The Homework Card.
"You're looking happy," Tomoyo said, smiling as Sakura closed her desk.
"It's home time!" Sakura grinned, attracting a few giggles from her classmates. "And something special is happening this afternoon!"
"Is Yukito coming over?" Tomoyo asked with a knowing smile.
"Even better!" Sakura did a twirl, making her two short pigtails bounce. "Shaoran is phoning from Hong Kong!"
"No wonder you've been so distracted all day," Tomoyo said, falling silent as Terada-sensei addressed the class.
"Since we're all ready to go we might as well leave early today," he announced. "Don't forget, your research assignments are due tomorrow."
"Mine is all ready to hand in now," Tomoyo said, drawing her project out of her bag. "Sakura?" She blinked. "Sakura? What are you doing on the floor?"
In answer, Sakura twitched and moaned.
Tomoyo sighed. "You forgot the assignment?"
"You've got to be kidding me!" Kero yelled, frowning as he steered round another difficult corner. "You've had three weeks to work on this assignment--and you haven't even started?"
"You're my guardian beast--you should have reminded me!" Sakura wailed. "And Shaoran is going to phone--what do I do?"
"Well, obviously you're going to have to tell him you can't talk, and concentrate on getting your project done," the magical sun-guardian continued, concentrating on his video game. "It's tough Sakura, but this is what happens if you leave your assignments to the last minute--" Kero realised he was not getting the attention he deserved.
Sakura was standing in the middle of a glowing circle, her eyes shut in concentration and a glowing ball of light hovering over her hands. As Kero watched the ball lengthened into a rectangular shape that slowly faded into--"A Sakura card?"
"It worked?" Sakura opened her eyes, snatching the card from mid-air. "It worked! Look, Kero, I'm saved!"
Not impressed the winged guardian beast eyed the card thrust in front of his face. "The homework card." He winced as the sharp wind caused by the unfurling staff caught him in the face.
"I Sakura command you! Release--Homework card!"
Immediately a figure flickered into being on the magic circle before Sakura. A boy, holding a pile of books, blinked at Sakura through over sized glasses.
He looked rather like Eriol.
Kero fluttered closer to Sakura. "I've got a bad feeling about this, Sakura--"
"Don't be silly Kero," Sakura said, brightly. "I know what I'm doing. Okay, homework card--do your thing!"
And with a smirk exactly like Eriol's, the homework card did.
"Has it gone?" Sakura edged out from under the bed.
"Aargh! Just look at this!" Kero wailed. "A book report! A maths sheet! Chemistry--you don't even take chemistry! And they're all due tomorrow!"
Sakura surveyed the wreck. Her room was full of piles of books and files, most of which had assignment sheets attached to them. "What am I going to do with all this?"
"I suggest you get to work," Kero said. "This type of card, the books will most likely vanish once you've done the work."
"Do you have any idea how long that will take? Just look at them!" Sakura wailed. "You've got to help me!"
"As Mistress of the Sakura Cards, I think its time you learned to handle these things on your own," the guardian beast replied, cheerfully pushing a pile of books away to give him access to the computer. "If you need me, I'll be playing Monkey Island."
"But Kero--" Sakura sighed. There was no way she was going to be able to do all this work in one night--"I've got to bring that card back and make him get rid of all this homework."
"Have fun!" Kero turned the computer on. It hummed a moment, then the screen flashed blue. Text scrolled across the screen--'No games until your homework is done.'
"WHAT?" Sakura winced as Kero reached decibels normally reserved for Boeing 747s. "THAT CARD IS GOING TO PAY FOR THIS!" He spun around to face Sakura, a mad gleam in his eyes. "Use Firey on it, please. Or let me blast it--"
"Oi! Monster!" Touya called from below. "Keep it quiet up there. We have guests."
"If we have guests then I can't leave--" Sakura began, but Kero held up a paw.
Within seconds Sakura was looking at a perfect reflection of herself. "Mirror, cover for me, please." Sakura slapped herself on the forehead. "Why didn't I think of this before? Mirror, do my homework."
"I don't know," Kero said, as, using Fly, Sakura and he set off in search of the rampaging homework card. "Do you think Mirror will do your homework?"
"She's a copy of me," Sakura said. "Of course she'll be able to do my homework."
"That's not what I meant," Kero sighed.
"And now everything has been taken care of!" Sakura smiled, swinging back into her bedroom. "I'm a genius--"
She paused as she realised not only was the room empty, but the assignment sheet was still blank.
"Your brother mentioned guests?" Kero sighed. "I have one guess."
Sakura sighed as she watched her double chatting happily to Yukito. "I can't believe Mirror spent the entire time we were away with Yuki!"
"Yes, we would never catch you doing something like that," Kero muttered.
"Quickly--into the kitchen. I'll make a noise and when she comes to see what it is--we seal her!"
"I'll make the noise--watch this!"
There was a huge crash from the kitchen. Mirror ran off to see what it was.
Yuki sweatdropped. "You know," he whispered to Touya. "Don't you think we should point out that we already know about Sakura's magic?"
Touya finished her drink. "It's much more amusing watching her stress. Let the monster figure it out on her own."
"Okay, mirror card--take two!" Sakura lifted the staff and the mirror card twisted and settled into--
"The brat!" Kero said dismayed. "Why--"
"Shaoran would never put off doing an assignment for something so frivolous," Sakura said smugly. "He'll get the job done."
"I refuse," the Mirror said loftily. "Magic is a great responsibility--it shouldn't be spent on such trivial things."
"What?" Sakura wailed. "But--"
"This is your own fault, you know--"
"Mirror card! Return!"
"Shall I get the books?" Kero asked.
"I still have one hope left!" Sakura threw the mirror card again.
"Tomoyo?" Kero said, as Mirror took the form of Sakura's best friend.
"She'll be delighted to help me out," Sakura said. "Isn't that right, Tomoyo?"
Tomoyo nodded. "Of course!"
"Oi, Sakura! Phone!" Touya called.
Sakura squealed. "It's him!" She turned to Mirror/Tomoyo. "Can I trust you to get my homework done?"
"Leave everything to me."
"Did you know that homework originated during Charlemagne's rule?" Yamazaki said after class the next day, as they waited for the bell to ring. "Originally it was a form of torture--"
"Now that I believe," Sakura muttered. She'd never been so relieved to hand an assignment in.
"Home time, everyone," Terada-sensei announced. "Kinomoto, could I see you a moment?"
"Is something wrong?" Sakura asked nervously.
"While it's nice that you have a friend that will help you with assignments, Sakura," Terada-sensei said, "I think it better if you hand in your own work. Tell Tomoyo it was another very informative report--and I look forward to reading yours next week. You have until Friday to hand it in."
"But--" Sakura wandered out of the classroom in a daze. How had he known?"
"I don't get it," she complained to Kero. "Mirror chose a different topic from Tomoyo's--so how did he know?"
"I think this might explain it," Kero said, pointing to one of the pages of the report. It had been decorated with love hearts circling the work 'Sakura'. In the bottom left corner was a sketch of a battle outfit with a shell motif.
"I think there's a definite moral here," Kero said as Sakura collapsed. "Homework is bad news."