Card Captor Sakura ~ Arcana
Chapter 3 - The Tower
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 3 - The Tower


A full, blood-red moon shone down upon the forest. It's oppressive light painted the trees crimson, causing them to appear almost like they were bloodstained. It was cold here beneath the trees. The wind did not blow, and even without it the air felt like ice burning against the skin. It was cold and dark and silent and still the feeling of being hunted by something from the shadows grew. It grew and fed the fear within, a fear of being caught that felt as icy as the air. The fear grew until nothing else mattered save escaping the hunter that followed relentlessly behind.

"Stop it!"

Minamino Yuri screamed in terror as she bolted up in bed. The staccato beat of her heart roared in her ears as she gasped for breath. She blinked, her eyes clearing as she saw that she was in her room, on her bed and not running for her life somewhere in a dark, cold forest.

Sighing, she collapsed back onto her pillow. The nightmare still lingered in her mind, refusing to fade. It had felt so real, as if she had been there... being hunted... by something. Yuri shivered at the thought. She was letting her imagination run away with this stupid nightmare.

Grumbling to herself, Yuri rolled over and drew the blankets up beneath her chin. She was being silly. It had just been a nightmare after all. True, it had been a bad one, but still it was just a nightmare.

Just a nightmare...


Sakura stared agape at the huge, dark trees that rose above her into the night sky. She shivered, hugging her arms to her body, as a cold wind whirled around her. Where was she? How had she gotten here? And in her pajamas no less. Her bare feet burned from where they touched the icy cold ground.

She was going to catch her death out here if she didn't start moving. The thin material of her pajamas stood no chance against the wind and her feet were already starting to feel as cold as the ground she stood upon.

A 'hoe' died on her lips as she turned. She shivered again, this time from something more than just the wind. There was... something out there. Her blood raced in fear as the moonlight painted everything, even the shadows, a blood red. There was something out there.

Something... was hunting... out there...

Her mind screamed at her to run from this thing she couldn't see. But she stood there, rooted to that spot, and waited. Somehow, she wasn't sure how, she knew that she wasn't the one being hunted. Something else was that thing's prey tonight.

What was it?

She had to know. She had to know what it was. Somehow, someway, it was vitally important for her to know. She didn't know why, but she knew she had to see it. She had to know what it was.

The silence lengthened until finally it was broken by the sound of rustling, a crackling of leaves as something moved against them. The fear within Sakura grew into an unthinking terror. But still, she waited. It was coming.

Sakura jerked around, her ears catching the soft rustling of the underbrush behind her. A feeling of oppressive malice blanketed the forest around her in that single moment. Her eyes widened as she stumbled backwards, the instinct to flee pushing itself to the forefront of her mind. She couldn't see it, but she could feel it.

It was here already.

A woman's chuckle issued from deep within the shadows. It was perhaps the most demonic sound Sakura had ever heard. It echoed in her ears, clawing at her mind, whispering of unending pain and madness.

"You know.... you can die in your dreams," the voice purred, dark humor imbuing each syllable until the words themselves became a death sentence. Glittering sparks of silver and white filled Sakura's vision as the voice continued, "Here, let me show you."

"Stop it!"

Sakura winced, something smacking against her forehead as she attempted to flee from... her bed? She blinked, sparks still dancing before her eyes, as she rubbed her forehead. A dream, it must have been a dream. Just a dream...

Sakura turned, her eyes not really registering anything until they fell upon the figure that stood beside the bed. The figure, no, the 'woman' who was giving Sakura a most unamused glare while tending to a smacked hand.

"Excitable aren't we?" The Magician scowled and soothingly rubbed the smarting hand that Sakura had inadvertently run into with her forehead. "That was rather uncalled for."

"Whu-whu-what?" Sakura managed finally. She was completely confused. First that nightmare and then to wake up to this? What was the Magician doing standing beside her bed?

She... it! Was a card again wasn't she? It! It's a card not a she... Isn't it?!

Where was Kero-chan? Oh, over there playing a video game with the Hanged Man. What in the world? What was he thinking?!

"Hoe!" Sakura blinked, her mind refusing to combine any of what she was seeing into something she could make sense of, "What's going on?"

Kero-chan looked back at her, his paws still furiously working the controller, "Good morning Sakura-chan! Ack!" Realizing his mistake, the little guardian returned his attention to the game. But it was too late, the screen flashed 'KNOCK OUT' as his fighter was literally knocked out of the picture.

Kero-chan glared up at his snickering opponent, "You sneak! You were just waiting for me to get distracted!" He blinked, a suspicious glint entering his eyes. "You didn't happen to make Sakura-chan wake up at that particular moment did you?"

"Who me?" The Hanged Man asked innocently, "I have a much higher sense of honor than that." He smirked down at the grumbling Clow guardian. "Face it, I won fair and square." His gloating done, he turned his attention to the bewildered teenager who was watching them with a somewhat vacant stare. "Good morning Sakura-chan!"

"Hey now," Kero-chan growled, "Who said you could call her Sakura-chan?"

The Hanged Man blinked down at him curiously, "You call her Sakura-chan. So why can't I call her Sakura-chan?"

"Because... because... because..." Kero-chan sputtered, his wings fluttering in supreme agitation. "It's just not right when you say it!"

The Hanged Man shook his head in mock sorrow, "That's not a very good reason Kerberus. Really, maybe you're just jealous."


"Would you two knock it off!" The Magician snarled. She sighed, reining in her flashfire temper as she slowly shook her head. "I don't know how I'm going to put up with the both of you."

"Because you love us, of course." The Hanged Man beamed as he came to stand beside his fellow Arcana. "Or at least me. After all, you're my oneechan."

"Don't push your luck. You know it doesn't work with me," The Magician frowned, turning her attention back to Sakura. "He was driving me insane in card form. So we popped out for awhile and they," she waved at the two culprits in question, "started playing a video game after we assured your little Clow pet that we weren't going to do anything to you."

Kero-chan bristled, "Oi!" The Magician sneered at him in disdain.

"Hoeee," Sakura slowly slid down until she was sitting admist her blankets. "And then?"

"You were having a nightmare," The Magician pointed at Sakura. "I was tired of watching them," she waved again at the other two, "So I was going to see what you were dreaming about," She glared at Sakura as she continued, "At least I was until you smacked into my hand with that hard head of yours."

"Hoe, I'm sorry!" Sakura rubbed the sleep out of her eyes and looked over at her clock. "I guess I should start getting ready for school." She grinned as something amusing occurred to her, "Won't niichan be surprised that I'm up so early."

"Why don't you skip today, Sakura-chan?" The Hanged Man winked at her in good humor. "After all, you've got all that yen from that nice old woman I pointed in your direction. I'm sure she wouldn't want it to go to waste."

Sakura blushed furiously as she vividly began to remember the night before. The obaasan had thought she and Li-kun... and that money... the Hanged Man had pointed her in their direction? Sakura stared dazedly up at the young man who was grinning impishly at her.

"Of course, that was my doing Sakura-chan." He smiled down at her gently. "She had no need of material wealth anymore. She was going to reunite with the love of her life. And all I had to do was make all the objections in her mind seem as insignificant as they really were."

"I would have helped you too." His frown was a mix of regret and guilt. "But I didn't know my magic would react so badly with your friend's. It's such a rare reaction after all. I'm awfully sorry about the whole thing. I don't want to hurt people, just help them realize the path they haven't chosen."

"But I don't want to choose another path!" Sakura bounced out of bed, "Another path would mean not knowing Kero-chan or Li-kun or Yue-san..." She sighed, remembering that Yukito-san and thus, Yue-san was missing.

He shrugged, unconcerned. "If you say so Sakura-chan."

Sakura shook her head, there was nothing she could do about Yukito-san at the moment, "And! I'm not skipping! I'm going to school!"

The Magician chuckled wryly as Sakura started flying around the room to begin preparations for school. The Arcana turned, her gaze falling upon her 'little brother', and smirked, "Would've helped her huh? You'll never change."

"She would have been happy in her new life. They're always happy."

"Perhaps, but would she have been happier than she is in this one?" She sighed and shook her head, "Someday, I hope you understand what it is to play with fate."

"Now now oneechan," The Hanged Man wagged a finger at his 'older sister', "Isn't this a case of the pot calling the kettle black?"

She smirked at him, "Probably. Doesn't mean I'm not right though. After all, you can do alot worse to a person than just killing them." She turned, her eyes following the blur that was Sakura, "I still don't like her... I hope the others hurry up and kill her."

"I don't," He smiled playfully, "You're alot mellower when you have a master."

Sakura zipped past the Arcana pair, her uniform flailing behind from where she had it draped over her shoulder. She slammed her bedroom door open and darted across the hallway and past a stunned Touya, slamming the bathroom door closed in his face.

Touya blinked blearily as "Good morning niichan!" drifted through the closed door. What was the little monster doing up so early? He shook his head, taking a peek around the doorjamb of Sakura's bedroom. All he saw was that weird stuffed toy of hers and two odd looking cards laying atop the mound of blankets on her bed. Strange, he could have sworn he heard a conversation going on in there. Oh well, he chocked it up to lack of sleep over worrying about Yuki.

A short time later, Touya sat at the dining room table watching amazedly as Sakura managed to flip pancakes over the stove without making a mess. Not only had she gotten up early, but she had gotten dressed and ready for school in record time and had even started fixing breakfast for them both without having to be reminded that it was her day to cook. It was a good thing their father had left on that trip to Europe a few days ago, he probably would have keeled over from the shock of it all. Yuki would have-

All thoughts about Sakura's strange behavior came to a screeching halt as Touya's mind returned to the subject he had been up all night worrying about. Touya leaned forward rubbing his sleep-craving eyes, his elbows braced against the tabletop. Where was Yuki?

He wanted to call the Police. He wanted to do something. But for the life of him he didn't know what he could do. Yuki had always been a little strange, somewhat less that human. Well admittedly, somehow, someway, he had always known Yuki wasn't human. And that was the problem. If he called the police or anyone else, then eventually that fact about Yuki might come out. That would be a disaster of cataclysmic proportions.

What would his father think? What would Sakura think? Touya shuddered at the thought. He hated doubting his family, but no matter how hard he tried he couldn't seem to stop. What was he going to do?

"Niichan? ... Oniichan?"

Sakura's concerned voice cut through Touya's spiraling thoughts. Dragging himself away from his misery, he blinked and found that he had been a bit out of touch with reality. A glass of juice and a plate of cooling pancakes with a large dollop of near melted butter sat before him. Sakura had obviously placed them before him some time ago as she had already eaten halfway through her own stack of pancakes.

She watched him worriedly as he woke up from where ever it was that he had been, "Are you okay?"

Touya sighed, he'd have to watch it. It wouldn't do to have his little sister thinking he was a basketcase. "Ah... I'm fine Sakura."

Sakura watched him quietly as he began to eat. She knew better than to take that at face value. He was very worried about Yukito-san, that was obvious. But was that all? Did he know something else... No, of course not. This was her big brother after all. He always came across as this big, tough guy. But really, he was a certifiable softie about some things. Smiling softly, she whispered, "I'm sure Yukito-san is fine niichan."

Touya stared at her in wonder. He hadn't expected that. "Ah... I hope so Sakura, I hope so."


Tomoyo's eyes were wide as saucers in shock when Sakura leisurely walked through the front gates of the school. Sakura-chan was on time. Actually that wasn't true, her friend was early. Sakura-chan was never early, usually she was late.

Tomoyo shook her head in bewilderment as she waved to catch her friend's attention. "Good morning Sakura-chan!"

Sakura waved cheerfully in reply as she headed over to Tomoyo, "Good morning Tomoyo-chan!"

"Are you all right Sakura-chan?" Tomoyo frowned in concern, "You're... early."

"Oh, I'm fine!" Sakura beamed. A moment later she frowned worriedly as she looked around the schoolyard. "Has Li-kun shown up yet?"

"No," Tomoyo crossed her arms and pinned Sakura with a stern gaze. "Something's bothering you. And don't tell me you're fine. I know better."

Sakura visibly shrank under the questioning, "Well... Li-kun was hurt by the Arcana we ran into last night and I need to check and see if he's okay today..."

"What?!" Tomoyo gaped at her friend, "You were out with Li-kun last night and you ran into an Arcana and you didn't call me?!"

"I'm sorry!" Sakura winced, hoping she could stave off the coming storm. "Hoe! It just happened! Me and niichan went over to Yukito-san's house because Yukito-san is missing, Li-kun and Kero-chan says it's because of some Arcana card, and I called Li-kun over to see if he could figure something out and I had to make sure they didn't kill each other then he walked me home because niichan had already left and then we ran into this crazy obaasan which was really weird and then the Hanged Man showed up and he tried to put the whammy on me but Li-kun was in pain because the Arcana's magic and well he surrendered and I got home and I just sort of... forgot!"

Tomoyo blinked, trying to make sense of Sakura's apology and everything else that had come with it. "I... see..."

Sakura's eyes glittered with guilt as she grabbed Tomoyo's hands. "I'm really really really sorry! It won't happen again and... hoe, there's Li-kun! Come on!"

Sakura, dragging a rather dazed Tomoyo in her wake, hurried over to Syaoran as he walked through the school gates. Sakura waved energetically to get his attention. When she was in speaking distance she smiled shyly, "Good morning Li-kun. How are you feeling?"

"I'm fine. I told you I would be." Syaoran scowled. She was worried about him, he could tell. He did not like making her worry. "It was just a fluke and I've taken steps to make sure it doesn't happen again. So you don't have to worry. I'll be fine."

"Are you sure?"

"Uhm..." Tomoyo lightly tapped Sakura and Syaoran both on the shoulder. "I'm not quite sure I understand. Could one of you please explain exactly what happened last night?"



After having been forced to suffer through a harried explanation of the previous night's events, a rather put-out Tomoyo, Sakura's guilty conscience for not getting in touch with her best friend, having to deal with the weird vibes that new girl, Yuri, who looked like she didn't have a very good night either, put off and getting through the first half of the school day, Syaoran could now relax for the entire lunch break. At least, that was the idea. Unfortunately, the bad luck that seemed to be dogging him of late grabbed his spine and started rattling it as he walked by the closed door of the school library.

It was that feeling from last night again, slightly different, but indelibly the same. Syaoran thanked god that he had spent a good portion of the night, after his and Sakura's encounter with The Hanged Man, casting protection spells upon himself. Thanks to those particular spells there was no pain this time. Instead, an infinitely powerful feeling of wrongness buzzed at the very edges of his mind, hinting at thing that weren't meant to be known by man.

There was an Arcana, right here, right now, in their school library.

Sighing in resignation, Syaoran brushed aside all thoughts of relaxation and food as he opened the door and walked in. It was quiet within, not surprising, though there was an occasional low murmuring of unintelligible conversation. There was always more people in the library than usual at lunch break. Most were there to study, some there simply because they enjoyed reading and a scant odd few who just seemed to like the dark, musty atmosphere the room seemed to collect. All in all, nothing out of the ordinary.

Well, nothing except the discordant feel of ancient magic that blanketed the entire room. It was stifling. Syaoran briefly wondered how even those without sensitivity could stand it. Or perhaps it was just him, maybe he was just becoming oversensitive to the Arcana. The elders had always warned about such things, especially with older magics. Then again, it could just be the fact that he was the only truly trained sensitive in the area, and the magic of the Arcana was just unconsciously focusing more on him because of it. That was a lovely thought.

A glittering over by the librarian's desk caught his eye as he slowly walked past the stacks. A silver filigree hourglass rest upon the wooden surface of the desk. The highly polished silver caught and reflected the meager light of the library, giving it an ethereal glow. It was from there the feeling of magic originated, Syaoran realized instantly. The hourglass was the Arcana.

Crossing his arms, Syaoran leaned against the end of the closest bookshelf and contemplated his discovery. It seemed inert at the moment, but there really was no telling. He could go up there and find out, but that would be extremely stupid on his part since he couldn't seal it in a room full of people. He'd have to wait until nightfall to be assured of no possible witnesses.

Syaoran scowled. He did not like having his hands tied by technicalities. He was going to have to wait, and he was going to have to tell Sakura about it. If she found out he'd deliberately not told her about another Arcana, she'd be livid. As for Tomoyo, having her miss another opportunity to film her Sakura-chan would be like digging his own grave. Syaoran grimaced. It would be far from pleasant.

He shook his head as he turned to leave. Might as well go find them and tell them. It would give Sakura something to think about other than her guilt from the lack of communication with Tomoyo the night before.

The silver sand within the hourglass flashed a brief, dull crimson as Syaoran left its new realm. It could wait. It had all the time in the world.


"Hoe! Another one? Already?" Sakura nearly wailed at the news. She and Tomoyo had been having a picnic lunch under a tree in the schoolyard when Li-kun had found them. Sakura eyes bugged out as Tomoyo literally lit up like a christmas tree an instant later.

"That's great!" Tomoyo bounced up from the picnic blanket, giving Li-kun a quick, exuberant hug that made Sakura's eyes bug out even more. "Yay yay yay!" Letting go of the somewhat flustered Li-kun, Tomoyo beamed down at Sakura, who was still sitting on the ground in a bit of a daze. "I finally get to film Sakura-chan's new adventure!"

Sakura blinked, somewhat weirded out, as Tomoyo started skipping in little circles around Li-kun. All the while, muttering to herself about what costume would suit Sakura-chan the best tonight. Tonight, when she would again capture her cute Sakura-chan being brave on film!

And so it went for the rest of the day. Tomoyo in her own happy little world, thinking of how to make Sakura-chan as cute as humanly possible for their grand adventure tonight. Sakura, who was getting spooked by the occasional maniacal giggle, that really didn't sound sane, coming from Tomoyo-chan's direction. And Syaoran, who was wondering where he let his brain go when he decided to tell them both about the new Arcana.

Around seven o'clock that night, after Sakura had given Touya a rather lame excuse, which amazingly enough he bought, Tomoyo had bundled Sakura, Kero-chan and Syaoran into the costume van and had one of her cute bodyguards drive them all back to the school. Upon arrival, Tomoyo had handed Sakura a red and pink mountain of fabric and pushed her hapless victim into the back of the van to get dressed. Unfortunately for Syaoran, Tomoyo wasn't quite finished yet.

"Please Li-kun! I made it to your measurements! And see," Tomoyo held up an almost exact duplicate of Li-kun's fighting outfit, save that it was bright red instead of green. "I only changed the color! I assure you it's far more comfortable to wear too!"

"Wait a minute!" Syaoran slowly backed away from what he considered his doom. He held his hands in front of him, knowing such a weak display wouldn't ward her off, but unsure as to what would. "Just how did you get my measurements?"

"Ohohoho!" Tomoyo grinned widely. "A girl's got to have her secrets! Now come on." She dropped the silky-soft material across Syaoran's outstretched hands. "Go try it on. If you don't like it, you can just take it off later, right?"

Syaoran sighed in defeat, "And just where am I supposed to try this on? Sakura's in the back remember?"

"Why the front of course." Tomoyo smiled at her victory. "I designed it to be quite spacious and the door into the back is closed and locked. You'll have more than enough room up there without fear of Sakura-chan accidentally barging in on you! Now shoo, I promise I won't peek."

"Yeah right," Syaoran muttered as he trudged around to the front of the van. "I bet there's a hidden camera in there somewhere."

Tomoyo's smile widened at the sound of a slamming door. That had turned out to be alot easier than she had thought it would. Now, if she could just get him to dress in something other than his usual battle garb. Saving that train of thought for later, she turned around and knocked on the back door of the van. "Sakura-chan? Are you ready yet?"

The door opened just a crack, "I don't know, Tomoyo-chan. It's kinda drafty."

"I'm sure you look wonderful in it Sakura-chan." Tomoyo whipped out her trusty video camera and pulled the van door open, revealing a rather hesitant Clow Mistress bedecked in her newest costume.

It was somewhat simple in design, made more to accentuate Sakura's maturing curves. A layer of light pink silk peeked out from beneath the brilliant red of the psuedo-yukata with a sash of the same pink material circling her waist and knotted over her left hip. The skirt flowed up from her left knee to mid-thigh on the right in a daring diagonal cut. The sleeves billowed slightly, the edges tied up with thin pink ribbons halfway between Sakura's elbows and wrists. Thick red ribbons wrapped around her ankles, holding the red slippers that graced her feet in place.

"Very beautiful Sakura-chan, and very sexy." Tomoyo winked cheerfully from behind her video camera.

"Tomoyo-chan," Sakura rolled her eyes heavenward in resignation. There really was no escaping Tomoyo when she was like this. Looking around, Sakura blinked in confusion. "Where's Li-kun?"

"Right here."

Sakura whirled around in surprise, her eyes widening in astonishment at what she saw. Li-kun, in his battle outfit, except it was the same color red as her outfit. What in the world?

"Ahhh, so cute! A matched pair!" Tomoyo skipped around them, getting a shot of all sides, while the pair in question blushed as red as their clothes. "Don't you agree Kero-chan?" Stopping, she looked around curiously when there was no forthcoming answer. "Kero-chan?" Now that she thought about it, Tomoyo hadn't seen hide nor tufted tail of Kero-chan since they had arrived at the school.

"I think I saw him heading over there..." Sakura's voice trailed off as she pointed towards the school entrance. Kero-chan was sitting stock-still a few feet in front of the doors. He kept staring at them as if entranced. "Kero-chan?"

"Eh?" Kerberus shook his head and looked up at them as they approached. "What?"

Sakura kneeled down next to the little guardian, a concerned look on her face. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine." Kerberus fluttered up from the ground. "It's nothing really." He looked back towards the school doors, giving them an odd look. "Well, it's just weird. The magic feels familiar, like I've encountered it before. But I've never been around any of the Arcana. So how could I know what they feel like?"

"Hoe." Sakura shrugged. "Sounds complicated. But I'm sure you'll figure it out." She smiled encouragingly. Gripping the key of the seal, already summoned into staff form, she turned to Tomoyo and Syaoran with a determined glint in her eyes. "Are we ready?"

"Just a minute," Tomoyo reached down, fishing around for something in her pocket. She smiled as she drew out a long, thick ribbon made of the same red material as Sakura's outfit. Humming to herself, Tomoyo used it to tie a bow around Kero-chan's neck. Grinning widely with camera at ready, she stepped back to get all three card captors in the shot. "Okay, all set now."

"Eheh," Sakura sweatdropped at what she tended to classify as 'typical Tomoyo', meaning great friend but kinda crazy. Turning, she smiled at Syaoran and walked the last few feet to the doors. "Let's go."

The doors opened silently and with little effort. Sakura frowned at this and gave the others a worried look. "Shouldn't they be locked?"

Syaoran scowled as he slowly stepped past Sakura and into the dark entrance hall. "I don't like this."


All the lights in the library had been turned off hours ago, though around the librarian's desk they would hardly have been necessary. The hourglass cast off its own brilliant illumination, bathing the desk and nearby shelves in a soft silver glow. The sand within the glass glittered, taking on a reddish-hue as the Clow Mistress and her friends entered the school below and walked into the Arcana's influence.

The sand shifted and began flowing upwards as the outer doors to the school swung shut. Now the game would truly begin.


"This is worse than that time with the Shadow card," Sakura mumbled as the group slowly walked past the rows of shoe lockers. She shivered slightly, her senses hyper-tuned for any sign of weirdness that would herald an attack. Oh yes, this was much worse than the Shadow card. Reaching the doors leading to the inner hallways, Sakura glanced at Li-kun worriedly, then turned her attention to her best friend.

Tomoyo-chan was following a short distance behind them, the light from her video camera illuminating the immediate area around her. Kero-chan hovered above Tomoyo's left shoulder, ready to defend against anything should the need arise. He was unusually silent, which was quite a disturbing change from his usual exuberant cheer.

"Tomoyo-chan," Sakura started. "Please, please be care-"

Reality rippled and took on a reddish-tinge as Sakura spoke her warning. And then, Tomoyo-chan and Kero-chan simply vanished... along with the floor.

"-ful!" Sakura shrieked the last bit as she felt herself falling. She scrabbled at the doorknob, trying to stop her decent, but instead of holding her it turned in her grasp. The door swung open into the hallway as her hands slipped off the knob. A final desperate grab for the doorjamb in the now open doorway provided enough purchase for Sakura to hang on to though.

She sighed in relief, then gasped for air as something wrapped around her waist and a heavy weight began to drag her down. Locking her muscles, Sakura held on for all she was worth. She was not going to fall. She was not going to fall. She was not going to fall. And, she didn't.

Thanking whatever gods might be listening that she was a cheerleader, and thus able to actually manage this, Sakura looked down. A huge black, seemingly bottomless chasm loomed beneath her and Li-kun, who held a death grip around her waist.

Syaoran glared down into the darkness, then looked up into Sakura blushing smile. He knew it had seemed too easy.

"Hoe," Sakura winced, her arms were really starting to burn from the strain of holding them both up. "Li-kun, you're going to have to climb up first. I can't pull us both up."

Syaoran blushed in return and nodded hesitantly. "O-okay." Bracing his feet against the chasm wall on either side of Sakura's legs, Syaoran slid his left arm tighter around her waist to get a better grip. Reaching up with his right hand to grasp Sakura's shoulder, Syaoran slowly inched up along her body, being extremely careful so as not to jar her.

Sakura's face was almost as red as her dress by now. He was heavy, but not terribly so even though he was a boy. Her blush deepened as she tried to think of anything to distract herself from the fact that this was Li-kun holding her, touching her. It was enough to drive her insane. Though she had to admit, this was rather pleasant. Even though her muscles and tendons were screaming at her from having to hold up all this weight for such an extended length of time, she was actually enjoying this. After all, it was an extremely rare occurrence for him to touch her at all. They were holding on for dear life, but she wouldn't trade this for anything.

Sakura blinked as Li-kun released his hold on her shoulder, reached up past her head and firmly grasped the doorjamb. She turned her head to look over her shoulder. Her blush took on another hue, this time as red as her dress, as she gazed into the amber-flecked brown of Li-kun's eyes. They were nose to nose, she could even feel his breath as he tightened his grip around her waist.

Syaoran licked his lips and cleared his throat. "Up you go." He boosted her lithe body up and over the doorjamb, doing his best to avoid looking up her skirt at all costs. Muttering to himself, Syaoran hauled himself up beside her and sighed wearily. This was getting to be too much, entirely too much for him to handle.


Tomoyo gaped in utter confusion as she found herself not in the entrance hall but instead in a classroom. And there was no sign of Sakura-chan or Li-kun for that matter, just her and Kero-chan. She frowned in distress as she looked up at a thoroughly confused Kero-chan. "What happened? Where are we? Where's Sakura-chan?"

Kerberus fluttered around Tomoyo in concern. "It must be the Arcana. For some reason it separated us from the others, but I don't know why. It could be to make us less of a threat or maybe something else." He shook his head. "I don't really know. But we should head for the library. If anything, we'll run into them there."

"Okay." Tomoyo sighed mournfully. There went another chance to film Sakura-chan's great adventure. Oh well, at least there would be other times. Tomoyo consoled herself with that thought as she followed Kero-chan out past the classroom door and into the dark hallway.

Miraculously, or perhaps suspiciously, they had ended up on the second floor. The same floor the library was on. It was only a short trek down one hallway and into the next before they reached the closed door to the library. A quick turn of the knob and a gentle shove opened the way into the dark, musty stacks. A soft glimmering light from beyond the rows of bookshelves provided more than enough illumination to see where they were going.

Tomoyo and Kero-chan stopped short at the last bookshelf. Kero-chan glared heatedly at the glowing hourglass, while Tomoyo zoomed in with her video camera. Tomoyo blinked, the sand was running up. No wait, it was changing color. The reddish hue was changing to a light blue and the sand was even changing direction. It was falling down now, like a normal hourglass would.

Tomoyo frowned worriedly. For some reason that she couldn't quite figure out, she did not like what the hourglass was doing one little bit. It did not bode well for Sakura-chan.


Sakura sighed, rubbing some feeling back into her arms as she slowly climbed to her feet. She was really going to hurt tomorrow. Oh well, as long as they were both okay, everything was fine. Sighing once more, Sakura hoped that Tomoyo-chan was okay and that Kero-chan was taking good care of her. She trusted Kero-chan to protect Tomoyo-chan, but there was a part of her that just couldn't help worrying about her best friend. It had only gotten worse after the fiasco with the Clow cards, and the Magician hadn't exactly helped either.

Syaoran came to stand beside her. He looked down at Sakura in reassurance as he asked, "Ready?"

Sakura looked up at him and smiled. "Yeah, let's go." Still smiling she turned around and promptly ran into a wall that had just appeared out of nowhere. "What?" Sakura rubbed her nose and glared at the wall in pure annoyance. She turned around to go the other way and gasped. There was a wall there too. They were boxed in. There were walls all around them. Even the doorway they had just climbed through was now mysteriously a blank wall. "What's going on?"

"Hazarding a guess, I'd say it's our newest Arcana." Syaoran grimaced, then pulled out an ofuda and began chanting. Unfortunately, the wall was quite stubborn and refused to budge even with the application of his spell. Syaoran scowled and shook his head. This was going to be tough.

Sakura frowned and summoned forth the Sword card. Maybe it could get through where Syaoran's spells couldn't. She swung the Sword, the blade easily sinking into the wall as if it were a simple illusion. Sakura blinked in confusion, the Sword went through fine but she couldn't pass her hand through the wall. It felt completely solid to her even though the Sword was buried up to the hilt. Pulling the Sword out only revealed a clean surface, as if she hadn't had a magical Sword sticking out of it a moment ago.

Sakura banished the Sword and scratched her head. Okay, that didn't work. She wasn't going to give up, but she had no idea what to try next. Maybe Li-kun had an idea...

Before Sakura could ask Syaoran what he thought they should try next, the walls rippled and vanished. The hallway stretched out before both of their utterly flabbergasted stares. Even the entrance hall and all the rows of shoe lockers were back to normal.



Tomoyo smiled in triumph as the blue faded out of the hourglass sand, leaving behind a soft silver glitter. She picked up her video camera once again and stepped back to get a good shot of the librarian's desk.

Kerberus pranced across the surface of the desk. Plopping down next to their quarry, he beamed up at her and gave his best for the camera. "That was really smart thinking Tomoyo-chan. Turning the hourglass on its side and all. I'm really impressed."

Tomoyo grinned at his praise and raised her hand up in the victory sign. Sakura-chan would be so proud of her! She, Daidouji Tomoyo, had defeated an Arcana card all on her own.


Yes, I'm ending it there. AHAHAHAHA! What can I say, I'm evil. *giggles maniacally* Don't you just love the chasm scene with Sakura and Syaoran? That was awfully fun to write. *EG* This chapter didn't take too long to write. I'm impressed with myself and that's an awfully hard thing to do. As I've already got the next chapter plotted out it shouldn't be more than a month or two. *crosses her fingers*

Next: Oniichan had better not see us like this! Tomoyo-chan help!!