Card Captor Sakura ~ Arcana
Chapter 1 - The Magician
by Meimi


Disclaimer: Card Captor Sakura belongs to CLAMP. Original characters are mine. Please don't use them without consulting me first.

Spoiler, Timeline and Ect. Warning: This story takes place after the Clow Cards are collected and, er, Yue's fun and games. That's it. No Eriol, no Suppi-chan, no Ruby Moon and yeah, Yukito's secret is a bit important to the plot. Sakura is sixteen in this story. This story is a bit dark compared to canon CCS, you are warned. People are going to get hurt and/or possibly dead. Please use discretion if you find that sort of thing offensive.


Chapter 1 - The Magician


"You'll sleep through anything won't you Yuri?" The girl mumbled to herself as she gazed down at her dresser and the now open black book that lay upon its surface. "This is bad, really bad," she grimaced as she flipped the book's cover over and gingerly picked it up.

She nervously grasped the loose collar of her pajama top and chewed her lower lip in thought. A few seconds passed in the silence, and then her blue eyes slowly slid off to the side, glancing out hesitantly at the early morning sky searching for something she knew was out there now and knew too little about.

The book had always had a mind of its own, but who knew what whatever was inside would do. Surely it wouldn't be too bad... She winced and shook her head in disgust. She knew that whenever she thought that something really bad was going to happen. And she still had to go to school today.


"Hoe! Niichan no baka! Kero-chan no baka! The first day and I'm already running late!" Sakura groaned as she slapped on her rollerblades and whisked down the sidewalk. She always loved to skate to school no matter how many years passed. It was just something ingrained in her routine. Get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, that sometimes she had to cook, and skate to school. Sakura smiled as she coasted down the last hill to the school grounds. She hoped Tomoyo was still waiting by the gate, and maybe, just maybe, she wasn't too late.

A small, white dove winged over Seijyou High School as Sakura whizzed past the gates, grabbing Tomoyo's arm and dragging her best friend along as she sped by. Neither of them were going to be late for first bell if she could help it. Tomoyo's exclamation of "Sakura-chan!" drifted up on the wind as the little bird blinked and headed back towards the local park. The white dove flew down over the seemingly normal trees on a seemingly normal breeze until it came to rest upon a brilliant crystal ball attached to a long, black, lacquered cane.

A black, silk top hat, with a pink ribbon, tipped forward over the forehead hid the eyes of the little bird's mistress from view. The dove cooed for several moments and ruffled its feathers. A smile lit up his mistress's ruby lips as she spoke, "Saw her did you? Just a teenager, you say? How sweet." The dove cocked its head at her as if in question. "Hmmm? On no, I won't have to do a thing. She'll come on her own."

A delicate hand donned in white fingerless gloves with pink painted fingernails curled a strand of straight shoulderlength reddish brown hair in thought. A moment later, the dove's mistress tipped her tophat back revealing endless pools of pink. "Time to go back pet. You served your purpose. Enjoy the respite." The dove's crystal perch glowed with a soft white light, drawing the dove within its depth until nothing was left of the bird and then, the light winked out as if it had never been.

"Now let's see what fun I can come up with before the guest of honor arrives."


"Class," Sakura's new teacher, a slightly middle-aged woman, called out. "I'm glad you're all settling in. With a new year comes new students. I'd like to introduce you to Minamino Yuri."

Yuri shuffled in weakly, waving at her new classmates and sporting a small smile. She really hated these introductions. They were always bland and they gave her too much opportunity to panic. She nervously pushed a stray black hair behind her right ear. Her long hair was held back by two small white jade barrettes, but some of it still managed to sneak out and bug her at the worst times. Like now, for instance.

"Minamino-kun, please take the desk behind Daidouji-kun," the teacher indicated the desk in question as Tomoyo and Sakura, an aisle over, both smiled cheerfully at their new classmate. Yuri returned the smiles knowing that their cheer probably wouldn't last as her dislike of school became known. And boy, that wouldn't take long.

Syaoran scowled at the new student from his usual place behind Sakura. He was doing his best to not get noticed and pretty much disappear as much as possible. The new student was somewhat pretty, not that he cared, but she felt odd. Not that that was much help, everything today had felt odd. It was like the very air was charged with some subtle kind of magic. And with last night's display, he wasn't sure whether that might be true or not.

Yuri continued to smile at the two girls as she settled down in her new desk. She spared a glance at the guy sitting across from her. Kinda cute, but not really her type, and what was up with all the scowling? Eh, probably hated school as much as she did. That must be it, probably. Oh well, what did she know, other than that she was in for a load of trouble if she didn't figure out what was in that stupid book and got whatever it was back and where it belonged. Yuri grimaced in pure distaste. That was for later, now she got to have fun at school. Big yay.


"It's a magician! A magician!" The woman smiled cheerfully at the children that converged upon her shortly after the last school bell. She gestured grandly with her cane, small brightly colored streamers and tons of tiny flowers in as many colors popping out of thin air. There was nothing better than an audience and she was taking full advantage of it. She rolled her top hat into her right hand, rabbits and doves emerging from its depths as she waved her cane over it.

Several minutes passed as she played for the children, drinking up the applause like ambrosia from the gods. And then, she smirked and waved her cane once more, transforming each and every one of her delighted observers into a statue of pure ice. An audience was pure bliss, but a captive audience was even better.

Black highheels clicked against the pavement as she wove a cheerful little dance around her new toys. The guest of honor would be here soon. It was time to get ready for the main attraction.

Crispy or icy? That was the question of the moment. Which would be better, burning the little Clow Mistress to ash or turning her into a permanent landmark. Hmm, it was something to decide upon, and soon, very soon.


Sakura and Tomoyo waved goodbye to their new classmate, and then Li-kun as he slipped out soon after the new girl. A frown wrinkled Sakura's brow as she watched him go. He'd been awfully preoccupied today. She hoped nothing was wrong. Or could it be ..? "Ne Tomoyo-chan? You don't think, um, Li-kun's interested in Minamino-san do you?"

Tomoyo smiled sweetly, more than expecting the hesitant question from her best friend. "No, I don't think so," more like know so. A frown tugged at her mouth as she turned to watch Li-kun walk off into the distance. "I think there's something else bothering him. Maybe you should inquire about it tomorrow." Tomoyo's smile returned full force as she watched a faint blush creep up Sakura's cheeks.

"Oh no, I couldn't do that. It's probably nothing. Really.."

Tomoyo sighed as she watched Sakura try to laugh off the innocently delivered suggestion. Sakura was so ridiculously transparent at times, it was a wonder her brother wasn't actively seeking Li-kun's blood. And there was no doubt in Tomoyo's mind that something was or at least should be going on with her friend in that sort of light.

Sakura was maturing into a lovely young lady. With looks similar to her mother, as Tomoyo's mother was wont to point out all the time. Though Tomoyo didn't think they were all that apparent. Sakura's hair was still short, but more shoulder length as time passed. And she had certainly developed decent *cough* attributes, which seemed to attract the boys in drove. Of course, the fact that she turned them all down led Tomoyo back to the cause of Sakura's blush.

Li Syaoran.

Sakura was completely head over heels in love with him. And to any observer other than Sakura, the feeling was mutual. But both of them were so supremely shy they really hadn't gotten anywhere in the past couple of years. The entire mess was enough to give Tomoyo a massive headache every single time she thought about it. Was there any hope for those two?

"Tomoyo-chan? Hoe. Tomoyo-chan? Are you in there?"

Tomoyo blinked back into the here and now as Sakura waved a hand in front of her face. "Eh~"

"Where'd you go off too?" Sakura curiously asked Tomoyo. She frowned as she watched her slim friend fiddle with a lock of long, dark hair. It was a pretty rare occurrence for Tomoyo to just zone out like that. Something must be worrying her.

"Eh, oh it's nothing Sakura-chan." Tomoyo smiled brightly to ward off any further questions and took the chance to change the subject. "By the way, I just got the newest production line compact video camera. Why don't you come over and let me tape you in some dresses I've been working on for you," Tomoyo blinked cutely and turned up the charm, "Please!"

Sakura sweatdropped and rubbed her forehead. To deny Tomoyo at her cutest was like asking for divine punishment. "Of course, of course. Why am I even surprised anymore?"

"That's wonderful! I've got some really cute dresses and a couple of daring ones. Sakura-chan will look so pretty on the TV!" Tomoyo giggled as she thought of Sakura in all the lovely dresses she had made.

"I need to go home first, to tell Niichan where I'm going to be. That way he won't have a coronary. Why don't we take a shortcut through the park?"

Tomoyo whipped a video camera out of her tote. "Wai, I'll get to tape Sakura-chan under the blooming sakura! So pretty!"

Sakura sweatdropped once again as she trudged out of the schoolyard, an over-excited Tomoyo quickly following after her.


A gentle wind brushed against Sakura's hair, cooling her skin with its touch as it played with her hair. She smiled as Tomoyo continued to gush about how pretty she was, how lovely the park was today and what a beautiful tape this one was turning out to be. It was hard to say no to Tomoyo much less begrudge Tomoyo her hobby, odd as it was. It could have been worse, much worse.

Her reverie came to halt as her steps slowed and finally stopped in pure astonishment. A field of small childlike statues covered the clearing before her. Tomoyo gasped in surprise at the site as Sakura hesitantly reached out to touch one of the statues. It was cold to the touch, like ice. But why wasn't it melting?

"Sakura-chan?" Tomoyo managed to get out before another voice cut across the clearing.

"Good afternoon! Would you care for a show?" Both teenagers turned and gaped at the woman who stood off to the side of the clearing, leaning leisurely against one of the flowering cherry trees. From her black highheel pumps to a satiny-black bikini style leotard that was showing more than enough hip to make Sakura blush, her legs were bare. A pink cummerbund and a matching bowtie accented a white tuxedo shirt. A black, unbuttoned tuxedo jacket with tails easily fit along with the combined effect. White fingerless gloves, pink fingernails, a black tophat with a pink ribbon and a black cane topped with a clear crystal ball all added to the eerie look of a stage performer. And a very pretty one at that, with aristocratic looks that complemented her short reddish-brown hair. But there was something about this that made Sakura's skin crawl uncomfortably.

"A magician?" Tomoyo whispered behind her.


Syaoran came to a complete halt, his treck home instantly forgotten in light of the feeling of wrongness that was swiftly growing to massive proportions. As much as he'd like to be wrong, he just knew Sakura was right in the middle of it. And the gods knew by just the feel of this, that she was going to need some help and even that might not be enough. He blinked and shook his head against the enormous charge of magic in the air and anchored himself. Where was it coming from? Which direction? Where?


Back towards the school, in the park most likely. Syaoran cursed as he sprinted across the street back the way he'd come. There was no time to get his sword, and he was probably going to need it. He'd just have to make do for now and hope it was enough.


The woman smiled cheerfully as she pushed off from the tree she was leaning against and walked out into the field of statues. "Lovely, aren't they? Magic can create such beauty. Don't you agree, Kinomoto Sakura?"

"What?" Sakura drew back in surprise. "How did you know my name?"

"I'm The Magician. I can do anything, know anything... you get the point." The Magician tipped her tophat slightly with her cane. "But we're missing someone aren't we?" Sakura gasped as she finally got a glimpse of the woman's pupiless pink eyes. "We can't have a performance without the final... volunteer from the audience." The woman giggled at a personal joke before twirling her cane around. "That can be rectified with a little trick. Don't blink or you'll miss it."

Sakura backed up next to Tomoyo as the woman waved her hand, which was looking more and more like a claw, over the crystal ball of her cane. A brilliant flash of light emitted from the cane blinding them for a moment.


Sakura looked around the arms she had thrown up to ward off the light. "Kero-chan?" The little guardian in question hung in the air between the teenagers and the woman before darting over to her.

"Sakura-chan, what's going on..."

"You blinked, too bad. But I can show you another trick that's just as good!" The Magician chuckled and began to prepare her next trick.

"Who?" Kero-chan looked back at the strange woman and cringed at what he saw.

"Now watch closely. You'll only get to see this once before I do it to you. So pay close attention." The Magician pointed her cane at Tomoyo and grinned maliciously. The crystal ball flashed once again, this time shooting out a beam of light that instantly engulfed Tomoyo on contact. When the light faded a new statue graced the clearing.

"Nooo!" Sakura screamed in pure horror at the sight. Her hands closing around the numbing ice that was Tomoyo arm as she helplessly raked her fingernails across the crystal prison.

She closed her eyes against the oncoming tears, finally hearing the woman's cruel laughter. She turned and glared at the Magician, "Why?"

The Magician smile as if explaining to a child, "Like any good magician, I do appreciate an audience. But right now, an audience of one is all that's necessary. You're Kinomoto Sakura, the Master of the Clow Cards, weak imitations of the Arcana that they are. Still, an imitation is still worth a challenge. Don't you think so Kerberus?"

The little guardian shook his head. The situation was bad, and he had a bad feeling he didn't even know just how bad it was. The power this woman was putting out made his hair stand on ends.

Sakura shook her head as she reached underneath her shirt and pulled out the key. "Who are you?"

"I'm the Magician. I can mold reality to my will. A kind of magic no one and nothing else possesses. I'm here to teach you the supreme lesson Clow did not learn and you as his successor must now face... and have a little fun while I was waiting for you." The Magician drew herself up proudly, giving them a cruel smile as she held up her right hand, two fingers extended. "Come little Mistress, call upon the power of your key. You're going to need all the help you can get. Especially without these," she twisted her hand to the side revealing an all too familiar deck of cards held between her fingers.

"My cards!"

The Magician grinned, "A simple trick of prestidigitation. You're such a fool. It's a good thing you'll never manage to meet her. She'd be extremely annoyed at your lack of skill. And well, annoying her isn't exactly healthy." She looked thoughtfully at the cards she held. "Even the combined power of my brothers and sisters can't touch her, much less these little toys. Oh well... are you ready?"

Sakura scowled and held the key before her, chanting the spell to release the power held within.

"The Key that hides forces of darkness!"

The little pendant began to glow, the light flickering in an eerie dance across the statues all around.

"Show your true shape in front of me!"

A magic circle formed beneath the Card Mistress, kicking up a wind that billowed around her.

"I, Sakura, command you under the contract."

The pendant began to grow in size until it became a staff.


Sakura gasped in the rush of power, then glared at the Magician. "I'm ready."

"Good!" A flash of fire streaked across the pavement towards Sakura as the Magician jumped high into the sky. Sakura leaped out of the way only to have to duck into a roll as the Magician shot a storm of ice shards her way. "Starting to get it now? You're going to die."

"No!" Sakura defiantly yelled at the amused woman who floated above her. "I'm not going to die! And I'm going to get Tomoyo back!"

"I wouldn't bet on that."

Sakura glared at the Magician. She was in trouble, serious trouble. But she had to win, there was no other way. She closed her eyes and focused her thoughts on one single thing. Her cards. Come to me, I need you!

The Magician curiously watched the silly girl, then turned to blink in astonishment as the cards she had stolen from the girl turned into a swirling mass of water and streaked down towards Sakura.

Sakura smiled in relief as she felt and then saw the cards return to her, their Mistress. She smirked up at the obviously surprised Magician. "I'm going to win."

"Don't hold your breath. It's a surprise Clow actually managed to make those toys somewhat useful. But they are just toys." The Magician scowled at the water dripping off her clothes, "This is unforgivable. You got my favorite performance outfit wet. I don't appreciate that, even from a unique audience such as yourself." The Magician smiled in triumph as a large pentagram of pure light formed beneath, each point sending a beam of pure white light up into the sky. "This might have been fun, but you've annoyed me. Time for the final curtain call."

Power swirled around the tip of the Magician's cane, focusing on the pulsating light of the crystal ball. The pentagram grew brighter and brighter as a powerful wind picked up, pushing Sakura back from the center of the clearing. Sakura thought at lightspeed, trying to choose the best card. Dark perhaps? Or the Mirror? Something soon or she was going to be toast.

The Magician screamed in pain, the wind dying down and the light winking out before Sakura could even make her choice. Sakura blinked in confusion. What was going on? She looked up at the Magician who was rubbing at her left cheek which bore a shallow cut. Sakura followed the woman's furious glare across the clearing to... "Li-kun?"

He smiled wolfishly at her before turning a baleful glare at the creature who hovered above them.

"Chinese magic," The Magician murmured. "You broke my circle. That wasn't nice. I'm afraid you're going to have to die too."

Syaoran grinned smugly at the woman, giving her pause. "I know what you are, and I know what will hold you long enough for her to seal you."

"Oh really, and what's that?"

"This," Syaoran whipped around throwing something Sakura couldn't make out at the woman above. The Magician stopped, held in place by the spell affixed to her chest. "A simple ofuda. Nice huh?" He looked over at a befuddled Sakura and yelled, "Hurry up, it won't hold her for long."

"What am I supposed to do?"

"Seal her! She's a card!"

"Oh! Okay," Sakura shook herself and pointed the key at the frozen Magician. "Return to the shape you were meant to be!" The power of the key swirled around her as it fought to seal away the creature before it. A thought occurred to her and she turned to gape at Syaoran. "I don't know how to finish it! I don't know what she is!"

Kero-chan popped up finally, "She's the Magician! An Arcana Card!"

Sakura nodded in understanding, "Return Magician! Return Arcana!"

The ofuda burned off as the form it held in check vanished in a rush of power. The clearing once again flashed with a brilliant light, revealing a card with silver and black etching that pictured the woman from before with 'The Magician' written in archaic letters below it. The statues around them glowed faintly, then shattered with a tinkle to reveal bemused and confused people within.

The children looked around expectantly for their magician, but were disappointed to find no sign of her. They soon shuffled off to their homes leaving behind an ecstatic Sakura, who was hugging a confused Tomoyo, and a grim Kero-chan along with an even grimmer Syaoran.


"Sakura-chan defeated a card and I didn't see it?" Tomoyo practically wailed at the news. They had all left the park to wind down at a local café. Kero-chan hid in Sakura's tote, of course. But it didn't prevent him from giving his opinion or begging for some cake.

"Eh, Tomoyo-chan, maybe you'd better keep it down. We don't really want to attract attention," Sakura sweatdropped at her friend's distress.

"Of course, but still," Tomoyo scowled. "I will tape the next one! And, of course, I have the perfect costume!"

"Eh..." Sakura frowned in thought as she looked down at her newest acquisition. "The Magician. I'd thought I'd collected all the cards. So what is this?"

"The Arcana," Syaoran started before Kero-chan could pipe up, "It's what Clow developed the Clow Cards after. It's a deck of 22 cards, each representing an ideal barely remembered in popular Tarot divinations. The cards are old, too old. No one remembers where they came from or how they were made." He closed his eyes as he continued, "All I remember are the Elders' warnings. If you see an active card, run away as far and as fast as you possibly can. And pray to the gods you never see Death, active or not."

Sakura shivered as he finished. She'd never heard Li-kun this resigned, as if he didn't have any hope at all. Was it really that bad?

"I think the only reason we manage to seal The Magician is because she hasn't been active for very long. She wasn't using her full power, otherwise we would be dead. An ofuda won't work next time."

"The others are here," Kero-chan's muffled voice drifted out of Sakura's tote. "We're attracting them and I don't know how to stop it. Sakura-chan, you're going to have to learn how to use the Magician and fast."



Sakura sighed as she shuffled up the stairs to her front door. The conversation with Tomoyo-chan and Li-kun hadn't lasted much longer. Neither Li-kun or Kero-chan knew much more than rumors and superstitions about these new cards. The Magician had been ready to kill her, and probably would have if Li-kun hadn't shown up. But as much as she'd like to think that he would be, there was no guarantee that he'd be there to help the next time. She was going to have to figure out how to handle these new cards on her own. But, she really didn't feel too comfortable about calling forth the Magician card.

The Magician had seemed all too real, like she had been a real person. If that was true for the rest of the cards, how were they going to recognize them for what they were?

"Hoe, I'm getting a headache from this," Sakura grimaced as she rubbed her forehead. Niichan would be suspicious if she came in like this. Opening the front door, she plastered on a smile she hoped looked real enough to get her up to her room without any questions.

Sakura slipped off her shoes and stepped into her slippers as she called out, "I'm home!" She came to a halt as she got a good look at her brother.

Touya was talking on the phone, looking really worried, "Yes... yes... I will... thank you." He scowled deeply as he hung up. A moment later he was hustling past a surprised Sakura. "Come on little monster, we're going over to Yuki's. He didn't show up for work today."



That's it for this chapter. It's the first real action scene I've written in years. Let me know if it came out all right, I'm sure to rewrite it at some point though. I'm writing this fanfic through a block that's been giving me grief for the entire year. Eheh. ^_^; I ended up writing this chapter on Word, so please excuse any glaring format mistakes. >_< I try to fix them in notepad, but you never know how screwed up it'll get with Microsoft.

Next: Yukito-san is missing! What is wrong with the people of Tokyo?