Envoys of Li Clan
After series of restless actions, Thyme reached his limit as the fatigue took its toll on his body. He decided to take a break to recuperate and plan his next move with Helios. He opened the dark blue book, almost filled with Clow Cards that he had gathered so far. Helios casted a spell that made the cards float around Thyme as magic circle appeared below him.
Thyme looked around the cards orbiting and reminiscing his battle with each one of them. He remembered that Helios said when certain card types are captured, he will return to his true form. Most likely, the required cards were still out there because after so many cards, Helios still maintained his tiny body.
"Humm..what a misfortune!" said Helios breaking the silence.
"Of all the cards we've gathered, there is not even one major card or greater elemental cards."
"What's that? Are you talking about special cards? We have The Maze and The Mirror..then.."
"No that's not it.. We haven't encountered any of the four elemental cards, or even greater elementals." interrupted Helios.
"Huh? What's that?" replied Thyme after he dispelled the magic circle and collected the cards into his hand stack.
"Listen. The four elemental cards, represents the earth, fire, water and wind. They are the higher tier cards, means that they govern most of your cards' power. Most of your offensive cards will be ineffective against them. Like Woody for example, you can't use her to fight Earthy because Woody's power is based on Earthy's property. I think you get what I mean.."
"That means...most of my cards power are sealed..Then I suppose you have other methods?"
"Elemental cards can only be beaten with another elemental card, or more."
Thyme looked at his stacked deck,"We'll think of something..well, it's no use muttering about it. I am in no condition to fight anyway now."
"You're right, you've done plenty. Good job, Thyme. Have a good rest." said Helios as he flew to Thyme's closet to sleep.
Weeks after, Thyme had no activities involving Clow Cards due to his study and work schedule getting intense. He sensed no presence of Clow Cards, neither did Helios. Until one day, Thyme encountered people who will cause some trouble to his secret activity.
"Exchange students?" said Thyme as he walked with his classmate along the university corridor.
"Yeah, they came from Hong Kong apparently."
"They? More than one? Then surely….Ugh!" Thyme bumped into someone before he could finish his sentence. His friend looked at him in surprise.
"Ahh! What a jerk! You intentionally bumped into me so you could touch my body, this low life!" grumbled a young woman with a long black hair, tied with a hair ribbon and pair of hair sticks.
"Damn..ah I'm so sorry. I wasn't looking." apologised Thyme before his hand got slapped by her.
"Shut up! This is why I don't like this country." grumbled her again as she stared into Thyme intently.
"What the hell? If you were looking forward too, this wouldn't have happened!" said Thyme as he got angry by her response.
"Now now…" said the friend in low tone trying to calm both.
"What?! You touched me then you blamed me? How does your brain work?!"
Their loud voices attracted other students to gather around. "Far out! I think words can't get to your head either. Wanna settle this right here right now?!" challenged Thyme. Thyme had always been a person who showed no mercy, no discrimination, and no remorse. Perhaps this attitude was one of the contributing mental factors to his success as a cardcaptor.
"Hold on, Yuanzi!" yelled another woman with a very similar sounding voice. Another young woman appeared from the crowd that gathered there, she looked exactly like the girl in front of Thyme.
Everyone's eyes were focused back and forth between the two girls.
"Jie, don't stop me! This molester has to be taught a lesson!" replied the girl called Yuanzi.
"No don't! Take a good look at his chest pocket!" as she held Yuanzi's hands.
"Uh! I sensed it! There's faint magical aura coming from that brooch of his." said Yuanzi after she calmed down in a very low voice.
"I have a feeling that he is the one.." replied her.
"Are you sure, Miaozi Jie?" asked Yuanzi to the girl called Miaozi. Miaozi nodded reluctantly.
Yuanzi walked closer toward Thyme, leaning her face in front of his chest. "W-What do you want?!" said Thyme in panic as he stepped backward.
"Let me see that brooch!" ordered Yuanzi.
Thyme stopped for a moment there, as he thought,"What?! Why is she suddenly interested in this? Coincidental?"
"No!" denied Thyme strongly.
Yuanzi insisted on taking the brooch until her sister, Miaozi stopped her due to the attention they got from the crowd. In the end, the girls left as soon as Thyme walked away from the scene.
"Whew what girls! There you go, they are the exchange students. They're very hot!" said Thyme's friend while panting chasing him.
"You're kidding me! Hmm..come to think of it.. There is a theory that says you could get better at something by trading something else. Ha! I got it, I believe they traded their attitudes for their beauty..makes sense." said Thyme in frustration.
"Aww come on, you could've just let that slide.."
Apart from the accident, Thyme was more interested in how the girl suddenly changed the topic to his brooch. Thyme held his brooch tightly while thinking,"It can't be..that..huh? No there's no way they noticed, it's pure coincidence." After the class sessions, Thyme got the last names of those sisters. He decided to consult with Helios just in case.
"Li family, you say?! Ugh.." said Helios.
"From your tone, it appears that you know them.." said Thyme curiously.
"Ahaha.." sighed Helios,"Every time there's an incident involving Clow, those guys were quick to react."
"Did it happen before as well?"
"Yes, I heard from Cerberus that Mistress Sakura encountered someone from Li clan as well during her cardcaptor days."
"Tch..so they noticed it." said Thyme as he held unto his brooch.
Helios explained that they were descendants of Clow Reed, whose tasks are to protect Clow magic from being misused and conceal its presence among the public. The fact that they were here proved that they were aiming at Thyme's cards.
"So..as long as you keep your heads up, there's no way for them to disrupt your movements. Get the lower tier cards first, wait until the situation is clear, then we can move on." suggested Helios.
"Sounds like a plan, let's do it that way." concurred Thyme.
Days after, Thyme found himself in a trip with his class to a beach resort in order to celebrate the start of new semester. Thyme brought Helios with him just in case something happened between him and the Li sisters.
It wasn't long after the first day that another Clow Card appeared. It was already midnight where most of the students were already asleep. Thyme was laying on top of his bed, with eyes half closed. Then a strange feeling came to his mind.
"Damn..this presence..Clow Card!" he thought. At the same time, Helios snuck out of the blanket and whispered,"Clow Card, Thyme! Let's move out!"
Thyme brought his card holster, handed out earpieces to Helios and wore one himself. As expected of Thyme's improvement, he modified the earpiece, enclosed it in a case to make it waterproof. There were wings decoration at the back side of the earpiece, but those were protecting the antennas from water or external impact. The two headed out to where the presence is the most intense, which was the open sea.
"This presence is very intense, careful this could be a high tier card." warned Helios.
As if the card also detected Thyme's presence, the water started to build up a huge wave heading to the coast.
"Waves do not get that big at midnight..what was that? Water card? Wind card?" asked Thyme.
"I can't see the true form yet. Fight it for now!" replied Helios.
Thyme ran away as fast as he could to avoid the wave. "Damn, another one coming in!" he said.
"Key that holds the power of the Darkness. Reveal your true form! I, Thyme, under our pact command thee, RELEASE!"
With his swift hands, he grabbed the scepter and immediately threw two cards,"VOICE, MOVE, let's do this!"
Thyme casted Jump to gain some distance from the second wave, then called,"WAVE! Suppress it with your power!". The Wave card jumped out of Thyme's holster and floated in front of him to be summoned with his scepter. The two waves collided, but Thyme's wave was absorbed quickly.
"I get it! The proof that your Wave card does not work on it means that is The Watery card." said Helios through the earpiece as he flew higher to observe the situation from above.
"Water, huh? Fine, how about this...MAZE, raise a sand wall to block the wave!"
The Maze card ejected out of the holster to be summoned. Tall and layered sand walls were erected to block the wave's impact. As Thyme thought his plans were working, the wave destroyed all the walls and gaining more momentum due to gravity.
"Shit! Maze, pull out! SHIELD, I need your help!"
The Shield protected Thyme from physical harm, however the wave still shook the ground he was standing upon, which made him fall. "Thymeee, heads up! There's another giant one!" yelled Helios through the earpiece.
"KKhh..its power seems infinite! It just keeps throwing one after another without any difficulties!" complained Thyme through the earpiece as he regained his stance.
"Well the fact that it's a high tier card, and its an offensive based one. Moreover, The Watery is the strongest near water bodies. The sea is just the best terrain to provide the infinite water bodies." explained Helios.
"Shield won't work, now what? Think..think.. I have so many cards yet I can't use them to save myself.." thought Thyme while reciting each card's name in mind to concentrate.
"Anyway, I can't take the wave head on again. TIME! Slow down the wave.."
"What are you thinking? Time consumes a lot of energy, surely you have another plan in mind?" said Helios.
"FREEZE! go!" chanted Thyme.
"No no no! Freeze is a water based card, it'll just boost the wave power!" yelled Helios in panic.
"Crap! I forgot!" Thyme leaped away from the wave as fast as he could.
"I can't use any water or liquid based card, defensive cards are not effective either. Sword and physical attack won't work on it, I'm running out of options here!" he thought as sweat dripped down his cheek.
"It's too late! I can't run! SHIELD, protect me one more time!"
Just as the wave as about to struck him, bright light traveled from behind and hit the almost collapsing wave. The water started to glitter as the light went right through the wave. The wave started to weaken as Thyme could see electricity in the water surrounding his barrier.
A familiar voice was heard from the direction where the light came from. "I told you to let that guy be swallowed by the wave!" "But then the impact will hit the cottage as well." "I guess so.."
Thyme glanced back at the voice to see the Li sisters in the night silhouette. "So that is the true form of the brooch." said Yuanzi.
"You're the cardcaptor? Hmm my instinct was correct after all." continued Miaozi.
"You can't do anything against this one, so step away and let the experts handle this!" said Yuanzi while pointing a thin, one handed sword at Thyme.
"Let's go, Jie! Here comes another one, let's smash it together!" yelled Yuanzi as she raised her sword along with Miaozi. They took out a sheet of paper with written mantra on it, covered their swords with it, then the swords started to generate electricity.
"Shin Raitei Shourai! [Divine Thunder Ruler Summoning]"
The flick of lightning Thyme saw before, appeared again as now there were two of them struck the incoming wave, slowing its speed and finally making the water subsided.
"Huh? Wasn't it working before?" asked Yuanzi.
"Wait, this takes time.." said Miaozi.
Suddenly they could hear a woman's voice screaming from inside the water, almost sounded like she was in pain. A small water body rose, slowly forming a small woman figure.
"That's her true form, Thyme!" said Helios.
Thyme couldn't move his body, seeing his powerlessness against the Watery and the Li sister's capability. "One more time should do, Jie! Aim for that one." said Yuanzi.
"Why are you spacing out, Thyme?! If you don't act quickly, they will get the card."
Another barrage of lightning strike hit the small water body, which revealed the true form of The Watery card. A small woman with fin ears, lower body of a fish, wearing a crown with a blue gem in the middle. After realising the situation she was in, The Watery tried to get away from the lightning's reach.
"Ahh she'll get away, Jie!" said Yuanzi as both sisters prepared another bolt attack.
With no excessive water bodies, The Watery evaded both lightning bolts and was about to get away until another lightning bolt hit her right on target. The Li sisters glanced at where the third lightning bolt came from. There was Thyme, with his scepter aimed at the Watery, along with two cards spinning on each side, The Thunder and The Arrow.
"Return to your original form! Clow Card!" recited Thyme.
And so The Watery was sealed, but the card flew to the Li sisters instead of Thyme. "Ah!"
"The card will go to whoever returned the card to the true form." said Helios as he flew back down to Thyme's side.
"I'm not planning to give it to them." replied Thyme with a sharp gaze at the Li sisters.
"Wait a minute, Thyme! It's frustrating but, they were the one who did the most this time. Besides, it was their attacks that made it possible for you to seal the card. They are the owner of that card. Uh..hey!"
Thyme dashed toward the Li sisters before Helios could finish his advice. "Huh? What do you want now, perverted loser?" provoked Yuanzi.
"He looks mad.." said Miaozi.
"...SWORD!" Thyme raised his scepter to be transformed into a sword.
"Huh? What's this? You're planning to take this by force?" taunted Yuanzi by raising the card to Thyme's eyes.
"Don't be foolish. You can't defeat us. This card proves that. Back off now!" warned Miaozi.
"DASH!" Thyme rushed in toward Yuanzi who held the card. "Hyaah!" a quick sword swing was easily evaded by Yuanzi.
"Let me handle him, Jie! This pervert needs to be taught a lesson."
Yuanzi leaped backward to lure Thyme in. Using his active Jump card, Thyme leaped to close the distance but Yuanzi steadily created more gap between them.
"Shin Fuuka Shourai! [Divine Wind Ruler Summoning]" chanted Yuanzi as she used another enchanted paper to assist her movement.
"Like I'll let you! SHOT! Assist Arrow and burst her down!" and yet again Thyme summoned another card.
"He has collected a lot, hmm.. and that magic ability. He is a commoner." commented Miaozi from afar.
Yuanzi appeared not only versed in magic but also martial arts as she dodged almost every shot from Shot and Arrow and parried the rest with her sword.
"Don't mess with me! TIME, work with me again!" this time Thyme planned to close the gap by slowing the time around her as he leaped in to deliver a single decisive strike. However she didn't seem to be affected. "Tch..in that case, accelerate, TIME!" Thyme diverted Time to hasten his movement instead.
"Hoo..not bad. But engaging a close quarter combat with me..you can't beat me in a sword fight." taunted Yuanzi as she stopped moving.
"We'll see! Hyaah!" Thyme delivered his first stab but was parried.
Yuanzi parried almost every attack Thyme launched and dodged the rest. "Fuck off! FIGHT, assist me!" Thyme summoned The Fight to boost his fighting technique to match Yuanzi's martial arts skills.
"That's impressive..a pervert like you can summon so many cards one after another. I bet that must have worn you down by now." teased Yuanzi.
"Shut up!" Thyme yelled as he almost connected a downward slash, but was still parried by Yuanzi.
"Oh no..He's gone way beyond limit. I can't imagine how many days he will be bedridden after this.." mumbled Helios.
"WOODY, bind her!" ordered Thyme. Wood branches and thorns appeared from the hole between rocks and tried to grab Yuanzi's feet. Yuanzi leaped high to avoid the roots, but this was the moment Thyme was waiting for.
"FLOAT, hold her in mid air!" Thyme stepped backward, held his temple with his left hand, panting heavily. "Now's the time, go Woody!"
Yuanzi saw the tree branches and roots coming toward her. She readied her sword to cut them down. But Thyme had read the situation and acted in advance,"GLOW! Flash her as bright as you can!"
"Yaaaaaah!" A blinding light from Glow that worked like a flashbang blinded both Thyme and Yuanzi as well as the faraway spectators Miaozi and Helios.
After the light subsided, Thyme opened his eyes, found Yuanzi was snared by Woody. With a face full of sweat, he ran while panting to take the card from her pocket.
"Yuanzi!" yelled Miaozi as she dashed in to save her sister.
"Uh oh! Thyme, behind you!" screamed Helios as he flew to chase her.
Thyme looked at the direction Helios was screaming, Miaozi already ready for a jumping lunge strike. With his weakened body, Thyme could not react as fast. He reactivated Shield to repel Miaozi.
"Illusion! Shadow! Stall her!" yet he summoned another two cards in his fatigued state. Miaozi was surprised that Thyme could still summon cards, thus was taken aback. Thyme walked slowly as he wobbled to reach The Watery Card.
"You want this card that bad, huh? Then have it! WATERY!" said Yuanzi in desperation.
The Watery was summoned again, bringing huge torrent to drive Thyme away from her owner. "Damn!" Thyme was forced to jump away from her. Miaozi immediately seized the opportunity to cut the woods entangling Yuanzi.
"He's pretty good, you let your guard down, Yuanzi." said Miaozi.
"But look, he looked like a zombie now. We can knock him down easily." replied Yuanzi as she pointed her sword at Thyme who was kneeling and panting. Helios finally caught up to him.
"That's enough, Thyme. Your pride won't get us anywhere. Let's apologise and retreat for now." said Helios.
"Heh...heh...after all this time, if we don't get an elemental card, we will struggle in the future, then they, with that elemental card, will snatch every other remaining card. I have thought this carefully, if we missed this, then might as well consider the remaining cards theirs." replied Thyme as he stood back up.
"But..your safety is the top priority. As a cardcaptor, there's only so much you can do..especially against the envoys of Li clan. They are trained since childhood in magecraft and martial arts. There's no way a commoner like you who only has field experience and no formal training can beat them." persuaded Helios,"Not to mention, I guarantee you can only summon one more card at most!"
"Then so be it, I have a last resort plan in mind. It's all or nothing.."
Helios could only look at Thyme who was hurt and fatigued, yet couldn't stop him from going in.
"What a persistent guy. You should learn your place, commoner." said Miaozi.
"Jie, let's finish him together. I'm so tired of all this, get all his cards too." replied Yuanzi.
"Two against one, that's not fair!" yelled Helios.
"Quit it..everything is fair in war..heh..heh..I'll take on both of you!" Thyme braced himself for last fight.
"Sad..a pervert like you suddenly knocked my heart a little bit. Well, I'll let you know at the very least, what we will do to you after we beat you. Hmm..first off, I'll take all your cards, then I'll use magic to wipe your memory…" explained Yuanzi.
"Bring it!" interrupted Thyme as he raised his sword pointing at Yuanzi.
"Thyme, no! They are going in together!" said Helios as he stayed away from battlefield.
"Then I'll fight them as two as well! TWINS! We'll defeat them together!" Thyme summoned The Twins as the last card to defeat the Li sisters.
Thyme and Twins fought the Li sisters as hard as they could. Sword clashing sounds were heard throughout. However, there were clearly distinct gap between someone who only had field experiences and someone who both had field experience and formal training. There was also the factor that Thyme excessively used his cards that exhausted himself before the duel. As the last sword swung, the Li sisters flung both Thyme's and Twin's sword away as the sword returned to a scepter.
Thyme crawled to reach the scepter as the sisters watched him struggle. Miaozi felt that they had punished him enough and intended to offer him a hand to stand up. However as Thyme got a hold of his scepter again, he nervously pointed it toward them still.
"Don't you have enough yet?" said Yuanzi as her expression turned from cold into sympathy.
"Heh…" Thyme smirked. Miaozi sensed something dangerous and immediately backed away.
"Yuanzi, be careful!" warned Miaozi.
Yuanzi immediately used Watery to form water shield that covered both sisters. "Got you!" cried Thyme.
The Thunder card that was soaring the sky all this time, descended upon the water shield, electrocuting the people inside. "Yaaaah!"
As the water amplifies the electricity power, Yuanzi had to dispel the water as soon as she could. She accidentally threw the card out of reflex. Thyme had no energy left, fell unconscious without even reaching the card.
As Yuanzi and Miaozi recovered, they were surprised at the last attempt by Thyme. Yuanzi took the card back and they walked toward the unconscious Thyme. Helios immediately jumped in front of them.
"Aren't you satisfied? He didn't manage to get the card after all!" he yelled trying to defend Thyme.
"Who are you?" asked Miaozi.
"I am Helios. This man is under my protection, I will defend him even with my own life, as a guardian and as a friend."
"Helios..you're the Ubiquitous Guardian Beast of Clow?" asked Yuanzi.
"I've heard a lot about you from Cerberus and Spinel. So your kind won't get your full power until certain cards are captured..huh?" continued Miaozi.
"Among the other senior guardians, Cerberus the Sun Beast Seal Guardian and his alter, Spinel Sun, you are the youngest of them all. Only handful of people even inside the Li clan knew about you."
"As expected of Li clan, you know your stuff well. Which means you're also aware of the fact that this Clow Book is not what you're looking for?" said Helios.
"Hmm..yes. Our record doesn't say anything about your version of Clow Cards, the only information of your existence we got was from Lord Syaoran and Mistress Sakura." replied Miaozi.
"!" Helios was startled by the names mentioned by Miaozi. "Clow has never told anyone of this, he even hid the presence of this book from his own family. How did they..?"
"You're underestimating Lord Syaoran's skill. As the husband of the only successor of Clow, Mistress Sakura, such things were trivial to him."
"As far as Cerberus told me, the final version of Clow Book had already been transformed into Sakura Book by none other than the Mistress. The Li clan's agreement was to that book, not this one!"
"Yes, that is correct. Thus, that means your Clow Book is a fake, counterfeit, illegitimate. There can only be one Clow Book, no..Sakura Book."
"Fake, you say?! How dare you..then how do you explain my existence which was created by Clow Reed himself?" gnarled Helios.
"I do not know how you become to exist, either a copycat sorcerer's attempt or a discarded one. At least we all agree that the current Sakura Book is the real deal. There is no need for the second book." explained Miaozi coldly.
"You seek to destroy me and the book? Heh..too bad, under our pact, you can't have me or the cards be destroyed unless you kill the cardcaptor or under his permission." said Helios smugly.
"That's exactly where Li Yuanzi comes in!" interrupted Yuanzi after picking up the Watery card back.
"Hmph, need I remind you, if you dare to touch him I'll use everything I have to retaliate!" warned Helios.
"Please. We're not evil heartless and cold murderers. Oh we will get his permission, just you wait" replied Yuanzi.
Helios was left speechless with the Yuanzi's last remark. The sisters left them as they sensed someone was coming nearby.