Proof of Power
"Look..no matter what she gave you, it's obviously leading to my extinction in the end!" complained Helios as Thyme told him how he got a hold of The Windy.
Thyme had no right to talk back as Helios kept ranting on. He couldn't blame the poor thing because he was supposed to be the victim of all this, yet looked like Thyme was backstabbing him.
"I've had enough of this, there are only few Clow Cards left. Seal them before those sisters, then reclaim the Watery Card in order to commence The Final Judgment." said Helios before he ended his rant.
"Nevermind..I'll tell you later, it's no use talking about it now. You don't even have a complete deck."
"Hmph..okay then.." said Thyme. He sat on his desk chair and browsed his computer to check on his study schedule. He was scrolling through the spreadsheet of the week's lecture schedule without paying attention to it, until he found a name that piqued his interest. "Kinomoto?"
He went back to look at the name 'Kinomoto' as a last name of one of the lecturer for his statistic lecture. He called on Helios to look at it but he was already asleep inside the wardrobe that Thyme could hear the snoring from outside.
"Kaho Kinomoto? Hmm..this is interesting.. If I recall, Helios mentioned that Mistress Sakura's last name was..Kinomoto as well. Is this another coincidence? What's her relation to Mistress Sakura? Is Kinomoto a common surname? I'll take a note to observe this teacher carefully."
The next day, Thyme went to university. He met the Li sisters on the way. Miaozi offered a friendly greeting while Yuanzi didn't even want to look at him. "Huh? Weird girl."
Thyme didn't pay too much attention in his classes until the statistic lecture started. He sat properly and made sure he focused everything on this lecturer. So after the scheduled time passed almost a minute without anyone in front, someone opened the door, went in. A tall woman figure wearing a blazer and a short skirt, pair of high heels. Her dark red long hair was tied in a bun on her back head. She appeared to look like in her late 30s.
She put her books and laptop on top of the lecturer's podium, wore her glasses then took a quick look over everyone in the room. Thyme was paying attention to every single movement she made to the point that he glared at her. Then she stepped forward to introduce herself.
"Greetings everyone, my name is Kaho Kinomoto. I will be replacing your statistic lecturer from now on due to the international seminar he's attending. I hope everyone will get along with me. Do you have any questions up to here?"
Thyme loosened himself a bit after her introduction, then his friend poked him from the side whispering,"Hey that's weird. Mr. Kelt was supposed to be away for 2 weeks only."
"Uhh..I didn't notice. I skipped few last lectures.." whispered Thyme to his classmate, he paused for a moment,"Hold on..do you have any other lead on this? Anything strange on her?"
"Hmm..no? She looks like a nice lecturer, look at that smile..ha"
Thyme couldn't poke for more information on her unless he asks her himself. Thus the class commenced as normal, Thyme wasted his energy and time trying to find anything strange out of this lecturer. As a result, he got tired and yawned a lot at the end of lecture. The time was about to end, thus Kaho left her message for the students to review the material again at home. Thyme was about to get up from his seat while thinking that it was just a same name coincidence. But that thought shattered when Kaho gave a sharp glance directed at Thyme. As Thyme's sensing abilities had been harnessed, he could feel it, thus raised his head to look at the source of the gaze. "What the..?"
Without saying another word, Kaho left the lecture room followed by the other students. Thyme was frozen still in front of his desk, trying to figure out what was going on. After noticing something in his mind, he ran outside to chase after her. He frantically searched for her until he bumped into the Li sisters, Yuanzi in particular.
"Yaaah! Look where you going, you pervert!" she said spontaneously.
"Yuanzi, it's him." said Miaozi who watched them fell to the ground. Miaozi offered her a hand to stand up, but Yuanzi ignored it and looked at the person in front of her instead.
"Ah! AAAAAHHH!" Yuanzi screamed loud enough to attract attentions around them.
"Ouch..hey, it's you.. my bad. what are you DOING screaming like THAT?!" said Thyme as he stood up and offered her a hand while panicking. As her voice got louder and people stared at him, Thyme ran away to a corner. He leaned against the wall, panting and then exhaled deeply.
"Yeeaaarrgh!" yelled Thyme after getting startled from the corner. It was Miaozi, she followed Thyme after he ran away. One may wonder how Miaozi kept up with Thyme's speed. "You scared me!"
"What a dumb guy..you didn't even help my sister out and ran away." she said.
"Like I'm in the position to stay there while people glaring at me as if I sexually harassed her!"
"Haha very explicit.." she replied sarcastically,"Anyway, why were you running like a ghost like that? It's not like I sense any Clow Card presence here."
"Now see here, we are actually rivals..no not rivals but enemies in battlefield! How can you talk so casually to me, so does your sister?! We are seeking the same thing, and I heard you are planning to destroy my Clow Cards." he said with a raised tone.
Miaozi nodded without any hesitation and a flat expression,"True..your point?"
Thyme opened his mouth then paused as he couldn't find the words he's trying to convey, or rather didn't know what to say after that comeback.
"Aha..you're worried. Don't worry, we decided to do this diplomatically. Dishing out force against force would only leave one party unhappy. Slowly..but sure."
Thyme was scared of her words as she seemed more calm and reserved, calculating and more scheming than her twin sister. The elder sister was far more dangerous than the younger one, he thought. "D-Does that mean you won't try to steal my cards and destroy them?"
"Nope..but we will ask you."
The conversation couldn't get any awkward than this. She openly declared war with a straight face, without any compromise nor a single hesitation right in front of her enemy. Thyme could only let out a sigh and a facepalm handling this girl.
"Anyway, are you a distant relative of what-you-call-him, head of Li clan?" asked Thyme.
"Master Shaoran? What about him?"
"According to Helios, he is also part of Kinomoto family, is that right?"
"What?! Good god! You mean, he married someone from Kinomoto family? I mean, this can be easier.."
"You didn't know? He married Mistress Sakura Kinomoto." she said casually.
"Oh..ohhhhhh!" responded Thyme as he tried to process both the information, his excitement, and questions inside his head. That was the only word that came out of his mouth.
"Okay okay..then let's cut this short then..do you know someone named Kaho Kinomoto?" asked him after clearing his throat.
"Yep..she is Mistress Sakura's sister-in-law. What about her?"
"Oh..oooh I see" responded Thyme retardedly as his head was just being messed up. All his previous impression of Mistress Sakura from Helios seemed different from the reality. Helios always spoke of her bravery, heroic deeds, and beauty. Regardless, the valuable information of his new teacher might be useful in the future to determine whether she is Thyme's ally or not. Thyme bid her goodbye afterwards then left to get lunch from nearby cafe.
As Thyme turned into a corner in the empty hallway, he saw someone he didn't expect, Kaho Kinomoto. She smiled from afar, Thyme tried to hide his face while walking toward the door pretending she directed it at someone behind him. He walked past her with a bit faster pace, until he heard her saying something.
"It's going to be a hot day, isn't it?" she said.
Thyme raised his eyebrows and turned his face at her. Pretending to play along with the scenario, he said,"Ah yes, it's 31 degrees outside."
"I think your name is...Mr Macquarie, is it not?"
"A-ah..yes.. Sorry, I didn't mean to sneak up on you, Mrs Kinomoto."
"Kaho is fine."
"W-well then..Ka-ho.." he said awkwardly.
Kaho lowered her body, leaned forward at Thyme's chest. "It's a pretty brooch you have there." she complimented. Thyme reacted by covering it with his hand, stepped away from her with a sharp glare at her. Kaho looked surprised. She smiled then said,"I heard you were looking for me, asking around campus.."
Thyme became more cautious and serious after hearing that. He thought that nobody could've heard the conversation as he kept low voice all the time, not to mention it was masked by the crowd's noise. He sensed that Kaho has been observing him since first time she glanced at him during the class.
"N-not in particular, I just had some concerns with the materials you presented today." he said.
"Don't be alarmed. I'm not going to hurt you. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask me." she replied.
Despite the calm demeanour of Kaho, for some reason Thyme couldn't let his guard down or speak casually with her. He sensed other aura, presence around her that overpowers everything he had felt before, even the Clow Cards. Perhaps his body automatically reacts to the fear he was feeling.
"N-no..I just, need some time to adjust.." he said.
"Very well then..make sure you review your materials at home. And be careful of the heat outside." she replied as she walked away to the corner Thyme was coming from before.
Thyme waited until she left the scene before he loosened himself. He felt he couldn't wait until evening to let Helios know about this, thus he called him on his earpiece connected to his phone inside the pocket. "Helios, we need to talk."
"What's with the serious tone? Have you finally realised your mistake?" said Helios as he picked the huge phone with his small hands.
"Are you still on about that? Get over it, I promise I won't abandon you.."
"Whatever.. What is it?"
"I just talked to someone named Kaho Kinomoto."
"! You WHAT?! Kaho, you say? That formerly Kaho Mizuki? Tell me the details! Now!"
Thyme explained everything that happened between him and Kaho and also included his theory of how the issues might be connected with each other. Helios took a moment to process the information, then replied,"I fear that the end may be near."
"What do you mean?"
"Final Judgment is closer than we think. I have a very good feeling that you will be able to capture all the cards by the end of this week, excluding the Watery of course."
"No need to rub it in my face, mate! But why do you think so?"
"The fact that the messenger of Yue is here, and the full moon is coming by the end of this week as well. I can't explain it well, but that's the gist of it."
"Yue..as in the one you told me, the story of Mistress Sakura's guardian?!"
"One and only, Moon Guardian, Yue. Didn't you feel something around her?"
"To be honest, I'm not sure how to put it. It's different from Clow Cards presences. It's overwhelming, lonely, but also bright and dark at the same time."
"That's what I call the moon presence. What you feel is the power of the moon, created by Clow Reed. So the conclusion is, she is here to assist the Final Judgment. But what I don't understand, I'm not related to Yue at all. My power is not of the moon."
"I hate to listen to lectures through the phone, but go on anyway."
"Like I said, Yue is Mistress Sakura's guardian. He governs the moon aspect of the former Clow Cards belonged to Sakura. Haven't you realised why the magic circle that you use has sun and moon on it? I, for one, am not related to it. What that means is that unlike those two, Cerberus and Yue, I don't feed on elemental energy. The cards that govern my power, is Light and Dark. Thus in order for me to return to my true form, you need to capture the Light and Dark cards. Need I remind you, if you let any of Li sisters to catch them before you do, it's game over."
"Yue..How can I get more information on him?" asked Thyme curiously.
"Simply ask the messenger you met just then, Kaho Mizuki. But just on the safe side, it's best that you capture them as soon as possible, the more they walk around freely, the stronger they get and will be harder to catch."
"Understood. Well then, I'll call you back if I encounter any. I'm hungry now, bye!"
"Ah..wait up, I haven't…" said Helios before his line hung up.
It was a very hot weather, Thyme walked out of his campus wiping his sweat every now and then. The sun was very bright as well, almost as if it burned through his skin. He went to the nearest store to get an icy cold beverages to cool off, then he saw something smoking in the very distance. The location was not in the centre of city, but a bit off around the outskirts. If memory served him right, that was where the location of giant solar panel that powered the city itself. He was going to ignore it as he thought it could be just an accident, but then he recalled Kaho's remarks of 'hot' and 'heat'. Thyme felt something wasn't right, he decided to go toward the solar power plant area by bicycle.
As Thyme approached the power plant, crowds, police, ambulance and firefighters were already assembled there. There was also a news helicopter flying above. Thyme felt that this is no ordinary fire accident, he was going to go past the police line before he got pushed off by the police around the area. "Shit..I can't get close.. I felt a faint Clow Card presence inside there."
"Well that can't be helped, right?" said someone behind him which startled him. It was actually Miaozi and her twin sister Yuanzi.
"Seriously, the moon presence completely masked it so we didn't realise it too until later." continued Yuanzi.
"Hey cardcaptor, put everyone to sleep. We can't do our job with these people interfering." ordered Miaozi.
"Fine..let me find a place to hide first." said Thyme as he went to a corner of a building. "RELEASE! Put everyone to slumber, SLEEP!"
After the Sleep finished spreading sleeping powder over everyone, Thyme and the Li sisters headed inside the power plant. However, the temperature inside was much more scorching than outside which was already burning as well. "Ouff..I can't stand the heat. WATERY!" said Miaozi as she summoned Watery to coat her and Yuanzi with thin layer of cooling liquid. "How about me?" asked Thyme.
Miaozi didn't bother as if it was normal to exclude Thyme. Yuanzi put on an awkward smile at him. "Fine, I can do it myself." said Thyme as his left hand took a card from the holster then threw it in the air,"Grant me a suit that protects me from heat, SNOW!". Instead of covering Thyme with snow particles, The Snow appeared in her true form and hugged him from behind. Yuanzi and Miaozi blushed immediately seeing that, then followed by Yuanzi yelling something like "perverted loser".
"Putting aside on how she does it; it does work after all" responded Thyme to Yuanzi's remark.
Yuanzi pouted her face as she walked behind looking at Thyme and The Snow. Miaozi wasn't bothered by it though, but she did say something,"Hey, aren't you so against us going with you chasing Clow Cards?"
"Err..that's..well" said Thyme while glancing at Yuanzi. She ignored him as she was still pouting on him.
"Well..no problem with me. The card will be ours anyway..let's move on." said Miaozi.
Thyme remembered Helios' message to him, and he intended to carry it through to the end, as it was reflected in his eyes, which resembled the eyes he had during their first confrontation. They walked further inside to the generator engine for the solar panel.
"What is this heat?! It went through the Watery shield." complained Yuanzi as she fanned herself with her hands.
Thyme saw The Snow was hurting while grappling on to him. It was to be expected of such tremendous heat. It was no wonder that the machine exploded due to overheating, but the problem was how did the heat became so strong. But the mystery was figured out as the Clow Card presence was the strongest as well.
"This is..Clow Card's doing." said Miaozi as she drew her sword followed by Yuanzi.
"Fire card..is it?" said Thyme.
"The Firey..one of elemental cards."
"Stand back, ladies..this one's mine. I mean it." warned Thyme.
"I don't remember we accept orders from you, we're moving in!" ordered Miaozi as she and Yuanzi leaped forward then took out their enchanted charm paper,"Shin Suiryuu Shourai! [Divine Water Dragon Summoning]"
Two water dragons were summoned and they washed the machine as they pass through. The Watery helped them keep the cold temperature so that the dragons won't boil and vanish. As the room temperature cooled down and the machine didn't generate heat any longer, the only source of heat became visible as the melting steel was sprayed with water as well, revealing the true form of The Firey.
It was a figure of a boy, with flame burning hair, arms, and lower torso. He looked at the Li sisters with anger, and boosted his power through the rage. He shot barrage of fireballs toward them. The Li sisters tried to dodge them but the hot air still hurt them as it burned parts of their clothes. Meanwhile, Thyme contacted Helios to formulate his battle tactic.
"Helios, I have The Firey in front of me. Any tips?" said Thyme over the earpiece.
"I said it already. Defeat it with an elemental card or more."
"I'll try.." said Thyme as he focused on the battlefield again. His left hand took two cards from his holster and performed the Voice Move combo. "VOICE and MOVE..let's go!"
He glanced at the Snow who was still clinging on to him,"It's okay Snow, I'll be fine. Return now." he ordered The Snow back to her card form and put it back in his holster. "I'll make this one mine!"
"Cards made by Clow, give me the true power of whirling gale, WINDY!"
The Windy appeared from the card in front of Thyme's scepter, blowing a strong wind throughout the massive room. However, The Firey seemed to enjoy it, or rather the flame on his body grew bigger.
"What are you doing?! You just fed him with more power." said Yuanzi.
"You can't defeat fire with wind, you do it with water!" added Miaozi as she ordered The Watery to attack The Firey.
However due to empowered The Firey, The Watery was no longer a match for him. She was forced to be returned into her card form. The Firey, getting angrier than ever, bombarded the room with intense flame. The Li sister ran back to the door where they first came in, also where Thyme stood.
"Sorry..I.." said Thyme.
"No time for that! Concentrate on the battlefield!"
The Firey had cornered their prey and casted a firewall in front of the door so that they couldn't escape from the room. He readied a giant fireball to finish them in the corner, then shot it at very fast speed.
"SHIELD!" yelled Thyme while protecting the Li sisters behind him. Some of the fire sparks hit Thyme instead and burned his clothes' sleeves. Burnt mark on his skin were visible, even to the Li sisters due to the smoke and smell of burning flesh.
"Ah..Thyme!" gasped Yuanzi as she tried to help him cure the burnt injuries,"WATERY!"
"H-Huh? It won't activate..why?!" said Yuanzi as she tried her sword against the card again and again. Miaozi didn't know what was going on as well.
"You guys! Get out of here quickly..Let the path upon my track be opened, THROUGH!" said Thyme as he panted and knelt due to his injuries. Miaozi reluctantly went toward the cleared door, but Yuanzi refused to leave. "Yuanzi, we need to retreat now!"
"I..I can't leave him, Jie!"
"You fool, if you guys die here, then who will be able to capture him?!" yelled Thyme angrily.
"B-but..I.." Yuanzi's voice staggered as she held unto the Watery Card tightly.
"We have no time for that! Yuanzi!" said Miaozi as she pulled Yuanzi's hand out of the flame through the opened path. "Nooooooo…"
"Hurry up, I can't sustain it any longer!"
The Firey, determined to not letting anyone escape, charged them with quick speed until he was almost looked like a meteor trying to crash upon them.
"Fuck! Stop him, TIME!" yelled Thyme as he summoned Time to stop The Firey, but it didn't affect him at all. "Damn..well then..ugh.." Thyme coughed up blood that spilt in front of him.
"Thyme!" yelled Yuanzi as she pulled herself back to the engine room, however The Through's power was reaching its limit as well as Thyme's body. Miaozi was forced to let Yuanzi's hand go as the pillar of flames separated them once again. Thyme glanced at Yuanzi's sad face looking at blood dripping from his mouth. He coughed up again before saying,"Wanna do this again together?"
Thyme's word turned her expression from sadness into determined eyes. Yuanzi stood up in front of Thyme facing The Fiery, took out another enchanted paper then threw it in the air as she used her sword to summon it,"Shin Kashin Shourai!"
Fireballs spewing from the paper and sword as they clashed with The Fiery's fireballs. The Firey continued his dashing charge toward them. Yuanzi prepared for the impact while protecting Thyme behind her, until she heard Thyme summoned another card,"FREEZE!"
Cold air filled the room to counter the intense heat, subsequently slowing down The Firey and eventually stopped his charge when he was about to hit them. However, The Freeze was not enough to stop him, both The Firey, Thyme and Yuanzi knew of this as well. The Firey flew away from them, charging his fire from afar. Thyme knew his body was at his limit, thus called on Shield to return to its card form, then handed it to Yuanzi.
"Hey..use..this.." he said while coughing up, extended his hand over to Yuanzi. Over his earpiece he could hear Helios yelling on him.
"Look..if we fail here..I might die..so..this is..the only way." he said to Helios with low voice so that Yuanzi couldn't hear.
"Thyme..you.." said Yuanzi.
Yuanzi took the card and summoned it. She casted the barrier a bit further than their position to block The Firey before it got too close on them. Whether it was because The Firey was too strong or Yuanzi's power was not enough to strengthen the barrier, he broke the barrier instantly.
"Yaaah!" screamed Yuanzi.
"Is this the end?"
They both closed their eyes, hoping that their death will be painless. As the sound of fire closing by, they started to feel the intense heat. However that was only a brief moment before the heat completely disappeared. Thyme slowly opened his eyes to see what was going on. There he saw the least expected person to show up, Kaho Kinomoto. She was holding a chakram bell, swinging it around. Every swing distinguished the fire along the arc it moves.
"Kaho..what are you doing here?" asked Thyme. Yuanzi also opened her eyes and saw Kaho's figure in the middle of the fire.
"It can't be..what is she doing over here?" continued Yuanzi.
"Sorry, I couldn't bear to watch it any longer. I really hoped you would deal with this by yourselves. Macquarie-san, please follow my instructions."
"Ah-uhh..yes ma'am!" answered Thyme hesitantly.
"Yuanzi-chan..may I borrow The Watery?" asked Kaho as she smiled towards her.
"Y-Yes!" replied Yuanzi as she handed the card to Thyme as instructed.
"Okay, are we ready? Now you have to listen carefully as I must keep warding off The Firey while you do this. First, you will need The Windy."
"You heard her, come Windy!" Thyme ordered The Windy from the card holster and grabbed it with his hand that was already holding The Watery.
"Now, lay the two cards together. Concentrate your thoughts, gather your willpower. This will be a different summoning experience than you ever had. Are you ready?"
Thyme nodded while having thoughts in his mind,"Is this..what I think it is?"
"Now for the final part, I will step out of here, the fire will be spreading back to you. If you don't stop it now, you will definitely burnt to ashes. The decision, is yours." said Kaho as she stopped waving the chakram bell and the fire grows again. She briefly glanced at Yuanzi who was standing behind Thyme.
Thyme noticed what Kaho was trying to say and interpreted it in his mind as he had to win no matter what.
"Best of luck, you two." said Kaho as she stopped the chakram movement and walked toward the exit.
"This time, I won't fail." Thyme said.
"Make two cards work as one, here goes.." Magic circle started to grow below Thyme's feet. He threw the cards in the air, they spun around as Thyme continued his incantation,"Cards made by Clow, grant me the power surpassing the limit, let the two souls of wind and water become a new force I seek and open my path to victory! WINDY, WATERY!"
Thyme stretched his scepter toward two cards, he had forgotten that the two cards must be overlaid, but somehow he had a feeling that this will work. Before the two cards were summoned, Thyme memorised the feeling of when his mind was clear and focused, gathered his willpower to survive and win. A thin angular line appeared from both cards, slowly forming a circle with each card at each side. Then, the two cards were summoned simultaneously as the two graceful figures of Windy and Watery came out of the cards.
"Thyme? Dual-cast?" pondered Helios over the earpiece as he heard the incantations.
The Windy created strong air pressure that even blew the fire away from Thyme and Yuanzi while the Watery sprinkled high density of shower over the room, lowering the temperature down. After the room temperature stabilised and the steam disappeared, Thyme ordered both cards to attack The Firey with one stroke of his scepter pointing at The Firey.
Together, the Windy and the Watery formed whirlpool that absorbed half of The Firey's body. The Firey tried to escape but he was too powerless against the combined power of two elemental cards at once. Thyme saw this as a perfect time to seal it, "Return to your original form, Clow Card!"
Thus, The Firey was sealed under Thyme's hand. Thyme looked at it for a long time before putting it inside his holster. He had a lot going on his thought. A pat on his shoulder suddenly brought him back to reality.
"Great job, Thyme." said Yuanzi with an earnest smile.
Thyme blushed and couldn't answer her properly, instead handed out The Watery back to her while lowering his head.
"T-Thank you." replied Yuanzi as she took the card slowly from Thyme's hand.
"D-Don't mention it! Moreover, you seem to know that teacher Kaho a lot. I trust you are working together in this case?"
"N-No..we just met a long time ago once. She travelled around the globe. She knows a lot of people, but I can't remember her too much back then."
"I see, nevermind then."
"But, there is one thing, whenever she appears, it means something major will happen soon."
Thyme recalled similar conversation with Helios just a while ago. He realised that the end was near. There were only few cards left. Kaho's mysterious power that dispelled The Firey's fire was also another case to solve. But for now, Thyme must make a good use of his new dual-cast power in order to collect the remaining cards.