.
" I asked your name. If you're going to destroy us, we should at least know who is destroying us." He realized that she had a good point. He smiled.
" I am the Monarch Star."