Cardcaptor Thyme: The Second Tome

By Asclei

Fantasy / Adventure

Final Judgment (Part 1)

The gallant form of Helios floated upon the two guardians of moon, Yue and Ruby. Helios roared so loud that the echoes shook the ground, however Yue and Ruby weren't faltered. Yue held his anger so much it didn't show on his face, but a cold, glaring blue eyes.

"Ruby, get the kid" ordered Yue.

"Hey! I'm not taking orders from you!" replied Ruby.

Yue raised his right palm and pointed it toward her as it glowed bright. Ruby noticed his mood and then departed from the scene,"Ugh fine!"

"Now..what should I do with you, fake guardian?" asked Yue to Helios.

"You keep calling me that, whoever feeds you that information is probably the same idiot as the one who feeds information to the Li sisters. Heh, not that I care, I'll prove it to you, that I'm not a fake" replied Helios.

"How? By begging to my knee?"

"We know how.." said Helios in a low tone as he gaze sharply at Yue, then roared again.

"You will try" said Yue as he flew higher to invoke his power. Using his hands, he summoned icicle shards and launched them toward Helios. Helios erected a barrier as he deflected the shards by covering his body with his wings. However, as Helios slowly opened his wings, Yue was already in front of his eyes. Yue swung his hand in upward motion, it almost hit Helios' body. Helios flew back due to his reflex movement, but then he saw that even though the hand didn't hit it still cut deep into his scales. "Air blade?!" he thought.

"That's right, Yue's power feeds on The Watery and The Windy" thought Helios as he turned around to shoot fireballs out of his mouth. Yue erected a water shield to extinguish the fireballs while taunting Helios,"It's useless"

Helios accelerated at full speed while readying his claws as Yue didn't move. With a swift manoeuvre, Yue dodged it and land himself a quick air slash toward Helios' damaged scale. Helios wailed as he felt the pain.

"Weakling.." taunted Yue.

Helios regained his composure, nervously putting up a strong stance. "You're even weaker than a human, and you call yourself a guardian? Clow must be sleeping when he created you" continued Yue,"I'll end your pathetic existence"

"Hmph..be patient, my power are slowly coming back" said Helios as he stretched his wings as wide as he could. His body started to give similar glow to Yue's, but with a different aura colour. Slowly, Helios' right wing turned white, the membrane wing turned into feathered wing similar to Yue's. His left wing however, turned black as it grew the size of the membrane and the bone claws. With his wings transformed, Helios roared loud and then said,"Absolute power, the brightest light and the grimmest darkness!"

"Hm..so you're feeding on The Light and The Dark together. I'm glad that the 'feedback' effect doesn't destroy you" said Yue.

"I am the embodiment of balance, where light and dark can coexist within an entity. Let me show you just how powerless you are in front of my superior might!" yelled Helios as he soared high and opened its mouth wide. White and black particles started to gather in front of his mouth, forming a sphere. Yue sensed something very dangerous coming from that condensed sphere, he sweated and observed it carefully to counteract. "No, I must not let him finish!" thought Yue as he threw icicles shards toward Helios. Some of them hit Helios' neck and head that it threw him out of focus. The condensed sphere started to ripple as the particles are separated again. Helios didn't have time to recollect himself, thus he roared and shot the imperfect sphere toward Yue as accurate as possible. The sphere went past Yue's shoulder at a very fast speed, barely scratching him and heading straight to the woody ground. It exploded in a bright white light before it subsided and left nothing in their wake. Yue looked at the 'erased' ground with his eyes wide and mouth clasped.

"What is...this power?!" stuttered Yue.

"Looks like you were lucky. Next time I won't miss" said Helios.

"More the reason to not let you live!" yelled Yue as he charged toward Helios.


Meanwhile, Ruby spotted Thyme running in the woods from the sky. She approached him and shot a ray of light to stop his advances. Thyme looked at Ruby as she slowly descended.

"You can run, but you can't hide. Now, I'll drag you back to Yue so that he can finish his things and I can go home!" said Ruby while throwing a magical thread to bind Thyme. He fell to the ground struggling to break free as Ruby walked toward him.

"Hm..hey wait a minute" said Ruby as she carefully examined Thyme's face,"This is..this isn't him!"

Ruby looked around searching for something, and eventually found what she was looking for. A book was laying open on the ground, she touched it and it transformed into a card labelled 'The Create'.

"Oh no, Yue's not gonna like this. But oh well, I did my best...and at least the boy cannot use this card anymore" said Ruby as she constantly flipped the card.

The real Thyme, noticed that his trap has sprung as he sprinted out of the woods, heading back to the city. He sensed a massive Clow Card presence from the city which he thought could be where Yuanzi fled to.

"Please hold the line, Helios. Forgive me, Create. This is getting very complicated, I need to make haste myself" mumbled Thyme as he ran. However as he strides through the city, the images from his dream came back. He started to see the buildings similar to his dream, it was so clear that he almost thought he was still dreaming. He looked up and saw the big moon, over the tall tower in front of him. He stopped for a moment, gazing at the scene as it resembled the visions in his dream.

"...This is..the moment in my dreams. But this shouldn't happen yet, the fourth prophecy hasn't been fulfilled yet. Which one is correct?" he thought,"and also..the guy in the dream…"

"Enjoying the scene, are we?" said a voice suddenly came from Thyme's back.

Thyme got alerted and immediately got into his fighting stance while looking back. It was Kaho's voice. She stood there along with a very tall man with short black hair, holding Kaho's hand.

"I...uh…" stuttered Thyme while glancing at the man, hesitating to talk to Kaho.

"Somehow this boy got that brat's look. No wonder you're so interested in him, don't make me jealous though" said the guy in a teasing tone.

"Don't scare him, Touya-kun! He's in a middle of a test, isn't that right?" said Kaho as she smiled at Thyme.

"That's...ummm…"

"Oh don't worry about him. He knows it too. In fact, he insisted that he wants to see you in person" continued Kaho.

"Well..fine then. Let me be blunt, are you the one behind this mess?" asked Thyme.

"You've got the same nerve too" said Touya as he looked at Thyme with a flat expression.

"Shush!" silenced Kaho as she stuck her finger in front of Touya's lips. Then she turned to Thyme and said,"I'm just a watcher, this time I won't interfere..no..it's more like I can't interfere. The trial must be completed by you without any help or interference"

"But you brought that Yue here! Helios didn't even say anything about a trial"

"Oh really? He really did come here? That's troubling, after I told him to stay"

"Yeah sure whatever"

"No, it's true! After you called me, my husband sensed a familiar presence, then told me to quickly meet you"

"Stop blaming her, brat. I sensed Yukito's presence, after all he and I are connected. There's also another disturbing presence" interrupted Touya.

Thyme got alerted as soon as he realised that Touya possessed magical abilities too. He couldn't sense it because it was so faint and small, almost as if there was only a bit left out of a massive pool.

"I met her, the girl with butterfly wings" said Thyme. Touya's expression turned annoyed as he heard that.

"Ruby Moon? Now that explains why Yue insists on coming here" replied Kaho.

"Is it because of Grandmaster Eriol?" asked Thyme.

Kaho just nodded and smiled. "Anyway, this is most unexpected. If Yue wants to impose his Final Judgment on you, then all my work here was for nothing" continued Kaho.

"I thought your work was to make my life harder.." blurted Thyme.

"Actually, I have assigned a invigilator as a guardian substitute for your Final Judgment. He might be nearby as we speak now"

"Oh man, gimme a break here! Even my own guardian doesn't feel like giving me a judgment, why do all the people dumping all of these on me?!" ranted Thyme.

"Did he really say that? Goodness..that is the only proof that your Clow Book is real. If you don't pass the judgment, the cards will go berserk again. And his calamity will hit right on your head" explained Kaho as she panicked.

"I wouldn't mind trying if I had a full deck though…" replied Thyme while showing his only four cards left.

"...My my..The condition of commencing Final Judgment is just the sealing of all cards. If you lost the cards after you sealed them, the judgment will still go on. I apologise in advance then"

"What for?"

"For troubling you further, my appointed invigilator should be here very soon" said Kaho.

Thyme sighed,"This is a joke…..I don't have time for this. The cards' presence are fading, I better go!"

"Are you looking for the girl holding your Clow Cards? She went into that tower building" pointed Kaho.

Thyme quickly dashed after bidding farewell to both heading straight for the tower building.

"You didn't tell him everything" said Touya to Kaho.

"There's no need for him to know yet. If he asks more questions, even I don't know the answers. That's why we're here to investigate, right darling?" replied Kaho while smiling.

"You're scary"

"Not at all" she smiled again.

Thyme sensed the cards' presence right above him as he stood in front of the building. He looked for the quickest way to climb, then entered the east side entrance of the tower. He kept reciting in his head,"Let me get my cards first before the guardian catches up to me!"

As Thyme reached the source of the presence, he looked inside the massive dark hall with moonlight through the windows as the only source of light. He approached the stage as he drew closer to the presence. His sight began to blur and he felt sleepy, but the presence got stronger. "What's…..this? I haven't exhausted myself yet and my head's already spinning" he thought.

Thyme woke up to see himself sleeping in the hall. The night was over and the sun was already shining bright outside. He looked outside through the windows then brushed his eyes. "I..impossible.."

The presence was already gone. Thyme ruffled every of his pocket but couldn't find both his brooch or the remaining cards. He wondered what happened and decided to finish his climb to the top of the tower. There he stood on top of the building, a scene he was very familiar with, the scene from his dream, except it was missing the giant moon. He looked everywhere but there was nothing in sight. He closed his eyes to concentrate his sense but couldn't find any presence. In the end, he walked back down and went home using a cab.

Thyme couldn't find both Helios or his Clow Book. Not even a trace of it left behind. His phone rang and he looked at the caller ID which read 'Studio'.

"Hi boss..what's up?"

"Thymey..how are you doing? I got a new client project for you, come see me in the studio when you work" said Teo.

"Here we go again..I thought we made an agreement to the Thymey business? Anyway, I'll see you on Monday for the project thing"

"What agreement are you talking about? Are you still sleeping Thymey?"

"You told me to run an errand in the middle of a night! You also agreed to give me bonus!"

"Huh? What? Thymey, wake up, you're still dreaming!"

"Dream? Boss, you're confusing me now..you're the one who caused a racket for me and Yuanzi last night"

"Who's that? Hey...were you drunk last night?"

"Huh?! It's Yuanzi! Li Yuanzi! You ordered her to grab your mobile and documents at midnight"

Teo paused for a moment, then said,"Thymey, I have my mobile right here and there was no meeting last night. And this imaginary friend of yours, don't let it affect your reality, better put it down on your drawings, alright?" then Teo hung up.

"?" Thyme couldn't help but notice something was off. He thought,"What's wrong with this world?! People are acting strange!". To quickly confirm his sanity, Thyme called his university friends to ask about the Li sisters. Nobody seems to ever know the twin sisters, almost as if they didn't exist.

"All this time….did I just wake up from a nightmare? Or did I just fall into a dream?! Is this the work of The Dream card? Wait a minute….what...is..The Dream...card? It suddenly pops out in my head, but I don't even know what that is"

His phone rang again, this time an email notification came. Thyme opened it and it was the university result for the semester. He got perfect marks for almost all of them. He smiled as he tried to forget all the stresses in his head. "Maybe I am deluding..just need a fresh air outside"

Thyme decided to go to his university looking for some friends to catch up and waited for a class. He noticed that this was the festival day. He looked inside the booths with his friends, having fun and chatting. He forgot all the things in his head and returned to his happy life. As they were laughing, a loud bell rang right next to Thyme's ear. "Aaarrgh!"

"Hey, watch it!" yelled him.

A booth girl was selling ice cream, she was using the bell to attract customers. "We have a big sale for selected flavours!" said the girl.

"I'm really full right now, maybe I'll come back later" replied Thyme.

"No you can't!" she shouted while ringing the bell. Thyme's ears hurt and felt pain in his head almost as if the noise penetrated his brain.

"STOP IT!" yelled Thyme scaring the girl.

"I-I'm sorry..I didn't mean to.."

"That's alright, just get that bell away from me!"

The girl was confused as to why Thyme seemed to suffer just by hearing the bell. She stopped the bell and Thyme's headache disappeared. Thyme was bathed in sweat as he panted after the pain subsided.

"Please don't get mad at me..I'll give you a free one ice cream treat as an apology" said the girl.

"No, it's okay.." replied Thyme. He tried to figure out what was happening, inside his head, like something was going to crack if the bell goes on. Then he noticed something just entered his thought. It was a tall man's figure, wearing a monocle, straight long black hair. The image was vivid but vanished soon after. "W-Who...was that?!" he said.

"Are you okay?" asked the girl as she saw Thyme's pale face. She leaned closer and accidentally bumped the bell. It rang again and followed by Thyme's death wail.

This time there was another image. A dark blue plush toy, and then shifted into a giant wyvern. Then all went black, showing a dark blue book. He saw something else, a brooch with winged decoration. He suddenly recalled the strange incident with his boss before. He resisted the pain, closed his eyes and recited in his head.

"One key, one book, a guardian of light and dark. One creator, one calamity, one answer…"

"Two sisters, two moon guardians, two sides of realm. Two paths, three ways, but only one destiny…"

Thyme took the girl's hand, telling her to ring the bell as loud as she could right next to Thyme's ear,"Please, I need to get out from here!"

The girl looked confused at first but eventually helped him. The sound made him knelt and rolling on the ground in pain as his mind was broken. Eventually his vision blurred and he couldn't breathe, all he could feel was nothingness.

"..."

Thyme opened his eyes again, and this time he was back inside the moonlit hall. In front of him, stood a mosaic that distorted the space. "I see, The Illusion, huh? Showing the images of exactly what I wanted to see?" said Thyme.

"That Yuanzi must've summoned it to stall me, or trap me inside forever. As your master, I command you to return!" continued Thyme.

The Illusion returned to its card form even without the command from the sealing key, then flew into Thyme's hand as he put it inside his pocket. Then he heard the same bell sound as from the hallucination. He tracked the noise source and headed up to the roof of the tower building. He was sure that it was Kaho's bells noise.

Thyme reached the rooftop where he can see the moon up close. There was another tower building on the other side facing the moon. Suddenly the bell stopped, and after a moment Thyme sensed something was heading for his head from above. He quickly looked up to see a very fast fireball rained on him. "Oh, shit!"

He dodged it as fast as he could, but the explosion blew him away and hit the wall. He stood up quickly and looked for the attacker. Eventually he found a silhouette in front of the moon, a guy he saw from the dream. Now all the missing images from the dream are clear. The strong breeze sounded the bell that he held in his left hand.

"I was waiting for the fire.. Now all the prophecies has been fulfilled. Finale time" said Thyme.

"Let's wrap this up quickly, shall we?" said the man in silhouette as he stopped the bell chakram. The moonlight lifted the shadow and revealed the man's figure. He wore a robe with a yin yang symbol, a long sword at his back. He had a medium long black hair, sharp looking eyes rivaling Thyme's.

"I suppose I should thank you for saving me from the Illusion, huh?" said Thyme in a provoking tone.

"I got tired of waiting, that's all. Now, if we're ready.." he replied while unsheathing his sword.

"H-Hold on! Who are you? Why are you suddenly attacking me?!"

"Haven't Miss Mizuki told you? No matter, I am your Final Judgment invigilator, Li Shenlong"

Thyme sighed,"No...not another Li..I've had enough trouble with two already, three will just complete my misery"

"Prepare yourself...to be eliminated!" declared Shenlong while leaping from his platform.

"Whoa whoa I said hold on!" yelled Thyme as he leaped backward keeping distance with Shenlong.

"Don't think you can talk me over to pass the Final Judgment!"

"No-no-no I'm looking for your relative, Li Yuanzi. She took my cards, I need them back..otherwise…gyaaaah!"

Shenlong swung his sword at fast speed against Thyme that he got startled. Thyme stumbled while Shenlong pointed his sword right in front of Thyme's nose. Shenlong said,"So..in the end..she took them. Very well, I shall clean up their mess" Shenlong raised his sword high preparing for a finishing blow,"It's over already..you failed"

Thyme failed to negotiate with Shenlong as he couldn't fight with full strength with just 5 cards. "RELEASE, The Light!"

A blinding light covered both of them, but Shenlong used the bell chakram to immediately dispel it. "Fancy tricks!" he said.

Thyme appeared from the light again as magic circle appeared below him and a card already floating in the air waiting to be summoned. "Stubborn bastard, here I thought we can settle with diplomacy. Tch...Sword!"

"Fight like a man!" shouted Shenlong as he launched himself for another assault.

With the newly summoned sword, Thyme quickly parried Shenlong's attack. Shenlong pressed his strength to the sword to push Thyme down. Thyme resisted and poured all his strength to repel Shenlong. However, Shenlong was more powerful and physically stronger that he overwhelmed Thyme in a single push.

"Nggrh…!"

"Will you admit your defeat?" asked Shenlong while keeping the pressure.

"Keep dreaming! Hyaaah!" shouted Thyme as he spun the sword and his body around to divert the force.

Shenlong didn't waste a moment to jump in for another attack. This time Thyme dodged it and launched himself a quick lunge. Shenlong parried it as quick as his reflex. An intense sword duel made series of clashing sound between the two in very fast motions.

They were both on par with sword techniques but Shenlong was superior in strength, making Thyme had to rely more on his speed advantage. While Shenlong was going all in for his attacks, Thyme stayed in defensive parrying stance and rarely went in for an attack as if he was hesitant.

Finally, Shenlong had Thyme cornered at the edge of the building. Thyme looked at the missing platform behind him as his eyes couldn't even see the ground from up there. "Shit!"

Thyme's left hand tried to reach his card holster to look for some strategies, but Shenlong noticed and swung his sword heavily. Thyme sidestepped and rolled to the side to reposition himself so that he didn't stand on a corner anymore. Without a blink Shenlong went in again for a flurry of slashes that forced Thyme to use both hands to parry them.

Thyme thought he had a chance but Shenlong read every subtle movement he made that he couldn't use his cards. He expected as much from someone who was trained to counter a cardcaptor. However, Thyme didn't expect Shenlong to fully committing attacks with just a sword, thus making him too careful in anticipating his movement.

Recalling Thyme's experience fighting a Li clan member, they always had magic to back their attacks, but he hadn't seen any of Shenlong's magic. He got suspicious that Shenlong's magic might be a finishing blow or a powerful sudden blast. Thus, Thyme insisted on keeping distance and not exposing himself off guard. Shenlong continued his relentless attacks on Thyme while trying to push him into a corner again. Thyme realised that eventually he will run out of stamina and lost, he couldn't stall and buy time to think, he had to act soon or else.

Thyme started lashing out some of his attacks, and as expected, got parried easily. "This is going nowhere" he thought. He gambled by taking two cards from his card holster, but couldn't escape Shenlong's eagle eyes as he immediately gave pressure. Realising that Thyme couldn't withstand Shenlong with only one arm holding the sword, he immediately threw the two cards to summon them,"Call upon the strength of The Light and The Dark! Unite under my hand!"

Thyme had no idea what he was going to summon by combining the cards that he never tried before, but he decided to finish his chant,"Dual-cast! Go!"

The two cards didn't fuse, but created an explosion instead that blew Thyme and Shenlong away. Thyme fell to the floor and Shenlong somersaulted to regain his balance and stood back. "W-What just happened?!" said Thyme.

"Rebound effect, hah! Are you experimenting on me? Good luck with that!" replied Shenlong as he went inside the smoke to attack Thyme again.

"Rebound effect? Does that mean they can't be dual-casted?! Shit! He's coming!"

Thyme readied his sword quickly and braced for the clash. This time Thyme was running out of options as he tried everything in his arsenal but there was clearly no way to win against Shenlong by dueling him. "Well, at least he's a human. His punishment won't be that harsh even if I lose" he thought.

Thyme threw his sword at Shenlong while running away by jumping to another building. By leaving the sword, he also abandoned his scepter which prevents him from using any Clow Card. His desperate attempt, however was still not enough to even scratch Shenlong as he quickly dodged it and chased Thyme. "Activate now, Illusion!" yelled Thyme.

It turned out that he stuck The Illusion card to his sword before throwing it and chanted beforehand, but left the last phrase of the chant and casted it after the sword went through Shenlong. There was something that Thyme figured out after the rebound effect occurred. Shenlong could've used a magical charm that Miaozi and Yuanzi used to propel himself but he jumped back instead. Thyme was close in figuring out Shenlong's only weakness. Although Shenlong was superior in both power and technique of martial arts rather than the twin sisters, Thyme guessed there is a possibility that Shenlong couldn't use magic!

Thyme tried to prove that by using Illusion to trap Shenlong. As expected, Shenlong panicked as he stopped his advance and using a defensive stance. Thyme let out a tiny grin as he successfully landed his first offense. "Hahaha! I got you now! Never thought you're vulnerable to magic"

Thyme analysed his fight with Shenlong ever since they started. Shenlong's behaviours were pointing to the fact that he didn't want Thyme to ever cast magic as he constantly pressed whenever Thyme was reaching his card holster. Also not to mention there were so many chances that Shenlong could've used magic to his leverage, as would the twin sister do, but he didn't, or rather couldn't.

As much as it looked strange that a clan that protects magic would be weak to the magic itself, Thyme couldn't have figured it out if he wasn't desperate. However judging at the situation, the number of cards weren't favouring Thyme.

"I don't have much choice..looks like I'll have to make due with swords duel for now" said Thyme while preparing a sword stance.

Shenlong grinned, then he stretched his right leg to the front while lifting his sword in parallel to his legs positions. The stance looked like he was ready to lunge and stab anytime.

Thyme held his sword with both hands, pointing the blade right at Shenlong. Shenlong immediately dashed as soon as Thyme launched himself. A loud sword clashing sound was heard as the turbulence of two lightning fast swordsmen collided. However with Shenlong's superior strength and speed, Thyme was thrown back and smashed his back against the wall.

"Urrrk..bastard!" screamed Thyme while wiping the blood that came out from his mouth dripping to his chin.

"Good..fight like a man.. and fall honourably. Let's go!" said Shenlong as he dashed in for a finishing move.

Shenlong pushed Thyme to a corner again and managed to deliver a wide cut to his left arm. The cut went through his clothes as Thyme bled afterwards and held his injured arm with the other trying to stop the bleeding.

"There's no need for more bloodshed. Yield now!" said Shenlong as he pointed the tip of his sword in front of Thyme's face who slumped down against a wall.

Thyme looked around to locate his cards that have been used before. He saw The Dark was very near to his position. Then Thyme kicked the sword pointing at him and jumped against the wall and kicked it away to flip above Shenlong. Shenlong stabbed upward in panic to stop Thyme but he parried it by spinning his blade along with his body. After landing, Thyme quickly ran for the card, hooked it with his heel to lift it in the air as he turned around. "Dark, close the night's curtain!"

"No more of your shenanigans!" yelled Shenlong as he raised his bell chakram.

The Dark's power could only last a brief moment, but it bought enough time for Thyme to get away. "Tch, running away?!" grumbled Shenlong as he jumped down to chase.

"Persistent bastard! I thought the judgment is over when I fled. He's still chasing me after I admitted defeat? Isn't this against the rule?" said Thyme as he tried to lose Shenlong's trail.

Thyme strode the empty but brightly lit city streets, turning from alley to alley and jumping from one top of building to another. He kept looking back to calculate the distance between them, until someone blocked him as he turned into a corner.

"Shit!" yelled Thyme while swinging his sword against the shadow figure in front of him.

The shadow repelled his attack using a longsword, then a familiar voice came out as the shadow stepped in the light. "Careful where you swing that thing!" warned Miaozi.

"Y-You! How dare you even show your face in front of me now?!" blurted Thyme.

"Ssh..pipe down. Come with me!" replied Miaozi as she took Thyme's hand and dragged him away after throwing a charm paper and shouted,"Shin Kagerou Shourai! [Divine Shadow Haze Summoning]"

Veil of shadows were summoned as they enveloped Miaozi and Thyme within, making them invisible both in light and shadow along with their trails. Miaozi started running while taking Thyme with her. They reached an underground parking lot where Miaozi released the spell.

"What now? Are you leading me to a trap?!" asked Thyme.

"Ungrateful. I just saved you from that vengeful bimbo" said Miaozi.

"And why would you do that? You just helped an enemy! I don't trust you"

Miaozi shut Thyme up by putting her finger in front of his lips,"Be quiet and listen to me. Although we share the same objectives, that guy is not under Master Shaoran's direct command"

Thyme calmed himself as he cancelled his sword card and listened carefully,"Explain yourself"

"Good. Now we can talk" replied Miaozi as she sheathed her sword as well then continued,"Well, this is kinda our internal clan problems, but I think you should know at least who is your enemy and ally. Li Shenlong is currently The Chosen One from our Great Elder, aka Master Shaoran. He is to be the successor to our leader, but things happened and he goes rogue. His original task is to do what we have been doing this time to you, retrieving the fake Clow Cards"

"They are not fakes!"

"Yes, I'm not here to argue about that. You can fly to Hong Kong and debate that with Master Shaoran. Now..let's continue..My sister and I were assigned by Master Shaoran to retrieve the cards before he finds you. Because.."

"Because of what?!"

"He doesn't listen to our chain of command anymore. He won't listen to Master Shaoran. It seems that he knows something about your Clow Cards that we don't, and he's planning something with it"

"Hmm..interesting..so why is he here now?"

"I honestly don't know. I don't even have any clue on how did he find your location"

"Hmph..now I see. It's that Kaho, she's somehow related to this"

"Kaho Mizuki, huh? Somehow things got very convoluted now. With Yue and Ruby suddenly appeared, Shenlong and Kaho, sometimes I wonder what Master Shaoran and Mistress Sakura are doing. From the looks of it, they seem to act separately under different commands"

"Right..Yue and Ruby affirmed that they are under Grandmaster Eriol's order. You and your sister are under Li Shaoran's. As for the other two, I have no idea. Hmph..so what exactly that make Shenlong go rogue?"

"It's complicated..something to do with main family and branch family power. You see, the Li Clan consists of both main and branch family with main families leading on top. My sister and I belong to the main family's Protector sect. Li Shenlong, belongs to a small branch family. He was not meant to be part of the clan's authority due to his branch origin and lack of magical abilities. However, his physical ability is top notch, he bested even the head of Protector sect in a ceremonial duel. Eventually, the Council decided to train him in our traditional martial arts, under the tutelage of Li Meilin, Master Shaoran's ex-fiancee and a martial arts prodigy" explained Miaozi.

"I've heard of Meilin. She beat a Clow Card with just bare hands. So that explains his inhuman fighting ability..please continue"

"Meilin-shisho discovered a talented boy that reminded her of Master Shaoran when they were little. She trained him using every knowledge she has. In the end, Shenlong became an elite fighter, so strong that his ability is on par with the current Master Shaoran's martial arts. Master Shaoran took an interest in him, talked with him every now and then. Shenlong looked up to Master Shaoran due to Meilin-shisho's storytelling, then he asked if someday he could become the Great Elder, succeeding Master Shaoran"

"What's the problem in that? He has the ability, motivation, and the vision"

"Unfortunately, we don't operate like that. There's a rule that the branch family cannot lead over the main family. The Inner Council is also voicing disapproval as Shenlong doesn't possess any magical ability, thus is not blessed by the elder powers according to Li Clan's traditions. Regardless, Master Shaoran took him in and appointed him to be his successor, the Chosen One"

"...I don't see anything wrong yet..sorry, please proceed.."

"That's exactly one of the reasons. By ignoring the Council, The Great Elder decided something which provoked so many below him" sighed Miaozi,"Sometimes Master Shaoran can be so clumsy..despite his great leadership. Anyway, the now ambitious Shenlong got upset that Master Shaoran got insulted just because of him. Shenlong, being born a genius, could never accept the fact that he got held back only due to rules and traditions. One day, he pleaded to the Head Council to teach him magic, so he could satisfy the requirements"

"Looks like your Council is determined to not let him ascend"

"Yes..and that's because of his blood origin. Eventually, Shenlong got denied so many times and ended up being bullied even within his own clan. He detested the traditions, rules, and the hierarchy. He detested his own blood, his weakness of magic, and his powerlessness to do anything to change them. That was the day he left the clan and banished from the circle forever"

"Mm..and he met Kaho along the way who helped him to get here. What is she thinking, sending a vengeful fighting machine to someone who has no connection at all?!"

"It's the cards, Thyme. He wants the cards. It's the only possible method of him obtaining magic outside of Li's repertoire"

"But you said before that he has no magical affinity at all…"

"Well look at yourself! Did you have any before?" replied Miaozi.

Thyme paused for a moment,"...I guess you have a point there. But then again, why targetting me? Sakura Cards are probably closer to him rather than looking for some random guy"

"I have no more information on him. My guess is that he doesn't want to hurt Mistress Sakura because he looked up to her. Apparently he got a hold of our information network and using it to his advantage. More than that, you have to ask the person himself"

"I see..then this is no longer a valid Final Judgment. It's a war! And the worst of it, somehow I am in the center of it..wait a minute! What about your previous claims that you wanted to erase Helios and my Clow Cards?"

"I can't answer, it's a direct order from superior. But what Yuanzi did, was not in our plan"

"Oh right, speaking of which, where is she? I need the cards right now!"

"Look..forget all our conflicts in the past. Yuanzi is missing right now, along with your cards! If you want the cards so badly, then work with me to find her" said Miaozi in a serious tone.

"Then what? Snatch them away again?!" yelled Thyme.

"I've seen you fought up there for a while. Do you really think I stand a chance against the current you? One of those delta-cast is enough to bring me down. Wake up! You don't have enough cards to do anything, and your companion is fighting Yue right now! This isn't time to be hesitating, lots of people are depending on you"

"...I-I just…" said Thyme trembling.

"If you have questions, buy a ticket to Hong Kong after this. For now, we need to ward off Shenlong!" said Miaozi as she slapped Thyme once.

"U-uh...okay.." replied Thyme as he changed his expression,"What's your strategy?"

"As long as he is carrying that bell, your magic is useless. We need to fight him directly. He doesn't know that I'm here yet, we use that to our advantage"

"A sound plan, alright I'll lure him in!" said Thyme as he dashed outside the parking lot and reveal his presence by kicking parked cars that the alarms rang. Not long after, Shenlong jumped on him from the top of a building in a ready to slash motion. Thyme saw the looming shadow from above and quickly summoned his sword to parry the attack. Shenlong leaped backward using the momentum and stood in front of Thyme.

"Shenlong, you won't get anything by robbing my cards! Your enemy is not me!" said Thyme trying to negotiate.

"Hmph..so you knew. Shut your mouth, you don't know anything! I'm your Final Judgment and your worst nightmare, that's all you need to know" replied Shenlong as he lunged forward.

"Heh..just as I thought..Bring it, game on!" yelled Thyme as he turned around and ran back to the underground parking lot.

"Chickening out again? Don't think you can run away from me twice!" replied Shenlong behind.

Thyme led Shenlong to the designated location where Miaozi was waiting to ambush. After setting up the positions, Thyme signaled Miaozi to do simultaneous assault from the front and the rear. "Hyaaaaaah!"

Shenlong quickly noticed the second voice coming from his back, then turned around to see the incoming ambush. Thyme saw the opportunity then lunged forward at full speed. As much as they thought the plan would work by lunging two swords from different directions simultaneously, the only image they saw was Shenlong parrying both attacks using both his sword and his chakram bell.

"Impossible!" blurted Thyme. Miaozi was just as surprised.

"Fools.." said Shenlong as he pushed both Thyme and Miaozi away.

"So you're the one feeding him the information. Main family, always getting in my way" continued Shenlong while staring intently at Miaozi.

"This is the first time we meet face-to-face, notorious exile Li Shenlong-senpai" replied Miaozi.

"Senpai? Heh..so you're also Meilin-shisho's apprentice. This party is just getting better!"

"Shenlong, your pursuit of vengeance is useless! Whatever you plan to do, it'll only cause misery" yelled Thyme breaking the glares between the two clansmen.

"Hmph..heh..hahaha I think there's no point in hiding it anymore. Yes I'm just a human, not an eligible personnel to perform Final Judgment. Look here Cardcaptor, I'm offering you a chance to work with me. I'm on a mission to liberate my clan from its binding chain of ignorance" said Shenlong as he offered his hand.

"...I know the story...What's the catch?" asked Thyme.

"Thyme! You can't be seriously…." interrupted Miaozi.

Shenlong gave a side glance upon Miaozi before smirking,"Heh..wise choice. You and I, I can sense we belong in the same category. Ambitious, true leaders, allies of justice! I only ask you to hand over the cards to me, I will put them to good use. I ask you, do you even have any goals to do with the cards anyway?"

"I..I-I don't know yet.."

"Exactly my point. I will use them for noble purpose..together we can build a better world!"

"What makes you think you can use these cards? After all, I know that you're weak against magic"

"Tsk..this Clow Book is not assigned to anyone by Clow. If you, a commoner, can use it, then it's natural that a Li could use it too"

"I see, but I'm currently bound to a contract by Helios the guardian. How do you plan to bypass this?"

"I'm not after the title of Cardcaptor. I just want the cards, you can finish whatever you do to collect the cards, I only put them to good use. Isn't it a beneficial deal?"

"Thyme..NO! Don't ever agree to him!" interrupted Miaozi desperately.

"Shut up, bitch! I almost managed to stop your other, but that wench summoned the card to trap me!"

"The Illusion, so that's how it got there...Yuanzi stole my cards because she wanted to protect me from him. She knows well that I can't win against him and he will only chase the card keeper. This isn't about Final Judgment, I need to get out of this mess and get back to Helios as soon as possible" thought Thyme as everything finally fell in piece.

"What about Yue? You claimed to be the invigilator, so you must know that I'm currently not able to do anything to your cause" continued Thyme.

"Him? I just used his title, nothing more. My only goal is to abolish the current Li Clan. After that, I won't bother you anymore. In fact, I will lend you my hand to deal with him and this woman"

"You'll help me fight Yue? But that's against the rules!"

"Rules don't mean anything if we kill him. Rules are made by the victor. We make our own rules once we win. And together, you and I, we can do it"

"This man's a maniac! He killed lots of our clansmen in cold blood. He has gone down to the path of carnage! Thyme, don't join him!" yelled Miaozi.

"The strong shall survive and the weak shall perish. Currently, the weak are hiding behind their so called rules and bureaucracy to control the strong. I simply cannot allow that"

"Survival of the fittest, huh? Makes sense..but...I have my own reasons too. Alright, let's team up!" said Thyme.

Miaozi gasped as her eyes couldn't believe what had happened in front of her. She got betrayed and left to die by the only person she could trust. Shenlong turned around as his face was full of confidence, now facing Miaozi.

"Let's not waste any time, partner. Charge!" yelled Thyme as he dashed toward Miaozi at full speed followed by Shenlong.

Miaozi couldn't handle both of them at the same time, so she decided to parry Shenlong's attack and let Thyme went in. Strangely, Thyme didn't do anything except running past her and jumped outside. Shenlong saw that Thyme fled the scene but concentrated on the opponent right in front of him first.

"He double-crossed me! I'll crush him after I crush you, wench!" shouted Shenlong as he pushed his sword toward Miaozi.

"Damn Thyme! What are you thinking pitting me against him one-on-one?!" grumbled Miaozi as she resisted as she could.

Thyme got out of the parking lot and headed back where Helios was. He thought,"I mustn't get anyone else involved in this mess. I have to settle the score with Yue even though my cards are not complete. I'm sorry, Miaozi, I know you can't possibly win against him, but just buy me some time to finish this once and for all!"

However, before Thyme could even get out of the city, Yue and Ruby were already floating high above buildings. Thyme saw them and wondered where Helios was, thus approached them on top of a building.

"He proved to be a decent warm up. Now, are you ready, human?" said Yue with his cold eyes.

"Where is Helios?!" asked Thyme frantically.

"Here!" replied Ruby as she brought out a spherical cage with runic markings around it. Helios was trapped inside the cage in his small form.

Thyme couldn't believe that even the strong giant wyvern he saw back then can be easily defeated by these two. "H-How?!"

"Yue doesn't feed on Clow's magic anymore, remember? He's feeding on Sakura-chan's brother's energy, basically saying. He's immune to Clow powers because Sakura-chan's magic provided him evolved power and affinity" explained Ruby.

"You talk too much, Ruby. It won't do anything even if you explain everything" replied Yue.

"Geez, calm down. I'm just being the arbiter here..let's get this over with before the night's over and the moon disappears" said Ruby.

"Just as I wanted. It's about time we settle the score" challenged Thyme.

"Don't interfere, Ruby. I advise you bring that piece of weakling to Clow already and have him erased" warned Yue.

"Fine fine, I won't get in the way.. well then, I'll be going first" replied Ruby as she carried the cage and flew away from the scene.

"Hey wait!"

"You want to chase her? Go ahead, if you can..over my body" said Yue coldly.

Thyme readied his sword and prepared his stance. He honestly couldn't think of any strategy due to the limited cards, "I won't hold back anymore, I'll fight with all I've got!"

"You will try"

"En garde!"


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