Author: Yuuki.Odei PM
In a world where love and peace were long forgotten, they were two people brought together by fate. Now, they will set out on an unforgettable journey through the world of the Clow to fulfill their destinies. Courage will falter in the face of death and hope will be lost in the darkness ahead but together they will discover that their greatest strength comes from their hearts. SxS.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Romance - Sakura K. & Syaoran L. - Chapters: 25 - Words: 517,108 - Reviews: 408 - Favs: 154 - Follows: 137 - Updated: 07-11-12 - Published: 04-26-10 - id: 5926476
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I do not own Card Captor Sakura. Its characters and affiliates are property of CLAMP.
Author's Note: The actual story, The Clow, has been around for awhile now, but I've broken this story up into more chapters since the chapters that I originally wrote were too lengthy. After cutting up the chapters, I went from four to seven, including my new one. Nothing in the story's been changed except for some grammatical errors here and there involving spelling issues and redundant word choices lol. I am fully charged for this story and have an excellent beta reader who helped me! This chapter is just a prologue to what is happening around the state of the world here that I've created, so please be patient with it ^^ I know that the first couple of chapters are slow, but honestly, they'll pick up soon! thanks for taking the time to read the Clow and I hope you guys enjoy!
*Thanks to SakuraJade for all of her hard work, and teaching me how to improve my writing. Now, onto the story and enjoy!
Hello, all. My name is Yuuki and I've actually been on ffnet for awhile, just reading and reviewing here and there, but I've never been inspired to write my own fanfic before. I've never been much of a writer, but with the encouragement of my good friend, Nari, who became the editor for the first few chapters, I started with this idea. It's an exciting story with a lot going on, I hope you readers enjoy it. New readers including the older ones who've stuck with me through all the changes until now too. I won't be changing it anymore! I swear! Lol Well have fun and don't forget to Read and Review!
In a world where love and peace are long forgotten, two people, brought together in an entwined destiny, will stand and fight the evil force that threatens to consume all hope, including them…
This is the story of The Clow.
Present day, 20th year of the reign of Emperor Kimama
100 years after the capture of Soul City in the Province of Fire
Black forest, near the village of Nemuri
Province of Wood
It was a gorgeous day. Or as gorgeous a day as the end of spring could bring, anyway. The sun was already high in the blue sky of the afternoon, not a single cloud in sight.
Its rays punctured every spot of the valley below, exposing all to the treat that was its warmth. Even the crevices that never saw light were given that rare treat today. Every place that is, except one.
The forest canopy let no light in. The debris of leaves and branches overhead were clustering and overlapping so tightly that one could only presume that night had fallen upon entering the forest. It was night of the darkest black with no stars, no moonlight, and certainly no sunlight to light the way ahead.
Thus, giving the Black Forest its name.
Few men risked entering its depths and even fewer came back out. Tales of the horror and darkness surrounding the forest and its strangeness were often told, speaking of the creatures that dwelled in its depths and the souls that had died there.
Though it was a necessary passing point in one of the two main channels of traveling road between three important towns, travelers chose to try their luck along the steep paths of the Eru Mountains, a longer but safer route that went around the forest, rather than risk plunging through the depths of the Black forest alone and unaided against its horrors.
It is there in that forest that the story starts.
A strange slithering sound was heard in the darkness of the forest, followed by the shuffling of feet larger than could ever belong to any human. Whatever or whoever was moving in the thick underbrush of the trees was doing it quickly, not even attempting to hide the noises that it was making, fully aware that no one would hear it for miles in the dense foliage.
The sounds were not unusual, for many strange creatures lived in its depths.
"Quick! Quick!" A voice mixed with the voices of a dozen people spoke at once.
It was a naked woman, or at least half of her body was. Cut at the place where legs and feet were supposed to be was what looked like the bottom half of a gigantic snake. The woman part of the creature had long dark hair that swung over her shoulders, her upper body exposing two breasts ending in dark nipples. Her arms were not that of an ordinary human. They were skinny and long, the forearms having been replaced by pincer like fingers instead and she smelt of rotting flesh. Her jaw, able to open wider than any human's as well, opened to reveal many sharp teeth, the longest about half a foot long.
All in all, she was close to eight feet tall and not any ordinary creature. She was a Youkai, a demon cursed to live forever as long as she was not killed. Her eyes, only sockets of white, rolled around in the back of her head as she spoke again.
"Over here! Bring it over here!" It was not her voice that came out of her rotting throat, she had never even owned one, but the voices of her victims that she'd absorbed to give her the power to speak so that it sounded like a badly mixed choir of singers who didn't know which part to sing.
Even with the confusing din of voices, there was no mistaking the eagerness and excitement in the Youkai's tone as she slithered to a stop underneath a large fir tree. There was a hollow in the base of the trunk and using her powerful muscles, she glided into the hollow, poking her vile head back out to usher her companion along.
Unlike the woman snake, her companion Youkai looked less human and more demon. He was a dark green all over standing over 6 feet tall, with a body of muscles and large arms and feet, ending in sharp claws.
His face consisted of two empty pits of white containing red pupils for eyes, a mouth full of knife like dirty teeth at least three inches each across and two slits for nostrils. He huffed and puffed along behind the woman snake, growling deep in his throat.
"Why am I the one who always has to carry it?" he shouted in anger as he approached the woman snake Youkai. She smiled and the sound of rotten flesh splitting was heard as she revealed her sharp teeth.
"Because, Shizu, you are the stronger one."
This answer seemed to satisfy the simple minded demon as he shrugged and threw the load that he had been carrying on his massive shoulders down near the roots of the fir tree. It was wrapped in a large sack, mainly for carrying potatoes with, and whatever was in the sack was moving and struggling around, muffled voices coming from within.
"Well? When can we eat them?" he demanded of the woman Youkai.
She smiled even wider as she began to slither around the potato sack, wrapping her ridiculously long body around it, as a predator would his prey before he struck.
"Patience, Shizu, patienccceeee. Don't you like to play with your food before you eat it? Isn't it more fun that way?" she asked him deliriously, now licking her lips with a purple tongue at least two feet long.
"No! I don't like playing with my food! I wanna eat them now, Naoro!" Shizu cried impatiently. He suddenly made a grab for the moving potato sack with his two muscled arms.
Naoro intervened. She opened her mouth wide and in less than a second had bitten one of Shizu's green hands off. His blood spilled onto the forest floor as she spit his hand far into the darkness. The other Youkai immediately retreated, howling in pain and agony at his now useless and bloody stump, tears forming in his eyes as the sound echoed throughout the forest.
Eventually Shizu quieted and sat huddled near the trunk of the tree, cradling his stump of an arm and throwing glares at Naoro, who was still slithering around the potato sack, which had gone oddly still, as if whatever inside could sense that it was in danger.
Naoro ignored Shizu's glares and, with her pincer like fingers, cut the string that was holding the bag shut in one swift motion.
It immediately opened to reveal two bound and gagged children, no older than eleven, with tear stained faces and dirty patched clothing on. It was a boy and a girl. The boy, who seemed to be the older of the two blinked rapidly to adjust to the newer darkness that was the forest. The potato sack had been darker than the light in the forest was now.
He saw the trees first, and, as his eyes adjusted to the dim light, he came to the realization that there were two Youkai, silhouetted in the dark, watching him and his sister hungrily. So it hadn't been a dream after all.
The little girl on the other hand, had refused to open her eyes, even when she felt the air shift around her, aware that she was no longer in the suffocating potato sack. She sat absolutely still, whimpering quietly instead, head bowed down low, clutching what she could with her hands bound: her brother's soft cotton shirt.
"Well, well," Naoro hissed as she slithered closer to the two frightened children. The older boy had leaned in closer to his sister, shielding her from the two Youkai who stood facing the youngsters. "I think we should have a little fun first, don't you agree?" Naoro continued, looking back over her shoulder at Shizu, who stood still beside the tree, watching the two children, hunger apparent in his red eyes.
Naoro turned back around again and licked the boys face. He shuddered in response, suppressing a scream as he did so. The Youkai smelt of putrid flesh and dried blood. He was not about to show them his fear before he died. He clenched his teeth instead to keep from shaking in terror.
"We shall play a little game, boy. A game with you and your sister in this big forest," Naoro quietly hissed tauntingly as she gestured at the dark woods around her.
"Do you not see how big it is? It will be a fun game…and now I will show you how you play…" she said wrapping her snake like body around the two again as she spoke.
"I will cut your ropes, and set you loose," as she spoke, she cut the thick ropes binding the young boy and girl with her razor like pincers. "And I will take off those rags so you can talk with your pretty little voices again…" The gags were roughly removed.
The boy took his sisters hand, staring into the white sockets of the monster before him, fear evident in his eyes. But behind that fear, something else akin to defiance stirred. Slowly, he and his sister stood up, shaking. The little girl had opened her eyes and was looking at the forest floor now, noticing how her brother's sweaty palms had tightened around hers.
"And now, you…" Naoro slithered around them lazily then drifted back towards Shizu, who was smiling, revealing his sharp teeth and not bothering to wipe the fresh drool that had leaked from his thick lips. Leaning forward, her neck stretching abnormally long until Naoro's ugly head was right next to the small boys, her long black hair sweeping onto his shoulders, she whispered: "Run."
Panic gripped the little boy's body, and with a shout of terror, he dragged his sister into the forest, running as fast as his small feet would carry him. She struggled along behind him gasping with fright and the energy she didn't have. The two siblings ran for their lives, strength not a factor anymore, but the will to live and the fear of being caught by the two Youkai pushing them forward through the underbrush.
Naoro lazily watched the two children flee, smiling slightly at the sight. Then, with a glance at Shizu, who was staring eagerly into the brush where his meal had disappeared, she grinned, baring her sharp teeth. "Let's eat."
They had been running for a couple minutes when the little girl stumbled on a broken log, sending her reeling onto the forest debris. She cried out in pain, and her brother, who still had a tight grip on her hand, redoubled, pulling his sister up forcefully, pushing her onwards into the woods.
"Hurry, Miaka! Hurry!" he yelled back at her breathlessly. She was limping along behind him gasping for air, not bothering to tell him of the gash that she had received from the fall, and the fact that she was dripping blood onto the forest floor as she staggered along behind.
"It hurts, Cheeko!" she finally grimaced, and her brother looked back at her.
"Where are they?" Shizu roared out in frustration as he brushed a fern bush aside angrily. He glared at Naoro, who was silently staring out into the open forest.
"It's all your fault! If you hadn't wanted to play your stupid games, the stupid little brats wouldn't have gotten away! If we don't find them, I'll kill you and eat you myself!" he bellowed at the female Youkai, but she made no move to answer him.
Roaring in anger, Shizu started towards her, cracking the knuckles of his remaining hand and flexing his arms. He reached out his good right arm to rip her apart when she dodged it and forced him facedown onto the forest earth. He grunted stupidly and came back up with a face full of dirt. Growling angrily, he made to swipe what he could reach of her again, when she suddenly hissed.
Shizu looked around stupidly and, after seeing nothing in the darkness, growled in fury and made to stand. Before he could take a step, Naoro grabbed his head and turned it sharply, an action no normal Youkai could perform, and pointed at a leaf that lay on the forest floor with her pincers.
Shizu stared at it for a few seconds before a malicious smile formed on his ugly face and he made a noise of agreement deep in his throat.
There were a few droplets of fresh blood on the leaf, and along the forest floor, more blood had been scattered. The Youkai's eyes had already adjusted to the forest light and, having keener eyesight than a normal human would, easily spotted the trail that led behind a large fir tree, where the back of a little girl could be seen, shaking with fright.
The two Youkai looked at each other, grinned, and quickly moved to the tree. When they were a few yards from the girl, she turned around and screamed. She was by herself.
Suddenly, from above the tree branches, the little boy jumped down, wielding a sharp wooden stick. He flew onto Naoro's back, plunging the makeshift weapon into the Youkai's scalp with all his strength and jumping off her shoulders back onto the ground where his sister looked on, fear for her brother written all over her face.
He landed on the ground with a loud crack. Screaming in pain, he clutched at his ankle. For a moment, he thought that the Youkai had gotten his foot, but he quickly realized that the stick he had plunged into the snake woman's head had driven her back and caused her to collide into the other Youkai instead, who was now attempting to untangle the howling woman still clutching at her scalp from his overlarge body.
With this also came the sudden realization that his sister was now gasping and crying, attempting to pull him up by the underarms so they could flee the scene before the two Youkai had fully recovered. But her brother could not stand and proved to be too heavy a burden for her small arms.
She gave up with a small cry, dropping into a defeated heap next to him, sobs wracking her small frame. Her brother in turn whispered to her, soothing her and clenching his teeth from the pain in his ankle. He had apparently broken it from the jump back onto the uneven forest floor.
"YOU FILTHY BRATS!" Naoro screeched as she finally managed to right herself. "I WILL KILL YOU BOTH AND RIP YOUR INNARDS OUT!"
Cheeko flinched at the sound of the infuriated scream and Miaka, who had been crying onto his shoulder, sobbed even louder, burying her face deeper into her brother's shirt.
"NO! I WILL GET THE PLEASURE OF KILLING AND EATING THEM!" Shizu yelled, standing behind Naoro, whose forehead was drenched in blood from the wound on her scalp.
Naoro reached up with her pincers and, grabbing the sharp piece of wood, ripped it from her skull with a scream of inhuman fury before snapping it in two with a loud crunch. Her eyes menacing, face screwed up in pain, anger and humiliation, she slowly slithered towards the two small children, now crouched against the roots of the tree that they had fallen on.
"No! Naoro! I wanna eat them!" Shizu protested stupidly from behind her as she approached the two siblings.
"SHUT UP!" she screamed back at him, breathing heavily. He obeyed her at once, watching Naoro move towards the girl and boy hatefully, as if his favorite toy had been snatched away from him.
"I will savor the moment when I am ripping you both limb from limb and chewing on your insidesssss… and I will make sure to leave your bones behind for dessert…" Naoro hissed, smiling insanely, her teeth dripping with the blood that had run down her face and onto her chin as she loomed over the two cowering kids.
The two children remained still, out of options. Cheeko pulled his body over Miaka's, shielding her as she whimpered, and they sat in wait, their eyes screwed tightly shut, fearful of what was going to happen next, their bodies tensing up; when all of a sudden, from out of the darkness, a new and completely different voice spoke.
"I'm afraid you won't even get to dessert."
"Wha-?" Naoro looked up and was sliced in half before she could even blink, blood pouring onto the roots of the closest trees as the rotten flesh on her body quietly drifted onto the forest floor in pairs. A look of surprise was still etched onto her inhuman face.
Shizu gaped, his mouth wide open, fear suddenly dilating his red eyes as a tall cloaked figure approached him holding a long, silver sword.
"I'm sure you weren't thinking about eating these kids, Shizu," the figure quietly said.
"No! No, never! I would never have!" Shizu gasped, falling onto his knees in front of the cloaked figure. "Please…Please, I beg of you, forgive me. Forgive me. I had no idea, Naoro—it was Naoro. And the village—the village was also Naoro, I- I am sorry. Forgive me! I am terribly sorry! Do not—please, do not kill me."
Shizu had crawled up the front robes of the cloaked figure now, groveling at his feet, large tears descending down his face. The cloaked figure shifted, lowering his sword just a fraction, and in that moment, Shizu looked up, a look of wild ecstasy on his face. In one motion, he pulled up his right arm and claws, slashing the figure along his midsection.
The cloaked figure gave a grunt of surprise and doubled over, blood spurting out of the wound and crumpled before Shizu, who now stood, his insane laugh echoing throughout the black forest. The two children, who had been watching in silence, stifled their cries of fright.
"Fool! HAHAHA! Did you think I would not kill the children after I have killed you?" Shizu shouted gleefully.
"I will now eat you and get stronger as well! Did you think you could save them and play the part of hero? Naoro was stupid enough to be caught by surprise, but I was always the smart one! You humans with your weak weapons are child's play!"
"And who," the cloaked figure's voice was speaking again, but not down by Shizu's feet, "says that you will be the one to kill me?"
The voice seemed to be coming from right next to Shizu's ears. He gave a cry of surprise and jumped nervously, kicking at the heap by his feet in alarm only to find that it had turned into a pile of old cloaks, which upon contact with his feet, shriveled into dust.
"Aargghh!" Shizo gave a roar of fright and jumped back, his back against the trunk of a tree, his red eyes darting nervously around the clearing.
He waited for a moment or two then, seeming to have reached a decision, he backed away from the tree and stood in the middle of the clearing, eyes moving around, nostrils sniffing eagerly.
"COME OUT! Come out and face me! You're a coward for hiding! COME OUT!" he roared.
The voice chuckled lowly. "As you wish," the voice again sounded right next to his ear.
Grinning, Shizu turned around to strike the figure, swinging his gigantic clawed arm around only to swipe air. There was no one there. He turned to his front again and felt the blade of a sword as it slid into a vital organ in his chest, cutting through to the other side.
Gasping in disbelief, Shizu looked down at the cloaked figure, who was crouched over his front. Shizu growled deep in his throat and, with all his inhuman strength left, held onto the hilt of the sword and the gloved hand of the figure as the sword sat, ingrained in his body.
Shizu weakly laughed, his nails digging into the cloaked figures forearms.
"You cannot defeat me. Even if I die, my hold will not relinquish. You will die with me. I will make sure of it…" Already, he could feel his breath growing more ragged. He inhaled sharply.
"You are the fool," the cloaked figure quietly said. "This is no ordinary sword either."
As soon as the words were said, the blade of the sword still inside of the Youkai began to glow golden, then flared up, bringing with it a blast of warm heat. And as his body began to burn from the inside out, Shizu could just make out through the brilliant glow now lighting the dark forest clearing, the silhouette of a golden hilt attached to a green handle, and a braided red rope, upon which a black sphere pendant with moving black clouds inside was entwined, dangling innocently.
His eyes widened as he looked down at the cloaked and hooded figure before him. The blast of warm heat when the sword had flared up had pushed the hood off of the figure's head, revealing his face in the light given off by the sword.
"You-" Shizu managed to gasp before he was no more.
The cloaked figure flicked his sword once at the empty space that was once Shizu and pressed the black pendant. Another flash of light later and the sword too had disappeared, leaving behind only the pendant hanging from a braided red rope in the figure's callused hands. He sighed while looking at the blackened spot on the forest floor.
"I take it back. Maybe you were a bit smarter than Naoro." The figure seemed lost in his own thoughts as he stood by himself in the clearing. The events having unfolded today only bringing up a dozen other new worries that needed looking into and thinking about.
He was only brought back when a small whimper from the base of a particularly large fir tree's trunk sounded in the empty clearing. The realization that he wasn't alone brought the figure toward the spot where the two small children lay crouched and unmoving. They looked better than what he had expected two children of their age to look like after an encounter with Youkai would.
The boy, he saw, was still determined to protect his sister and even now was shielding her from him with his body, though it was evident that his ankle was twisted. Not broken, the cloaked figure knew, but twisted.
"Are you two alright?" the figure asked the boy as he moved forward cautiously so as to not alarm the little girl.
Cheeko slowly nodded, still unsure of the cloaked figure's motives. Alright, the moves he had used to finish off those two Youkai had been cool enough, but that didn't mean that he was their ally. The cloaked figure could be a bandit or thief wandering the black forest in order to raid rich parties of noblemen or government officials that occasionally traveled these woods with the proper guides and guards.
But even as Cheeko thought this, a small voice in the back of his mind told him that no robber or mere thief could possess such a magnificent sword, be that well trained in combat, or have magic, as this man surely had all three. Cheeko was watching the figure move around restlessly, digging through his pockets and extracting various items wearily. He was just about to speak when the cloaked figure gave a low chuckle.
"I recognize that look. Don't worry. I'm a friend."
Cheeko relaxed and the question he was going to ask slipped from his mind. Instead, he turned to see if Miaka was alright, hoping that she only had a few scrapes and bruises. Miaka met his light brown eyes with her own and gave him a small smile. Brother and sister turned back to find that the figure had already built a crackling fire, the flames dancing around merrily. Although Cheeko could not remember the figure gathering wood or in fact, using a match either.
The figure moved around the fire, poking the flames, and finally settled down next to the two children in a sitting position, staring into the fire. As the blaze of the warm fire spread towards him, Cheeko had not realized how cold he was, or how hungry either. He looked over at the stranger and was surprised to see intense amber eyes staring back at him. Cheeko flushed and attempted to get up but fell back down to the ground again with a sharp cry of pain.
"Easy." The stranger was speaking now. "Your ankle is sprained. Don't worry, it's not broken," he continued, now lifting Cheeko's sprained ankle onto his lap and holding a palm over the ankle.
"Hold still and I'll try to fix it, though I'm not good with healing spells. My sister, Miyu, is a lot better than I am when it comes to these kinds of things, but I had to learn. Now, it's going to sting a bit. Hold still."
As he said this, a strange green glow began to come out of the figure's hands, and Cheeko, gasping in surprise, suddenly started to feel better, the pain in his ankle becoming a dull ache, only a thing of the past now.
"H-how?" Cheeko croaked, now fully aware that this was the first time he was using his voice since his battle cry earlier when he had jumped on top of that snake woman Youkai.
"Magic," the figure said simply, then turned to Miaka to administer the same procedure on the gash in her knee from the stumble earlier; although Cheeko noted that he was much gentler with Miaka and spoke in a calm and soothing voice. He even got Miaka to giggle as he healed her wound over.
Cheeko had not noticed it before, but the figure was not an old man, or even a fully grown man yet. He couldn't be more than twenty years old at the most. And now with the light from the fire to see from, he noticed the young man's messy chestnut brown hair and strong cheekbones. Even from a young boy's standard, the young man was certainly good looking. He also had a muscled body, Cheeko knew, underneath the black cloak that he was reluctant to take off.
Maybe that was why Miaka was looking at the young man with a twinkle in her eyes. As if he were her prince in shining armor. Well, admittedly he did save them, but still, Cheeko, being her onii-chan should get some credit too. He had kept them alive long enough for the young man to show up after all…
He quickly looked away as the young man looked up, not wanting him to know that he had been staring. But the young man already knew, and ducked his head to hide his grin.
It was after they had eaten a small lunch, or was it dinner, or breakfast now?, of steamed dumplings that the young man had brought with him, Miaka fell into a restful sleep on the young man's cloak and Cheeko remembered his question from earlier. He felt more comfortable around the young man now and spoke.
"How can you do magic? I mean, there's no more magic left. The only people that have magic are the Noblemen and their families…and the emperor," Cheeko added as an afterthought. The young man seemed to think about this question for a bit and was about to answer when Cheeko interrupted him.
"What do you do for a living?" The young man seemed ready for this question and answered without thought.
"I work for the Resistance," Chieko stared, then added.
"You aren't a…a nobleman, are you? Or a nobleman's son? You're one of the slaves like us?" he gestured to Miaka and himself. The young man smiled slightly and Cheeko was taken aback. The entire time Cheeko had been in the young man's company, he had been serious. Cheeko didn't think that he had it in him to smile.
"You know the story of the slaves, am I right?" the young man asked Cheeko, looking thoughtfully at him. He nodded, not seeing where this conversation was leading. The young man seemed to be expecting this.
"If you know the story, then you know that the story tells of a few slaves that do have magic. I'm just one of those slaves with magic," the young man finished simply. Cheeko gaped.
"B..But that can't be right. I mean, the story tells of slaves with magic, but the only slaves with magic, would be the two in the…" Cheeko cut off as he stared at the young man casually sitting in front of the fire before him, as though in a new light.
"Wh-what's your name?" Cheeko asked, taking deep gulps of the forest air. He knew there was an answer that he wanted to hear, but the reality of it would be too much for him to handle.
The young man seemed to debate this for a moment too and then he abruptly stood up, stamping out the fire as Cheeko watched. When the fire had been put out, the young man turned to Cheeko and threw a black traveling cloak over him.
"No more questions for you. It's time for bed now. We have a long journey ahead of us tomorrow," the young man said while ruffling Cheeko's strawberry blonde hair."I'll keep watch. Get some rest. You've been brave today. You'll need that energy for tomorrow," Cheeko stared at the young man, a glint of something like admiration in his eyes, then nodding dumbly, he obeyed.
Cheeko thought that from all that had happened to him these past few days, sleep would be hard to come that thought was proved wrong as sleep immediately claimed him and he fell into a deep sleep, not even noticing when the young man got up and left the clearing or when he returned near dawn.
As the stranger approached the two siblings he muttered a spell under his breath and the faint outline of a golden shield that had been protecting the two children in his absence immediately disappeared. Next, he walked over to the pit that had served as their fire yesterday night and threw a couple of dry twigs into it.
From his back pocket, he pulled out a red ofuda with the symbol of a moon and sun forever entwining and held it between his forefingers. Muttering a spell under his breath again, he blew onto the ofuda and watched as a stream of fire shot from behind it and enveloped the dry sticks in the pit, leaving behind a large crackling fire.
The young man turned around quickly to check that the children had not heard, and when he saw nothing but Cheeko drooling slightly, chuckled quietly to himself and began preparing breakfast.
"Where are we going?" Cheeko asked eagerly as the young man with the chocolate brown hair stamped out the fire.
They had just had breakfast, and seeing as how the forest was as dark as yesterday, they just had to take the young stranger's word for it and believe that it was morning.
Miaka sat quietly, smoothing out her patched blue tunic, watching as her brother pranced around the camp, exclaiming about his fight with the Youkai yesterday, and bragging to the young man about how he had saved him and his sister's life. When the young man tired of hearing it, he merely asked,
"Then it seems that I helped you out yesterday for nothing. You could have handled it yourself, right?"
At which Cheeko would protest and emphasize that Cheeko was glad of the support of any man who would be willing to give; since he was going to be to surpass the current leader of the Resistance and be the new leader in the future to fight the emperor and the noblemen.
The young man ducked down his head to hide his grin. Cheeko had just strongly reminded him of someone else he knew.
He caught Miaka's eyes and winked at her with his deep amber orbs as he walked over to stuff his pack and she blushed, quite taken with the handsome young warrior that had saved her and her onii chan last night. When the cleaning up was done, the trio stood, silent in the clearing.
"Where are we going?" Cheeko voiced his earlier question again when he didn't get an answer the first time.
"Out," the young man said simply. He seemed to be waiting for something. After a few moments, he put two fingers to his mouth, whistling loudly into the forest. Cheeko stared at the young man as if he were mad, a look which the young man returned, a crooked smile on his handsome face.
It was faint at first, but as the noise got louder, Cheeko began to shout in excitement. Horse hooves, beating on the forest floor. Miaka gasped loudly as the sound came nearer and when the animal came into view Miaka gave a small shriek of delight.
The young man walked forward to the animal that had stopped and was petting it on the nose, holding it's reins down. It was a beautiful mare. So white, it practically glowed in the dim forest light.
"Her name is Tsubaki," the young man told the squealing eight year old girl. Things happened in a hurry after that, the mare was loaded and the children sat in the back, while the young man took the reins and led it forward into the forest.
"How do you know where we're going?" Cheeko wanted to know a few minutes after they set off. "I mean, we are in the black forest," he pointed out.
"There's a path. It takes you from one side of the black forest all the way through to the other side," The stranger explained, pointing to the forest floor. Cheeko didn't see a path at all, or anything that resembled a path, but didn't say so.
"The trick is to stick to it. If you leave the path, you'll end up getting lost. I think I've been through almost every part of this forest now. The place where we camped back there is right next to the path."
"How come you know so much? You're probably 20 years old! You can't have gone through the black forest more than a few times at most!" Cheeko cried indignantly. Miaka poked her brother in the ribs. Sometimes, he just had no manners at all.
"Are you trying to say that I'm lying to you?" The young man shot back testily.
"You're right. I'm lying. I don't know anything about the black forest at all. This is my second time inside of it. Who knows when we'll ever see daylight again?" The young man mused. Then quickly bit his lip to hide the chuckle that had surfaced when he saw the little boy's face.
Contrary to what the young man had said, it was midday when they reached the edge of the forest. Miaka saw the light first and jumped around Tsubaki's saddle excitedly. Tsubaki, who seemed used to strange people riding on her back took no notice and continued to clop along the path as it widened out into dirt instead of forest floor.
Cheeko breathed a sigh of relief, then looked back down at the young man, who was looking ahead.
"Gomen," the young man looked up, surprised and quickly hid it behind his stoic face. Cheeko looked mournful. "Sorry for not believing you earlier. You got us to the edge of the forest in less than a day," he said.
"It was just luck," the young man stated, secretly pleased at the young boy's defeat. At least he took it like a man! And they continued in silence the remainder of the way towards the light that had to be genuine sunshine.
A welcoming reception of about a half dozen men and women awaited the trio as they stepped into the blinding sunlight. It was so bright that Cheeko and Miaka, who had been in the forest for the last couple days found it hard to see anything or anyone at all.
Before they knew it, hands had seized them from the saddle and were hugging and rubbing and kissing their hands and faces all over. Cheeko got used to the blinding light enough to see that the face in front of his was his uncles, and he cried with joy and exhaustion, throwing himself into his uncle's arms.
Miaka was already bawling into the shirts of her aunts and grandma while they ushered her gently. Cheeko escaped the grips of his grandmother to find his uncle thanking the young man. In the sunlight, he was more handsome than he had been in the dank and dark forest. He was bowing slightly and refusing to accept the wrapped parcel that his uncle was offering, his face serious and solemn once more.
"Thank you so much. You don't know how worried we've been! After the raid in the village and then the kids gone missing, we knew something was up. Of course it had to be Shizu and that horrible Naoro. They had just attacked the small mining village up ahead of ours, and of course you already knew that! When you contacted us last night I was so sure that the children had already-oh, well, you know, but all that aside, I know that you are a busy man, being part of the resistance and all, but thank you and-," Cheeko had not heard the rest of the words that his uncle was busy spewing to the young man, all he had heard, and all that was important to him were the last few words. The Resistance…
The farewells were exchanged and before he knew it, Cheeko was watching the young man that had saved him, and possibly kept him alive the last few days, walking away towards where his snow white mare stood, waiting patiently at the foot of the green hills.
Miaka was crying and waving to young man, secretly wishing, like all eight year old girls usually did, that her prince in shining armor looked exactly like the young man who had saved her.
The young man had reached his mare and was about to mount when he heard the pounding footsteps of someone running behind him. He turned slowly and watched as Cheeko struggled to maintain breath.
"Wait!" he gasped, hands on his knees, clutching at the stitch in his side. "Wait…," the young man stood still, the expression on his face unreadable as he observed Cheeko.
"I just want to make sure…Are you...h-him? I mean,I-I well...you never told me your name…" Cheeko finished somewhat lamely, looking at his feet. When there was no answer from above, Cheeko looked up. The young man's face was still impassive. Then suddenly, he turned towards his stallion again."Wai-," Cheeko started forward.
"My name is Li. Li Syaoran," Cheeko looked up, his eyes widening in shock, and with a small smirk at the young boy, the leader of the Resistance mounted his mare and galloped off into the brilliant sunshine.
Cheeko watched him go, pride swelling in his chest, knowing full well that he had met his hero when he was close to death, only to have him bring Cheeko back into life, where the sun shone again…
Chapter One End.
Author's Note: This is the end of the first chapter. It's shorter than the rest of my chapters but it was just a prologue to fill readers in on what's happening and the state of the world that I have created here. Yes, Li Syaoran is hot, but even if he seems too heroic in this chapter, trust me, he's not lol I am so excited about the Clow, I hope that you've enjoyed this chapter and please read onto the second chapter! It'd also be wonderful if you told me what you thought of it too ^_^ Please Read and Review! Thanks!